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Favre has a ways to go

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

Tsoi from Anchorage, AK:
Hey, Mr. Ketchman, I love your article. I just have one question considering the next draft. Since we traded Mark Brunell to the Redskins, this trade then allowed cap room. Since we have this cap room, who and what position could we use this for in the upcoming draft?

Vic: The salary cap room the Jaguars saved by trading Mark Brunell was realized in the form of salary not paid this season. That cap room was used in a lot of ways; to sign free agents, to extend Maurice Williams' and Chris Naeole's contracts, etc. The major impact of the Brunell trade, however, will be the long-term performance of Greg Jones. He is, by and large, the player the Jaguars drafted with the pick the Jaguars got for Brunell from the Redskins. The money the Jaguars saved in trading Brunell would've also been saved by cutting him. The value of the trade was the third-round draft pick the Jaguars received.

Lee from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
While we're all aware of Brett Favre's record number of consecutive starts as a quarterback (202), I was wondering where he places in history with respect to other positions? Is there another player who started more consecutive games than Favre?

Vic: Brett Favre would have to play another five seasons to catch Jim Marshall, who holds the all-time record for most consecutive games played, 282. Marshall also holds the all-time consecutives-games-started record, 270. Mick Tingelhoff is next at 240, then Bruce Mathews at 229, Jim Otto and Fred Cox at 210, Gene Upshaw at 207 and Randall McDaniel at 202.

Christina from Jacksonville:
I have a dear friend who reads your column every day. I am trying to think of a unique gift for him for Christmas. Would it be possible to get a personalized letter sent to him? Or maybe you have a better idea. He is someone who can afford to buy anything for himself, but your words are gospel to him and it would be the best and most unique gift he would ever receive if those same words were directed to him, even if it was just to thank him for being such a loyal reader and Jaguars fan.

Vic: Here's a personalized message to your friend: Don't buy the tile and grout cleaner for Christmas. I made that mistake last year and it was not received well.

Jonathan from King George, VA:
With the long-term in mind, what happens if the Jags still can't sell-out games even with seats covered? Or how about the other end of the spectrum? What if ticket demand grows considerably because of success?

Vic: I don't think I need to tell you how devastating it would be for this franchise if it can't sell-out games for a stadium that's been downsized. The other end of the spectrum is what this is all about. The downsizing of Alltel Stadium is meant to grow the demand for tickets. Wayne Weaver said the "motivation is to make our tickets scarce." The Jaguars want you to worry that you might not be able to get a ticket. That's what franchises such as Green Bay and Pittsburgh have in common. Their fans don't dare cancel their season tickets because they know they'll never get them back.

Curry from Jacksonville:
Do you really think the Tennessee Titans will field a bad team for the next four years?

Vic: The four-year reference was made with the Jaguars in mind. That's how long it has taken the Jaguars to overcome the effects of their salary cap mess. I'm not clairvoyant so I don't know how long it'll take the Titans to fix their cap problem. A new TV contract is going to give the cap a little bump and that'll help the Titans, but they won't have the advantage of an expansion draft to dump amortization, as the Jaguars did. How long? I don't know, but the fix won't be overnight. It could be long.

Scott from Jacksonville:
Covering seats is stupid. When we have 59,000 people it's a blackout, but when Indy has 59,000 people it is above a sellout crowd. How can the NFL look at this and not see something wrong?

Vic: How can you not see that covering seats isn't only about blackouts? It's about creating demand for tickets. When you have a stadium that seats nearly 77,000, you have an imbalance tilted toward the supply side. That means people don't have to buy tickets for all games to insure they'll have tickets for the best games. They can buy tickets on a game-to-game basis; they can pick and choose. Sure, that's good for the consumer but it's not good for the franchise. By reducing the size of Alltel Stadium, the Jaguars are going to create a greater demand for tickets that should cause fans to be more anxious about ticket availability. What you're suggesting is that the league should arbitrarily declare a blackout standard that applies to all teams, but how would that help the Jaguars sell tickets? The downsizing of Alltel Stadium will clearly help the Jaguars market their product more productively and, at the same time, it will take the blackout number down to 49,000. That'll be one of the lowest blackout numbers in the league. Instead of criticizing the plan, you should be saying thanks for the freebie.

LeRoi from Cleveland, OH:
I am sick and tired of the way the Browns continue to fail in representing this wonderful city. All of my relatives want to know what you would do to fix the Browns so they can be more like the upstart Jaguars?

Vic: It's easy: Get a personnel guy who knows how to acquire talent and hire a coach who knows how to utilize and develop that talent. Both people must also have a strong understanding and appreciation for the importance of a healthy salary cap. Now you only need one more thing: patience.

Angie from Madison, WI:
Anyone who thinks cold weather doesn't affect the outcome of a game is stupid. I've lived in Wisconsin my whole life and still can't get used to the cold. What are the Jaguars doing to prepare?

Vic: What can they do? Practice in a freezer? Only take cold showers? The Jaguars are going to do the same thing the Packers are going to do on Sunday; stand by the sideline heaters when they're not on the field. The cold is a distinct advantage for teams accustomed to playing in it and dealing with it. The Jaguars will have to overcome their disadvantage by playing harder and better.

Mo from Mountaintop, PA:
How much will the weather affect the kicking game? Do you see this playing a factor with a rookie placekicker?

Vic: This will be a great learning experience for a rookie kicker from Louisiana Tech. Josh Scobee has never kicked a ball that was as hard as the ball he'll kick in Green Bay on Sunday.

Bob from Jacksonville:
To end my worry about blackouts, I decided to go the one-year season-ticket route to see if it was worth it. I have not had a good time going to the games, I have had a great time. I'm going to get the multi-year season ticket on the next go-round. With the seats being covered, what's that going to do to ticket prices?

Vic: If covering seats makes going to a Jaguars game a "hot ticket," it's likely that ticket will go up in price. Do you know of anything in America that isn't going up in price?

Howard from Homestead, FL:
Am I to understand that according to this club's projections there will be no single-game tickets available next year with the new, lower seating capacity, so out-of-town guys like me who can only come once or twice a year will be out of luck?

Vic: Would the Jaguars like every seat in Alltel Stadium to be sold on a season-ticket basis for every game of the season? Of course they would. The Jaguars are going to hold back 5,000 tickets for group sales, but the rest of them will be marketed on a season-ticket basis.

Jon from Jacksonville:
I know you believe that if the Jags win Sunday it'll more than likely catapult them into serious playoff contention, but is it also safe to assume that if the Jags pull a win out with the weather being the way it will be Sunday that they will have proven they can possibly make noise in the playoffs if they make it?

Vic: Nothing speaks louder than a late-season win on the road and in the cold.

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