Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Keith from Jacksonville:
I take away from the EverBank deal the best possible feeling about the future of football in Jacksonville. Why would EverBank make a five-year commitment to the Jags unless it received assurances the Jags were going to stay? There may be some out clauses, but I'm sure the Jags had to tell EverBank they plan to stay to get EverBank to buy naming rights. This is huge. Don't underestimate this.
Vic: I won't underestimate it, but I think it's more important that fans not overestimate the impact of this announcement to mean everything is just fine. Everything won't be just fine until all the tickets are sold. The naming rights are just one piece of the revenue puzzle. The major piece of the puzzle is ticket sales, which represent about 80 percent of the local revenue. To put the naming rights deal in perspective, it is the monetary equivalent of selling 1,500 club-seat season tickets. The future of this franchise remains in the hands of its fans.
Tim from Springfield, GA:
I was watching "NFL Network" the other night talking about the "Ice Bowl" and how cold it was. Being raised in the South, my question is about the effects of the cold on the physical performance of the football. Is it a really big deal when it is really cold?
Vic: The ball gets hard and slick and quarterbacks tend to lose feeling in their fingers. Playing well in cold weather is an acquired trait. You have to learn how to do it. You have to develop a feel for how to throw the football in the cold. We know this because some of the best-ever cold-weather quarterbacks were from the South. Terry Bradshaw is from Louisiana, Brett Favre is from Mississippi and Bart Starr is from Alabama. I can remember, however, a cold-weather game in Buffalo when Bradshaw threw for nine yards. He was horrible all day and after the game he said he just couldn't feel the ball. In other words, his hand went numb in the cold. It was the first cold-weather game of that year and you'll often see quarterbacks struggle on the first cold day of the season because they had lost their feel for the cold in the heat of the early season, when the ball has a moistness and softness to its leather that makes it easy to cradle it in your hand.
Michael from Fruit Cove, FL:
Do you think Aaron Kampman will be placed on the PUP list at the beginning of the season, or will he be ready to play?
Vic: I don't expect him to be placed on the PUP list at the beginning of the season because to do that would mean he would be lost to the team until that midseason window for bringing him back. I guess there's a chance he could start training camp on the PUP list because you can bring a guy off PUP at any time during training camp and the preseason.
Joe from St. Augustine, FL:
Your tease is driving me crazy. When are we going to hear about this exciting news on the horizon?
Vic: It might happen next week.
Mark from Jacksonville:
Is there a plan to use Mike Thomas for punt returns? Or is the hope that someone else will take returns so that Mike can be used in more offensive plays?
Vic: Scotty McGee was drafted for the purpose of returning punts. It's his job to hold.
Mike from Boston, MA:
What do you think of the Titans' decision to sue Kiffin, but not Kennedy Pola or USC? It seems like they're just trying to send a message to Kiffin. How many people does he have to tick off before he finally gets it?
Vic: Are you sure they're only suing Lane Kiffin? I think they're all getting sued. It's called "tortious interference grievous erectus." I'm just kidding, but it is called "tortious interference," which means the Titans are accusing Kiffin and USC of damaging the Titans' contractual relationship with Pola. For the Titans to win any kind of significant legal victory, they will have to prove they incurred damages as a result of losing Pola as their running backs coach. This could be interesting. It could be precedent-setting. Or the Titans may have just decided to fire a shot over Kiffin's bow. It certainly won't hurt the Titans' relationship with Tennessee Vols fans.
Kenny from Lexington, KY:
I want to be a sportswriter. What's your secret?
J.P. from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I am more excited about the Jaguars than I can ever remember. I don't mean wins and losses, I mean about watching everything coming together to make us a perennial contender: the solid drafting by GM Gene and company, the young, hungry, talented players, the ticket push, the naming rights deal. The future looks bright. I hope we have a great season but I am basking in the joy of being a fan of a team that seems ready to explode in 2-3 seasons. Am I too optimistic, Vic?
Vic: Your perspective is perfect and I especially like your timeline.
Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA:
So how should we refer to the stadium? Should you take ideas from your readers?
Vic: Absolutely not. EverBank isn't spending all that money to have the stadium renamed. I will only call it EverBank Field, out of respect for a company that has come to the rescue of professional football in Jacksonville. I would encourage fans to do the same. When I nicknamed Jacksonville Municipal Stadium "The Jack," it was because I was getting tired of typing all those letters. It sounded cool, too, and, of course, there wasn't any money involved in the JMS name. In fact, the name didn't even appear on the stadium. How can you disrespect a name that didn't appear anywhere? EverBank is different. It's going to be plastered all over this building and I'll be typing it plenty.
Jim from Winterville, NC:
Any memories of Jack Tatum, beside the obvious one?
Vic: They're not good memories, but it was a different game back then so I make allowances for it. I have two distinct memories. The first one is of Joe Greene holding in his arms an unconscious Lynn Swann, as Greene carried Swann from the field after Swann had been the victim of a vicious head shot in the 1975 AFC title game. It's a famous picture; maybe somebody can find it. Tatum and George Atkinson had targeted Swann and the assault spilled into the next season and resulted in the infamous "criminal element" trial. The other memory is of Franco Harris roaring up the middle for a 14-yard touchdown run that was the big play in the 1974 AFC title game. I remember Tatum turning his back on Harris by rolling off a block in a direction away from Harris. Tatum wanted no part of him, yet, in his book, "They Call Me Assassin," he criticized Harris for his penchant for stepping out of bounds at the end of runs.
Bryan from Smyrna, TN:
I just received my "Ask Vic" coffee mug. I noticed that it says "first edition" on it. Does that mean you're going to put out a new mug each year? Also, do you get a percentage of each sale?
Vic: No and no.
Mike from Mill Valley, CA:
What is the difference between the disabled list and the physically unable to perform list?
Vic: Disabled list is a baseball term; physically unable to perform is NFL terminology.
David from Jacksonville:
You say Gene Smith is one of the best talent evaluators in the game but how can you back that up until the players he drafted actually develop?
Vic: I don't form my opinion of talent evaluators based solely on the players they draft or cut. I also base my opinion on their evaluations of players who were selected by other teams. I've had predraft discussions with Gene about several players who were selected by other teams, and Gene's track record is very strong. He's the guy who turned me on to Sean Lee; he desperately tried to trade into position to draft him. Now I'm hearing the Cowboys absolutely love Lee.
Mario from Zapata, TX:
I went into a machine that shows you your clubhead speed, loft, etc. After 50 swings with the driver, my club head speed averaged 113.4 miles per hour. Is this good or bad?
Vic: It's great, as long as the ball goes straight. First you hit the ball straight, then you clock your clubhead speed.
Brian from Jacksonville:
There are apparently 19 stadiums in the league that have corporate names. What are those names?
Vic: The others with corporate names are: M&T Bank Stadium (Ravens), INVESCO Field at Mile High (Broncos), Reliant Stadium (Texans), Lucas Oil Stadium (Colts), Sun Life Stadium (Dolphins), Gillette Stadium (Patriots), Heinz Field (Steelers), Qualcomm Stadium (Chargers), LP Field (Titans), University of Phoenix Stadium (Cardinals), Bank of America Stadium (Panthers), Ford Field (Lions), Mall of America Field at Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome (Vikings), Lincoln Financial Field (Eagles), Edward Jones Dome (Rams), Qwest Field (Seahawks), Raymond James Stadium (Bucs) and FedEx Field (Redskins).
Mike from Cambridge, MA:
I'm up here in Patriots territory for training. The harbor here is just awesome and this area of Boston is surprisingly more calm and clean than I was expecting. The local paper, of course, had a nice section on the expected Patriots 2010 roster. One thing I haven't seen, though, are billboards, buses, local TV commercials, cabs or anything else advertising the Patriots. Maybe I'm not looking hard enough.
Vic: What, no billboards? That's an outrage. The Patriots are obviously idiots, too. They should have billboards in Orlando. Everybody should have billboards in Orlando. Billboards are the staple of aggressive marketing. Nothing beats billboards, especially in Orlando.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Do you think the EverBank deal is going to give some more people confidence enough to invest in some season tickets?
Vic: That's the expectation.