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Records don't tell whole story

Join Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

John from Harrisburg, PA:
Any word on how Garrard is coming along with his recovery? Will we enter the preseason with a quality backup?

Vic: David stopped by to say hello this morning. He was coming off the practice field following an early-morning personal workout and his shirt was dripping wet. What's that tell you?

SMSgt Jimmie from Eglin Air Force Base, FL:
I know you will have at least a million questions about covering seats, but are you for it or against it? Can you explain it in pros vs. cons?

Vic: Obviously, something has to be done about the seating capacity of Alltel Stadium. I don't like the stigma that goes with covering seats, but it's clearly the most logical approach to reducing the size of a stadium that's too big. The obvious pros are: 1. A better supply/demand balance of/for tickets, which should result in more games being televised to the Jacksonville market. 2. An air of goodwill between the team and those fans who can't purchase tickets and rely on seeing home games on TV. 3. Greater exposure of the product within the Jacksonville market, and that is especially important in recruiting young fans. The obvious cons are: 1. The national stigma that goes with the admission that you can't fill your stadium. Don't underestimate the impact of covering seats. It will show on television and visiting writers will repeatedly refer to covered seats. It will become a source of embarrassment for an area that professes to be football-crazy. 2. Once those seats are covered, they can't be uncovered. So what happens if the Jaguars are having a big year and the demand for tickets increases greatly, especially for the playoffs? Will fans be understanding when they can't get a ticket because 10,000 of them have been covered by a sheet? 3. Look at it from the Jaguars' side of the coin; there would be a major loss of ticket revenue should they have to turn ticket-buyers away. 4. What if they cover seats and still can't fill the stadium? Where do I stand on this issue? Well, I hate the idea of covering seats, but something has to be done to adjust the Alltel seating capacity downward, and I can't think of another way of doing it.

J.T. from Jacksonville:
I know preseason records don't necessarily have any impact on the regular season, but do you know the records of the Jags in the playoff years and in the losing years?

Vic: In seasons in which the Jaguars made the playoffs, their preseason record is a combined 11-5. In seasons in which the Jaguars didn't make the playoffs, they are a combined 11-10. If you're going to use that comparison to draw conclusions, you might also want to add this fact to your thought process: Mark Brunell suffered a knee injury in a preseason game in 1997, and he was never the same again. In other words, records don't tell the whole story.

Don from Jacksonville:
I have really enjoyed watching the multimedia of the top 10 Jags moments, especially the playoff win in Denver. Watching that again sent chills down my spine. Our first game, which was a loss, was a bit of surprise when I saw coach Fisher on the Oilers sideline. I didn't realize the rivalry was this big. My question is: What is the Jags' lifetime record against coach Fisher?

Vic: 7-12, including one playoff game.

Jon from Jacksonville:
Do you think Chris Thompson can overtake Juran Bolden and Dewayne Washington to become the starting corner?

Vic: Probably not this year.

Chan from Jacksonville:
Even though the Jags running game put up over 1,900 yards and there were very few sacks, what improvements need to be made to the offensive line?

Vic: In my opinion, the next level of performance for the Jaguars offensive line is that it doesn't require pass-blocking help from the tight end when the Jaguars are facing a premier pass-rusher.

Kelly from Jacksonville:
Is Alltel bigger or smaller than Arrowhead Stadium?

Vic: Alltel Stadium's seating capacity is 76,877. Arrowhead Stadium's seating capacity is 79,451.

Scott from Jacksonville:
Ricky Williams retired after just five seasons in the NFL. What is the most surprising retirements you can think of in the NFL's past?

Vic: The obvious answers are Jim Brown and Barry Sanders. Players in Brown's era didn't make the kind of money that usually allowed for a player to retire early and achieve lifetime financial security, but Brown had a movie contract in hand when he retired and immediately starred in "The Dirty Dozen." Sanders, of course, had banked millions of dollars and even though he left several million more on the table, he had long-achieved lifetime financial security. In my time covering the NFL, I can remember covering two players who quit the game at the peaks of their careers. The first was a Steelers middle linebacker named Henry Davis, who just didn't report to training camp in 1974 after having played in the Pro Bowl the previous season. That was the same year the Steelers drafted Jack Lambert in the second round and, while veteran players carried picket signs at the entrance to training camp, Lambert stepped into the starting middle linebacker's job and into a career that would take him to the Hall of Fame. Davis became very forgettable, and his retirement was never really explained since it got lost in the player strike and the instant emergence of Lambert. Another player who lost his love for the game just when it appeared he was going to become a long-term star is Barry Foster, who finished second to Emmitt Smith in the league in rushing in 1992. Foster was often sullen and what we came to realize is he just didn't like playing the game. Technically, he didn't retire, but he clearly shut it down.

Bobby from Poland Springs, ME:
Besides our kicking game, a questionable pass-rush and poor third-down defense, what are a couple of other key areas the Jaguars need significant improvement in to win the AFC South?

Vic: They need to find a touchdown-making wide receiver, a starter-quality cornerback to play the side opposite Rashean Mathis, and develop depth at defensive tackle.

Greg from Winter Park, FL:
What do you make of Ricky Williams' retirement and how will the Dolphins attempt to recover from such a loss?

Vic: Apparently, he doesn't want to play football; at least not this year. The Dolphins have no choice, it would seem, but to move on. That's why you have to always have jars on the shelf. I don't know that the Dolphins do at running back. We'll see.

Lane from Orlando, FL:
I like the Q&A about the turning point of last season being the Tennessee game where the Jags allowed the Titans a 14-minute drive and touchdown. In the big picture, wasn't the turning point of this franchise the expansion draft a few years ago? Where would the Jags be right now if the Texans hadn't selected Boselli, Walker and Payne?

Vic: They'd still be in salary cap repair.

Nathan from Waco, TX:
How does Ricky's retirement affect the balance of power in the AFC East and the AFC as a whole? Are the Dolphins out of the playoff picture now?

Vic: If Tom Brady had retired, then you could talk about the balance of power in the AFC. The impact of Ricky Williams' retirement, in my opinion, is limited solely to the Bills and the Jets. They just each moved up a notch in the AFC East.

Linda from Jacksonville:
I submitted a reservation for the "Ask Vic!" convention tailgate party for the Tampa game, but I never got a confirmation. How do I check on it?

Vic: All "Ask Vic!" conventioneers should have received an e-mail confirmation of their reservations. Any conventioneer who didn't receive a confirmation should contact Alisa Abbott at 904-633-6590 or at

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