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Truth about Jacksonville

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

Greg from Jacksonville:
Being that Jacksonville is on center stage for Super Bowl week, how will the Jags use this week to court prospective free agents?

Vic: Court free agents? How many draft picks do you want to lose for tampering? Players who are scheduled to become free agents do not become free agents until March 2 and teams are not permitted to make contact with them until then. Please be patient.

Mike from Orlando, FL:
If the Patriots win on Sunday they will have won three of the last four Super Bowls. My question is what happened in that fourth year, 2002, when they didn't even make the playoffs? What was different then from the other three Super Bowl seasons?

Vic: The Patriots' 2002 free agent class was a major downer. They spent a lot of money and got little in the way of return, a year after being the kings of free agency.

Andy from Palm Coast, FL:
Has any city ever had a World Series and a Super Bowl champion in the same year?

Vic: Pittsburgh won the 1979 Super Bowl and World Series. The Steelers and Pirates did it in the same calendar year and in the same seasons, since the Steelers won the Super Bowl in the 1978 (Jan. of '79) and '79 (Jan. of '80) seasons and the Pirates won the World Series in '79. Should the Patriots win the Super Bowl, they would accomplish the same feat with the Red Sox that the Steelers and Pirates achieved; consecutive Patriots Super Bowl titles sandwiching one Red Sox World Series crown. The Jets and Mets won in the same calendar year, 1969, though they were technically in different seasons. The Mets and Giants won in the same season, 1986, though in different calendar years.

Chris from Gainesville, FL:
You don't have to explain the "West Coast" philosophy again, but my question is this: How do you determine a "West Coast" player? What qualities does he have?

Vic: A "West Coast" quarterback is mobile and able to throw on the move. He relies more on finesse and accuracy than he does on arm strength. A "West Coast" tight end is more of a pass-catcher than he is a blocker. He's usually a little undersized and more nimble getting into and out of his cuts than you would expect from a tight end who is a traditional in-line blocker. "West Coast" running backs have to be good pass-catchers. The demands on wide receivers are pretty much the same in any offensive formation, though "West Coast" types tend to be more about finesse and instinct than physical power. When you put all of that together, do you think the "West Coast offense" fit the Jaguars' offensive personnel?

Arlene from Aspen, CO:
With Jacksonville under the microscope this week, could you give some of your readers flavor for the town. My impression from reading is that Jacksonville is a spread-out, scenic town featuring golf, fishing, nice beaches and fresh seafood and pork BBQ in restaurants. Is this accurate?

Vic: That's very accurate. I don't know that I could do a better job describing Jacksonville. The beaches are spectacular. The golf courses are heaven for someone such as me. Jeff Lageman keeps telling me how great the fishing is and that's good because it keeps people like him off the golf course. Jacksonville is a town with a lot of natural advantages. It is also a town that is working to correct its deficiencies.

Robert from Columbus, OH:
This is a very touchy situation and I need your help. My girlfriend, for whom I care very much, hates football and I live and breathe football. Well, I would like to marry her but that would mean the end of my football days because she would never let me watch football again. What should I do?

Vic: The two of you have no chance. Move on.

Joshua from Nashville, TN:
It's looking real ugly up here in Tennessee. Are the Titans' salary cap problems worse than what the Jags went through? Are we looking at about three or more years of losing records?

Vic: It's not that the Titans' salary cap problems are worse than the Jaguars' were, it's just that the Titans don't have an expansion draft in which they can dump amortization, as the Jaguars did on the Texans. The Jaguars got rid of $16.9 million in amortization in the 2002 expansion draft. Had that not occurred, the Jaguars would still be digging out. It's going to take the Titans a long time to get out of the hole they dug. Why is it just sinking in now?

Tom from Jacksonville:
In your 1/31 column I see another question about stadium size. You said Green Bay is a unique situation. Vic, the "little, old, smelly, green cheese box" holds 60,000 and needs less than 55,000 to lift the blackout. How do you think we'd look if we covered 17,000 seats to be unique like the Packers?

Vic: You got the wrong "cheese box." Lambeau Field seats 72,000 and its blackout number is 62,000. In 2005, the Jaguars' blackout number will be about 49,000. When I say the situation in Green Bay is unique, what I mean is that although Green Bay is the smallest market in the league, it has Milwaukee right down the road. The Packers played home games in both cities for a lot of years and had ticket offices in both cities. The Green Bay situation is unique because the Packers are a team that draws from across the state of Wisconsin. Forget about the smallest-market-in-the-league stuff. Truth be known, the Packers draw from a rather substantial home market.

Shane from Washington, DC:
Having grown up in Jacksonville and having to read Kornheiser every day in the "Post," I think it's important to keep you honest when it comes to defending Jacksonville. I've known golf shots to veer as much as 30 feet off line on the ocean holes on windy days, which sometimes also forces them to close the outdoor patios at the 19th hole.

Vic: When it gets hot in the summer, the greens get real grainy and a lot of good putts lip-out. That's when I lose it.

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