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I want it for a long time

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

Ed from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Vic, I'm 6-1, 230 and ready to suit up for the Jags offensive line. Do I have to wait for the draft or can I just show up at practice and suit up?

Vic: It depends whether or not you've already been eligible for the draft. If you've already cleared the draft for which you would've been naturally eligible, you're a free agent capable of signing with any team in the league. You might want to give them a call, however, before you show up at practice. You'll have to tie down some contractual loose ends before going onto the field because nobody can practice without having signed a contract. Oh, by the way, you might want to grow five inches and put on a hundred pounds, too.

Mark from Wichita, KS:
You have to give a lot of credit to Jimmy Smith for all the wins he has pulled out over the past decade for this team. I am not saying it wasn't a team effort, but without many of his big catches we wouldn't have won many games in the past. Do you really think Reggie Williams is the guy who will emerge as this team's future star receiver or was he simply overrated when we drafted him so high?

Vic: Players of Jimmy Smith's caliber don't routinely emerge. Reggie Williams is a better player now than he was at the end of last season; clearly a better player. I wouldn't, however, put him in the category of an emerging star. I would classify him as a young player who is attempting to establish a career as a professional football player. Jimmy Smith, on the other hand, is the most esteemed player in Jaguars history.

Mark from Panama City Beach, FL:
After seeing Taylor carry 37 times, Pearman explode with some speed on a run, Greg Jones converting in short-yardage, do you feel our backfield is showing more promise than what everybody worried about in the preseason?

Vic: As long as Fred Taylor continues his comeback from knee surgery without setback, the Jaguars backfield will be in fine shape. It is developing solid role players. Taylor's role, of course, is expansive. He is the star. He must remain healthy for this team to be a playoff contender.

Kyle from New Jersey:
Byron is the man now in Jacksonville. When do you think the Jags should start to worry about locking him up for the future like the Patriots did with Brady?

Vic: I think they should start yesterday.

Crystal from Jacksonville:
Why didn't the Jaguars have to kick the extra point after Jimmy Smith's touchdown?

Vic: In overtime, first score wins. Game over.

Tariq from Jacksonville in Iraq:
The Jaguars went for the first down on fourth-and-one at the Jets' 26-yard line in the second quarter. I understand the importance of field position, so I guess my question is what is your take on short-yardage situations on fourth down?

Vic: If you're gonna go for it on fourth down, you gotta make it. It's that simple. If you fail to make the sticks, it was a bad decision. If you make the sticks, you did the right thing. This is a scoreboard business and it's never more scoreboardish for a coach than it is on fourth-down gambles. As conservative as I am in my approach to play-calling, I tend to lean toward going for it in fourth-and-one situations – depending on field position, of course – because I believe so firmly in time of possession. I want the ball and I want it for a long time.

Mark from Chattanooga, TN:
Has Alvin Pearman replaced LaBrandon Toefield as the Jaguars' number two running back?

Vic: Toefield is number two on the depth chart, but Pearman has gotten more playing time.

Matt from Baldwin, MD:
The Raiders stink because they lost to the Patriots and Eagles on the road and the Bengals are great because they beat up on the Bears, Browns and Vikings. Come on, Vic, even you have to admit that early-season scheduling plays a big part in the growth of young teams on the rise and Cincy has taken advantage of that. I think the Raiders would be 3-0 if the schedules were reversed and Cincy might be 1-2 and could easily be 0-3 right now.

Vic: You might be right. We'll see how it plays out. There will be no "Ask Vic" on Friday, Sept. 30. The column will resume on Monday, Oct. 3.

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