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Spotlight on Reggie

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

Jimmie from Niceville, FL:
I know it's only been a few days but the Titans sold out in minutes, hours or whatever it was. Can you tell me what ticket sales have been like since going on sale to the public on Saturday? I've seen enough preseason football. I now want to know how many Jags faithful are going to show up this year.

Vic: The Jaguars sold about 4,000 single-game tickets over the weekend. It was about what the Jaguars expected to sell; about the same as last year. Last year's kickoff to the single-game tickets sale included the Pittsburgh game, however, which provided a major boost. Where does this year's kickoff to single-game tickets sale leave the Jaguars? The team needs to sell about 3,000 non-premium-seat tickets to avoid a TV blackout for the season-opener against Seattle, but I think it's most important to understand that this is not about blackouts, it's about sellouts. Avoiding TV blackouts isn't going to stabilize the Jaguars' future in Jacksonville. Only sellouts can do that. The Jaguars need to sellout their eight regular-season games. That should be the attendance goal.

Mike from Jacksonville:
I love "Ask Vic" and your articles. I usually get a chance to read them at around three a.m., when I return home from my job as an investment banker. I was wondering whom do you feel has the best chance to overtake the Colts this season?

Vic: I believe the Jaguars have the best chance of the three AFC South teams who will be attempting to replace the Colts as division champions this year. Hey, when do you sleep?

Nelson from Jacksonville:
With the right defensive end position heating up a little due to Reggie Hayward's not-so-great showing in the preseason, do you see either Bobby McCray or Benard Thomas getting any starts when the season begins?

Vic: When you pay a guy a $10 million signing bonus, your decision on his playing time has been made. Don't ever think training camp begins with a level playing field for all players. This is professional football. It's about the money. A lot of money was invested in Reggie Hayward and it wasn't invested with the idea of "pay him now and we'll find out later." When you pay that kind of money, you gotta know now. The Jaguars are absolutely certain Hayward will be the productive pass-rusher they envisioned when they signed him in free agency. He is this team's starting defensive right end and he is without challenge. Now we count on his self-motivation to play up to the levels of his contract. You accept that risk when you participate in expensive free agency.

Skeeter from Jacksonville:
I really enjoy everything about, the radio and TV broadcasts. Keep up the great work. My question: Now that camp is over, how much daily access, if any, does the media have to watching practice?

Vic: Beginning this week and continuing through the rest of the season, reporters are permitted to watch only the first 20 minutes of practice.

Cary from Oviedo, FL:
How many times last year did the Jaguars go into the second quarter without a touchdown? It seems to me they rarely scored a touchdown in the first quarter. Can or have teams been successful without having those much-needed points early in a game?

Vic: This just in: The Jaguars need to improve on offense. Cary, teams that average 16.3 points per game seldom make the playoffs. The point you're making is long after the fact. Jack Del Rio fired Bill Musgrave immediately after the conclusion of last season because he agrees with you. Del Rio hired Carl Smith and Smith has co-authored an all-new playbook. The Jaguars have made sweeping changes on the offensive side of the ball and one of the reasons for those changes is the team's poor performance in the first quarter of games last year. The Jaguars scored only 35 points in 16 opening quarters. They were in the lead at the end of the first quarter in only four games. They only scored five first-quarter touchdowns and didn't kick a field goal in the first quarter of any game.

Joel from Jacksonville:
How much playing time will the first team offense and defense see on Thursday night?

Vic: I'm going to guess that both first units will play into the third quarter but will be off the field by the end of the quarter. Jack Del Rio wasn't specific about playing time when I asked him about it on Monday.

Warren from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I don't believe I can thank you enough for your contribution to this team. Secondly, what will it take for Ernest Wilford to start on this team, or is it just not possible?

Vic: I don't think the title "starter" is that big of an issue for Ernest Wilford, although his agent would certainly disagree. What I mean is that Wilford established himself last season as one of those playmakers James Harris is seeking. Wilford would come into the game and, almost magically, do something dramatic. If he played more would he make more plays? I don't know. A lot of guys' careers went into decline when they became starters. Some guys are just better coming off the bench; better as pinch-hitters, sixth men, etc. I can't help but be reminded of the Chico Ruiz line: "Bench me or trade me." Wilford is a receiver for whom the Jaguars appear to have specific tasks in mind. Clearly, he's a red-zone target. They like to use him to score touchdowns and they like to isolate him on shorter defenders and let him go up for the ball along the sideline. Those kinds of specific roles have to be set up; they have to be manufactured. Will they present themselves naturally if he's in the starting lineup? I don't know. To answer your question directly, I just don't think Wilford has the speed to be a starting NFL wide receiver. He's a wonderful football player who's a valuable wide receiver in specific roles. Now, if he wants to be a starter in the NFL, and this is where Jeff Lageman and I disagree, I think he should consider a move to tight end. Wilford is powerfully built and thick through the lower body. He reminds me of someone I covered years ago – Larry Brown – who bulked up and made the move from tight end to offensive tackle and became one of the top offensive linemen in the league. Wilford is built a lot like Brown was before he made the move and I have a feeling Wilford could add a lot of bulk and strength. He's already a strong, tough guy and he learned football in a VPI program that is built on blocking and tackling. As a tight end, Wilford's speed would be just fine.

Wade from Gainesville, FL:
We've been told Leftwich will have more freedom to audible at the line. Has he been successful at this so far in the preseason or is it not the right point in the season to make that kind of call? I would think he could at least practice his audible skills in the preseason.

Vic: It's not something the Jaguars are going to expose or feature in the preseason. Practice is closed to the media now. Whatever this team is going to use against Seattle in the season-opener is being practiced now. Remember, Carl Smith is a new coordinator with a new playbook. There isn't a whole lot of information on him. He could present significant preparation problems for Seattle. That was the reason Jack Del Rio wanted to close training camp to the media for the third week. He wanted to begin working on stuff for the opener. When the commissioner ruled that all training camps would remain open to the media through the second preseason game, Del Rio lost a week of secret work. You can bet they're doing it now. Will Byron Leftwich be armed with an audible system this season? We'll have to wait to find out.

Dana from Jacksonville:
So now the complaint of the day is Reggie Williams celebrating. It's probably the same fans that wanted Terrell Owens to be a Jaguar. It's infuriating! What's your take on the constant criticism and negativity?

Vic: I'm not sure what the root of it is, but don't blame this one on the media. You should see the e-mails I get from fans.

Mark from Savannah, GA:
You warned everyone that the Miami game was a gift and now the Jags-Falcons game is blacked out. Mr. Weaver has done his part. What is it gonna take for the fans to realize we have something special and they need to support this team?

Vic: Blackouts.

Roland from Jacksonville:
Don't you get embarrassed by what Reggie Williams is doing by celebrating a 10-yard reception? It's laughable.

Vic: When you turn the spotlight on yourself, you accept the demands that come with that attention. That's why I don't have a problem with Reggie Williams' celebrations. OK, we're watching. Show us what you can do.

E.J. from Jacksonville:
Del Rio said if things go well Taylor won't play against Dallas so he can get a one-week rest before the regular season starts, but he hasn't played in the first two preseason games. My question is how many carries do you think Taylor will have against the Falcons?

Vic: Based on Jack Del Rio's "little taste of live action" comment on Monday, I'm guessing Fred Taylor will carry the ball no more than five times in Thursday's game.

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