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Players, not uniforms

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

Andrea from Jacksonville:
I understand how incentive deals would work with a skill position or even defensive players, but how would it work with a player on the offensive line?

Vic: The common incentives for offensive linemen are for starts, playing time, Pro Bowl selection, All-Pro selection and other such honors.

George from London, Ontario:
The reason you draft Sanchez at eight, if he's available and you think he'll be a franchise quarterback, is because when he's ready to take over in a year or two you can still get trade value for Garrard.

Vic: The reason you draft Mark Sanchez at eight, if he's available and he's at the top of your draft board and trading down is not an option, is because you don't know what's going to happen in the future. Having an excess of talent at sports' most important position insulates a team from getting caught off guard and not having an adequate replacement. More talent is always better than less talent. Fans too often want to make plans without knowing how events will affect those plans. I didn't hear anybody say the Jaguars' first two picks last year should've been guards because the Jaguars would lose their two starting guards before halftime of the season opener.

Rob from Jacksonville:
I like what I see coming in 2009: lower expectations, the trash has been taken out, veteran leadership with skill being brought in, new workout program. I see playoff potential. Any thoughts?

Vic: The playoffs are the goal but they are not my expectation.

Shawn from Raiford, FL:
Do you think the new uniforms will give us an advantage due to the fact that the material is compressed? Will teams have a harder time holding our players?

Vic: Probably about the same difficulty the Jaguars will have holding other teams' players, because I have to believe that every team in the league will be wearing uniforms made of the same compressed material.

Michael from Columbus, OH:
I just finished watching the unveiling of the uniforms on the internet during my lunch break. I like the new helmets. I'm beginning to sense that same flare and swagger that was present when Jacksonville was first awarded the franchise 16 years ago. Do you feel the swagger?

Vic: I'm not a swagger guy. If you're attempting to describe an air of confidence that the team will do well, then I'll tell you that I don't derive confidence from uniforms, I derive it from the players inside the uniforms. This weekend's draft will go a long way toward defining my level of confidence.

Spencer from Richmond, VA:
How can you use that subway comparison that if you miss one just wait and another will come along soon when we haven't had a good wide receiver since Jimmy Smith retired?

Vic: Lots of subway trains have passed by, some of them even on undrafted tracks. The problem is the Jaguars missed those trains.

John from Tallahassee, FL:
I love Garrard, he is an amazing person and player but his years are numbering. If he doesn't do good this year, I see him being done. What would you think about drafting Tim Tebow next year? Do you think he could be as good of an NFL player as he was in college (he is about to break the college career passing and rushing records)?

Vic: No, I don't.

Jim from Medford, NJ:
What's the consensus on these new jerseys? I can guarantee your inbox has been flooded with questions. I can honestly say that, while I will remain a fan, I will not be buying any more Jaguars jerseys. Can we at least get a jaguar on the sleeve?

Vic: The consensus is that nearly everybody has a particular thing they want to change about the new uniforms, which I think is a result of the uniforms having had so many variations through the years. People are taking a little bit of this and a little bit of that from those uniforms and trying to blend all of those things into one uniform. Some people want a jaguar on the sleeve, some don't. Some want more gold in the uniforms, some want more teal and others want all black. Personally, I liked the uniforms they used in the very beginning, but I'm someone who wears clothes until they wear out, not go out. All of this, in my opinion, confirms what Wayne Weaver said to be true: Too much tweaking of the uniform over the years has caused a loss of identity. These new uniforms are going to define the team's identity. What's important, however, is for the team to define the uniform, and you gotta win to do that.

Benny from Jacksonville:
Why would we design a color-changing helmet (which has never been done before) when Wayne Weaver talks about trying to make the uniform classic and timeless? It seems like it's a futuristic gimmick that has the potential to look silly over the next few years. Any thoughts?

Vic: Why don't we just give it a chance? What's the big deal, right? Maybe it'll become the Jaguars' identity, as it is the Browns' identity that they're the only team in the league that doesn't have a logo on the side of their helmet and it's the Steelers' identity that they only have a logo on the right side of their helmet. The Jaguars could become known as the team that has a helmet that changes color. Why don't we all just relax and enjoy it. I'm not trying to brush off your question, but this stuff just doesn't mean a whole lot to me, probably because I grew up in an area where the uniforms were always covered with mud so it didn't matter what we wore. Look at it this way: Notre Dame probably has one of the most identifiable uniforms in all of sports and there isn't a stripe on it. Just win, baby.

Dave from Snellville, GA:
Crabtree, huh? You caved in to the others, didn't you, Vic?

Vic: You're obviously referring to the "Jaguars This Week" mock draft. Before we began, we agreed that the top four prospects for the Jaguars are Mark Sanchez, Andre Smith, "Beanie" Wells and Michael Crabtree. That made the pick real easy because Sanchez, Smith and Wells were gone, leaving only Crabtree. Do I think Crabtree could be the pick? Yes, I do. I believe that because I have no doubt he is high on the Jaguars' board and if he fell to them he very possibly would be the top player on their board. Gene Smith said at the Tuesday pre-draft luncheon that when the Jaguars go on the clock and they identify the best available player, two critical factors, medical and character issues, will then be weighed. Smith also went on to say the arrow is pointing up on Crabtree's health and Smith sounded as though he had little or no concern about Crabtree's foot surgery. I considered that to be one of the major pieces of information revealed at the pre-draft luncheon, provided, of course, that it's the truth; you never know with these guys but I'll believe them until I have reason not to believe them. Remember, we were doing a mock, not a value board. We weren't predicting what we would do, we were predicting what we think the Jaguars will do.

Vinny from Saratoga, NY:
You named quarterback as one of the five concerns. I am assuming it's not Garrard, because if he was a concern why would the Jaguars sign him to a long-term deal last year? What is the concern regarding the QB position?

Vic: In my opinion, the concern is for a lack of youth at the position. David Garrard and Cleo Lemon will each be in their 30's on opening day. The Jaguars, in my opinion, need a young quarterback.

Kelly from Jacksonville:
In your opinion, if Mark Sanchez is available at the eighth pick, would the Jags actually draft him as their pick instead of trading down with another team.

Vic: If Sanchez is available, it would be highly unlikely that the Jaguars wouldn't be entertaining trade offers from teams competing to move up and draft Sanchez and I think the Jaguars would likely accept one of those offers and move down. Should those offers not come or should they be unattractive, I have no doubt the Jaguars would just sit and pick Sanchez. I think he would almost certainly be at the top of their board and there are no medical or character concerns with Sanchez. He's a very attractive prospect. Look at it this way: If you're going to spend top 10 money on a player, it might as well be on a quarterback, especially one who's at the top of your board and offers no medical or character concerns.

Garry from Jacksonville:
With the renewed team emphasis on character, how do you think that affects Jimmy Smith being added to the ring of pride?

Vic: That shouldn't even be a concern at this time. There are much greater issues at stake than sports memorabilia.

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