Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Donny from St Louis, MO:
Admit it, Vic, the free agent signings the Jaguars have made really do help the defense. So far Harris and Del Rio have done nothing to improve the Jaguars' average-at-best offense. Again, I see another year of a lackluster offense. Defense may help win close games but the offense is what puts fans in the stands. The opportunities have been there to get premier offensive players but they insist on bringing in young players, hoping they will develop. Williams is a bust, the jury is still out on Jones and Leftwich will get hammered again this year. Why not bring in one premier WR or RB and give the offense and fans some life?
Vic: The Jaguars have committed themselves to the development of the young players they've drafted on the offensive side of the ball. What you're suggesting would mean giving up on those players very early in their careers and running the risk of great regret. What you're not getting is the financial commitment that has been made to those players. Two of the players you've mentioned were top 10 picks. The financial commitment you make to a first-round draft choice requires the same kind of commitment to his development. These guys are not chess pieces to be moved around a board; not in the salary cap era. To do what you're suggesting would result in a huge amount of "dead money" on the team's cap, and that's not how you build a winning team. I'm not saying they will or will not be stars. I'm saying you have to spend the time to find out for sure.
Aaron from Milroy, PA:
You say Arrington is very expensive and this is a good year for linebackers in the draft. Well, if we do get Arrington, don't you think that would be saving a draft pick? We can then use that pick on another position we need, such as tight end.
Vic: That's a logical strategy, although I don't think you should focus on a position going into the draft because you can't be sure the quality you want at that position will be available. Your strategy, however, can backfire. I think it backfired on the Jaguars in 1996 when, in free agency, they made Leon Searcy the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history, which caused them to turn away from the tackle position in the draft and pass on Jonathan Ogden.
Bazer from St. Augustine, FL:
What kind of numbers do you expect out of Matt Jones this year?
Vic: Numbers don't tell the whole story and I think Matt Jones' numbers from last season were misleading. What I want to see from Jones in the second year of his development as an NFL wide receiver is a greater sense of comfort and confidence at the position. I wanna see him play with more grit and gusto and take strides toward becoming that go-to play-maker the Jaguars envisioned when they drafted him. If that happens, we'll know it. We won't need numbers to tell us it's happening.
Joe from Orange Park, FL:
I realize the building is pretty empty right now in regard to players. I haven't heard anything about Donovin Darius in over six months. What does your snooping say about his status? Looking at the roster as it stands now, is he a starter on the depth chart come training camp?
Vic: The last I heard, Donovin Darius was the highest paid strong safety in the NFL. Yeah, I think that means he's number one on the depth chart. Darius is a dedicated workout guy. If anybody can make it all the way back from ACL surgery, it's Darius. We won't know where he stands in his rehab, however, until mini-camp and spring drills.
Karen from Scituate, RI:
I just found your column. I love the NFL and really enjoy your insights. I have heard a Patriots columnist call Bill Belichick a despicable human being after Adam (Vinatieri) signed elsewhere. He also said the players that left (McGinest, Givens, Vinatieri) found any way to get out of the organization by spurning calls made to them at the last minute by the Patriots to sign them, and that players do not want to come here because the Patriots are so cheap. Do you think this is true?
Vic: The fans in Cleveland didn't have much good to say about Belichick when he cut Bernie Kosar. Belichick cited "declining skills" and the fans thought Belichick was crazy. As it turned out, Belichick was right and the fans were wrong. The only thing Belichick was guilty of doing was what was best for the Browns franchise. He made the same right decision with Drew Bledsoe, too, didn't he? How could anyone doubt his decision-making? Everybody wants warm and fuzzy, but football isn't a warm and fuzzy game. It's a game with an edge. Belichick has that edge and it's one of the things that makes him a great coach.
Emil from Jacksonville:
I noticed all the teams you named with good salary caps and good young talent are in the AFC. Is it because you have more exposure to this conference or is there a significant difference in team philosophy between the two conferences?
Vic: It's because the AFC has out-drafted the NFC in recent years. The AFC is the dominant conference. It has the league's best young quarterbacks.
James from Jacksonville:
I love your column but I wish it was longer. I could read "Ask Vic" for hours. I look forward to its posting every day. How about adding to it a bit? Is it that you don't have enough quality questions?
Vic: Some days I have too many good questions and I hate not being able to answer them all, so I move them to another day. Sometimes, such as this past Friday when everybody asked the same question – are the Jaguars going to sign Lavar Arrington? – quality and quantity do not meet. If the column is a little longer than usual, it's probably because I had a lot of good questions. If it's a little shorter, it's probably for the opposite reason. I'm going to use this opportunity to make an appeal to "Ask Vic" readers to please be more understanding about my workload. I'm at the owners meetings in Orlando this week. I arrived on Sunday and I'll return on Thursday. I'm going to try to give you five "Ask Vic" columns this week despite two travel days.
Michael from Jacksonville:
I've written to you four times so I hope the fifth time is the charm. Please settle an argument between me and a good friend of mine. I believe Pope, the tight end for Georgia, is worth trading up in the draft to get. My friend seems to believe that it's foolish to grab a receiver three years in a row, as the Lions did. Please explain the difference to my idiot friend.
Vic: Trade up to draft another receiver? I tend to agree with your idiot friend.
Kelvin from Warwick, UK:
The Super Bowl champions and the previous Super Bowl champions, the former coach, three of the first four draft picks and T.O. are all coming to Jacksonville next season. Has the (schedule) ever looked so intriguing?
Vic: I don't know if you could pick a better home schedule.