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Just give 'em the facts


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

Brad from Rocklin, CA: Many people try to convince me that the Jaguars did not have that good of a defense last year. Can you please provide me something to respond to them with?
Vic: Just give 'em the facts and let them form their own opinions. The Jaguars were sixth in the league in overall defense and second against the run. You can also tell them last year's team had the league's fourth-worst pass-rush (24 sacks), and it's possible that's the reason for the lack of respect.

Mike from Orlando, FL: Perhaps we could settle the whole uniform color thing (teal vs. black) with an online vote. But that would be complicated, since most people favor both colors being there. I just don't understand why people would want the team to wear black jerseys or pants in the Florida sun. My question is, is there any way this whole uniform-choosing situation can be made more public and fan-friendly?
Vic: We'll give fans a chance to express their opinion on the Jaguars' uniforms, in a poll question on the home page. As I've said, I'm not someone who cares much about uniforms, but it's obvious Jaguars fans want some kind of change and the team needs to address the issue of its game-day attire.

Jeremy from Jacksonville: I'm a long-time fan of your column. It seems Los Angeles would be the obvious choice for another NFL franchise, however, are there any other cities that have been brought up as having a realistic shot when that time comes? I have heard both Orlando and Birmingham. Have there been any more talks regarding moving a team from an existing city to another?
Vic: Los Angeles has to have a team. I hate the idea of some city losing its team to Los Angeles, but that appears to be what will happen and, in my opinion, it's an absolute must that the NFL has a franchise in the nation's second-largest city. Beyond Los Angeles, you hear names of places, but I don't believe the NFL will expand any time soon and, other than for LA, there doesn't seem to be a city that would represent major gain in relocation. In my opinion, of all the new markets that are mentioned, Portland, Ore., may be the most viable.

Glenn from Jacksonville: Can you tell us how the players the Jags sent to Europe are doing? Do you think any of them have a chance of making the final roster?
Vic: The Jaguars allocated linebackers Jimmy McClain, Hakim Akbar and Curtis Randall, offensive tackle Marques Ogden, safety Chris Brown and guard Konrad Dean. McClain has a couple of sacks, Brown is Frankfurt's third-leading tackler, and Ogden and Dean are starters. As the Jaguars' roster grows in overall strength, it'll become more difficult for lower-echelon players to stick with the team. It'll certainly be more difficult to make the Jaguars roster this year than it was last year. Based on some comments offensive line coach Paul Boudreau made to me recently, Dean could be worth keeping an eye on.

J.T. from Jacksonville: I respect that it is your column, but I am very confused. Do you not like e-mails from certain people? Is it the questions that bore you? Come on, I mean, is it really a stretch to offer how Cortez Hankton did? Is it really a stretch to mention how often the supplemental draft is? If you decide not to print this, then I will agree to never write you a question again. All I'm looking for is some kind of consistency.
Vic: I'm asking those of you who honor me with your questions to be understanding. If I don't select your question, it's because I don't believe the answer would provide much information. Cortez Hankton is doing fine and the supplemental draft is conducted every July. I don't have anything more earth-shattering than that to say about either topic. Hang in there. I truly appreciate every question I receive, but space forbids me to use more than two or three percent of the questions I receive. I select those questions I believe will provide the most information, and sometimes I pick questions because I'm in a good mood, a bad mood or want to tell a story.

Cooper from San Mateo, CA: Let's not forget Taylor made most of our big plays in the games we won last year and he is one of the game's best prime-time players. Don't you think Greg Jones will serve as another Stacey Mack and hinder the team's chance to win? If you think back to when we were good, with the exception of one year, we had one feature back.
Vic: I couldn't disagree with you more. What was DeShaun Foster worth to the Panthers in the Super Bowl? In my opinion, one of the few strengths of the 2002 team was its one-two punch at running back, and I can remember Fred Taylor commenting on it late in that season. I remember Taylor expressing pride in what he and Stacey Mack were accomplishing mutually. As Taylor campaigned for the Jaguars to re-sign Mack, Taylor ventured that the Jags might have the best one-two punch in the league. For everything Taylor is, which is to say one of the best big-play running backs in recent NFL history, there is also one thing he isn't: Taylor is not an accomplished short-yardage runner. His style doesn't lend itself to short-yardage running. Tom Coughlin identified that and installed Mack as the team's short-yardage back in '02. A lot of fans complained but Coughlin was correct. Last year, the Jaguars struggled horribly in short-yardage situations, and Taylor was a disappointing eight-of-13 in third-and-one runs. If Greg Jones fixes that short-yardage problem, it'll mean a fresh set of downs for Taylor.

Barnum from Tucson, AZ: From the end of the regular season until now, what position have the Jags done the least to improve, or have even taken a step back?
Vic: Defensive end is the position the Jaguars have not been able to address to their satisfaction during the offseason. Last year, it was wide receiver.

David from Oviedo, FL: What upgrades can we expect to see at Alltel Stadium this year?
Vic: The most obvious improvement will be new scoreboards with state-of-the-art video capabilities. The "Entertainment Zone" at the south end of the stadium will be complete by the start of the season.

Nate from Tampa, FL: I probably ask you this once a week, and I'll keep asking: Where did we find Deke Cooper? From what I hear, he's a pretty good player, but I had never heard of him before the second half of last season. Did we pick him up off waivers? Where did he go to school? I'm really intrigued.
Vic: Deke Cooper was claimed off waivers from Carolina early last season. He played collegiately at Notre Dame. That information and more can be found in his bio.

Jerry from Jacksonville: When did the Jaguars formally release R.J. Soward? I'm confused on how that whole thing went down.
Vic: It hasn't gone down. R.J. Soward is still technically on the Jaguars roster.

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