Skip to main content

Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

The third warning

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

Jack from Woodbine, GA:
How can you honestly think soccer is a boring sport? You obviously haven't heard of the names of Ronaldinho or Henry or even Christiano Ronaldo. Their play makes it exciting. Baseball is a more boring sport than soccer. What's fun about watching a pitcher throw balls that batters don't swing at? Soccer is the world's most popular sport. The World Cup is bigger than the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals rolled into one. You're a (derogatory term withheld) if you wouldn't want to hold a World Cup on your back porch.

Vic: Use your back porch.

David from Wales, UK:
Which would you say is the strongest division and which is the weakest?

Vic: The NFC East could become the strongest this year, if the Eagles make a comeback, as I expect they will. The weakest division will still be the NFC North. Look at the quarterbacks in that division: an old man, two re-treads and a guy who can't stay on the field.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
When a player decides to work out on his own like Fred Taylor is doing, does that create a rift between him and coach Del Rio?

Vic: It can anger the coach, if that's what you mean. Bears coach Lovie Smith demoted Thomas Jones and Lance Briggs to second team for mini-camp after Jones and Briggs opted not to participate in volunteer workouts this spring. Coaches want their players on the practice field. They expect them to volunteer to practice in the spring because they expect them to understand that they're paid handsomely to be the best they can be. Fred Taylor has chosen another route to being the best he can be, and he's entitled to do that. There will be no rift between Taylor and Jack Del Rio if Taylor is the best he can be in training camp. Taylor knows that and it was obvious during mini-camp that Taylor was in peak physical condition. Ultimately, it's all about performance. Fred knows that.

Chris from Albuquerque, NM:
What are your thoughts on what happened to "Big Ben" in Pittsburgh? Do you think he will be playing this year at all?

Vic: He was warned by his head coach last spring, after the Kellen Winslow motorcycle incident. Bill Cowher's warning to Roethlisberger was a big story; asked him first not to ride a motorcycle and then amended his request for Roethlisberger to wear a helmet when he rides. Roethlisberger ignored both requests. Last summer, Terry Bradshaw told Roethlisberger, "Ride it when you retire." Obviously, Roethlisberger ignored Bradshaw's advice. Yesterday, Roethlisberger got another warning, this one from the ultimate adviser. It was a very harsh warning that cost Roethlisberger his teeth and seven hours of facial surgery. I doubt he'll ignore this one. As far as what yesterday's accident means to his ability to play football, no one is saying just yet. If he is given the go-ahead to play, I would think the number one concern for him is that he might become gun-shy. At least he'd be wearing a helmet.

Kyle from New Jersey:
If James Harris was the first black quarterback to start on opening day, who was the first to ever start a pro football game?

Vic: Marlin Briscoe is the first black starting quarterback, passing for 1,589 yards and 14 touchdowns in his rookie season, 1968, with the Denver Broncos. Briscoe was moved to wide receiver the following season and never played quarterback again. Briscoe became one of the game's top wide receivers.

Nick from Annapolis, MD:
I have been playing and watching football and soccer for many years. I have found that in order to enjoy watching a soccer game, you need to either have played the game in the past or have sat through many other games. Once you do this you learn to appreciate what players are doing.

Vic: I never played it and have hardly watched it. I am not knowledgeable enough about soccer to offer a critique of it, other than my opinion that I don't like it. Why don't I like it? I don't like the idea of not being allowed to use your hands and I can't get interested in watching a sport that could be played by men wearing straightjackets. Any sport, in my opinion, that forbids the use of our arms and hands is ridiculous. In my opinion, that's what will always limit soccer's popularity in America. I know, I know; 15 billion this and 400 trillion that and they watch it on Mars. Baloney. If the World Cup final and an NFL preseason game were on opposing networks at the same time, the NFL game would win every time. It's a foreign game. It always has been a foreign game and it always will be a foreign game. It'll never be America's game. Go ahead and send me your hate mail. I don't care. I'm just giving you my opinion.

Josh from Kernersville, NC:
I've noticed you enjoy saying "underwear" practices a lot. From what I've heard over the last few months, these practices don't account for anything? Is there really an upside to these?

Vic: Does that offend you? I hope it doesn't excite you. We all know what it means. It's just a catchy and abbreviated way of saying "without full pads." What is the value of practices without full pads? They provide a forum for teaching players the plays. Players can dedicate themselves fully to learning the plays, without concern for the physical side of the game. Everything changes when the pads go on and the hitting is for real. When "Dr. Death" is sitting in the middle of the field staring at you, you better know the play by heart because your concerns have changed.

Bob from Jacksonville:
When do you think we will start seeing our draft picks signed and do you see any holdouts? We used to sign them really quick but now it seems to take a long time. Has our method changed?

Vic: You bet the Jaguars' method has changed. The new method is called salary cap management. In the beginning, the Jaguars had all of their draft picks signed by Memorial Day. It was abusive of the rest of the league because that meant the Jaguars were setting the going rate in each round, which meant the Jaguars were setting the price for every player in the draft. It had to be infuriating for the other teams in the league, who were trying to hold the line on salaries. The negotiations between the teams and their draft picks are important stuff because they're going to largely determine how much each team is going to spend on those players for the years they have them. This isn't something you rush, no more than the agents for the players want to rush into signing a bad contract. If all of the picks were signed by Memorial Day, who do you think won and how much money do you think it cost the team? History would suggest that we'll begin seeing the draft picks signing contracts about two weeks before the start of training camp. The bulk of the signings usually occur the week of the start of camp.

David from Wales, UK:
On a scale of 1-10, (10 being the most stupid) where do you rate "Big Ben's" decision to ride his motorcycle, which resulted in his accident? I'd give him a nine. I think 10's should be reserved for people like Bill Parcells for signing Terrell Owens.

Vic: He's 24 years old with a 27-4 record, including 5-1 in the postseason and a Super Bowl title. What would make him think he wasn't indestructible? Now he knows he's not.

Daniel from Orlando, FL:
Maybe you should check out some hockey; plenty of contact at a much faster pace than football.

Vic: I like playoff hockey; love playoff hockey. The sports that interest me aren't that many. I like football, baseball, basketball, boxing, golf and hockey.

Adam from Jacksonville:
Do they have a separate wing for all the flowers and candy Roethlisberger is going to get?

Vic: One of the most ridiculous things I've ever heard is that fans conducted a vigil outside the hospital last night, complete with lawn chairs and charcoal grills. They turned a seven-hour surgery into a tailgate party.

Lilly from Bilhalgnitels, NY (Real Town):
If Roethlisberger is out for this season (or the start), who are the front runners to start for them?

Vic: The Jaguars play the Steelers in week two. No one has offered a football prognosis on Roethlisberger, but if he isn't able to play when the Steelers come to Jacksonville, Charlie Batch would be the likely replacement, provided he can stay healthy between now and then. Batch had a promising pro career ruined by injuries. The guy just can't stay on the field. Behind Batch is second-year man Rod Rutherford, first-year man Shane Boyd and rookie Omar Jacobs. If Roethlisberger can't play, the Steelers will likely sign another veteran quarterback.

Andy from Royal Oak, MI:
All the talk I hear about a lead receiver is between Matt Jones and Reggie Williams. What about Wilford? Is it a foregone conclusion that he's a number three or, at best, a number two?

Vic: It's time we accept the truth and stop this ridiculous debate about who should be the number one receiver. Nothing is going to be decided in "underwear" (does that excite you?) practices. We all know Matt Jones is a big guy who can run and has soft hands. We all know Reggie Williams is a good practice player. We all know Ernest Wilford is a good game player. What we don't know is who fits where and that can't be decided until the competition is for real. You can't have real competition without full contact. That's my opinion. I'm not going to sell anyone short during OTA's. Let's see who does what in the preseason games. That'll determine who fits where heading into the regular season, then the regular season will determine if that's where they truly belong.

Tim from St. Louis, MO:
I tried to stay out of the "best fans" question but you dragged me in. What team, by a percentage of their local population, has the highest and lowest percent of participating fans?

Vic: If by "participating" you mean buying tickets, I would think that's easy to answer: Green Bay has the highest percentage of residents buying tickets and I would think New York has the lowest percentage of residents buying tickets. What does that mean? Nothing, because it's only a reflection of how small and large each city is. Attendance statistics really don't mean much at face value. You have to look into them deeply to know the depth of a city's passion for football. You have to look at pricing. Does the team announce tickets distributed or turnstile count? You have to look at stadium size, blackout rates, waiting lists, etc.

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