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Gotta love the game

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

George from Jacksonville:
Give me your opinion on the competition at tight end after the first week of camp.

Vic: Kyle Brady is as he has been; a top-notch blocker and above average pass-catcher. Todd Yoder has really stood out as a pass-catcher. I get the feeling Offensive Coordinator Bill Musgrave will have some specific plays for Yoder; some drag routes, delays and such. George Wrighster got off to a slow start, just as he did as a rookie, then started to come on late last week. Wrighster made an impressive catch on a deep ball yesterday morning. Chris Luzar is definitely being roster-challenged and, in my opinion, Luzar has responded. If he's dropped a pass I missed it. But one of the big stories of training camp is the emergence of undrafted rookie Brian Jones, who has been outstanding as a pass-catcher. Jones offers real upside and is a definite candidate for the practice squad. He's smallish at 6-3, 235, and that hurts him in run-blocking, but he has the look of a guy who could put on a lot of muscle in an offseason conditioning program. Jones is more for next year than this year, but he's a definite "jar on the shelf" candidate. Watch this kid. Overall, the Jaguars appear to be very strong at tight end.

Jason from Baker County, FL:
I noticed Leftwich pats the ball before he throws. Do you think this disrupts his timing? Is this just a bad habit quarterbacks acquire or is it a timing pat? By the way, you're the only reason I log on the internet!

Vic: I asked Jack Del Rio about it yesterday and Del Rio said he's OK with it, as long as it doesn't appear to be a problem. It's just a habit. You'd like him to not do it, but you don't want to turn him into a robot. You have to allow for a certain amount of personalization. If and when patting the ball becomes a hitch in his delivery, then it must stop.

John from Jacksonville:
I am looking forward to participating in the "Ask Vic" convention activities next week. Did you draft your golf team based upon best available player or position of need?

Vic: My intent is to play at least one hole with every group because I want to spend a little time with everybody. When I find the group that looks like it's going to win, I'll stick with them. The tee groups are set and I have every reason to believe this will be the social event of the year.

Scot from Jacksonville:
Does the NFL have any sort of red-shirt system to protect teams who have rookie or first-year draft picks who show promise and are worth developing but who aren't quite ready for the 53-man roster? I know there's the five-man practice squad but it's almost like those players are cut because any other team can sign them away.

Vic: No red-shirts or academic ineligibles and transfers don't have to sit out a year. NFL players are permitted unlimited years of eligibility, their checks aren't slid under the door and all players on the roster make the traveling team.

Luis from Gainesville, FL:
What happened to those players that where drafted but not signed? Can they sign with another team? For example can Rivers and Winslow be available for other teams?

Vic: Drafted players who fail to reach a contract agreement with the teams that drafted them remain the property of those teams until the following season's draft. At that time, if they are still unsigned, they go back into the pool.

Jim from San Diego, CA:
There's been something nagging at me for a couple days and I'd like your opinion. I just read your story on Matt Cherry and I love this guy's attitude, but I started thinking about what makes a great player and I believe it's a combination of skill and attitude. Matt Cherry has the attitude of somebody I would want on my team; time will tell if he has the skills. What about Reggie Williams, though? Supposedly he has the skills but what about his attitude? Since he's virtually guaranteed a spot on the roster, what incentive does he have to perform well or prove himself?

Vic: Money is, without a doubt, a major incentive. This is professional football. It's about money, and too much too soon can be a problem. There's an old saying that it's tough to get out of bed in the morning when you're wearing silk pajamas, and I truly believe that. So what drives a player who just got a lot of money? The answer is his love of the game and his need to compete. That's what every team is counting on their players having; a desperate love of the game and need to compete. The Jaguars are betting Reggie Williams has those qualities. Every team is wagering the same when they sign a player to a big-money contract. All of those players, of course, won't have those qualities, but teams have to pay to find out.

Robert from Chicago, IL:
I may be getting a little too anxious here, but is it too soon to say Reggie Williams has disappointed?

Vic: Yeah, it's too soon. I'm not going to tell you he hasn't had a slow start to training camp, but he came to life with an impressive catch in Monday night's practice and we can begin expecting a little more each day. I'm not clairvoyant. I don't know if Reggie Williams will be a great receiver, just a guy or a bust, but I can tell you it's too soon to draw conclusions. In time, we will, but not at this time.

Brad from Nashville, TN:
With all of the questions surrounding the depth at linebacker and running back, if you were making cuts at the positions right now and had to make decisions, how many would you keep at each and who would be kept and cut?

Vic: I understand the need for certain numbers at each position, but I can tell you that if I was a head coach those numbers would be secondary to keeping good players. In my opinion, room must be made for good football players. Running back and linebacker are the two areas of this team I think apply most notably to my "room must be made" philosophy. In my opinion, the ranks at running back and linebacker should be swelled a bit to accommodate what I consider to be exceptional depth. No way I'm cutting Fu to keep a player at another position who is not Fu's relative equal. I'm not gonna start cutting Jack Del Rio's roster for him because I'm not qualified to do that and I'd almost certainly mislead you, but you don't have to be a scout to know there's more talent at running back and linebacker than there is at other positions.

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