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Motivation must come from within

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

Suzanne Webster from Jacksonville:
Last season, I went on the NFL 104 tour of the Jaguars workout facilities. There are motivational plaques on the walls everywhere you look. What do you think coach Coughlin will do this season to get the large number of rookies there will be on the roster inspired to take on the great challenge of getting prepared to step up early, because we lack depth at many positions?

Vic: Tom Coughlin is a man of many words. You can rest assured Coughlin leaves no inspirational stone unturned. However, Coughlin will tell you that, ultimately, motivation is something that must come from within each player. A coach I covered and admired for several years, Chuck Noll, used to say pep talks last until the first time a player gets knocked on his butt. Then, a player is on his own.

Mack Doss from Cocoa, FL:
How are teams managing to sign these free agents right now before signing their draft classes? I saw in Sports Illustrated that 19 of the 31 teams only have $1.5 million dollars or less in cap room. Do you think come this June we will see the largest-ever release of big-name players due to the salary cap? Take for example, Herman Moore; this guy has been with Detroit forever. I heard he's going to be released because of his $5 million cap hit, because he won't re-structure. Where do these players at that level go if these teams only have so much cap room?

Vic: Cap room is difficult to define. It varies from team to team. It comes down to what percentage of your cap is bonus and what percentage is salary. Bonus can be spread out over the length of the contract; salary must be declared in full on that season's cap. For example, if you're due to be paid $2 million in salary this year and you have four years remaining on your contract, I can give you the $2 million now as bonus money and you'd only be a $500,000 hit this season. That kind of re-structuring would be a $1.5 million cap savings over the previous contract. Of course, the Jaguars have re-structured contracts to the point that they don't have that kind of maneuverability any longer. Yes, teams are going to have to make moves in June and it's unfortunate the Jaguars don't have the cap room to be a serious June participant, but this team must dedicate itself to re-storing the health of its future salary caps.

Brian Halvorson from Bessemer, MI:
Mark Brunell was one of the leading QB rushers early in his career, but lately, because of his knee, he has been a lot slower. Should we expect him to put up his previous rushing numbers, or is his knee still bothering him?

Vic: The days of Mark Brunell the scrambler, as he was in 1996, are over. He still has pocket mobility and can buy time with his feet so he might create on the run. That's good enough.

Jim Dickson from Sacramento, CA:
On the cover of the last Jaguars Inside Report, I noticed that Marcus Stroud was wearing a Reebok jersey. Have the Jaguars discontinued their affiliation with Nike?

Vic: The Jaguars are now a Reebok team, which means their uniforms and all other team-issue equipment will bear the Reebok trademark. Those players who have personal shoe contracts with other companies may wear those companies' shoes and gloves.

Matt Kochan from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
How do teams such as the Ravens get so much skill on their defense and a fair amount on their offense (enough to win a Super Bowl), yet, still have plenty of cap room to wheel and deal in the offseason and greatly improve themselves? Can the Jaguars take a lesson from their strategy?

Vic: Actually, the Ravens have taken a lesson from the Jaguars' strategy. The Ravens are converting salary into signing bonus and moving money onto future caps, just as the Jaguars did in previous years. Major cap problems are right around the corner for the Ravens. They are currently attempting to take full advantage of their window of opportunity, at the cost of their future.
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.

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