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Taylor proved his worth last season

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

David Wielgus from Orlando, FL:
If John Wade is put on injured reserve and is out for the year, does this free up some money to sign Stroud and Leaverton?

Vic: No, salaries are paid to players on injured reserve, meaning that money would have to count toward the salary cap.

Jason Proios from Long Island, NY:
Why does everybody think Fred Taylor is the Jaguars' best player? Jimmy Smith is a four-time Pro-Bowler who opposing defenses plan their strategy around. His presence makes it possible that Fred Taylor never has to see the seven and eight-man fronts the likes of Eddie George and Jamal Lewis see every game. If for some horrible reason he is not ready to play on opening day, do you see the impact as being far worse than Taylor's absence was a year ago?

Vic: Your point is well-made. When the Jaguars had James Stewart backing up Fred Taylor, Smith's absence would've been more difficult to overcome. However, last season proved that Taylor is the player the Jaguars must have in the lineup. The Jaguars threw for 386 yards and scored 36 points in a week-two loss in Baltimore, when Jimmy Smith caught 15 passes for 291 yards and three touchdowns. That was the day we discovered the true impact of Taylor's absence. In contrast, in a week-nine win in Dallas when Smith didn't play, Kyle Brady caught 10 passes for 138 yards and a touchdown, and Alvis Whitted caught three balls for 55 yards and two scores. The Jaguars would seem to be able to find ways to overcome Smith's absence for a game or two, but they were unable to find anyone last season who could replace Taylor. The ability to run the ball is still the single most-important ingredient to success.

Darrin Nelson from Virginia Beach, VA:
I am worried about our offensive line. Other than Tony at left tackle, I don't see any body who is a solid blocker to keep Mark Brunell off the turf on Sunday afternoon this fall. Can you pass on any insight or other strengths the offensive front might have and how long it might take for them to gel?

Vic: All of the concern is for the right side of the line. Will Zach Wiegert be completely healed from last season's knee surgery, and able to be the veteran starter the Jaguars need at either right guard or right tackle? Will second-round pick Maurice Williams develop quickly enough to become the Jaguars' starting right tackle? Will rookie guard Chad Ward offer immediate depth at right guard? Will center/guard John Wade recover from foot surgery? Those are the major questions. At the other three line positions, the Jaguars are solid. Brad Meester quickly developed into a capable left guard, and center Jeff Smith was a solid find late last summer. Considering all of the questions that must be answered, it's not likely the Jaguars offensive line situation will be settled or begin to gel until about midseason.

Joe Peters from Green Cove Springs, FL:
What do you think will be the keys to success in the new AFC South for the Jaguars? Do they have what it takes to be competitive and dominating? I think they do. The realignment was a great idea and will prove to increase the competition in the NFL.

Vic: The Jaguars will be competitive in the AFC South, but not dominating. First of all, the days of dominating teams is long gone. Secondly, it's going to take more than a couple of years for the Jaguars to dig out of their current salary cap mess. Tennessee is beginning to experience those same salary cap problems, and they'll worsen next season. Indianapolis is staring down the barrel of some major salaries and potential cap issues, and are the Colts anything more than a playoff contender? For all of the hype Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James and Marvin Harrison have created, they've yet to win a playoff game. Houston, of course, will be the division's expansion team. It's a nice-looking division, but I don't see anything scary about it.

Bill Grimes from Jacksonville:
So many times the average fan has no idea of the ins and outs of the salary cap. Being that so much of a pro football team's success is wrapped around the cap, is there an article or book that details these cap rules?

Vic: Bill, I know of no such publication, other than the Collective Bargaining Agreement, that details all of the rules and regulations of the salary cap. The NFL offers a free agency Q&A article every spring. It's very informative and it appeared on and may still be archived. Otherwise, you can e-mail your cap questions to "Ask Vic" and I'll be happy to find the answers.

Lou Nussbaum from Jacksonville:
I really enjoy your Jaguars Inside Report and have been a regular subscriber since 1995. I have collected all your end-of-the-year "Covers Posters" and have them displayed in my office. I also have all your Jaguars "Season in Review" editions, except for 1995. Did you make one that year and is there any way I can buy or get my hands on it? Thanks again for a great publication.

Vic: Lou, you have them all. We published our first-ever "Covers Poster" following the 1995 season, but we didn't offer our first "Season in Review" until after the 1996 season. Thanks for your interest and kind remarks.

Mike Gernoth from Berlin, Germany:
Do you think our quarterback, Jonathan Quinn, who gave the World Bowl to us (Berlin Thunder and the best fans in NFLE), will have a real chance to become Mark Brunell's backup this year?

Vic: Mike, you may have witnessed the emergence of a quarterback. Off his performance for Berlin, most expect Jonathan Quinn to win the Jaguars backup quarterback job this summer. Quinn is in the final year of his Jaguars contract, and his performance in NFL Europe could make him a hot property in free agency next winter.

Rodney T. McCollum from Michigan City, IN:
Can you tell me what the status is of Paul Spicer? Where does he fit in with the Jaguars defense this year?

Vic: The Jaguars are thin at defensive end and desperately need a player such as Paul Spicer or Rob Meier to step up and offer depth. If Spicer does that, he could find himself playing a major role behind Renaldo Wynn and Tony Brackens.

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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