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Something different

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

William from Jacksonville:
What two or three things are you looking for in the preseason that will let you know the team is on track and ready to go? Also, do you get a sense that enough fans understand how tough the schedule is this year?

Vic: I'm looking for flashes. I don't need to see greatness over and over, but I'd like to see it once or twice. Show me the ability to run the ball in at least one game. Show me the ability to move it through the air effectively in a couple of drives. Show me something at least once in every phase of the game and that'll be enough for me to judge the preseason a success. The record means nothing. As far as the regular season schedule, I think fans understand how difficult it is. Four games are against the final four from last season's AFC playoffs. What's that tell you?

Dan from Chapel Hill, NC:
What do you think of a Monday night against Pittsburgh followed by a road game in Indy? Will the short week affect us? What are your thoughts on Indy this season?

Vic: That's what the schedule-maker does to premium teams. You want respect? Well, that's what you get when you get respect. You get tested. The Pittsburgh-Indianapolis combination will be rigorous. In 2000, when the Jaguars were coming off an AFC title game season, they got hit with a Monday nighter in Indianapolis followed by a home game against Pittsburgh and the Jaguars lost both. Now we have the reverse. The premier teams routinely face those kinds of circumstances. They expect to be tested in those kinds of ways. The Colts are one of those teams that expects to be tested in high-profile games. They've been a very good team for a lot of years and now the expectation is for them to do something in the postseason. Frankly, I think they may have missed their turn. Winning the division isn't good enough for the Colts any longer. They have to win it all. I don't know how they could have a better chance of doing that than they had last season. The loss to the Steelers was devastating. In my opinion, it was far more devastating than those playoff losses in New England.

Nisha from Jacksonville:
Since the wide receiver position seems to be a little weak with the loss of Jimmy Smith, during training camp so far have you seen any emerging rookies or any rookies that show promise of getting an active spot on the roster? Who do you foresee as stepping up as a leader in the wide receiver spot?

Vic: There are only two rookie receivers on the roster, Charles Sharon and Felton Huggins, both of whom are undrafted guys. I can't say that either guy has turned heads, but they'll have a chance to do that tonight in the intrasquad scrimmage. As far as a leader among the wide receivers, I think Ernest Wilford is a strong candidate. He led the team in touchdown catches last season, he's having a spectacular training camp and he has a magnetic personality.

Christopher from Gainesville, FL:
In your list of teams that play physical ball, one stood out to me, the Chargers. I'm not questioning their inclusion, as I admit to not watching them play often, however, I don't usually think of them as a physical team. Could you talk a little about your impressions of them?

Vic: Any team Marty Schottenheimer coaches is going to be physical because Schottenheimer believes very strongly in run the ball and stop the run. Last season, the Chargers were ninth in the league in rushing and number one against the run. Those are the two most important categories in defining yourself as a physical team. The Chargers also have a great young pass-rusher, Shawne Merriman, who gives their defense a kind of suddenness that people also associate with physical play.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I understand that a player that is put on "injured reserve" can't be cut from the team, but what about a player on the "physically unable to perform" list?

Vic: PUP is for players who have an injury from before the start of training camp. If a player on PUP has an injury from a previous year, you can cut him but you'd have to give him injury protection benefits and other CBA benefits. If he was injured prior to training camp in the current year, you can waive him injured, but if he's not claimed by another team he would revert to your "injured reserve" list, where he must remain until his injury has healed.

Kevin from Colorado Springs, CO:
I think I heard Brian Sexton say the scrimmage would only be aired on WOKV locally? Will I be able to listen to it here in Colorado through WOKV's website?

Vic: To hear it out of market, you'll want to stay with, as the scrimmage will be simulcast right here. I'm going to join Brian Sexton in the radio booth for tonight's scrimmage because Jeff Lageman is probably out killing animals or fish or some other poor living creature that has done no wrong. Brian and I are going to treat the broadcast as a discussion about the Jaguars and training camp, with a play-by-play update on what's happening on the field. It's going to be something different and I'm looking forward to it.

Tom from St. Augustine, FL:
Fantasy football segment on "Jaguars This Week?" Vic, say it ain't so. Is there any point to fantasy football other than a bunch of geeks trying to convince themselves that they could out-Snyder Dan Snyder (buy rather than develop a team)? Who cares if Peyton throws 50 TD passes and chokes again in the playoffs? Just win, baby.

Vic: You're my kind of guy.

Mike from Jacksonville:
I noticed you speaking to Peter King on Wednesday afternoon. Who, in the media, do you make time for; enjoy a cold one with?

Vic: I'm media and I have lots of media friends. I enjoy their company, their point of view and their information. Len Pasquarelli was here on Wednesday, too. Len's a friend and a great reporter. He knows a lot more about this league than I do so I spent some time on Wednesday picking his brain, too. Peter and Len are old-time media guys. They're print guys who really work at their trade. I'm glad we still have people in this business who do it the old-fashioned way. We're fortunate in Jacksonville to have another old-fashioned beat guy, Vito Stellino. When I need to check my memory, I call Vito.

Bill from Jacksonvill:
I was listening to "ESPN Game Night" on the way home and they named the Jaguars as one of eight teams that "don't matter." What is it about Jacksonville that makes it so difficult for the national media to give the Jags any respect?

Vic: I'm not familiar with that show but I would disagree with that assessment. I think the Jaguars are one of those select teams that can say, "We'll go as far as our quarterback takes us." The teams that can say that are the ones that have good rosters. For those teams, it's all about how the quarterback plays. If the quarterback has a big year, the team will have a big year. The teams that can't make that statement are the ones that have glaring deficiencies in other areas. For those teams, it's not just about the quarterback. They have a bad defense or lack a running game, etc. I think the Jaguars will matter very much. Please don't start the we-don't-get-no-respect thing. Every time I hear it, I get queasy. It's so lame. It's so wimpy. Why is it so important to be liked by the media? Just win, baby, win.

Kevin from Hilton Head, SC:
We've been hearing a lot about Richard Collier. He's got great size and good feet, yet, he went undrafted. So what was the knock on him coming out in the draft?

Vic: The knock was that he played at a small college level and he would require grooming. So I guess it's come to that in this league. Teams have become so impatient that they can't look past the next season. That's why I say that, more than ever before, the smart teams are the ones that draft and develop. The bargain players, the potential "steals" of the draft, are within the ranks of the players who aren't ready to play now. Most teams aren't willing to spend time building next year's team. They're only focused on this year and that, in my opinion, is a big mistake. Richard Collier is raw and he's a little older (24) than most kids coming out of college. So what? He's big and talented. All he needs is some time and some attention.

Tim from Bella Vista, AR:
I am reading reports on that Matt Jones sprained an ankle and may miss the scrimmage. Has he asserted himself as a contender for one of the starting spots or is it still wide open?

Vic: Matt Jones has clearly been penciled in as one of the Jaguars' two starting wide receivers and, until he sprained his ankle on Monday night, he was playing up to that expectation. He's a much better football player than he was a year ago.

Shaun from Jacksonville:
I haven't been able to follow training camp this year as much as other years. I haven't heard anything about rookies tied to a goal post or ice water baths. Do you have any great rookie hazing stories for this camp or of years past?

Vic: You've come to the wrong guy if you like stories about hazing because I despise hazing. If I was a high draft pick and didn't have to worry about sending the wrong message to the coach or falling into disfavor with influential veterans, I wouldn't sing one note, carry one piece of chicken onto the plane or let them touch one hair on my head. I would treat the veteran players with the admiration and respect they deserve, and I would expect to be treated with the respect that should be afforded a young player eager to learn from those who have gone before him. I don't see nearly as much hazing on this team now as I did years ago. I saw way too much of it back then and if I had been the coach it would've ended real quick.

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