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Fear self-incriminating

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

Chris from St. Augustine, FL:
What are your thoughts on Brunell being the starting QB for the Dolphins next year? He's beat out Jay Fiedler before?

Vic: Mark Brunell has assured me he will continue his playing career beyond this season. I don't know where.

Seth from Jacksonville:
You're a GM and can have only one of the two, Leftwich or Garrard. Who do you take?

Vic: I haven't seen enough of either quarterback to be able to pick, but I don't have to, either, because Byron Leftwich signed a long-term deal this summer and David Garrard has two years remaining on his Jaguars contract beyond this season. Leftwich is getting his chance to show what he can do, and Garrard will get his chance, too. What's the rush?

Tolar from Jacksonville:
Why did the NFL decide to have games on Thanksgiving and why do the Cowboys and Lions host them?

Vic: It was a tradition in Detroit and Dallas volunteered for the duty. Playing on Thanksgiving isn't something NFL franchises want to make a habit of doing. Would you want to pay for a season ticket that includes a game you might watch from grandma's house? In other words, playing on Thanksgiving isn't exactly a selling point.

Ed from Jacksonville:
If the Jags wind up with a top-four choice in the draft, would you choose a big, speedy receiver or a big, fast linebacker, if they both graded out equally? After those two positions, what would you say are the biggest needs? Cornerback, safety (both positions), defensive end and left tackle would be my choices. How would you rank the order of need for this team? Use only one piece of paper, please. I always enjoy your comments, both in print and on the air.

Vic: If the choice was between Jerry Rice and Lawrence Taylor, I'd take Taylor. As far as positions of need, I would consider wide receiver and linebacker to be tied for the top spot. Defensive end and cornerback are the other two positions of prominent need. Is there need beyond those positions? Sure, but that could change over the course of the next nine games. I don't think the need at the four positions I've mentioned will ease.

Mike from Jacksonville:
We are debating the future of the Jaguars and would like to know the contract status for Tony Brackens? How many years left? Cap figure if he is released at the end of the season?

Vic: With Tony Brackens, it's not about years remaining, it's about remaining amortization. He will still represent more than $7 million in remaining amortization when this season is over. The good news is that Brackens' playing time is on the increase, which would suggest he's recovering from his knee surgery of a year ago. He's under contract through 2006 and is scheduled to be a $9.2 million salary cap hit next year. Obviously, his cap situation and contract must be revisited during the offseason, just as it was this year. He is scheduled to make $6.5 million in salary next year. What that means is his remaining amortization is growing closer to his salary, and that is clearly to the team's advantage because it increases their options.

Marty from Orange Park, FL:
I've been a Jaguars fan since the inception and I agree with your patience theory. I know this is what happens in pro sports, especially in the NFL. But do you think the rest of the fans are buying it? Or will they? Is there enough of a fan base here to carry the team through this time? And would Wayne Weaver ever pick up the team and leave if the crowds continue to dwindle?

Vic: I don't see this team moving, but I also don't feel qualified to answer that question. I base my answer on the commitment Wayne Weaver has made to Jacksonville. He and his wife, Delores, are extremely community conscious and I don't believe they are capable of enduring the slings and arrows transplant owners such as Art Modell, Bob Irsay and Bud Adams have had to endure. The real thrust of your question is the question itself, and I get a lot of them. The fact that so many people are asking this question would suggest that a lot of people believe Jacksonville is underperforming as an NFL market, and that gives rise to the fear of losing this team. Weaver has never given any reason for fans to fear the team might move. The fact that they do is self-incriminating.

Jim from Bunnell, FL:
I see T.J. Slaughter was released. I was wondering why. I thought his play had been improving. Also, is he a vested vet? Will he get paid for the rest of the season?

Vic: T.J. Slaughter's performance in the Titans game was judged to have been very poor. Of course, a lot of Jaguars shared in that distinction. Slaughter is not a vested vet. He will become a vested veteran at the end of this season, his fourth in the league. Because he is not a vested vet, he will not be paid for the remainder of this season.

Juan from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
The answer to your trivia question is, of course, Vince Lombardi.

Vic: You're one of several who provided the right answer. I'm impressed. Most people don't think of Vince Lombardi as an offensive guy and Tom Landry as a defensive guy.

Mike from London, Canada:
You talked about the drop-kick play, but didn't say what it was and it really just left me confused. Could you please tell me what it is? And while I've got you, was jumping while passing common in the old days? The reason I ask was the old replay they showed during MNF this week.

Vic: You drop it, you kick it. That's all. It's a skill; you kick the back of the ball as the point strikes the ground, and if the ball goes through the uprights, you've just scored three points for your team. As far as the jump-pass, it's also a lost-art play. It was a timing play from a day and age when both ends were tight, backfields were full house and defensive lines were seven down. At the snap of the ball, the quarterback would jump and throw what was called a "quick look-in" to one of his ends. Football history is fascinating, and I consider the "single wing" to be the most intriguing offensive formation and strategy in the game's glorious past. Go to the library and read about it. You'll love it.

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