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These guys are tough

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

Thomas from Jacksonville:
I believe you mentioned safeties being able to cut tall tight ends like Marcedes Lewis. Could you explain what that means and how much a concern that is? Can you train to avoid that?

Vic: Safeties will go low on "Frankensteinish" tight ends, for the obvious reason that if they don't go low they'll get run over. Tall receivers in the middle of the field, therefore, have to be able to get their pads down and protect their lower bodies. Based on what I saw of Marcedes Lewis in mini-camp, he appears to be athletic enough to do that. At 6-6, his ability protect his lower body will be very important.

Brian from Durham, NC:
If Matt Jones has had trouble getting off against press coverage, why did he play the "X" in mini-camp? Wouldn't playing flanker allow him to get off the line better (until he learns to get off against press better from individual drills)? Do the other receivers have trouble getting off the press as well?

Vic: First of all, I don't know that Matt Jones is having difficulty getting off the jam, but, if he is, mini-camp is a good time to find out and start taking steps to fix it. The same goes for Ernest Wilford, Reggie Williams, etc. Somebody has to move into that "X" receiver role and getting off the line of scrimmage is a big part of that job.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
Did the recent mini-camp give Brian Williams the opportunity to showcase the ability the Jaguars were willing to pay a $10 million signing bonus for? How did the rest of the secondary perform, particularly the young players such as Starks, Richardson, and Webb?

Vic: You don't showcase anything in mini-camp. Mini-camp is for young players to learn the practice regimen. It's for re-establishing the regimen and announcing the start of another season. Mini-camp isn't football. Football is when you're trying to catch a punt in the RCA Dome, the piped-in crowd noise is full blast and you know a bunch of guys are heading right for you to hit you as hard as they can. All of the players you've mentioned used mini-camp to show they are fluid and athletic. Nothing counts, however, until the pads go on and the players are using them.

Tim from Tucson, AZ:
With all of the Hall of Fame talk about Jimmy Smith, another guy who retired and deserves discussion is Doug Flutie. While never a star in the NFL, he is arguably the best player in CFL history and it is the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Thoughts?

Vic: I think Flutie should be inducted. He has been a great and enduring professional football player who has given us memorable moments in every league in which he has played. Inducting Flutie would be a way of acknowledging and honoring the CFL, which has operated with distinction for a long time. Flutie is a famous football player. He's a great story about a little guy who's had a gigantic impact on the game.

Jonathan from King George, VA:
One receiver who continues to be disregarded is Keenan McCardell. Here's a guy who is very likely to surpass Jimmy Smith on the all-time reception list this season. He also has two Super Bowl touchdowns and a ring. He produced nine touchdowns last season, more than Jimmy did in any single season. Doesn't Keenan have a better chance to make it into the HOF than Jimmy does?

Vic: You've just made my point about what a difficult job it is evaluating wide receivers for Hall of Fame induction. You can make cases for a lot of receivers, based on statistical data. These guys are putting up incredible numbers in these pass-happy offenses. All of those stats, in my opinion, have to be carefully analyzed. How many of those touchdowns were game-winners? How many of them were at garbage time or inconsequential? What about the yards per reception? Here's the real big one: How feared was that player? That's the big one in Jimmy's favor. Jimmy was feared.

Jonas from Jacksonville:
When are the next practices for the Jags?

Vic: May 22-25.

Jim from St. Augustine, FL:
Which term is accurate, "slot back" or "slot receiver" and where is the "slot?"

Vic: In a three-wide receiver formation, the "slot" is that area between the tackle and the split end. Generally speaking, the "slot" is that area between the outside in-line blocker and the split receiver on that side of the field. "Slot back" and "slot receiver" are the same thing. In each case, that player is off the line of scrimmage.

Nathan from Mesa, AZ:
So what's the deal on merchandise now? Anything I buy Jaguars, from where ever I buy it, is shared revenue?

Vic: Everything has changed. The old model was DGR (designated gross revenue) and local revenue, which included merchandise sold on team websites and in team stores, was not among the revenue designated to be shared with the players. The new model under this CBA is TFR (total football revenue) and that means the players get 59.5 percent of the gross revenue of EVERYTHING. In the Jaguars' case, the players' 59.5 percent is equal to 65 percent of the Jaguars' gross revenue.

Daniel from Orlando, FL:
Can you please change the name of your column from "Ask Vic" to "Ask Vic about Chad Owens?"

Vic: Good one.

James from Puyallup, WA:
Which authors do you consider as your favorites and whose writing would you recommend to your school-aged readers?

Vic: I'm not a favorite-authors guy. I'll read anything I have in my hands and, in most cases, I will have enjoyed it. If it's good enough to have been published, it's probably good enough for me to read. If you're looking for a name, however, I'll recommend David Halberstam, a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who has a distinguished and easy-to-understand style of writing. Halberstam writes with conscience and sensitivity and I would certainly recommend his work for kids.

Richard from Altus, OK:
Why do hockey players get 14 stitches in the arm in a training room and continue the game when an NFL player would be out 4-6 weeks with a similar injury?

Vic: Mike Peterson sustained ligament damage in his wrist that required offseason surgery, but six days after he suffered the injury he was in the starting lineup against the Patriots. Stitches? Guys play with stitches all the time. How about broken bones? Khalif Barnes broke a bone in his lower leg in the first quarter of the playoff game in New England and he played the whole game. I think you're grossly underrating the toughness of football players. They'll measure up to any player in any sport.

Scott from Woodbridge,VA:
Do you see the Jags releasing anyone around June 1. I'm curious if we are holding on to Kyle Brady.

Vic: I think mini-camp made it obvious Kyle Brady will be the Jaguars' blocking tight end this season. That's what he does best and, in two-tight end formations, you have to have a tight end who is a premier blocker.

Joe from Wimberley, TX:
Who will be the number one receiver in your mind?

Vic: I would expect it to be either Reggie Williams or Matt Jones, for the obvious reason that they are each first-round draft picks.

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