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Be careful with expectations

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

Dave McDaniel from Orange Park, FL:
With the changing of head coaches and the compensating of draft picks for them (Gruden, Belichick, Parcells, etc.), my question is: Does the head coach's salary count against the cap? If not, why the draft compensation for a coach?
Coaches' salaries do not count against the salary cap. Jon Gruden's, Bill Belichick's and Bill Parcells' moves to new teams included draft compensation because all four coaches were still under contract to their old teams. It was part of the deal to allow each coach out of his current contract.

Jon-Michael Harris from Starke, FL:
I have been listening to the Tomcats' games on the radio. I think you are doing a good job. What would you say is the best decision for the NFL concerning the Arena Football League? Buy into the league, or not to buy into the league?
The Jacksonville Tomcats are a member of AFL2. The NFL has an option to buy into the AFL, which is a league one step higher than AFL2. In my opinion, the NFL will not exercise its option to buy into the AFL because it does not offer a reasonable expectation for being profitable. The AFL is considerably more expensive to operate than AFL2, mostly the result of significantly higher player salaries

Steve Murray from Ocala, FL:
I am very excited about the way the Jaguars drafted this year. If the Jaguars stay healthy, I think they have a legitimate shot at winning the AFC South title. My questions are: What is happening with Stacey Mack? Are we close to re-signing him?
Prior to the start of restricted free agency, the Jaguars offered Stacey Mack the minimum tender, which he declined to sign. Mack went through the restricted free agent period without signing with another team, which left him the property of the Jaguars for one year at the minimum-tender wage. Once that was established, the Jaguars began negotiating a new contract with Mack. I expect it to be announced soon that Mack and the Jaguars have agreed to a new, long-term deal.

James Williams from Jacksonville:
I'm gonna go out on a limb here and say the Jags are gonna get to the playoffs this year, not because I'm some radical fan blinded by the love of our team, but from the things I've heard and read on-line. At first, I thought Coughlin went nuts when he let go of such good players, but after the draft picks he made I see what he's going for; fixing a lot with a little. Also, with the Jags going in what will be called the weakest division, they should be able to get in some easy wins. So, do you think they can at least go to the playoffs.
The Jaguars' best chance of making it into the postseason next year would seem to hinge on winning the AFC South Division title. Clearly, it is a weak division and I won't discount the possibility that all of the pieces might fall into place and the Jaguars could win the division title. However, I don't think that's a realistic expectation. In my opinion, in all fairness to Wayne Weaver and Tom Coughlin and what they have in front of them in the way of salary-cap repair and roster reconstruction, our preseason expectations should exclude the postseason. My expectations are for the Jaguars to be a competitive, young football team that produces a nucleus of core players for the future. By definition, that would make them a team on the rise, and that would satisfy me.

Eric Scherer from Snyder, NE:
I have thought long and hard over this and with the release of Kevin Hardy and Hardy Nickerson soon to be released, all we're left with is T.J. Slaughter from last year's starters. My question is: How do you see Tom Coughlin filling these huge voids. Do you expect Coughlin to try to sign a few decent players released after June 1, or is he going to rely solely on backups last year stepping it up this year? Who do you think will be the starting linebackers this year?
If the season began today, I believe the Jaguars' starting linebackers would be T.J. Slaughter at weakside, Wali Rainer at middle and Danny Clark on the outside. I expect Tom Coughlin to sign a veteran linebacker in June. There are a lot of candidates. Training camp will reveal the frontline guys.

Jon Kurland from Jacksonville:
All this talk about June 1 has me wondering: Why do the Jags want to spend money they are trying to save on a backup veteran quarterback? If we are truly in rebuilding, as is obvious, why not just let Garrard give it a go if Brunell goes down? It's obvious if Brunell goes down our season is all but finished anyway, so why waste the money on false hopes? If the Jags feel a need to spend money, I think outside linebacker and cornerback should be strongly looked at. What's your feeling?
It's very likely the Jaguars will sign a veteran quarterback such as Tony Banks, and for an obvious reason: They are not quitting on their prospects for 2002 before the season even begins. David Garrard will be given every opportunity to develop into Mark Brunell's backup, but the position is too important to begin the season with only one quarterback who has ever taken a snap from center in an NFL game.

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