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In the long run, it may help

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

Scot from Jacksonville:
I agree with your assessment of the goal of this season: rebuild and get another good draft class in. Isn't it almost good the Jaguars lost the (Cleveland) game on a fluke, since they will get better draft position? They played well in some areas and clearly beat the Browns. Only a fool would blame Coughlin for a once-in-a-decade type play, so hopefully he'll be around for another season.

Vic: It's difficult to be that philosophical immediately following such a devastating defeat, but you're right. What if that loss is the difference between a future All-Pro and a "guy?"

Jim from Jacksonville:
When teams are facing a third-down passing situation, are passing routes designed to go beyond the first-down marker? It seems the Jaguars third-down receiving routes are short of the first-down marker a majority of the time. What is your opinion?

Vic: The Jaguars passing game gave us every indication in training camp that it would be a bad year. The return of Jimmy Smith helped at first, but the passing game's problems clearly go beyond design and execution. Wide receiver will be an area of major concern during the offseason.

David from Daytona Beach, FL:
I truly agree this team needs more talent in just about every position. Looking to next year, what position do you think the Jags will look to first as the most needed?

Vic: Defensive end, linebacker and wide receiver would seem to be the areas of greatest need. Then you turn to the offensive line, quarterback and safety.

Travis from Jacksonville:
Did we really deserve that game? I mean, it really stinks to lose, losing that way most of all, but did we play well enough to win? Penalties kept Browns drives alive, Brunell's stats looked like numbers from a high school game, and Jimmy Smith had less than 50 yards. We are paying a lot of money for Mark and Jimmy to not have at least a 100 yards? Please comment on the decision to not use Mack on the goal line at the end of the game. I believe that was more of a problem than the botched squib, even though that was the wrong call, as well.

Vic: I agree with you; Cleveland clearly outplayed the Jaguars. And I agree with you that the Jaguars are not getting their money's worth out of their passing attack. As far as using Stacey Mack on the goal line, if Tom Coughlin had used Mack, I'd be answering someone's complaint that Coughlin didn't use Fred Taylor. Personally, the way Taylor was running, I think he was the right guy to have in the backfield.

Walt from Jacksonville:
Tom Coughlin has too many irons in the fire. How does a head coach with such a penchant for detail not know what defensive play is called at the end of the game?

Vic: In Wednesday's press conference, Tom Coughlin accepted "full responsibility" for the final-play mistake. Personally, I'm starting to get tired of this "full responsibility" stuff. There are a lot of people on that sideline and on that field, and they all have responsibilities.

John from Alexandria, VA:
Can the Jaguars dump the salaries of Jimmy Smith and Tony Brackens? What are the chances of getting a top-flight wide receiver in the draft and a serviceable defensive end and linebacker from the free-agent pool?

Vic: Salary isn't the problem; remaining amortization is. The Jaguars can't afford to cut Tony Brackens and Jimmy Smith in the same year; the acceleration of the "dead money" that would result must be staggered into different years. As far as your other question, it's possible to do all of that, but it's most important not to make fix-it-all-now panic decisions that will only worsen the problem.

Mario from Zapata, TX:
I have three questions for you that are relatively simple: Are the Jags good under the cap next season? Will Wali Rainer be a Jag next season? What positions, in your opinion, are the Jags going to target in next year's draft?

Vic: Yes, I don't know and defensive end, linebacker and wide receiver.

Jim from Jacksonville:
The last couple of weeks teams with questionable offenses have been able to run all over the Jags. The Browns and Steelers had 90-yard drives by just running it up the middle. I am sure there are many contributing factors, but what are the most significant? I thought our last two first-round picks (Stroud and Henderson) would make it difficult to run up the middle. Are they not as good as first thought?

Vic: The Steelers' longest scoring drive was 71 yards. The Steelers have the third-ranked offense in the league, which I don't think qualifies them as questionable. As far as the Jaguars' disappointing ranking (27th in the league) against the run, my information is that the blame falls mainly on the defensive ends. My radio colleague, former Jaguars defensive end Jeff Lageman, says Marcus Stroud is playing at the highest level of all Jaguars defensive players. John Henderson needs more time, apparently.

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