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Fun time of the year

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

Todd from Baltimore, MD:
What is your take on kickers being inducted into the Hall of Fame? Should there be more than one?

Vic: I'm not sure there should be one. Jan Stenerud missed the biggest kick of his life. What does that say? Adam Vinatieri has made enough big kicks to be worthy of consideration. I'm trying to be kind because I like kickers. I just wish they had their own Hall of Fame.

Jared from Orlando, FL:
Matt Jones shaved his head during training camp last year as part of a rookie initiation. Will Maurice Drew be subject to this as well, or was that a one-year thing?

Vic: If tradition holds true, Maurice Drew is in for a new do.

Derek from Barboursville, WV:
What is the purpose of the numbers rule (according to position) in the NFL?

Vic: The NFL loves conformity and uniformity. I think I do, too.

Sam from Cardiff, Wales:
I was wondering if you see there ever being a draft lottery installed in the NFL as in the NBA? Would you like one?

Vic: The NBA plays a lot of games and it's easier to digest the possibility that NBA teams out of playoff contention may not be giving their best effort at the end of the season. The NFL only plays 16 games and I think it's important for the fans to know all games are being played at maximum effort. I won't tell you a 1-14 team is playing desperately in the final game of the year, but I believe a 1-14 team is still playing hard at the end of the year. We saw the 49ers give a maximum effort in week 15 last season. The Texans had the lead over the Jaguars on Christmas Eve. I think that's the way it is in the majority of late-season games involving teams out of contention. Players are playing for the tape. They want their teams or prospective teams to see them at their best. They are playing at all times for their jobs. A lottery system is an admission that a league's bad teams don't play hard at the end of the year. I don't like that statement and I don't think it's representative of the way it is in the NFL. I like the draft the way it is.

Steve from Jacksonville:
I was 11 years old in the Jaguars' first season and 12 years later I own season tickets and so do many of my friends and their friends my age. So my question to you is, do you feel the first true generation of Jaguars fans are starting to show and that it's resulting in the higher demand for seats?

Vic: I absolutely believe that's happening. I can remember predicting this would happen. Loyalties are difficult to change. A lot of people in Jacksonville had loyalties to other teams, pro and college, when the Jaguars came into existence. You can't expect people to just turn those loyalties off and all of a sudden acquire new ones. The kids back then hadn't already developed loyalties. They were "born" to the Jaguars and now their loyalty to the Jaguars is likely to be life-long. As time passes, more of those life-long Jaguars fans will be added. The snowball is beginning to roll downhill. The Jaguars are building a solid fan base. That's what the NFL does; it creates fans. The Cowboys are the best example of what the NFL does. When the NFL expanded in Dallas in 1960, the Southwest Conference was one of the kings of football and the NFL had already failed once in Dallas in the early 1950's. They said Texas was college football country and pro football wouldn't work. Well, the Southwest Conference is gone.

Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
I know you're not a big fan of jersey fashion, but are we gonna see the all-black uniforms this year?

Vic: Coach Del Rio will make uniform-color decisions in June. I would expect to see the all-black togs at least once this season; probably against the Steelers or the Giants.

Andrew from Richmond, VA:
You keep saying the players get X percent of the revenue. How exactly do the players get this? I thought they already had contracts.

Vic: The salary cap represents all but two percent of the players' share of the gross. Please don't ask where the other two percent is. It's inconsequential.

John from Atlantic Beach, FL:
There's a lot of stuff I'm reading in the media about two-tight end sets. I think this is going to work out well for the Jaguars, if they can get Marcedes Lewis going. I believe very strongly the combination of Kyle Brady and Marcedes Lewis will give Byron two more big targets to look for. It will open up more passing lanes for Reggie Williams and Matt Jones.

Vic: When I first mentioned the likelihood of more two-TE sets this season, I had no idea people would go gaga about it. What's the big deal? Teams have been using two-TE formations for eons. When I first brought it up, I explained what it accomplishes. Let's revisit that. The big benefit of two-TE sets, John, is in the running game. Sure, you can do some things in the passing game with an extra tight end, but the dilemma defenses face against two tight ends is in stopping the run. What a two-TE set does is force the defense to declare which one is the true tight end. That means the tight end the defense is going to cover with the strong safety. Once the defense has done that, the offense runs the ball to the other side of the field, away from the strong safety and the defense's strength, and now the offense still has a tight end on that side of the field to run-block. Is that what's exciting you? In the pass game, a quality pass-catching tight end gives you a presence in the middle of the field, but you don't have to have use a two-TE set to have that. Now, if you're talking about a whole bunch of wacky formations in which the tight ends are split wide or motioned all over the place, well, that's not a true two-TE set. That's just tight ends being used as wide receivers. In a true two-TE set, the tight ends are cheek to cheek with the tackles. Two tight ends are what teams use when they wanna stick it down your throat.

Alon from Malibu, CA:
What do you think the Jags will do with the $10 million they have under the cap?

Vic: Spend it wisely, as opposed to waste it on some over-the-hill, used up has-been who's looking for one more hand-out.

Mark from San Luis Obispo, CA:
I am graduating from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo on June 10. Do you have any advice for the college graduates coming into the real world this year?

Vic: Yeah, I do. Learn to live with little and save a lot. The simplicity will give you a happy life and a secure future.

Kelvin from Warwick, UK:
Since there's little for the fans to read into these mini-camps, what should we be asking you about? Or should we just sit and wait for July?

Vic: This is a good time of the year to focus on the big picture. All this stuff about number one receiver and feature back is repetitive, silly and can't be answered. The players will answer questions about those issues. They'll answer those questions with their performances in training camp and in the preseason games. I think Hall of Fame debate, for example, is good subject matter. This is a good time to talk about who the best players are and how they rank with the best players from years past. This is a good time to talk about coaches and owners and fans and stadiums, etc. Soon, we'll be talking about the situation in Los Angeles again, and there will be news on the new commissioner front, I'm sure. This is a good time for reflection and I'll accept look-ahead questions, too, though it's a lot easier to look back than it is to predict. The Byron Leftwich stuff wears me out. So does the Greg Jones, Matt Jones and Chad Owens stuff. What can I tell you? Whatever your question or opinion is about players or schemes, the results will provide the answers. Let's put on our thinking caps. Let's have some fun. The time for answers to the hard questions will come soon enough.

Gladys from Jacksonville:
Where is Terry Cousin? Why is it I don't hear much about him?

Vic: I know you're going to get mad at me, Gladys, so I apologize in advance for what I'm about to say: This is exactly what I don't want to answer. He's here. It's May. What else can I say?

Julian from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I heard you say Reggie Williams or Matt Jones could be the number one receiver for the Jags just because they are first-round picks. What about Ernest Wilford? He has been the one to put up the numbers even from his first game as a Jag. I'm not taking anything away from Matt or Reggie, but shouldn't the number one guy be the best guy?

Vic: Here's another example. Yeah, the number one guy should be – must be – the best guy. You would expect, however, a first-round pick to be that guy. He was drafted and is paid to be that guy. Does that make sense? Now, let's please put this number one receiver crap to rest. Ernest and Reggie and Matt and Cortez and Chad will work all of that out in training camp.

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