Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Don from Orlando, FL:
What are your thoughts concerning Wade Phillips not having the Cowboys tackle in practice? I read where a reporter in a press conference after practice asked, and I paraphrase here, if they weren't going to practice tackling during football practice, why practice at all?
Vic: That's a good question. I don't get it, either. I guess the answer is that he doesn't want his players to get hurt, but they are going to get hurt. It's football, you will get hurt. They'll blow out their knee without engaging in any kind of contact, so why not teach them how to play real football? At least that way they'll get hurt for a good reason. I have never seen a player sustain an injury in an Oklahoma drill, the quintessential contact drill, but I once saw a player sustain a hamstring pull in a camp-opening conditioning run and he was nearly lost for the whole season. Camps that lack hitting produce teams that won't hit. If I was a head coach, there would be lots and lots of nine-on-seven drills in training camp, and there'd be sled work, too.
Alejandro from Jacksonville:
What were the circumstances behind the Lions trading Bobby Layne despite being so successful with him?
Vic: His coach, Buddy Parker, was a moody guy who's infamous for cutting players on the plane ride home from games. In one of his moods, Parker announced at a preseason luncheon in 1957 that he was resigning as the team's coach. Everybody thought it was a joke, but it wasn't. One of the dominant coaches of the decade just up and quit. The Lions went on to win another title in '57, though Layne broke his leg in a late-season game and the Lions were quarterbacked the rest of the way by Tobin Rote. Layne got off to a shaky start the following year and the Lions decided to go with Rote, which resulted in the Lions trading Layne to join his former coach, Parker, who was now the coach of the Steelers. Legend has it that when Layne was traded, he supposedly said the Lions "won't win for 50 years." It's called the curse of Bobby Layne. Matt Stafford is a graduate of the same high school from which Layne graduated. Layne was one of my two favorite players when I was a kid and I wore his jersey number 22 in high school. I idolized him, right down to his trademark bloody nose and blood stains down the right sleeve of his jersey.
Dan from London, ON:
Explain rookie holdouts to me. I don't understand how they can possibly get away with not going to training camp because they're looking for more money from the team that selected them. These rookies have not taken an NFL snap, yet, and they refuse to play until they get more money. This has to be changed because players like Crabtree run to whatever organization takes them and says he needs more money. I don't get it.
Vic: I don't get it, either. I get e-mail on top of e-mail from people complaining about President Obama's intent to regulate America's financial markets. They call him a socialist for wanting to make sure another AIG doesn't occur, yet, I also get e-mail on top of e-mail from probably the same people, demanding regulation of the NFL's rookie market. The same people who believe in free markets don't believe in a free market for football players. They want them to be forced to play for a regulated salary. Isn't that socialism?
James from Jacksonville:
Important games vs. the Titans seem to be our Achilles heel. They have an unofficial depth chart on their website and I see a team that controls the line of scrimmage with brute strength the way professional football teams need to be structured. How is it that they have a team compiled of pedestrian linemen that knock everyone off their feet?
Vic: They haven't knocked anyone off their feet this year. The last time they knocked anyone off their feet they had Albert Haynesworth at defensive tackle and he is not a pedestrian lineman. Haynesworth is gone and knocking people off their feet is likely to be more difficult this year.
Howard from Homestead, FL:
My biggest concern about the rebuilding plan is that we may need a new QB by the time our youth are ready to dominate. Is the timing off?
Vic: I don't think it's as big a concern as you might think it is, but I acknowledge the need for a young, developmental quarterback. If they don't find that guy in next year's draft, the concern will become distinct.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Clearly, you firmly believe the Jaguars are in a rebuilding year, but if this is rebuilding, then what was it the Jags were doing from 2000-03? We were forced to dig ourselves out of salary cap hell, making us one of the least competitive teams over those couple of years. This time around, we're simply cutting the dead weight and adding talented youth. If this is rebuilding, then we as Jaguar fans should be pretty pleased.
Vic: The 2000 and '01 seasons weren't rebuilding. They were hanging on. They were about denial. Acceptance didn't come until '02 and, by then, the roster was old and the salary cap was nearly irreparable. It took three years of rebuilding to get the Jaguars back into the playoffs. Because the cap is not a problem this time around, the depth of the rebuilding isn't nearly as severe.
Carlos from Mexico City, Mexico:
"The Jags will have 38 players at this year's camp who weren't on the club's roster during last year's camp. That is 47.5 percent of the roster." Is there any question about a roster overturn and rebuilding?
Vic: With the addition of Clarence Denmark, it's now 39 new players; last year it was 29 new players. The Chiefs are at 52 percent roster change this year. Would you say they are in rebuilding? Yeah, I think you would, and I think it's obvious the Jaguars are rebuilding their roster, too. As I've said, rebuilding doesn't mean you have to lose. The Falcons and Dolphins were in rebuilding last year and won, and the Steelers were clearly reconstructing their offensive line last season and they won the Super Bowl. Nonetheless, I think it's important to acknowledge that this is rebuilding, because it is.
Sauce from Columbus, OH:
What about the backup QB situation?
Vic: I think it's a work in progress. I don't think anything about the depth situation at quarterback is set in stone. It is, in my opinion, an area of concern. The Jaguars have already addressed it once by replacing Cleo Lemon with Todd Bouman, and with only three quarterbacks on the roster heading into camp, I would expect the Jaguars to further address depth at the position.