Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Romyo from Jacksonville:
What are some important upcoming dates?
Vic: Feb. 8, teams may begin waiving players; Feb. 24-March 2, scouting combine in Indianapolis; Feb. 11-25, period during which teams may apply transition tag; March 4, deadline for restricted free agent and exclusive-rights tenders; March 5, free agency and trading begins; March 15, first day offseason conditioning may begin; April 15, final day teams may sign restricted free agents to offer sheets; April 22-24, NFL draft conducted.
Chris from Jacksonville:
What's your opinion of this fans-voting-for-the-Hall-of-Fame thing?
Vic: Do you really need to ask?
Allan from Centreville, VA:
The Jets' run is over. That being said, on paper they have very little talent compared to the last four teams they beat, however, they had more heart and drive than maybe anybody in the NFL. How can you teach grown men to want something so bad, like Rex Ryan did?
Vic: OK, I'll agree with all of that, but I don't think they did a very good job of game-planning for the Colts. I'm not a big play-calling guy and I don't mind predictability, provided you make it work, but the Jets didn't and they allowed the Colts to play run on first down far too often. With 8:52 to play in the game and the Jets trailing by two scores, they were still trying to establish the run on first down. Didn't they see the safeties flying up on first down? The one time they went deep it worked because the defensive back bit on run and the wide receiver went right by him for a touchdown. The next time the Jets had the ball they were able to run it successfully. Come on, mixing run and pass is elementary stuff. If you're afraid to let your quarterback throw the ball, then don't even bother playing the game. I love what the Jets did on defense early in the game, and then they stopped blitzing and as the pass-rush dissipated so did their defense. Clearly, Peyton Manning is not the same quarterback when he's under pressure. I figured Ryan would sink or swim with the blitz, but I counted pass-rushers for most of the game and I seldom counted more than five, which is the same number of blockers Manning had protecting him. The Jets distinguished themselves under Ryan this season, but the title game wasn't one of their high moments.
Curtis from Jacksonville:
Can I get your opinion on why Jaguars coaches are taking lateral positions to move to other teams?
Vic: Kennedy Pola told me he wanted to grow. He wants to become an offensive coordinator in the NFL or a head coach in college and he must have reason to believe his new job will give him a better chance of achieving that goal. Mike Tice said he wanted to get back to coaching offensive linemen, which I can completely understand because Mike is a dynamic coach and coaching 10 guys will utilize more of his coaching skills than coaching three guys. Simply put, coaching tight ends wasn't challenging enough for Mike. He needed more and so did Kennedy.
Marc from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags will adjust their offense slightly to suit Tebow's strengths? I know Garrard runs well and fairly often, but it seems like more running from the QB spot will be logical with Tebow on the roster. Also, do you think the deep ball will be incorporated more, since it's an area where Tim excels and Dave struggles?
Vic: Look at what you did. You broke my TebowScan. You're banned for life.
Howard from Jacksonville:
Looking forward to the upcoming season. Is it too early to inquire how many compensatory picks the Jaguars will get in the upcoming draft and what rounds will they most likely be awarded?
Vic: Compensatory picks are usually awarded in late March. I would expect the Jaguars to get one or two late-round picks. Forget about fifth round or higher. Why? The Jags lost Gerald Sensabaugh, Khalif Barnes, Pierson Prioleau and Mike Peterson, and none of them were home-run acquisitions. The same can be said about the Jaguars' free-agent acquisitions, Sean Considine and Tra Thomas. When you weigh one group against the other, I think you can see the difference isn't great. What really hurt the Jags is Reggie Williams not being signed by a team.
Shannon from North Little Rock, AR:
Who are these fans demanding rules changes favoring offense that you keep speaking of? When are these polls demanding rules changes favoring offense taken?
Vic: They're taken every time a game is played in the form of TV ratings and the ratings for the playoffs were through the roof.
Joe from St. Augustine, FL:
Would the NFL ever consider dropping the Pro Bowl and just having an All-Pro team much like the college All-Americans?
Vic: That's what I think they should do because the original selection of the teams is all that matters. It's not about the game, it's about the honor. The game just doesn't measure up to NFL regular-season or postseason standards and the fans of today have become much too intense about football to accept an all-star preseason-type game. I think the NFL should just select the teams, not play the game and replace it with an awards/fan fest type of weekend. Don't ask me for particulars; I'll leave that up to the NFL marketing people. An awards presentation similar to the Heisman Trophy or ESPYs might be successful. When I was a kid, I remember watching a Pro Bowl game played in the LA Coliseum. Johnny Unitas and all of the league's great players played in the game and they played hard and the game was good. Why? Because those players didn't make much money back then and the money they got for playing in the Pro Bowl was meaningful. Those days are over.
Adam from Cypress, CA:
What's more important for prospects playing in the Senior Bowl, a good week of practice or a good performance in the game?
Vic: Either one will work, but I think scouts put more stock in a good week of practice because they get to see prospects in an all-inclusive and controlled environment during practice. They get to see prospects doing exactly what the scouts want to see if they can or can't do. Game competition won't tell you everything about a player's abilities, but a week of practice should.
Richard from Jacksonville:
I've noticed that every new coach in this league comes in with some sort of strategy. I watched a documentary of Todd Haley in his first year and he took away designated car spots with players' names on it, which they pay for (Tony Gonzalez, Larry Johnson, etc.). If you were named the new Jags coach, what type of things would you do? In other words, what would you try to install initially as a coach?
Vic: I'd hire a blocking coach and a tackling coach. All they would do is teach players to block and tackle. Or maybe I'd hire one coach for every player on the team and that coach would be totally responsible for the performance of that player on and off the field. Of course, instead of doing that, you could draft good guys who know how to block and tackle and then make them accountable for their performances. Hey, I'm not into sophomoric crap like parking spots, airplane seating, dress codes, etc. I'm into performance. Get 'em good or get 'em gone.
Scott from Tempe, AZ:
I understand how consecutive years of drafting the wrong wide receivers in the first round hurt the Jags roster. I recognize that you typically have to snag your big guys at the top of the draft, and I get that there is some risk taking wide receivers high, however, it would appear finding difference-making receivers in later rounds is even more of a crap shoot. Of the top 10 receivers last year, six of them, Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Larry Fitzgerald, Randy Moss, Sidney Rice and Roddy White, were all first-round picks. Two others, Steve Smith and Wes Welker, came with second-round price tags (Patriots traded a second-round pick for Welker), and only Brandon Marshall and Hines Ward were taken later. Since you've openly acknowledged the game has changed to basketball on grass, in conjunction with evidence indicating that you either have to get a true difference-making top 10 wide receiver early or hit roughly 20 percent of the time after that, has your assessment of wide receiver draft value changed?
Vic: Pierre Garcon, Austin Collie, Miles Austin, Mike Wallace, Steve Breaston; may I stop now? No, my assessment hasn't changed. Wide receivers are a dime a dozen. You've given me first-round hits. Now give me the first-round busts. You wanna take that chance when you can get those other guys for next to nothing? By the way, Welker was originally signed as an undrafted free agent, so let's make sure we tell the whole truth, OK?
Dan from Thousand Oaks, CA:
Now that the Pro Bowl has been moved up, I feel that being a Pro-Bowler a certain number of times in your career loses its luster for Hall of Fame voting. If seven guys are being elected to the Pro Bowl at quarterback in the AFC, everyone who is anyone will be a Pro-Bowler. Do you agree?
Vic: First of all, seven guys weren't elected. Three were elected and three were selected as replacements. Ben Roethlisberger does not get credit for being a 2009 Pro-Bowler because he was not elected and he declined to play in the game as an alternate. Why would Roethlisberger decline? Clearly, he's going to be up for Hall of Fame consideration some day and, according to you, it would help him to have another Pro Bowl on his resume, right? Wrong. I talked to a member of the Hall of Fame selection committee yesterday and he told me the Pro Bowl has become much less of a consideration in Hall of Fame voting. These guys are good at what they do and they're not going to get fooled by a designation that has lost its teeth. Roethlisberger knows that. My understanding is that he didn't want to dedicate a week of his life to throwing check-down passes.
Ryan from Tampa, FL:
Since the 1990's, the team that wins the overtime coin flip wins the game 60 percent of the time. With the league increasingly favoring offense, won't that percentage increase, rendering the current overtime coin-flip rules even more unsustainable?
Vic: I guess it could happen, and that would likely result in changes to the format, but I don't consider 60 percent to be a stunning figure. Let's not forget that the NFL also has a two-point conversion rule. Don't wanna risk the overtime coin-flip? Then go for two in regulation. You know what statistic I'd like to see? I'd like to see a statistic on how many times a team won the overtime coin flip, moved the ball a short distance and then missed a long field goal attempt, giving their opponents a short field they used to drive for the game-winning field goal. I like overtime the way it is. I like the idea that football is like life and sometimes it seems unfair and you just have to deal with it. I don't wanna see a game end 99-98. I like sudden death. I like the drama. The way I see it is: If it was good enough for Johnny Unitas, it's good enough for me.
Adrian from Inglewood, CA:
Another great "Ask Vic" yesterday. My question is: Why is it that when we have a special guest doing this column, Jag fans are extremely polite, but they give you so much animosity?
Vic: It's because the guests are players and I'm media. When Fred Taylor did the column, the questions were so soft I wanted to puke. Oh, Freddy, I'm your biggest fan. Do you like it when we cheer for you? Or how about when Jeff Lageman did the column? Jeff, when you were playing and the players were so much tougher and dedicated than they are today, was playing for the fans more important than playing for the money? Hey, I can play that game. You wanna have another "Good Vic" day? Or do you want the truth, which you can't handle, delivered by the media, which you hate? It's up to you.
Howard from Homestead, FL:
Can we be happy for Garrard and disappointed in the direction of the league?
Vic: You know what I think? I think this is another brainstorm by the NFL because they have turned a meaningless football game known for hula dancers and aloha shirts into a highly controversial event. I can't wait to see the ratings. I don't know why yinze care so much about this, but the league sure does appreciate it.