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Televising to home market helps build avid fans


The following is a transcript of a question and answer session between Senior Writer Vic Ketchman and Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver

VK: What were your emotions in the loss to Baltimore?

WW: I don't know how a football team with our talent could lead 23-7 at halftime, and blow the game. We just made too many mistakes. We had no pass-rush all day and we had no coverage. I must say, the prevent defense, I just don't get it. I just don't get it. It's designed not to give up the big play, yet, more times than not, it gives up the big play. So, those are my emotions. It's frustrating.

VK: You open your home season this Sunday. Where are you as far as ticket sales and the potential for a TV blackout?

WW: This game will be sold out. We still have a couple of games we have to work hard at later in the season. I'm optimistic. We've reorganized a lot of our core staff, as far as ticketing, and I'm pleased with the progress we're making. We've got a lot of work to do, but I don't think we'll blackout any games this year. At least, at this point it looks that way, that we have a chance to sell out.

VK: What is the importance of being able to televise your home games to your home market?

WW: I think that's how you build fans. I'm a big proponent of making sure we don't blackout, and that we deliver the game in our home market to our fans. I think that's how you build fans long term. That's how you build casual fans into avid fans.

VK: Mark Brunell took a lot of criticism for last season's AFC title game loss, but he's started this season with a hot hand. What does he mean to your franchise?

WW: If we're going to get to the Super Bowl, Mark is going to take us there. Clearly Mark is an outstanding football player, but equally important is that he's an outstanding young man in our community and represents the values that we hold in our franchise. Mark is not only a leader on the football field, but he's a leader off the field in terms of what he gives back to the community. Most of our players give back to our community. We're very fortunate that we have community-minded players. Getting back to Mark as a football player, Mark is just a play-maker, and when you have weapons like Jimmy Smith; this guy is just incredible. He was double-covered all day (Sunday), not so much in the first quarter, but to make the kinds of plays he makes is unbelievable. I look at it more as a team. I don't care how great your quarterback is. In this day and age, you can't just ride on the shoulders of your quarterback. You've got to have a surrounding cast of players if you're going to play at the highest level. Quarterback can be the identity of most teams, particularly playing at the level we have, and Mark's passer rating is always way up there, but a quarterback can't get it done alone. You've got to have the Jimmy Smiths and Tony Bosellis and Kevin Hardys and the Hardy Nickersons, and on and on and on.

VK: What's Fred Taylor's value?

WW: Obviously it shows that when you're missing a guy like Fred Taylor from your lineup, it's very costly. You can't open up your offense like you'd like to. When you can open up your running game and give your offense a lot of latitude and weapons; you can't have a well-rounded offense when you can only rush the ball for 46 yards. So, Fred Taylor is just a huge key. We've got to keep Fred healthy and on the field.

VK: What do you think the perspective should be following Sunday's loss in Baltimore?

WW: I hope it's not doom and gloom. It's got to be a devastating loss. You've got 23-7 at halftime, then squander the game away. It's so reminiscent of that Tennessee AFC championship game, when we played brilliantly through most of the first half, and squandered some opportunities to blow the game out, and then came back and went flat in the second half. That's exactly what happened (Sunday). They took momentum away and I think they were a little more physical than we were in the second half. I think our players are going to take that; they know that was a huge game. A win (Sunday) would've brought us back home, potentially going into Indianapolis on Monday night 3-0. We'll remember that game, but, hopefully, by midweek the guys will be looking forward and not back.

VK: Your team is at the .500 mark for the first time since it was 7-7 in 1996. Have we been spoiled by success?

WW: No, I don't think we've been spoiled by success. It's disappointing with the outstanding football players we have on this roster, to be sitting here after our second game and being .500, and a game we certainly should've won. I think it's going to bring out the character of this football team. Hopefully, you'll see it in our opener here on Sunday, but equally important, you'll see what team shows up on Monday night in Indianapolis.

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