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Mack key to running back decisions

Sherry Rogerson from Jacksonville:
I think Stacey Mack and Elvis Joseph played really great against Minnesota. I believe they both will do very well in the NFL in the future. Do you think we can keep Stacey and or Elvis
for the next couple of years? We definitely need a backup running back, as Fred Taylor, as much as I like him, seems to be hurt each and every year.
Vic: Keeping Elvis Joseph won't be a problem, but retaining the rights to Stacey Mack could require matching an offer from another team. Then, it would be a matter of the size of that offer. In a recent story I wrote, Fred Taylor said the Jaguars won't need to draft a running back if the team is able to retain Mack. I found that to be a responsible opinion, given the fact that Mack and Joseph have combined for more than a thousand yards rushing this season. Whether or not the Jaguars sign Mack to a new deal will go a long way toward deciding what they do in the draft.

Lang Highfill from Mayodan, NC:
Is next year really going to be that bad? Everything I see and read is we
are going to be a 2-14 team. I understand the salary cap problems. We need to find players who still love the game.
Vic: Expectations have to be lowered. Give up hope? No, but we should prepare ourselves for the worst.

Cooper McGeorge from Jacksonville:
Will Fred Taylor ever be as good as he was in the late 2000 season, or
have the injuries he has endured made that impossible? Is there still hope he can be the best running back in football?
Vic: Your question is legitimate. Injuries don't make a player better. Last season, Fred Taylor admitted he wasn't as fast as he was when he was a rookie. Yes, there is still hope Taylor can reach the level of expectation we have for him, but let's lower those expectations a bit.

Aaron Fleck from Minneapolis, MN:
How do the transition and franchise tags work? Would we get draft picks if Kevin Hardy was tagged as one and went to another team?
Vic: An unrestricted "transition" player is free to negotiate with any other team in the league, but his original team may retain his rights by matching any offer he receives. If the team does not match, there is no compensation. If he receives no offer, he will be paid the average of the league's top 10 salaries at his position. An unrestricted free agent who has been designated a "franchise" player may sign with any other team in the league, but his original team can retain the player by matching the offer. If his original team does not match the offer, his new team must compensate the original team with two first-round draft choices. If a "franchise" player does not sign a contract with another team, his original team retains his rights and must pay him the average of the league's top five salaries at his position. Kevin Hardy's contract situation applies to neither tag. His Jaguars contract will expire on the next to last day of the current NFL calendar year, making him an unrestricted free agent free to sign with any team in the league.

Andy Anderson from Alma, GA:
What will the Jaguars do as far as their kicking game next season? Will they bring in a veteran kicker, some free agents or just draft
one in the late rounds?
I don't think the Jaguars will be drafting any kickers this year.

Daniel Goodwin from Des Moines, IA: :
Knowing the Jaguars are going to completely rebuild next year due to
their tremendous salary cap problems, there's one question that plagues me. Is there any player on the Jags' roster who is safe? Is Brunell, Smith, Taylor, Boselli and McCardell safe? Are they going to cut everyone and start from scratch?
Any player whose remaining amortization exceeds his projected 2002 salary cap hit is safe, for the obvious reasons. Cutting that player would only worsen the cap problem. Tony Brackens, Tony Boselli, Jimmy Smith and Marcus Stroud are such players. Everybody else has a 2002 cap number in excess of their remaining amortization, which would qualify them as candidates to be released because the Jaguars would gain cap room by releasing them. But, in most cases, the gain would be minimal, and they'd have to sign a player to replace the one they cut and that would further eat into the cap gain. You can't cut everyone. You start with the players who offer you the most savings.

Thomas Speight from Madison, FL:
In recent weeks I've noticed the defense has been doing something different. However, I can't put my finger on it. What are they doing different?
They're playing more zone.

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