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It's all about your division

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

Gareth from Cardiff, Wales:
Being in the UK, I don't really get much up-to-date news on the NFL. I was just wondering: The Jags started their expansion year so well and went from strength to strength with one of the best runs over a number of seasons for a new team. Could you sum up what's happened the past few seasons? It seems we've now come across a slippery slope, rather than continuing to climb the Super Bowl ladder that we were so close to reaching the top of.

Vic: There's no such thing as a continual climb in the NFL. The Jaguars took their shot in 1999, then hit the slippery slope of the salary cap. Thanks to the Texans having provided $17 million of cap relief to the Jaguars in last winter's expansion draft, the team's salary cap is affording it the opportunity to rebuild quicker than it otherwise would've been able.

Mike from Beloit, WI:
Why do you pay Jimmy Smith that kind of money and not feed him the rock? He's a big-time play-maker. He should see at least 15 balls per game. Am I missing something?

Vic: Do you honestly think the Jaguars have intentionally reduced Jimmy Smith's production? In time, we'll understand the reasons for Smith's early-season fall-off. As for now, it remains a mystery.

Dan from Jacksonville:
Jaguars QBs seem to get smashed both legally and illegally without any response from the team. Frankly, the whining to the league after the game is an irritant. My opinion is that the Jags don't have any on-field enforcers and never have had any since the very beginning of the franchise. What do you think?

Vic: The day of the retaliatory enforcer is over. The 1970s were loaded with payback players, but the NFL is committed to eliminating that type of player from the game. Today's players are still big, strong, aggressive men, but they know the consequences of "goon" behavior. Beyond that, today's players also feel a much stronger bond to each other, as promoted by the strongest union presence in NFL history.

Mark from Garland, TX:
Would an 8-8 season be considered a success? I am speaking in terms of a rebuilding year with the 8-8 record.

Vic: No one is satisfied by 8-8 these days. The postseason is the goal of every team in the league and anything short of the playoffs is a disappointment. However, back in the preseason, I believed the Jaguars were in danger of something much worse than 8-8. This is a team in the midst of major personnel changes. For that reason, I would consider 8-8 a successful season.

Lynn from Jacksonville:
As the season progresses, other than "one game at a time," what strategies would you propose for any team to keep their focus?

Vic: All you have to do is look at the standings. It's wide open. Get hot at the right time and you can make some noise. That's the motivation.

Donny from Orlando:
You have implied more than once that the Houston Texans made a significant error in judgement with their decision to take several Jaguars in the expansion draft. You have indicated the Texans made a bad decision just by aiding a divisional foe. My question is: Should NFL teams really strategize that way?

Vic: Absolutely. Why? Because it's all about getting into the playoffs and the way into the playoffs is through your division.

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