Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Welcome to the varsity

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

Mike from Savannah, GA:
I understand what Vick did was wrong, but he has paid his dues. How do you feel about him being reinstated? I believe he should be reinstated right away. I know dog-fighting is wrong but it just doesn't bug me as much as other things out there. There is so much worse going on.

Vic: I am repulsed by what he did. The idea of torturing defenseless animals for his entertainment and gain "bugs" me a lot and the crime, in my opinion, was fully deserving of the punishment he received. Be that as it may, he has paid his debt to society and, in my opinion, he should be permitted to play again in the NFL. Let's not forget that he was convicted of a significant crime and that has usually resulted in some sort of suspension.

Ed from St. Augustine, FL:
How can Jack Del Rio have a quality practice with all the rain we have had? The field must be a mess.

Vic: The practice fields are in great shape. They've handled the rain beautifully and allowed the Jaguars to have two quality practices. Contrary to the popular belief of Jaguars fans that all games should be played on dry, 70-degree days, the fact of the matter is that they are often played in bad weather and the team that defeats the weather usually wins the game. The inclement conditions for Monday's and Tuesday's practices will help players deal with those same conditions this season.

Boomer from Atlantic Beach, FL:
What, if anything, gets accomplished during OTAs?

Vic: Young players learn how to practice. Veteran players identify their competition and start feeling motivated. The team begins to bond. The coaches teach, on the field and in the classroom. It's good stuff and I think it helps give teams a head start on training camp, but I also think it's a little overdone.

Mark from Jacksonville:
I think the blackout rule is ridiculous. Seventy-two hours before kickoff? Jacksonville has always been a walk-up town. I believe 24 hours is long enough to set up for a TV crew and the announcers aren't very prepared anyway, so it should be just fine. How do you feel about the blackout rule as it is now?

Vic: I think it's fine. You wanna walk up? Then walk up before the 72-hour deadline. When I was a kid, all home games were blacked out. That's right, ALL home games, period. Super Bowl I was blacked out in Los Angeles. If I was Wayne Weaver, I'd hold hard and fast to the 72-hour deadline and there would be no extensions, ever. I would make absolutely sure that Jaguars fans clearly understood that 72 hours before kickoff was the drop-dead deadline. Once you start making exceptions, exceptions are expected. The idea is to sell tickets and blacking out games sells tickets.

Rick from Jacksonville:
You wrote in your article that "Gregg Williams was attempting to install a blitz-happy, high-design defensive scheme." Could you explain what a "high-design" scheme is?

Vic: It's a scheme that includes a lot of design elements. Last year, the Jaguars played both gap and two-gap schemes up front. Early last season, the Jaguars tried to get into a lot of sexy blitzes, involving linebackers and defensive backs, too. I saw corner fires and delayed safety blitzes and all sorts of design elements that required sophisticated coverages being played behind those blitzes. As a result, we saw blown assignments, as in the tight end screen that was the big play in the season-opening loss to the Titans. I saw stunts and twists and all sorts of elements of scheme design. The simple fact of the matter is the Jaguars didn't have the personnel to execute those kinds of schemes. By the midpoint of the season, they came to that realization and changed to a vanilla scheme for the rest of the year, and I think that was perceived by their own players as an act of surrender. In my opinion, the high-design thing was an attempt at plays, not players, and I think those days are over. Jack Del Rio has a strong belief in players, not plays, and I think he's in the process now of re-establishing that philosophy. He's returning his players to the gap philosophy of defense that he and Mike Smith established here in the very beginning. It's a simple philosophy of a gap for every man and a man for every gap; penetrate and disrupt.

Justin from New York, NY:
Why don't the club seats count toward the blackout?

Vic: Because a portion of the ticket cost is for a club license. Frankly, I think it's a concession by the NFL to help get more games televised.

Kathleen from Jacksonville:
Do you watch "Dancing With the Stars?" What do you think of all the retired NFL players on the show? Is there a Jaguar player (past or present) that you would like to see on the show?

Vic: Sometimes I catch a glimpse of the show as I'm channel-surfing and I hurry up and go to the next station before someone in the house says, "Leave that on." I don't like dancing.

John from Jacksonville:
I was wondering how you felt about the WR prospect out of Nebraska, Todd Peterson. He's 6-4 and reminds me so much of Dallas Clark. What say you?

Vic: I like him. He goes up high after the ball and when he gets his hands on it, he catches it clean. I like all of the Jaguars' young receivers. I think the scouting department really did some good work at that position.

Dayro from Murrieta, CA:
Herm Edwards said on ESPN that Michael Vick would fit in Jacksonville. I think it would be good and I believe he's a changed man, but do you think it could happen?

Vic: No.

Mac from Fernandina Beach, FL:
The 12-26-04 game was a hard game to watch, plus it looked like 20,000 in attendance. I thought my wife would bail on me. When we woke, it was pouring and windy and cold. She said get the ponchos, stop for some hand-warmers and let's go. Now I know why I married her.

Vic: Just once, I wish my wife would look me in the eye and say, "Get the ponchos." Some women just know how to say the right thing.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
If you were the owner of an NFL team, would you take Vick?

Vic: No, I would not. I fully support his right to return to the NFL, but it wouldn't be on my team. In my opinion, his infamy would cause a significant distraction.

Zoltan from Budapest, Hungary:
What were your impressions of DeMaurice Smith when he was in Jacksonville? Do you think he can handle this very hard labor situation and can he help prevent a work stoppage?

Vic: I got the feeling that if he had the time and we could've talked longer, we would've had a meaningful conversation. He gave me the feeling that he was willing to answer my questions and I liked that. Yes, I think he can handle the sensitive negotiations that are ahead.

Andrew from Jacksonville:
Please share with us the hottest temperature the Jaguars have ever played in at home? Point made, you bunch of whiners, it's not that hot.

Vic: The hottest temperature at kickoff for a Jaguars game is 88 degrees and it is shared by three games: 9-16-07 vs. Atlanta at Jacksonville, 9-20-98 at Tennessee and 9-6-98 at Chicago. That's hot, but I think the better point is that two of three games were not in Jacksonville, which proves the point that it's hot in a lot of places at that time of year.

Mike from West Haven, CT:
What do players do when they have diarrhea or illness on a football field during a game? Do they run back to the locker room?

Vic: You gotta do what you gotta do. You know what I mean? The first high school football game I ever played in was because the starting halfback got the runs. I think the halftime oranges didn't agree with him. I can remember running onto the field. I don't know that I've ever experienced another feeling like it. I was a football junkie as a little kid. I started hanging out at my hometown high school's practices when I was eight years old. I dreamed of playing for my hometown one day and when that day arrived, I ran into the huddle numb from the excitement of the moment. It was a pass play and my job was to block. I can still see the kid comin'. His name was Romano and he was a big dude who brushed aside the tackle and was headin' for our quarterback. A feeling overcame me that the whole world was watching me and that I needed to sacrifice my life, if necessary, to make this block. I started pumpin' my feet and when he was almost on me, I dropped my pads and put the stripe of my helmet right on the laces of his pants, if you know what I mean. I can still see the laces a few inches from my face. After that, I didn't know what happened. I heard some cheering and found out the pass had been completed. Then somebody tapped me on the shoulder and my participation was complete so I jogged to the sideline. As I crossed the sideline, a hand grabbed my facemask and turned me around. I was staring right into the head coach's face and he was smiling. He said nothing; he just smiled. Two days later, we watched film of the game. When we got to my play, the coach ran it back and forth, back and forth and every time I hit the kid, everyone cheered. Then the coach said, "Welcome to the varsity, Ketchman."

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content