Join jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Phillip from Bradenton, FL:
Second to last against the pass; opponents completed 67.6 percent of pass attempts. I expect the pass-defense to get better.
Vic: That's the kind of expectation that makes sense. It's specific and cuts right to the heart of the matter. Broad-based expectations for making it into the playoffs are little more than a way for disgruntled fans to draw a line in the sand: Do this or else. It's tough-guy stuff but it displays little in the way of command of what the real issues are with this team. The number one issue is improving the pass-rush, which goes right to improving the pass-defense. Given the focus the Jaguars have put on improving the rush, from signing Aaron Kampman to hiring a new defensive line coach to spending its first four draft picks on defensive linemen, it's reasonable to expect the Jaguars pass-rush and pass-defense to improve, as well as its overall defensive play.
Brandon from Orlando, FL:
I'm guessing your "drill sideways" refers to coal mining? We have a projected 200 years worth of coal domestic.
Vic: No, my "drill sideways" comment refers to the fracturing process in capturing natural gas from shale deposits such as the Marcellus Shale. We are blessed in this country with abundant resources, and it has recently been discovered that the Marcellus Shale deposit offers mind-boggling natural gas potential, and the best part is its proximity to the population centers of the Northeast. It's safe, it's clean, it's cheap and we've got enough of it to fuel our nation for a long, long time, and by turning off the oil and turning on the gas, we'd turn off the funding for terrorism. Drill sideways, baby, drill sideways.
Eddie from Jacksonville:
How do you think the Supreme Court ruling about each team being a separate entity and not one business will impact small-market teams? Looks like another blow to leaguethink.
Vic: Leaguethink isn't a rule, it's an attitude and, frankly, the leaguethink attitude has been dead for quite a few years. The most honest answer about the impact of the "American Needle" case is that it's too early to tell. A lot of high legal minds are grinding over this one, trying to figure out what the impact will be. A lower court ruled NFL teams are one entity. The Supreme Court says the NFL can't be viewed as a single entity. Language in the decision, however, acknowledges that pro sports have unique characteristics and anti-trust doesn't apply the same way it does for other corporations. That's the gray area that clouds the impact of court's ruling. The impact, in my opinion, won't be on how small-market teams conduct their business. The greatest potential for impact could be on labor negotiations.
Andy from Jacksonville:
John from St. Augustine sure is informative. I was shocked at his revelation that we depend on oil. I was not shocked, however, that he brushes aside the biggest man-made ecological disaster in U.S. history. There is a certain sect in this part of the country so irrationally loyal to a ridiculous point of view that they have no clue how irrational they are. Park the Hummer, put down the guns, read something besides the Bible, please, John.
Vic: That's exactly the kind of partisan anger that's ruining us, and it has to stop. You know nothing about John, yet, you've stereotyped him in a most unflattering way, and I get a lot of e-mails the other way, too. I don't know why we feel a need to separate ourselves along conservative and liberal lines on all issues. This is simple stuff and I can't imagine any rational person not agreeing that what's happening in the Gulf of Mexico is horrific and can't be allowed to happen again. Instead of dividing ourselves into two groups, one that defends oil spills and the other that defends the environment, we need to merge into one culture that acknowledges the need for alternative energy sources. We have them. Let's get them.
Jimmie from Jacksonville:
What do I expect from the Jaguars this season? I expect them to be competitive every game. I expect the second-year players to make significant plays. I expect fans to once again trust Gene Smith and fall in love with the Jaguars once more. Are my expectations unreasonable or unrealistic?
Vic: If what you expect was to become reality, it would save the franchise and provide for a bright future for the NFL in Jacksonville. I think your expectations are reasonable.
Mike from Neptune Beach, FL:
Do players have to pay taxes to the state in which their games are played each week or are they taxed according to the home state of the franchise they play for?
Vic: Florida doesn't have a state income tax. Those states that do have an income tax payroll-deduct that amount from the players that play for the teams in that state. I know of at least one state, Louisiana, that taxes everybody on the visiting team, including the senior editor of the team's website, when that team plays in that state. The tax is payroll-deducted from those players, coaches and front-office employees who were in a working capacity at that game. There are probably a dozen cities in the league that tax the visiting team.
David from Jacksonville:
You really ought to tell us your expectations. Even if you don't like what we say about them, you still should make them.
Vic: I don't have any expectations, and that's the truth. For years, I would relent to the questions and decide what I thought was reasonable to expect, but they weren't my expectations because I didn't have any. I like to watch. If the Jaguars win the Super Bowl, I won't be surprised because I will have seen it happen each step of the way and I'll know why they did it. The same will be true if they don't make it into the postseason. I'm not trying to dodge the question, it's just that I don't clutter my mind with expectations. They're meaningless. Having said all of that, will I be surprised if the Jaguars win the Super Bowl? Yes. Will I be surprised if they don't make it into the playoffs? No. Do I think they're capable of making it into the postseason? Yes. Somewhere in all of that is my opinion of where this team is in its rebuilding efforts. If you want to ask me specifically about that opinion, I will freely share it with you, but the expectation thing is ridiculous unless you have a crystal ball and know which players on which teams are going to get injured.
Patrick from Jacksonville:
I went to the Jacksonville Sharks home game last Saturday against the Cleveland Gladiators. My ticket was $10, parking was $5, and you can buy $2 hot dogs. The announced attendance at the arena was 11,000-plus. It amazes me how fast the city of Jacksonville has outdone itself every home game by bringing in more fans as the season progresses. I have the answer to the Jaguars ticket problem: Sell $10 nose bleeds, $3 hot dogs, $10 parking, score at least 60-plus points/game, and let the fans keep the ball when it goes into the stands.
Vic: Pay the players millions and charge the fans pennies, right? Yeah, that's a strategy for success. Patrick, the NFL is a Tiffany product, and you can't offer it at Wal-Mart prices and stay in business for long. For the NFL to have a future in Jacksonville, fans such as you must understand that an NFL franchise is one of 32 precious commodities, and Jacksonville has one of them. Losing it would be devastating. The regret 10, 20 years later would be fantastic, and all because of two-dollar hot dogs?
Eric from British Columbia, Canada:
Does a new position coach such as Earnest Byner offer any insight, information or strategies when going up against his old team?
Vic: Sure he does, and vice versa. When the Jaguars and Titans play against each other, Byner is going to offer a lot of insight into Chris Johnson, and Kennedy Pola is going to offer the same about Maurice Jones-Drew. Saying it and doing it, of course, are very different things.
Joe from Laredo, TX:
What are your thoughts on Justin Smiley?
Vic: He's in the prime of his career. What he needs is an injury-free season. If that happens, this trade will look real, real good. He signed a big deal with the Dolphins a couple of years ago, then he suffered a couple of injuries and they made him expendable. He was a very durable player at Alabama. This is a very low-risk signing that has a lot of upside.
Gary from Rexburg, ID:
If a franchise player signs his tender and then gets injured in his first OTA practice afterward, is his salary guaranteed?
Rex from Gainesville, FL:
I thought you'd like to know that your old buddy Snoop Dogg uses one of your favorite quotes in a new song he's featured in: "Just win, baby, win."
Vic: Yeah, he told me about that. I'm hoping to get him out for the golf tournament this summer.
Ancil from Charleston, WV:
Why trade for Justin Smiley?
Vic: This shouldn't be a surprise. I think we all knew the Jaguars wanted to be able to address the interior of their offensive line in the draft, but were unable to do so because value and need didn't meet. When you can't address your needs in the draft, you have to do so in the other available avenues of personnel acquisition, such as free agency, trade, street free agency, the waiver wire, etc. This is how you do it: Draft for value, patch in pro personnel. Well, actually, I used to believe that was the way to do it. I've changed, of course, because that was just too difficult for fans to understand. I'm all about need now.