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Too early for FA talk

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

John from St. Augustine, FL:
I know you have been at this a long time, but it seems as though this year you have really taken off. I hear my friends quoting you all the time. You have your blog and "Ask Vic" has developed somewhat of a cult following. What do you attribute this recent success to?

Vic: Byron Leftwich.

Matt from Monticello, IN:
I just wanted to let you know that you are no longer the unique team writer who does blogging on the website. I just checked a few sites and noticed the Colts are now blogging. I think you started something.

Vic: The Colts sent the following letter to their season-ticket holders this week: "The NFL Playoffs are finally here and there is no place we would rather be! Throughout this exciting season, our "12th Man" has been the best in the league. This is a particularly vital element of homefield advantage as we head into the playoffs. In an effort to keep the RCA Dome a sea of blue, we are asking those of you who have tickets but cannot attend the game to do everything possible to make sure that your tickets end up in the hands of Colts fans. Our fans are critical to our success on the field, so if you cannot be there please make sure that someone who bleeds blue is in your seat. Thank you for your support. Go Indiana. Go Indianapolis. Go COLTS!" That's embarrassing.

Deborah from St. Simons Island, GA:
Why can't every Wednesday be "Ladies Day?"

Vic: We'll do it again. I'll announce from week to week when the next "Ladies Day" is.

Cheyne from Greensboro, NC:
Your take on the Reggie Williams situation, please?

Vic: What take? It's gonna put him in the program. He'll have to abide by its rules. It's that simple.

Anthony from Jacksonville:
After three years of Leftwich showing potential but not really reaching the level the Jaguars have been hoping, when does the team start making the QB starting job an open competition?

Vic: I have a problem with "reaching the level the Jaguars have been hoping." He finished the season as the league's ninth-ranked passer at 89.3, which is the third-highest passer rating by a Jaguars starting quarterback in team history. Leftwich threw 15 touchdown passes and five interceptions, which was one of the league's top touchdown/interception ratios. When he broke his ankle in Arizona, he was playing the best football of his career. I'm not quite sure why the perception is that he has under-achieved, but it clearly is the perception because my inbox is flooded daily with criticism of his performance. I'll leave you with this warning: If you chase this guy out of town, it may be a long time before you find someone as good or better.

Pete from Gainesville, VA:
In the beginning of the season you said the offense needed to get 20 points a game and we will win. Well, you were right on with that point. Every game that we scored 20 or more points we won. What do you think is the key about 20 points for this team? And do you see 20 points being a key milestone again next year?

Vic: I didn't invent that. That standard has applied for a long time for teams with respectable defenses. Score 20 and you win. From the offensive perspective, the standard has been hold 'em to 17. Pro football is a 20-17 game. If you gotta score 30 to win, you got problems. Forget about the Super Bowl, you're just playin' for stats that are gonna end up costing you a lot of cap room.

Scott from Waipahu, HI:
I've been trying to find out about Chad Owens the whole season. I can understand why you haven't mentioned him much because he's on the practice squad. Now that the season is over, what will the Jaguars organization do for him this coming season?

Vic: I'd like to see him go to Europe. He needs to play.

Daniel from Jacksonville:
There are a few free agent names that stick out: LeCharles Bentley and Steve Hutchinson. If we do not look to free agency for our offensive line needs, what about the possibility of acquiring Ricky Williams from the Dolphins, despite him not being a free agent?

Vic: I don't know if the Jaguars would have interest in Ricky Williams or not. I think he's a risky guy; does he really want to play? He gained 743 yards on 4.4 a carry and scored six touchdowns last year. That's pretty good. There's some risk/reward that might be interesting at the right price. As far as free agency is concerned, we all need to wait for the tags to be passed out. The window for designating "franchise" and "transition" players is Feb. 9-23. There's no use talking about free agents until we know which ones are going to be tagged. For example, last year these players were "franchised:" John Abraham, Shaun Alexander, Drew Brees, Donovin Darius, Darren Howard, Edgerrin James, Rudi Johnson, Orlando Pace, Julian Peterson, Corey Simon, Adam Vinatieri and Charles Woodson. Bubba Franks got a "transition" tag. What good did it do to talk about any of those guys? Then, right before free agency began, Walter Jones, Shawn Rodgers, Jerry Porter, Sean Ellis, Ryan Diem and Matt Hasselbeck signed new deals. Now it's March and free agency is beginning and we've wasted two months talking about guys who are either no longer worth pursuing or not available. You can't push the free agency season. All you can do it wait for it to begin.

John from Little Rock, AR:
Well, the season is over and Arkansans are ready to know what you thought of Matt Jones and where he needs improvement. Do you see him being a number one receiver and trading Jimmy Smith?

Vic: I don't think it's likely that Jimmy Smith has any trade value. As far as Matt Jones is concerned, hopes remain high. I need to see more toughness. That's all it is. When that happens, he's going to equal expectations. This is a tough game for tough guys.

Eric from Columbus, IN:
I play high school football and we refer to the day after the season ends as "Black Monday," when we turn in all our gear. What do the Jaguars do on their "Black Monday?"

Vic: The exit process consists of a physical exam for each player and the completion of offseason locator card information. The players meet with their position coaches and gather as a team for a final address from the head coach.

Robert from Las Vegas, NV:
What's the Jags' play of the season?

Vic: I'd be inclined to say it's Rashean Mathis' interception return for a touchdown in overtime against the Steelers.

Brian from Los Angeles, CA:
With Reggie Bush, Matt Leinart and Vince Young, I see this as one of the best NFL drafts, by far. In your opinion, has there been any better NFL drafts than the one coming soon?

Vic: I haven't studied the depth of this year's draft, but the three players you've mentioned don't give me a sense of security. I don't think they make this a strong draft. I think Leinart and Young would be major risk picks if they're taken in the top five, and even though Bush is clearly a great athlete and has the potential to be a great player in the mold of Marshall Faulk, I have reservations about his ability to run inside.

Sean from Jacksonville:
I can't stop hearing about how Leftwich needs to get rid of the ball sooner. I agree with that but you can't put all the blame on him. He needs his receivers to get open a little quicker so he actually has somewhere to throw it.

Vic: There are a lot of components that go into getting rid of the ball quickly; receivers getting open is just one of them. Another component is Byron Leftwich's footwork. He needs to get to the depth of the pocket quickly and efficiently. He needs to be in a tight throwing position and ready to deliver the ball when his back foot hits the depth of the pocket. Those are the mechanics he must perfect and there's no reason he can't perfect them. They require no special athletic ability.

John from Oklahoma City, OK:
I've never seen a Randall Cunningham game but is Vince Young similar to him?

Vic: No; Randall Cunningham had a long, flowing, high-release delivery and he threw darts. Young flips the ball from under his chin and I've seen him throw check-down passes that have an arc to them. If you wanna compare someone's throwing motion to Cunningham's, you might try Leftwich.

Brady from Richmond, VA:
Well the season is over and we have nothing to talk about until the draft. What are you going to do, Vic?

Vic: We'll have a lot of subject matter. For the next few weeks, our attention falls on the playoffs. After that, we'll immediately begin focusing on the "franchise" and "transition" tags, the scouting combine and the pursuit of a CBA extension. At the start of March, we'll dive into free agency and after that dies out we'll get right back into the draft.

Mike from Bridgeport, CT:
Is there anyone on the Jaguars roster worthy of "franchise" or "transition" tags?

Vic: No.

Jimmy from Jacksonville:
Since you did not correct Tim on 1-10-06, I will. Tim said you were way off the mark about Fred's big day. Is he crazy? You were right and everyone who knows football agrees with you. Now why he did not get more than eight chances on his big day is the important question. Very few running backs have big days with eight carries. Keep your opinions coming, Vic.

Vic: We'll never know what he could've done.

Dana from Jacksonville:
I am a female and I couldn't wait to get on to see what your response was on Wednesday to my question, but to my disappointment I wasn't in "Ask Vic." I assume you received more questions from women than you expected but, come on, posting questions about hot cheerleaders and drafting based on looks? I know you wanted to post a few questions of the ultimate female variety, but I still want to know where you stand in regards to your preference to Leftwich or Garrard. Are you not allowed to say who you prefer?

Vic: I was flooded by questions from female fans and I didn't come close to using most of them. The column has space limitations. Everybody knows that. As far as the incessant Leftwich or Garrard debate, how many times do I have to do this? I refuse to address the subject 10 times a day every day. I maintain that Leftwich should be the Jaguars' starting quarterback. For those who would say Leftwich and Garrard should be put into a competition for the job, my response is: Competition is constant. It's ongoing. All players are competing for their jobs at all times. NFL stands for Not For Long. You're looking for a daily proclamation. No coach can give that to you. Leftwich is the starting quarterback. Garrard is the backup. If at any time the backup begins playing better than the starter, the order will reverse. Everybody knows that. Proclamations aren't necessary. Everybody knows that, too. It's a long way from here to training camp. Nothing can be resolved along the way. I'm done with this subject until new developments occur. Those who persist in pursuing it will be wasting their energy.

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