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Hand grips not necessary

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

David from Woodbridge, VA:
Not all of us have the capability to watch your video links, yet I am curious as to what you had to say regarding the AFC draft.

Vic: I expressed the opinion that I didn't think the Jaguars' AFC South counterparts drafted very well. Of the four divisions in the AFC, I think the North drafted the best. The NFC appears to have done better overall this year than the AFC. Minnesota, Dallas, Arizona and Philadelphia have all gotten high grades.

John from Little Rock, AR:
Does your stadium seats have hand grips? You'll need them. After 50-plus years of watching Arkansas football, since before all-time all-everything Lance Alworth, no one has come even close to Matt Jones for excitement. Find something to grip and hold on for the ride.

Vic: John, it's not as though we just discovered the game here in Jacksonville. Not too long ago, the Jaguars had a quarterback named Mark Brunell, who did some pretty amazing things in the 1996 playoffs. If you don't mind, we'll probably risk it. I think we can make it without hand grips.

Cary from Montreal, Quebec:
During the draft, the Jaguars site was lagging a bit at times. Was the website getting a lot of hits?

Vic: It was slow; no doubt. I can't tell you what caused it and if I ask the IT guys they'll give me an answer I won't understand or be capable of relating. Here's what I can tell you: When I turned on my laptop this morning, there were 193 "Ask Vic" questions from overnight. That may be a record for an overnight period. If your question is one of the 180-some that weren't answered, I hope you can understand why. I did, however, read them all.

Jordan from Ontario, Canada:
I am from the same area as Brett Romberg and I'm wondering what his progress has been since he was signed by the Jags as an undrafted free agent? Do you consider him a "jar on the shelf?"

Vic: That's exactly what he is. What does it tell you that the Jaguars haven't been real concerned about signing or drafting guards and centers?

Nick from Toronto, Ontario:
What do you make of the Scott Starks pick? Antonio Perkins was still on the board and he could have also filled a need as a kick-returner.

Vic: I get a zillion questions like this and I really don't understand why. The answer is obvious, isn't it? Because the Jaguars think the guy they picked is better. For all the people who've asked a similar question, that's your answer. As far as a kick-returner was concerned, they had targeted Chad Owens.

Hasso from Jacksonville:
I have so many questions about Matt Jones and I know I'm not the only Jaguar fan with questions about him. Would you consider dedicating one of this week's "Ask Vic" columns to questions about him?

Vic: I'm considering banning Matt Jones from future "Ask Vic" columns so I can answer questions about other issues.

Robert from Chicago, IL:
I guess I will pitch in another Matt Jones-related question. Do you believe Jones would have been drafted based on his skills as a QB alone (in any round)?

Vic: It's possible, because of his athletic ability, but James Harris explained that Jones was considered not to have an NFL-caliber arm. Based on what I saw of Jones, he sure didn't have NFL-caliber technique. If he would've been drafted as quarterback, it would've been very late.

Jimmy from Vero Beach, FL:
How bout this for a nickname for Matt Jones? NASDAQ. High risk equals high reward.

Vic: Are you talking about NASDAQ 5000 that is now down to NASDAQ 2000? Please, no, find another nickname for Jones.

Trey from Macclenny, FL:
There were six offensive linemen taken before the Jags took Khalif Barnes in the second round. If he was considered a premier tackle, what made him fall behind Michael Roos (Tennessee) and Marcus Johnson (Minnesota)?

Vic: Minnesota has Bryant McKinnie at left tackle and was looking for someone who could play guard and right tackle. The Jaguars really liked Johnson and would've probably made him their pick had Barnes been gone and Johnson been available. I had someone tell me the Titans had Barnes at the top of their board when it was their turn to pick in the second round, but left their board when one of their scouts said he thought Roos would turn out to be a better player. That precipitated a discussion that resulted in Roos being picked over Barnes. Remember this about Barnes: He made the move from defensive lineman to offensive tackle at Washington and only got five games under his belt last season before he suffered a broken wrist that ended his season. Teams didn't have a lot of information on him and I think that's what caused him to fall. Roos was a very productive player at Eastern Washington, but I would be concerned about his 32-inch arm length. I'm not crazy about offensive tackles that are at a reach disadvantage against me.

Demetrius from New York, NY:
Which Vic are you?

Vic: That's an interesting question. I'd like to be able to say I'm independently-wealthy Vic, or country-club Vic, or Phi Beta Kappa Vic, but I'm just this Vic.

Jordan from Kill Buck, NY:
What if New England didn't make a selection with the final pick of the draft? Could they still claim someone later down the road from the draft pool? What happens to that pick?

Vic: You're suggesting that no one can sign undrafted free agents until the Patriots pick because the rule says no one can sign undrafted free agents until the draft is over. That's the rule. So I had a friend ask the league personnel office what they would do if the Patriots refused to pick and the answer was they would be told to pick or forfeit the pick; either way, the draft was going to end in five minutes. Now permit me to tell you this story from a similar situation. In the 1980 draft, the LA Rams had the next-to-last pick and the Steelers had the last pick. "Mr. Irrelevant" goes to Newport Beach, Calif., of course, and the Rams had a little promotion in mind so they passed on their pick so the Steelers would pick and then the Rams would have "Mr. Irrelevant." Chuck Noll always gave his defensive line coach, George Perles, the job of picking "Mr. Irrelevant" during the Steelers' Super Bowl run, and Perles refused to take the Rams' bait. Back and forth the Rams and Steelers passed until the Rams realized their attempt to draft "Mr. Irrelevant" was futile. The Rams picked and then the Steelers selected Florida A&M guard Tyrone McGriff as "Mr. Irrelevant."

Jay from Jacksonville:
You've discussed Matt Jones learning "route trees" with your readers. Shouldn't he know the "route tree" system, having been a quarterback? After all, he had to throw to receivers that are running those very routes.

Vic: I've gotten a lot of e-mails from people in Arkansas that have begun with, "You don't realize what you just got." I don't know if it's the same person sending the same e-mail with different names, or if it's some kind of Matt Jones fan club, but I have an answer for you and all of those "you don't realize" people: You don't realize what Jones is about to undertake in attempting to learn the wide receiver position. Anything he had in the way of a playbook at Arkansas is the equivalent of a Dick and Jane reader compared to what the Jaguars are going to hand him this weekend.

Natalia from Miami, FL:
Matt Jones is 6-6 and Ernest Wilford and Reggie Williams are 6-4. There's no reason our red-zone offense shouldn't improve. In the end zone we should win every jump ball, don't you think?

Vic: Yes.

Mary from Middleburg, FL:
My husband is having trouble dealing with the fact Jason White was not picked up by anyone. He says he out-played any other QB, had more TDs, a better QB rating, etc. Can you please explain to him the reasons no one wanted him?

Vic: Jason White is a great kid. The scouts loved that about him. He just doesn't have NFL-caliber skills. On top of that, he's got two ACL knees.

John from Brooklyn, NY:
Will you be posting clips from mini-camp on this weekend?

Vic: Yes.

BoBo from Mobile, AL:
When do you think we get a team out here in Alabama? Thanks, Bobo.

Vic: I don't think it's gonna happen, Bobo.

Holger from Bad Vilbel, Germany:
How do the receivers learn their "route trees?" Is it comparable to how actors learn their scripts?

Vic: The same way you get to Carnegie Hall; practice.

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