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NFL is not a regional league

Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Michael Loiacono from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
What is up with these noncontact torn ACLs we've been seeing lately? Any medical insight you can shed as to why this happens? Then maybe you can explain the phenomena known as the high-ankle sprain. What is that about? I never heard of it before I became a rabid Jag fan.
Vic:
There are no solid explanations -- only theories -- as to why there has seemingly been an increase in major knee injuries resulting from noncontact activity. A couple of the theories include the wear and tear factor and the stress that's being applied to that joint by bodies that have dramatically increased in size and strength over a short period of time. If you watch ESPN Classic, you can't help but be amazed at how much smaller athletes were 10, 20, 30 years ago. It's especially noticeable in baseball and basketball. What happens to a joint when you apply 30 or 40 more pounds of weight to it? In my opinion, the answer is obvious. As far as high-ankle sprains, they are not a new phenomenon; it's merely more specific terminology. A high-ankle sprain is the result of opposing rotations of the foot and the lower leg, causing the muscles to tear above the ankle bone. Years ago, there was a theory that high-ankle sprains were the result of excessive taping of the ankle, but there has been no hard evidence to support that theory.

Aaron Thomas from Jacksonville:
How long, in your opinion, will it take before Stroud and Henderson are truly a dominant tandem? Also, if Henderson's muscles are tightened because of a growth spurt, will it have a lasting effect throughout his career?
Vic:
I would expect that by the time John Henderson is in his third season and Marcus Stroud is in his fourth, which would represent the start of the prime years of each player's career, they might achieve acclaim as the best defensive tackle tandem in the league. That would be a reasonable timetable, provided they are destined for that level of performance. As for Henderson's tight muscles, it would seem it's something with which he will have to deal throughout his career. He told reporters last week he had to deal with the tight-muscles syndrome throughout his playing days at Tennessee. On a personal note, I found Henderson to be a very honest and genuine interview.

Lawrence Thompson from Jacksonville:
What do you think it'll take for area fans to stop applying the blind college homerism to the NFL game? If I hear one more fan blather about the alleged bias the team has against Florida schools I will throw up. For all of Tampa's selections of Florida players, they haven't gotten any closer to the Super Bowl than we have. In fact, many of those Florida players fell flat on their faces in the NFL. We drafted three: Chris Doering, who has done nothing in the NFL despite the unwarranted preseason standing ovation he received; Fred Taylor, who has proven to be this generation's Freeman McNeil; and wholly unproven Mike Pearson. Tampa picked Reidel Anthony and Jacquez Green and they did nothing to elevate Tampa's offense, and they drafted Warrick Dunn, who still isn't an every-downs back. Your opinion is valued by many here. Please help.
Vic:
The Bucs struck gold in 1995 with their first two picks, Warren Sapp from Miami and Derrick Brooks of Florida State. Warrick Dunn (Florida State) was certainly worthy of the eighth pick of the 1997 draft, but Reidel Anthony (Florida) has been a first-round bust; so was Jacquez Green (Florida) in the second round. Clifton Abraham (Florida State) and Jason Odom (Florida) returned moderate value as second-day picks. Other home-state products include Shevin Smith (Florida State), Dexter Jackson (Florida State), Lamarr Glenn (Florida State), Nate Webster (Miami) and Kenyatta Walker (Florida). It would appear the Bucs are batting about .500 with home-state kids. The three major college programs in Florida have turned out some of the NFL's greatest stars. If you get a chance to pick a "Florida" kid, do it, but it would be a mistake to draft exclusively by region. This is not something that is foreign to other cities in the NFL. When I was covering the Steelers, there was criticism of the team's reluctance to pick Pitt players in the late-'70s and early-'80s. At a time when Pitt was producing players such as Tony Dorsett, Dan Marino, Bill Fralic, Hugh Green, Rickey Jackson, Jimbo Covert, Russ Grimm, Mark May, Chris Doleman, etc., the Steelers picked only a few Pitt kids in the late rounds. NFL coaches just don't think in terms of regional interest.

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