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Easy with the word 'great'

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

Richard from Little Rock, AR:
I noticed that Peter King at ran with an article in which he said Jacksonville will win the division this season. What happens if they don't make it into the playoffs?

Vic: Expectations for the Jaguars are high and Jack Del Rio has not attempted to deflect those expectations. In fact, he's contributed to them. He said he believes the team is poised to make a run at the playoffs. I can't tell you what will happen if the Jaguars don't make the playoffs, but I think it says something about what's being done with this team that it's thought to be a division title and playoff favorite.

Brett from d'Iberville, MS:
Rate your top five running backs in the game today.

Vic: LaDainian Tomlinson, Priest Holmes, Shaun Alexander, Corey Dillon, Kevin Jones.

Erik from Jacksonville:
Could this be the best crop of receivers we've had since the heady days of "Thunder and Lightning?"

Vic: Jimmy Smith said on Tuesday: "Our receiving corps is probably the best we've had here in Jacksonville." I'm not convinced of that, yet.

Justin from Russellville, AR:
Matt Jones got a bad rap for his nonchalance on the sideline at Arkansas. Do you foresee any problems with Jones' laid-back attitude?

Vic: Franco Harris had similar body language and when he was not immediately successful in his rookie training camp and early in his rookie season, his easygoing ways were criticized. Then Harris caught fire in the second half of his rookie year and made the "Immaculate Reception" and, all of a sudden, his critics disappeared. Matt Jones will be judged by his performance.

Marshall from Starke, FL:
Strong offense or strong defense? I, myself, enjoy the Jaguars defense because last year, for the most part, I felt we were in every game. I know a lot of teams don't enjoy that luxury. What do you prefer?

Vic: You have to have both to be a championship team, but if I can only have one, I want defense, for two reasons: 1.) It'll allow me to be competitive. 2.) Defense is the cheap side of the ball and that should allow me to move money forward and make room on my future salary caps for offense.

Bryan from Pittsford, NY:
I was reviewing the 2003 draft and I noticed that Rashean Mathis was the seventh corner drafted. How are the players drafted before him doing?

Vic: In order, these were the cornerbacks that were drafted ahead of Mathis: Terence Newman, Marcus Trufant, Andre Woolfolk, Sammy Davis, Nnamdi Asomugha, Charles Tillman and Eugene Wilson, who is playing safety for the Patriots. Mathis and Trufant each had five interceptions last season and are playing at high levels. Newman had four interceptions in 2004. Tillman made an immediate impact with four interceptions as a rookie and is one of the building blocks on the Bears defense. Woolfolk hopes to move into the starting lineup this season. Davis is a backup. Asomugha has been a backup.

Harley from Ormond Beach, FL:
When Wayne Weaver uses a word like "acrimonious," it tells me there's a serious problem ahead. If we have a no-cap year, does each team keep all its revenues or does the sharing agreement in place now prevail?

Vic: You're mixing apples with oranges. In this case, the revenue-sharing plan that exists between the owners is the apple and the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the owners and the players is the orange. They are separate strategies; one governs the split of money between the owners, while the other regulates the split of money between the owners and the players. Should the NFL experience an uncapped year in 2007, whatever plan the owners have in place to govern the split of revenue amongst themselves would prevail.

Blake from Little Rock, AR:
Why do the Jaguars always pick up unknown veterans. I mean Martin Chase, Terry Cousin, Nate Hybl, etc. This becomes annoying to the average fan. I mean, these players aren't even good nor do they do quality work in big games. These players are all other teams' backups. Why don't the Jags go for some decent players? You know, the ones we hear on television. Like when Hayward was signed.

Vic: I really do love you guys. I'm gonna move to Arkansas when I retire.

Malosi from Valencia, CA:
I understand a Whizzinator is used to beat a drug test, but how does it work exactly?

Vic: It's function is similar to the original equipment.

Joe for Jacksonville:
I'm sure you've been flooded by the whole Shaun Alexander subject, but would it be so bad to give a third-round pick for a proven veteran that still has plenty of gas in the tank?

Vic: Shaun Alexander is certainly worth a third-round pick. In fact, his talent should demand a lot more than a third-round pick. But you're missing the point. It's not about the talent, it's about the money. Alexander has been "franchised" by the Seahawks, which means he would cost $6.323 million this year. Beyond that, he hasn't even signed the "franchise" tender, and he can't be traded until he does. Alexander wants a new contract; he wants a big contract. Now put yourself in Wayne Weaver's position. You already have a big-money running back in Fred Taylor. Should you spend $6.3 million on an insurance policy? Let's be logical about this. We're talking about a team that is in the bottom third of the league's revenue rankings, and there are still a lot of unsold tickets for this season's games. Read the story on the front page and you should be able to sense Weaver's concerns for the financial future of the NFL. What should all of this tell you?

Andrew from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I read your article about Leftwich and it made me remember something I heard on the news last night. The seventh-most popular jersey sold today is a Leftwich jersey. That is pretty impressive. I was not a Leftwich fan at first because of his lack of mobility and the way he approached the huddle and when he lined up to take the snap, however, that stuff is not important and what I have learned is that winning is. Byron has surely shown he has what it takes to win; not only raw talent and skill, but heart. I commend you for reporting a positive side of this team's leader and hope the rest of the people start to see what is so evident, that he truly is a great quarterback.

Vic: Take it easy with the word "great." Byron Leftwich is not a great quarterback, yet. He has much to accomplish before we can say he's great. It's time for him to become a postseason quarterback. That's the next step in his career and I believe he will take that step. I think he's a talent. I think he has strong leadership skills. He's not mobile and I'd like to see him improve his pocket skills, but I believe he's on his way to a solid career. What I like best about him is how he has performed against other top quarterbacks. He's 2-1 against Peyton Manning. He's 1-0 against Brett Favre. Leftwich played well against Tom Brady as a rookie and almost became the only quarterback other than Brady to beat Ben Roethlisberger last season. Leftwich also scored wins over Steve McNair and Trent Green last season.

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