Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Frank from Fernandina Beach, FL:
I'm sure you're getting a ton of questions about Monroe and his holdout. So, let me throw mine into the hat. Do you see his holdout extending long enough to endanger his opportunity to take the starting LT spot?
Vic: No, I don't see that happening, but missing time isn't a good thing. You don't improve your skills by not practicing. The sooner he gets signed and into training camp, the sooner he'll take that starting job and the better he'll play in 2009.
Dale from Hampton, VA:
Which punter has a "leg up" on the other?
Vic: I think it's Adam Podlesh's job to lose, but the gap between he and Steve Weatherford is narrow. There appears to be a legitimate competition for the punting job.
Michael from Jacksonville:
Who in the world ever came up with the awful rookie pay system? These untested guys make tons more money than many of the proven team players.
Vic: System? What system? There's no system. You pick and you pay. That's all it is. Other than for a rookie-pool system that was easily brushed aside by deferring bonuses, the system to which you are referring is completely unregulated. Hey, it's the free-market way, baby. I wish there was a system. I'm all for a system. I like regulation because it helps promote fairness. The problem with trying to sign high draft picks is that a system for it doesn't exist. It's without order or sensibility and it gets worse every year.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
Does the fact that several players are sporting the week-long beards mean that team chemistry has improved over last year?
Vic: If that makes you feel good, go ahead and believe it, but I'm not into that kind of stuff. The best team chemistry is having pass-rushers who make the quarterback go down and make the quarterback go down hard, or running backs who drop their pads and move the pile, or offensive linemen who move the line of scrimmage, or a quarterback who gets it done at crunch time. That's my kind of team chemistry. Just do your job.
Rob from Jacksonville:
So why didn't Yogi go up and get Mazeroski's HR ball in 1960?
Vic: You're right, the ball sailed over Yogi's head, but that was a tall wall, it was made of brick and it wasn't padded. On a wall in my study at home, I have a big, framed aerial picture of Forbes Field. My sons gave it to me a long time ago as a birthday gift. I played golf with Bill Mazeroski a few times and after one of those rounds I asked him to autograph that photo, which he did right on the leftfield wall at the 406-foot mark. I was nine years old in 1960 and Mazeroski's home run was the highlight of my life. My wife doesn't have a clue what the picture or the signature means, and couldn't care less. Sometimes I think she wonders why I have such an ugly picture hanging on the wall, but every once in awhile we have a visitor who walks into the study, sees the picture, understands its importance and can't stop staring at it.
Michael from Jacksonville:
I'm heading out to training camp a few days this week. Do you have any pointers on approaching the players?
Vic: Yes, I do. I suggest that you properly address the player whose autograph you seek as Mr., as in, "Mr. Garrard or Mr. Holt, may I please have your autograph?" After he's obliged your request, I suggest that you give him a smile and thank him. In the process, you will have distinguished the player and yourself.
Robert from Jacksonville:
Is it true all Jaguars games are blacked out this year?
Vic: As of now, all games in the NFL are blacked out in the markets in which they are played. If, 72 hours before kickoff, a game is sold out, the blackout will be lifted. The Jaguars are not expecting their games to be sold out 72 hours before kickoff, therefore, they don't expect the blackouts to be lifted.
Stephen from Jacksonville:
Mr. Ketchman, would you please explain the difference between an injured player being probable or questionable? Which one is more likely to play? Also, is a likely player more likely to play or be out?
Vic: There is no "likely" designation on the injury report. Injured players are listed in four categories: probable, questionable, doubtful and out. A player who is listed as probable has a 75 percent chance of playing. Questionable players are 50-50, doubtful players have a 25 percent chance of playing, and a player listed as out as no chance of playing.
Renzo from Katy, TX:
I don't know how the Monroe contract situation is going to unfold, but it will get done. What I know for sure is that we cannot afford to keep picking in the top 10 any longer. The best way to avoid this situation is to stay away from the top 10 picks.
Vic: You're absolutely right. You can do that by winning, by trading the pick or by passing on the pick. Winning is the most attractive option. Let's not forget, however, that the Jaguars traded into that eighth spot in 2008.
Harry from Jonesboro, AR:
I have never seen a pro football practice session, so all I really know about preseason practice in the pros is from Jerry Kramer's book. Is pro football preseason practice still that brutal and tough, or is it quite a bit different these days?
Vic: It's quite different. It's scientific. Player conditioning is managed on nearly a year-round basis these days. Years ago, players came to camp somewhat out of shape. Camp, of course, was nine weeks long and the preseason was six games, not four, so they had plenty of time to get into shape. When I started covering the NFL, the Oklahoma drill was a training camp staple and teams did it routinely, not just as a 10-minute drill to kick off the start of camp. I saw an NFL Films video not too long ago in which Don Shula, then the coach of the Baltimore Colts, was personally instructing his players through an Oklahoma drill. There was no hooting or hollering. It was a drill being run as any other drill in practice is conducted. When I started covering the NFL, every practice ended with gassers. Every team had its own version of gassers. The team I covered did a series of 200-yard runs, which amounted to each group of players doing a half loop around the field. They also did something called downhill running, the intent of which was to stretch their hamstrings. The barbell equipment was right out on the field, too, and they did their lifting after gassers, before they headed up the hill to the locker room. All practices were full pads back then and when I went to a player's dormitory room after lunch to interview him, he was spent. They almost always had the lights out and the curtains pulled close. I literally learned to write in the dark by doing interviews that way. It was a cool time to be a sportswriter. There was an element of romance to it. This is a cool time to be a sportswriter, too, what with Twitter and Facebook and website videos. It's called progress and it stops for no one.
Steve from Spring Hill, FL:
Is there a website or something where fans can find out what uniform colors will be worn at each game this season?
Vic: I don't know, but if you ask, I'll find out what the uniform choices are for this season. They've already been made.
Gene from Punta Gorda, FL:
If a game is blacked out, how much is the loss to the Jaguars in TV revenue?
Vic: There's no loss of revenue.
Erik from Salt Lake City, UT:
Who was your other favorite player, Jim Brown?
Vic: "Iron Mike" Ditka was my other favorite player. "Be a Ditka," was the saying back then. He was the prototype All-America football player, with the square jaw, crew-cut, thick neck and menacing eyes. Every time I see Tim Tebow, I see a young Ditka. I promise you, if Tebow was a tight end, the comparison would be made.