Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

Cap criticism is fair


The following is the transcript of Tuesday's question and answer session between Vic Ketchman and Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver.Vic: As painful as this is going to be, I'm going to ask you to give me your take on Sunday's game against Baltimore.
Wayne: That was a tough one. I really thought when we scored that last touchdown that we were going to win that game. You come from a 17-0 deficit, get a big turnover and go in to take the lead; it's just tough. It's hard to figure out how with 1:32 left you can't find a way to shut them down and not let them march 75 yards down the field. It's very difficult to understand.

Vic: There has been four games this season when the Jaguars have lost the lead in the fourth quarter. There were three games last year. This is sort of a trend now. What do you consider to be the root of this problem?
Wayne: You can second-guess coaches calls on defense, you can second-guess player execution. We just have to find a way to win some football games. We have to make some plays at the end. We just have to find a way to win some football games when we find ourselves in that situation. When you create opportunities to win a football game, you cannot give it away. We've let too many, as you have said, slip through our hands. We are doing a lot of soul-searching about how we deal with this. I know Tom is more frustrated about this than I am.

Vic:Is blaming the scheme too easy?
Wayne: I think it is. I think with 1:32 left on the 25-yard line you would probably see most defenses in the defense that we were in. So, you can second-guess that and say we should have been more aggressive. Maybe we should have had more pressure until they got inside our own 50. I think it's too easy to second-guess the scheme, and it's all part of it, but you have to make some plays, too.

Vic: It's been my experience that 3-7 teams usually do not have enough talent. What is your opinion about that on this team?
Wayne: I think we are a much more talented team than our record would indicate. We made a huge bet on keeping this team together this year and it hasn't worked out. We do have an awful lot of talented athletes; we just haven't made the plays when we've had the opportunity to do so to win football games.

Vic: When you're 3-7, you're going to be criticized. What criticism from the fans and media do you consider to be fair?
Wayne: Probably the biggest criticism that is fair is that we have created a salary cap problem that has inhibited or restrained us from going out and doing some things as we have had injuries, to shore-up this football team. It's no question that it has hurt big time. I think that criticism has to be directed to me.

Vic: What about criticism you think is unfair?
Wayne: I think I said last week when we talked that I thought in the Pittsburgh game the criticism of Jonathan Quinn was unfair. I thought Jonathan played well enough for us to win that football game. While he has a responsibility to hold onto the football, you can't have people teeing off on him, hitting him from the blind side and not expect things to happen. That's how you create turnovers in this game; to get that type of pressure on the quarterback.

Vic:Coaches, such as Tom Coughlin, expect criticism, but are they deserving of it to the extent he's getting?
Wayne:Well, we are all deserving of it. I think it's too easy to go after the head coach or the defensive coordinator in the case of letting them score with 1:32 left. My analogy would be if you hired a COO in business, a chief operating officer. You bring him in and you have five magnificent years and all of a sudden you've had one-and-a-half down seasons. Do you throw the COO out with the staff or do you say, how can we retool and rebuild this and get things on the right road again?

Vic: Do you buy into the idea that success and failure in the NFL are cyclical?
Wayne: I've always resisted that and I still resist it. I think that you can create a situation where you go through a cyclical period because of your salary cap and I think that's what we've done here. The Super Bowl is a powerful intoxicant. We've had two opportunities to be there and clearly, in 1999, I think that this was the best football team in the National Football League. We lost three times to the same team, which is almost unheard of. So, we were chasing that Super Bowl dream and I think we made some mistakes with our salary cap. Obviously, it has restrained some of the things we can do right now and that has hurt this football team. We've created a situation where we have created a cyclical period and we have to go back and rebuild.

Vic: If I can feed that question, when you came into the league, San Francisco, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Green Bay were the powers. They all have missed the playoffs, but now they seem to be playoff teams again, with exception of Dallas. They're good organizations aren't they?
Wayne:They are excellent organizations and I think that the case for several of those is they used the salary cap in the same way we did. I will tell you that, in my opinion, Pittsburgh has done it best. They were out of the playoffs for a couple of years, but their salary cap was not the reason. They lost some key players and decided to let some go when they had a lot of football left in them, but I think they have managed their salary cap well, because they are right back on top again.

Vic: But even when you don't screw up the cap, you spend some time out of the playoffs, right?
Wayne: If you lose key personnel. And if you don't abuse the cap, you lose key personnel.

Vic: What must this team accomplish during the offseason?
Wayne: We have to make some very difficult decisions. I've said that from the beginning. We made a big bet of keeping this team together and now we have to make some difficult decisions on how we start to rebuild this franchise. It's going to be painful and it's not going to be easy. It's going to be painful for the fans and it's going to be painful for us.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content