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Expansion draft no problem for Jags

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

Sid Gray from Richmond Hill, GA:
I understand that WJXT will now handle the preseason games for the Jaguars. Will the games still be carried live outside of the Jacksonville market? I'm up near Savannah.


Three of the Jaguars' preseason games this summer will be televised in Savannah on WSAV. The game against the Giants will be televised nationally by ESPN. The Jaguars' preseason games will also be televised live by WKMG in Orlando. Sunshine Network will air them on a taped-delay basis.

Dennis Cheever from Fort Myers, FL:
I believe heart plays a huge factor in the NFL. Look at the Ravens, the Titans, the less-skilled but better teams. The Jags these past two seasons seem to have lacked that heart factor of the 1996 campaign. The best game I've seen the Jags play heart-wise was last year vs. Tennessee at Jacksonville. That field goal was a joy for all Jags fans, and I was very happy to see that our team showed a lot of heart that day. It seems as if today our players are more interested in their contracts than a win, etc. Why do you think this is?

Vic: I saw nothing in the Jaguars' performances last season to suggest they lack the "heart" to win. Your theory became very popular as a result of the Jaguars' second-half collapse against the Titans in the 1999 AFC title game. That game is the only true black mark against the Jaguars in their six-year existence, and it continues to haunt them. At some point, we're all going to have to let go of what happened against the Titans and move on. Yes, "heart" is very important and the Ravens seemed to have lots of it late last season, but where was it in October when they lost consecutive home games to the Titans and the Steelers with the division lead on the line? Should we question the Titans' "heart" for having lost at home to the Ravens in the playoffs? Yes, "heart," which is a way of describing courage and toughness, is a very important ingredient common to all championship teams. In the six years I have covered this team, only once could I question this team's inner focus. Unfortunately, that was during the 30 most important minutes in this franchise's history.

Jimmy Sanders from Ft. Pierce, FL:
When is the expansion draft? Any idea who the Jags will submit? What
compensation does a team get by putting players in the draft? Could that be an option for Kevin Hardy?

Vic: The expansion draft for the Houston Texans will be conducted next February. Each of the current 31 NFL teams will be required to put five players from their roster into the expansion draft pool. Any player the Texans draft will bring with him all of his remaining salary cap amortization. That means veteran players such as Hardy Nickerson and Carnell Lake would be likely expansion draft pool candidates, since the Jaguars would realize a huge cap savings if players such as Nickerson or Lake were selected by the Texans. Of course, it's highly unlikely the Texans will draft players who would immediately swell the team's salary cap. Finding five players in that mold won't be difficult for the Jaguars, who don't figure to suffer major losses in the expansion draft. Kevin Hardy is scheduled to be an unrestricted free agent next winter, therefore, the Jaguars would not be able to include him among the five players they contribute to the expansion draft pool.

David Wielgus from Orlando, FL:
The Jaguars appear to be very strong at the linebacker position, but it looks as if there will be a major overhaul, almost certainly by next season. Lonnie Marts and Hardy Nickerson have 12 and 15 years in the league respectively, and Kevin Hardy feels he's worth more than we can pay him. Is trouble on the horizon?

Vic: Vic: Clearly, linebacker will be a position of focus in next year's draft.

Yvonne Heikkinenq from St. Augustine, FL:
I have enjoyed your articles, as well as your commentary on TV and radio. I anticipate a "different" season this year, as opposed to all the others. I think without the high expectations we have enjoyed in the past few years, there will be less enthusiasm, which I think will reflect on the attendance. I'm always hopeful of a winning season, but somehow I don't think it's going to happen this year. In view of all the dramatic changes that have occurred on the Jaguars team this year, do you think we will generate anything close to enthusiasm about this coming season?

Vic: This is going to be a season that will adjust the attitudes of professional football fans in Jacksonville, and it's going to be a healthy adjustment. The days of complaining the Jaguars didn't run the score up high enough are over. No more style points. This season will be about winning only. Can this team play well enough to be a playoff contender? Clearly, there are doubts, and that's going to adjust our expectations in such a way that we are going to truly appreciate and treasure any and all victories. There should be lots of enthusiasm for this season because it presents a feel-good kind of challenge. To quote Al Davis, "Just win, baby, win." No longer are we going to turn our noses up at the Bengals and the Browns. This year, a win will mean more than it has at any time since 1996, and I like that. In my opinion, we had become rather snobbish about football. Last year took care of that.

Vic Ketchman is the Senior Editor of Jaguars Inside Report, the official team newspaper of the Jacksonville Jaguars. One-year subscriptions may be purchased by calling 1-888-846-5247.

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