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I believe in the salary cap

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

Alton from Jacksonville:
Do you believe Rashean Mathis will be an outstanding player?

Vic: He's fast, athletic and instinctive. That's all we know at this point, but those are definitely ingredients for success.

Steve from Williston, FL:
I was very disappointed when the Jags left Boselli unprotected. Now that he never played for the Texans, I am ashamed of myself. Most of us were cursing the Jags. Now it turns out to be one of the better personnel decisions ever. Your thoughts?

Vic: Repeat after me: I believe in the salary cap, I believe in the salary cap, I believe in the salary cap.

Paul from Alpharetta, GA:
Thanks for the logical approach to my favorite team's ups and downs over the past several seasons. You somehow have kept my overzealous spirits in check by always preaching patience, especially now. I have a brief question. What has happened to Jaguars stars of the past, players such as Don Davey, Tavian Banks, Clyde Simmons?

Vic: Don Davey lives in Jacksonville and is a successful financial adviser and planner. Tavian Banks is attempting a comeback from his devastating 1999 knee injury. Banks is on the New Orleans Saints roster. Clyde Simmons is retired from football and has retained his home in Ponte Vedra Beach, which he had prior to joining the Jaguars.

David from Oviedo, FL:
In yesterday's column, you wrote that Brunell rushed for only 207 yards last year, mainly due to the wear and tear on his legs. Could these declining numbers also be due to Coughlin overprotecting his franchise quarterback by discouraging him from leaving the pocket? Also, if Brunell could shed those leg braces, I'll bet he could run like Forrest Gump.

Vic: You're living in a dream world.

Mark from Orlando, FL:
How close are the Jags to signing Byron Leftwich?

Vic: This one could take some time.

Gil from Atlantic Beach, FL:
It seemed to me Tom Coughlin had a lot of input in the Jags offense, even when the team had an official offensive coordinator. Will Jack Del Rio give his offensive coordinator more freedom in play-calling (being a defensive coach), and will he be more controlling on the defensive side?

Vic: The answers are obvious. Tom Coughlin is an offensive coach. It was his offense and he was the man in charge at all times. Even when someone else was doing the play-calling, Coughlin sat at the head of decisions made earlier in the week about what plays would be available and the gameplan strategy. On the flip side, Coughlin's defensive coordinators functioned with considerably more freedom. I suspect the opposite will be true under Jack Del Rio. He's a defensive coach who has a very definite idea of what he wants the Jaguars to be defensively, and I expect he will sit at the head of those decisions. On offense, however, I expect coordinator Bill Musgrave will have the kind of freedom Coughlin's defensive coordinators enjoyed.

Tyler from Jacksonville:
Do you really think Fred Taylor is healthier now than he was last year? I was watching the Fred Taylor 2002 highlights and I could tell he wasn't as spectacular as he was in 2000 (I've watched lots of Fred Taylor video).

Vic: Fred Taylor was sensational in this past spring's drills. He was not sensational in the spring of 2002. Should we draw a conclusion based on those facts? Let's give it some time.

Keith from Jacksonville:
What is wrong with the signing process this year? I know the overall process has been slow because of the flat salary cap compared to last year, but the Jags still have six players unsigned with only two days before camp. What's wrong?

Vic: Nothing is wrong. This is sensitive stuff. These contracts the Jaguars are negotiating with this year's draft class will impact the Jaguars' salary cap for the next several years. Caving on contracts just to have everyone done for the start of camp would result in the loss of massive amounts of salary cap room over the life of those players' careers. Responsible negotiation is an arduous process. It's an especially difficult process when your highest pick is a quarterback. Be patient. By the way, Jack Del Rio was a holdout in his rookie year.

Dick from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Our average loss last year was 4.5 points, excluding the Titans blowout. We were only a good field goal kicker away from the playoffs. Were there any kickers we could've picked up in free agency?

Vic: Not unless you wanted to overspend. Give it some time. Take a look at what you have, then take a look at what's available at cut time. Need I remind you of Chris Hanson's journey to the Jaguars.

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