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Pass-rushers may offer best hope

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

Chris from Virginia Beach, VA:
What are the positives and negatives of eliminating the salary cap for a small-market team?

Vic: The positives are that you wouldn't have to spend to a minimum-cap level that is likely to cause you to lose money. The negative is that you will have to be cutting edge in your creativity and execution, and losing that edge would likely result in disastrous consequences. The elimination of the cap will eliminate mediocrity. It'll be sink or swim time.

Tim from Tucson, AZ:
If you separated your value board by position, how would you merge it to pick BAP?

Vic: Look at the highest-rated players at each position when you're on the clock, then adjust the grades according to position-weighting. Why bother doing all of that on a value board for players you're not going to draft? Why not make the position-weighting adjustments when necessary? At that point, it would be very specific.

Sal from El Paso, TX:
What are you reading these days?

Vic: I just finished reading "Living On The Black." I covered baseball and I wanted to see if anything had changed. Nope, nothing has changed.

Lawrence from Tampa, FL:
Regarding the "Did the Jags need Fred Taylor?" post, if memory serves me correct we traded Rob Johnson to the Bills to move up into their spot in the draft. Seems like collecting the best talent worked out all right for the Jags as they got a player that defined the franchise and, well, not many people remember Rob Johnson.

Vic: Here's the point to the Fred Taylor-James Stewart story: The Jaguars drafted Taylor because they thought they needed him, then thought they didn't need him when Stewart played so well to start the season, and then, after Stewart was lost for the season, found out they needed him more than they ever thought they would. Needs are very difficult to predict.

Oscar from Jacksonville:
While the Jaguars do seem interested in Mark Sanchez, do you think taking him out to dinner was more to lure other teams into thinking he won't get past eight, thus dangling him as you would a carrot to a rabbit?

Vic: No, I think the interest is legitimate. I also think Sanchez will be gone before the Jaguars are on the clock.

George from Jacksonville:
Maurice Jones-Drew is by far my favorite all-time Jag. Do you think the team is waiting to see what they do in the draft before they agree to a new deal with him?

Vic: I don't think that's it. There just isn't a pressing deadline to get the deal done. Maurice has a year remaining on his contract and unless there's a new CBA in place by 2010, which I don't think is likely, he's scheduled to be a restricted free agent in '10. You see what I mean? What's the rush?

Marlin from Palatka, FL:
Do you have a link somewhere on the website for your all-important value board? I don't see one. I did a search and found it, but it was an older version, not updated since March 20. Maybe I am missing it.

Vic: No, that's it. Apparently it was too important to archive.

Jonathon from Washington, DC:
Are you concerned about the Jags' chances to get full value for their number eight pick? Assuming we find a way to get you that GM money, is GM Vic aggressively looking to trade down?

Vic: That's what I'd want to do but that may be difficult to pull off if one of the top two quarterbacks isn't available. I think the next-best hope of getting out of that spot rests with somebody wanting one of the three pass-rushers who seem to be zipping up the board recently. Pass-rushers are almost as "hot" as quarterbacks.

Ryan from Orange Park, FL:
I understand you were asked who do you think the Jags will pick and you said you were leaning toward Wells, but who do you think they should pick?

Vic: This is so much fun I can't believe it. Ryan, it's all about the value board and who's available. Do a mock and then find the highest-rated player on my board who is still available in your mock draft and that's who I think the Jaguars should pick. The point is that I can't tell you who the Jaguars should pick until I know who's already been selected.

Matt from Jacksonville:
What do you think about Glen Coffee?

Vic: I like the Glens. I like Glenlivet, Glenmorangie and some of the other Glens, too. I don't think I'd like Glen Coffee, though. I'm just a regular coffee kind of guy. If I'm in Starbucks and some guy orders café latte, I can't bear to look at him. Give me my Glens and give me my coffee, but I don't want Glen Coffee.

Jake from Jacksonville:
It looks like it's almost time for Toad Suck Daze in Arkansas. I was just about to order the official 2009 Toad Suck Daze t-shirt and wanted to know what size to order for you.

Vic: Thanks, but Matt got me one last year.

Tom from Bloomsburg, PA:
Hey, Vic, I am trying out for the soccer team here at Bloomsburg University. I feel that I am better than most of the kids the coach recruited from last year but I do not think he gives me enough opportunities to show him what I can do because he always puts his recruits in over me. I really want to make the team and there is not much time left to prove my skill to him. What should I do?

Vic: Go to him. Ask him if you're wasting your time. Ask him if you have a chance to make the team. If he wants to cut you, you will have given him the perfect opportunity to do it and you won't waste any more of your time. You can do the Rudy thing, but I don't see you getting a movie deal out of this and it's not as though Bloomsburg soccer is going to give you the same sense of esteem Rudy got out of Notre Dame football. Just remember this: You're there for an education and the degree to which you achieve that education will likely determine the degree of wealth and happiness you accumulate in your life. If soccer can add to the experience, go for it. One way or another, however, I think you're nearing decision time. Whatever that decision is, make sure the greater of your commitments is to getting a degree.

Paul from Stockbridge, GA:
All the anger from the readers of your column is really embarrassing. Why are all these people so mad at you for giving an opinion? Are we really becoming so intolerant of differing points of view? I have Matthew Stafford rated as the top player in this year's draft on my all-important and very serious value board, yet, I don't feel like saying terrible things about you or yelling at you because you have Aaron Curry in that position.

Vic: There are likely to be some major changes in my board, which I will update the week of the draft. I've acquired more information and it is re-ordering my thoughts.

Cole from Jacksonville:
In an effort to derail this pre-draft madness, I would like to point out the beginning of the baseball regular season. Do you have a favorite opening-day baseball story?

Vic: Mostly I remember sitting in class on opening day, looking at the clock and knowing the game had started. I couldn't wait to get out of school, run home and find out what the score was. I do have one distinct memory. It was from opening day in 1963, I believe. I remember seeing a rookie named Pete Rose sprint down to first base after a walk and I remember thinking to myself, "That guy's nuts."

Jon from Jacksonville:
You mentioned that you guys blew away Kiper last year. Not to burst your bubble, but he usually gets 4-5 picks correct each year and I think he is a bozo. I have heard a couple of GMs say they laugh when the media puts together a value board.

Vic: They can laugh because the media's mistakes don't result in a loss of millions of dollars. When GMs make a mistake, it's no laughing matter.

Ted from St. Augustine, FL:
This morning I read that Plaxico Burress is not "seeing eye to eye" with his criminal defense attorney; you know, the guy he's paying for his expertise to minimize the certain punishment he faces. Do you see that as a sign this guy might be tough to coach? Do you ever read something like that and say to yourself, "How can a human that's been given that much get that lost?"

Vic: Fortunately, he was smart enough not to tuck that gun into the front of his sweat pants.

Tyler from Jacksonville:
Wow! Another year and another Vic meltdown over BAP. How predictable.

Vic: Nothing drives people crazy like BAP, baby. What does it say about us that the idea of selecting the best available player causes months of meaningless debate? When I was young, the AFL conducted a secret draft. The league announced each team's draft class but said nothing of when each player was selected. If the NFL did that today, it might result in a senate investigation. The anger that would pour into my column would probably cause suspension of the column. I think of these things during moments of reflection. It is my opinion that something is wrong with us.

Duran from Rapid City, SD:
Can you please explain the formation of the Packers' sweep and what about it made it work so well and if there is any use of it in today's game?

Vic: Jerry Kramer and Fuzzy Thurston, the team's pulling guards, made it work so well. It allowed a seal here and a seal here and for Paul Hornung and Jim Taylor to run the ball up the alley. Teams today don't do nearly as much pulling and trapping as they did back then. The gap defense concept of penetration and disruption has discouraged the use of such elaborate and slow-developing blocking schemes. Today's blocking schemes are about "run to daylight." By the way, it was Vince Lombardi who authored that term.

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