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Only as young as your QB

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

David from Jacksonville:
If Stafford drops to number eight, do you think the Jags will draft him?

Vic: If he was the highest-rated player on their board and he was available to them, yeah, I think they would draft him. I know Matt Stafford knocked everybody's socks off, including the Jaguars', with his command of offense at the combine. Are you suggesting the Jaguars would pass on a quarterback because he's a quarterback? After passing on Ben Roethlisberger? I don't think so.

Tom from Melbourne, FL:
At what point did you begin to notice there was a wealth of football talent in America?

Vic: I always knew there was a wealth of football talent in America. All you have to do is look at the flood of college games every weekend. It was in the strike year of 1987, however, that it really hit me. When I saw what could be done with replacement players on two weeks of practice, I was stunned. There was nothing wrong with that product. The team I covered was quarterbacked by Steve Bono and I was starting to become fond of the players and their performances when the strike abruptly ended and the full-time players returned to work.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
I may have the answer to the Jaguars not selling out the stadium. They don't win. They haven't won a Super Bowl and they haven't gone deep into the playoffs for years. Don't get me wrong, I love the Jags, but why would a fan go to one Jaguar game that they will probably lose, when they can go to three big college games that they will almost certainly win?

Vic: Why? Because that's what the fan's heart tells him or her to do. Purchasing a ticket isn't a calculated consumer decision. It's an emotional buy. You go to the game because there isn't anywhere else you'd rather be. When there are 66,000 Jaguars fans who feel that way, the stadium will be full. That's what the Packers fan was trying to tell everyone in yesterday's column.

Dennis from Jacksonville:
What is your definition of a young team?

Vic: In my opinion, the youthfulness or lack of youthfulness of a team is defined by the age of its core players, and you start with the quarterback, because a team is only as young as its quarterback. I don't buy into that average age crap because it's often the result of a boat-load of rookies at the bottom of the roster who are on the roster only because the team's core players are old and expensive and the team is feeling a cap crunch.

Chris from Jacksonville:
Who started the trend for placekickers to kick soccer style instead of the old straight-on style I grew up watching?

Vic: Pete Gogolak did. Look him up.

Jason from Dayton, OH:
I gave you grief a couple of years ago about trading Deion Branch for a first-round pick. You were right; it was a great move by New England. I can admit when I am wrong. Thanks for teaching me the other side of pro football. Also, thanks for making it funny. I love the sarcasm.

Vic: It doesn't apply in every situation, but it does in most. Players, not plays, and picks, not players.

Kyle from Charleston, IL:
So how did that situation with the Vikings in 2003 transpire? Were they allowed to select at any time after they gave up their earlier spot?

Vic: A team can turn in its selection at any time after it first goes on the clock and after its clock time expires.

Andy from Portsmouth, UK:
What do you make of the Ray Lewis deal with the Ravens?

Vic: I respect heritage players and what they mean to their teams' histories, but I would not have done that deal. Business is business. It's not about the heart, it's about what's best for the franchise. Sometimes you have to let guys go.

Stuart from Tulsa, OK:
I understand letting players become free agents and I like it, but who do you not let go into free agency?

Vic: You don't let your core players get away from you. You identify who they are and you secure their futures with the team. Who are your core players? The ones who would either be impossible or extremely difficult to replace. That doesn't mean you let everybody else go, it just means that you don't let everybody else hold you hostage. The core players are going to do that. You have no choice. They must be re-signed and it will likely be at a premium.

William from Savannah, GA:
I would like to take issue with you concerning your sentiment that the overabundance of talent in the United States will keep football from becoming a league of haves and have-nots. While I know soccer is not your favorite sport, it does provide some evidence contrary to your sentiment.

Vic: Please forgive me, William, but I'm going to stop you right there for a few reasons: 1.) I've already admitted that the league is headed toward a division of haves and have-nots and nothing is going to stop that from happening, not even the salary cap. 2.) I've also said that I believe the wealth of football talent in America will allow the have-nots to compete with the haves more favorably than is the case in baseball, for example. 3.) Even though I greatly respect soccer's popularity and the skill required to play it, I know nothing about it and wouldn't watch it if my eyelids were stapled to my forehead and my face was pushed against the TV screen. Please don't hate me for what I've written. It's just that I've already been to the therapist twice this week and I'm likely to end up in the nuthouse if this turns into a soccer column. Be that as it may, William, I like the singing.

Nick from Jacksonville:
I've always been a reader of "Ask Vic" but I now feel the need to write something after watching the Jaguars do nothing this offseason (except cut players loose). As a real Jaguars fan, I am not putting much stock in Gene Smith's build through the draft, based on what I've seen in first-round picks since 2003. Why not trade our first-round pick for a player such as Anquan Boldin, who is a proven commodity, rather than overpay another under-performing rookie? Fans want to see some results this season after a disappointing year in 2008. After snagging Boldin, sign T.O. Love or hate him, he'll put fans in the seats and these two WRs will give Garrard a chance to prove his worth. I know this sounds like a crazy scenario, but it is do-able. The talent is out there. Step up and get it.

Vic: Have a nice weekend, everyone.

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