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The ultimate question

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

James from Socorro, NM:
Is Mike Thomas too small to be a number two wide receiver?

Vic: I like small receivers, as long as they're strong and can take a hit and Thomas is strong and can take a hit. I like small receivers because they tend to play along the ground, instead of posting up, so to speak, and trying to rebound every pass. By playing along the ground, I'm referring to a receiver who catches the ball on the run and keeps his feet moving along the ground through the catch. That's when you get your run after the catch, by splitting defenders who are playing the ball and not the receiver. Mike Thomas isn't too small for anything and he's proving it.

Sean and Matt from Middleburg, FL:
What would your doctor think about a turkey dog on wheat?

Vic: I eat them all the time. They're my replacement dog, but I don't know of any press boxes that serve them. After all, what team wants the sportswriters that cover it to live long?

Don from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
It's nice to have two teams and coaches that trust each other, play in different leagues and are only a short distance away. I guess it's safe to say as long as the two coaches are there the Falcons have become our sister team.

Vic: Yeah, I like that, too, and I hope you're right. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Atlanta. The Falcons have a beautiful facility and I enjoyed spending a little time in hill country. The whole experience had a real football feel to it and I think the Jaguars grew as a team from the two days of practices with the Falcons. Also, the Falcons have on their team several former Jaguars coaches and players and it warmed my heart to spend time with all of them.

Al from Jacksonville:
I really do appreciate you relaying the message to the GM. I've been to a few of their public practices and I'd ask a training staff member how I would go about playing and the response I'd get is that we do not accept people off the street. I really do thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to let Gene know what's going on and what I am trying to pursue. Thanks again.

Vic: No problem. I'm sure he'll be in touch soon.

Mike from Atlanta, GA:
What's the latest on the injured seats that are under repair? Will they be ready for the start of the season or are we looking for free agent seats?

Vic: My information is that a lot of them will be fine with some rehab. Some of the others, however, had to be waived injured. They cleared waivers and were then placed on injured reserve by the Jaguars.

Christopher from Kabul, Afghanistan:
What is your take on overtrained athlete syndrome?

Vic: OAS is increasingly becoming a problem in sports, especially as it pertains to the all-time home run list. Barry Bonds had OAS, too. Look what it did to his head.

Jim from Gainesville, FL:
I received an e-mail from "Team Teal" about the possibility of a number of the people on the Jacksonville City Council possibly not voting to approve the bill regarding the new naming rights for the stadium. Why would somebody vote no on this? It brings in money for the team, which is helping the team to stay here.

Vic: Maybe they're Gator fans.

Brad from Jacksonville:
I can't help but comment on the sarcasm in the response about providing college students with a discount.

Vic: What sarcasm? There wasn't any sarcasm. You're too cynical.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
I see an awful lot of what seems to be erroneous national commentary on our safeties competition. Yesterday, I read that Sean Considine and Gerald Alexander are competing for the free safety job and Reggie Nelson and Anthony Smith are competing for the strong safety job. First of all, it's ludicrous putting Reggie's name and strong safety in the same sentence but, also, isn't the modern game such that both safeties are now in effect free safeties? In other words, we're really just looking for the best two of the group, not one at each specific safety position?

Vic: In the Jaguars' case, they truly are looking for the best two of the group because three of them can play free or strong, so there's no chance the Jaguars would get caught with two free safeties or two strong safeties on the field at the same time. Against a passing team, such as the Colts, you want your safeties to be better in pass-coverage than they are in run-support, which means they are more free safety-like. Dallas Clark, for example, requires the safety covering him to be more mobile than he is physical, but it's an overstatement to say in today's game there's no need for a strong safety. When you play against teams with big, blocking tight ends and strong rushing attacks, you need a safety that can match up physically against that type of tight end and the run-support that'll be required to stop the opponents' running game. In other words, what works against the Colts and Texans isn't going to work against the Titans.

Bill from Jacksonville, FL:
Can you explain which nine offensive players play against which seven defenders and why that is done?

Vic: You're referring to nine-on-seven, which is also referred to as a middle-run drill. It includes five offensive linemen, a tight end, the quarterback, fullback and running back against the front seven (defensive linemen and linebackers) of the defense. Those are the players in each unit that are involved in the power run game.

Ron from Carbondale, IL:
Got any particular things to watch for during the first game this Friday? I'm one of those freaks who actually likes to watch preseason games.

Vic: Watch for protecting the quarterback and rushing the passer. Improvement on both sides of the ball begins with those two elements. It's where the focus has been. For the Jaguars to improve this season, they must do a better job of pass-blocking and pass-rushing.

Andrew from Jacksonville:
Will your live in-game blog this season also be linked to your Twitter account and not solely If not, can you make it happen?

Vic: We need an "Ask IT" column because I get questions every day about technical issues, such as the streaming of radio shows, that I can't answer. IT guys, wadda ya think? Anybody wanna do an "Ask IT?"

Jack from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jags would be interested in acquiring another veteran wide receiver to add experience to an inexperienced corps?

Vic: Yeah, I do, but not right now. I'd like to see them let this play out a little longer. Mike Thomas has put both hands on the number two receiver job and isn't letting go. Zach Miller is back at practice and he did good things in Atlanta. Jarett Dillard is about to return to practice and we'll soon find out what he can add to the mix, and Tiquan Underwood is on the rise. That's a lot of good-looking, young receivers, and I like young players. Why bring in some old guy if you don't need him?

Brendon from Monterey, CA:
When asked about rookie hazing in a recent interview, Peyton Manning said: "We don't do that around here because we don't treat the guys like rookies. We expect those guys to play this year and to play well." In other words, the Colts expect their players to be pros from the moment they walk in the door. I like that attitude.

Vic: So do I.

David from Jacksonville:
I haven't heard much about Rashad Jennings. How has he done in camp so far?

Vic: He's got the best hands of any running back on the team. Hey, he may have the best hands on the whole team, period. Because Jennings is such a big back, everybody cast him as a power runner, but what I'm seeing now is that his strong suit is catching passes out of the backfield. There's a lot more Lenny Moore in Jennings than there is Jerome Bettis. Jennings naturally likes having the ball thrown to him in space. It works for me.

Mark from West Hartford, CT:
What is the most important life lesson football has given to you, Vic?

Vic: It taught me how to get up. I didn't realize how often I'd have to do it.

Luis from Fleming Island, FL:
It seems as if you were having a good time up in Georgia. Did you like what you saw in terms of value from that joint venture?

Vic: I think it was better than a preseason game.

Jeremy from Navarre, FL:
Do you think the offense can carry the team while the defense improves or is it just that we are still a draft or two away from making the improvements necessary to compete with the elite teams?

Vic: You have asked what I consider to be the ultimate question about this team as we head toward the start of the season. I plan to write a story on that subject and post it later today.

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