Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Eric Salter from Jacksonville Beach:**
What's the difference between strong and weak side linebackers, and what are their responsibilities? Why is T.J. Slaughter more fit to play the weak side and Kevin Hardy the strong side?
Vic: Strong and weak refers to the offense's formation. The side to which the tight end lines up is usually the strong side of the formation; the other side is the weak. The strong side linebacker will often have to cover the tight end, which means the strong side linebacker's skills should be better suited for pass-coverage than the weak side linebacker, who is used more as a chase-the-ball guy. As a result, the weak side linebacker usually has more opportunity to blitz. Kevin Hardy is an outstanding pass-defender; the strength of T.J. Slaughter's game is supporting against the run, not defending against the pass.
Michael Watkins from Jacksonville:**
What kind of preparations do the players go through on game days?
Vic: All of the schematic preparation for the game has been completed. Game-day preparation is a matter of each player focusing his thoughts on his responsibilities. Players begin arriving at the stadium, home or away, about three hours prior to kickoff. "Taping" and "dressing" are rituals that help sharpen that focus.
Kevin Glynn from Jacksonville:**
I appreciate your hard work on this web site. Here's my question: It seems like everyone in the Jaguars organization likes to blame the poor play last season on injuries, from the owner on down to the concession workers. What was the reason a team like the Saints, who lost their starting tight end in training camp, lost their starting quarterback in midseason, and lost Ricky Williams in midseason, was still able to win the division and a playoff game? Was the Jaguars' depth really that bad and, if so, shouldn't the lack of depth land as the sole responsibility of coach Coughlin? After all, he drafts.
Vic: If your point is that a lot of other teams have to overcome injuries, you're right, and the Saints did it. Apparently, they had more good football players than for which we gave them credit. Mike Ditka may have also been a better coach in New Orleans than for which we gave him credit. The Jaguars' injury situation was such that they were decimated on their offensive line. If the injuries had been more spread out, they may have been able to overcome them. No team and no coach can endure in any one area of the team what the Jaguars and Tom Coughlin experienced on their offensive line last season, especially after having lost two starters in free agency. The shame of it all is that the Jaguars were a very healthy team at the offensive skill positions. Mark Brunell, Fred Taylor, Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell and Kyle Brady only missed four games combined.
Bob Robertson from Plant City, FL:**
What is the status of tight end Damon Jones?
Vic: Damon Jones is recovering from ACL surgery following last year's season opener. His practice regimen is increasing and I expect he'll be ready to play soon.
Bill Frankenfield from Jacksonville:**
What are your thoughts on how Jonathan Quinn performed Friday night? I was at the game and wasn't too impressed. I would like to know more about what you think.
Vic: Jonathan Quinn hit a point in which he threw 11 consecutive incompletions, and the most disconcerting thing about that stretch was that Quinn often threw the ball behind his receiver. That tells me he was either hesitant in his throws or aiming the ball, and either one of those maladies can be blamed on a lack of confidence. He had that confidence in NFL Europe. He needs to find it in NFL America, and that can only happen by playing.
Bert Inabinet from Jacksonville Beach, FL:**
My questions are about the stadium. There have been so many times when I have gone down to get something to eat or drink during the game and, sure enough, I'll hear the crowd roar and I've missed a big play. Why can't they install TVs in the walkways; maybe over the restroom doors. Some of the concession stands have them, but that's not enough. Yes, I am a smoker and it's nice to have smoking areas, and the Jaguars don't want to promote hanging under the stadium smoking and watching TV, but other stadiums have them placed all around, so, why can't we? As far as the game, it was refreshing to see the new, hungry faces flying around the field Friday night, but our red-zone issues need to get taken care of before the start of the season. Hats off to the little man, Mike Hollis.
Vic: Your request sounds reasonable.
Matt Kochan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
When is Mike Hollis going to get the respect we all know he deserves from the Jags front office? I can respect that the Jags have cap difficulties, but we do have some room, more room in fact than a bunch of other teams. He made it painfully obvious that he is a key player on our team by hitting six field goals Friday, and the front office was able to throw together a contract for Brunell this offseason. Why don't we at least try to work with him to get him what he is rightfully asking for and deserves?
Vic: You are laboring under a misconception. This team is very tight against the salary cap. Most recently, the Jaguars were unable to sign a fullback they worked out because they didn't have the cap room. Any room they have is minor and would not satisfy Mike Hollis, who is looking for a major upgrade in his contract. Hollis is as good a kicker as there is in the league. Nobody is more dependable with the game on the line. He contends he was promised something verbally when he signed his last contract. If he was, it was a mistake to have done so. Players and teams live by contracts, not promises. Hollis signed a contract, and the Jaguars spent what they had left on other players who would make this a better team. That's the way it's done. Next winter, Hollis will have an opportunity to correct this injustice.
John Andreoli from Orange Park, FL:**
Is there anything to be read into the Jaguars all wearing black shoes? Any symbolism of what they want to embody this year? If so, do you like the fact that they are trying to change their personality? Or was it just a meaningless fashion statement?
Vic: The NFL uniform code requires that all players wear the same color of shoe. During the offseason, Jaguars players approached Tom Coughlin with the idea of changing to black shoes. Coughlin approved the request. It's a fashion statement, and my wardrobe is proof that I care little about style. Black shoes are in. Joe Paterno is a trend-setter and he didn't even know it.
Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.