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Jags to practice with Falcons

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

Rafi from Jacksonville:
Whatever happened to the scrimmages we used to have with other teams during the offseason?

Vic: They weren't scrimmages, they were combined practices, and the Jaguars are going to have two days of combined practices with the Falcons in Atlanta this summer.

Mikey from Tallahassee, FL:
You referred to Dallas Clark and Antonio Gates as "wide receivers who line up as tight ends." Two guys who revolutionized the position were Kellen Winslow, Sr. and Ozzie Newsome. How would you characterize them?

Vic: Ozzie Newsome did not revolutionize the position. He was a classic, conventional, block-and-catch tight end. Winslow revolutionized the position as being a wide receiver lined up as a tight end; he was the prototype. The intent was to create mismatches, which you can do when you run the ball well enough to force the defense to play base, not "nickel." The forgotten guy in that San Diego offense was Chuck Muncie. He's the guy who made it go because he was enough of a stud running back to function in an offense that was geared to pass the ball, not run it, and Muncie forced defenses to play base. Ozzie could do it all. He'd block you and he'd beat you down the seam. I once was assigned a magazine piece on Donnie Shell, the Steelers' great strong safety who locked horns on many occasions with Newsome. I decided Newsome was someone I needed to interview about Shell and then-Browns PR man Kevin Byrne arranged for me to talk with Newsome over the phone one evening. He was great. We talked and talked and I could hear the unmistakable sounds of family chaos in the background and true respect and affection in Ozzie's voice for the great battles he had experienced with Shell through the years. I'll never forget that Ozzie said the thing he liked most about Shell was that he didn't trash-talk you, he just played the game the way a man should play it. That really stuck with me. I talked to Shell later about what Ozzie said and Shell said the same thing about Ozzie. Man, I really like that kind of stuff. Newsome played as a true, Hall of Fame tight end should play, which is to say as Mike Ditka played the position and John Mackey played the position and others have with distinction, too. I really respect the impact Dallas Clark can have on a game, but he's not a true tight end and I have a problem with the hybrid types filling up the Pro Bowl.

Chris from Libertyville, IL:
Will you be putting an asterisk next to Brian Cushing's name, or any of these players who took HGH from the doctor in Canada?

Vic: What would the asterisk represent: "Cheated in all games?" No, count me out. I got in trouble for just "cheated in one game."

Andrew from Toronto, ON:
HGH has its greatest effect on the expansion and strengthening of connective tissue (bones, ligaments and tendons) and some effect on lipid mobilization (you burn more fat). That's why guys look like they have swollen heads, because their skull bones have, in fact, increased in size and density. It has no significant anabolic role in muscle development.

Vic: That's a relief. I started taking HGH recently to add a few yards off the tee, and it's good to know that only my skull is gonna swell. Thanks for the information.

Chad from Orange Beach, AL:
If you could do a Mt. Rushmore of football coaches, who would they be and why?

Vic: Knute Rockne, because he's the coach who did the most to popularize the game; Vince Lombardi, because the game has never known a more colorful, honorable and powerful personality; George Halas, because he's the most distinguished of all coaches and was the driving force in the creation of the NFL; Bill Cowher, because his chin would look great in granite.

J. from Jacksonville:
I'm moving back to Jacksonville from New Orleans and plan to purchase two season tickets on Monday. A friend of mine is also going to buy a season ticket that day, as well. How are we doing helping the whale?

Vic: He's swimming in shallow water now. All we have to do is encourage him to head out to sea and I think he'll be fine. I guess he's just not ready to go. The next few months will probably tell the tale.

Ray from Vernon, FL:
My insides are hurting because I'm laughing so much. You're the man. I'm so glad we did not draft Tebow and, since I'm a Noles fan and hope Ponder will be available, we probably will win too many games to be in the running, unless we trade up.

Vic: That's kind of the way I see it, too. Meanwhile, "Smile, what's the use of crying? You'll find that life is still worthwhile, if you just smile."

Michael from Columbus, OH:
As a staunch Florida/SEC fan now living in the Midwest, I'm appalled that the Big 10 would attempt to steal teams from other conferences. Is this the only way the Big 10 can keep up with the rest of the country?

Vic: As I said a few weeks ago, this whole mess is the result of the stupid rule that you have to have 12 teams in your conference to stage a conference title game. Why 12? Somebody please explain that to me. All it did was cause the ACC to raid the Big East and start this whole mess, and what good was it? The ACC title game is a dud and it resulted in the ACC losing its status as the country's number one basketball conference. Yeah, the Big 10 will likely raid a couple of conferences. The Big East could get it again and it appears the Big 12 is in danger, too. The SEC has already said it will aggressively, which means it's likely the SEC will raid the ACC. Here's my advice to the ACC and Big East: Merge the two conferences. Merge them so the two conferences retain their names and their memberships but function under a league heading, such as "The East Coast League," or whatever. Merge for reasons of joint marketing ventures and for scheduling out-of-conference games in football and basketball, and merge for the biggest reason of all, which is to protect yourself against more raiding. That's what both conferences fear the most: being raided. A merger would protect them. Even if they did get raided, they would have enough teams left to merge into one viable conference. This is a no-brainer. Go ahead and play your conference seasons independent of each other and then play one conference champion against the other for the league title. Now you'd have something. That north-south, Civil War stuff sells. I honestly believe that if news started to leak that the Big East and ACC were talking about doing this, it would send shock waves through the Big Ten and SEC. Imagine how powerful the two conferences would be in basketball if they merged into one league. I just don't get it. I don't understand why the Big East and the ACC are acting like sheep. I especially don't understand why the Big East has been so ineffective in managing itself. They are where the people are. They've got what every other conference wants, big markets. When are they going to get serious about being a football conference, instead of letting Providence and the small, Catholic basketball schools run the show? If they don't merge with the ACC, both of them deserve whatever happens to them.

Tom from Mesa, AZ:
Has there been another significant amount of season tickets sold since the pick-your-seat event? If so, how much closer does that put the Jags from filling the stadium?

Vic: Tom, please don't take offense to this, but there's a "fuel gauge" on the home page with the words "Follow ticket sales" next to it. It then offers the most transparent explanation of the state of ticket sales in the history of the league. I don't know how could provide any more information on the state of ticket sales without running a head shot of every person who's bought a ticket. As far as picking your seat, I'll leave that to you, but I can tell you that in the days immediately following the draft, the Jaguars set a franchise record for most tickets sold after not drafting Tim Tebow. Seriously, ticket sales at draft time were very, very strong.

Michael from Toronto, ON:
The Gators are Varmintcong, which is nice.

Vic: So you have that going for you.

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