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Not for vegetarians

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

Tom from Malabar, FL:
In response to how high a guard was drafted, the Baltimore Colts drafted pure guard Ken Huff with the third pick of the 1975 draft.

Vic: You're right. The Colts had the first pick of the 1975 draft but traded it to Atlanta for veteran offensive tackle George Kunz and Atlanta's first-round pick, which was the third pick of the draft. The Colts then used that pick to select Huff, a guard from North Carolina. Huff played for 11 years and finished his career with Washington. He never achieved the level of performance that would be expected of a third pick (no Pro Bowls), but Kunz was a major acquisition who was the Colts' best offensive lineman in the Bert Jones years. Kunz was selected to three consecutive Pro Bowls from 1975-77.

Steve from Orlando, FL:
What position do you believe translates into the best coach?

Vic: I'm partial to the offensive line. I think offensive linemen have the best understanding of the total game and, frankly, I've found offensive linemen to be deeper thinkers and more engaging conversationalists than their teammates at other positions. I'm not discounting, however, the possibility I have a bias toward offensive linemen. During the Jaguars' glory days in the 1990's, the first places I went following the game were to Tony Boselli's and Leon Searcy's lockers. I always wanna know what the tackles saw out there and I almost always got a better feel about the game after talking to Boselli and Searcy than I did from talking to Mark Brunell. I've always believed that if you wanna know what happened, talk to an offensive lineman. They understand what schemes worked and what didn't and why.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Which is more ridiculous, that ESPN is already putting out power rankings or that they see the Jags going slightly down (from 11 to 14)? I think this team has gotten better this offseason, not worse. The whole thing is a farce.

Vic: Of course it's a farce; that's why you shouldn't take it seriously. This is the "dead zone." This is what we do at this time of the year. We entertain ourselves.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
All I know is that if Playboy magazine does not predict the Jaguars winning the division this year, I will cancel my 30-year subscription. Agree?

Vic: Who are you kidding? You're one of those guys who says he likes the articles, aren't you?

Brian from Jacksonville:
Has there ever, to your knowledge, been a vegetarian football player?

Vic: I've only known of one, a wide receiver from Indiana named Glenn Scolnik. It was 1973 and I was in just my second year of being a sportswriter. Scolnik, a sixth-round pick by the Steelers, was having a big training camp and was going to make the team. There was, however, major concern that he was a vegetarian. The concern was that he wouldn't be able to maintain his energy through the rigors of being a pro football player. Well, we never found out if that was true or not. Scolnik's professional football career amounted to one game. I really do believe that being a vegetarian turned teams away from him.

Jim from Greenville, NC:
The quarterback tends to take all the snaps during a game. Some coaches like to rotate lots of defensive linemen. What positions are usually on the field for all of the plays on their side of the ball? I guess I'm asking which positions are not situational.

Vic: Running backs, fullbacks, wide receivers, tight ends, defensive linemen, linebackers and defensive backs are clearly subject to down-and-distance substitution packages. Quarterbacks and offensive linemen aren't. When you give the ball to the quarterback, it's for the whole game, and continuity on the offensive line requires the same five guys working together on every snap.

Keith from Jacksonville:
Am I correct in thinking the simple solution to the Travis Henry problem, the Jags trying to negotiate with him to get a contract extension, is illegal under the league's tampering rules?

Vic: Not if you get permission from Buffalo to discuss a new contract with him. The Jaguars gave that permission to the Vikings to talk to Donovin Darius.

Jason from Jacksonville:
On second and third downs, the QB hands the ball to the tailback who drop-kicks the ball through the goalposts. Does the team score three points? What happens if the ball does not go through the posts?

Vic: The same rules that govern a placekick govern a drop kick.

Rob from Tallahassee, FL:
Were there ever any running backs that were considered elite with the same characteristics as Pearman?

Vic: I haven't seen enough of Alvin Pearman to know exactly what his characteristics are. These spring practices are nice but football is played with shoulder pads, so we'll have to wait until training camp before we know anything concrete about these rookies. What I have very clearly seen through mini-camp and one passing-camp practice is that Pearman is a cat-quick back who is especially talented in the passing game. He has great hands and feet and I think there's reason to believe he has major upside as a third-down back. The player to whom I'd like to compare Pearman is James Brooks, who may be the most underrated running back I have ever seen. Brooks (5-10, 180) was a smallish guy who wasn't afraid to run pads-down inside but really excelled as a pass-catcher. In his prime years (1985-90) with the Bengals, Brooks was a thousand-yard rusher and a 50-catch receiver. He rushed for 1,239 yards, a 5.6 yards-per-carry average and seven touchdowns in 1989. In '85 and '86 he caught 55 and 54 passes. His 686 yards receiving for a 12.7 average and four touchdowns in '86 accompanied 1,087 yards rushing, a 5.3 average and five touchdowns. I'd like to think Pearman has some James Brooks in him, but that's a tall order. Brooks was a much faster runner, for starters. If Pearman can be anything like Brooks in the passing game, that would be good enough.

Vini from Knoxville, TN:
I enjoy your candor, which makes you a great daily read. You've discussed your take on old generation players. I grew up a Roman Gabriel fan and remember those tough losses to the Vikes. Any thoughts?

Vic: Big, tough pocket passer; Gabriel is what the Jaguars would like Byron Leftwich to become. Gabriel's biggest problem was that he played in an era of great teams. His career was bookended by the Packers at the beginning and the Vikings at the end. In my opinion, the highlight of his career may have been the Rams' come-from-behind win over the Packers in the next-to-last game of the 1967 season. It infuriated Vince Lombardi, who had his team bent on revenge in the playoffs. The Packers beat the Rams, 28-7, in Green Bay in the Western Conference championship game.

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