Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
John from Jacksonville:
Now that Fred is gone, what do you think our running scheme will look like? Jones-Drew has obviously proved himself, but I wonder how many games his body can take as the sole back. Will Greg Jones get the ball a lot more to reduce the load?
Vic: All you have to do is go back to the final three games of last season. Fred Taylor didn't play in those games due to a season-ending injury and Maurice Jones-Drew rushed 12 times for 48 yards and a touchdown and caught four passes for 22 yards and a touchdown against Green Bay, rushed 20 times for 91 yards and caught seven passes for 71 yards against Indianapolis, and rushed 23 times for 78 yards and caught one pass for 10 yards against Baltimore. There's your preview of how Jones-Drew is going to be used without Fred. Add in 5-10 carries by Greg Jones and I think you have a pretty good picture of how it's going to be in 2009, though it's possible the Jaguars could draft a back that might change the picture a little.
Rich from Jacksonville:
How important do you consider the 40-yard dash workout at the combine?
Vic: It's an accurate indication of a guy's straight-line speed and speed is important, but I wouldn't shoot a guy up or down my board based on his combine 40 time. What about his 10-yard time? What's his burst, which is all about being able to close or separate? They said Larry Fitzgerald lacked Roy Williams-type speed when those two were coming into the draft, but it appeared to me Fitzgerald had all the burst he needed on that potential game-winning touchdown reception in the Super Bowl. Yeah, the 40 time is important, but it has to be married with a player's 10-yard time and other such indicators of his foot speed. Then, and only then, can you get a true snapshot of a prospect's true football speed.
Nate from Jacksonville:
I really hope the release of Fred gives Greg Jones more of a chance to showcase his skills and help this team. The head coach loves him and I am a huge fan but I want to hear Vic's thoughts about Greg Jones.
Vic: He's an accomplished fullback who can also help you as a runner in short-yardage and change-of-pace situations.
Ryan from Cedar Falls, IA:
Do players that are released factor into the compensatory picks for the next year, or is it just free agents that leave? So, will Jerry Porter, Drayton Florence, and Fred be factored into next year?
Vic: No, they won't. A team's rights to a player have to have expired on the first day of free agency for that player to factor into the compensatory picks evaluation. Porter, Florence and Fred were released, therefore, the Jaguars' rights to them will not expire in free agency.
Jason from Regina, Saskatchewan:
Do you know what the criteria is for determining the net win/loss for free agency?
Vic: It includes number of free agents signed and lost, the amount of money for which they signed and the quality of those players' performances based on play time and honors received.
Carter from Orange Park, FL:
With Gene Smith stating he would build through the draft, if the Jags have a poor to mediocre season this coming season, will Del Rio be on the hot seat or is this truly a rebuilding year?
Vic: We'll know good coaching when we see it, and good coaches should be retained because too much is lost in firing coaches just for the sake of changing coaches.
Allen from Saint Clairsville, OH:
Though it's probably too soon, is there any talk in the halls about retiring Fred's jersey number?
Vic: The Jaguars don't retire numbers. They enshrine their great players in the "Pride of the Jaguars," which is a ring of honor kind of thing. I think I can say with a large degree of certainty that Fred will make it into the "Pride." OK, with that, we need to move on now because this is starting to get a little weird. New topics, please.
Nick from Las Vegas, NV:
If you were picking for the Jaguars on draft day and the two highest-rated players on your board were WR Michael Crabtree and OT Eugene Monroe, who would you take?
Vic: I would take the higher-rated guy. If they had identical grades, I would take Monroe because you gotta get the big guys early; you can get wide receivers later in the draft.
Jon from Rogue River, OR:
Do you think the Jags could end up drafting Chris Wells with the first-round draft pick?
Vic: I don't know where the Jaguars will have Wells ranked, but if he was the top guy on their board and they selected him, regardless of where they were picking, I would have no problem with it. This draft is loaded with running backs I like. Knowshon Moreno is my favorite guy. I think he has true star potential. Wells is a true power back and can carry the load full-time. He only needs grooming. Shonn Greene from Iowa is another power back. He has outstanding feet and balance. LeSean McCoy from Pitt is smallish but can still run between the tackles and has big-play potential, especially as a receiver. Donald Brown from UConn is ultra-productive and, from that standpoint, reminds me of Matt Forte because Brown has been largely overlooked, despite his incredible rushing stats. I would love to see the Jags get one of these guys.
Ernest from Rockville, MD:
In light of your response to John and Steven from yesterday's column, which player(s) on this team will be able to take Fred's place as an excellent football interview?
Vic: Now you're getting down to the real issue. This is what concerns me. Who's going to be my go-to guy now? David Garrard has been a dependable interview. Quarterbacks have to watch what they say, but David's pretty good for a quarterback. Paul Spicer truly is a spicy interview. I'll be counting on him, too. The offensive line lacks a Tony Boselli or a Leon Searcy, which is to say a guy who can put things in a real, down-to-earth football perspective. That's the biggest area of disappointment on this team; the Jaguars offensive line lacks a go-to interview guy and offensive linemen are usually great interviews. Tony Pashos may require greater cultivation. Having said all of that, Maurice Jones-Drew would seem to be the heir apparent to Fred in more ways than one. Mo is a good talker. He's got a lot to say. My only complaint is that he sometimes has off days, and go-to guys can never have an off day. He's got to bring it every day, every way, with something to say. You wanna be the man, Mo? OK, baby, show me. Let's see if you can talk as good as Fred.
Andrew from Hagerstown, MD:
Fred's gone. I still can't believe it. I've watched him play since his very first rush. I wish the Jaguars would have let him play one more year with a cut salary. With what he has done for us, he deserves it. Did the Redskins cut Darrell Green? No. Fred, we'll miss you.
Vic: I talked to Fred this morning. He was in a great mood and he said to tell everyone it'll be OK.
Jessica from Jacksonville:
I actually had tears in my eyes when they let him go. I don't think that I can stand to see him in another jersey.
Vic: It'll be OK, Jessica. We'll get through this together.
Will from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Can we expect some sort of video tribute for Fred to be posted in the near future?
Vic: The first part of a three-part video tribute to Fred has been posted.