Discretion better part of valor

Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Richard from Hampton VA:
I agree that individual awards are meaningless to winning titles, but how do they impact the salary cap as it relates to incentives for performance?

Vic: Incentives count against the salary cap. How they count depends on whether the incentives were LTBE (Likely To Be Earned) or NLTBE (Not Likely To Be Earned). If a player has an incentive for rushing for 1,000 yards and he had rushed for 1,000 yards the previous season, the incentive was LTBE and, therefore, the money to be paid for reaching that incentive had to be included on that year's salary cap before the season began. If that player had an incentive for rushing for 1,000 yards and he hadn't rushed for 1,000 yards the previous season, then the incentive was NLTBE and, therefore, it didn't have to count on that year's salary cap. Uh, so what happens if the player reaches that NLTBE incentive and there's no room left on this year's salary cap? Well, in that case, the money earned in 2006 for that incentive is moved onto the team's '07 salary cap and if he has that same incentive in his contract for the '07 season, then the incentive is LTBE and the team has to count it against their cap in advance of the season, which means they've taken a double hit on their cap for the 1,000-yard season the player had in '06. What happens if he doesn't rush for 1,000 yards in '07? In that case, the LTBE money is credited back to the team on its '08 cap. Think of all the little contract re-structuring games you can play with NLTBE incentives to make room on a team's cap. NLTBE's are favorite ways of making room now for hits you may have to take later.

Mike from Orlando, FL:
Did David Garrard just play his way out of the permanent starting spot?

Vic: That's the kind of question you can't ask if this team is ever going to develop a quarterback into a long-term fixture at the position. Whatever decision that's going to be made on David Garrard is going to be made after the season is over and it's going to be based on all games, not just one. The worst thing a team can do is switch quarterbacks. When a team starts doing that, nothing gets done. Garrard has a lot of strong physical qualities. I saw him do some eye-popping things on Sunday. Rushers bounce off him. Imagine a player the size of Albert Haynesworth not being able to pull a quarterback down. Garrard pulled away from him with ease on one particular play. Garrard remains a mouth-watering prospect. I wouldn't quit on him.

Argyle from Jacksonville:
Do you really believe this loss was the result of one player trying to do too much?

Vic: Seldom is a game about just one thing, but Garrard made major mistakes that could've been avoided. The scramble that resulted in a fumble and return for a touchdown is a perfect example. The play was intended to gain yards back so Josh Scobee would have an easier field goal attempt. Somewhere in the run, however, I think Garrard decided he could get the first down and he lost contact with the intent of the play. At that point, he got a little wild with his running and a little loose with the ball and the ball was punched out. On the first interception, he shouldn't have thrown the ball because Reggie Williams was covered and Pacman Jones was just standing there waiting to jump the route. Garrard tried to squeeze it in, and he's not the first quarterback to make that mistake on a sideline route. What happened in Nashville on Sunday is part of the learning experience for a quarterback.

Michael from Jacksonville:
Has anyone explained to Garrard exactly how the intentional grounding penalty works and that you can throw it away when you are out of the pocket, which means outside of the tackles? How many times did David have ample opportunity to throw it away when, instead, he chose to either run out of bounds for a loss or get sacked?

Vic: He knows the rules. He knows he can throw it away and avoid a sack. Doing that, however, is a white flag and ultra-athletic and competitive players such as Garrard have trouble surrendering. What they have to learn is that discretion truly is the better part of valor. They have to accept the fact that throwing the ball away is what good quarterbacks do and it's something they have to do to become a good quarterback.

Nathan from Richmond, VA:
Do they pick themselves up after this?

Vic: I have no doubt the Jaguars will pick themselves up against New England. I'm not guaranteeing a win but I am guaranteeing the Jaguars will be completely focused and dedicated to beating the Patriots on Sunday.

Keith from Jacksonville:
Was the 44:22 time of possession for the Jaguars a record for a losing team?

Vic: I'll check into it, but, you know, it's not like the record book has a category for "winning teams with the most broken shoelaces." Let's look at it this way: I can't remember the last time I covered a game in which the losing team held the ball for 44:22.

Alfie from Jacksonville:
Doesn't calling a timeout within the final two minutes of a half and telling the officials they should check for "X" defeat the whole purpose of coaches not being allowed to challenge in the last two minutes of a half? It's supposed to be a review perpetuated by the booth, not the coach.

Vic: All Jeff Fisher did was call a time out. He chose to use one of his three times out in that fashion and at that point in the game. What he was doing, of course, was providing time for a booth review. Talking to the officials was just window dressing. It was the time he bought that was important because he put the booth-review guy in a position that he had to take a harder look. I see nothing wrong with what Fisher did. It was smart coaching. Jack Del Rio would've done the same thing.

Dan from Jacksonville:
How long do you let the Matt Jones experiment continue? I can not believe a 6-6 football player cannot tackle a defensive back after an interception. Do they teach that push in the back at the pro level?

Vic: When you draft a guy in the first round, it's not an experiment. Matt Jones has got to show more grit and determination. The need to do that is now at a crisis stage in his professional football career.

Jimmy from St. Augustine, FL:
I know it's pointless now, but what do you think about that catch Marcedes Lewis made in the end zone? It looked like a catch to me.

Vic: As soon as I saw the replay, I knew it would be challenged and overturned. In my blog I wrote: "(challenge) That was inevitable." Control of the ball must be absolute. We saw that with Reggie Williams and Drew Bennett, too. A lot of people say to me, "What about the ground can't cause a fumble?" The answer to that question is that the ground can cause an incomplete pass. You must control the ball through contact with the ground. The receiver must demonstrate, without a doubt, that he is in absolute control of the ball through contact with the ground.

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