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Focus on being a playoff contender

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

Patrick Chandler from Jacksonville:
Do you think our schedule is easy enough where we could overtake the Baltimore Ravens and maybe make a last Super Bowl run?

Vic: Jaguars fans think too much about the Super Bowl and not enough about the games you have to win just to get into the playoffs. The Ravens are the Super Bowl champs and clearly the dominant team in the league. The Jaguars have seen their roster depleted and must now take steps toward rebuilding. Enough of the team's core has been retained to give the Jaguars hope of being a playoff contender, if they have a blockbuster draft. In my opinion, prospects at this point are limited to becoming a playoff contender in 2001. If that happens, then hopes will grow.

Tri Nguyen from Jacksonville:
I've heard Bryan Barker has signed with the Washington Redskins. Why didn't the Jaguars re-sign him? I've heard that according to contract rules, signing another punter would cost the same as re-signing Barker, so why take a chance on another guy instead of letting go of one of the best punters in the league and a good holder for Mike Hollis?

Vic: Minimum salary for Barker is a lot higher than minimum salary for a younger player. With that in mind, the Jaguars would love to find a punter in the draft.

Sid Gray from Richmond Hill, GA:
Overall, I like the schedule the Jaguars have. But why do we always have three road games scheduled in a row every year? There are only two teams in the AFC with schedules like that this year.


Vic: Twice before, 1997 and '98, the Jaguars played three consecutive road games. Sid, the Jaguars' 2001 schedule is so favorable that there is nothing to be said but, thanks.

Eddy Yazji from Jacksonville:
What if the players the Jaguars are focusing on all go before the 13th pick, such as Kenyatta Walker, Leonard Davis, Steve Hutchinson, Dan Morgan and Andre Carter. Are they looking past them at all and, if so, could you give me another player they could focus on, and what do you think?

Vic: If all of those players were picked before the Jaguars' selection, the Jaguars would probably be looking at a player they didn't expect to be available to them. Who might still be available? Probably a quality defensive lineman, such as Richard Seymour or Marcus Stroud.

Brian Rhodes from Davenport, IA:
How good of a record do you think the Jaguars will need to make the playoffs? Last season, a 9-7 team didn't make it, and 9-7 used to be almost a lock as a wild card. Do you think the Jaguars can do it?

Vic: As a result of the overall strength of the AFC, 10-6 appears to be the playoff-berth standard. Can the Jaguars win 10 games in 2001? Brian, this weekend's draft will go a long way toward answering that question. In my opinion, the Jaguars must have a blockbuster draft to become a playoff contender this season. The schedule is favorable and the Jaguars have star players at key positions, but the Jaguars currently lack the overall roster strength of a playoff contender. That must be fixed in the draft and we won't have that answer until after training camp, at the earliest.

Justin Grim from Chipley, FL:
If the Jaguars were to draft a good backup QB for Brunell, would they be more interested in drafting someone with a lot of talent, such as Chris Weinke of FSU, or would they go for someone who is faster and more mobile?

Vic: Talent is always the deciding factor, but Weinke stirs in a few twists. First of all, his age (29 at the start of training camp) is not ideal, and, yes, everyone wants mobile quarterbacks, which Weinke is not. The other big factor is where he'll be drafted. The Jaguars aren't likely to consider drafting a quarterback until the late rounds. Weinke is expected to have been selected by then.

Harley Hoffman from Ormond Beach, FL:
Now that our best defensive player, Bryan Barker, is a Redskin, are we going to draft a punter? Also, who will get the job of holding for field goals and extra points?

Vic: The Jaguars are likely to be interested in drafting California punter Nick Harris. Don't worry about finding a holder. There are a lot of candidates.

Jon Wilson from Taylorville, IL:
Everyone says Fred Taylor's a great player, but he's always injured. People say the Jaguars should trade him and pick up a new running back. I was just wondering what you think they should do about Fred Taylor.

I think they should give him the ball, a lot.
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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