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Don't soil tradition

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

Ben from Fayetteville, AR:
You said Orlando Pace was the last pick of his draft. He was number one. Get the facts right, baby, right.

Vic: How could I have made that mistake?

Nick from Las Vegas, NV:
Based on last year's success and the quality opponents the Jags will face this year, do you think it's realistic to see the Jags scheduled for a handful of prime-time games this year?

Vic: The schedule comes out today and I'm expecting two home Monday night games.

Jon from Durham, NC:
Anybody still skeptical about BAP just needs to look at Rob Johnson. When the Jaguars picked him they had a starting quarterback and a veteran backup quarterback. When they let him go they got a game-changing running back that has been with the Jaguars ever since. Talk about recouping value.

Vic: That's an excellent example. You forgot, however, another guy the Jaguars got in that trade, Tavian Banks. Had Banks not suffered a career-ending knee injury as the result of a ridiculous late-game situation, he would've become one of the best third-down backs in the game, and maybe a whole lot more. Johnson for the draft picks used to select Fred Taylor and Banks is one of the best trades in NFL history and it's a great example of what happens when you select players at premium positions. Tom Coughlin tells the story of going to sleep the first night of the draft knowing the team had the first pick of the second day and Johnson would be their pick because he was, by far, the top-rated guy on their board and far too much value to pass up. The Jaguars had a personnel director who liked to say, "You'll never regret drafting a good football player." Nothing could be truer.

Nate from Macclenny, FL:
Does anyone ever give tours of Alltel Stadium? I would love to set something up where we could visit your office and see what you see on a daily basis.

Vic: I got an idea. We'll do a video; kind of a "Day in the Life of 'Ask Vic'" video. I'll talk to the video guys and I'll let you know what they say.

Vincent from Jacksonville:
How do you feel about the Titans' handling of the Steve McNair situation, co-MVP of the NFL in 2003 and who brought the Titans a yard shy of a Super Bowl ring seven years ago?

Vic: At one point or another, all players have to say goodbye, but you don't want that farewell to be acrimonious. That's what's happening in Nashville. The Titans used Steve McNair to buy a lot of cap room in the past. They built dummy years into his contract and pushed money into the future to make room in the present and now they're up against that money and it may cause McNair and the Titans to part company in a sour way. You don't ever want to do that. You don't ever want to soil your history and tradition because emotion and memories are what teams are selling. Make no mistake about it, McNair is the most major part of the Titans' tradition. He is all over the team's history in Nashville; a great player for a team that was in a great run. Football is not a warm and fuzzy sport, but players' exits from the game should be.

Chris from Philadelphia, PA:
Just checked out your value board for the first time; extremely high praise for Tamba Hali. As a Penn State fan, I'm delighted to see that such a fan of the history of the game would make such a statement. It seems Tamba's stock has fallen recently and that he'll be available at 28. Wouldn't he look good in teal and black?

Vic: Hali is shorter than you'd like for a defensive end and none of the Penn State kids ran at the combine. He ran well at the Penn State pro day but only did 18 reps on the 225 bar. A couple of years ago, we'd all be targeting Hali's fall because the Jaguars were desperate for a defensive end. In my opinion, the thing that's hurting Hali the most is the thing I like most about him, that he's the hardest-working player I have ever seen. That may be causing teams to think he's an over-achiever and that he may not have enough talent to take his game to a higher level. I would consider that, too, because his measurables aren't great. This is a guy whose career I wanna follow. I wanna know how far effort, a genuine old-school work ethic, will carry you in today's game.

Chris from Crestview, FL:
I know football is a game of replacement, however, I feel bad for McNair. Here's a guy who has deferred money, been quiet and not a problem child, a model for the franchise and just a few years ago an MVP. Now he's told to not show up! What a classless thing.

Vic: He didn't defer any money. All he did was provide dummy years the team used to create cap room, and for doing that he got real money. As they allowed cap money to be pushed out and for the Titans to build that wall of cash they're now facing, Steve McNair and his agent each knew the consequences, but they kept cashing those checks for re-structuring contracts. What the Titans did was a mistake because they've put a bad taste in people's mouths, as they have with you, but let's not do the poor McNair routine. He let it happen and he took the money every time the Titans held out their hand.

Geoff from Sydney, Australia:
I agree with your comments about tight end not being a premium position, but the Jags offense would benefit a great deal if they had a tight end that could cause some match-up problems for the defense. Is there anyone in the draft who could help and might still be available when the Jags pick?

Vic: Leonard Pope is a possibility.

Cole from Melbourne, FL:
What's the difference between a rush backer in a 3-4 scheme and a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme?

Vic: The defensive end has his hand down and is fixed, the rush backer is standing and has more maneuverability within the scheme.

Kevin from Hillsborough, NJ:
How much does homefield advantage matter in the NFL and who are the top homefield advantage teams?

Vic: What the Steelers did in the postseason had never previously been done. Homefield advantage is as important as ever. Look at the Seahawks. It worked for them. All teams are tough on their home turf, but I think the Colts have the greatest homefield advantage. The noise in the RCA Dome is deafening. The most important game the Steelers played all last season was the Monday night game in Indianapolis in which the Colts ran the Steelers out of the building. The Steelers had no idea what to expect and they would not have won in Indy in the playoffs had they not played there two months earlier.

Ken from Jacksonville:
So Favre isn't the best Packer ever. Who is?

Vic: Don Hutson, who played for the Packers from 1935-45 and pioneered the art of pass-receiving. Hutson's skill caused the creation of double-team pass-coverage. He is the father of modern pass-receiving. Hutson caught 488 passes for 7,991 yards and 99 touchdowns, which are astonishing numbers for an era not known for passing. He averaged 16.4 yards per reception in his career and twice averaged more than 23 yards per catch in a season. By comparison, Carolina's Steve Smith, the league's leading receiver last season, averaged 15.2 yards per catch. Oh, by the way, Hutson had 30 career interceptions as a safety and he was also the Packers' placekicker. Would you like to know about Bart Starr and his five NFL titles and two Super Bowl championships?

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