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High expectations for offense

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

Jacob from Cocoa, FL:
If you had to place a bet right now, would you say the offense or defense will carry the load for the Jags this season?

Vic: My expectations for the offense are higher than my expectations for the defense. David Garrard and Maurice Jones-Drew have star-quality contracts, Greg Jones is considered to be one of the best fullbacks in the league, Marcedes Lewis is a former first-round pick, Torry Holt is one of the all-time great receivers, the Jaguars spent their first two draft picks on offensive tackles, Rashad Jennings has been eye-popping so far this spring, Brad Meester, Mo Williams, Vinny Manuwai and Uche Nwaneri are solid interior linemen, Mike Walker is healthy and ready to show what he can do, and I love the Jaguars' young wide receivers. I see no reason why this offense can't put points on the scoreboard. In my opinion, there's a degree of uncertainty on defense. I think it's time for offense to shoulder the burden.

Beau from Twin Falls, ID:
Did Baldinger and Holt compare fingers this past week?

Vic: Brian Baldinger of "NFL Network" – I call it the "Ex-Player's Broadcasting Company – was at practice on Thursday and I couldn't help but notice that one of his pinky fingers appears to be growing out of the side of his hand. While he wasn't looking, I stared at it and I thought to myself that if you transplanted Baldinger's pinky finger and Torry Holt's middle finger onto the same hand, it would still have room for another finger.

Dave from Oviedo, FL:
It's great to read that our rookie receivers show some potential and promise, but does this mean our corners are getting burned?

Vic: All of a practice isn't a scrimmage. A significant portion of practice is dedicated to individual drills. In the case of wide receivers, that means running pass routes against air, and it's in those drills that the difference between this year's receiving corps and those of previous years is most distinct. The "old" guys lumbered. They were poor route-runners. They raised their upper bodies as they went into their cuts and they were slow coming out of them. That's why so many of the passes they caught in games were face-ups. It's also why their YAC was so bad. They caught nothing in stride because they weren't fluid enough. Coach Todd Monken was handed an impossible assignment. Now Monken has players who can move. Mike Thomas, Jarett Dillard and Tiquan Underwood are fluid. I don't know if any of the three will ever amount to anything, but they're better practice players than the "old" guys and they've already given the Jaguars receiving a corps a more NFL-caliber appearance. All of a sudden, the Jaguars' line drills are a pleasure to watch. They have grace. The ball is being caught with ease. It's the way an NFL line drill is supposed to look.

Sonny from Jacksonville:
How has David Garrard looked so far in OTAs? Has he been on target?

Vic: He's throwing the ball beautifully. I made a point of watching the quarterbacks this week, which was punctuated by rainy, windy conditions. Garrard's passes never wavered. He's moving and throwing with ease.

Lance from Denver, CO:
Can you explain what it means when you pick up someone off waivers? How is this different from releasing a player?

Vic: Waived, released and cut all mean the same thing. The process, however, means different things to different players. A player who has four or more pension-credited seasons becomes an unrestricted free agent when he's cut. A player with fewer than four pension seasons is subject to the waiver process. During the period between the trade deadline and the end of the season, all players, including vested veterans, are subject to the waiver process. All teams are ranked in a waiver order that is the same as the draft order. When a player who is subject to the waiver process is cut, teams have 24 hours to make a claim for that player. When the 24 hours have expired, the team highest in the order making a claim is awarded the player. Tyron Brackenridge is a player who was subject to the waiver process. Fred Taylor was not.

Stahnlee from Jacksonville:
I don't see or hear Steelers or Packers fans making excuses about buying tickets.

Vic: Forget about football for a minute. Think about hockey and answer this question: How does a sport with such low TV ratings and small fan base pack its arenas night after night? I'm watching the NHL playoffs and I'm amazed to see the same towns fill their buildings, and I mean pack them to the rafters, night after night after night, and hockey tickets are unbelievably expensive. We're talking about a league that stopped playing for a year a few years ago. We're talking about a league that had to go "underground" to get any kind of a TV contract. "Leave it to Beaver" re-runs get better ratings, but try to buy a ticket to a game. How has the NHL managed to build such a dependable ticket base? What is it about hockey that brings people back night after night after night, despite these bad economic times? In my opinion, it's the night after night grind that defines a town as major league. Eight times a year should be a lay-up.

Richard from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Doesn't anyone remember the very first training camp that was held in Stevens Point, Wisc.? I was there and it reached 105 degrees. The Jags had to go out and buy air-conditioners for the dorm rooms. We never went north for training camp again. Just live with it, people.

Vic: I became best friends with someone that summer because of that heat. I had been in Jacksonville for only a couple of weeks when I went to Stevens Point for the first training camp. My dorm room had no AC and, baby, it was hot. I could hear a constant deep hum coming from the room next to me and every time I walked past it I could feel a cool breeze coming from under the door. One day I stopped and knocked on the door. A voice said, "Come on in." I opened the door and was hit with a blast of frigid air. It was heavenly. In the middle of the room was some kind of industrial-strength air-conditioning unit that had been rented and jerry-rigged. I introduced myself to the unit's owner and convinced him that if he left his door open he might help everyone on the floor sleep better. We became best friends. He's in New York now but we talk all the time.

Jesse from Jacksonville:
How devastating, in your opinion, would it be to the city of Jacksonville and its economy if it lost the Jaguars?

Vic: Yes, it would be devastating. I don't think I have to tell you what it would do to Jaguars fans emotionally, and I'm not going to get into the economics of it because I'm not an expert in that field. What I will do, however, is go to an area you might least expect to be devastated. I'm talking about college football. Folks, without a major tenant presence in Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, it would be very difficult to maintain that facility to acceptable standards. Stadiums without tenants tend to fall into disrepair. The Florida-Georgia game could be lost. Now imagine Jacksonville without the Jaguars and the Florida-Georgia game. Devastating. The next "Ask Vic" will appear on Friday, May 29.

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