Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Gary Kroft from Middleburg, FL:
I love Jaguars Inside Report and look forward to each issue. I don't claim to be an experienced "armchair quarterback," but it seems to me that, more than anything, we need to revamp the offensive line. It doesn't matter what kind of skill players we have, if Mark never has adequate time to make his reads and checks or the running backs seldom have a hole to hit. I'm sure this is not the whole problem, but don't you think it merits much more attention than it was given this past offseason?
Vic: I agree, but you're not going to fix any major problem in just one draft. The Jaguars drafted a quality, long-term tackle in Maurice Williams this year. They'll need to do more offensive line work in next year's draft. Rebuilding requires time and patience.
Ryan Patrick from Charlotte, NC:
My dad tells me constantly that if the Jaguars traded off Brunell, Taylor, Boselli and Smith we could rebuild the team through draft picks and be ready for the Super Bowl by the time it comes to Jacksonville in 2005. I disagree and think the Jaguars should keep Brunell and others if they can. Which idea do you agree with?
Vic: Trading players, no matter how good they are, is very difficult. A few weeks ago, in one of my editorials, I explained that draft picks are considered to be more valuable than proven players. In this salary cap era, the draft is the least expensive vehicle for player acquisition. No team wants to trade for big salaries, and no team can afford to trade away a major amortization player and assume all of that amortization in one salary cap year. When you sign a player to a big contract, you're stuck with him. If there's an exception to that, it's at quarterback. Of the players you've mentioned, Mark Brunell might get you a high draft pick, because of the importance of the position he plays and because his contract is not out of line. The Jaguars couldn't afford to trade Tony Boselli or Jimmy Smith because their remaining amortizations would accelerate into that year's salary cap. Fred Taylor might draw trade interest but, traditionally, running backs don't have much trade value. The simple answer to your question is that trading is seldom a viable option in the salary cap era.
Jim Veal from Jacksonville:
What is the rule regarding coaches challenging a controversial call, specifically, the pass interference call on Fernando Bryant? With under two minutes before halftime, could the call be challenged when the replay clearly shows no contact?
Vic: The NFL's replay-review process does not include pass interference as a reviewable call.
Harley Hoffman from Ormond Beach, FL:
Here we go again. Another game with a missed field goal and no kickoffs in the end zone. Both give the opposing team a tremendous advantage in field position. Why can't we at least try somebody else? Also, I think Coughlin showed his colors when he called for a field goal with fourth-and-one at the 15 in the first quarter. No wonder the team loses confidence in the coach. They play best when Brunell runs the show from the no-huddle. Let's rebuild, starting with the coach.
Vic: The Jaguars' salary cap problems prevent them from signing a kickoff specialist. It's just that simple.
Tom Hurley from Kingsland, GA:
You have never acknowledged any questions I have asked since day one. I guess I have worded the question wrong. The Jaguars paid $6 million for (linebacker Bryce Paup), who was put in a position he could not handle because he was All-Pro as a defensive end and under the Jaguars scheme he had to cover tight ends on pass patterns, which he could not do. There have been other veteran players the Jaguars paid big money to. Who was responsible for these wrong decisions? I do not believe Mr. Weaver was. Why doesn't the person responsible stand up and say I messed up? He was and still is in charge of all football operations. He did great for the first five years. Did he not have the foresight to understand that he now has mature players and he ought to listen to what they tell him they can and can not do?
Vic: Personnel mistakes have been made. That's old news. What are you saying? Do you want Tom Coughlin to be fired, or do you want him to submit to a public flogging?
Chris Duncan from Jacksonville:
I have heard you say time and again on the radio shows you do that the Jaguars can only cut a small number of players due to the amount of money each player represents toward the cap. In trying to understand the cap I realize there's a limit of what we can pay players, but I didn't realize there is a yearly limit on what we can cut out of the cap. Is it possible for you to explain this? I await your comments.
Vic: When you cut a player, you extinguish his salary from that season's salary cap, but you immediately assume all of his remaining bonus amortization on that year's cap. I'll use Tony Boselli as an example because he's a really good guy and he's had surgery on both shoulders so he probably couldn't punch me. If the Jaguars cut Boselli next March, all of his remaining amortization ($8 million) would accelerate into the Jaguars' 2002 salary cap. Since Boselli's remaining amortization is greater than his projected cap hit next season, the Jaguars' salary cap situation would immediately worsen. The same holds true for any player whose remaining amortization is greater than his projected cap hit. Cutting those players would worsen the cap situation. Then there are a handful of players whose projected cap hits next season are greater than their remaining amortizations. They are candidates to be released because cutting them would create room in the Jaguars' salary cap. But there are only a few of those players. I hope this explanation helps you understand the cap. Remember, salary must be declared in full in the year it is paid; prorated signing bonus is amortized evenly over the years of the contract.
Rusty Rhodes from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I hear a lot of people expressing their concern about the players, the fans, etc., but what about Tom Coughlin? How is he handling what must be serious and undue stress during these times? People need to realize that, with the cap, injuries and so forth, his job is extremely difficult right now and I doubt there are many people who could handle that type of stress. Add to that all the press inquisitions about Notre Dame and it's enough to push a man to the limit. Your comments are appreciated and, to Tom, I'd like to say hang in there, it can only get better.
Tom Coughlin is suffering. He's taking this very personally. Fortunately, he is a very resilient person.
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