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Draft tells Saints' tale

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Ed from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags would have any interest in Kevin Mawae?

Vic: Mawae is 39. I don't think he fits the profile of what the Jaguars are attempting to do.

Chris from Colorado Springs, CO:
Some teams believe more success comes with strong defenses and a strong rushing attack, but the teams that have a strong passing game keep winning (Indianapolis, New England, New Orleans). So which philosophy is better to build a franchise around?

Vic: Those teams you mentioned have Peyton Manning, Tom Brady and Drew Brees at quarterback. If you have a quarterback of their caliber, it's probably a good idea to build your team around a strong passing game, but it's important to note the Saints were number six in the NFL in rushing in 2009. At this time, I think we need to acknowledge that I have gone on record several times as saying the days of run the ball, stop the run are over. Can we please halt the inquisition? I surrender. It's all about the passing game now. Football is firmly in the hands of the passing game sissies. I'm just a spectator at their game now.

Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
Here are some Hank Stram quotes that help support your response to Vince from Tampa in Friday's column. "There are few secrets in football, so execute." "My philosophy? Simplicity plus variety." Whatever it is you do, make it work.

Vic: I love the second one. I had never heard that but it fits what I believe perfectly. The problem nowadays is it's difficult to achieve variety in the running game because you have a designated runner and a designated blocker. Back in the day of the pro set, when the fullback was the main runner and the halfback was a blocker who possessed strong rushing skills, guys such as Jim Kiick and Rocky Bleier, you could achieve variety in the running game. You could dive the halfback off right tackle and come back on the next play with the same action but fake to the halfback and give to the fullback off left tackle. It froze the middle linebacker for a count, which effectively got the eighth man out of the box. The design of the running game in today's game is dull and stifles variety, and it's because coordinators seek more one-back sets that maximize receivers in the passing game.

Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
Do you think the GWAA boycott actually did any good? I'm a marketing and PR guy and it came off to me as a bit of a temper tantrum. When Woods is ready to answer questions, he will. Anybody who knows anything about PR crisis management would tell you that it was best for him not to open himself up to that uncontrolled type of questioning, yet.

Vic: So the golf writers are expected to be part of Woods' marketing machine? Hey, they've been doing that his whole career and they helped turn him into a marketing bonanza. It's time for that to stop. It's insulting and disrespectful of their profession that it was even considered that they would be used as props at Wood's mea culpa. The boycott you're calling a tantrum was a way of sending a message and the message is: The days of softball coverage are over. Market that.

Rob from Liverpool, England:
Which position in the draft do you think is most loaded with talent and which is the weakest?

Vic: Defensive line appears to be the strongest and quarterback appears to be the weakest.

Jamie from Oxford, England:
Is there a slight contradiction in BAP in drafting for the 4-3 instead of the 3-4? Doesn't it mean that a team would pass on a better player and, therefore, let him fall to another team, which goes against what BAP stands for?

Vic: No, it doesn't go against the tenets of best-available-player drafting because you're drafting the guy who's best for you, not the guy who's best for somebody else. That's why it's so important to know exactly what your identity is. What sense does it make to draft 4-3 guys and fit them into a 3-4, or draft 3-4 guys and fit them into a 4-3? LaMarr Woodley is the perfect example. He's too small to play end but not good enough in coverage to play linebacker in a 4-3. In a 3-4, however, he's a perfect fit to play rush-backer. Woodley does one thing and he does it very well and the 3-4 has a position suited just for that kind of player; the 4-3 does not. How would it make you better to draft a guy for whom you don't have a position?

Brian from Jacksonville:
Vince was trying to say that we have to pass to set up the run these days.

Vic: I've never understood the philosophy of pass to set up the run. If you can pass, why would you bother running? I've always liked the idea of attack early and protect the lead late, but those days are gone, too. I think Vince was trying to say he wants more passing because running the ball is a slow and boring process of attrition and he doesn't like watching it. I think most fans are in agreement with Vince. Today's game is perfect for their tastes.

Demetrius from Jacksonville:
Have you seen any of Bill Stull? If so, what do you think of him?

Vic: I've seen lots of him. He rose to unexpected heights last season under the tutelage of an offensive coordinator that is one of the rising stars in the college coaching ranks, but I think Stull is a college quarterback only. He's gotten the most out of his talent, which also says a lot for his coach.

Cabe from St. Augustine, FL:
What do you expect the season ticket renewal percentage to be? What has it been in previous seasons?

Vic: They lost 17,000 season ticket holders in last year's renewal. I think you can do the math. I expect the renewal rate to be at an all-time high this year. The Jaguars and "Team Teal" are doing great work at selling tickets, but let's not forget the impact of last year's blackouts. It's last year's blackouts, in my opinion, that are driving sales. For the first time, the Jaguars got the message across that they will no longer be able to give away the product. If the games aren't sold out, they'll be blacked out. If the Jaguars had taken that kind of strong stance years ago, I don't think last year would've happened.

Clint from Auburn, AL:
Watching New Orleans go from just below average to winning the Super Bowl got me thinking, and really excited. Jacksonville has been up and down the past few years, but still competitive. I kept thinking that it was our year to win it all and go to the Super Bowl. Do you think the same thing?

Vic: I think you're being overly optimistic about the Jaguars and I also think you may have underestimated the Saints' rise. You have to look past the record to be able to see what's really happening. The Saints were 7-9 and 8-8 in the two years previous to last season, but everyone in the league knew that was a team on the rise. All you had to do was look at their drafts. Forget about the record. Look at the drafts. When you start to see players such as Jahri Evans and Marques Colston popping up in the late rounds, you know something good is happening. Since 2004, the Saints' first-round picks have been Will Smith, Jamaal Brown, Reggie Bush, Robert Meachem, Sedrick Ellis and Malcolm Jenkins. That's solid drafting and that's the kind of drafting the Jaguars need to execute over the next few years. They started the process last year with a top draft class. The only thing about the Saints that's Cinderella is Katrina. Everything else about them speaks of a long, patient process of the accumulation and development of talent.

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