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There are restrictions

Join senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.

William from Jacksonville:
I don't get it. If the 2007 season is uncapped, how does that hurt the Redskins and Colts? Couldn't they just re-work all the contracts so that the majority of the signing/roster bonuses due players are paid in '07, leaving a healthy cap?

Vic: First of all, what cap? If we don't have a salary cap in 2007, we may never have one again, so what would it matter? The league, the players, the fans, everyone needs for a salary cap extension to get done and I have no doubt it will get done before '07. If it doesn't get done, however, there are rules in place that restrict what a team can do creatively with contracts. For example, the Collective Bargaining Agreement provides for something called a "30 percent rule," which states that salary (excluding signing bonus money) can't increase by more than 30 percent over the previous year's salary. Roster bonus falls within the category of "salary" and is treated as such. This is sophisticated stuff. Just trust me. The language in the CBA makes it next to impossible to wiggle your way out of a bad cap. For example, there is no June 1 rule next year because '07 is uncapped, which means teams won't be able to use June as an amortization dumping ground. LaVar Arrington is the classic example of the problem no June 1 rule will create for the Redskins, who are currently $28 million over next year's cap with only 44 players under contract. The only way to beat the system by using the uncapped year would be for teams and players to get into wink-wink deals that would require a lot of blind faith and, in some cases, might be in violation of the rules. The cap restrictions were established for the purpose of preventing what you're suggesting.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Do you have the list of teams we play next year? I know some opponents are decided at the end of the year. I know the dates will be decided next April.

Vic: In 2006, the Jaguars will host the Patriots, Jets, Cowboys, Giants and the AFC North team that finishes in the same place in 2005 that the Jaguars do in the AFC South. The Jaguars will travel to Buffalo, Miami, Philadelphia, Washington and to the corresponding AFC West team. Those games will be in addition to the six games the Jaguars will play against their three AFC South opponents.

Bob from St. Augustine, FL:
I think you missed a point in why the pass-defense is number one. Yes, it is better, but so is the defensive line. Any NFL quarterback will eat your lunch if he has enough time.

Vic: You're absolutely right. The pass-rush has as much to do with pass-defense as coverage does, and the Jaguars' pass-rush this season is improved. The Jaguars sacked the quarterback 37 times in 2004. Through nine games this season, the Jaguars have 26 sacks. If the Jaguars maintain that pace they will have sacked the quarterback 46 times this season, which would represent a 24 percent improvement over last season, and that would be significant.

Mike from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
I'm a Taylor guy. Even now, as he is injured, I am glad he is on this roster. However, I feel his comments were a bit unwarranted. The players have to be bigger than that. Why blame the fans for booing? Why not look at yourself and your teammates and demand better? The fans are there to watch their team play. If they didn't love this team, they wouldn't pay the high price to watch. Fans do not want to boo their team. So give them something to cheer about (like the Ravens game) and stop whining.

Vic: So you want the right to express yourself but deny the players' that right? Not in America, Mike. I will steadfastly defend your right to boo, and I will applaud any player who has the courage to stand up and speak his mind. That kind of exchange stimulates accountability from both sides. It promotes understanding and sensitivity. I applaud Panthers cornerback Ken Lucas for his comments that the Jets quit in Sunday's game. I think Jets fans deserve to know that information. I think expression is a good thing, but it's also a two-way street. The next time those two teams play, the Panthers better be prepared for a little extra effort from the Jets. That's what I mean by accountability. Every action causes a reaction. If you're gonna boo, don't expect to be liked.

John from Brooklyn, NY:
Has Khalif Barnes given up a sack since starting his first game?

Vic: Shhh, don't jinx him.

Paul from Jacksonville:
How can you put the San Diego Chargers ahead of the Jags in the power rankings, especially considering that the Jags have a better record and have beaten two of the top six teams?

Vic: I have a high opinion of the Chargers.

Mark from Savannah, GA:
I think your power rankings are biased and the Jaguars are not the seventh-best team in the NFL. I would like to see them among the upper echelon teams, however, the Jaguars are still a work in progress.

Vic: I'll call you and Paul next week and ask you what my opinion should be.

Cory from Jacksonville:
That "win, baby, win" thing is really getting annoying. Please stop.

Vic: You're going to tell me what I can and can't say? No way, baby, no way. How's that?

Alfie from Jacksonville:
What do we have to do in a win for the headlines not to read "Jaguars beat injury-depleted (insert team here)?" Do our injuries not count?

Vic: What do you want the media to do, not report that Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are injured and won't play?

John from Jacksonville:
Do you think the NFL will ever adopt a more sophisticated method of determining ranking of offense and defense other than total yards? It seems kind of meaningless when you don't factor in other variables, such as strength of schedule, points scored/allowed, turnovers, overtime periods, etc.

Vic: I agree that yardage can be misleading, especially in the passing game because bad teams that fall behind and have to pass are teams that accumulate a lot of passing yardage, and good teams that find themselves protecting leads late in the game tend to allow a lot of passing yardage. Arizona is number three in passing yardage. St. Louis is fourth, Green Bay is fifth, Oakland is sixth. Rushing yardage, however, usually offers an accurate barometer of success. Atlanta is number one, Denver is two, Seattle is three, Pittsburgh is four, Chicago is five, Indianapolis is sixth, Kansas City is seventh. The top 11 teams in the league in rushing all have winning records. Rush-defense is also a good barometer of success. San Diego is one, Carolina is two, Pittsburgh is three, Denver is four, Tampa Bay is five, the Giants are sixth, Kansas City is seventh. Ironically, the top 11 teams in the league in rush-defense also have winning records. In contrast, New England is 31 in pass-defense, San Diego is 30, Kansas City is 29, Denver is 28, the Giants are 25, Carolina is 21, Pittsburgh is 20. You have to pick and choose which stats to use as accurate indicators of a team's performance. When I look at the total yards stats, I look at rushing and rush-defense.

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