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Practice squad has launched careers

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

Jeff from Fillmore, UT:
I don't know much about QB Paul Smith other than what you wrote about him, but why would the Jags cut Bouman and sign Smith? Seems to me Bouman was experienced and did pretty well in the preseason. What's Smith got that Bouman doesn't?

Vic: Practice squad eligibility.

Roger from Jacksonville:
A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of meeting Roman Gabriel at a charity golf event he was sponsoring in Myrtle Beach. When I shook his hand, I felt like a five-year-old kid as my hand was dwarfed by his massive paw. Gabriel was one of the first really big, physical quarterbacks in the NFL. When I read the story about David Garrard in last Sunday's "Times-Union," I was amazed that college coaches wanted him to play nose guard, and it reminded me of Gabriel's thick, muscular physique. Do you see any similarities?

Vic: Gabriel wasn't a runner. He was just a big, physical pocket passer. In those days, that's what you wanted. You wanted a guy who didn't crumble when a defensive lineman hit him. You wanted a guy who could shrug off linemen. Garrard's strength and athletic ability isn't a new phenomenon. Jim Kelly was recruited by Penn State to play linebacker. Terry Bradshaw would've been a sensational tight end. Bobby Douglas broke more tackles than a running back. Doug Williams was built like a defensive tackle. John Elway and Donovan McNabb have the lower bodies of a guard. Playing quarterback isn't all about the route tree and the progression. It's about being a dominant physical specimen, too.

Brett from Jacksonville:
Does a player who is on injured reserve for the year get paid his normal salary?

Vic: Yes, he does. In some cases, however, a player will have a "split contract," which means he would receive a lesser amount that is specified in his contract. Split contracts are common among undrafted rookies.

Ben from Jacksonville:
I like the layout, Vic. Tell the IT guys good job.

Vic: I love the new design.

Dave from Los Angeles, CA:
Are there any potential blackouts looming this season?

Vic: No, Jaguars fans will get it done. Try the Chargers, Raiders or some other team rumored to be moving to LA.

Paul from Jacksonville:
Everything most fans take so seriously takes a back seat to what Richard Collier is facing right now. It's tough to worry about Tennessee on Sunday when he's struggling just to get through today.

Vic: That goes without saying but I'm glad you said it. The mood in the building today is very subdued. Football teams are families. Everybody's prayers are with "Big Rich."

Greg from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Why are we stuck with the name "Jacksonville Municipal Stadium" when "First Coast Stadium" or something (anything) else sounds so much better?

Vic: Because you don't want people becoming fond of a stadium name. You want the most generic thing possible so, when a naming rights sponsor is found and the name of the stadium is changed, people are glad to see the old name go. There's a sense of loss when you drop names such as Candlestick Park and Riverfront Stadium. That clearly won't be a problem here.

Jonathan from Winnipeg, Manitoba:
What would you rather have, a big, mean road-grading offensive lineman or a quick, smart technician?

Vic: That depends on what blocking schemes you employ. A team that traps and pulls might prefer a quick, smart technician because those blocks are all about precision. A team that drive-blocks would clearly prefer the road-grader. Fewer teams trap and pull every year. Road-graders are preferred over technicians in today's game.

Sean from Jacksonville:
Can you explain the practice squad thing?

Vic: It's a group of eight players who are attempting to establish professional careers. They are players who aren't good enough to make a 53-man roster but are close enough to be worthy of development. A lot of careers were launched from practice squads. Keenan McCardell was a practice-squad player.

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