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Give it a break, Hugh

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Fred from Portland, OR:
If teams have until the end of the regular season to execute new deals, then what's the November deadline about exactly?

Vic: Nov. 8 is the deadline for adjusting a player's salary in that year and having it count on that year's salary cap as salary. After Nov. 8, adjusting a player's salary would result in that amount of money being distributed evenly over the length of his contract as signing bonus.

John from Jacksonville:
It was said in last Friday's broadcast that they "didn't know Scobee's kicking range yet" for field goals. Wouldn't his college career be a good indication? Does something happen to kickers' feet between college and pro?

Vic: It's not their feet, it's the ball. I've answered this question several times and it seems nobody believes me, so I asked Josh Scobee and he confirmed that, yes, it's the ball. The college game isn't nearly as policed as the pro game, and often times college kickers use balls in games that they used all week in practice. In the NFL, there's an actual "ball police" on the sidelines. They are responsible for maintaining the integrity of the balls used in the game. In other words, no soft balls; they're all brand-new and rock-yard.

Wade from Winston-Salem, NC:
What constitutes a premium seat? Why can't we designate hard-to-sell seats as "premium" and decrease our total number needed to sell to avoid a blackout and not have to cover seats?

Vic: Premium seats are defined by the club or suite fee that accompanies them. For example, a $215 club seat may include a $95 game ticket and a $120 club-privilege fee. The visiting team does not share in that club-privilege fee, which qualifies that seat to be classified as "premium." In other words, "premium" seats are considered to be more of a club membership than a game ticket, which is the reason they do not apply toward the TV blackout number. You can't just declare seats to be "premium." They have to qualify for that distinction.

Jim from Vancouver, WA:
A few weeks ago someone wrote in asking if the Jags might switch to a 3-4 defense. You explained that the team didn't have the personnel to play 3-4 but did for the 4-3. Well, a lot of water has gone under the bridge since then. Both starting ends have been released, the linebacker position appears to have plenty of depth, etc. With all of the changes along with the emergence of the rookies, what do you think now?

Vic: If the Jaguars use a 3-4 alignment this season, it will be in a pass-rush situation. Given the uncertainty at defensive end, the Jaguars are going to use any and every scheme possible to get pressure on the quarterback. That could mean going heavy with linebackers on an obvious passing down, but you're not truly playing the 3-4 unless you have a nose tackle on the field and you're in base. The Jaguars do not have a nose tackle type defensive lineman, it's very unlikely they would use the 3-4 as their base defense, and, most importantly, the composition of their roster does not lend itself to playing the 3-4. A true 3-4 team carries more linebackers than defensive linemen. The Jaguars will have more defensive linemen than linebackers on their roster. Run-and-shoot teams don't carry a tight end on their roster, but they'll use a tackle as a tight end in short-yardage. Does that mean they're not run-and-shoot? Teams are defined by the strategy they use when they are in base. Everything else is intended to be a surprise.

Chris from Boston, MA:
Reading your columns on a daily basis has made living in Patriots territory almost tolerable. My question is, how likely is it that Hugh Douglas will be cut by the Eagles? His negative comments about the city of Jacksonville have me yearning to see him out of the league.

Vic: In the beginning, Hugh Douglas' criticism of Jacksonville embarrassed this town. Now, he's embarrassing himself.

Dr. Witherby from Oxford, England:
The next time you write about your favorite coach sporting the biggest collection of "Wilsons" on the block, try to refrain from scantily-clad, vulgar acronyms such as CYA. Wouldn't something like "Counseling Young Americans" have a greater social benefit than your "American Pie" attempt at sophomoric humor? I was quite shocked and almost choked on my crumpets when reading your Hugh Douglas editorial. What do you have to say for yourself?

Vic: Those crumpets are makin' you soft, Doc.

Tommy from Richmond, VA:
I'm sick of hearing how Hugh Douglas didn't like Jacksonville. Didn't he visit the city before he signed? I moved to a city that is proud of itself with far less reasons to be than Jax does, and the Super Bowl will only bring on more undue criticism. Jax will never be NYC or Philly (thank goodness), but the residents should be proud to live there (I'm proud to be from there). If the city remains a hidden treasure, that's fine with me.

Vic: The fact of the matter his beloved Eagles let him go.

Scot from Jacksonville:
How do roster spots work, given an injury situation like Kyle Brady's? Assuming he makes the team, does he count towards the 53-man roster limit on opening day, even though he can't play?

Vic: If Kyle Brady is on the Jaguars' active roster on opening day, he counts.

Charles from Jacksonville:
In the fantasy world of the salary cap, money bounces around like a hockey puck in play. How much real money did Douglas make so far this year and how much money did he lose in the future? I failed "Salary Cap 101" but think I got the big picture.

Vic: Players don't begin drawing their salary until the regular season begins. By being released, he lost the $3.345 million salary he was to have earned this season. He keeps, however, all of the $6 million signing bonus the Jaguars gave him when they signed him a year ago.

Alec from York, PA:
In your opinion, do you think Hugh purposely laid down so he might have the chance of going back to Philly?

Vic: To make $850,000 instead of $3.345 million? If he did, the Liberty Bell isn't the only thing in Philadelphia that's cracked.

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