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Titans want to run the ball

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

Jim from Greenville, NC:
Do college scouts focus by position or is the same scout expected to recognize talent at tailback and defensive line, for example?

Vic: Scouts are scouts for all positions. Beginning with the scouting combine in February, however, the coaching staff gets involved in the process, which means the specific position coaches offer their evaluations of the players within those coaches' specific disciplines.

Pete from Jacksonville:
With the Titans coming to Jacksonville, and seeing how their ground game is lacking, should the Jags still be concerned with them running down our throats or is there some other major concern our defense should emphasize?

Vic: Obviously, Steve McNair is the man you have to stop to beat the Titans. McNair is their star these days. But you must remember that what the Titans really want to do is run the ball. It is their base personality to choose run over pass. If they detect they can run it on you, they will. That's why you still must stop the run first against the Titans.

Nick from Jacksonville:
I've read almost every one of these "Ask Vic" columns for the past year and I still don't understand what you mean by "You pay it, you claim it."

Vic: Nick, it's real simple: When money is paid to a player, there's no taking it back; it must make its way through the team's salary cap at some point or another. This obviously refers to any bonus money paid. Salary isn't paid until the season begins, even though it appears on a team's salary cap in advance of it being paid. So, if a team cuts a player before the season begins, the salary it won't pay that player is then credited back to the team's salary cap. You pay it, you claim it; you don't pay it, you get a credit. Get it?

George from Drummonds, TN:
It seems that many college quarterbacks' successes are from raw talent and this mindset is taken into the pros. How long does it normally take a rookie quarterback to put his college successes behind him and start listening and adhering to the quarterbacks coach's and offensive coordinator's advice? Love the column.

Vic: If you're asking how long it takes a hot-shot college quarterback to discard his ego and accept his new place in professional football, I would say the answer is the first day of his rookie mini-camp. NFL coaches purposely throw the "book" at rookies to humble them and focus them on the incredible mental challenge they're facing. The typical NFL playbook is to its college counterpart what "War and Peace" is to "See Spot Run." Byron Leftwich is a special learner, but even he struggled in the spring. I can't think of a rookie quarterback of recent memory who thought of himself as being above the NFL challenge.

James from Jacksonville:
Donovin Darius would be a steal for any team. Do you think the Jags will make the mistake of not giving him a new contract?

Vic: All we know for sure is they couldn't reach an agreement the first time around.

Patrick from Pittsburgh, PA:
How can the Jags put Hanson on injured reserve, being as it was a non-football related injury?

Vic: The league allowed it. Obviously, Chris Hanson's situation involves special circumstances.

David from Peoria, IL:
I was hoping you could clarify a ruling for me. In the Jaguar/Dolphin game, when the player fumbled the ball and it was recovered in front of the play for a touchdown, I thought you could not fumble a ball forward. Could you help explain that for me?

Vic: I explained the whole "Holy Roller" thing after the San Diego game, so I'm only going to give you the abridged edition: You can't advance a fumble inside the two-minute warnings.

Walter from Jacksonville:
It's my belief the fans in this town are so used to the college game that they cannot understand the nuances of pro ball. I get tired of hearing, "Oh, Mark Brunell this and that." I love this team and I support them through thick and thin. Do you think this city will ever have true fans that other teams will fear when they come here to play?

Vic: And I get tired of hearing about how this is a college football town. If this is such a great college football town, then explain to me why the Jacksonville TV ratings for the Miami-Florida State game on Oct. 11 were beneath the Jacksonville TV ratings for the four o'clock NFL game between Pittsburgh and Denver the following day. Jacksonville's TV ratings for NFL games are very strong and overwhelmingly better than its TV ratings for college football, and I have plenty of other examples I can cite. I think the real problem is we're vastly underrating the NFL fan base in Jacksonville, and grossly overrating its interest in college football. In time, Jacksonville will embrace the nuances of the pro game as thoroughly as they have in the NFL's old-guard cities.

Joe from Guantanamo Bay, Cuba:
I have to take some exception to J.R. in Orange Park, FL. I agree that an outstanding defense (Ravens of 2001, Bucs of 2002) can be huge. It seems to me if you have a good offensive line, then you can not only score but control the clock. If you were designing a team and had to choose, which would you prefer to be stronger, the defensive front seven or offensive front six?

Vic: Defense, always.

Mike from Pensacola, FL:
Off the subject of the Jaguars, who are you pulling for in the World Series? Who is your favorite MLB team, or do you have one? This comes from a diehard Cubs fan.

Vic: If it had been the Cubs against the Yankees, I would've been rooting for the Cubs. If it had been the Red Sox against the Marlins, I would've been rooting for the Red Sox. If it had been the Red Sox against the Cubs, I would've been unable to choose, which is kind of the case with the Yankees and Marlins. I don't have a favorite, but I watch every game and thoroughly enjoy it. I grew up a huge Pirates fan. Roberto Clemente was my idol. I go back every year and see a game, and the Pirates' new ballpark is spectacular, but the Pirates have had 11 consecutive losing seasons and that's made it tough being a fan.

Jim from Jacksonville:
Though I understand its importance, I find talk of salary caps, amortization, etc., extremely boring, especially during the season. Any way you can place a moratorium on such talk during the season?

Vic: A moratorium? No. The salary cap is just too important to eliminate completely. But I do reduce the limits of such questions during the season. Jim, you'd be surprised how exciting the salary cap can be, once you understand it. I know it's difficult, but give it a try. I promise you won't regret it.

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