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Can't leave your past behind

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

Andy from Palm Coast, FL:
What are Mark Brunell's options after he is cut? Is he basically unemployed and can choose who he wants to play for based on offer, location and team? Or does he have some silly NFL restrictions?

Vic: Mark Brunell is a vested veteran. Therefore, when he is released by the Jaguars following the season, he will be an unrestricted free agent who is free to sign with any team in the league. He will not be subject to the waiver wire. Nothing silly about that, is there?

Sean from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
With all the stupid things that some NFL players are doing after scoring, such as Terrell Owens autographing a ball, Chad Johnson holding up his "Don't fine me" sign, and Joe Horn's cell phone call, do you feel a fine or suspension is necessary to put an end to this? True, the NFL is entertainment and end-zone celebrations have been toned down, but professionalism has to play into it somewhere, don't you think? And, will you be having an "Ask Vic" column once the season is over?

Vic: Joe Horn was fined $30,000. Would it matter if he was fined $300,000? What I'm suggesting is that a person's dignity has to be his most valuable possession, and the loss of it is his greatest punishment. I don't believe you can fine people into submission. The trick is finding people who don't need to be fined. Joe Horn is a very talented player; an underrated player. Maybe, one day, he would've been recognized for his skills. But that won't happen now. For as long as he plays this game, and beyond, Horn will be remembered for his infamous cell phone call. He will forever be remembered as a player of infamy. I wonder if he truly understands what his need for attention cost him. As for "Ask Vic," it will continue through the offseason, as it always has.

Mike from Jacksonville:
Great article, Vic. I got a question regarding your touchdown-catching receiver, big-play cornerback and pass-rushing defensive end. Who do you think would be good fits and do you think they will be filled in the draft or free agency?

Vic: I can't give you names because there are so many of them, but I can tell you this: If you're going to find one of those three guys in free agency, you better get the other two in the draft or you won't have enough salary cap room to field a team. Those are big-money players.

Gary from Palm Coast, FL:
Great column; it's my daily read at lunch. On in-season roster moves, I agree the acquisitions have been good, but what about the discards? Marlon McCree was outstanding for two years. We let him go to a division rival, Houston, without compensation. Your thoughts on McCree, please.

Vic: You can't keep everybody. You can't have Marlon McCree and Deke Cooper. Jack Del Rio was faced with a decision and he made a very bold one. In my opinion, that outweighs the negative because there was a statement in what Del Rio did: It's our way or the highway. Every new coach faces that kind of situation early in his rookie year, and how he handles it will go a long way toward his success or failure in leading the team. The Jaguars are sixth in the league in defense. What's that say?

Mike from Atlanta, GA:
Happy holidays to you and yours. You've said on several occasions you like both our young quarterbacks, Leftwich and Gararrd. Would it be smart for the Jags to extend Garrard's contract? Is there enough upside in him for the organization to take that risk? They could get him cheaper now than if he were an established player. I only ask this question because the Titans did the same thing with their backup, Billy Volek. It looks like the Titans may have two good quarterbacks now.

Vic: You ask a very valid question. Let's begin with the facts: David Garrard has two years remaining on his contract beyond this season, so, there's no need to panic. When that contract expires, Garrard will be an unrestricted free agent, so, it's not likely he's going to allow the Jaguars to extend him cheaply. He wants to be a starting quarterback and knows that isn't going to happen in Jacksonville, so, I doubt if what you're suggesting can be accomplished. I think it's more likely the Jaguars will trade Garrard for an attractive draft choice, so, in my opinion, it might be time to consider drafting another quarterback and begin training him to be a backup. How can you go wrong with that philosophy, especially if you can continue to recoup draft picks? Rob Johnson brought first and fourth-round picks, which the Jaguars used to draft Fred Taylor and Tavian Banks. What might Garrard yield? He's a very talented player.

Daniel from Springfield, MO:
With Mark leaving to go to another team and the editorials you've been writing about the sentimental feelings of him leaving, I was wondering how you felt when you left Pittsburgh?

Vic: Scared; and I'll bet Mark Brunell is feeling that way, too. You get rooted in a place and you're afraid to leave. Then you go to a new place and meet new people and your life gets richer. But you don't subtract; you add to your collection. People who've had to uproot themselves all have one thing in common: mementoes of where they were. My study is jammed with trinkets I've collected and going-away gifts I was given. You can't throw away your past. I embrace the great years I spent covering the Steelers, and with each passing year my study gets more crowded with mementoes from my time covering the Jaguars. It'll be the same for Mark Brunell. He will always embrace his memories of eight years as the Jaguars' starting quarterback. Don't think for one second he's going to leave this place behind. It will be with him forever.

James from Keystone Heights, FL:
In answering a question about needs for next year, you said "a pass-rushing defensive end who is not a pass-rush specialist." What is your distinction between the two?

Vic: A pass-rush specialist plays only on passing downs. An every-downs defensive end is in the game all of the time. In other words, the every-downs guy can play run and rush; the specialist can only rush. I don't like pass-rush specialists because you have to predict when a team is going to pass. If he can't play the run and he's in the game on second-and-eight, and the other team decides to run the ball, you've got the wrong personnel on the field. And if you're only going to play him on third-and-long, his play-time is too limited for him to be a factor. Jason Taylor and Dwight Freeney came into the league as smaller guys who, it was thought, might have to be used as pass-rush specialists. But they have developed into great every-downs players.

Emory from Marion, NC:
Who has the most Super Bowl rings? If Dan Marino can have such a stellar career without ever winning a championship, there has to be the opposite. Is there some guy out there who managed to be traded to the right teams every year and has 15 Super Bowl rings?

Vic: Fifteen? No. But one guy who comes to mind is Marv Fleming, who won three NFL titles (pre-merger) and two Super Bowls as a tight end with the Green Bay Packers, then went to Miami and won two Super Bowls with the Dolphins. That's three NFL title rings and four Super Bowl championship rings. There are a lot of Steelers and 49ers players with four Super Bowl rings, too.

Mark from Jacksonville:
Near the end of the season I have found myself wanting us to lose so that we get a higher draft pick. Am I going mad or something?

Vic: Don't tempt fate. How do you know the guy you'd draft with a higher pick won't decide to join the seminary after his rookie season? Just win the games and let fate handle the rest.

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