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It's all relative

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

Ripley from Daytona Beach, FL:
I know you are from Pittsburgh and the comment about people from Pittsburgh is harsh, but those people are not classless. I was in Pittsburgh for the Jags game this past year. I went with a Steelers fan. I was honored to be one of the few. That stadium and those fans are what Jacksonville should strive to be. They care, they love and they die black and gold. No fan yelled at me, no fan said anything to me other than good game when it was over. I celebrated with my fellow Jags fans and I embraced the moment by buying a "Terrible Towel." Now, that towel isn't for me to become a Steelers fan, it is for me to remember that passion. That is why "Steeler Country" is so great. It is "Steeler Country" all over the world, due to the fact you can't get a ticket without paying a fortune or having a friend. That is why, when you see the Steelers on TV, you see fans at home and away games. With the blessing of the football gods, some day, some way, some how, Jaguars fans will be revered as Steelers fans are.

Vic: The Steelers have a section at Heinz Field for fans whose intensity has caused them to cross over into an altered state. They are heavily medicated, especially on game day. You may have been sitting in that section.

Dave from Orange Park, FL:
I constantly see draftniks and sportswriters (yourself included) judging running backs by whether they can "carry the ball 25-30 times a game." There hasn't been a RB in the league average 25 carries a game in years. Over the last three years, the top 30 RBs in the league have averaged only 16.4 carries a game. Isn't it time we get some new criteria for judging running backs and put this 25-carries-a-game myth to rest?

Vic: You're averaging it over 16 games. What about the Seahawks' game against the Packers at the end of the season when Shaun Alexander shut it down? Your way of judging let's one or two missed games stereotype a whole season. I think a better way to look at it is from the standpoint of how many games did a running back have between 25 and 30 attempts. For example, Alexander averaged 22 carries per game in 2004, but he went over the 25-carry mark six times and three times carried 30 or more times in a game. That's what I mean by a back who can carry it 25-30 times a game. When you need to pound him, you can do it. I don't have Alexander's 2005 game-by-game totals but his total carries were up by 17 last year. When I look at last year's NFL rushing leaders, Tiki Barber, Larry Johnson, Clinton Portis, Edgerrin James, LaDainian Tomlinson and Rudi Johnson were all in the same category. They all had 336 carries or more and when their teams needed them to carry the ball 25-30 times, they did. If you wanna make it 20-25, that's fine with me because it's all relative.

Brian from Tallahassee, FL:
Where's all this love coming from, Vic? I think I speak for all when I say thank you for these fairly long "Ask Vic" segments recently. Fifteen questions answered a day is beautiful.

Vic: Love? I can't print a lot of the e-mails I receive. How would you like to open your e-mails at 6:45 in the morning and have people you've never met from places you've never been call you names you wouldn't use except on the golf course? Trust me, "Ask Vic" is not a loving place. "Ask Vic" has become very angry, therefore, I owe you thanks for your kind words.

Charlie from Neptune Beach, FL:
Being a finance guy, I look at the money spent on Reggie Williams to this point as a sunk cost and therefore irrelevant. At what point do the Jaguars acknowledge this claim and avoid throwing more good money after bad? Is this that year?

Vic: No, not this year. First of all, you're being too impatient. The Jaguars made a major investment in him. They have to find a way to get him success. They have to find a role he can fulfill. In my opinion, that means they have to stop forcing him into a role at which I don't think he can be successful and put him into a lesser role at which I think he can very successful. As far as the cap is concerned, this isn't a year for quitting on Reggie Williams. The contract is structured in such a way that quitting can't happen until next year, which means Williams will have a full three years to show his skills, and I think that's by design. The investment of a top 10 pick requires at least three years of patience.

Anthony from Edmond, OK:
Do you agree with me in that the Redskins game will go a long way in justifying Byron in the eyes of the fans that think the Jags never should have switched from Mark Brunell?

Vic: If he slayed Brunell? Yeah, that would help, but it would be an artificial barometer people would use merely for dramatic purposes. Winning playoff games is what qualifies quarterbacks. Anybody who thinks otherwise is a dope. Quarterbacks are paid to win playoff games. Don't tell me Tom Brady is overrated. Don't tell me Ben Roethlisberger isn't that good. That's ridiculous talk. They're a combined 15-2 in the postseason. Leftwich became a playoff quarterback last season. He needs to make it back there and win.

Lenny from Milroy, PA:
f Laurence Maroney and Ernie Sims are still available when the Jaguars pick, who do you think they would take?

Vic: Sims won't be available but Maroney may be available and, if he is, he will be a player of consideration for the Jaguars.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I used to think the Titans had one of the more savvy front offices but I have been somewhat confused by their recent strategies: the McNair contract debacle, spending big on Mawae, Hope, etc. The Jaguars learned from their mistakes. Have the Titans?

Vic: You forgot the Pacman Jones stuff. The Titans are on a roll. Usually, when you sink as low as the Titans have, it's a good idea to get back to basics; slow down, stop spending, pick productive college football players and start blocking and tackling. The Titans, however, keep pushing panic buttons, as though they're going to get back into Super Bowl contention. I'm surprised by their impatience.

Joel from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Is the system fair, Vic, as far as the draft ordering goes? We had a better record than the Patriots, yet, we had to play our playoff game in their house and they get to pick before us in the draft. It just doesn't seem fair to me. I know they won their division and we didn't but it seems like we should pick before them in the draft.

Vic: I think the system is fair. What you want to do is rank all non-playoff teams according to their regular-season records and all playoff teams according to what they did in the playoffs. Since the Pats were 1-1 in the playoffs and the Jags were 0-1, the Jags would draft ahead of the Pats, which means the results of three games would overrule the results of 32 games. Now what do you do about the Bengals, who were also 0-1 in the playoffs? Now you use the results of 32 games as a tie-breaker for two games? No, I'm not for that.

David from Neptune Beach, FL:
What are the chances Cromartie falls far enough for the Jags to grab him? Would you take the chance, given his injury?

Vic: If Cromartie was at the top of my board and if the gap between him and the next guy down was significant, then I would draft him. You just can't pass up that kind of star potential, especially when you're drafting 28th. I think the big problem Jaguars fans would have with the pick is the fact that the team just signed Brian Williams to a big deal. I can appreciate that complaint, but what if Cromartie turns out to be the next Deion Sanders? I think Williams could move inside to safety very nicely and that might give the Jaguars the best secondary in the league. Now, tell me, who doesn't need the best secondary in the league? Would I take him? You bet I would. I'm a BAP guy.

Bill from Jacksonville:
Why do you hate people from Pittsburgh? They help keep the Jags in Jacksonville by selling out the stadium. It is unfortunate that they are better and more loyal fans of their team than the people have shown here in Jax, but to hate them? Give reasons besides jealousy.

Vic: It's because of a guy I know from Pittsburgh. I've known him really well for a long time. He's the most arrogant, know-it-all person I've ever met. And you know what's even worse? He's got this terrible accent. He sounds like he's got marbles in his mouth when he talks. You'd hate him, too.

Joe from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Peter King on wrote that of the 255 players drafted last year, only 14 made a major impact for their teams. He listed Odell Thurman, Darrent Williams, Cadillac Williams, Logan Mankins, Jammal Brown, Heath Miller, Lofa Tatupu, Leroy Hill, Shawne Merriman, Luis Castillo, Demarcus Ware, Chris Canty, Marion Barber and Rob Petitti. Why do you think Khalif Barnes was not on his list?

Vic: Peter made a mistake. That's all it is. Khalif Barnes may have made more impact on the Jaguars last year than half of the guys Peter mentioned. If Barnes hadn't emerged early in the season, Byron Leftwich wouldn't have had a chance to get hurt in Arizona. He would've been down long before that.

Jedd from Deridder, LA:
In the recent copy of "ESPN the Magazine," Mel Kiper said the Jaguars could pick USC guard Taitusi Lutui because he is "fierce, explosive and, best of all, massive."

Vic: If the Jaguars have Lutui rated the same way, I would have no problem with that pick. Here's my question: Why didn't USC get that yard on fourth down? If I was interested in Lutui or Winston Justice or LenDale White, I would have to answer that question. With all of that beef, why couldn't they get it done with the game on the line?

Jeremy from Buford, GA:
What is the one thing you are most interested in seeing unfold at the upcoming draft?

Vic: I wanna see who's going to draft Vince Young.

Paul from Temecula, CA:
Reggie Bush kind of reminds me of "The Kansas Comet," Gale Sayers. What do you think?

Vic: I think that's a great comparison.

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