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Make a pick, lose a pick

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

Devin from Jesup, GA:
Is it outrageous for someone to expect Peyton Manning to produce the same or better numbers than last year? Shouldn't teams find a way to adjust to his scheme now that they have had all summer?

Vic: It's not about schemes with the Colts. Nobody is more predictable than the Colts are in the red zone. They run two plays: They run trap or they run trap pass. Their success is the direct result of Peyton Manning's skill and the Colts' execution of Tom Moore's design. Ironically, Moore was the offensive coordinator of the Steelers when he was criticized for being too vanilla. Now he's considered to have the most imaginative offense in the league. It only proves it's not about plays, it's about players. Manning is a masterful passer of the football and he is an even better manager of the game. So why doesn't he get it done in the postseason? Why does he struggle in the big games? I'm lost for an answer.

Bob from Piscataway, NJ:
Would you go to jail to protect your source?

Vic: I write about sports, which is not to be confused with what Woodward and Bernstein did. In other words, I refuse to go to jail to protect the anonymity of a player who told me which players cried when they got their flu shots. I do, however, take my profession seriously and I totally support Judith Miller in her refusal to divulge her source. Now, Bob, please do me a favor and turn off the "caps lock" on your keyboard.

Nick from Atlanta, GA:
So the Titans sell-out in 22 minutes, Houston is one of the league heavyweights in the revenue department and the Jags might black-out games after covering 10,000 seats. Where do the Colts fit into the stadium-filling and revenue-gathering spectrum?

Vic: The Colts have the league's smallest stadium (55,506) with the league's second-lowest blackout number (49,300). Reaching those levels shouldn't be difficult for a team with Peyton Manning at quarterback, although the Colts have experienced blackouts. The problem for the Colts is that those numbers aren't going to produce the kind of revenue they need to compete over the long haul. That's what their new stadium deal is going to do. It's going to make them competitive for the long-term future.

Brock from Ormond Beach, FL:
What are the top five offensive lines in the league? Where would you rank Jacksonville, roughly?

Vic: Most people would put Pittsburgh at the top of the offensive line rankings. The Steelers have a guard, Alan Faneca, who may be the modern equal of John Hannah. They also have Kendall Simmons returning after missing all of last season, and that should make them even better. The Colts do a phenomenal job of protecting Peyton Manning. The Patriots' offensive line was sensational in the postseason. Denver, of course, is always good up front. Jacksonville, in my opinion, has a chance to be one of the best offensive lines in the league this year. Jeff Lageman thinks Chris Naeole is underrated, and I feel the same way about Maurice Williams. If either Mike Pearson makes a full recovery or Khalif Barnes steps in and fills the void at left tackle, the Jaguars could have a killer offensive front. Kansas City and San Diego can move you out pretty good, too, and so can Carolina.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
After watching Paul Spicer, Rob Meier and Tony Williams have their seasons end due to chop-blocks last year, has the NFL implemented any rules changes for the 2005 season?

Vic: The league took steps to more clearly define what low blocks are legal and what low blocks aren't legal. We'll get into this in greater detail when the officials conduct their annual session with the media during training camp. What I can tell you right now is this: The block that injured Tony Williams would now result in a penalty.

Bobby from Orange Park, FL:
Can you please explain how the supplemental draft works?

Vic: To draft a guy in a specific round of the supplemental draft, you must have a pick in the same round in next spring's regular draft. Therefore, any team that acquires a player in a specific round of this month's supplemental draft, loses their pick in the same round of next spring's draft.

Kenny from San Diego, CA:
I am a huge Jaguars fan and I play high school football. About a week ago, I dislocated my kneecap in a passing-league game. I know you are not a doctor and I am not asking for medical advice. I was just wondering if you have ever seen a professional football player with this injury. If so, did he fully recover? How long did it take?

Vic: Yeah, he's doing just fine; takes long walks, even plays a little golf. They're doing wonderful things with prosthetics these days. Just kidding, Kenny, you'll be fine. What you're talking about is something called subluxation, which means the kneecap moves. Tony Boselli had that kind of knee.

Dean from Jacksonville:
Why don't the Jaguars look to the Canadian Football League for a reliable placekicker?

Vic: Because they already have one; they may even have two.

John from Jacksonville:
So just blame the customers for not buying, eh? Vic, have you ever had to work in any field other than sports reporting?

Vic: Yeah, I worked in a steel mill one summer. It was at a time when I was thinking about going to California to find myself. As it turned out, I found myself before lunch on my first day in the mill. That's when I decided I really wanted to be a sportswriter. As my friend Vito Stellino says, it beats heavy lifting.

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