Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Dust from Stuart, FL:
I have a friend who is a diehard Jags fan and he turned me on to reading your blog over two seasons ago. There is not a voice my Jags-loving friend respects more than yours and I do put a lot of weight on your opinion, as well. Can making the playoffs, like the Vikings did, hurt their long-term chances of success, because it basically saved Brad Childless' job and at least kept Tarvaris Jackson far more in the conversation than he deserves to be?
Vic: You're suggesting the Vikings had just enough success to restrict them from making the necessary changes to get to a higher level. It's an interesting observation and, yeah, it can happen. It's called teasing. A team is good enough to tease you but it never seems to please you. The other thought is that the Vikings may be in the process of developing a quarterback who will take them to a higher level and patience is required. Which is it? Nobody knows. All you can do is wait for the answer and being patient is a tough thing to do. I can tell you what you absolutely don't want to do: Give up on a guy too early and then see him use the experience he got with your team to lead another team to the next level.
Emil from Tallahassee, FL:
I have a question about the specific duties of a long-snapper. Does he act the same as a center, meaning that once the snap is made, does he become a blocker? If this is the case, are long snappers ever candidates to come in and relieve a battered offensive line?
Vic: Long-snappers are specialists but, in most cases, they are football players, too. Joe Zelenka is a former tight end and I have no doubt he could play tight end in a pinch. He keeps himself in good shape and he's serious about his role, which includes being a blocker and, sometimes, a tackler, too. First and foremost, however, long-snappers have to be proficient at their craft. They aren't on the roster because of their abilities to block and tackle. Those come second. They are on the roster because of one thing, their innate ability to shoot a football between their legs at a high speed and hit the mark.
Mike from Okoboji, IA:
I was wondering what your opinion on the return of Michael Vick could mean for the Falcons, their likelihood of trading his rights and whether or not you think he'll be allowed back into the league. Do you think he's worth the risk of other teams even attempting to get him?
Vic: You're talking about what will probably be the headline story of the early summer. Yes, I think a team will take a chance on Vick and I think he'll be allowed to re-enter the league. People are naturally forgiving and I have no doubt that Vick will issue a dramatic apology for his wrongdoing. At that point, he's in play and I would expect a team or teams to explore trading for him. Would I do it? No, because I think Vick would be a terrible distraction heading into training camp for a team that spent all spring working together and developing a sense of team, but it would surprise me if he isn't given a chance to resurrect his career.
Kevin from Jacksonville:
I agree with you on drafting the BAP, but is there anyone you think would make an immediate impact on the team as far as winning games?
Vic: Give me a top left tackle and a big-play wide receiver and my outlook for the 2009 season would improve dramatically. You can't, however, manufacture those players. You don't draft the position, you draft the player, so you need to get lucky that the player at the top of your board also happens to play a position at which you have need. It does, however, happen. I think it's likely a left tackle will be at the top of the Jaguars' board when it's their turn to pick in the first round, and if they were to get lucky and have a DeSean Jackson kind of player fall to them in a later round, well, thinks could change very quickly. Look at what Chris Johnson did for Tennessee.
Stuart from Tulsa, OK:
What media outlet do you feel best describes what football actually is? Is it as simple as just watching a game, or is there some book or movie that puts it all in perspective? I doubt that Madden is the answer.
Vic: TV does a sensational job of presenting football to us as entertainment, but I've long-believed that to truly appreciate the game, you have to view it through the perspective of an undrafted rookie or journeyman veteran trying to make the team in training camp. The struggles those players face are what I consider to be real-life human confrontations that define the game. That's one of the reasons I think it's unfortunate that training camps have become shorter and less rigorous. I miss the gut-check Oklahoma drills, when an undrafted guy could step up and make a statement with the thump of his pads. I miss the days of rookie week, when the rookies would get a full week of camp under their belts before the veterans arrived, and I miss the days when the veterans would arrive and immediately start asking what rookies look good, especially the ones that might represent a job challenge. In my opinion, that's the essence of the game; roster and job competition. Find the media outlet that gives you the true flavor of training camp and stick with it.
Will from Storrs, CT:
I just read an interview that Mel Tucker did. It's interesting to note that Tucker seems to be a strong advocate for players, not plays.
Vic: I've never known a coach who didn't think that way. To think otherwise is to believe execution isn't important.
Rob from Rochester, NY:
Do you expect a big improvement from both Harvey and Groves for next season? I'm not asking you to predict the future but does defensive end take some time to adjust to from college to the NFL?
Vic: A rookie pass-rusher can get a lot of sacks against over-matched tackles if he has a lightning-quick first step, but he won't be able to live on that singular ability throughout his career because he won't beat the truly good offensive tackles with speed alone. He'll also need strength, technique and savvy. Yes, defensive ends usually require time to fully develop. Derrick Harvey is a thin-legged guy who will benefit from a spring in an NFL weight-training program. Harvey will also benefit from learning the strengths and weaknesses of his opponents and acquiring a collection of moves and counter moves. The same goes for Quentin Groves. You can't just run up the field on NFL tackles or they'll run you out of the play.