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Ravens worthy of respect

Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Craig Powell from Brunswick, GA:
Am I being a hopeful fan when I think the Jaguars are competitive with the Ravens and should be that way again this season. I watched the Jaguars blow a lead in Baltimore, playing without Fred Taylor. I also watched the game in Jacksonville, as we lost on a bad call (Brackens fumble.) I also watched the Ravens get beat all over the field by Tennessee and somehow win. I am not saying the Ravens did not deserve the wins, but how many times can a team win those types of games? It seems the biggest part of the Jaguars is still intact. Am I being unrealistic to expect a return to winning form?

Vic: Jaguars fans don't seem to have a lot of respect for the Ravens, which is probably the result of two wins over the Jaguars last season that very easily could've been defeats. I think fans also tend to wrinkle their noses at the Ravens because they didn't have a big-time passing attack last season. Remember this, they won in Tennessee twice and in Oakland for the AFC title. That's impressive. The Ravens team that barely beat the Jaguars in the second and sixth weeks of the season was not the Ravens team that won the Super Bowl. The Ravens team that beat the Jaguars is the same Ravens team that couldn't score a touchdown in October, and lost consecutive home games to the Titans and Steelers. Make no mistake, the Ravens are a powerhouse football team. Give them their due. As far as the Jaguars are concerned, yes, there is reason for hope, but current circumstances are such that the Jaguars are not going to be mentioned in the same breath with the Ravens this preseason.

Bert Inabinet from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
My question has to do with Alltel Stadium. Photography is my hobby and I've taken lots of shots in the north end zone during pregame warm-ups. The first year I was chased all over the stadium whenever I broke out my 210 zoom lens and was told to put it away or they would take it from me. Last season, I saw lots of them in the crowd and even saw small camcorders everywhere. Is it OK to bring in a small camcorder now, or do you think this stuff just slipped through the gates?

Vic: Cameras with lenses six inches or shorter are permitted in Alltel Stadium on game day; camcorders are not.

Tim McClellan from Jacksonville:
I've been watching the Jimmy Smith situation with great concern. It appears more likely with each passing day that the ordeal is more serious than anyone anticipated, and the likelihood that he'll miss part or possibly all of this season is becoming more of a reality. With that in mind, how do you think the Jaguars will address this in their offensive scheme? Plugging Alvis Whitted into the mix proved to be touch and go last year, and R. Jay Soward is expected to miss the first four games of the season. Keenan McCardell will obviously step in as the number one receiver, but what will change in regard to the scheme? Will Damon Jones and Kyle Brady become more of a factor? Will Fred Taylor begin to see more passes out of the backfield?

Vic: All of those things will have to happen if Jimmy Smith is unable to play, but I think you know what the final verdict would be: You don't lose a player of Smith's talent and importance without realizing a significant setback. If Smith is unable to play, the Jaguars will have no choice but to swallow hard and deal with his absence in any and all ways possible.

Mike Weidner from Atlanta, GA:
I noticed the Jags will get some cap relief for the four games that R. Jay Soward will be suspended. Does the league grant cap relief for players who miss games due to injury, too? If not, that hardly seems fair.

Vic: The salary cap does not provide relief for players who are injured. Why not? Because they are being paid. The Jaguars would receive salary cap relief for Soward because he is expected to be suspended without pay. The simple rule of thumb for the salary cap is this: You pay it, you claim it.

Walter Cotton from Louisville, KY:
I really respect your opinions and everything about the Jags. Do you think Maurice Williams will make his way to be our starting tackle opposite Boselli come opening day?

Vic: I saw some things in mini-camp that would lead me to believe opening day would be rushing it for Williams, but the Jaguars believe Williams is athletic enough to hasten his development this summer and be in the starting lineup for the season-opener.
Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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