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Get your shirt tucked in

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

David from Oviedo, FL:
Thanks for another great year of reporting on my favorite team. I love the way this team is coming together. Are there any players who might be too pricey to keep, due to the structure of their current contract? Also, next year, will there be any dead money?

Vic: The Jaguars will have to re-visit Tony Brackens' contract situation. He's due to make $6.5 million in salary next year and be a $9.2 million hit on the Jaguars' salary cap. That can't happen. If he doesn't reach the 10-sacks incentive in this year's contract, the team will have options with Brackens, and doing a new deal would certainly be easier. But if he reaches the incentive, which would pay him an additional $4.3 million that would have to go onto the 2004 cap, the situation would get much more difficult. We have to keep our eye on that one. Of course, the Jaguars have to make decisions on Donovin Darius and Fernando Bryant; whether to sign them to new deals. The Brackens situation will probably impact what the Jaguars can and will do with Darius and Bryant. The offensive side of the ball doesn't have as many contract issues, though Kyle Brady's deal may require some attention. As far as "dead money" is concerned, the Jaguars will have Mark Brunell's remaining $2 million of amortization on their salary cap. The "dead money" situation from past years' moves has largely expired. The "dead money" issue now would only involve cuts the Jaguars might make on their existing roster.

Freeze from Jacksonville:
In reference to your "coin toss" question/answer, doesn't the coin toss winner also have the option of "deferring" their decision to the second half?

Vic: Not in the NFL. Leave it to college football to invent something called "deferring." That's exactly how their system of declaring a champion works.

Billy from Live Oak, FL:
What are the "nickel" and "dime" packages and what constitutes which will be used. Thanks for the column. We love it!

Vic: "Nickel" is five defensive backs and "dime" is six. You use the "nickel" when you want more defensive backs, and you use "dime" when you want a lot of defensive backs. For example, when the offense goes to three wide receivers, the defense goes to "nickel." When the offense goes to four or five wide receivers, the defense goes to "dime." What happens when you're in "dime" and you blitz your linebackers? You get flagged for too many men on the field.

Rodney from Jacksonville:
I was watching the Sunday night game between the Falcons and Panthers and I noticed Michael Vick's jersey wasn't tucked in all game. I know in basketball you get reprimanded if your jersey isn't tucked in. Is it the same way for football?

Vic: The NFL employs "uniform code inspectors" for each game. Usually those inspectors are former players. That person in Jacksonville is Johnny Rembert, who played for the New England Patriots. Rembert sits in the press box. If, for example, he sees a player who has his shirt pulled out, he calls down to Jaguars' equipment manager Drew Hampton and makes him aware of the problem. When the player comes off the field, Hampton or a member of his crew tell the player of the problem and assist him in tucking in his shirt. If the problem persists and Rembert decides the player is intentionally violating the uniform code, he may report that opinion to the league office who may fine the player $5,000. If it happens the next week, the fine is $10,000. If it happens a third time, the player will incur another fine and possible suspension. It has never reached that point.

Michelle from Jacksonville:
Do you believe if the Jaguars had played this well earlier in the season that they would be in playoff contention?

Vic: Yes, but that's the trick.

Jonathan from Jasper, IN:
Since you love college football, what do you think is the best way to find the national champion?

Vic: A playoff system, just as the NCAA has in every other level of every other sport it governs. What could possibly be a better way of doing it than how they do it at the Division II level? I wanna see some of these warm-weather teams play at Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Penn State, etc., in December. It was brought to my attention recently that Florida hasn't won a non-conference road game since 1989 (Memphis State). Why? Because other than for Florida State, they don't play many. That's unbelievable. I wanna see them in the bus with the heater on. The college system has been one-sided for much too long. To say it has been unfair is an understatement.

Calvin from Jacksonville:
Love your section! Why are reporters saying Mike Peterson is the leading tackler on our defense, but every stat sheet I look at clearly shows Akin as the leader. Who is the leading tackler and what are the official stats?

Vic: Mike Peterson has 67 solo tackles and 61 assists for a team-leading total of 128. Akin Ayodele has 73 solo tackles, which leads the team in that category, and 39 assists for a second-place total of 112 total tackles. Truth be known, there are no official stats. Teams provide those stats and some teams – especially one that wears purple but I won't mention their name – have been known to inflate those numbers significantly.

Terry from Jacksonville:
That "kid" at cornerback out of Oklahoma is Derrick Strait who, by the way, just captured the Bronko Nagurski Award as the nation's top defensive player. With Derrick teamed with Rashean on the other side, the Jags would have the best young defensive back combo in the NFL. It would go a long way to helping us raise our standing in pass-defense; hopefully to the level of our run-defense. Just thought I would help you out, Vic. I love your article; a daily must-read.

Vic: Thanks for the help.

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