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Just stand for being a pro

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

Todd from Jacksonville:
We couldn't handle the criticism of our city when we hosted the Super Bowl or when we tarped the seats or when we didn't show up and the games were blacked out, but we will proudly wear the jersey of the opponent? It's about this team and what it means to this city, not one guy who played for Florida. How embarrassing.

Vic: It was about this time last year, I think, that I started warning everyone what the national media would do to this town if the seats were empty and the games were blacked out. I don't think anyone really believed me, but what I predicted is exactly what happened. The national media savaged Jacksonville last season and moved it to the top of the list of Los Angeles contenders. Well, I'm going to give everyone another warning. Folks, I promise you, if this stadium is full of Tim Tebow jerseys on opening day this year, the national media is going to hang one on Jacksonville that'll make what the media did last year look like child's play. They will mock us as a college town and the guys looking for an easy column will write that this is why we don't deserve an NFL franchise. Write it down. If I'm wrong, call me out. I think the people that would wear those jerseys know that what I'm saying is exactly what will happen, and I think they want it to happen. It's what I've come to identify as the cultural football divide that exists in this city.

Preston from Atlanta, GA:
"First-round pick Tim Tebow opened OTAs as the Broncos' number four quarterback. He's behind Kyle Orton, Brady Quinn and Tom Brandstater." Looks to me like Denver has painted itself into a corner. Two quarterbacks aren't eligible for the practice squad and two probably wouldn't make it there without being claimed. Short of trading Orton, they don't seem to have a lot of options. I can't imagine they'd want to release Brady or Brandstater. Thoughts?

Vic: When you draft a quarterback in the first round, he is guaranteed soon to become "The Man." Here's a list of quarterbacks drafted in the first round since 2003: Matt Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco, JaMarcus Russell, Brady Quinn, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, Jay Cutler, Alex Smith, Aaron Rodgers, Jason Campbell, Eli Manning, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, J.P. Losman, Carson Palmer, Byron Leftwich, Kyle Boller and Rex Grossman. With the exception of Leinart, who was given a chance to become the Cardinals' starter and failed, everyone in that group was installed as its team's starting quarterback at some point early in his career; Rodgers, of course, had to wait for Brett Favre to leave Green Bay. Most of those quarterbacks became starters as rookies. What I'm saying is that Tebow was drafted to be the Broncos' future at the position, and history would tell us that he'll step into his future sooner than later. If it doesn't turn out that way, then Josh McDaniels made a big mistake and it will likely cost him his job.

John from Neptune Beach, FL:
But can you win with a very good one?

Vic: A very good wide receiver? Sure you can. Did the Saints have a great one last year? Would you put Santonio Holmes into the "great" category? Tom Brady won his three Super Bowl titles with scrap at the wide receiver position. I think history clearly tells us that you don't have to have great wide receivers to be a championship team.

Dave from Grafton, VA:
Do those who write to you in admiration of what Tim Tebow stands for ever contemplate the fact that multiple Jaguars players all stand for the same principles they admire?

Vic: I only want them to stand for one thing, professionalism. If a player can call himself a pro, he'll embody everything that should be expected of him, which includes clean living.

Lewis from Rutledge, TN:
Will Alualu be primarily a defensive tackle or do you think he will occasionally be lined up at defensive end?

Vic: Gene Smith said on draft day that Tyson Alualu will play defensive tackle, not end. He's playing tackle in OTAs.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I also saw the documentary on the Raiders and despite the substandard facilities that Al Davis whined about, I could not help but notice that when the team began losing, the fans quit coming. Sound familiar?

Vic: That's the fallout from having a stadium that's too big, as the L.A. Coliseum is for professional football. When a stadium is too big, fans don't have to buy season tickets; they can pick the games they wanna see and when the team loses, the fans choose not to buy tickets. The Jaguars had that problem before they covered 10,000 seats, but the stadium is now sized to fit the market and that means the situation in Jacksonville right now is not similar to what the Raiders experienced in the L.A. Coliseum. The day the covers went on, the stadium-is-too-big excuse became invalid.

Kinzie from Asheville, NC:
What's your favorite part about spring training? Does it bring back any fond memories?

Vic: It really doesn't because they didn't do this in the "good old days." I don't like OTAs because they're just not football, however, training camps are becoming more and more like OTAs, so I'm not sure where they begin and end. My fondest day of OTAs is the final day. At that point, I always write an OTAs-ending evaluation of the team and I turn my thoughts to vacation time. I don't mean this to sound flippant because vacation time is another way of saying pre-training camp. Vacation, for me, is a time for reflection. I like to go to the mountains, get to know my family again, and build some excitement for the upcoming season. The final day of OTAs represents the start of all that. In my mind, it's the end of the offseason.

Steve from Jacksonville:
Is it a good thing or bad thing when one unit (offense or defense) dominates during OTAs or in training camp?

Vic: You don't want one side of the ball to dominate the other day after day; it would suggest extreme weakness on one side of the ball. You want your offense and defense to trade punches, so to speak, as they did in the first two practices this week. Offense owned day one and defense owned day two.

Andy from Jacksonville:
Are there any players we should be concerned about for their availability for training camp and/or the season?

Vic: Aaron Kampman is the star of the rehab team, for the obvious reason that he's coming off ACL surgery in December and his recovery will have a major impact on the Jaguars' efforts to improve their pass-rush. I watched Kampman yesterday. He was working intensely with strength and conditioning coach Luke Ricchesson on firing out of his stance. Getting that first step back, that explosion off the ball, will be the biggest part of Kampman's recovery because rushing the passer is all about that first step. He's not all the way back, yet, which is as to be expected, but Kampman is moving with miraculous ease. Once he gets that step back, he'll be all the way back.

Timothy from Jacksonville:
Even though I am undecided as to what the Jaguars should do about the Rashean Mathis situation, it should be noted that the Jaguars did dish out better contracts to Brian Williams and Drayton Florence, even though both of them were not as good as Mathis. I didn't hear him complain once?

Vic: Allow me to give you a little perspective and to tell you what I'm going to do. It was the summer of 1977. I was covering the Steelers and they had two prominent training camp holdouts: Mel Blount and Jack Lambert. The situations between those two players and the team became extremely adversarial in the media and I made the mistake of taking a stand and, to some degree, getting emotionally involved. Blount missed the whole training camp and his replacement, Jimmy Allen, had a great camp and preseason. Then, all of a sudden, an agreement was reached between the two players and team and they're "hugging and kissing" at the press conference that announced their signings and they're immediately put back into the starting lineup, and I'm left holding the bag of a lot of words I wish I hadn't written. That's when I grew up. That's when I realized it's about the money and since then I have, for the most part, stayed out of those little contract spats. It's their fight and I'm not getting in it. I suggest you do the same.

Andy from Jacksonville:
Jim from Palatka says "all that he stands for" in regards to Tebow. Does anyone know what this means?

Vic: Soon we'll find out that it stands for the money, as it should, because this is professional football and it's about the money.

Omar from Los Angeles, CA:
Do we have any jars on our shelf that we can open this year?

Vic: Don Carey, Nate Hughes and Jarett Dillard are "jars" and they're all off to good starts in OTAs.

Matt from Jacksonville:
While I like Scott Starks, I can't help but think the Jags front office asked you to run that story on Starks to put a little scare into Mathis and his job security, should he continue to miss OTAs. Thoughts?

Vic: That's exactly what happened. Everything is conspiratorial. I never speak the truth. Starks really didn't have a pick-six interception yesterday. He didn't tip a pass into Derek Cox's hands, either. I just made both of those up. I'm on the payroll and I lie about everything. You should never read this column again.

Ray from Vernon, FL:
What is wrong with just honoring a contract?

Vic: I have no doubt Mathis will honor his contract. Please remember that OTAs are voluntary.

Nick from Jacksonville:
If the organization/city (whichever is in charge of that sort of thing) were to erect a statue of you outside the stadium, complete with a plaque at its base that had your name and a quote, what would that quote say?

Vic: I like to watch.

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