Looking back at 2004 value board

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

Keith from Palatka, FL:
Do you think Vince Lombardi would have called a game his team lost great?

Vic: I'm not a coach, I'm a sportswriter, and it is a function of my job to provide perspective and appreciation. Fans aren't coaches, either. I like fans who have the football savvy to appreciate a game that ended in defeat.

Jason from Jacksonville:
The oldest rivalry is supposedly the Cardinals and the Bears. The Cards are the oldest continuous pro football team since they were formed as the Morgan Athletic Club in Chicago in 1898.

Vic: I know all of that and that information was provided in "Ask Vic" not too long ago, but I was asked to rank rivalries and the Cardinals-Bears, in my opinion, is not a rivalry. The two teams have only played against each other 11 times in the last 30 years. That's hardly what I'd call a rivalry. If we do it your way, then all we have to do is rank all-time series according to their start dates. The Packers and Bears have played twice a year – except for the strike year of 1982 – since 1925. They have played against each other 172 times, and they are games that usually produced great intensity and emotion among the two teams' fans. That's what I call a rivalry.

James from Palm Coast, FL:
Is it just me or does Matt Jones really dislike playing football? After scoring a pressure-packed touchdown, he showed all the emotion of a corpse. He looks as though he is constantly in a daze.

Vic: Some people need the show, others don't. I don't need the show. Just give me the touchdowns. Having said that, however, you're not the first person to have referenced Matt Jones' body language.

John from Jacksonville:
It's been a couple of years since Eli Manning was drafted. I thought back then teams were betting on genetics, not skills. Eli looks like a good quarterback, but not anything near his brother. What were your thoughts back then and now?

Vic: I remember getting a lot of e-mails that criticized me for ranking him so low. As it stands now, I think it's obvious the Giants made a mistake. The following are my "value board" rankings from April 16, 2004: 1. Robert Gallery, OT, Iowa—Safest pick in the draft. 2. Larry Fitzgerald, WR, Pitt—What's not to like? 3. Ben Roethlisberger, QB, Miami (Ohio)—Most physically-gifted of QB trio. 4. Kellen Winslow, TE, Miami (Fla.)—The next Tony Gonzalez? 5. Roy Williams, WR, Texas—Superior athletic ability. 6. Tommie Harris, DT, Oklahoma—Best of DL crop. 7. Phillip Rivers, QB, N.C. State—Accuracy is his strength. 8. Kevin Jones, RB, Virginia Tech—Bad 40 times will make him a steal. 9. Eli Manning, QB, Ole Miss—Real deal, or just the name?

Chris from St Augustine, FL:
"Football is a young man's game. Everybody seems to understand that except the Packers." And the Ravens. What do you think about Steve McNair and the Ravens now? I was thinking it was a bad move at the beginning of the year but, now, how can you argue with their decision?

Vic: Yeah, it looks good now, but how will it look a year from now? I'm not going to change my stance and say "football is an old man's game," just because the Ravens are having a good season with a Titans alumni team. Signing old, expensive players is a philosophy that seldom works. Astute personnel people understand that football is a young man's game and they do everything they can to keep their rosters loaded with young talent. It's a philosophy, however, that should be applied in a broad sense. Not every player on your roster can be 22. You're going to have some older players, but the core of your team must be young and on the rise and quarterback is definitely a core position. Pittsburgh won last season's Super Bowl with a second-year quarterback who was the youngest quarterback to ever win the Super Bowl. San Diego is doing great things with Phillip Rivers. Carson Palmer is a young star. Baltimore is having a lot of success right now with older players, and signing the old guys will have been worth it if the Ravens win the Super Bowl, but having a roster of older players is likely to produce harsh results in the future. Another one of my philosophies is: "Take care of the future and the future will take care of the present." If you spend too much time on the present, you may have no future.

Allen from Jacksonville:
I will be joining two buses of Jags fans for the "Ask Vic Road Trip" to Miami and I am very excited about the meet and greet with you on Saturday night. Will you have any good stories to share with us that evening and would you be willing to join a few of your fans for a tasty beverage?

Vic: I'll be there and I'm looking forward to it.

John from Woodbridge, VA:
Has the NFL's greed (NFL Network showing games only if you pay for it), surpassed the fans demand for the sport?

Vic: Masterfully worded. In my opinion, the answer is no.

John from Bowling Green, OH:
I totally agree that Rashean Mathis is the best all-around athlete on the team, however, he seems to have hit a dry spell. Is that because his hamstring hasn't totally healed, or are QBs getting smart enough not to throw the ball to his side if he is anywhere close to the receiver?

Vic: It's the latter. We saw that in Buffalo last Sunday. In the first half, Lee Evans was the featured player in the Bills' offensive game plan. In the second half, when Mathis was assigned Evans on a full-time basis, the Bills seldom looked in Evans' direction. That's when you know a cornerback has achieved star status.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars will go get a quality veteran in the offseason to play wide receiver?

Vic: Yes, I do, provided one they like is available. The Jaguars are clearly in their window of opportunity years. This is a good team that only needs a fix here and a fix there to be a true championship contender. Those necessary fixes are in the passing game, which is the only area of the team that is lagging. The running game is third in the league and the run-defense and pass-defense are each fifth. The pass-offense, however, is 24th. The Jaguars need speed at wide receiver. They need a guy to give their passing game an explosive quality. If that guy is available in free agency, I would expect the Jaguars to go after him. They have the salary cap room to do so.

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