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Vacation over; back to work

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

Ferris from Jacksonville:
Do you find it difficult to interview your boss and do so in an unbiased manner? It seems as though it would be hard to really press him on an issue, when you are his employee.

Vic: Ah, it's good to be back. The answer to your question is: No, I don't find it difficult to interview my boss in an unbiased manner. Through the years, I've interviewed Wayne Weaver quite often and I've asked him a lot of tough questions. Frankly, I feel more comfortable asking Weaver tough questions than I do asking some players who don't fully understand and appreciate the role of the media. Weaver has always been a great interview. He has always fielded my questions with calm and a sincere effort to provide an answer. I was the one who asked him about Matt Jones' arrest and got the disgusted look. I was the one who pressed him on how it came that a reporter in Philadelphia got the name of C. Dean Metropoulos. That's what a reporter does. He asks the appropriate questions and the reader is entitled to that expectation. I wouldn't betray that trust. Have I? That's the question you have to answer.

Annette from Taylors, SC:
I can pretty much figure out why you haven't written a post since 7/10. I'm an Arkansas native and have loved Matt through thick and thin ever since his first play as a freshman at U of A. I'm so very sad this has happened; I feel like it's happened to one of my relatives. Will the Jags rally and help him as a brother or just boot him? Maybe by the time you start posting again, we'll know. I hope Matt will learn from this experience and come through it a better man and, hopefully, a better player someday.

Vic: You people never cease to amaze me. I have never been to an Arkansas game in my life and didn't even know who Matt Jones was until he was a draft prospect. I went on vacation. That's all.

Freddie from Jacksonville:
This "we must protect this house" mentality that fans have now is really disturbing. I have a feeling it has to do with winning. I remember in the 5-11, 2003 season the fans were quiet and it was fun to just watch the game. Now, if you're not yelling at the top of your lungs, you're not a good fan. Also, I went to a few Rays games last year when they were in last place and it was fun to just sit and watch the game. I went a few weeks back and this guy next to me went into an expletive laden rant about the Red Sox. I wish fans could just enjoy the game.

Vic: They must protect this house.

Chuck from Jacksonville:
Is it me or has the NFL Network given way to the BFL Network (Brett Favre Love Network)? Thirty-two reasons in 32 days why he should come back followed by 32 reasons in 32 days why he shouldn't.

Vic: Are fans really as interested in this saga as the media thinks they are? I doubt it.

Doug from Orange Park, FL:
I've read your section for years now and I finally had the cash to buy season tickets. Your section influenced me most to support the team I love. Thank you.

Vic: I'm very happy to hear of your decision. Let me know how it worked for you.

Bill from Jacksonville:
From everything I have been reading lately, the citizens of Green Bay own the Packers. How is this possible and how does it work exactly?

Vic: It's possible because in 1935 the team was worth $15,000. That's how much the team's president raised in the '35 stock drive that allowed the Packers to pay off all of their debts. Not only couldn't you do that today with a franchise worth a billion dollars, there's also an NFL rule that prohibits a team from being publicly owned because the team has to have an owner who possesses a minimum of 30 percent of the team's stock.

Steve from Dayton, OH:
I am sure you received many questions about Matt Jones' arrest, but I want to know how reporting for a team's site affects the stories that you cover and how you cover them. I recognize that the last thing the Jags want is for their website to be showing stories about player arrests and reports of the team being sold, but do you ever feel conflicted between being both a journalist as well as a paid member of the Jaguars' staff? Or did you just feel there was nothing new that you could contribute to the story at that time?

Vic: This just won't go away, will it? How many times do I have to have my integrity insulted? OK, I'll answer it again. My last day of work before my vacation was the day Matt Jones' arrest surfaced. It was also the day I interviewed Wayne Weaver about the bogus sale story. During my interview with Weaver, I asked him for his reaction to reports that Jones had been arrested. In the "not for sale" story I did, I acknowledged that Jones had been arrested and I provided Weaver's comment to me. That's as far as I can take it, folks, and here's why. Sports reporting is not crime reporting. The difference between sports reporting and crime reporting is the difference between washing a car and repairing a car. Just because you can wash a car doesn't mean you can fix one, right? I know how it's done because a long time ago, when I was a college intern, I did a week of police-blotter reporting while the regular guy who did it was on vacation. I would go to the police station early every morning and look at the blotter. The police knew I was covering for the local newspaper so they assisted me. Jaguars.com is a football news site. We don't have the resources to do accurate crime reporting. We'll acknowledge an arrest and provide comment on it, but any story we would do on an actual arrest would be nothing more than a cut and paste of other accounts. We enter the picture when a player's legal problems impact his football career. To this point, that hasn't happened with Jones. If and when it does, I'll provide the details.

Steve from Ocala, FL:
The Jaguars have training camp from July 26 to Aug. 6 but the Colts and other teams are going an additional eight days and ending on Aug. 14. I was under the impression that all NFL teams had to use the same amount of days for training camp or it would be deemed as an unfair advantage. Do you see it as an unfair advantage or do you think the Colts really need the extra work in order to compete?

Vic: Jaguars training camp runs through Aug. 13. It closes to the public, however, on Aug. 6.

Jeff from St. Johns, FL:
We should get a good idea of how good the Jags will be this year after the first four games. Winning all four would stir up some excitement and fill the seats. What do you think?

Vic: Three of the first four games are against AFC South opponents. If the Jaguars win all four, this town will be on fire with Jaguars fever. Three wins, especially if one of those was in Indianapolis, would have fans brimming with excitement. Anything less than three wins would be a disappointment.

Mary from Jacksonville:
What is the drug-testing policy for active players with a clean record? Does the NFL have a random drug-test program?

Vic: A player is subject to random testing only after he has entered the drug program, which is to say he has committed an offense, which could be anything from a positive test to a drug arrest.

Pace from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Is there a possibility the league will impose a penalty of some kind on the Jaguars for the recent felony charges against Matt Jones?

Vic: A new NFL rule allows the league to fine a team for player-conduct violations.

Brad from Ocala, FL:
When is the deadline for signing rookies to their contracts?

Vic: The ultimate deadline is next spring's draft. At that point, if you haven't signed them to a contract, they go back into the draft and you lose your rights to them. There's also a week 10 deadline. If you haven't signed them by Tuesday after week 10 of the season, you can't use them that season.

Andrew from Cleveland, OH:
I've heard that a lot of coaches and scouts have seen a decline in tackling technique over the past few years, both at the college and professional level. How do you think this happened and why hasn't it improved?

Vic: It's happened because both college and professional football have done everything they can to promote and reward the passing game. It's basketball on grass and the emphasis is on run and jump, instead of block and tackle.

Brandon from Myrtle Beach, SC:
I'm originally from Jax and I've loved the Jags since day one. I've always felt they were underrated and especially last year when they beat Pitt twice. I feel the Steelers are the most overrated team in the AFC. I still don't think Jax has gotten any credit for anything. Do you agree with my feeling on Jax?

Vic: No, I do not agree with it. I don't think I've ever seen a team get more respect coming off one playoff win, which was against a team, by the way, that you think is the most overrated in the AFC. But it all doesn't matter, of course, because the season is almost here and soon predictions will mean nothing. It's almost time.

Tom from Orange Park, FL:
What do you think the Jaguars' plan is for Mike Peterson? This is his last season under contract. Do you think he will be signed to an extension?

Vic: He's being challenged. That's the way this game is. It's a tough game for tough guys and Mike is the toughest of the tough guys.

Johnny from Palatka, FL:
Is there any rule, written or otherwise, that mandates what range of jersey numbers a certain position has available?

Vic: Yes, there is. Wide receivers, for example, must wear numbers 10-19 or 80-89.

Marek from Charlotte, NC:
I've read your praises for Maurice Jones-Drew, but will Jack Del Rio make better use of him this year? Will he finally give him the majority of downs?

Vic: I can't imagine using Jones-Drew more effectively than the Jaguars have used him in the first two years of his career.

Erik from Salt Lake City, UT:
Since you've been watching football since the merger, could you tell me the best running back and quarterback of each decade?

Vic: In the 1970s, I would say it was Franco Harris and Terry Bradshaw. In the '80s, Marcus Allen and Joe Montana. In the '90s, Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman. In this decade, LaDainian Tomlinson and Tom Brady.

John from Jacksonville:
Is there a schedule for training camp? Will there be a practice on Sunday, July 27?

Vic: Practices on July 27 are scheduled for 10:15 a.m. and seven p.m. The full training camp schedule appears in a press release that can be accessed in the "News" section of jaguars.com.

Scott from Woodbridge, VA:
Should we be worried about Porter's hamstring?

Vic: I think there's reason for concern. He was signed to be the number one receiver this team hasn't had and desperately needs. I don't know much about hamstring surgery because I can't remember a player I've covered who's had one, but I think it's clearly an obstacle that has to be overcome. The Jaguars need him. That's why they paid $10 million to sign him. His rehab from this surgery is very important.

Mary from Jacksonville:
I just read that Jason Taylor was traded to the Redskins. I am happy for Jason Taylor but I am unhappy that he wasn't traded to the Jaguars. I think he would have been a valuable asset to our team this year. What are your thoughts?

Vic: It's a young man's game.

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