Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Jason from Nashville, TN:
Even though Jack Del Rio has said it won't happen, is there any chance Matt Jones could be moved into a quarterback role? What if Garrard went down with an injury?
Vic: Are you suggesting I should take Jack Del Rio hostage before the game and demand that Matt Jones be made the quarterback?
Sean from Jacksonville:
You keep alluding to the Colts being in a bad salary cap situation. You keep saying that in a couple of years they will collapse. I'm just trying to get this straight. Have they set it up where in future years they're going to have to pay all of this money to all these guys that are playing right now? What do you think is going to happen? Who do you think they'll have to get rid of?
Vic: Unfortunately, you're really lost when it comes to the function of the salary cap. The money has already been paid; the amortization remains. Go to "Salary Cap 101" and give it a read. As far as answering your questions, I didn't predict when the Colts' salary cap collapse will begin. What I have said is that it's inevitable. I don't know when it's going to happen but it is going to happen. I can tell you that if there isn't a CBA extension before next season, the Colts are going to experience major salary cap problems next year because the current CBA doesn't allow for money to be pushed out beyond 2009 and the Colts are already maxed out through '09. They desperately need a new CBA so they can re-structure contracts and push money out beyond '09. With a CBA extension, they can buy a few more years. Without an extension, the cap will catch up to them next year. They could lose Edgerrin James and Reggie Wayne, for example, and Dwight Freeney is scheduled to become a free agent after the '06 season and his salary escalates significantly next season.
Doug from Jacksonville:
Between the Jags, Steelers, KC and Chargers, who will be the two left out of the AFC playoffs?
Vic: Good question. I think the wild-card race in the AFC is the most exciting thing in the NFL heading into the final five weeks of the season. My gut is telling me the Jags and Chargers will be the two who make it in as wild cards, but it's not that easy. The Jaguars have the easiest road to the playoffs. Four of their final five opponents have a combined record of 10-34. But the Jags have lost their starting quarterback. The Steelers, in my opinion, will have to win-out to win the division. That would do it, of course, since they would own the head-to-head tie-breaker against Cincinnati. If the Steelers lose to the Bengals this Sunday, the Steelers will be reduced to playing for a wild-card spot and I don't think they'll make it. They do, however, own the head-to-head tie-breaker over the Chargers. The Chargers are a team I really like right now. They are playing great football and they have been hardened by a killer schedule. Now, the breaks may be falling their way. How about that ridiculous holding penalty by the Redskins lineman when the Redskins were in position to kick the game-winning field goal? And look at when the Chargers play the Colts and Broncos. They could be "locked" and might rest their guys. Frankly, I don't see the Chargers losing another game. The Chiefs' closing schedule is so rugged that I just don't see them staying in the wild-card race. The Steelers hold the key. If they win-out, the Bengals become a wild-card team and I don't see them finishing any worse than 12-4. That would really stress the Jaguars and Chargers.
Kenny from Jacksonville:
If Arizona is having such difficulty with ticket sales, why did they build a new stadium and not just go ahead and move them a few hundred miles west to LA?
Vic: Because the city of Phoenix wanted to keep them. You're talking about the 14th-largest market in America. The NFL wants to be there and the city clearly wants the NFL.
Bob from Jacksonville:
How do you explain the respect the Bengals are getting? It sounds like a threat when you say "don't argue with people who buy their ink by the barrel," but what if they are wrong and slanted and (possibly) stupid? Just being a reporter doesn't make someone correct.
Vic: You're taking these power polls way too seriously.
Jon from Jacksonville:
I need you to clear something up for me and a co-worker of mine. He believes owners pay for insurance plans for large-contract players that will pay their salaries in the event of an injury. I believe that is not true. When he states his case, it sounds reasonable.
Vic: All player salaries, including those of injured players, are paid by the team. What your co-worker might be thinking of are insurance policies some players purchase that would reimburse the team, through the player, for salary money paid while that player is injured. Something like that would be part of a contract negotiations in which the player agrees to buy such a policy. Why do it that way? Because if the team purchased the policy and got the money directly from the insurance company, it wouldn't get salary cap relief. The money has to come from the player for the team to get cap relief.
Jason from Jacksonville:
Can you clue me into the big deal about the Chargers? You rank them as number four in your rankings (above us) and they are sixth with ESPN. They don't have as good a record as us and they haven't exactly played or beaten the top of the league.
Vic: Huh? The Chargers have played the most unfairly difficult schedule I have ever seen. Their schedule includes two games each against Denver and Kansas City, games at New England, Philadelphia, Washington and Indianapolis, and at home against Dallas, the Giants and Pittsburgh. In all of the years I've covered the NFL, I can't remember a year in which there has been a greater scheduling discrepancy. Several teams in the AFC have had to plow through killer schedules, while others have tip-toed through the tulips. The whole idea of the new scheduling format was to level the playing field by standardizing the formula. It looked like a real good idea, but it has failed miserably this season. I have great respect for the Chargers' ability to be 7-4.
Jon from Birmingham, AL:
I have heard many times about the revenue that is generated from a new stadium. Where exactly does all this revenue come from?
Vic: It comes from luxury suites and club seats and any other premium-seating concepts that didn't exist or were restricted in number in the previous stadium.
John from Indianapolis, IN:
Why do you suggest the Colts will be in salary cap hell? Do you have any actual figures telling you how much above the cap the Colts will be?
Vic: All you have to do is look at how much money the Colts have pushed out into future years. Titans fans didn't believe me when I said they were a dead man walking. Come to think of it, Jags fans didn't believe me when I said in 1999 that this team was on death row. You've got some time, but you might wanna start shopping for a black hood.
Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA:
In regards to the hardest hitter, I would add a vote for Jack Tatum.
Vic: Yeah, Tatum always comes to mind. He was vicious and he was as dirty as they came. I can't ever forget, however, the sight of Tatum turning his back on Franco Harris when Harris came roaring up the middle on a 14-yard touchdown run in the 1974 AFC title game. Tatum was on a block he could've gotten off very easily, but he made sure he stayed on. He was great for hitting you when you couldn't hit back.
Ryan from Los Angeles, CA:
What do you think of the prevent defense? The Jaguars have gone to it in the fourth quarter three times in the past two games, giving up two touchdowns and giving up about 40 yards on the other.
Vic: I hate the prevent defense but Jack Del Rio said the Jaguars weren't in a "prevent" in Arizona. We tend to make the mistake of assuming that all bad pass-defense is a "prevent."