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Time will sort it all out

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

Alan from Jacksonville:
The article on Quentin Groves quotes him as saying he didn't know how to lift weights. How is it that a player from a high-profile college wouldn't know how to lift weights before entering the NFL? It seems to be a common comment, too, not just Quentin. How is it NFL lifting techniques aren't being used in the big colleges?

Vic: Everything in the NFL is more concentrated and executed at a higher level of performance. What Groves was saying is that the intensity of preparation was a shock to him. He needed to do more; a lot more.

Troy from Murrieta, CA:
If the Jags have Cutler rated ahead of someone like Sanchez, and Sanchez is believed to be a strong candidate for BAP at number eight, wouldn't it make sense for them to be interested in trading for Cutler?

Vic: I don't know what the Jaguars think of Jay Cutler and they're not going to tell me. I think the Jaguars do, in fact, have real interest in Mark Sanchez and Matt Stafford, for the obvious reason that if one was available at pick eight, he would likely be the BAP, but I have no information on the validity of reports that they had expressed interest in Cutler. I'll give you a guess on their interest in Cutler, but you must understand that it is only a guess. It goes like this: If I was the Jaguars and I had the eighth pick of the draft, where it appears a quarterback might fit, I would give Denver a call to talk to them about the Cutler situation, with the idea that if they traded him to another team, they might want to trade with me so they could draft a quarterback. I would want them to know that I might be agreeable to that, and if they wanted to fit that into a three-team deal, I might be agreeable to that, too.

Leo from Atlanta, GA:
If signing bonuses are guaranteed, why do I sometimes hear about teams trying to recoup old bonuses, such as the Vick situation in Atlanta?

Vic: Because he didn't fulfill his contractual obligation due to a criminal conviction. It's not here's your signing bonus, you can quit now. It's here's your signing bonus and if you fulfill the obligations of the contract, the bonus is guaranteed, even if you're cut.

Dustin from Kissimmee, FL:
Do coaches hate the preseason as much as the players?

Vic: No, coaches like the preseason. Coaches like a lot of practice and preparation. The more they can observe players in action, the more accurately they can evaluate talent and utilize it.

Bill from Jacksonville:
Now that he is officially on the trading block, what would you give up for Jay Cutler?

Vic: If I'm interested in trading for Cutler and I have a pricey quarterback, the first thing I know is that I have to find a team that wants my quarterback. This isn't the same as drafting a young quarterback. Cutler is a Pro-Bowl quarterback. He immediately steps into the starting lineup. You're also looking at a big-time spike in his salary in 2011 to $14 million, which means you'd like to re-do him in two years. In a perfect world, you'd trade your quarterback for the Broncos' quarterback, but that's not realistic, and I'm speaking in general terms only.

Max from Jacksonville:
There's a psychology principle that the more familiar you are with someone or something, the more favorable you find it. You forget why you heard about the person so much; you just remember hearing about them. So when Chad Johnson and T.O. are on ESPN every day for something stupid, people look back and remember always hearing about them. They assume the majority of these events were for something good, rather than the reality that most times these two are on ESPN for negative reasons.

Vic: Max, would you mind terribly if I put your very clinical lesson in psychology in old-fashioned newspaper terms? Any ink is good ink, Max. Once upon a time, when baseball ruled the sports world, that was the NFL's PR slogan.

Robert from Avon, CO:
Can you explain the five-yard chuck rule? Also how did Lawrence Taylor change the way defense is played?

Vic: It's simple. If you're in press coverage against Larry Fitzgerald, once he's beyond five yards of the line of scrimmage, don't touch him any more until the ball does. That's gonna make it tough covering him, isn't it? Taylor changed the game by showing coaches a new way and with a new fury how to sack the quarterback. Remember, sacks did not become an official stat until 1982, which was Taylor's second season. He may not have invented the sack, but he sure brought it to prominence.

Dave from Jacksonville:
Do the players under contract now include the practice squad players from last year?

Vic: Not all of them because players moved on and off the practice squad all through the season. Yeah, some were retained, but there is no practice squad now. Teams may not name an eight-man practice squad until after final cuts.

Bill from Hamden, CT:
Where do you think Mr. Cutler will end up and what will Denver get in return?

Vic: I think the Lions and Jets are the top candidates and the Broncos are likely to get a king's ransom for Cutler. Hey, he's a franchise quarterback and they are expensive.

Michael from Gainesville, FL:
"Johnny U" by Tom Callahan also makes for an excellent read. Not only about an amazing individual but also for league history. One of my favorite passages is the description by a rookie running back incredulous about the defensive players hitting him way out of bounds. He correctly concluded that the play wasn't over until they decided it was. Whether the whistle blew, you were out of bounds or had already scored, you were going to get hit and hit hard.

Vic: Yeah, that's the way the game was played back then. They were tough guys but don't think today's players couldn't play that way if they were playing back then. They could. You can't, however, play that way today because the players' physiques are so much more powerful than those of Unitas' era. The game wasn't nearly as protective of players back then as it is today, and for good reason: It didn't have to protect them because injuries weren't as many or as severe as they are today. I remember, as a kid, watching John Henry Johnson take exception to being hit out of bounds in the L.A. Coliseum, and then picking up a free-standing yard-line marker and hitting a defender over the head with it, and there was no penalty. The officials just stepped in, broke it up and sent the players back to their huddles. Nowadays, we'd have a week-long debate about whether or not Johnson should be suspended for a game. It was just a different game back then and you can't compare it to today's game. The game back then may have been tougher, but today's game is more lethal and the league must be vigilant about player safety.

John from San Jose, Costa Rica:
I'm pretty sure you write questions yourself and then answer your own questions.

Vic: Wadda ya think now?

Aaron from Jacksonville:
How are the players that don't end up making the team paid? I know the people who make the team get paid after the games, but I can't imagine an undrafted person spending months training and practicing with a team without some sort of paycheck.

Vic: An undrafted rookie is likely to sign a contract for about $5,000 in signing bonus; some for less, some for more. He only gets per diem and housing expenses during offseason conditioning and OTA's. During training camp, he receives a weekly stipend of less than a thousand dollars. If he doesn't make the team, he's free of injury and he's released, then he's on his own.

Brandon from Jacksonville:
How could we justify drafting a QB with the eighth pick and have him sit behind Garrard when we have so many holes to fill? Is it fair to say that paying a player to sit is not a luxury we have at the moment?

Vic: The draft isn't about filling holes, it's about collecting talent. Who knows where the holes will be? The Jaguars opted not to address left tackle last year because they had a young tackle, Richard Collier, who they believed was the future at the position and they could wait another year to find out if that, in fact, was the case. Need I say more? You pick the best players available and you let fate plug them in. Time will sort it all out.

Mark from Boise, ID:
There has been some mumblings from fans on the message boards about your opinion and writing style being old and bitter, what would your response to them be?

Vic: My response would be that they are entitled to their opinion and I welcome it. My confusion is what do you have to do to be young and happy? When, for all those years, I espoused the virtues of run the ball and stop the run, I was criticized for being old and bitter. Now that I've changed my mind and have come to accept that the game is about pass the ball and stop the pass, I'm still old and bitter.

Andrew from Jacksonville:
So much for Dallas signing Matt Jones. Do you see the Jags possibly letting anyone else go, or do you think they are done purging their roster?

Vic: I think the roster will undergo a lot of changes before the season-opener. We're in a period of change, folks.

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