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Little guys go low

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

Jason from Jacksonville:
Are you concerned at all that Greg Jones is out for the season? My hopes just sank a little lower this morning. He's our pounder. Can Wimbush carry the fullback load for the season or are we going to use a lot of one-back sets?

Vic: The Jaguars lost a good player and that hurts. This is not a loss, however, the Jaguars can't overcome. They have a deep stable of running backs that includes proven commodities and a couple of unproven guys with great upsides. Yes, Greg Jones was the Jaguars' pounder and now they have to identify a new one. Who will step into the role of short-yardage and goal-line ball-carrier? LaBrandon Toefield and Derrick Wimbush are the immediate candidates and, frankly, they each give me a very secure feeling. Toefield is running better than he's ever run before and Wimbush has big-time running skills. I can't wait to see what Wimbush can do on a consistent basis. The drafting of Maurice Jones-Drew was almost clairvoyant. He caps the crop, giving the Jaguars a guy or two for nearly every required role. What the whole thing hinges on now is Fred Taylor's ability to stay healthy. As long as Taylor stays healthy, the Jaguars should be able to overcome the loss of Greg Jones. I don't think any team can afford to lose featured runners and expect to operate at full capacity. As far as the fullback position is concerned, the Jaguars lose a top blocker and that may be the one thing they can't replace. Wimbush is not in Greg Jones' category as a blocker. Wimbush is still learning how to block, though I have no doubt he will; he's a physical player who revels in contact on special teams. One of the ways the Jaguars will make up for the loss of Greg Jones at fullback is by involving the tight ends to a greater extent; two-TE sets, H-back sets, etc. That makes the drafting of Marcedes Lewis almost clairvoyant, too. The emergence of George Wrighster will further aid the Jaguars in atoning for the loss of Greg Jones. They have the players to do it.

Bob from Jacksonville:
The replay on the Greg Jones injury appeared to show the Bucs player targeting Greg somewhere between the knee and the ankle. Am I alone in thinking this was a really cheap-shot tackle? Coach Del Rio should file a complaint with the league office for unsportsmanlike behavior.

Vic: There was nothing wrong with the tackle. Little guys are going to go low on big guys. That's a fact of life in the NFL. That was one of the concerns I had about the big tight end from Georgia in this year's draft. When you're that big, you gotta be able to get your pads down and the kid from Georgia looks a little upright and stiff to me. Eric Green is a guy whose career was ruined by knee shots. One day, he started trying to hurdle guys. That was the end. Football isn't a track meet. You gotta get your pads down and punish people. Tampa's Blue Adams, who had played for the Jaguars, is 5-10, 184. Greg Jones is 6-1, 255. That's a 71-pound difference. If he takes on Jones high, Adams is road kill. You're being overly sensitive. Football is a tough game.

Scot from Jacksonville:
I have a question for those, like Phil on Monday, who want to blame play-calling and the coordinator. Was that also the problem in the second half, when they scored with ease?

Vic: Good point; same plays, same play-caller, huh?

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Given Greg Jones tearing the ACL in his "good" knee, are there any running backs you know of that had successful careers after tearing both ACL's?

Vic: LaBrandon Toefield is on two ACL knees. The poster child for double-ACL surgery is Terry Allen, a too-small, too-slow running back who played for 11 seasons and rushed for 8,600 yards in his career and scored 21 touchdowns in 1996. It can be done.

Jeff from Mayport, FL:
What's the rule on pricing your tickets if you sell them? I thought they were only allowed to be sold for face value. Is that true?

Vic: The state of Florida recently passed a law that allows scalping. You may now sell your tickets for any price you wish.

Cary from St. Simons, GA:
There's a poll on the Jaguars homepage that asks who was the most impressive this preseason. Who most impressed you, Vic?

Vic: Greg Jones; that's the tragedy of this injury. In the previous two seasons, I wasn't sold on Jones as a runner. I didn't think he had the feet to be a featured runner. He looked like a plodder. All of a sudden, this summer, he looked like a guy who had a double-foot transplant. I'll never forget the first time I saw him carry the ball in the intrasquad scrimmage. His quickness was so dramatically improved that I had to force myself not to go overboard with my comments on the radio. I remember saying to myself, "It's only a scrimmage. Don't say something you'll regret." It wouldn't, however, have been an exaggeration. The "new feet" were real and here to stay. Jack Del Rio told me on Monday that Greg had spent time this offseason working out with Steelers safety Troy Polamalu, who has a unique training regimen. Polamalu is the nephew of Jaguars running backs coach Kennedy Pola. It's a shame Jones and Polamalu won't be playing against each other on Sept. 18.

Al from Fernandina Beach, FL:
What happens to Jones' salary now that he's out for the season? Dead money?

Vic: Injured players are paid their full salary and it counts in full against the team's salary cap. It's not, however, what would be considered "dead money." That's the term you would use to describe money on the cap for players not on the roster. Jones will be moved to injured reserve, which is still part of a team's roster.

John from Brooklyn, NY:
How would you feel about trading for Patriots wide receiver Deion Branch?

Vic: It's all about price. What would it cost you in terms of salary and draft pick? I'd give the Patriots a call and ask them what they'd want, they'd probably say a second-round pick and then I'd say "no thanks" and move on. That doesn't mean I'd ignore the waiver wire or the possibility other receivers might be available in a trade. Wide receiver is a position I'd like to see the Jaguars fortify, but I don't wanna see them get robbed by the Patriots for someone who I don't believe is a difference-maker. Let's not forget who Branch's quarterback is. I promise you, the Jaguars have done their due diligence on Branch. They haven't ignored his availability.

Tom from Melbourne, FL:
What are the advantages and limitations of running a no-huddle offense?

Vic: I like the no-huddle offense for specific situations. It's the thing to do when you wanna up-tempo the game. You can use it to send a message to your own players; light a fire under them. You can also use it on a hot day to fatigue an opponent from a northern climate. Mostly, it's a way of forcing the defense to keep its same personnel on the field – as long as you're prepared to do the same – and that speaks to the fatigue factor and any personnel or schematic advantages you're trying to exploit. The risk is obvious: If you go three-and-out, your defense is gonna be back on the field real fast and that can be a killer for a team such as the Jaguars. The Jaguars aren't an up-tempo team. The Jaguars are a traditional field position football team. They play to their strength, which is defense. The no-huddle is something you would use if offense was your strength.

James from Kamloops, BC:
If Peterson is out for an extended period of time, will Daryl Smith get a look in the middle and what are the Jags' other options in the middle?

Vic: Daryl Smith will play middle linebacker in Mike Peterson's absence. Tony Gilbert plays middle linebacker and so does Brian Iwuh.

Moore from Alexandria, VA:
Do you ever think Reggie Williams will truly be a star like he was in college?

Vic: I think it's fair to say the "bar" has been adjusted downward. The hope, for now, is that he will establish himself as a consistent contributor as a wide receiver who can catch and block. The "playmaker" tag should be replaced, for now, by a "player" tag. This is a critical year in his career. He needs to establish his value.

Mike from Enfield, CT:
You should do a podcast.

Vic: I don't know what that is but I have a friend who owned a golf club called a "Power Pod." It was a goofy-looking thing. It looked like a microphone and required enormous tees that were hard to find and cost a lot of money. It became the only club in his bag he could hit. The problem was that the club broke and he had to replace it quite often. Then he found out the company that made it was going out of business so he bought every "Power Pod" he could find and eventually they broke and he was out of "Pods." He couldn't get off the tee and his game went into the toilet. That's when I moved away. I often wonder how his life turned out.

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