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Consider the facts of the running game

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

Jerry Davis from Orange Park, FL:
I often marvel at the ability of people who earn their living from the Jags constantly criticizing our coaches, players and the team in general. Don't you think we should be more supportive of our team? I am a Jags fan and await your response.
Vic: I respect people who have the patience and perspective to be supportive. It's really the way to go. We expect coaches to be supportive of the players and we should expect the same of ourselves, however, I believe strongly in freedom of speech and if fans want to complain, will defend their right.

Tommy Tzamaras from Jacksonville:
In one of your answers last week you stated that you wouldn't be quick to blame the defensive scheme that is being used at the end of games. I agree with that assessment. I believe the Jags have good enough players on defense to be effective and we have seen them do well until the end. As a coach, though, if the scheme and personnel have not gotten the job done on more than one occasion, wouldn't you then try to find a scheme that works with the personnel you have? It's called making adjustments.
Vic: The Jaguars' defensive staff made those adjustments last night against Green Bay. They armed their players with multiple defensive schemes that included man-to-man coverage. We saw the result. Interestingly, in Green Bay's game-winning drive, the key play was a screen pass that went for 42 yards against a hard rush. It has been my experience that a recurring problem is seldom the result of the scheme. Coaches at this level are too good to make the same error in strategy week after week.

Alan Lynn from Jacksonville:
What are the reasons you see for us not being able to run the ball effectively? Certainly, losing Boselli is a huge blow, but even without him the rest of the guys are big and strong. Is it the blocking scheme, getting beat physically, missed assignments, all of the above?
Vic: It is not the scheme. I repeat, these coaches are too good not to know how to do it. I can't help but focus on these facts: Two of the Jaguars' starting offensive linemen were claimed after having been waived. I'll exclude Zach Wiegert from the category since his release from the Rams was clearly for salary cap reasons. Starting right tackle Maurice Williams is a rookie. Currently, the Jaguars' three healthy running backs and the team's starting fullback all entered the league as undrafted free agents. All of that has to tell us something.

Cole Tessier from Tallahassee, FL:
What do you think about many people saying the Jaguars need to rebuild? By watching the Jags this year they seem to be so close to winning and have never been completely out of any of the games; they have all come down to the fourth quarter. Do you think the team needs just to address their attention to specific areas of concern, or do they need to totally rebuild the team?
Vic: Cole, it's time to rebuild.

Dennis Foster from St. Marys GA:
With all of the recent fines that have been levied in the NFL, what is done with all of the money that comes from these fines? Does it go to charity or does the team/NFL just keep it?
Vic: All of the money the NFL and the Jaguars collect in fines goes to charity.

Brian Sadowski from Orange Park, FL:
This isn't so much of a question as it is a statement. I personally am sick of hearing/reading about criticism of the defensive scheme. I agree certain schemes set you up better to succeed, but it always comes down to the players and their ability to execute. We heard no squabbles about the scheme in weeks one and two. I've seen Beasley and Bryant get abused on too many occasions and have seen too many fundamental mistakes to accept the scheme as the root cause of the Jags' recent problems. What's your perspective?
Coaches make mistakes, but not the same mistake week after week. The bottom line is the Jaguars' players and coaches are doing the very best they can, and I'm beginning to develop an appreciation for what it's taken in the way of effort for this team to have merely remained competitive.

Jason Wulfekuhle from Olympia, WA:
Is the salary cap the only reason for Jaguar losses? The last two years we have blamed the salary cap for us losing, but is that true? It seems our problems could lie deeper than the salary cap. What are your thoughts?
Vic: The salary cap is a good starting point. In my opinion, it remains this team's single-greatest failing.

Tom Crumpton from Jacksonville:
I've been a Tom Coughlin supporter during the recent bad times but I think his behavior lately has verged on being unprofessional, not to mention rude. When asked about the Notre Dame job recently, by a reporter who was only doing his job and asking a pertinent question, coach turned his back and walked away. Along with the childish policy whereby assistants are not allowed to talk at all to the press, and sarcastic answers to questions at postgame press conferences, I think Coughlin's act is getting old. You can get away better with this kind of conduct when you are winning, but when you are losing? What do you think?
Vic: Thanks for being sensitive to reporters who are only doing their jobs. For the most part, we ask the questions to which we believe the readers want answers. In the case of Tom Coughlin and the Notre Dame question, there's really no satisfactory answer he could've offered. Whether it's walking away or offering "no comment," the answer was that he would not respond. The last thing a coach wants to be is a distraction to his own players' focus. I have no problem with Coughlin's reaction, but the question had to be asked. As far as "Coughlin's act," he has always believed a coach must rest his case on his won-lost record, not his personality.

Kevin Glynn from Jacksonville:
You mentioned the Jaguars have a talent deficiency. How can a team so far over the salary cap have a talent deficiency? Isn't the real reason the Jaguars crumble late in the game an inability to evaluate talent period. We spent all last offseason re-structuring (contracts) because we thought this team had core players who could get us wins with "smoke and mirrors," but when you are not constantly using the draft effectively it is a double whammy that has severely crippled this franchise. As I see it, this is a make or break draft for this franchise; no margin for error. We are in too deep of a hole because of past drafts. Your comments, please.
Vic: In retrospect, keeping the core of the team together was a mistake, but the Jaguars really didn't have an option. The only way to get under the salary cap was by re-structuring contracts. Cutting players would've only accelerated their remaining amortizations and worsened the cap problem. Rebuilding begins this offseason. That means draft success is an absolute must for this team to begin its comeback. In my opinion, the Jaguars' drafting became far too need-based, beginning especially in 1999, as the team became obsessed with the Super Bowl. I would like to see the Jaguars adopt more of a best-available-athlete philosophy to the draft and that should be no problem next spring because the Jaguars have needs everywhere.

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