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Brunell is still the best

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

David Wielgus from Orlando, FL:
Reading your articles and answers to my questions are a daily highlight. Now, for a tough question: Last week you wrote an article concerning Gary Walker, almost challenging him to speak his mind against the defense run by Moeller. That's not fair. That's like coloring him yellow for not jumping off a cliff onto jagged rocks. When Andre Rison spoke up, Coughlin sent him packing. Is there an unwritten rule that coaches are right and players are replaceable?
Vic: Gary Walker made the remark, "It's coming." My question was, "What's coming?" I'm not a psychic; I'm a reporter. Yes, there is an unwritten rule and it goes like this: Coaches instruct and players execute. There's also another unwritten rule: Don't blame others because nothing will wreck a team faster than finger-pointing.

Mike Cummings from Jacksonville:
I think Tom Coughlin is a very good coach and would hate to see him leave in any fashion. My question is: Do you think if he opened up his assistants to speak publicly it would ease his workload and help a little with the pressure of the job?
Vic: I would like Tom Coughlin to give permission to his assistants to speak to the media because I'm in the media and I believe in freedom of speech. Coughlin spends about an hour a week with the media and that wouldn't change.

Tim McClellan from Jacksonville:
The rumor mill is buzzing with speculation about Tom Coughlin's future with the franchise, and about the relationship between the head coach and the quarterback. Each year for the past three seasons we've been subjected to the annual cry to fire Coughlin, despite the fact he's built this franchise and has given Jacksonville the most successful expansion franchise in NFL history. The Notre Dame rumors begin every time there's a bump in the road for this franchise. Don't you think speculating about the future of any coach is premature halfway through the season? How much weight can be put on inside sources telling reporters Tom has worn out his welcome? You're on the inside of the franchise; do you hear these grumblings? How much truth is there in the rumor that relations between Tom and Mark Brunell are cool at best? I'm not anticipating a love-fest on the sidelines, but you do expect the quarterback and the head coach to be on the same page.
Vic: Tom Coughlin and Mark Brunell are on the same page and Coughlin is its author. That's the way it must be for a team to be successful. I won't discount the possibility Coughlin gets under Brunell's skin, but it must be a bearable situation because Brunell signed a new contract with the Jaguars when he could've very easily forced the Jaguars to trade or cut him. Bashing the coach has become a sport separate from the game. Coaches are paid a lot of money to take that kind of abuse but, in Coughlin's case, the abuse has been extreme. I'm stunned by what I read. In my opinion, Coughlin has been treated more harshly than any coach in the league since angry Packers fans hanged Dan Devine's dog in Devine's front yard. Fans have the right to show their dissent and I support their freedom of expression by publishing their letters in Jaguars Inside Report. However, I wonder if they fully understand the degree to which their remarks hurt the coach's family.

Mike Weidner from Atlanta, GA:
I think Mark Brunell is the most underrated quarterback in the league. He has a weak offensive line and little run support, yet, halfway through the season he has nearly 2,000 yards of total offense. Critics have said his legs are gone and he can't run. He looks pretty mobile to me. I think Mark is a smarter quarterback than he was two years ago and his fewer interceptions reflect that. For a quarterback of his caliber, the Jags got him at a bargain price. Do you agree?
Mark Brunell's contract is the best contract the Jaguars have. If all of their players had similar contracts, relative to the positions they play and their level of achievement, the Jaguars would not have a salary cap problem. Since he became the Jaguars' starting quarterback in the sixth game of the 1995 season, he has been this team's most productive and dependable player.

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