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Staying healthy is the goal

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

Eric from Jacksonville:
As a journalist who has been covering the NFL for years, can you explain why the writers who vote for the HOF can look at Fred Taylor's career stats and say he is not HOF material? Is it no Super Bowl? Is it that he's been to one Pro Bowl? What's more important when considering a player into the HOF, their incredible stats or their popularity?

Vic: When did anyone on the selection committee say Fred Taylor is not Hall of Fame material? Let him finish his career. Stop being so paranoid.

David from Jacksonville:
Anna from Cleveland clearly has a short memory. See: Quinn, Brady.

Vic: Brady Quinn was signed to a contract on Aug. 8 of last year. Only two first-round picks, Darrelle Revis of the Podunk New York Jets and Jamarcus Russell of the Raiders, signed their contracts after Quinn did.

Doug from Bunnell, FL:
In years past, the defensive unit pretty much dominated the offense in training camp. Based on your observations to this point, has that trend continued or does there seem to be more balance on both sides of the ball?

Vic: The defense dominated the offense early in spring OTAs, but the offense has drawn even with the defense since then.

Dan from St. Augustine, FL:
Hypothetically speaking, if the rookie salary structure wasn't altered (fixed) in the next CBA, could the owners band together and agree not to pay the next draft class any more than x amount of money?

Vic: The league can't do that unilaterally. The league has a Collective Bargaining Agreement in place and it must abide by the rules of that CBA, which doesn't provide for a wage limit for rookies. It provides for a rookie pool but, as I have said, teams have found ways to defeat the spirit of that rookie pool and that's why rookie salaries have skyrocketed. Simply put, a lack of leaguethink is the problem. That's why I blame the teams, not the players. As long as the league is operating under an agreement with its players, and I hope we don't see the flip side of that, the players union must agree to any restrictions on rookie compensation. A lot of people think the players union will agree to some kind of rookie scale the next time around, for the purpose of increasing compensation to veteran players. Wadda ya think would happen? Draft picks and young players would increase in value. That's why draft picks have always been more valuable than players; because, for the most part, young players are cheaper than veteran players. A rookie scale would only exacerbate that situation, and high picks would be the most affected by a scale. Everybody would want top 10 picks again. So what about the veterans who are gonna get more money? Well, I think there'd be fewer of them. In my opinion, the money has to be spread out evenly. That's the only way you're going to assure that one group doesn't become persona non grata.

Rob from Atlanta, GA:
What impact, if any, do you think this lighter training camp will have on the start of the regular season? On one hand I suppose players could feel fresher and have more energy but, then again, could they also not be ready physically for hitting?

Vic: From what I understand, training camps around the league are softer this year. The Europe roster exemptions are gone, roster numbers are down and coaches have decided not to take risks of losing key players to injuries and training camp. There's also a fatigue factor that coaches are attempting to avoid. The game is changing. First of all, it's not the hitting game it used to be. It's a game of skilled personnel and you can't afford to lose any of them. Years ago, when I first started covering training camps, the players' big complaint was the soreness and injuries they suffered to their hands. They were engaged in contact drills twice a day, every day and their hands took a terrible beating. I can remember a high-drafted rookie actually quitting because his hands were so sore. Mike Walker dislocated a finger last summer and it was as much a factor in his late-camp decline as his knee was. The coaches of today are the players who had sore hands years ago and they know that if they beat these guys up as their coaches beat them up, they're going to go into the season with soreness that will compromise their play.

Eddie from Cocoa, FL:
Why was yesterday's morning practice canceled?

Vic: The Jaguars had a pretty physical practice the night before and Jack Del Rio had an even more physical practice scheduled for Tuesday evening. He eased up on them.

Kyle from Jacksonville:
What's the point of posting Anna's question? What purpose does it serve? All it does is lower the level of discourse in "Ask Vic" and lord knows we don't need to lower the bar any lower. Is your ego that big that you couldn't let Anna win by not posting her comment? Get over yourself and remember that you're here for us, you conceited jerk. Have a nice day.

Vic: I'm here for you, man.

Joe from Washington, DC:
I have a bone of contention with you in your Art Monk/Jimmy Smith comparison. Art Monk, three rings. You know there were quite a few receivers better than Swann, they just didn't do it on the big stage.

Vic: Monk played on two Super Bowl champions, not three, but he really never did it on the big stage. Monk lacks a defining postseason moment and that's why it took him so long to get into the Hall of Fame. In three Super Bowls, he caught nine passes for 179 yards and no touchdowns.

Jason from Jacksonville:
I never thought I would see the day that the blandest people in the world (Clevelanders) would screw up enough courage to insult another city. There is nowhere quite as depressing as Cleveland.

Vic: I like Cleveland.

Brian from Jacksonville:
I find it ironic that someone from Cleveland, of all places, would call Jacksonville and Cincinnati Podunk towns.

Vic: Sam Wyche had a low opinion of Cleveland.

Chris from Lynchburg, VA:
Are you kidding me, Vic? No Ray Guy? How can you have a true position on the football field and not recognize it?

Vic: I have no problem with punters getting into the Hall of Fame, as long as they buy a ticket.

Cory from Valencia, CA:
Does the signing of Keith Rivers speed up the process of the Jags signing Harvey?

Vic: It could. The Rivers deal is responsible. It offers another perspective.

Ellen from Santa Barbara, CA:
When are the final cuts made?

Vic: Teams must cut to 75 players by Aug. 26 and to the final 53 by Aug. 30.

Jared from Beverly Hills, CA:
In your opinion, is Dermontti Dawson worthy of the Hall of Fame? Seven-time Pro-Bowler, six-time All-Pro and a member of the all-1990s team.

Vic: Look at those credentials. He may be the greatest center to ever play the game, yet, he's struggling to get into the Hall of Fame. Why? Because we've reached that point in history that a lot of great players have played this game and the competition for selection to the Hall of Fame has stiffened considerably. And we should put a punter in? Gimme a break.

Don from Rocky Mount, NC:
I loved the article on Spicer. With guys like him, and others like Garrard, how can anyone not be a fan of this team?

Vic: The great scouts are the ones who can look inside a guy and know that he has something that will make him a better player than his physical skills would seem to allow. Somebody in the Jaguars organization was able to look into Spicer's heart and see what he could be. The physical difference between great players and guys who get cut is very small and it is easily made up for by the difference in their love for the game. There is truly something to be said for players who love to play football. Look at Mike Peterson. Too small, huh? Not for a guy who loves to play football, as Mike does. Yeah, you have to have a lot of physical ability to play in this league, but it'll take you so far. A player's love for the game has to do the rest. It's what motivates him to be the best he can be. I have been fortunate to have covered a lot of players who truly love to play football.

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