Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
David Greer from St. Augustine, FL:
Are the injuries the Jaguars have experienced over the last 3-4 years at a rate higher than most of the other franchises? I'm looking for a reason that we seem to have such a problem with the depth on our team. I know depth is now an issue with all clubs around the league.
Vic: The Jaguars' injuries have been dramatized by the fact that they have often decimated one area of the team. In 1997 and '98, the Jaguars experienced a rash of injuries on their defensive line. Last year, it was on the offensive line. Of course, in 1999, the Jaguars remained relatively healthy, or at least didn't lose players at positions where they didn't a quality backup. As a result, the Jaguars went all the way to the AFC title game. As many injuries as the Jaguars suffered last season, their skill-position players on offense didn't miss much time. Mark Brunell, Jimmy Smith, Keenan McCardell, Kyle Brady and Fred Taylor only missed four games combined.
David Block from Saskatoon, SK, Canada:
Is all the griping about the salary cap just an embarrassment of riches? I mean, how many teams are complaining because they have so many Pro Bowl-caliber players on the roster? For example, Minnesota can afford to pay Moss his pile of money because they refuse to pay for a defense. The Jaguars are dealing with the fact that Smith, Taylor, Brunell, McCardell, Boselli, Brackens, Hardy and Hollis are all Pro Bowl-level players, but paying them all market value would put the Jags over the salary cap already. Other teams don't have our problem because they don't have as much talent throughout the lineup, right?
Vic: The Jaguars' salary-cap problems are certainly the result of the team's success between the years 1996-99. They had a lot of stars emerge during that time, spent a lot of money in free agency, and mortgaged a considerable portion of their future caps to sign and re-sign those players. In doing that, the Jaguars executed a lot of contract re-structuring that cleared room on a current year's cap by amortizing that money over future years. It caught up with them. Credit-card debt is the best analogy from every-day life. You may pay the balance and make a minimum payment. If you chose to pay the minimum, you better stop buying. The Jaguars didn't.
William Granert from Jacksonville:
A Jacksonville talk-show host was claiming the other day that Richmond Flowers had a much better chance than Randall Williams of making the team. From what I've seen in practice, Randall Williams looks bigger, smoother, faster and is just as consistent. What is your outlook on both these rookies?
Vic: Randall Williams' size and athletic ability have clearly caught coach Tom Coughlin's eye. He appears to be on his way toward making the team. Richmond Flowers will probably have to come up big on special teams in the preseason to warrant roster consideration.
Mike Weidner from Atlanta, GA:**
How do you account for Todd Fordham's remarkable play last season? I say remarkable because he was a former undrafted rookie free agent coming off a serious knee injury. What did he do to improve himself, and can our young tackles learn from his example?
Vic: Todd Fordham may not pass the "eye test," but he's more athletic than you might think, he's tough and instinctive, and he has big, powerful hands he uses very naturally in pass-blocking. That's his forte, and every team is looking for tackles who can protect the quarterback. His perseverance paid off when Zach Wiegert's knee injury last season afforded Fordham the opportunity to prove he can play in this league. 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.