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Doesn't deserve ridicule

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

James from Jacksonville:
All this talk about A.J. Hawk being an instant play-maker on whatever defense he plays on got me thinking, if he's gonna make an instant impact and you feel there isn't much risk involved, why not just trade up and pick him?

Vic: You're talking about probably having to give away most of your draft to get up that high, and I'm not sure that would even do it. Draft positions have a points value and the points differential between where Hawk is going to be picked and the 28th pick of the draft is enormous.

Chris from Notre Dame, IN:
Reggie Bush was on the first team (All-PAC 10) running back list and he won the (PAC 10) offensive player of the year. If you were wrong on this fact, how much else are you wrong about?

Vic: I apologize for not being more specific. Here's how the mistake occurred. I was talking to special teams coach Pete Rodriguez about Bush and UCLA's Maurice Drew, both of whom are sensational return artists. Rodriguez scoffed at the notion that Bush was the second team punt returner on the All-PAC 10 team. Terry Richardson of Arizona State was first team kickoff returner and Drew was first team punt returner. I think you would have to agree it's a ridiculous notion that Bush wasn't the PAC 10's best return man. He may be the best return man in conference history. I know, I know, Anthony Davis returned everything Notre Dame kicked but, seriously, Bush may be the best return man in college football history but he wasn't good enough to be selected the best return man in the PAC 10 last season. Why? Because college football likes to spread the honors around. I apologize for having misled you. How often do I supply wrong information? I guess I'll leave that up to you to answer. I make mistakes but I spend a lot of time researching the correct information. I put a lot into this column and I have to stand on what I write every day. When I'm wrong, I'll retract the mistake. This isn't about ego, it's about getting it right. When you find an error, let me know as soon as possible. I want "Ask Vic" to be accurate.

Jesse from Sacramento, CA:
You say this is the last year on Jimmy Smith's contract. Do you see him retiring, re-signing or going to another team?

Vic: Trust me, this really is the final year in Jimmy Smith's contract. I'm sure I have that right. As far as what happens after this season, that will largely be determined by Jimmy's performance in 2006. He told me that on Monday when I did that thought-about-retirement story on him. If he has a big year, I would imagine he would want to continue playing and I would expect he and the Jaguars would talk about a new deal. Let's not forget, however, that Jimmy is 37. At some point, Jimmy is going to want to retire. It's the natural progression. When he does retire, he will do so, in my opinion, as the greatest player in Jaguars history. That's not a knock on Mark Brunell, Tony Boselli, Fred Taylor or any other Jaguars player of esteem. It's just a fact that no player in Jaguars history has played as well for as long as Jimmy has.

Brad from Tyler, TX:
If Chad Greenway somehow stays available to the 20th or so pick, at what point does Jacksonville start thinking trade?

Vic: In my opinion, you begin thinking about trading up when you can get to the spot to draft the player you've targeted without having to give up more than your third-round pick. Obviously, you're going to have to switch ones, but I wouldn't be interested if I had to give my second-round pick or my third-rounder and a pick in another round. I'll go with my one and my three, or my one and multiple second-day picks, but not my one and my two or my one, my three and another pick. I must come away with a pick in each of the first two rounds (the money rounds), and I have to have nothing less than a five-player draft class.

Gary from Powder Springs, GA:
I read the comments by Freddy Taylor and it seems something is going on behind the scenes. Is there a reason Freddy came out with those comments? I thought he was pretty secure in his status.

Vic: I don't know why Fred said what he did. I do have, however, a theory. I know for a fact the "Fragile Fred" tag has bothered Fred for a lot of years. I know that because I've talked to him about it. Having his courage and toughness challenged has embittered him. Through most of his career, he has fought those feelings back. In my opinion, those feelings may have surfaced in his comments of the other day. Frankly, I don't have a problem with what he said. I have no problem with players giving us a look inside. It all comes down to performance anyhow.

Jonas from Jacksonville:
What do you think about the new rule not allowing local TV guys on the sideline?

Vic: I don't like it. In fact, I strongly dislike it. The thing that bothers me the most is that there was a time when pro football was a second-class citizen to baseball and college football, and pro football turned to the media and asked for help. When I started covering the NFL, teams bent over backward for the media. Pete Rozelle was a former PR guy and he knew the league desperately needed the exposure the media could offer. Now, the league is chasing a segment of that media away and that bothers me.

Greg from Jacksonville:
Enough with the going-to-Philly tough guy talk. I went to Pittsburgh with eight large male friends during the big OT game a few years back, only to have our RV tires slashed, food thrown at us the entire game and a police escort (for our safety) out of the stadium. By the way, the cops' last words to us were, "Just be glad you didn't win."

Vic: I remember you. You're the guy who rented an RV, painted Jaguars stuff on the side, then drove up to Pittsburgh and parked on a street in Shadyside the night before the game. As you slept inside the RV, vandals slashed your tires. Do I have that right? Do you know how lucky you were? What if they had blown up the RV? You're a good man, Greg, and you give good advice. All you wanted to do was have a good time and they treated you like crap. That's wrong.

Paul from Lehigh Valley, PA:
In many mock drafts I see Laurence Maroney going to the Colts. He's a quality RB and I think we've identified that the Jags could use a RB. Should the Jags consider Maroney in the first round and hold back for a linebacker in the second or third rounds? Wouldn't it be nice to have the Colts scrambling and not get a replacement for Edgerrin James while we get a quality need player?

Vic: I don't know about all of that, but Maroney was a visitor to Alltel Stadium recently, which means he's a player of consideration for the Jaguars.

Eddie from Jacksonville:
We have talked about an emerging star player on offense and developing young talent to improve the team. What is your assessment of Ernest Wilford? He is a seemingly humble guy who plays hard and makes plays at crunch time. Great value for a fourth-rounder?

Vic: Yeah, he was great value in the fourth round. All you need to know about Wilford is that he was second on the team last year in catches and yards receiving, and first in yards per catch and touchdowns receiving.

Tom from Custer, WA:
The saying in my house is "fragile Freddy fell down again." Honestly, isn't it time to give Greg Jones the rock and put feeble Freddy out to pasture?

Vic: That's what I'm talking about. There's nothing wrong with having the opinion that Greg Jones should replaced Fred Taylor, but the greatest running back in franchise history doesn't deserve to be ridiculed. In my opinion, this is at the root of Fred's comments earlier this week.

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I think the Jaguars do a good job of "blowing smoke" about players in the draft they are interested in. How much a part of that are you?

Vic: Don, that's a very insulting question. I take my career as a journalist very seriously. I'm not part of the game; I report on the game. I would never participate in what you're suggesting. I would never provide bad information to my readers for the purpose of allowing the Jaguars to gain a strategical advantage. Obviously, you don't see news reporting as a profession, but it is. It's a profession for which I received a college degree and one of the courses I got a "C" in is "Ethics."

Nathan from Mesa, AZ:
An onside kick has to travel 10 yards, right? How far, without the receiving team touching it, is too far for the kicking team to recover the ball?

Vic: guess the answer is the boundaries of the forward end zone. Am I missing something here?

Jeff from Erie, PA:
Now that LenDale White is said to have a partially-torn hamstring and can't run for at least four weeks, when do you expect him to be drafted? Would you draft him?

Vic: Damaged goods are tough to draft. If I really liked the guy, I might stick with him, but hamstrings can be nagging injuries and could sure make this pick look stupid. It's difficult to justify drafting damaged goods in the first round. How about Kenechi Udeze?

Lyle from Kingsland, GA:
I have noticed in the past several years an increase in the number of college QB's that have quirky throwing motions. Is that a result of QB's using pure physical ability over technique or just perception on my part after we drafted Byron? None of the major candidates this year seem as extreme as Byron was the first year, but there are still some unique styles.

Vic: How about Vince Young? He may have the worst mechanics in history. I don't know why quarterbacks with bad mechanics has become such an issue. Maybe we've just been sensitized to it because a greater emphasis has been placed on sound mechanics. I can tell you this: The limits on practice time in college football make it veritably impossible for coaches to concentrate on mechanics. About all the college coaches have time to do is identify their best athletes and find a place for them to play.

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