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This is the "Dead Zone"

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

Stefano from Cairo, GA:
ESPN posted their NFL power rankings. Isn't it too early to decide who has improved since last year and who hasn't?

Vic: Of course it's too early. It's just in fun so don't take it seriously. We are now officially in the "Dead Zone" and it's going to be that way until training camp begins. This is vacation time. Players, coaches and even senior editors are going to take vacation time. Power rankings are just the media's way of giving you something to read.

J.R. from Orange Park, FL:
I would guess that all great defensive lines must have quality depth, therefore, I am curious about some players we do not hear about often, such as Anthony Maddox and Tony Williams. Do you think they will be solid contributors this coming season?

Vic: The Jaguars have sensational defensive line depth, especially at tackle. Marcus Stroud, John Henderson and Rob Meier represent the best 1-2-3 punch in the game, in my opinion. Anthony Maddox has made steady improvement and I noticed him on a couple of occasions in OTA's. He's quick and powerful. Tony Williams is an accomplished NFL player who's getting a second chance with the Jags. The Jags also have an undrafted rookie named Tony McDaniel. He's been impressive. The depth at tackle is fantastic.

Skipp from Niceville, FL:
Why, in your honest opinion, has there not been any national media attention to the fact that the Jaguars have sold out? I can surely remember all the negative press about not being able to fill the stadium.

Vic: There's an old saying in the newspaper business: When dog bites man, that's not a story. When man bites dog, that's a scoop. Apply that in this situation. Fans buying tickets isn't a national story. It's what's expected.

Christopher from Jacksonville:
I feel football players have a responsibility as role models for future players and children. Should they have a higher accountability?

Vic: I think it's wonderful when athletes allow themselves to serve as role models and conduct themselves accordingly, but I think it's unfair to expect that of them. In my opinion, parents are accountable for being role models, not athletes.

John from Brooklyn, NY:
What's been the status of Donovin Darius and Mike Peterson during spring practices?

Vic: They each finished the spring practicing and ready to go in training camp.

John from Newark, NJ:
Now that OTA's are over and the players are going to work-out and condition for the next few weeks, do they get out on the practice field and work on any plays or timing themselves? For example, does Byron practice his throws with the receivers?

Vic: Yeah, Byron will work with his receivers on their own. Teams are not permitted to conduct practices, but the players are allowed and they do.

Dan from Thousand Oaks, CA:
If Rich Beem hit the best shot of his life at the most important time of his life, would you consider him to be a "money player?"

Vic: He was on that day. That's all you have to be; a "money player" at the money time.

Freddie from Jacksonville:
I know you're not going to print this, but I'll ask anyway; I read the piece about the offense and saw Byron talking about how opened up it will be and how good they expect to be. I also saw where the defense dominated and the passing offense struggled. It seems we have heard this for three years now and every year Byron and the offense struggles, leaving the defense to win games. Our schedule is much tougher this year so why should we believe we will see anything other than Byron lying on his back or breaking an ankle trying to run? Are they really going to be better this year?

Vic: I don't know, but I think your analysis of Byron Leftwich is considerably off the mark. Leftwich did not struggle last season. He was the league's ninth-best passer with an 89.3 passer rating. I don't even think it's fair to characterize the offense as having struggled. They were 15th in the league in yardage and middle of the road in scoring, too. I think "middle of the road" is an accurate description of the offense's performance last year. I think you could also describe it as improved, which it was in the majority of major statistical categories. I will acknowledge that the passing game is a concern. I saw reason for concern in spring practices, when there was no pass-rush. Don't put it all on Leftwich. The other quarterbacks struggled at the same times Leftwich struggled. With Jimmy Smith gone, I think the receiving corps is reason for concern. I also think the young receivers have to be given time to develop their skills, but there is legitimate reason for concern. This team has spent each of its last four first-round picks on the passing game. It should be the strength of this team. If that's what you're saying, then I agree.

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