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Fullback is not a priority position

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

Pete Signorelli from Goshen, NY:
Being that the Jaguars were so far over the cap, I could understand cutting various key players. Do you think that cutting fullback Daimon Shelton was a good idea, knowing that there was not another experienced blocking back on the team?

Vic: Who stays and who goes? That's always the question. Fullback is a position at which no team in cap trouble can afford to throw money. Lorenzo Neal may be the best blocking fullback in the game, but the Titans let him go. The same can be said for Sam Gash and the Ravens. It's a matter of cap-onomics. You can't keep everybody. By the way, the Jaguars did not cut Shelton. He was an unrestricted free agent.

Eric Clarke from St. Augustine, FL:
I tend to be optimistic in my hopes for next season. If it was up to me I would say the Jaguars could go 13-3, but that's probably going a little overboard. So I was wondering, best and worst case scenario, how will the Jaguars do next season?

Vic: I hesitate to assign a record because anything is possible this year. The Jaguars have star front-line players. If they each turn in career years and if the Jaguars get major contributions from rookies and support players, this team could make the playoffs with a real chance of advancing. However, any key injury may be too much for this team to overcome. The Ravens are the clear-cut division favorite, but I don't think the Titans will be as strong as they have been the past two years and that gives the Jaguars realistic playoff hope. As tough as the AFC Central is, it's not likely more than two teams will advance to the playoffs. Best case? Make the playoffs, catch fire in the postseason and make a run at the Super Bowl. Worst case? Injuries and a lack of depth leave the Jaguars out of the hunt.

Lou Nussbaum from Jacksonville:
If you had to pick one Jaguar player who may have a break-out year this coming season, who would it be? I would select Larry Smith since this is a make-or-break year for him and the selection of Stroud may motivate him even more. What do you think?

Vic: Larry Smith is a great choice because his talent is undeniable. I talked him up in his rookie training camp, but now I'm taking a more cautious approach because, quite frankly, he hasn't lived up to expectations. Maybe this will be the year. Who else might have a break-out year? T.J. Slaughter would be a good candidate, but I'm going to cast my vote for Jonathan Quinn.

Ralph Shook from Wise, VA:
I know the Jaguars are cap-strapped and I, for one, am ready for the season to start and let this rest. But after listening to Wayne Weaver and coach Coughlin talk about keeping Kevin Hardy and signing our draft class in the manner they discussed by paying them the league minimum and putting the rest of the money into future caps … doesn't this put us back at square one? Didn't they learn anything this year? I know we are in a rebuilding period. If this method continues, at what point will it become a nightmare?

Vic: Your fears are mine. The best answer I can give you is that this team is determined to take another shot at the Super Bowl. They truly believe they have what it takes.

David Wielgus from Orlando, FL:
I predict Kevin Hardy and Carnell Lake will be playing in Jacksonville next season, that is, when they come to town playing for the Houston Texans. It seems the expansion teams will be able to offer money to star players that the rest of the cap-strapped league will not. With the departure of Cincinnati and Cleveland, Jacksonville doesn't have anyone in their division, but Houston, to kick around anymore. However, with Dom Capers' quick success with the expansion Carolina Panthers, the Jaguars better get their kicks in early. My fear is the Texans may come to Jacksonville for talent we can no longer afford. Capers has a history of seeking out talent from his previous teams. Wouldn't it seem natural for a number of Jaguars to be on his wish list?

Vic: It's natural for coaches to seek players they already know. Tom Coughlin did it in Jacksonville with players such as Dave Widell, Tom McManus and Pete Mitchell from Boston College. However, it's unlikely Carnell Lake or Hardy Nickerson, both of whom Capers coached in Pittsburgh and Jacksonville, would be selected by the Texans in the expansion draft because they would bring with them their cap hit, including the bonus amortization portion of it.

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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