Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

The bar has been raised

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

Beau from Twin Falls, ID:
Does Kennard Cox hold the franchise record for the most times cut and then re-signed?

Vic: Yes, he does. I didn't think anybody could beat Brant Boyer, but Cox blew him away.

Ryan from Charlotte, NC:
How could the NFL possibly regulate something as gray as how hard a team tries to win a game? Could they make rules about how long starters would have to play and when they could or could not be subbed in or out?

Vic: Tanking a game is like pornography: You'll know it when you see it and I think we all know what we saw a couple of weeks ago. As I said, I have no problem with a team resting its starters, but playing them for three quarters isn't resting them. What the league has to avoid is the perception of an in-game manipulation of the playoff seeding. In other words, reacting to the scoreboard. How do you regulate that? By fining and taking away draft picks. Hit a team with a $2 million fine or take away a second-round pick and watch how fast it stops.

Evan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
With the need of so many linemen on defense and offense, aren't we many years off from picking up enough big men if we just use the draft?

Vic: I don't know. You might be right. That's why you can't ignore those positions and draft wide receivers every year, as the Jaguars did. You gotta get the big guys. Forget about wide receivers. You get them when you can. Gene Smith has a big job ahead of him up front and he has to get lucky that the players he needs fall to him where he's picking. On the defensive line, I think it's possible that'll happen in next spring's draft because the crop of prospects appears to be strong and deep.

Scott from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I know we need big men primarily, but if a quarterback was the best available player when we are called in the draft, do we draft him or trade away that pick?

Vic: That would depend, of course, on what you could get in a trade. You're always looking for value. I wouldn't, however, have any problem with the Jags picking a quarterback.

Tiffany from Jacksonville:
Throughout this season you referred to it as rebuilding. Next season, will you refer to it as rebuilding again?

Vic: No, I won't. The expectation for next season was established yesterday in Jack Del Rio's season-ender. The expectation next season will be to make it into the playoffs.

Chris from Fernandina Beach, FL:
When does the coin flip take place that determines who picks first out of Chicago and the Jags? Surely it's before draft day.

Vic: It's done at the scouting combine. Maybe they'll let me cover it.

Bo from Warrensville, NC:
Do you think the rookies hit the wall?

Vic: It didn't appear that way to me on Sunday. The Jaguars' rookies were the dominant group on the field. Eugene Monroe played one of his best games. Watch him blossom next season. Terrance Knighton was dominant, Derek Cox made a big interception, Mike Thomas was used in multiple roles, Zach Miller was the Jags' most productive offensive player and Rashad Jennings showed distinct development and growth toward the end of the season. I don't see anything about the Jaguars' 0-4 finish that should be blamed on the rookies.

Don from St. Johns, FL:
Is it really too much to ask that all 16 games on the calendar be "circle games?"

Vic: This is an example of why coaches have to watch what they say. Their words will be twisted and used against them. I painted myself into a corner by suggesting the Colts game was given special treatment. I think you know what I meant but, you're right, it's not too much to ask.

Eddie from Jacksonville:
The season ends in failure for all but one team.

Vic: That's the perception that results from unrealistic expectations. Coaches and players have to speak in terms of the Super Bowl being the goal and anything short of that is a disappointment, but we don't have to be dumb enough to delude ourselves into believing that a team in rebuilding is a Super Bowl contender. We need to get away from the rhetoric, folks, and find the truth. That's one of the goals of this column. Never, not at any time going into or during this season, did I tell you the Super Bowl was the goal for this team. It would've been unprofessional of me to have done that.

John from Neptune Beach, FL:
If the linebacker position evolves into something more of a LB/DB hybrid in order to cover in the passing game, doesn't that place even more of a premium on big guys?

Vic: It absolutely does. It means you have to find defensive linemen that can stop the run without a lot of help. The days of getting that eighth man down in the box are fading away. We're heading toward the days of getting that fifth defender into the passing lanes, figuratively speaking, on every down, not just on passing downs.

Brian from Jacksonville:
I know you stress that a team should be built through the draft, but free agency can be just as useful. This team needs more veteran influence and, with Mr. Smith drafting, this team could be a serious contender. Do you agree?

Vic: If you're talking about bargain free agency, I agree. If you're talking about headline free agency, I don't agree. Listen to me, please. The kind of free agency you might be envisioning is dead, especially with 2010 being an uncapped year and the rules for unrestricted and restricted free agents changing. The crop of free agents is going to be slim. The UFA's will tend to be two years older on the average and their ranks will likely be full of over-the-hill guys. GM Gene will find patches in free agency, but it's not realistic to expect that he will find players around whom the team can build. Those "building-block" players almost have to come out of the draft.

Nelson from Hollywood, CA:
Is it just me or did the Jags start this game very lackluster? It seemed they were just going through the motions. What's your take on why the offense was so bland until the last possession of the first half?

Vic: You call a play, you run the play and it either works or it doesn't work. If it works, you're a genius. If it doesn't work, you're lackluster. Too many of the Jaguars' plays on Sunday didn't work.

Allen from Jacksonville:
The wild-card round of the playoffs has two games Saturday and two games Sunday. Why does the NFC have the more favorable time slot on both days? Is it luck of the draw or does the NFL schedule the games according to time zones or potential fan interest?

Vic: They schedule the games with several factors in mind, and chief among those factors is the potential for TV ratings. Big-market and high-profile teams usually get the best time slots because they usually deliver the highest ratings.

Dave from Snellville, GA:
What do you think of the year Chris Johnson of the Titans just had?

Vic: Your question immediately reminded me of the Tommy Lasorda "What do you think of Dave Kingman?" question. What do I think of Chris Johnson? I'll stop there.

Zoltan from Budapest, Hungary:
I read this quote from Jack Del Rio's season-ending press conference: "We're a young team that fought its way into (playoff) contention. Another strong offseason and we ought to knock the door down." Is this not raising the bar (and the expectations for the fan base) too high for a still-rebuilding team?

Vic: The bar has been officially raised. I can't imagine why any fan would complain.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content