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New players, new plays

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

Lance from Denver, CO:
So you made me curious about Prince Edward Island and I Googled it. It rains 320 days a year; temperature in the summer is in the 40's and in the winter it's in the 30's. It said something along the lines of it's one of the cloudiest places on earth.

Vic: Prince Edward Island is where people from Natrona, Pa., go to sunbathe.

David from Compton, CA:
Wow! Nice trick this week; net only 363 tickets sold. Increase group sales number and lower season ticket number; nice try. Welcome to LA.

Vic: Not, yet, baby. The big news is a comin'. It's rollin' 'round the bend.

Joao from Tres Rios, RJ:
Considering the question on the 11 defensive starters, who do you consider to be the WR together with Sims-Walker?

Vic: Prince Edward and now Brazil? I'll bet it's not in the 40's in the summer in Tres Rios. Well, Joao, I think Mike Thomas has a pretty firm hold on the number two receiver job right now. That could change, but I think Thomas will hold the job, as long as he stays healthy. That's the big thing with him. He's got to avoid those soft-tissue injuries that have dogged him.

Norman from Boise, ID:
You gave us the probable starters on defense, how about the offense? Also, when is this big thing you're talking about going to happen?

Vic: I'm not sure; be patient. The starting 11 on offense is easy until you get to the guard and center positions. QB—David Garrard, RB—Maurice Jones-Drew, FB—Greg Jones, TE—Marcedes Lewis, WR—Mike Sims-Walker and Mike Thomas, OT—Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton. Now it gets tough and, frankly, I really don't know how it's going to turn out, but my gut feeling is: C—Brad Meester, LG—Kynan Forney, RG—Uche Nwaneri.

Zhane from Jacksonville:
There's a poll question on that asks whose all-time yardage record will last longer, Emmitt Smith's or Jerry Rice's? I'm surprised that 70 percent of the people voted for Rice, considering how running the ball has diminished in today's game. Do you agree with the majority?

Vic: I would tend to agree with you that rushing records will likely hold up longer than passing and receiving records, not only because everybody is throwing the ball more these days, but also because I don't think you're going to find backs as tough as Smith and as willing to take the pounding that he did for as long as he did.

Joe from Albany, NY:
The rule in baseball is that good pitching always beats good hitting. Is there a similar rule with a good left tackle versus a good defensive end?

Vic: The rule has always been: Size defeats speed, meaning that when a big tackle gets his hands on a little speed guy, it's over. What we're seeing now, however, is players with size and speed, so change the rule to read: Size and speed defeats either size or speed.

Rashaad from Jacksonville:
I'm still waiting on this announcement.

Vic: Good for you. Patience is a virtue.

Dan from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
How are the wide receivers looking so far? Anyone stand out to you?

Vic: As I said, I think Mike Thomas has put some room between him and the rest of the pack. Tiquan Underwood is on the rise.

Al from Jacksonville:
I have been trying to get on the Jaguars practice squad for like five years now, to show them that even though I am a walk-on, I can perform on a professional level. I am now 25 years of age, 5-6, 235 and run a 4.2 40. I bench-press 225 pounds 32 times and I am looking to play running back or maybe fullback. What type of adequate actions shall I take to pursue this?

Vic: I'll give this to GM Gene. He'll know what to do with it.

Jim from Red Feather Lakes, CO:
Coach Del Rio has insisted the Jaguars will be a better tackling team this season. How are tackling skills being evaluated, with minimal live tackling in training camp, in particular for the much-touted competition at the safety positions, where tackling should be an essential skill?

Vic: I don't know. I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Jimmy from Jacksonville:
What are the pros and cons of practicing with another team during training camp? Whose idea was it to combine practices, Del Rio's or Mike Smith's?

Vic: I don't know whose idea it was; I'll ask when I interview both coaches on Monday. The benefits of practicing with another team are easy to figure out. First of all, you've got twice as many people on the field, so repetitions are reduced, which means you can work harder and achieve a higher quality of work without wearing your players out. Secondly, you're working against different players and different schemes. You get to the point when you practice against the same people and the same plays every day that your defense starts jumping tendencies and looks. You can't do that against unfamiliar players and plays. The third positive is that it breaks the monotony. It's something different.

Dustin from Kissimmee, FL:
I always thought if you're gonna put a chip in the ball, it should be used to help cameras track it on TV. Some of those play-action fakes leave even the guys up in the booth scratching their heads.

Vic: When do they start putting chips in the players? Micro-chips? Really? Is that you want, folks? Do you really want this to turn into a video game? Do you really want this wonderful game of human confrontation to turn into something as impersonal and antiseptic as a blip on a computer screen? If your answer is yes, then I would like to make this simple request: Please wait until I die or retire. I still get teary-eyed when I think of Lombardi telling Starr, "Then run it and let's get the hell out of here." Oh, what they would've done to that play. They would've replayed it and replayed it until everybody in the seats had died due to exposure. The chip wouldn't have worked, of course, because it would've been frozen.

Jon from Tallahassee, FL:
Chan Gailey had 13 straight padded practices. Does he think it's 1975 or is he onto something?

Vic: It can only mean one thing: Watch out for the Bills.

Mark from West Hartford, CT:
I was unaware of the fact that Jimmy Johnson was in contention to be our first head coach. Just how close was he to becoming our coach? Do you think things would have been considerably different in those early years, had he been our coach instead of Tom Coughlin?

Vic: I don't know how close he was to getting the job. I think it came down to Coughlin and Tony Dungy. Would things have been different had Johnson gotten the job over Coughlin? Yeah, they would've been a lot different. Coughlin wouldn't have been 2-0 against Johnson, including a 62-7 win over Jimmy in the postseason.

Brian from Atlanta, GA:
I thought Jevan Snead was supposed to look good in shorts, but he couldn't even stay with the team in Tampa. He looked like he had a bright future, then everything went downhill. Should he start looking to the UFL as a developmental league?

Vic: Chuck Noll liked to say it was time for a player to get on with his life's work.

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