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Beware of free agency

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

Rochadd from Jacksonville:
First I want to say I enjoy reading your answers; thanks. I just wanted to know with Marvin Lewis' proven success with the Baltimore Ravens defensive unit the last few years, why wasn't he ever a candidate for the Jaguars job? Was he even interviewed?

Vic: He was not interviewed. My guess is he was not considered a candidate in the beginning because he lacked head-coaching experience. Then, by the time Wayne Weaver changed his stance on the head-coaching prerequisite, Marvin Lewis was the leading candidate in Cincinnati. I think the Bengals have hired a great coach.

Jack from Jacksonville:
Wayne Weaver recently said, "Today, you just can't run the football all the time. Even when you have Fred Taylor, you have to run a wide-open offense. You have to have a gadget play here and there." Will this have an influence on how much Jack Del Rio uses Fred Taylor?

Vic: No. Jack Del Rio will do whatever he believes is necessary to win. That's how coaches ultimately please their owners.

Buck from Jacksonville:
It seems Mr. Weaver does not interview or make any decisions without Paul Vance. I noticed you referred to Mr. Vance as director of football operations. Who is he? Does he have any football background? If Mr. Weaver does not want to be mentioned in the same sentence as Mr. Brown of the Bengals, he should give serious thought to who is making the football decisions. Please tell me who Paul Vance is.

Vic: Paul Vance is a graduate of the Columbia Law School who came to the Jaguars as their legal counsel. He replaced Michael Huyghue as the Jaguars' director of football operations in November of 2001. In that position, Vance's responsibilities are salary cap management and contract negotiations. Under Weaver's new football operations structure, Vance's department is one-third of the equation: Salary cap, personnel and coaching. All football-related decisions will be made by the heads of those three departments, in concert with Weaver.

Justin from Jacksonville:
Call me crazy, but the player personnel hire is more important than the head coach hire. Would you agree? Nothing against Del Rio, but the fundamental building block of this league is talent. Weaver might have lost Savage, but he better not lose sight of the fact that this hire is twice as important as the head coach.

Vic: Twice as important? No. Equally important? Yes.

Jim from Jacksonville:
What is the "west coast offense?"

Vic: The "west coast offense" is a three-step-drop, get-rid-of-the-ball-quickly passing attack that features a lot of motion and formations designed to confuse the defense, create mismatches and allow for the ball to be thrown quickly and accurately to wide-open receivers. It's an especially productive scheme when the quarterback operating it is Joe Montana or Steve Young.

Tim from Jacksonville:
How does the free-agent class of this year look? Are there any big names out there, maybe a wide receiver or defensive back who we would be interested in? Lastly, in your opinion, will Fernando Bryant be back in a Jaguars uniform next season?

Vic: Fernando Bryant has a year remaining on his contract. I thought he played well last season and I expect he will be back with the Jaguars in 2003. As far as free agency, the big names are David Boston, Peerless Price, Hugh Douglas, Keith Brooking, Takeo Spikes and Chris McAlister. They would all fit areas of great need on the Jaguars, but, in my opinion, this team needs to stay away from expensive free agency. I consider it to be a trap for fools.

Stormy from Jackson, TN:
Vic, love your stories and your answers to "Ask Vic." Since you are so good at your "10 things," what are the "10 things" the Jaguars need to do in the offseason.

Vic: 1) Hire the best personnel man available. 2) Clear as much money as possible from the salary cap. 3) Make bold decisions about personnel. 4) Focus on the future; not next season. 5) Stay out of expensive free agency. 6) Draft the best player available in every round. 7) Present realistic expectations for next season. 8) Practice blocking and tackling in training camp. 9) Commit to player development. 10) Play hard.

Roland from Jacksonville:
Vic, I can't wait to see what this new coaching staff will do with Donovin Darius. Do you think they will blitz him more in third-down situations?

Vic: First they have to decide if they want to re-sign him.

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