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The true meaning of the game

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

Andy from Jacksonville:
I will be at the game Thursday. What should I look for and what are the Jaguars trying to accomplish in the preseason finale?

Vic: I honestly believe that winning the game will be more important to them than it was in any of the previous three games, for the obvious reason that nobody wants to go winless. As a result and depending on how the Redskins approach the game, we might get something we can use as a true indicator of what this team's direction is. Don't watch for the little things in this game. Watch for the big things. Do they run the ball? Do they convert on third down? Do they stop the run, force passing situations and then sack the quarterback?

Jon from Los Angeles, CA:
I just saw some surprising news: Kevin O'Connell cut. I don't know anything about the guy except that he was a third-round pick last year. The reason I write you is that you constantly refer to the Patriots and Steelers as model franchises. It seems like they never screw up an early pick. It is uncharacteristic of them to cut a third-rounder 16 months after drafting him. That is something that the Raiders would do. This is the biggest Belichick era draft mistake I have seen. Have you seen the Patriots botch a draft pick worse than this?

Vic: It happens, even to them. Here are some other third-round picks in the Belichick era: Brock Williams, Guss Scott and David Thomas. Ever hear of those guys doing anything? The Steelers drafted Alonzo Jackson in the second round and he was a complete bust. It happens to all teams. You're not going to bat a thousand in the draft, but you better hit some home runs along the way, picks such as: Tom Brady, Richard Seymour, Vince Woolfork, Asante Samuel, Ben Roethlisberger, Troy Polamalu, Santonio Holmes, LaMarr Woodley, etc. The quarterback position must be a priority position. When a quarterback pops up at the top of your board when it's your turn to pick, you don't dare say we don't need a quarterback and allow another team to pick him. The Patriots have drafted five quarterbacks, including Brady, since Belichick's first draft as Patriots coach in 2000; the Steelers have drafted five, including Roethlisberger, in the same period of time. The last time the Jaguars drafted a quarterback was in 2003 when they picked Byron Leftwich. That kind of drafting will change.

Cecelia from Jacksonville:
We are season ticket holders and have been for years. I talk to people about the games I attend all the time .When I try to talk people into going or even offer tickets to people the one thing I hear most often is sitting in the sun for four hours is too much heat. Is there any hope of shade being put in place? It is really hot and I think it would bring in more people than the Jaguars realize.

Vic: I've heard rumors the Jaguars are working on a shade machine.

Casey from Jacksonville:
Aside from likeliness, would it be within the rules to put Terrance Knighton in as a RB or TE, as he has suggested for goal-line situations?

Vic: Sure it would. All he has to do is report his eligibility to the referee.

Pete from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I just finished "The League." As you said, it was one outstanding tale and gave me a lot of insight into the NFL's historical loss of leaguethink. Do you think the owners can get the NFL back on track during these next two years?

Vic: If they do, it'll be on a new track because leaguethink is gone. Teams are on their own now and that's why I think it's unfair for the low-revenue teams to be on their own in revenue, yet, forced to share the burden of other teams' high-revenue ways, which is what the salary cap does by transferring the wealth of the high-revenue teams in the form of player-cost burdens on the low-revenue teams. Hey, if I can't share the wealth, then I don't wanna share the cost, and make no mistake about it, the meager revenue-sharing program in place now does not make up the difference. If it's everybody on their own, then the cap has to go so teams can spend according to their own earnings, not somebody else's.

Casey from Palm Coast, FL:
In your opinion, where in the draft should you pick a quality quarterback? Can you expect to find gems in the later rounds as you can with wide receivers?

Vic: You pick him wherever he fits. Quarterback is a premium position, which makes a good quarterback worth a lot more than a great tight end. If a good quarterback is available to you, pick him or trade the pick and recoup its value. Never give a good quarterback away, which is what you're doing when you pass on one in the draft, in any round.

Andrew from Toledo, OH:
You said the Steelers wouldn't have won without "Big Ben." Leftwich could have won it for them. Roethlisberger is not that good, he's just clutch.

Vic: He's not that good, he's just clutch. Wow! Those words say so much about this generation of young football fans. I have to believe your mind has been poisoned by either video games or fantasy football or both because you have no appreciation for winning and what it takes to put a team on your back with the whole world watching and carry it down the field 88 yards to victory. I truly hurt for you. What can I do to help you understand the true meaning and spirit of the game?

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Who holds the record for most touchdown passes in one NFL game and how many?

Vic: Five men are tied with seven touchdown passes each: Sid Luckman (Chicago Bears), Adrian Burk (Philadelphia Eagles), George Blanda (Houston Oilers), Y.A. Tittle (New York Giants), Joe Kapp (Minnesota Vikings).

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Preseason counts whether people believe it or not. If a player is injured, you lose. If the line is pushed all over the field, you lose. If your receivers drop passes and running backs fumble, you lose. If your special teams look like a cone drill for the other team, you lose. The players are playing their butts off. These guys are fighting for a chance to play in the NFL. I like what the Jaguars have done and I am impressed, even though they are 0-3. Bones that break, muscles that are torn and people losing jobs is not what I would call a dress rehearsal. The preseason is real. The effort is real. It's serious stuff. It all counts for something.

Vic: Food for thought.

Brian from Medina, NY:
Vince Lombardi once said "Football is two things: blocking and tackling." Which of those two things does the quarterback do? You said the Eagles need to just run the ball, but then the media couldn't gush over their quarterback as the sole pillar for the success of the team. Wouldn't that break your heart?

Vic: You're new to this column, aren't you?

Tom from Columbus, OH:
Why did the team re-sign Todd Boeckman after releasing him earlier this summer? What changed the team's position on him?

Vic: There weren't any players from Ohio State on the Jaguars roster.

Donna from Lincolnton, NC:
I hope Jacksonville Jaguars get stomped every game they play for the next five years for dropping Andy Strickland. There were a lot of sweatshirts, etc., going to be bought because he was picked. Now you lose. Jacksonville Jaguars suck. Stupid idiots.

Vic: I love the innocence.

Kenney from Jacksonville:
I saw an interview with Pittsburgh coach Mike Tomlin and he mentioned that his team's free agency consists of re-signing their own guys they want to keep. How many other teams have this philosophy and do you see Gene Smith using this method?

Vic: I don't know how many other teams have that philosophy, but it is clearly part of Gene Smith's philosophy, as evidenced by the re-signing of Brad Meester and Scott Starks. If you can pull it off, it would be very advantageous financially to re-sign the guys you want to keep, let the others go and replace them with draft picks. That would be the maximum of efficiency, but it's more likely that you'd have to dabble in bargain free agency, too.

Martin from Fernandina Beach, FL:
My understanding is that a helmet-to-helmet hit is a personal foul in all circumstances. Is that correct?

Vic: It is not correct. As I wrote on Monday, once you have been deemed to be a runner, hold onto your hat.

Ryan from Las Vegas, NV:
Why is it Sims-Walker now?

Vic: It's a means for Mike to honor his deceased father.

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