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Scheduling your memories

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

Mike from Pensacola, FL:
I forgive you for the error in the 5/10 column. We all make mistakes and computers sometimes goof, but what do you think the chances are of it happening again? I mean, as a dedicated reader, I need to know these things.

Vic: Mike, there is going to be a time soon when I'm going to go on vacation. That's when you should read Carucci's column.

Paul from Jacksonville, FL:
My question pertains to NFL Europe players who weren't allocated by an NFL team. Are they considered a "street" free agent? Can any team sign them now or do they have to wait until the NFL Europe season is complete?

Vic: Non-allocated NFL Europe players may not be signed by an NFL team until Monday, June 14, which is the first business day after the World Bowl. At that time they would be considered "street free agents."

Joe from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Great job on "Defense 101." It is the best article on different schemes of defenses and why they are used that I have ever read, and I'm sure the other parts in "Defense 101" will be even better. My question is, who do you think the Jaguars' Larry, Curly and Mo linebackers, I mean Sam, Will and Mike linebackers, will be this year?

Vic: Early in the season, I expect Mike Peterson to be the Mike, Greg Favors to be the Sam and Akin Ayodele to be the Will. In time, however, Daryl Smith is going to break into the lineup in a big way. Smith was an outstanding selection in the second round and he will be a big-time player for the Jaguars, but his arrival could force major change in the linebacking corps. In my opinion, logic would dictate he play the Mike, Peterson move to the Will and Ayodele move to the Sam. Those are all three players' natural positions. We'll see.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I'm still somewhat confused about the Jaguars not addressing their glaring pass-rush need. I hope Cordova and McCray become "diamonds," but if they don't, will they blitz Ayodele or Peterson occasionally? Or stunt Stroud more often?

Vic: They stunt Marcus Stroud and John Henderson plenty. The Jaguars are a big stunt team. As far as Akin Ayodele is concerned, I think you're going to see him used with his hand on the ground on obvious passing downs. With the depth the Jaguars have at linebacker now, they can afford to use Ayodele in that kind of specialty role. Jorge Cordova will probably be used the same way. Because the Jaguars weren't able to address their need at defensive end, they're going to exercise a lot of creativity in manufacturing a pass-rush. It can be done, as long as you can cover behind it.

Jeff from Virginia Beach, VA:
Thanks for the "101" classes. Having been a fan of the game all of my life and never a student, you've really increased my understanding of both the broader and finer points of the game. My question is, with the added depth the Jaguars now have on defense, what type of complex defenses do you see them employing?

Vic: The Jaguars were very basic on defense last year; they had to be. As Jack Del Rio and Mike Smith become more confident in their secondary's ability to cover, you're going to see them turn up the heat on the quarterback. I expect the Jaguars to employ more in the way of pressure defenses this year and I'm sure that'll excite the fans. I'll like it, too, but only if they stop the run first. It all begins with that. If you don't stop the run, pass-rush schemes are meaningless.

Ben from Greenville, SC:
Mad props on the "Defense 101" column. I'm looking forward to future installments. Where did the terms Mike, Will, Sam and Mo come from for the linebackers?

Vic: When a 4-3 defensive coordinator draws defensive alignments on the chalk board (grease board these days), he uses the letters M, W and S to designate the linebackers. Obviously, somebody just tagged the letter distinctions with a one-syllable name. When the 3-4 was invented, there was need for another M, so somebody ingeniously put in one more letter to make Mo. You get it, right?

Justin from Jacksonville:
I have been thinking about buying season tickets this season but I want your point of view before I do. Do you think I will get my money's worth if I do buy season tickets? Do you think I should or should not buy tickets?

Vic: I'm flattered that you would seek my advice, and I'm glad you did because your question stimulated some honest thought. Justin, I have so many memories of going to the ballpark as a kid. So many times I'll tell people, "I remember when Bobby Layne … ," or "I remember the time 'Cannonball' Butler got hit on the butt with the snap from center." I even have this bitter-sweet memory of my father making us stomp out of Forbes Field because the Steelers were playing so poorly, only to find the car was trapped in the parking lot and we couldn't re-enter the ballpark. We stood in the parking lot and listened to the crowd roar as Ed Brown rallied the Steelers and Lou Michaels kicked the game-winner as time expired. But I have never said, "I remember staying home and watching that game on TV." Of course, home games weren't on TV in those days, but I'm sure you get my point. Nothing beats being there and I still believe that to be true. Going to the game involves a commitment of time that must be made in advance. In other words, you're scheduling your memories, which is a way of guaranteeing a rich life. So, my answer to your question is, yes, I believe you will get your money's worth and you won't regret buying a season ticket. But I will also caution you to make sure the plan you buy fits your budget. Entertainment must be affordable, and the Jaguars have price options to make that happen.

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