Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
The commissioner is hired solely by the owners, so even though he appears to sit at the head of the league for the owners and players, he is really looking out for the owners' best interests. Since you and others feel the recent CBA significantly favors the players, does that mean you feel Tagliabue let the owners down? Or was any long-term agreement a victory at that point?
Vic: I don't see a victory in any of it for the small-market guys. They didn't get a satisfactory revenue-sharing plan and there's no other way to characterize the CBA other than as a lopsided victory for the players. I don't know who bears the blame from the owners' standpoint, though it's very clear the reason the players were able to score such a dramatic victory is because the whole process was owners vs. owners. The next CBA negotiations will clearly be owners vs. players. Before the owners embark upon those negotiations, they better have their own problems worked out amongst each other. The sequence of events was out of order most recently. It must be owners agree with owners, then it's owners agree with players. They put the cart before the horse this time around. Frankly, I don't know why labor peace was all that important. It's certainly not worth risking a lot of franchises' futures, which may be the case.
Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
So you're telling me that if I don't buy season tickets I can never see a Jags game (in your world)? Vic, I live five hours away and I do travel once to twice a year to see them play. It's a very costly weekend. What is your answer for Jags fans that live far away, if no single-game tickets become available?
Vic: What I'm saying is no franchise can survive on selling tickets on a single-game basis. Find them any way you can; other teams' fans who live at a distance do. I expect you to understand, however, especially after being so sensitized to the plight of small-market, low-revenue teams, that every team strives to have every seat sold on a season-ticket basis long before the season arrives. That is every team's goal.
Wes from Cincinnati, OH:
I am interested to know your opinion on Matt Jones' progression during last season. Do you envision him pushing past Reggie Williams as the number two receiver on the depth chart?
Vic: Matt Jones has become the ultimate evaluation subject. What is he, a rare wine? It's not that difficult to evaluate wide receivers. They are expected to catch passes and score touchdowns, and we expect them to do those two things at important times. Catches and touchdowns at garbage time mean nothing to me. That's for the stats. I want catches and touchdowns that produce wins. Jimmy Smith has been doing that since 1996. He has led the Jaguars in yards receiving every year since then and it's time one of the Jaguars' young receivers, whether it be Williams, Jones or Ernest Wilford, replaces Jimmy as this team's star receiver. That's the expectation. Who will do it? We'll see.
Terry from Jacksonville:
You get a lot of play here in our office; kind of our football version of Yoda. The "I like to watch" skit has marked us all. Regarding last year's Jamie Winborn deal with San Francisco, there was an undisclosed draft pick from us to the 49ers. What was that pick and how did placing him on injured reserve at the end of November affect the deal?
Vic: Putting Winborn on IR had no effect on the trade. The Jaguars traded an unconditional seventh-round pick to the 49ers for Winborn, who was on the last year of his contract.
Stephen from Santa Fe, NM:
I'm moving back to Florida next month and, if I can swing it, I'll be a season ticket holder. Wayne Weaver and the Jags organization are class and I want to do my part to be a class fan. Thanks for letting me know about them turning down ticket sales to brokers. That underlines my point.
Vic: Different people want different things from a football team. Entertainment is a general expectation. What do teams expect from their fans? Loyalty. I think fans have every right to expect the same from the team.
Erik from Orange Park, FL:
Should the Jaguars realistically look at the option of moving up in the draft for a player, or are there no players worth the price?
Vic: There are players worth the price. Jack Del Rio "loves" A.J. Hawk. But where are you gonna get the picks it would take to move up that high? The Jaguars only have six picks and I don't think they have what it would take to move into the top 10. Even if they found a team willing to move all the way down to 28, you'd probably end up giving away so many picks that it might become a one-player draft class, and that's not what you want. You want each draft to help build your roster for the future. The Jaguars have done a great job at building roster depth in Del Rio's and James Harris' first three draft classes. If they had an extra second-round pick and a bunch of compensatory picks, you could give serious consideration to trading up because you'd have the ammunition to do it. I get a kick out of the question, who did the best in free agency? Invariably, the answer is always the team that signed the most players, right? After all, you'd never say it was the team that lost the most players, right? Yet, the Steelers lost the most last season, won the Super Bowl and now have a bunch of nice-looking compensatory picks, which leads me to believe they did the best in free agency last year. People forget about compensatory picks until they're awarded. They feel real good then, don't they? What they do most for a team is give it the ability to maneuver in the draft. Bill Belichick has done a great job with compensatory picks. Tom Brady was drafted with a compensatory pick.
Frank from Jacksonville:
Love your column and I read it daily. I'm also proud to be a Jags "Champions Club" volunteer. Hopefully, Alltel gets sold out in season tickets and, if so, can Mr. Weaver then uncover the seats or does he have a deadline for that?
Vic: Whatever the Jaguars do as far as covering or uncovering seats, it has to be for the whole year, including the postseason. Now, please, forget about uncovering seats. Alltel Stadium's capacity has been adjusted properly and all of the focus now should be on filling those seats.
Matt from Indianapolis, IN:
First of all, I have the utmost respect for the Jaguars and their fans. They are a great team and I look forward to this season's fight for the division. I will ignore your comment that the Colts are the laugh of the league. My question to you is that if you like the way New England is managing their free agents, then why go to the trouble of having a "Ring of Honor?" You will never have another player live out their profession life with the Jags, even if they are eventual Hall of Famers. There are players that mean so much to the organization that they should be retained even if it means spending a little more.
Vic: You're right, and that's why you have to be willing to let other players go. The Tom Brady's must stay, which is why the Adam Vinatieri's and David Givens' and Lawyer Milloy's and Damien Woody's and Joe Andruzzi's, etc. must be allowed to leave. You do whatever it takes to keep your "Ring of Honor" players. The Jaguars weren't willing to lose players in free agency in the franchise's early years, which forced the team to leave Tony Boselli unprotected in the Houston expansion draft. This is a game of replacement. The strong franchises challenge themselves to find replacements for players they'd like to keep but a healthy salary cap forbids keeping. If you try to keep everybody, eventually you'll lose everybody. You gotta keep your stars. They're the players around whom your team is built for the long haul.
Marcus from Jacksonville:
Perhaps a week of answering questions without reiterating the "scare the fans into buying season tickets" line from the Jags PR department might be a little difficult, but could you try?
Vic: Tell me what I've written that isn't the truth and I'll retract it. The Jaguars belong to Jacksonville and I want it to stay that way. You and I probably have that in common, Marcus. Every time I hear a media guy from another city talk about the Jaguars being a potential candidate to move to Los Angeles, it bothers me, and I've heard comments to that effect this week in Orlando. If you detected a change in my attitude on this subject a year ago, you were right. When they shrunk the stadium, I took on a "no more excuses" attitude, not because I want to embarrass Jaguars fans, but because I want them to know how serious this really is. This town loves pro football. We know that because its TV ratings are some of the best in the league. Don't ever risk losing something you love. It hurts too much when you lose it.