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Drum roll, please

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

Paul from Stuart, FL:
When a team puts a player on injured reserve, do they have to supply medical information to the league to justify the designation and, if not, what would keep teams from circumventing the spirit of the rule by storing "jars on the shelf" on IR?

Vic: The team must document to the league when the player was injured, what the injury is, how it occurred and how long it is expected to last. A doctor must verify and sign the document. If the league doubts the genuineness of the report, it may send a medical examiner to examine the player.

Ancil from Charleston, WV:
Is there a limit on the number of years a team can carry a player on its practice squad?

Vic: The limit is three years.

Manic Mac from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Thanks for the nickname. I'll bet my 1998 Dodge pickup truck with 120,000 miles on it and my four dogs the Jags don't come close to the playoffs. I do worry about them a lot.

Vic: Mac, the reason I don't like worrying about football is because it won't help the situation. There's nothing we can do about it. We can't play. We can't coach. We can't pick the players or tell the people who pick them who to pick. We're helpless. All we can do is watch and hope. Football is an emotional buy. It's a leap of faith. In my opinion, we should find a way to enjoy this without worry because worry is what makes it unenjoyable. You may be right about this not being a playoff season for the Jaguars. Clearly, there are indications the offense could be a problem. It lacks a star player and I think that's the offense's greatest shortcoming. I also know the Jaguars have a strong roster of young talent. This is a good football team. It has the potential to be a really good football team. Can it overcome its deficiencies in the passing game? That's the singular question going into the season. Be that as it may, I still think the playoffs should be the expectation. When you're coming off 12-4, the playoffs have to be the expectation.

Quintin from Jacksonville:
No offense, Vic, but sometimes you're a jerk. You call guys like Chad Johnson a jerk because you're such a traditionalist and old school Steeler type. I respect you, though, for your words of wisdom, but a lot of times I wish someone like Adam Shefter or Brian Baldinger could be our senior editor. I know you won't post this because of other looming eyes but I still respect you as a writer and old school fart.

Vic: Shazam! It's posted. You think you know, but you don't know.

Steve from New York, NY:
All this IR talk got me thinking: If you were a player that didn't have much of a chance to make the final roster, would you be happy in a weird way to be placed on IR, basically guaranteeing you a full year of NFL salary?

Vic: Are you kidding? I get paid but I don't have to practice or play. Where do I sign up? Oh, my arm!

Rick from Rome, NY:
You mentioned Chad Johnson as being a jerk. I realize many disagree with his antics on the football field, but it would seem to me he does this because he is just having fun and enjoying himself. He's never taunted a team like his buddy T.O. did in Dallas. What exactly is it about him that bothers you?

Vic: That scorecard he kept last year is the kind of thing a jerk does. Rashean Mathis outplayed him and Johnson knows it. So did some other guys. Ike Taylor turned him around twice; once in the playoffs. Did Mathis or Taylor keep a scorecard on Johnson? No. This is professional football. Act as a pro should act.

Amit from Jacksonville:
Wasn't Mike Peterson a free agent who "slipped through the cracks?" Do you believe, as I do, that he has been our best free agent pickup?

Vic: Yes, Mike Peterson is an example of a free agent who slipped through the cracks. He did because the Colts were coming up against the salary cap wall and they had to draw the line somewhere, so they drew the line on a guy who was a tackling machine but didn't make a lot of sacks, interceptions or big plays. It was the perfect scenario for the Jaguars. They got a guy whose addition strengthened them and whose loss weakened the Jaguars' chief competitor, and they got the guy at the prime of his career and at an affordable price because it was difficult to find anybody in that Colts defense who was making plays at that time. That's the kind of free agent purchase that makes sense. You're not going to get stung too many times with that kind of acquisition. The downside was limited almost completely to injury. Yes, I believe he is the Jaguars' best free agent pickup by the current administration. I "love" the guy.

Bart from Jacksonville:
We know players put on injured reserve are done for the year and can not play in games, however, once they have healed, can they practice with the team?

Vic: No, they may not. Players on IR are not permitted to practice with the team. That's one reason you'd prefer to keep a player such as Richard Collier on your active roster. By doing that, he can practice with the team all season and, therefore, hasten his development.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
This was written in an article about the Eagles bringing back A.J. Feeley after he was cut by the Chargers: "He was traded to Miami after the 2003 season for a second-round draft pick that the Eagles subsequently used to pick wide receiver Reggie Brown, currently a starter. Now they get him back without surrendering a player or a pick." Is this not a perfect example of the high value of draft picks?

Vic: That's the perfect example, and it's not the exception, it's the rule. More times than not, a player that's been traded for a draft pick will become available, again, to the team that traded him. The draft pick the team traded, however, is lost forever. Players come back, picks don't.

Courtney from Jacksonville:
Have you seen enough flashes from Fred Taylor that would indicate he can still make the big play?

Vic: I saw enough flashes from Taylor in the preseason game against Tampa to be sure he still has what it takes to be a featured runner who is feared by the opposition. Big plays are unpredictable. What the Jaguars need is a guy who gains yards consistently and I believe Taylor can do that, as long as he stays healthy. That's the big thing for him, especially in his ninth year. I don't expect a guy in his ninth season to go wire to wire. Guys in their ninth seasons require some pampering, but the Jaguars are going to need Taylor to be there for them when it counts. Make no mistake about it, he's their best running back.

Levi from Bryan, OH:
How long will it take for Leftwich to become a great QB?

Vic: I don't know how long it'll take. I'm absolutely certain, however, he won't become a great quarterback until at least one of his receivers becomes a star. They go hand in hand. This is the biggest season of Byron Leftwich's career to date. He's going into this season with a drum roll. He's facing enormous pressure to prove himself and there's no way to overcome that pressure other than performing at a high level. What he does this season will define his future. He has to know that. He's a tough guy. He welcomes that kind of challenge. I look forward to observing his response.

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