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How important is the quarterback?

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


Jason Wulfekuhle from Cheyenne, WY: **
My main concern this year is the fullback position. We have three rookies and one of them made the transition from defensive end to fullback during his arena career. With such little experience from all three of these guys and no veterans to teach them, what can we expect of these guys, if anything?

Recently, the NFL announced it's realignment to begin in 2002, placing the Jaguars in the new AFC South Division. Along with the realignment was a schedule formula based on playing teams on a rotating division basis. What is going to be the division rotation for the Jaguars?

Vic: Fullback is an important position but it is not usually critical enough to be a main concern, however, as of earlier this week, coach Tom Coughlin was disappointed with the performances of his fullback candidates. The Jaguars will probably try to fit another fullback acquisition under their salary cap, which means the team is going to have to make some room with a veteran cut or two. From what I've seen of the current crop, Kevin Clemens, who is making the transition from being a defensive linemen, appears to have some upside, but only as a blocker.



Tim McClellan from Jacksonville:
As a loyal and avid reader of yours, I have a question for you as a sportswriter. Don't you get tired of the same old questions? How many times must the debate about Mark Brunell be rehashed? Find any team in the NFL that wouldn't want Mark. The only teams I can think of already have future Hall of

Famers. Offensive linemen are valuable, but they're not guiding the offense down the field. They're protecting the guy who drives the team. Why can't people understand that with the best offensive line up front, and a mediocre QB, the offensive threat is minimal? Teams will dial in on the running game and dare the QB to throw the ball. With a QB of Mark's caliber, teams have to play an offense that can beat you through the air or on the ground. There is no argument.

Vic: I agree with you, but here's another question: If quarterback is the most important position in all of sports, and it always has been, and if we judge quarterbacks by the titles they've won, and we always have, then why doesn't anyone want to sign the quarterback who won last season's Super Bowl? If the answer is that he's not very good, and he isn't, then maybe there are other ways to win football games, which there are.

Tayvon McKenzie from Uniondale, NY:
Do you think Mark Brunell is one of the top five quarterbacks in the league? People always seem to overlook his talent. Behind Kurt Warner and Peyton Manning, I think Brunell is the best quarterback in the league.

Vic: Here's my top five: 1. Peyton Manning; 2. Brett Favre; 3. Kurt Warner; 4. Mark Brunell; 5. Donovan McNabb.


Dave McDaniel from Orange Park, FL:**
There's been a lot of media attention on our offensive line, wide receiver corps, and the rookie defensive backs, but very little has been said about the defensive line. How have Brackens, Walker, Payne and Wynn looked in camp? How much can we expect to see of them tonight? Who are the primary backups for the defensive line this year?

Vic: The reason a whole lot hasn't been written about the defensive line is because first-round pick Marcus Stroud broke his hand early in camp. Stroud is the guy around whom this line will be built. We can't know much about what's going to happen up front until Stroud begins to throw his weight around. The veteran defensive linemen have been solid in camp, but no one was especially impressive in the practices with the Saints. Larry Smith is a player who will be watched closely in the preseason, as will Rob Meier and Paul Spicer.

Patrick Jones from Phoenix, AZ:
How has Fred Taylor been looking and does the coaching staff plan to include him more in the passing game? How is the offensive line looking this year, compared to last year?

Vic: The Jaguars very much want to use Fred Taylor in the passing game, as they did a year ago when he was the fourth-leading receiver on the team with 36 pass receptions. What has been somewhat troubling is that Taylor has not caught the ball well in this training camp. The situation on the offensive line this summer is considerably better than a year ago, because it is three-fifths settled. The Jaguars have to fix right guard and right tackle, but they believe they have the personnel to do that. Last year, at this time, they were unsettled at three positions and were counting on a rookie at a fourth. The Jaguars knew they didn't have the personnel, which caused them to acquire Brenden Stai and Jeff Smith.



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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