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The big-picture question

Join Senior Writer Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

Cliff Kleiss from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
When is next season's schedule likely to be announced? Yes, I know the opponents, but I'm anxious to see the schedule.

Vic: : The NFL traditionally announces its schedule near the end of April.

Andy Eichholz from Jacksonville:
I bought season tickets and I want to know if we are going to see three players: Mark Brunell, Kevin Hardy and Keenan McCardell. I've heard McCardell is up for trade.

Vic: We'll know soon about Brunell. McCardell's contract was re-structured for the purpose of retaining him on the roster, and cutting or trading him would cause the Jaguars a severe cap hit they can't afford. The jury is out on Hardy's future with the Jaguars. If the Jaguars can recover a respectable draft choice, it's likely they'll trade him. He would represent a $2.2 million cap savings in a trade, and the Jaguars need that cap room and more.

James Trice from Jacksonville:
What are the Jaguars' major concerns for the draft?


Vic: As I see it, the Jaguars' major areas of concern have to be offensive line, defensive line and linebacker. Beyond that, they have to consider a fullback, a developmental quarterback, a punter and a backup running back. However, the Jaguars only have five draft choices at this time. They are expected to get a compensatory pick in the sixth or seventh rounds and, of course, they would add to their draft picks total if they traded Kevin Hardy. The more picks they have, the more areas of the team they can address. As it stands now, they may not be able to address more than their most critical needs.

Brian Rhodes from Davenport, IA:
Do you think we can go deep in the playoffs if we don't re-sign Mark Brunell, and do you think we can go deep if we do re-sign Brunell?

Vic: The first part of the question is easy to answer: No? The second part of the question is unanswerable until after the draft. When I see what the Jaguars are able to accomplish in the draft, I'll be able to give you a better answer. At this point in time, I believe the Jaguars have to have a blockbuster draft to have any chance of being a playoff contender in 2001.

Matt Simmons from Richmond, VA:
As a season ticket holder who drives all the way from Virginia to see the games, it's very disappointing to see empty seats in the stadium. What is the organization doing to keep the stadium full as the novelty of the new NFL franchise wears off?

Vic: Wayne Weaver has mandated that the Jaguars do a better job of marketing the product beyond the Jacksonville city limits. Because Jacksonville is a small market, Weaver knows the team's long-term success at filling the stadium will depend on making the Jaguars a regional franchise. That's where future ticketing efforts will be.

Paul Kimbrell from Jacksonville:
I do not believe re-signing Mark Brunell will make the Jaguars a better team in the future. It would probably make the situation worse and more likely to drag on for years to come. I feel that trading him for a high pick or two would give the team a better chance of building for the Super Bowl being held here in 2005. Could you please give me your pros and cons?

Vic: Paul, you've presented the true big-picture question. Without a doubt, trading Brunell would allow the Jaguars to repair their salary cap and their total roster more quickly. However, there's no guarantee you'll find the quarterback you need. Teams have gone decades without finding a quarterback. Who was the last great quarterbacks in Chicago and Detroit? Sid Luckman and Bobby Layne? What has the position cost Tampa Bay? No position in sports gets the attention quarterback does. Look at the Ravens: They win a Super Bowl and then spend like fools for a guy who has proven nothing. Your approach is courageous and may, in fact, be the right way to go. I'm a blow-it-up guy, too, but I can understand the Jaguars' reluctance to do that. They believe they can remain a playoff contender while they repair their cap and rebuild. That may be the most aggressive and courageous approach of all.

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