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Alltel built to host Super Bowl

Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
 

Charlie Bruce from Jacksonville:
I've often wondered how Alltel Stadium found room for 700 members of the media for the AFC championship game in 2000. Where are we going to find enough space for 3,000 at Super Bowl XXXIX?

Vic: The first time I laid eyes on the press box at what was then Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, I knew the plan was to one day host the Super Bowl. The Alltel press box is a huge facility. When you stir in auxiliary press areas, Alltel may be better-equipped to handle a Super Bowl media contingent than any other stadium in the country.
 

Nathan Hughes from Richmond, VA:
The major problem with the Jaguars offense the past few seasons seems to be their inability to force their will in terms of the running attack. In other words, to run when they want to and not when the defense is not expecting it. Are they being aggressive towards addressing this, or are they going to take what the game gives them? It seems that if this hurdle is dealt with, then the rest of the game can get much easier.

Vic: In my opinion, the only problem with the Jaguars offense last season was that it wasn't always as good at scoring points as it was at gaining yardage. Red-zone efficiency clearly needs to be improved. Nathan, there are very few teams in the league who attempt to "force their will" with the running game. The Steelers are one of those teams and they've been harshly criticized for having an antiquated and unimaginative offense. Personally, I love the running game and teams who can stick it down another team's throat, but members of my own family think I'm antiquated and unimaginative. The fact of the matter is Tom Coughlin is a "take what they give you" strategist. Like most coaches, he won't butt his head against an eight-man front. The ones who will, coach in Pittsburgh.
 

David Wielgus from Jacksonville:
Did the Jaguars lose or gain ground in offseason transactions, compared to the other teams in the AFC Central. Without going into specifics, it seemed Baltimore got stronger, while Tennessee may have lost a step. How do you see it?

Vic: I agree that Baltimore appears to have strengthened itself and that Tennessee got weaker with the losses of Kenny Holmes, Denard Walker and Lorenzo Neal, and don't forget about Steve McNair's shoulder surgery. The Titans added Kevin Carter, but at the cost of a first-round draft choice. Pittsburgh is better with the addition of Jeff Hartings, and the Steelers' first two draft choices are perfect for their defensive needs. In my opinion, Cincinnati has improved itself more than any team in the division, and Cleveland will be a much more competitive team this season. That brings us to the Jaguars, whose offseason accomplishment is having been able to retain its core players. Unfortunately, keeping the core cost the Jaguars significant roster-depth losses. Considering those losses, it would not be logical to think the Jaguars got stronger during the offseason. Any hope of that will rest with the Jaguars' rookies, who must replace those players the team lost as a result of its salary cap problems.
 

Nate Weir from Kaysville, UT:
If Fred Taylor stays healthy, do you think he will be able to rush for 1,800 yards, and do you think if he's healthy and productive the Jaguars will have a shot at the playoffs?

Vic: Fred Taylor is as talented as any running back I have ever seen. Yes, he can rush for 1,800 yards; yes, he can lead the Jaguars to the playoffs. However, each of those goals will depend on the Jaguars' passing attack as much as Taylor's ability to stay healthy. Taylor is not a pounder. He needs to play in a balanced offense that keeps defenses honest. That's where Jimmy Smith's health comes in. The Jaguars need him back, if they are to remain one of the NFL's most potent passing attacks. Taylor knows the value of a defense that has to play on its heels.
 

Rick Kitchens from Honolulu, HI:
Why are we "middle of the pack" this year, relative to being a preseason favorite last year, and which teams in the AFC, and overall, do you rate as having greater overall roster depth and roster quality than the Jaguars?

Vic: The Jaguars are going to be a "middle of the pack" preseason pick for the obvious reasons: They suffered considerable offseason personnel losses, they lack cap room to atone for those losses, their final roster may have as many as 17 or 18 rookies on it, they are playing in what is arguably the best division in football, and they are coming off a 7-9 season. As for your second question: The salary cap system has eaten away at every team's attempt to build roster depth, but the top teams in their respective divisions have more good players than the bottom teams. Baltimore and Tennessee have strong rosters. Philadelphia has built a very strong roster in a very short time. St. Louis has depth. Seattle and Detroit are on their way. The Jets have made strides. Tampa has probably had the deepest roster in the league the last couple of seasons.
 
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.

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