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It's time to punt

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Alex from Winter Springs, FL:
How is time of possession measured during kickoffs, punts and fumbles, when neither team is in possession of the ball?

Vic: The play's time is assigned to the receiving and fumbling teams.

Karen from Minot, ND:
Excluding this year's rookies and free agents, which two or three Jaguars players do you consider the most underrated by media members and the public?

Vic: In my opinion, Maurice Williams is an underrated player. Williams has the potential to be a big-time tackle and I expect him to realize that potential this season. I might also say the same of Akin Ayodele.

Pat from Bryceville, FL:
A few days ago, you answered David's question concerning the advance scout. Your answer leads me to believe teams try to steal each others' signs/signals. So let's take David's answer a step farther. Which signs would be of greater value to the opponent, offensive or defensive? Would there be enough time to get the stolen signs back on the field before the play took place?

Vic: Stealing signs isn't what the advance scout is trying to do. By identifying who sends the signals onto the field, the advance scout provides his team's coordinators with information about how the upcoming opponent administrates its substitution packages. In other words, if you know who sends in the signals, then you'll probably know from where the substitutions are made on the sideline. If you read Part 4 of "Defense 101," you might recall that identifying offensive substitution personnel is at the heart of getting into the right sub package on defense. Identifying offensive sub personnel must be quick and efficient, and it certainly helps that cause to know where to look on the opponent's sideline.

Mo from Jacksonville:
Does the signing of draft picks before or after June 1 change anything with the salary cap.

Vic: Not unless the circumstances were extreme. Some years ago, the Raiders' second-round pick died tragically in late May. He had already signed a contract, which meant the Raiders should've taken the full salary cap hit that year on the bonus money paid to the kid. The league, however, used the Memorial Day holiday to look the other way for a few days until after June 1, which allowed the Raiders to spread the kid's bonus money over two years.

Rich from St. Augustine, FL:
Some right-on comments in Tuesday's column. David Allen played terrifically last year. I would love to see a feature on him. Also, my favorite Fred Taylor moment will always be his running over Mike Doss and looking back at him for the winning touchdown. Finally, you know I have to continue to ask, why is it hard for field goal kickers to go from college to pro? Does the same happen with punters?

Vic: Rich, I've answered this question a couple of times, so I'm going to give you the short answer. The ball is different, the tee is different, the yard line for kickoffs is different, the way balls are prepared, protected and offered for use are different, and sometimes they don't let you back into the "dormitory" if you miss a field-goal attempt. The pressures of pro football are entirely different from college football. At all times, the players know their jobs are on the line. Parents weekend may be canceled.

Antonio from Jacksonville:
Thanks for all of the questions you put in your column yesterday. Every extra minute I spend reading your column, I learn more about my team. Anyway, I haven't heard much about Ernest Wilford. I watched his highlights and he seems to be a very good possession receiver with down-the-field capabilities. Is it too much to say that the Wills (Williams and Wilford) could be the Jimmy and Keenan of our future? Two 6-4 threats for a 6-5 quarterback? I know the future is unclear, but that's the reasoning behind drafting those two receivers, right? Your insight would be appreciated.

Vic: Ernest Wilford made a one-handed, highlight-reel catch in practice last week. Then, later in that practice, he dropped a perfectly-thrown deep ball. That's the way it goes with rookies, but I really like what the kid has to offer and I find your Jimmy and Keenan analogy interesting. Maybe it'll turn out that way.

LeRoi from Cleveland, OH:
Would it be unfair to fully blame Tom Coughlin for the Jaguars' salary-cap woes? And if so, is that what ultimately cost him his job?

Vic: Abuse of the salary cap, without a doubt, cost Tom Coughlin his job, and he always accepted responsibility for it. I think he could've been advised more expertly, but Coughlin always accepted the full-blame factor that goes with the "one voice" power he possessed. Remember, when he took the job the salary cap era was only two years old. A lot of teams made the mistake of not fully understanding or ignoring the cap's consequences. I think it cost Dom Capers his job in Carolina, too.

Eric from Columbus, IN:
With the signing of Brackens, I feel the Jags may have the best and deepest defensive line in the NFL. In your opinion, which team in the NFL would you consider to have the best preseason defensive line?

Vic: You've asked a great question. As I went through the league team-by-team, it hit me that there isn't a defensive line in the league you would even remotely compare to the "Fearsome Foursome," "Purple People Eaters," "Steel Curtain" or any of the legendary defensive fronts of the past. The "big guys" have never been more valuable than they are right now, and the Jaguars have two who represent the foundation of their future. New Orleans has drafted defensive linemen (Jonathan Sullivan, Charles Grant, Darren Howard and Will Smith) early in recent years, and if anybody should have a chance at putting together a top unit, it should be the Saints. But they ranked 27th against the run last year. Maybe it'll come together this season. Keep an eye on the Saints' defensive line. I think it has the potential to become real good. If I could have any defensive line in the league, I would want the Saints'. I like young guys on the rise and that's what I think they have.

Jason from Jacksonville:
We just ended another great season for the flag football world. Once again "the surprise" attack played a big role in a national championship. Our game will be televised on the Sunshine Network at 4 p.m. on Thursday. Vic, thanks a lot buddy for all of your coverage and input from coast to coast!

Vic: Are you the guy who asked for the surprise strategy? Enlighten me. I'm intrigued by your success. Did the "sunburst" thing really work?

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Is the August golf tournament going to be captain's choice and handicapped?

Vic: Probably; I'd like to have a low gross and a low net. I'd like to have a lot of prize categories.

Alex from Jacksonville:
Will the re-signing of Tony Brackens affect the decision of signing someone like Joe Johnson?

Vic: About a month or so ago, I was asked what defensive ends might be available in June. I offered the name of Joe Johnson, who has been injured each of the last two seasons after having signed with Green Bay as a high-priced free agent. All of a sudden, Johnson became this year's J.J. Stokes. I'm sorry I even answered the question and I'll make sure I don't do it next year.

Jon from Jacksonville:
I guess this is a semi-stat question. If it's fourth-and-two, does Taylor run off our right side, left side or up the middle?

Vic: It depends where the Jaguars' bench is because that's where Fred Taylor belongs on fourth-and-two. It's time to punt.

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