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Holt will make them compete

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

David from Jacksonville:
How soon do you see any of the draft picks signing a deal?

Vic: What's the rush? What you wanna do is get them to training camp safe and sound. At that point, the team is in control of their lifestyle and they will be taught the lifestyle of a professional football player, which is about discipline. A rookie's first year out on his own and away from the protection college offers can be dicey. One of my best friends, an NFL college scouting director, likes to say: "If you put a million dollars in a kid's pocket, does it make him a better person?" Ask yourself what you would've done with that kind of money at that age. The closer to training camp you put that money in their pocket, the more likely it is they'll report to training camp safe and sound. Keep 'em poor and keep 'em safe. Then teach them what to do with the money and how to be a pro.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Thanks for all you do, Vic. This column is something I treasure very much. It saddens me to see the release of Anthony Cotrone. We never really got to see his potential. Didn't you say he was catching the eye of the coaches in practice before he went on IR last year? What's your take on him and the situation?

Vic: He was a nice-looking prospect, and then the knee injury happened. As I have always said, it's not a game of maintenance, it's a game of replacement.

Alex from Los Angeles, CA:
I know this is true to some extent with all positions, but do you think there is one particular position where a player can most overcome a lack of physical skill with smarts, work ethic and toughness?

Vic: Strong intangibles will help a player overcome physical deficiencies at any position, but those physical deficiencies better be minor. Don't buy into the idea of a guy doing it with heart alone. You've got to have raw talent to play in this league.

Robert from Jacksonville:
"Rutgers won, 6-4." That must have been an awesome game, like the Jags 9-0 win against Pitt on Monday Night Football. I wish more games were gut-it-out grind fests like that.

Vic: There were 19 fatalities in the 1905 football season. The roots of the game are violent. Back then, it wasn't about points, it was about punishment. Don't ever make the mistake of thinking those scores are indicative of bad football. They are indicative of manhood.

Spencey from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Vic, baby, is it significant to you that Jerry Porter, Matt Jones and Reggie Williams all remain free agents still, or do you think teams were waiting until after the draft?

Vic: Which draft?

Patrick from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
If Torry Holt can run and catch as well as he speaks, we may have really grabbed us a really good one. What a mature, well-spoken guy. What is your guess as to how his production will be, and do you think he will fill some of that leadership void left by Fred Taylor?

Vic: As I was listening to Holt address us at Thursday's press conference, I thought to myself, "Thank you, St. Louis, for sending me a new Fred." Holt is a combination of Fred and Joe Greene. He gives you that "Mean Joe" right-in-the-eye look and that Fred right-to-the-point answer. I talked to Holt as we walked up the hallway and my only regret is that I'm getting him at the end of his career. This guy speaks the truth and I love it. When I hit him with that pukey mentoring question, he all but said, "Yeah, I'll mentor them, right to the bench." That's the way it should be. Teach the kids that players play and coaches coach. Teach the kids that you're here to keep them out. Holt is a pro and he's going to make the young receivers on this team better pros by forcing them to elevate their games, not by comforting them with soothing words. I can't wait to see him play. I truly hope he has something left in his legs because I can tell he's got lots left in his heart. Here's a little inside info for you: I had a scout who has a scout friend who has been close to Holt for a long time tell me that the scout friend told him Holt still has game.

Travis from Dallas, TX:
Would you consider this upcoming year the official start of the third era of the Jacksonville Jaguars?

Vic: That's an intriguing question but, no, that's not how I see it. I see this as a new start. I see this as the way it should've been done all along. I see this as they're gonna do it the right way. I hated the free-agent spending in the beginning, the wild drafting in what you would call the "second era," and the one-player-away acquisitions in 2008. Those approaches just weren't consistent with my beliefs. The way things are being done now are consistent with my beliefs. I'm not saying every draft pick is going to be a success, but I truly believe the Jaguars are going to be a better team this year and we're going to know that they're on the right path. More than anything, I think the team's fans need to have that confidence about the direction of the team.

Joseph from Jacksonville:
I was looking over the combine results for receivers and I noticed the three we took finished at or near the top of almost all the drills. Why, then, did all three of them last until the fourth round and beyond last weekend?

Vic: As I said earlier in the week, they lasted into the second day because wide receivers traditionally fit there. They get pushed back by big guys and premium-position players. Don't allow where wide receivers are selected to prejudice your opinion of them. A different standard of selection is applied to wide receivers.

Tom from Jacksonville:
Can I please ask a favor of you? As a daily reader of your column, could you possibly not answer questions concerning Lord Favre this season? We all know he's going to wait until camp is nearly over and bathe in his unending drama. For whatever it's worth, I was not crazy about your column when I first read it, but I always found it informative and have grown to enjoy it, as well. I've been reading for about three or so years now and have learned a great deal. The best part is it's not always about football. Though you have a lot of work this weekend, I hope you get some time to enjoy it.

Vic: I don't think I've used Brett Favre's name in this column since last season ended. If this results in an explosion of Favre questions, you will have caused it.

Jack from Jacksonville:
My high school coach told me a story about Johnny Unitas. He was a rookie wide receiver with the Colts out of Georgia Tech. He was in the huddle, taking his reps, and Johnny called the play. My coach then told him that he didn't know that play. Johnny then said, "Get the hell out of my huddle and don't come back." Do you know of any other situations similar to this in your years?

Vic: Don Shula was a young head coach with the Colts when he sent a play into the huddle with a messenger player. Unitas called time, walked to the sideline and asked Shula if he wanted to play quarterback. Unitas then told Shula not to ever do that again. Unitas' command of the huddle is legendary. He called the plays and you didn't speak in his huddle. He was the unchallenged authority and it was that aura that helped make him great. The players in his offense played for him as though he was a god. They didn't dare dog it or blow an assignment. The game lost something when play-calling was taken away from the quarterback. It became too technical and it lost some of its heart and mystique. The idea of a coach in the press box calling down a play to the sideline, where another coach then relays that play to the quarterback through a helmet communication device isn't nearly as romantic as the thought of a battle-tested quarterback, fighting back the pain of his most recent sack, thinking two and three plays ahead so that he might set up the defense for the big play he's planning to hit them with. We lost the romantic notion of a quarterback drawing up a play in the dirt. The proliferation of expanded coaching staffs took the dirt away.

John from Luton, England:
Could you please explain what a "workout" player is? How are they different from undrafted rookies?

Vic: I'm assuming that by "undrafted rookie" you are referring to one of the undrafted rookies the Jaguars have signed to a contract. That's the only difference between what you're referring to as an "undrafted rookie" and a "workout" player. They're both undrafted, but the "workout" players that will be participating in mini-camp won't have signed contracts. They will be auditioning for the team with the hope of being offered a contract.

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