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The thoughts of a stubborn man

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

Bharat Kumar from Jacksonville:
Vic, thanks for the great work this season. Bob Petrino has left to be the offensive coordinator at Auburn. What are our chances of landing a bonafide offensive coordinator, such as Norv Turner?
Vic: Kevin Gilbride is available. He'd be a high-profile candidate. But don't always focus on the names we readily know. There are a lot of great young coaches in the game who are looking for an opportunity to emerge. I'll be interested to see what young candidates Tom Coughlin identifies.

Erich Blaumer from Milwaukie, OR:
Vic, you're the new GM of the Jaguars. Who do you cut? How do you approach the draft?

I would totally embrace the concept of salary cap repair and roster rebuilding. That means releasing any player whose release would provide long-term salary cap relief. The candidates aren't as many as you might think. As far as the draft is concerned, I maintain my position of selecting the best player available. This isn't going to get done in one year. It would be a horrible mistake to believe that with a player here and a player there the Jaguars could become playoff contenders. Pick the best players, then fit them into your team. Why would you want to take a lesser player?

Mike Cohee from Orlando, FL:
Since the Jaguars finished 6-10, at what position will they draft in April?
Vic: The Jaguars will have the ninth pick of the draft.

Paul Boucher from Jacksonville:
What is the NFL formula for determining the draft order for teams with identical records?

The league ranks its teams according to record, with worst drafting first, the Super Bowl champion drafting last and the Super Bowl loser drafting next to last. Ties between teams with the same record are broken by strength of schedule (the team that played the weaker schedule drafts ahead of the team that played the stronger schedule). If strength of schedule doesn't break the tie, then the divisional or conference tie-breakers, whichever is applicable, are used. Any ties that still exist are broken by a coin flip.

Jon-Michael Harris from Starke, FL:
With Houston receiving a new franchise, will the Texans use the Oilers' old records or do the Titans have those records. Who holds records, the city or the team?
Vic: Cleveland was a unique situation, since Art Modell left the name Browns in Cleveland when he moved the team to Baltimore. It would've been illogical and confusing for the Ravens to keep the Browns' records. In the case of the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans, the name Oilers has been abandoned and the Texans don't want the negative stigma attached to it, therefore, Bud Adams has maintained the Oilers' history as part of the Titans franchise.

Mike Martino from Stony Brook, NY:
Vic, I'm not sure I understand the methodology behind "drafting the best available" versus "drafting for need." I thought Stroud was a "best available" pick because the obvious need was offensive line last year. Coughlin decided, instead, to take one of the few, good defensive players remaining on the board to help fortify a position that already had Gary Walker and Seth Payne. What is your reasoning behind determining this a "need" pick?

A higher-rated player, offensive tackle Kenyatta Walker, was still available. What's that tell you?

Ernie Stuckey from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Let's pretend there was a way we could wipe the slate clean for the Jaguars and completely start over from scratch (no salary cap problems, etc.). Then, let's imagine Wayne Weaver came to you and said, "Vic, give me a winning formula that can keep us competitive longer while best utilizing the NFL salary cap." How would you build your team and where would most of your money go? I would invest heavy in offensive and defensive linemen because a lineman tends to cost less. I would then go with two average, yet, experienced QBs, because of the high injury rate with today's QBs. This way, I would always have a serviceable QB. But most of my money would go to the lines and then linebacker. What do you think?

Sorry, I'm stubborn. I would draft the best available player, regardless of position. Draft, develop and patch in "cheap" free agency. I believe that's the best formula for building a roster that won't get you into salary cap trouble.

John Ambrose from Gainesville, FL:
I'm a fan of Tom Coughlin, but being realistic, let me ask this question: If there is a coach available who will fill Alltel Stadium week after week, shouldn't someone at least consider him?

John, I don't buy into the idea of one man being such a powerful attraction that he fills the stadium win or lose. Maybe you're right, but I have never known any player or coach to have that kind of drawing power in the NFL.

David Wielgus from Orlando, FL:
Vic, you've been preaching "best available player" as a drafting strategy until you're blue in the face. Has anyone inside of the organization, in a position of power, agreed with you on this strategy or is this just your personal opinion?

It is my personal opinion and I believe in it firmly. I understand why a team would take a slightly lower-rated player at a position of need, but that lower-rated player better not be a "reach" or the team will regret its selection. Drafting for need can prejudice a team's system for rating players; it may cause them to rate players of need higher than they should be rated.

Ryan Vaughan from Orange Park, FL:
I love your insight on the team. I have a more lighthearted question. Is there any chance of the Jaguars ever wearing anything other than the white pants with their uniforms? I think they would look great with teal or black pants sometimes.

Ryan, I am the last person to ask about football fashion. I like Penn State's road uniforms. However, my instincts tell me the Jaguars are headed for a uniform change.

Tom Moilanen from Jacksonville:
Can the Jaguars afford to keep Gary Walker? I know he has a high cap figure, but he's only 28 and has several good years left. He brings a nastiness to the defense that was lacking before his arrival, and I think he and Donovin Darius provide a mean streak a defense can be built around. Your thoughts are appreciated. Keep up the good work.

Gary Walker had a great season in 2001. I thought he and Seth Payne were one of the best defensive tackle combinations in the game. The salary cap has led us to believe either Walker or Payne will be released. Currently, Payne would be a greater cap hit than Walker. I'm expecting Walker to stay and Payne to go, but when a team's salary cap is as troublesome as the Jaguars' is, nothing and no one should be considered sacred. The cap must be fixed. Whatever it takes.

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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