Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Will from Jacksonville:
The announcement of Jimmy Smith retiring is stunning. He has been truly a great player for the Jaguars and we all wish him the best. What stands out the most to you about his career?
Vic: The way he came out of nowhere in the second half of the 1996 season to become one of the star pass-catchers in the league. I'll never forget his touchdown catch in the Jaguars' playoff win in Denver. I'll remember a lot of things. In 2002, when he held out for a bigger contract, I wrote that for the Jaguars to give Jimmy the money he wants would be an act of betrayal to all the guys the team had to cut to get under the cap; guys such as Keenan McCardell, Tony Boselli, etc. After Jimmy re-signed with the team he approached me about what I had written. He was angry at the opinion I had expressed. We exchanged thoughts and moved on and Jimmy never held a grudge. I call that being a pro. I like that a lot and I won't forget that about Jimmy, either.
Scott from Houghton, MI:
If Peyton Manning retired today, would you put him in the Hall of Fame?
Vic: Yes, what he's accomplished in his career is worthy of induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. There are a lot of guys in the Hall of Fame who didn't win championships. I never said winning a championship is a prerequisite for HOF induction.
Dennis from Orlando, FL:
All this talk about Barry Bonds surpassing Babe Ruth's 714 home runs and the historical significance of that statistic got me wondering if there are any similarly historical statistics in football.
Vic: We just saw a milestone set two years ago when Peyton Manning broke Dan Marino's single-season touchdown passes record. That's a football record of historical significance, as is the NFL's all-time rushing record, which we saw Emmitt Smith set in recent years.
Randall from Orange Park, FL:
I love your reasoning about a 1,000-yard back and agree wholeheartedly. Do you believe we are deep enough to have a running back by committee approach? I believe Mike Tice can coach us up to running the ball when we want to and impose our will on the defense no matter who runs the ball.
Vic: If you can establish a consistent running game with a committee approach, that's fine, but I prefer the roles approach. I like the running game to be defined: This is the first and second-downs back, this is the short-yardage back, this is the change-of-pace back and this is the pass-catcher out of the backfield. I like each guy to have a role and for each guy to embrace and execute his role. I think the Jaguars can have that kind of situation this year. They have a lot of backs who do a lot of different things.
Jeremy from Buford, GA:
I admit I am a huge Leftwich fan. I look past some of his faults and see a plethora of the essential attributes that the three guys mentioned prominently yesterday, Unitas, Montana and Brady, possess. Do you also see this or are you less impressed?
Vic: It doesn't matter what I see, it has to be done on the field. Byron Leftwich's performance will determine whether or not history will record him as a great quarterback. My point is that given the consistent gains he has produced through the first three years of his career, he has certainly earned the right to continue his pursuit of greatness. He is on track in his attempt to establish himself as one of the league's top passers. Now he has to go to a higher level. Anybody who wants to dump him now isn't thinking clearly. The next two years are his prove-it years. It's like that for any player who is approaching the end of a contract. The thing I like best about Byron is he understands all of that. He knows it's all about winning. He accepts the pressure that goes with the position. He never makes excuses.
Matt from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
What is going on in Houston? Who knows if Texans general manager Charlie Casserly had any input into this year's draft, but going into it with the first overall pick, having a lame-duck GM doesn't make any sense. The Texans obviously knew Casserly wasn't going to be around much longer.
Vic: Casserly had been rumored to be on his way out, so everyone knew whatever the Texans did with the first pick would be a team decision, not Casserly's. If Reggie Bush turns out to be Gale Sayers and Mario Williams becomes Huey Richardson, they can't hang that mistake on Charlie.
Justin from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Where do the jaguars.com video clips come from? They appear to be from non-NFL cameras. What will happen to these clips we have all grown accustomed to now that the NFL has prohibited non-NFL cameras on the field?
Vic: Dan Gadd shoots that film. He's an employee of jaguars.com, which means he's carrying an NFL camera and his video will continue to be seen on jaguars.com. I wish all accredited video media had the same access.
Cole from Little Rock, AR:
I love your sense of history and ability to recall some of the unheralded greats. They're often not players I would expect but they always merit the recognition. I love learning of these players, then going to check them out and see how good they really were. You've gone over positions such as linebacker, defensive back, quarterback, running back and even offensive line. Who are your all-time great defensive linemen?
Vic: Bob Lilly and Joe Greene at the tackles and Reggie White and Bruce Smith at the ends. Those are the heralded guys. Do you want unheralded guys? Mike Reid and Jerry Sherk at the tackles. Reid was the second-best defensive tackle in the game when he quit in the prime of his career to become a concert pianist; who knows what he would have achieved. Sherk was an undersized guy who always gave great effort and produced top results. Claude Humphrey and Rich "Tombstone" Jackson at the ends. Humphrey was a great talent hidden on bad teams. There was no better pure pass-rusher. Jackson was as physically dominant as any defensive lineman ever was, but Jackson's career was short and it was overshadowed by an age of great defensive ends, such as Bubba Smith and Carl Eller, just to name a few.
Neil from Gloucester, England:
What positions do you feel need strengthening for the Jags to be a true Super Bowl contender?
Vic: I guess I'd have to say wide receiver now. The Jaguars need one of their young wide receivers to become a star pass-catcher, to replace Jimmy Smith, and they need someone, such as Cortez Hankton or Chad Owens, to become a reliable backup. Maybe Smith's retirement will expand Marcedes Lewis' role.
Kelly from Rohnert Park, CA:
With mini-camp on the horizon, which players are you most looking forward to watching, aside from the rookie class?
Vic: I'd like to see where Jorge Cordova is in his recovery from the knee injury that wrecked the first two years of his career. I wanna see Mike Williams move around. Has Matt Jones added any bounce to his step? Is Reggie Williams focused? Mini-camp, however, is not the forum for making judgments on veteran players. Let's not push the envelope. This is early May. It's the rookies I want to see. I wanna see Marcedes Lewis adjust to the ball. I wanna see Maurice Drew on an NFL-sized practice field. Does Clint Ingram have a chance of taking a starting linebacker job? Can Brent Hawkins be a pass-rush specialist as a rookie? We won't get answers to those questions, either, but we'll begin the process.
Craig from Cochabamba, Bolivia:
With the upcoming season, who do you predict being Jacksonville's team to beat?
Vic: The Colts are the team to beat.