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Struggling to get a feel

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

William from St. Augustine, FL:
The Joe from Orlando dialogue brings to mind one of the most profound Vicisms: "Good teams don't take what you give them, they take what they want."

Vic: It's always been true and still is. Even in this era of finesse football, good teams do what they do best. You don't dictate to them, they dictate to you. The 2009 Saints are the classic example. The aggressiveness with which they played in the Super Bowl was almost reckless: going for it instead of kicking chip-shot field goals and onside kick attempts. The Colts are another example. Only once have I seen a team force the Colts to stop throwing and start running, and that was the Jaguars in 2006 when they threw a defense at them that was so loaded up for the pass and was so giving of the run that offensive coordinator Tom Moore eventually surrendered to logic and ran the ball, which resulted in a long, sustained, game-winning touchdown drive. Good teams have a template for their performance. The '60s Packers were going to run the power sweep, the '70s Steelers were going to run the traps, the '80s 49ers were going to run "sprint right option," and the '90s Cowboys were going to run the lead draw with Emmitt, yet, nobody could stop those teams from successfully running those plays. That's why those teams were great; they were unstoppable. You couldn't stop them with plays; you needed better players. Great teams have great players.

Tommy from Jacksonville:
Give us the deadlines for cuts and numbers, please.

Vic: Rosters must be cut to 75 by Aug. 31 and to 53 by Sept. 4.

Colton from Littleton, CO:
Eugene Monroe was good in his press conference. Can we expect more interviews with Eugene in the future?

Vic: You sure can and what you're going to continue to see is the emergence of a professional football player. Eugene is going to be one of my favorites. He's a calm, dedicated, talented player who doesn't give you the rah-rah crap, he just gives you the sincerity I've come to expect from a pro. I saw it in him the first time I met him. I felt like he was measuring me. He wasn't quite sure about pro football. A part of him, as you can see in nearly all rookies, wanted to be back in the comfort and security of college football. That guy's gone now and the faster young players leave college behind and understand they're now in the real world, where you play for pay, the sooner they reach their potential. Eugene is rapidly closing on his potential and you can see it in his demeanor and hear it in his voice. I think the Jaguars have a guy who truly is worth the eighth pick of the draft.

Matt from Reno, NV:
Yesterday you mentioned the team psychologist. What exactly does the psychologist do? Sounds like another interesting aspect of football the average fan does not know much about.

Vic: The psychologist asks you if you like your mother. If you say no, he asks you if you like your father. If you say no, he asks you if you like anybody. If you say no to that, he recommends to the coach that your play time be increased.

Evan from Fruit Cove, FL:
What do you make of the Pat White situation in Miami? Do you think he will be cut from the team? If so, do you think he would be a player worth looking at for the Jaguars?

Vic: In the Steelers-Dolphins game last year on the final Sunday of the season, White got hit along the sideline. It was vicious and there was real fear that he was seriously injured. It was one of those hits that the guy goes limp in mid-air and all of the players around him are signaling for the trainer to get there before the guy even hits the ground. I thought to myself that White needs to be a wide receiver. This is a very tough game for big and physical guys. I don't think the average college football fan appreciates the gap between college football and pro football. Pat White is one of the great players in college football history. We're talking about a guy who embarrassed Georgia and Oklahoma in bowl games. It appears, however, that pro football is too big for him, at least as a quarterback. He probably needs to give receiver a try.

James from Milton Keynes, England:
When a player thanks God for his performance, does that not count as too many men on the field? Seriously, though, how do you feel about players bringing God and religion into football, by thanking God after a win, as if God loves him more than the other team? In fact, if the player actually thinks it was God's will that caused a victory, is that not selfish that he is praying to win an essentially meaningless game when there are so many problems and so much suffering in our world?

Vic: I just like to watch.

Nick from London, England:
When do single-game tickets go on sale for the Broncos game?

Vic: There ain't gonna be no single-game sale for tickets to the Broncos game.

Eric from Jacksonville:
I found another excuse that my dad came up with (let it be known I am a season-ticket holder). He thinks that increased child support enforcement has eaten up the entertainment dollar.

Vic: Blame it on child support?

Willis from Jacksonville:
Do you think an 18-game season would be offset by the game becoming basketball on grass?

Vic: I said that a couple of years ago and people wanted to know what I had heard. Did I have inside information? No, I didn't have inside information, I had history to tell me that's what's likely to happen. Look back to the last time the league increased the number of regular-season games, from 14 to 16 in 1978. What did the league do to accommodate the increase? They softened the game by promoting the pass. They outlawed the head slap (1977) and bump-and-run, and they allowed offensive linemen to use their hands to pass-protect, which essentially was a measure to help protect the quarterback from being hit. The cumulative effect of those rules changes was to create a product we later dubbed "basketball on grass." Do you think the league will do it again? Of course it will.

Aaron from St. Augustine, FL:
If a player has a looming four-game suspension and he is placed on the PUP list due to a nagging injury, is he allowed to serve his suspension during his time on PUP? If not, why does a team put them on the PUP list to begin with?

Vic: Yes, a player can serve his suspension while on PUP, but he wouldn't be paid, of course. There's only one reason a team puts a player on PUP: to avoid using a roster spot for a player who's not able to play now but may be able to play at a later date.

Jim from Jacksonville:
If Deji Karim is out for awhile in the preseason, who's most likely to handle kickoff returns in his absence?

Vic: My expectation is that Scotty McGee will get an increased look as the team's return specialist. Mike Thomas has proven he can handle the chores.

Chris from Nashville, TN:
I think you are on the money about the combined practices being better than preseason games for player evaluation with one exception: The preseason games give the players on the bubble the opportunity to be seen on tape by other teams. Are the combined practices also taped and distributed so that talent evaluators from all teams can see them?

Vic: No, they are not, and that's another reason teams are going to favor combined practices. Nobody is going to see those practices except them and the other team. What you're gonna end up seeing is that the teams that conduct combined practices are going to turn to each other's rosters more often when they need a player in a pinch, because they've seen the guy practice.

Greg from Kansas City, MO:
If a player gets traded from one team to another, is he immediately responsible for finding a place to live or will the team put the player in a hotel for awhile?

Vic: The CBA provides for transition costs. The team is responsible for those costs up to a limit.

Joe from Rutherford, NJ:
Have you ever heard of owners switching teams before? I heard someone mention it while watching the Rams-Browns game. Any insight?

Vic: In 1972, Robert Irsay and Carroll Rosenbloom switched ownerships of the Rams and Colts franchises. The Colts were an NFL flagship franchise under Rosenbloom. Irsay's acquisition of the Colts is considered to have been the beginning of the end by Baltimore fans. Some would say the switch didn't do Rosenbloom any good, either.

Logan from Jacksonville:
If you have a left-handed quarterback, then is the premier tackle position on the right side?

Vic: Not unless the opponent's premier pass-rusher moves from the defense's right side to the left side. The best pass-rushers are typically at right defensive end and they usually stay at that position, regardless of the hand with which the quarterback throws the ball.

Mike from Jacksonville:
What would you think about a two-game preseason in which a week of combined practices culminates in a game between those two teams?

Vic: The Falcons and Patriots just did that. The Saints and Texans also did it.

Jodi from Fleming Island, FL:
Will you be disappointed if we don't win on Saturday vs. the Bucs?

Vic: I'll be disappointed if the Jaguars win and don't play well. I know what playing well looks like and I don't need a scoreboard to tell me. Playing well is what's important in the preseason, not the score, which can often be misleading.

Nathan from Bismarck, AR:
It's a good 8-8 2010 schedule, as the Jags take third in the division, right under the Texans, who squeak into the playoffs or just miss at 10-6. Realist or optimist?

Vic: I don't know. I'm struggling to get a feel for this team. I think they have the potential to be real good on offense, but I see reason for alarms on defense. If the Jags can find a way to mask their deficiencies on defense until Aaron Kampman is back to being his old self and Tyson Alualu becomes the player he's expected to be, then I think this team would have a chance to exceed your expectations. If, however, they don't improve on their current level of defensive performance, that could be a problem. As I wrote before camp began, the defense will determine this team's ultimate fate.

John from Atlantic Beach, FL:
There's a poll on ESPN asking which quarterback you would want for the next five years, between Bradford, Brady, Manning and Rodgers. Forty-four percent for Manning, 42 percent for Rodgers and only 12 percent for Brady.

Vic: For the next five years? Given those choices, Rodgers should've gotten 100 percent of the vote.

Eric from Brooklyn, NY:
With the recent "Forbes" list showing the Jags as the least valuable team in the NFL at $725 million, how much of that is reflected on the fan base and the lack of support?

Vic: It's about ticket revenue, among other things. When you have one of the least expensive tickets in the league and you lead the league in blackouts, you're going to be at the bottom of the league's ticket-revenue rankings and that's going to damage a franchise's worth.

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