Join *Jaguars Inside Report *Senior Editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
David Pratt from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
How would you apportion responsibility for the Jaguars inconsistency this year? One game the defense plays like Tasmanian devils but the offense is sluggish, the next game the offense is clicking but the defense falls apart. How much is due to injuries? How much is due to the players? Due to the coaching? It is tantalizing, because one can watch the team and see signs of good if not great play, but all facets never seem to jell. I hate 8-8. Give me 3-13 and a future plan.
Vic: It has been my experience that when a team loses it is usually because it lacks the talent necessary to win.
Sue Wyatt from Jacksonville:
I've been driving my husband crazy with this question week after week. If the Jaguars are ahead at half time, they move into a prevent defense in the second half. I know about the old song and dance that they want to prevent any big plays. However, it is so apparent that this defense is not working for them. Why don't they continue with what has worked the previous half of the game?
Vic: That's exactly what the Jaguars did to start the second half in Tennessee, and the Titans drove the ball 77 and 80 yards to take a 21-17 lead. After the Jaguars had regained the lead, 24-21, the decision was made to change the defensive scheme to a softer and safer approach. That didn't work either. Who and what gets the blame here? Neither strategy worked.
Ryan Blankenship from Hawthorne, FL:
I love your editorial, but you said in one of your earlier answers that Houston could help the Jags clear some cap room with the expansion draft. Who do you see right now that the Jags would offer to Houston and could they be replaced with draft picks this year?
Vic: After having spoken with Houston GM Charley Casserly in Baltimore two weeks ago, I got the distinct impression he won't be as willing to accommodate teams wanting to dump high-cap players on the Texans. He hinted he may only take two or three players in the expansion draft; high-amortization guys who would satisfy Houston's percentage requirement. The Texans appear as though they're going to take the long-term approach to building their roster. What that means for the Jaguars and all NFL teams is that they're less likely to get any cap help from the Texans. What Jaguars player would interest Casserly? Mark Brunell, because he's a quarterback and his remaining amortization at the end of this season isn't that high. But I don't expect the Jaguars to make Brunell available in the expansion draft. Everything about Brunell, including a very friendly contract, makes him a player around whom the Jaguars should build their teams of the future.
John Andreoli from Orange Park, FL:
I understand the salary cap is going to be an issue next year. Although the number is higher than last year, is it not true that a lot of that number is really dummy money? Like Hardy is showing he will count like $10 million, right, when actually it will be zero? I am sure they will do the usual restructure for Brunell and Boselli and the like. They should be better off next year, right?
Vic: Actually, next year's excess is less than this year's was, but there's considerably less room for re-structuring due to the massive re-structuring that occurred last winter. Yes, there's money on next year's salary cap that will come off the moment that player leaves the roster. For example, Renaldo Wynn is owed a $6 million roster bonus that won't be paid and will immediately be deducted from the Jaguars' cap total. Kevin Hardy would be a $10.58 million cap hit next season. When his contract is voided two days before the 2002 NFL league calendar year begins, all but $1.1 million (remaining amortization) of that $10.58 million will be subtracted from the Jaguars' cap total. Will the Jaguars be better off cap-wise next year? I think they can start "eating" some "dead money" and begin chipping away at the problem next season, and that's a positive, but it's only a start. It's going to take at least two major "dead money" years before we can say the situation is better.
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