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One more time

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

Bill from Woodbury, MN:
What are your predictions for the long-term status of Donovin Darius?

Vic: The two sides haven't been able to reach a contract agreement and I don't expect the Jaguars to put the "franchise" tag on Donovin Darius again next season. This appears to be the end of the line.

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Did you make a preseason prediction? Did I miss it? This is your last chance.

Vic: I've said it over and over and, now that the season is about to begin, I'll say it one more time. I expect the Jaguars to contend for the division title. I think it'll take 10 wins to win the AFC South, so I guess I'm predicting something around 10-6 or 9-7.

Mario from Zapata TX:
Are there ever any blackouts for Jags games on the NFL Sunday Ticket?

Vic: Jaguars home games that are blacked out on local TV are also blacked out on local "Sunday Ticket."

John from Jacksonville:
In watching a guy like Quinn Gray or Matt Schaub you see there are a lot of talented QBs in the league that don't start. Would you agree that talent-wise the league might want to think about adding 2-4 more teams over the next few years?

Vic: How do you know if they're talented quarterbacks until they're starters? A game here or there doesn't tell you what you need to know. Back in the '60s, Johnny Unitas' backup was a guy named Gary Cuozzo. Any time he played, he seemed to move the Colts with the same ease Unitas did. Cuozzo became know as the "second best quarterback in football." Then the Colts traded him, Cuozzo became a starting quarterback and he stunk out the joint. Truth be known, this league is quarterback deficient. It couldn't withstand another flurry of expansion. Beyond that, there's only one truly viable market left, Los Angeles. The NFL is an expensive product. It does best in the big cities. The NFL is already in enough Portland-like and San Antonio-like markets. Isn't 32 teams enough?

Garry from Jacksonville:
Thanks for the column. I look forward daily to "Ask Vic." This may be a stupid question but I'm going to ask it anyway. What is the purpose of the black tape or coloring under the eyes of some of the players?

Vic: It's thought that it reduces glare.

Joe from Shelton, CT:
You, among others, have made repeated references to added speed on the outside for the Jaguars defense. Which players, specifically, have the added burst that Brackens and Douglas lacked, and what kind of packages will fans see on passing downs?

Vic: The Jaguars have a faster defense overall. Daryl Smith and Tommy Hendricks make them faster at linebacker. Brandon Green and Bobby McCray make them faster at defensive end, and I think you're going to see that Paul Spicer is a much quicker, active and energetic player than Hugh Douglas was last season. The use of Akin Ayodele at defensive end on pass-rush downs will add a lot of speed to the rush, too. It's a shame they don't have Jorge Cordova. He may have put this defense over the top. What you're going to see this season is a very creative defensive scheme. Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith didn't have the personnel to be "sexy" last year. This year, they do.

Jason from Gainesville, FL:
I noticed that Mike Smith has been on the sidelines during the preseason games. If I remember correctly he called plays from the booth last year. Is there a reason for the switch? Does one vantage point offer much advantage over the other?

Vic: Mike Smith was up last year; this year he'll be down. The reason is that he wants to get a better feel for his players. It's always one or the other: Up gives you a better view of the field; down gives you a better feel for your players. Smith will have defensive assistants up who will give him the view he won't have.

Jordan from Glen Allen, VA:
I've noticed that there's a "floating" camera over the field during games. How is this camera suspended in the air? Is there any chance that a punt or kickoff could hit it?

Vic: The camera that hovers above the field is suspended from and operated by thin cables. It is always positioned behind the play, so that it won't interfere with the action.

Evan from Los Angeles, CA:
What type of year do you think Fred Taylor will have to have in order for the Jaguars to make the playoffs?

Vic: A repeat of last year might do it.

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