Join Jaguars Inside Report Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Mario from Zapata, TX:
Vic, love your column. Keep up the good work. In your opinion, what do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of our team this year, and can we make the playoffs?
Vic: The Jaguars' strengths are a veteran quarterback, a star wide receiver and a star running back, and a rapidly improving offensive line. The weaknesses are an apparent lack of pass-rush and an overall uncertainty on defense due to major offseason losses on that side of the ball. For the Jaguars to be playoff contenders, it's imperative that no other team in the AFC South gets hot. We expect this to be a 9-7 type of division, and that's what it must be for the Jaguars to be a playoff contender. Logic would dictate the Jaguars will have to win the division title to make the playoffs.
Nathan from Kaysville, UT:
How long does "dead money" stay on the cap.
Vic: Until all of the money paid to a player has made its way through the team's salary cap. You pay it, you claim it. There are no exceptions.
Pete from Washington, D.C.:
I'm a Jacksonville native and a die-hard Jaguars fan. I hate rumors, but I know someone on the Jaguars staff and they have told me something disturbing. I have been told there has been open discussion in meetings that the Jaguars might relocate to another city. I was wondering if you were privy to any information that would speak to the contrary, or if the information I have received is a possibility.
Vic: I am not privy to such information, but, I assure you, your information is very bad.
Chris from Niagara Falls, Ontario:
How does the "cover two" defense work? It seems to be very popular this year. Also, what does a two-gap or one-gap defensive player mean?
Vic: "Cover two" is just a fancy name for two safeties playing "centerfield." It's a conservative defensive strategy intended to take away the deep pass. Teams that play a lot of "cover two" are usually very confident of their ability to stop the run with seven defenders. "Two-gap" and "one-gap" are terminologies that refer to defensive line technique. A "two-gapper" plays over the head of the offensive lineman opposite him. He's responsible for the gaps on either side of the offensive lineman. A "one-gapper" plays in the gap between the two defensive linemen opposite him. He's responsible for that gap. "Two-gap" is a hold-the-point, stop-the-run strategy. "One-gap" is intended to produce penetration in the backfield, disrupt the play and, hopefully, make a sack or force a turnover. It's a risky strategy and you better have athletic defensive players who can run and chase.
Keith from Jacksonville:
Why does it always seem we have a bye week so early in the year? Does Wayne Weaver have anything to do with it? I think in this case, it may hurt us more than help us as we don't have many serious injuries and there's a chance the Jags could lose momentum during the extra week. Can Weaver do anything to push the bye later in the season in future years?
Vic: In the Jaguars' eight-year history, they have had byes in week 10 three times, in week three twice, and in week five, week seven and week six. That seems to be a fair distribution.
Pete from Atlantic Beach, FL:
Great column, Vic, please keep it up. Can you explain any difference between "releasing a player" and "waiving a player?"
Vic: "Release" is not official NFL terminology. "Waive" is the official terminology. "Release" is just another word the media uses that means the same thing as "waive."
Bharat from Jacksonville:
This is in no way meant to dredge up the Damon Gibson incident, but what makes a special teams coach/team better than another? In other words, is it the blocking schemes or just individual talent? I ask because our special teams personnel didn't change significantly when Tom Coughlin hired Frank Gansz from the Rams. Does a coach on special teams have that much to work with in terms of technique and strategy?
Vic: I don't agree with you on the personnel not undergoing significant change. Special teams are usually manned by players in the second half of a team's roster, and that's the part of the roster that experiences the most significant change yearly. Currently on this year's punt, punt return, kickoff and kickoff return teams, 17 of the 44 players were not on the Jaguars roster last season. As for the second part of your question, special teams coaching has become highly strategized and the execution of those strategies is loaded with technique. Special teams coaches really do earn their pay. Any time we need an example of special teams strategy, technique and impact, just think back to the "Music City Miracle." What did that play mean to the Titans, Bills and, ultimately, the Jaguars?
Vince from Stafford, VA:
I remember back in the mid to late '70's, punters used to angle their punts toward the sidelines, thus preventing returns. I know some of the punters were masters at it and could pin an opponent down inside their own 20, seemingly at will. It seemed to me an effective way to do it. My question is, why don't they do it anymore?
Vic: They call it "directional punting" these days, and unless I have completely lost touch with what's going on, and that's possible, the emphasis on "directional punting" or "angling" is greater than ever before.
Eddie from Ontario, CA:
Will the attendance drop affect the Jaguars in future years to sign players, or do they only need a certain amount of attendance to remain competitive?
Vic: More money is always better than less money, but the salary cap is the greatest factor in determining how much a team is willing to spend on personnel. Jimmy Smith's new contract is evidence Wayne Weaver is not a pinch-the-penny guy.