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The best formula

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

Jeremy from Liberty, WV:
How do you think Byron Leftwich will help the Jaguars being a rookie? I watched most of his games at Marshall and I just wondered if you think it will take Byron a couple of years to get on the same page as everyone else?

Vic: Byron Leftwich will need time to develop at sports' most demanding position. Expectations should be tempered by logic. Ask John Elway and Terry Bradshaw, to name two great quarterbacks who had nightmarish rookie seasons.

James from Jacksonville:
What made Byron Leftwich a first-round pick and David Garrard a fourth-round pick?

Vic: That's a great question. Certainly, David Garrard has dominant physical skills, and he matched Byron Leftwich pass for pass in the GMAC Bowl a few years ago. But Garrard did not have a great senior season at East Carolina, and he's not 6-5, as Leftwich is. If you're suggesting Garrard is a first-round talent, you might be right.

Jason from Jacksonville:
I read all about the contract we gave to Leftwich and I have a question about that fifth year. Do the Jags have the right to void after five or is that in the hands of Leftwich.

Vic: As long as a contract is not guaranteed, and Byron Leftwich's is not, teams have the right to void a contract any time. It's called cutting a player.

Roland from Jacksonville, FL:
I read your wonderful article on Fernando Bryant and all I could think about was last year's home game against the Eagles. Bryant was the heart of the defense, making big play after big play and proving to me he was a great corner and that he loved to play the game. Do you believe it would be wise for the Jags to sign him to a "fair extension," which he said he'd be happy to accept? We'd probably have to pay more on the market for an adequate replacement.

Vic: I like the idea of a player motivated by his contract year and a team challenging that player to "prove it." Getting a player at less than his market value doesn't work. It makes for dissatisfied players. Find out what a player is worth, then pay him accordingly. That's what's going to happen this year with Fernando Bryant. It's the best formula.

Pete from Jacksonville:
After seeing Friday night's game against Miami, the rush-defense of the Jags looked weak. Although I know it was against a prolific running back in Ricky Williams, they were also struggling against the second and third-string backs. My question is, if Del Rio has a defensive background, shouldn't our schemes be good enough to hold offenses to three downs and out, and what could be done to improve our defense?

Vic: It all starts with stop the run. If you can't do that, you've got no chance. Blitz? It means nothing if you can't stop the run.

Hicham from Dubai, UAE:
I just recently relocated to Dubai and I have to say I loved reading up on an impressive 27-23 Jags win over the Dolphins. While it's now near impossible to decide which of our quarterbacks is the future of the team, who would you say is the most athletically gifted of the four?

Vic: David Garrard.

Darren from Jacksonville:
How long do you think it will take Wayne Weaver and the "new era" team to cave into fan pressure and play Byron Leftwich? The whole situation makes me sick. Tom Coughlin got a raw deal and now Brunell is getting one, too. How do you feel about the whole thing?

Vic: Mark Brunell is one of the two-best quarterbacks I've ever covered and I consider his performance in 1996 to be the most exciting quarterback play I've ever seen. He has been a great story for eight great years and it bothers me that this may be the last year I'll have to watch and write about his play. But this is not a game of longevity. It's a young man's game and this team clearly has to begin providing for its future. Come on, Darren, look at the roster. Where is this team going? The "old" guys are almost all gone. Don't resist change.

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