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Don't let your mind wander

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

Nathan Mitrosky from St. Augustine, FL:
I love the insight you give the fans. I check the site every day for your next "Ask Vic." My question is do you think the Jaguars will try to get offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride to rejoin the team? Mark Brunell had his best years with Gilbride making the calls, with a 4,000-yard season in 1996. Gilbride likes to spread the field and show a lot of formations and that may help keep Fred Taylor healthy. This is only my opinion. What's yours?
Vic: I would think Kevin Gilbride is a candidate, but I've also heard Gilbride has other options. Spread the field? That sounds good, but you have to have the personnel to do it. The Jaguars did not have enough big-play wide receivers in 2001 to make "spread the field" work. In fact, the team had only 11 plays that gained 30 yards or more, the fewest in their history.

David Shlafer from Gainesville, FL:
From what I can deduce, a signing bonus is generally amortized over the period of the contract for salary cap purposes. However, if a team chooses, can it amortize all of a signing bonus of a three-year contract equally over the first two years of the contract instead of all three?
Vic: No; signing bonus must be amortized equally over the life of the contract. Roster bonus must be declared in full in the year it is paid.

Bob Melosh from Palatka, FL:
My fear is that this mood of "gutting" will be overdone. A proven performer can not usually be replaced by a cheap rookie. Each position seems to have its own learning curve. Brady, McCardell are two players on offense, and Walker one on defense, mentioned as possible losses I would want to keep through re-structuring, if at all possible. Can this be done? Will it be done?
Vic: Yes, it can be done, but I don't think it will be done. When a team's salary cap reaches the level of desperation the Jaguars' has, I don't believe you can overdo gutting. In my opinion, all of the Jaguars' focus should be on salary cap repair and roster rebuilding. However, the Jaguars will have to re-structure a number of contracts to get under the cap.

Phil Debin from Woodmere, NY:
Vic, while most people are focused on the playoffs, I can't help but let my mind wander to the upcoming draft. I completely agree with your "best available athlete" theory, but with the Jaguars going into what looks like the weakest division next season, I see a chance of, dare I say, winning the division. My question is do you feel the same way, and if you do, then do you feel there are some must-fill positions on the roster for next season, perhaps using the draft as a means?
Vic: I consider your theory to involve dangerous thinking. Letting their mind wander resulted in massive contract re-structurings last season that bought the Jaguars one fewer win than the previous season. By and large, 2001 was wasted on a futile attempt to reclaim the past one more time. It's gone. It's time to move on. Forget about filling positions with draft choices who may never be anything more than filler. This team needs young players who can run and hit and whose athletic ability gives them great upside. I don't care where they play, just draft them.

David Wielgus from Oviedo, FL:
To error is human; the important thing is that we learn from our mistakes. Vic, what are the Jaguars' top five personnel mistakes in their short history and what can be learned from them?
Vic: That's a tough question. Remember, all teams make mistakes. The Steelers are the top seed in the AFC playoffs and have rebuilt their roster with sound draft-choice decisions, but they made goofs, too: Will Blackwell, Jeremy Staat and Scott Shields were second-round busts. In the Jaguars' case, Bryce Paup jumps out as a costly mistake that haunted the team for two years after Paup was gone from the roster. Gary Walker and Kyle Brady have been productive players for the Jaguars, but the decision to sign Walker, Brady and Carnell Lake in one free agency period, 1999, was more than the Jaguars' salary cap could afford; it mortgaged an excessive amount of the Jaguars' future. Leon Searcy was a cornerstone player for five seasons, but, in my opinion, it was a mistake signing Searcy to what was then the richest contract of any offensive lineman in history, when the Jaguars could've drafted Jonathan Ogden and signed him for half of what they paid Searcy. The biggest mistake this team made, in my opinion, was deciding to undergo a massive re-structuring campaign last winter and, in the process, push even more money onto future salary caps.

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