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Winning looks good

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

John from Saint Augustine, FL:
Would you rather see Tra Thomas start 11-16 games or see Eugene Monroe break into the lineup early?

Vic: What would be best for this team is for its young players to establish their futures as quickly as possible.

William from Jacksonville:
Are you enjoying the dead zone?

Vic: It's the dead zone for you, but it's the vacation zone for me. What's not to like?

Jon from Durham, NC:
Which side of the ball, offense or defense, do you think historically has been the primary driving force for innovation in pro football? In other words, which one do you think is more active and which one is more reactive?

Vic: Offense, for the most part, dictates to defense. If the offense goes heavy and tight near the goal line, the defense does the same. It has to do the same or it'll get squashed. If the offense spreads out its formation, the defense counters with "nickel" or "dime" and spreads its coverage. It has to do that or a receiver will go uncovered. If the offense springs a "swinging gate" formation, the defense may have to call time out to make the necessary adjustments. Defense, however, has the ability to be more creative within its design because its players aren't restricted by rules forbidding movement and positioning, as offensive linemen and eligible receivers are. Defenders may align themselves in any arrangement and move all over the field prior to and during the snap of the ball. It's with the blitz that defense can dictate to offense. If the defense shows blitz, then the offense must make the necessary adjustments to either provide extra blockers or get rid of the ball more quickly.

Benjamin from Jacksonville:
Do you believe Desormeaux, Lowry, Forrester or Cox have a legitimate chance to get locked into a safety spot over Nelson, Williams, Considine, McCree or Alexander?

Vic: I think it's time to open the jobs up to competition and embrace the may-the-best-man-win concept. After all, what's to protect, 5-11?

Ryan from Clyde, OH:
I heard that the Jaguars' new uniforms were ranked the second-ugliest jerseys in sports, and the Bengals ranked first. What is your opinion on this?

Vic: First of all, who wastes their time doing these ridiculous rankings? Secondly, why would you waste your time worrying about what someone thinks about the Jaguars' uniforms? The new uniforms look fine and they'll look a lot better or worse based on how the Jaguars play in them. It's all about performance. Ask yourself this: What would the terminally bored who provide these ridiculous rankings say about a helmet with the logo on the right side only, if the current Super Bowl champion didn't wear such a helmet? Just win, baby. Winning makes everything look good, even helmets with the logo on the right side only. I wonder what the Rams' helmets would look like with only one horn.

Brian from Jacksonville:
My dad doesn't believe Rashad Jennings is gonna make the team or get any playing time. Can you try and convince him that Jennings is not just a tackling dummy for our defense?

Vic: Tell your dad to be patient. We're only a month away from the start of training camp. Shortly after that, we'll have our answer and either you or your dad will be able to say, "I told you so." There's nothing more that can be said now. We have to wait for the pads to go on.

Trevor from Baghdad, Iraq:
I haven't written in awhile because I've been busy over here in Iraq. I ran into someone you know, coach Tom Coughlin. He and coaches Cowher, Harbaugh, Gruden and Fisher were over here with the USO. I told coach Coughlin I read your article and asked if he remembered you. Of course, he did. He said hi to you and he wishes you the best. He also said you're a great guy. He seems to be a great guy, too, and it was great to talk to him for a couple of minutes. Anyway, to my question: Three of those five coaches have won Super Bowls. What do you think the chances are that the other two coaches, Harbaugh and Fisher, will win Super Bowls and make it five out of five?

Vic: John Harbaugh has what Jeff Fisher needs: a franchise quarterback. Fisher had one in Steve McNair and almost won a Super Bowl, but McNair is gone, Vince Young isn't the answer and Kerry Collins is stop-gap. Harbaugh has an outstanding young offensive line to protect his quarterback, Joe Flacco, and I think it's a reasonable expectation for the Super Bowl to be in the Ravens' future. Fisher reminds me of Bill Cowher. They're both run-the-ball, play-tough-defense coaches and their teams are always competitive. Cowher, however, didn't win it all until he got the quarterback he needed, Ben Roethlisberger, and I think the same will be true for Fisher. When he gets the trigger man he needs, he'll be a threat to win it all, and maybe this time he won't run the ball on third and goal at the three-yard line, as he did in the 2000 playoff loss to Ray Lewis and the Ravens.

Seth from Jacksonville:
If the youth movement is why we traded Northcutt, how do you explain Holt?

Vic: Is it really that difficult to understand? You don't have enough young guys to fill out a roster. You gotta have some old guys, too, and in Torry Holt's case you're talking about an old guy who will be a future Hall of Fame candidate.

Casey from Portsmouth, VA:
Surprise! You completely agree with the Northcutt trade. Let me get this straight. You wouldn't have picked Crabtree because he had a screw put in his foot, but you have absolutely nothing negative to say about trading the team's best receiver from a year ago for a safety coming off a broken neck? I like your insight at times, but there is no doubt in my mind that you are a homer.

Vic: It's unfortunate that you have to resort to name-calling. You should be embarrassed, but I doubt that you are. All you had to do was ask why the trade makes sense to me and I would've told you that toward the end of OTAs I started to get the feeling Dennis Northcutt was going to have trouble making the final roster. This team is in a youth movement and it's not going to cut its young receivers. Do the math. I did and I found myself standing on the field in one of the final OTAs, watching Northcutt catch a pass and thinking to myself that, being the old pro he is, he probably knows his days with the Jaguars are numbered. It's not as though he did anything wrong. I thought he looked good in OTAs, but what was his role going to be with this team? Third receiver? I think the Jaguars have Jarett Dillard in mind for that role. Special plays receiver? I think Mike Thomas is gonna catch the wide receiver screens and run the reverses. Simply put, Northcutt was going to have trouble making this team because the Jaguars have an excess of young talent at the wide receiver position, therefore, the Jaguars traded an older player at a position of depth for a young player at a position at which the Jaguars clearly have concern. That doesn't make sense to you?

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