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Hayward holding onto his job

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

David from St Augustine, FL:
I was listening to an interview with Matt Schaub the other day and was very surprised to hear him say the veterans with the Texans do not stay with the team during training camp, they sleep at home. Do you see this as a coming trend?

Vic: If the Texans win, some other coach might try it, but I don't think it'll become a trend. In my opinion, when you do something like this you are openly announcing to your team that you are a players' coach and doing that is an invitation for your players to take you lightly and abuse their privileges.

Paul from Jacksonville:
The stone tablet readers were not deluged by radio and cable network guys 24/7/365. They got their information about football by reading those tablet writers and by an arcane activity known as going to the game. I've largely soured on radio and much of the TV sports-talk out there (and their affiliated internet sites), simply because much of the opinion doesn't seem to be all that informed. Just as some feel that league expansion has diluted the talent pool in professional sports, I think there are many pundits who would have had to find other employment 30 years ago.

Vic: You're absolutely right. The proliferation of irresponsible media is poisoning readers. I heard a guy on the radio the other morning say the reason so many players are going on the PUP list these days is because it's a way for coaches to increase the number of players on their roster. Obviously, the radio guy didn't know that players on PUP count on a team's training camp roster until the first cut.

Terrance from Jacksonville:
What's Brian Witherspoon's status as far as making the team's final roster?

Vic: He's going to be given an opportunity to make this team in the return game. The Jaguars think his speed gives him intriguing return potential. He has potential as a cornerback, too, but his status as a rookie is likely to hinge on what he does as a return man in the preseason.

Kyle from Martinsville, NJ:
What happens to Reggie Williams now? Can he go back on the PUP list?

Vic: No, he can't. Once he participated in a practice, he was off PUP and could not go back on. Don't get bent out of shape about the knee surgery. It's just a scope and the intent is to repair cartilage. If all goes well and there is no other damage, I would expect Williams to be back for the start of the regular season, or soon after.

Wright from Columbia, SC:
The folks from the olden days had a better feel for the game than today's fans because of video games. Today's fan can stay in his parents' basement all day and effortlessly build a team on his chosen game console. This has really desensitized my generation to the beauty of things like the Oklahoma. I called my dad the day the Jaguars opened practice just because I knew it would spark a long conversation about the Oklahoma, two-a-days and many other things that many fans today really just don't get. Folks today don't realize how nice it is to turn off the Xbox and talk to people who remember when the Oklahoma truly was a rite of passage.

Vic: You're absolutely right. I was stunned by the number of e-mails I got from people who didn't know what the Oklahoma drill is. Heck, I was stunned a few years ago when I found out how many people didn't know the coin-toss rules.

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA:
Football teams obviously benefit from their players avoiding serious injuries. Given the player injuries that occur during camp, and the whole year for that matter, how much responsibility should be directed to team trainers and/or medical staffs?

Vic: This is a great question and there is only one answer: They are critical to a team's success. Mike Ryan has been the Jaguars' head trainer since the team's inception. He's a guy who lives his craft. I'm a guy with neck, back and shoulder problems and there's never been a time that I've asked Mike for advice that I didn't get a tutorial on what to do. Football is a physical game. It's not if you'll get hurt, it's when will you get hurt? Ryan and the team's doctors have to perform miracles to get these guys ready from week to week. They have to find ways to turn two-week injuries into two-day injuries. The tape-it-to-the-other-one days are over. That just won't work in this day and age. The game is too fast, too open for guys to be able to win wearing bulky bandages. They have to be fixed. The medical staff bears great responsibility and deserves equal amounts of credit.

James from Jacksonville:
I know I haven't been the only one with questions regarding the Derrick Harvey contract negotiations. Why do you refuse to comment or answer any of these questions?

Vic: What should I say? Come on, team, give the kid what he wants, even if it means destroying your payroll structure and weakening the future of the franchise? Or, come on, kid, sign for less than fair-market value, even though the nature of the business is that the team may seek renegotiation if your performance declines? Taking sides in these matters is a terrible abuse of my role and influence as a reporter. What I want the Jaguars and Derrick Harvey to do is find something that works for each of them. Find the middle ground. It's professional football and it's about the money, for both of them. They'll get it done. Patience is required because this just isn't about this year, it's about the next several years.

Schuyler from Lake Zurich, IL:
As the Harvey holdout continues, at what point would you really consider this a problem?

Vic: That's a tough question to answer because it would differ by player and by position. In my opinion, not practicing with the team becomes a problem when the player reaches the point of losing his conditioning. When he finally signs, the coach's reaction is going to be to rush the player through a crash course of what he missed and he's got to be able to keep up. If the player is out of shape when he joins his team, he's going to lose more development time and there might be a tendency for the coach, at that point, to write the player out of the script for that season.

Dan from Yorktown, VA:
Now that Derrick Harvey's pretty far behind the other defensive ends this far into camp, do you expect Reggie Hayward to step into the starting end spot across from Paul Spicer, or for someone else like Quentin Groves to step up and take the position with the opportunity available?

Vic: Reggie Hayward is the incumbent at left defensive end. It's his job to lose and, based on what I've seen so far in this camp, he ain't losin' it.

Joon from Jacksonville:
With the escalating rookie salaries every year, are you in favor of some kind of rookie cap being put in place?

Vic: I'm in favor of putting anything in place that would help make ticket prices more affordable for the average fan, but you've got to get the players to agree to that kind of a cap and they're not gonna do it. Come on, folks, you know this stuff by now. Everything relies on a Collective Bargaining Agreement with the players. You can't just say this is good so let's do it. You've got to get the players union to agree.

Jason from Richmond, BC:
How is Matt Jones doing in camp?

Vic: Jones has been a participant in every practice. He has missed no time. Let's start with that because missing practice time is a killer for a guy who has to compete for a job. Jones missed way too much time in the spring and it hurt him. So far in this camp, he's taken all of his reps and caught everything thrown to him. I haven't seen him drop a pass and that's good news number two. On the negative side, yesterday, I saw him cut off two routes in traffic. He stopped and the passes fell incomplete. That bothers me because it tells me he still isn't comfortable in traffic. He's a guy who needs to know where everybody is and that won't work; he needs to just run the route and focus on the ball, not the defenders. Allow me say this: Jones has become this team's Brett Favre. There is an obsession with Jones that is unhealthy. Frankly, I think it hurt him right from the start in his career. What about the other receivers? Jeron Harvey made a leaping catch to end practice the other day that would've been the lead in every reporter's story had Jones made that catch. D'Juan Woods made a beautiful catch yesterday as he was falling to the turf after being tripped. Ho hum. When I look at Jones, I see a guy who's trying to figure it out. Let's not forget that wide receiver is not his natural position. Let's not forget that the safeties in this league have big muscles and bad intentions and Jones offers a very large target. Be patient. As coach Del Rio says, let him work his craft. Jones is doing it right now. That's the best thing about this training camp for him. He's working at it.

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