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First, the salary cap, then the draft

Please forgive yesterday's error in the "Ask Vic" text. Text that had appeared in previous "Ask Vic" editions mistakenly made its way into yesterday's "Ask Vic" submission. We've corrected the problem, so let's start over. Here's what should've appeared yesterday.

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

Ryan Glenn from Atlanta, GA:
How long will it take the Jags to clean up their salary-cap problems? I've read that Brunell and other players are expecting to re-structure their contracts. Is the team falling into the same old trap, or is there no other way to go about it?

Vic: In my opinion, it will take the Jaguars two years to return their salary cap to health. Yes, there will have to be some re-structuring, simply to get under the cap by the deadline. Mark Brunell, Tony Boselli and Jimmy Smith are expected to be approached about re-structuring. But the Jaguars are not going to undergo a massive re-structuring campaign, as they did last winter. Then, it was with the intent of keeping the team together. Whatever re-structuring is done this winter will be out of necessity. Rebuilding has begun, as has a program of cap accountability and restoration.

Dave Pratt from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Coach Coughlin seems to stress the benefits of a "balanced" attack. I may be slow, but after the team's abandonment of the run in some of the games this year, coach's definition of "balanced" may be different than mine. Would it be safe to say "balanced" to coach Coughlin means running just enough to keep the defense honest, so the Jaguars can pass, pass, pass? I think having a "balanced" attack is much more useful to the Jags defense, in that it keeps them off the field for longer stretches of time. The danger of having fabulous players such as Brunell, Smith and McCardell is that the Jaguars can be seduced into using them too much, at the detriment of the running game and, hence, the defense. Your thoughts?


I agree with everything you've said. Run the ball!.

Joe Lopez from Kissimmee, FL:
After all the shots fired at coach Coughlin, the love/hate relationship with his players and media, etc., if the man built this super team in two years, can we be the division champions (AFC South) in at least two more? For me, there's no better coach to turn it around. Do you agree?

Vic: The AFC South appears as though it will be a very weak division next season, and maybe beyond that. Tennessee has major salary-cap problems, and Indianapolis appears to have fallen apart. The Jaguars should be able to recover more quickly in the AFC South than they could've expected in the old AFC Central. But let's not raise our expectations just yet. This team must undergo enormous repair on several fronts before we can consider it a division title contender. Tom Coughlin has proven he can build a team from scratch, and this is scratch.

Stephen Fitchie from Belfast, Northern Ireland:
Hey, Vic, I love the column. From what I can see, the Jags have a big problem at QB next year. Obviously, Quinn will leave. Is there anyone you know of who the Jags may draft this year? Also, do you think coach Coughlin is now regretting picking David Leaverton in the draft instead of Mike McMahon?


How could you not regret drafting a punter you would eventually cut, instead of a player who may be the Lions' quarterback of the future? That mistake is behind the Jaguars. All they can do is move forward. I expect the Jaguars to draft a quarterback in the middle rounds this spring, but it's too early to know who the candidates are; first, the salary cap, then the draft.

J.D. Groover from St. Marys, GA:
I'm an admirer of the Jaguars. I defend them through thick and thin. What is the deal with the Pro-Bowl selections? Mark Brunell is a great QB. He has put up good numbers, despite his injury. I know he doesn't have the record Kordell Stewart has produced, but still. Another Jag snub is Tony Brackens. Jevon Kearse is starting over him? Jevon only had 10 sacks and didn't miss a game. Tony had 11 and missed four games. Think of what he'd have if he didn't get that cheap shot on him in Dallas. Vic, help me here?

Vic: Mark Brunell and Tony Brackens were certainly deserving Pro Bowl candidates, but the Jaguars aren't the only team complaining about having players snubbed. The Steelers were number one in total defense, number one against the run, number four against the pass and have three players with nine sacks or more, and only one player on their defense was selected to the Pro Bowl.

Nick Biggert from Fresno, CA:
What do you think is the position the Jags need to focus on for the upcoming year? With the cap problems and maybe Jimmy Smith or Keenan McCardell leaving, what should the Jags look for in next year's draft?


I'd love to think this team will draft the best player available. I firmly believe that's the way to go, especially when a team has need at almost every position.

Jim Walters from Escanaba, MI:
What do you think the chances are the Jaguars will be able to trade some of their veteran players, such as Keenan McCardell, Seth Payne and Aaron Beasley, instead of cutting them and getting no compensation whatsoever?


Very slim. No one is looking for players with bad contracts.



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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