Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Dave from Snellville, GA:
What do you think of the hard-line stance the Chargers have taken with Marcus McNeill and Vincent Jackson?
Vic: It's professional football; it's about the money. If you don't have the money, then try to get the money. If you have the money, then try to keep the money. I can't fault either approach.
Paul from Jacksonville:
All of the rules modifications and points of emphasis over the years have definitely given an edge to the passing game. Do you see any unintended consequences to these changes that a creative, hard-nosed coach might exploit?
Vic: The decline in tackling ability is the single-greatest unintended consequence of the move toward a basketball-on-grass style of play. Teams have had to adjust to this style of play by getting faster and more athletic on defense. By and large, that has also meant getting lighter and softer on defense, and those are characteristics that can be exploited by a physical, run-the-ball offense. The problem is it's difficult to develop a physical, run-the-ball offense along with a rush-the-passer, play-the-ball-in-the-air defense. The two don't go together and that makes for awkward practices. Teams that run the ball usually stop the run because they practice doing each against each other every day. It would follow then that defenses that practice against teams that run the ball will struggle against teams that throw the ball. In my opinion, the coach that can bridge that problem and achieve the best of both worlds will have a fantastic competitive advantage. Bill Walsh did it the other way. He found a way to match a physical defense with a finesse offense. Now, can somebody find a way to match a physical offense with a finesse defense?
Bryson from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I haven't noticed any news on Austen Lane. Is he still injured?
Vic: He returned to practice last week but he returned to the rehab team this week. My guess is that he experienced a setback with his hamstring injury. Coaches don't provide a lot of medical information at this time of the year.
Blake from Tallahassee, FL:
Thank you for your support and knowledge of the research that universities conduct each day. It is my hope that FSU will soon join the AAU but, as it is right now, their medical school is too young. Your answer about polio was particularly amazing to me. My aunt had polio and was paralyzed from the neck down from the age of eight. Tell Dave he's lucky to not have to go through that. I don't think he would have managed to get a PhD with that kind of disability, like she did. Research drives our economy, improves our standard of living and advances our knowledge. Football is a game, an escape from the world's problems. This should remind you why not to be angry, and just watch.
Vic: I was born at the height of the polio epidemic. It was every mother's fear. I can still see the kids with the braces on their legs. They were everywhere. Hospitals had wards full of iron lung patients. As a nation, I think we've forgotten how frightening the polio epidemic was. Anyhow, I remember being in the second grade and complaining to my teacher that my legs hurt. She ignored my complaint. A little later I complained again about my legs hurting and having a headache, classic flu-like symptoms. She sent me to the principal's office, where my complaints were ignored and I was sent back to my classroom. Later in the day I complained again and this time the teacher must've sensed that I had a fever because she took me to the principal's office, where my mother was phoned. When my mother got to the school and heard I had been complaining about my legs hurting and saw that I had a fever, she got in the nuns' faces big-time. She let them have it in front of everybody. I was afraid they were gonna hit her. I remember her saying that we're living through this polio scare and he tells you his legs hurt and you do nothing? Isn't it funny what we choose to remember?
Neil from Durham, NC:
Proposed 2010 federal research budget breakdown: Defense – 57 percent, Health – 21 percent, Space Research – seven percent, General Science – seven percent, Natural Resources and Environment - 1.5 percent. As a researcher at another tier-one institution, I would ask Dave to perhaps do a bit of research before sharing his "expert" opinion.
Vic: Space research is critically important because it might discover a planet where they could play the World Cup.
Jeremy from Columbia, SC:
As an alumnus of the University of Florida, I can say that the school has offered the nation more than just Gatorade with its research. For starters, how about Bioglass? Not sure what that is or what impact it has; look it up.
Vic: "Professor Larry Hench developed Bioglass® at the University of Florida in the late 1960s. He was challenged by a MASH army officer to develop a material to help regenerate bone, as many Vietnam War veterans suffered badly from bone damage, such that most of them injured in this way lost their limbs." So, I wonder how much that cost us. Was it really necessary? Those Vietnam War veterans needed to pull themselves up by their bootstraps, kind of.
Kyle from Pensacola, FL:
Do you think Gene and company will be going after anyone in the supplemental draft?
Vic: He's not the kind of guy who likes losing draft picks. I think that might be especially true in this case because next year's draft is going to be loaded with quarterbacks and you wanna have as many picks as possible to use to trade up and get your guy.
John from Jacksonville:
My simple and effective solution to resolving bad posts in the "Facebook" section below your "Ask Vic" is to remove it. It adds no value anyway (it actually makes the site cheap).
Vic: I don't agree. I think it enhances the column. I think an exchange of opinion is healthy and I've already seen one example in which the "Facebook" section deepened the column's content significantly. Sometimes we have to suffer the pangs of abuse to reap the rewards of freedom, but I would caution everyone to be respectful in their posts because the pangs we suffer will be limited.
Michael from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Given the improvement of talent on the defensive line, do you expect that Hayward will make the final rooster? After all, it is a young man's game and unfortunately injuries have robbed him of what could have been productive years.
Vic: I just don't see Reggie as a rooster. I can see him as a lion, a tiger, a jaguar, even a wolf, but not a rooster.
Jim from Jacksonville:
I read the article on Tiquan Underwood on the front page and it made me curious: Do you think he's just excelling in the Underwear League or that he'll keep it up once the pads go on?
Vic: That's the big question; I wish I had an answer. Clarence Denmark's recent hamstring pull has opened the door for Underwood to capture the coveted OTAs MVP award. I will announce the winner when OTAs end, whenever that might be (hint). OTA MVP is big. A lot of players have collapsed in training camp and the preseason under the pressure of that award.
Arthur from Orlando, FL:
Were footballs ever really made out of pigskin?
Vic: They were once made out of pig bladders, but that changed when they started to run out of guys willing to blow them up.
Brooks from Albany, NY:
I'm glad to hear that our defensive line looks a lot better than last year at this time. How does the offensive line look compared to last year?
Vic: The tackles are set, but the interior positions are wide open to competition. That's the best I can tell you at this time.
Ross from Jacksonville:
When does the official "dead zone" period start and end?
Vic: It will officially begin when I finish my story on the final OTA practice. It will officially end with the start of training camp. Between those two dates, you're on your own. Don't get in trouble.
Matt from Jacksonville:
What's your take on the Albert Haynesworth situation? He's already been paid the money.
Vic: You want me to look into the head of a guy who was thrown out of practice in college and returned a little later with a club? As Chuck Noll would say: I don't want in that head.