Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Frank from Orange Park, FL:
Once before I believe you said that you can tell the strength of NFL teams' rosters by who takes the players cut from other teams in training camp. Do the Jaguars have any positions deep enough that players we cut could see the field with another team this year?
Vic: I think what I said is that you can tell which teams have the strongest rosters by counting the number of scouts in the press box during the preseason games. Those scouts are looking for players who are going to be cut and the teams with the strongest rosters are going to be followed very closely. I think you're going to see the press box full of scouts for Jaguars preseason games. Jack Del Rio truly does have difficult decisions to make. A young player he cuts could become someone his team will have to face for the next several years. Yeah, coaches have to keep the best players, but I also think coaches have to be sensitive to the upsides and downsides of players, too. It can't be just about now. It has to be about the future, too. I favor young players over old players because cutting a young guy can turn out to be more than a one-year mistake.
Chris from Crestview, FL:
You got the respect thing right. Tom Brady went in the sixth round. He didn't complain. He simply beat out a quarterback who had taken his team to the Super Bowl. Now, after three rings, he's getting the respect. You don't ask for respect, you take it.
Vic: You got it.
Bryan from Jacksonville:
Did Fred Stamps' touchdown catch look as good as it sounded on the radio? I've never heard of the guy before.
Vic: That's why I wrote the feature story on him last Thursday. He looked great through the first week of training camp and, if he did something dramatic in the scrimmage, he was going to leap into prominence. His 35-yard touchdown catch was very impressive. He reached out and caught the ball on his fingertips, tucked it away and turned his hips upfield to get into the end zone, and he did it all in one motion. Best of all, he did it gracefully. He almost made it look easy.
Nick from Annapolis, MD:
Stamps was described as making "circus catches," so he obviously has the talent to catch the football. What makes it hard for him to make an NFL roster?
Vic: He doesn't offer much on special teams. He's not involved in the return game and at 6-1, 180, he's not an especially physical player who offers potential as a "gunner." He is what he is, which is to say a wide receiver with soft hands and a keen understanding of the passing game. If he was a first-round pick, that might be good enough, but guys fighting for bottom-of-the-roster spots need to play on special teams. Whatever chance he has of making the Jaguars roster will probably be determined by what he does on special teams, and that's where it will get tough for Stamps.
Clyde from Jacksonville:
You said you wanted to see flashes, in the running game, passing game and in every phase of the game. Friday night's scrimmage showed me flashes of last year's offense, three and out. What was your take on Friday night's scrimmage, for those of us who didn't hear your radio broadcast?
Vic: I saw flashes and the brightest flash of all was Greg Jones' feet. Wow! When did he get the transplant? Those can't possibly be the same feet I saw the last two years. I didn't want to gush too much about it in the broadcast because it's just a scrimmage, but I had never seen him run like that previously. I detected in practice a couple of times that he looked quicker, but Friday night confirmed it. Now, I think he has a chance to become a big-time running back. People always talked about his power and how he could be the next Jerome Bettis, but few people point out that Bettis' greatest asset was his quick feet. All of a sudden, Jones has quick feet, which makes him a completely different back than he had been. I saw some other flashes, too. Maurice Jones-Drew flashed, Clint Ingram flashed, Brian Iwuh flashed. Line play can't be evaluated without looking at the tape or having replay access, which we didn't have, obviously, on Friday. I guess you could say Fred Stamps flashed. It's all about making plays and Stamps made the biggest play of the scrimmage. As far as criticism, I think it's fair to say it was disappointing that the offense didn't do more, but I'm not going to judge one whole phase of the game based on a controlled scrimmage. What if it was a real game and the offense had just kept giving it to Jones? Do you think he might've opened up the passing lanes? I just look for flashes in the preseason.
Jeremy from Jacksonville:
A sign of how far Jacksonville has to go to be an elite NFL town can be seen very clearly when you compare that we had almost 7,500 people show up to a free scrimmage in our stadium and Green Bay sold out a 70,000-some stadium for their scrimmage. I am awed and humbled by their support for a team that seems to have many more questions to answer than the Jags have for the upcoming season. Your thoughts?
Vic: It's not fair to compare Jacksonville to a storied franchise such as the Packers. You're talking about a team and a town whose relationship is legendary. Alltel Stadium's non-premium seats are sold out for the 2006 season. That's good enough for me. The next evaluation of Jacksonville will occur when the Jaguars' prospects aren't real good for an upcoming season. Strong franchises sell out all of the time, win or lose. If the Jaguars were coming off a 4-12 season, instead of 12-4, would they be sold out? When the answer to that question is "yes," we won't even be having this discussion.
Ewald from Middleburg, FL:
What is the exact capacity of Alltel Stadium with the seats covered?
Nick from Hanover, NH:
When you interview guys, can you generally tell how confident they are in themselves and their play? I'd like to know where Ernest Wilford's head is at right now. Every guy says they like being doubted because it just fuels them even more, but particularly after he started having a bit of the drops late in the season last year, you'd think the subsequent demotion would have to get to him a bit mentally. Are you able to tell with Wilford, or with anyone else for that matter?
Vic: Yeah, I've learned to read guys, and I can tell you that it rubbed Ernest Wilford a little raw that he sensed he was behind Reggie Williams at "Z" receiver in the spring. Wilford is having a great camp and has erased all doubt, in my opinion, that he is one of the Jaguars' starting receivers. In my opinion, he is clearly the Jaguars' most accomplished wide receiver, at this point in time.
Eric from Fayetteville, NC:
We have had a glimpse of the rookie class and have all formed our opinions. What are yours and do you have any expectations coming into the season?
Vic: The Jaguars got the most out of their six picks. This is the smallest draft class in Jaguars history, but it could have one of the greatest impacts. Usually, when a team is drafting as low as the Jaguars did and has only six picks, you don't expect much. I wrote that before the draft. My expectations were low. But now my expectations are high. Marcedes Lewis could turn out to be the missing link in the Jaguars passing game. Jones-Drew could be a do-it-all running back. Clint Ingram could win a starting job. Brent Hawkins has big-play pass-rush potential. James Wyche is a first-day talent that somehow slipped into the seventh round, and the same can be said about Dee Webb. Those observations, however, are all made on one week's worth of information. I acknowledge that there are questions about all of those guys, too. Lewis has dropped some passes. Jones-Drew has dropped some punts. Ingram was a late-bloomer at Oklahoma. Hawkins is awfully small. Why did Wyche and Webb last so long? At this point, however, I am impressed by what the Jaguars were able to do in the draft.
John from Jacksonville:
I went to the Jags-Steelers game last year in Pittsburgh. Do you think the Jaguars can beat the Steelers again?
Vic: Absolutely, they can. I'm sensing a lot of enthusiasm for that game, and rightfully so, but I think we all need to understand that this team's goals can't be satisfied in the regular season. This is a team that has to win in the postseason to feel good about itself. Jaguars fans pointed to the fact that the Jaguars beat both Super Bowl teams in the regular season last year. That's nice, but so what? For the upper-crust teams, it's all about the postseason. Beat them in the playoffs.
Trey from Jacksonville:
Is Wimbush still the deep man to return kickoffs, or is Maurice Drew going to do it?
Vic: I expect them both to be back there. How about that for some explosiveness in your return game? Special teams coordinator Pete Rodriguez thinks Jones-Drew is going to be a better kickoff-returner than punt-returner. Rodriguez thinks Jones-Drew, because of his power to go with his quickness, will be a killer kickoff-returner. We already know what Derrick Wimbush can do. I haven't seen a lot of Wimbush in this camp. He's a guy I really like. I wanna see more of him. I expect him to turn it up a little this week.