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Going to the dogs

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

Scotty from Jacksonville:
With all of the great running backs to come into the NFL, who holds the record for highest yards per carry? I think it would be someone like Barry Sanders, Jim Brown or Walter Payton, but I know I'll be wrong. Also, what great running back would you compare Fred Taylor to? Thanks, Vic, and I hope you get that golf tournament to happen.

Vic: You're not wrong; it's Jim Brown – big enough, strong enough, fast enough? -- who averaged 5.22 yards per carry for his career. Your second question is not as easy to answer. Fred Taylor has a unique running style inasmuch as he's a big, powerful guy, but power isn't his game. Of all the running backs I've covered, I consider Taylor to compare most favorably to Franco Harris, who was also a big, powerful guy, but power wasn't his game either. As is Taylor, Harris was a cutback runner; not a reverse-field runner as Taylor can be, but an against-the-grain kind of back. Taylor is a lot looser in his running style than Harris was, but that's the best comparison I can make. Harris took a lot of criticism for stepping out of bounds to avoid contact, and Taylor has been roughed up as being fragile. As it stands right now, the two have combined for more than 18,000 yards.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
I live down here by Miami and the Marlins just had "Bark at the Park" night. You could buy your dog a seat at Pro Player for only $6. Is there any stipulation in the NFL blackout policy that all seats must be sold to and occupied by humans?

Vic: Why not? What could they do? Get drunk and throw bottles onto the field?

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I'm really enjoying the Jaguars evolution into "Big Boy Ball," with the emphasis on stopping the run on defense and establishing a solid running game on offense. I've watched in horror as the Titans have used this philosophy to humiliate us every year. Are we actually becoming the Titans?

Vic: Great question! I hit Jack Del Rio with it this morning as he walked down the hallway. He smiled, then talked about the importance of winning your division and how the Cowboys under Jimmy Johnson evolved from a finesse team under Tom Landry into a power team under Johnson that could match the brute-force football Joe Gibbs, Bill Parcells and Buddy Ryan were playing in the NFC East. The Jaguars are evolving into a power team, and why not? It's sure worked for Tennessee.

Russell from Jacksonville:
I have to offer some disagreement to your feelings about the "Run and Shoot." In most cases you're right, but there was a team that ran the "Run and Shoot" and went to four straight Super Bowls. The Buffalo Bills would often have possession time of 20-25 minutes and win big because of their fast-strike capabilities. They had great personnel and coaches on both sides of the ball. Unlike other teams, they had a great running game in Thurman Thomas. They also ran the no-huddle offense which took teams out of their defensive schemes for a couple of those years and then adjusted as the defenses reacted. This may be only one example but I wouldn't tell any player on that Bills team they had a sissy offense.

Vic: The Buffalo Bills teams to which you are referring did not run the "Run and Shoot." The "Run and Shoot" is four wide receivers and no tight end. The Bills used three wide receivers and a tight end. They called it the "K Gun" and it was a no-huddle, up-tempo, big-play offense that bore absolutely no resemblance to the pick-and-peck ways of the "Run and Shoot." Offensive formations are not a mindset; they are defined by specific personnel groupings. If it has a tight end, it's not the "Run and Shoot," which is a sissy offense.

Scott from Canandaigua, NY:
Who is our fastest guy?

Vic: My guess is the answer would require a race between Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith, Jimmy Redmond, Rashean Mathis and Juran Bolden.

Wilbur from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Does the kicker ever get to practice in Alltel or does he have to rely on pregame to adjust to winds whipping over the bar from the river?

Vic: The practice fields outside Alltel Stadium point north and south, just as the field inside Alltel Stadium does. In the warm months, the wind tends to come from the south, and vice versa in the cold months. There have been times I've stood on the practice field thinking I couldn't hit a golf ball through that wind, let alone kick a football. The winds on the practice fields are actually stronger than the winds inside the stadium.

Glenn from Jacksonville:
Vic, can you tell me what some of the terms used to describe the field are called and why? Hash marks, flat, etc.?

Vic: Football writers are trapped into using football terminology in their stories, otherwise, it would take two paragraphs to explain each term. Thanks for the question; I'll address three terms that pertain to the field. The hash marks are those yard-by-yard calibration marks that run down either side of the middle of the field. They designate the placement of the ball when the play has been whistled dead to the outside of those marks. Once upon a time, those hash marks were considerably closer to the sidelines. In 1972, the league moved the hash marks toward the center of the field, where they currently reside. The intent was to create more lateral room that would assist and promote the passing game. So, what happened? Moving the harsh marks in resulted in an explosion of thousand-yard rushers. The flat area is roughly the areas five yards outside each tackle and 10 yards downfield. Don't ask me why it's called the flats. They were calling it that when I started watching football as a kid. One other term I use is the numbers, which refers specifically to the yard-line numbers painted on the field between the hash marks and the sideline. Generally speaking, the numbers define the flats. The numbers also help define the seams, which are alleys that extend vertically between the cornerbacks and the safeties.

Justin from Jacksonville:
Can you give us an update on ticket sales?

Vic: As of now, the Jaguars are projecting season ticket sales to be between 55,000-56,000, which would be up from 53,000 last year.

Mikey from Richmond Hill, GA:
What are the Jaguars planning on doing about a DE?

Vic: I expect the Jaguars to reach an agreement with Tony Brackens, and that would help the situation, but the long-term solution is going to obviously require another offseason.

Will from Jacksonville:
What camp battles will you be watching and which late-round picks do you think can make the 53-man roster?

Vic: The battle for the second and third-wide receiver spots will be a feature attraction in training camp. Troy Edwards is the incumbent at the "Z" receiver position, and he'll have to hold off Reggie Williams. The third-wide receiver position could involve one of those two guys in competition with Cortez Hankton and others. Linebacker will be a place of intense competition. Where will Daryl Smith fit, and how will he impact moves within the three linebacker positions. Defensive end, of course, will be a position of intense scrutiny, and it will be most interesting to see how Jorge Cordova might be used in the pass-rush scheme. As far as the Jaguars' late-round picks (second-day selections), my expectations are highest for Anthony Maddox, Ernest Wilford and Sean Bubin.

Patrick from Arlington, VA:
I feel privileged to be a part of the "Ask Vic" family. You have so many knowledgeable fans. I won't really feel like a member, though, until I get an answer posted. To that end, I have an observation and a question. A few years back I was at a home game vs. the Steelers. The Jags wore white; the Steelers came out in their gleaming gold and black. The Jags faded away in the game as they did on the field. The Steelers looked sharp, and it was a very hot day. So, make me a teal proponent. It's our original color, not as hot as black, and would give us a great identity. Now for the question: I'm starting to think the season may hinge on the on-time signing of Reggie Williams, more so than the DE situation. What do you think? Please answer and make me an official "Ask Vic" member.

Vic: I sure want you in our "Ask Vic" family, so I'll answer your question, then I'll question your memory. In my opinion, signing a team's first-round draft pick must be treated with patience. You're talking about a financial arrangement that will impact the team's salary cap in a big way for the next several years. Negotiations must be thorough and long-sighted. I wanna see Reggie Williams in training camp on-time, but only after Williams and the Jaguars reach a contract agreement that's fair for both sides. Now, as for your memory: I think you have the Steelers' last two trips to Alltel Stadium confused. They opened the 2001 season here on a viciously-hot day and, of course, the Jaguars forced the Steelers to wear their black jerseys. They lost, 21-3, in a game that wasn't that close. In 2002, the Steelers played in Jacksonville on Dec. 1, a 53-degree day. The Jaguars wore all-black for the first time in their history, and the white-shirted Steelers dominated the stats, gaining nearly twice as many yards and controlling the ball 17:22 longer than the Jaguars in a 25-23 Pittsburgh win that wasn't that close.

David from Gainesville, FL:
Give us more insight into the "advance scout" you wrote about in "Game-plan Tuesday." Why is that scout necessary, given every game is televised and the internet disseminates information rapidly? Does he sit in the stands or in a box? Does the other team know he is there? And how do the Jags accommodate their opponents' advance scout?

Vic: Each team provides a space in the press box for the advance scout. The information the advance scout seeks can't be found on TV or on the internet. He's timing the punter's and kicker's hang-times, for example; in the pregame, as well. One of the big things the advance scout wants to know is how the plays are sent into the game and who sends them. He's looking for specific information such as that. He's looking for an edge.

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