Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Brandon from Prestonsburg, KY:
Being a sportswriter isn't that bad. You get to be around some of the greatest athletes and get to follow my favorite team; watch every game and get to know the players. My father works in a coal mine and goes to work every day in pain from his back; crawls under a mountain and risks death and lowers his life span every time because of black lung. Being a sportswriter isn't that bad.
Vic: Hey, kid, I have to dig pretty deep for some of these stories. I think I saw your father during mini-camp. Just kidding. You're right, being a sportswriter isn't that bad. In fact, you just reminded me why I became a sportswriter: So I wouldn't have to work in a steel mill.
Adam from Bremerton, WA:
To help out Cody from Mars Hill, NC, one avenue to take to be a sportswriter is to join the Navy. I'm in the Navy right now and I've got my own weekly sports column. I know it's a bit extreme to join the military to do the job, but they pay for college.
Vic: Do they give free golf shirts, too?
Adam from Missoula, MT:
Tell me where Harry Colon fit on that list of significant Jaguars. On behalf of the "Harry Colon Fan Club" I once was apart of, I am shocked by the oversight.
Vic: I'll have you know that Harry Colon was Jaguars Inside Report's 1995 Jaguars defensive player of the year. Now they're both gone.
Vito from Grand Rapids, MI:
"Everybody Loves Raymond" was my favorite show. Now you've ruined it for me by saying Ray doesn't act like a real sportswriter.
Vic: Yeah, but Ray's wife is the real-life daughter of an esteemed sportswriter. Patricia Heaton, who plays Debra in the show, is the daughter of Chuck Heaton, who covered the Browns for the Cleveland Plain Dealer from the team's glory years in the All-America Conference through the NFL-AFL merger and beyond. Heaton's literary contributions to professional football are acknowledged in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. So, if anybody knows what it's like to live in the house of a sportswriter, Ms. Heaton does. In one of the show's episodes, Ray is in competition for a sportswriter award and one of the other nominees is Chuck Heaton from Cleveland. Debra, upon hearing her father's name, says, "He's terrible."
Benny from Madison, SD:
With four teams making the playoffs in 2004 having losing records the previous year and five teams in 2003, which teams do you see making that leap this year?
Vic: Carolina had a losing record in 2004, but would the Panthers qualify as a surprise team in '05? San Diego was truly a surprise team in '04. So was Pittsburgh. They were legit. Kansas City had a losing record last season, but would the Chiefs qualify as a surprise team in '05? Was Atlanta really a surprise team in '04? Don't get hung-up on records from the previous season because they can be misleading. For example, Atlanta was without Michael Vick in '03. Cincinnati had an 8-8 record last year, but I think they would qualify as a surprise team if they make the playoffs this year, therefore, I'm making them my surprise team. Even if Marvin Lewis can improve that defense, look out for the Bengals.
Josh from Jacksonville:
You said Matt Jones will never play quarterback again unless it's in an emergency situation. I've been watching football religiously for 10 years and can't remember any team ever using an emergency quarterback. What would such a situation look like? Starter is injured and not playing, the second stringer gets knocked out of the game, and then the third stringer gets injured during play?
Vic: The guys I remember playing quarterback in emergency situations are Tom Matte and Tony Dungy. Matte did it in the 1965 playoffs with the Colts, who lost Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo to injury. Dungy did it for the Steelers in a game in Houston in 1977, after Terry Bradshaw and Mike Kruczek were lost to injury. I'm getting a lot of these emergency quarterback questions, as though people are hoping all of the Jaguars quarterbacks get hurt so Matt Jones can play the position. Folks, if Jones was the answer at quarterback, he wouldn't have been drafted as a wide receiver. Let it go, please.
Joe from Jacksonville:
Does the NFL have some sort of farm system for coaches of the future?
Vic: You find coaches where you find coaches. You find them in college, in the arena leagues and within the ranks of your veteran players. NFL teams have what are called "quality control" positions, where young coaches are developed in the mold of the pro game. Let's trace the background of Jaguars assistant coach Todd Howard. In my opinion, he's a good example of a guy moving up through the ranks. Following his career as a linebacker with the Kansas City Chiefs, Howard was a three-year volunteer/GA coach at Texas A&M, his alma mater. He moved from there to Division III Grinnell College in Iowa, where he was the defensive line coach for two years and defensive coordinator for two years. Howard joined the St. Louis Rams in 1998 and served in a quality control function as a defensive assistant/linebackers for two years. He was then linebackers coach at La. Tech for three years, and was employed for one month at I-AA Texas State when he was hired by Jack Del Rio as a defensive assistant for the Jaguars. This offseason, Howard was promoted to assistant defensive line coach. He says his goal is to be a coordinator or head coach and to move as far up the coaching ladder as possible.
Charles from Tampa, FL:
Is Ty Law's injury more serious than the public has been told? Why is there no interest in him?
Vic: We've been over this more than a couple of times. Let's do it one more time and then give Ty Law a rest. Law had "Lis Franc" surgery. "Lis Franc" is a serious foot injury. It is to a cornerback what a broken hand is to a concert pianist, except "Lis Franc" involves torn ligaments that don't always heal fully
Jim from Jacksonville:
How about "take it to the next level?"
Vic: Yeah, that's getting old, too. Why are coaches and even broadcasters afraid to say "win the championship?" Why do we have to speak in coded language in sports?
Keith from Jacksonville:
I am so sick and tired of race being an issue. I honestly wish we would all disappear and reappear as the same race.
Vic: Wouldn't that be wonderful? We could call it the human race.
Joe from Jacksonville:
Who are the biggest draft misses? Joe Montana lasting until the third round? Terrell Davis until the sixth round?
Vic: No, it's Tom Brady lasting until the supplemental picks in the sixth round. The next time you think the Patriots are geniuses, remember that they didn't even think enough of Brady to draft him with their first pick of the sixth round. He was their 6b pick. That's comical.
Andy from Jacksonville:
I'm satisfied with the free agent pick up of Reggie Hayward and the signing of Marcellus Wiley. I believe you classified one end position as the pass-rush position and the other as the run-support end.
Vic: Right end is traditionally the pass-rush position; left end is run-support. Reggie Hayward is right end and Marcellus Wiley is left end. The contracts tell you that.