Join jaguars.com Senior Writer Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Tim McClellan from Jacksonville:
After a prolonged contract negotiation, like the Brunell situation, in which fan skepticism becomes an issue, how will the Jaguars try to get bodies in the seats for games? It seems like the fan participation has fallen off in a big way over the past two years, and with the potential for a down period, and with our fair-weather fans, attendance is only going to get worse. How can the team combat that?
|Vic: The Jaguars are expected to announce some ticket-purchase innovations soon. That may help attract fans, but nothing succeeds like winning. This team may have to win its fans back.|
Lance Nizinski from Knoxville, TN:
You mentioned that we could wait to sign our draft class and probably free up some cap money by releasing players after June 1. I understand that you can split the hit over two years if you wait until this date, but what players could save the most under this scenario? Who are the most likely June 1 casualties and what savings will they provide?
|Vic: If a player has more than one year remaining on his contract, you can move some of his bonus money onto the following year's cap. However, the money that was to be declared on this year's cap must stay in that year. A player with two years remaining on his contract and $2 million of remaining bonus amortization, would be a $1 million hit in each of the next two years. A player with three years remaining on his contract and $3 million in remaining bonus amortization, would be a $1 million hit this year and a $2 million hit next year, if this year was pre-determined to be a $1 million hit. In that formula, Lonnie Marts and Carnell Lake are the Jaguars' only June 1 candidates, since they each have more than one year remaining on their contracts and because they would be the only players who would provide immediate cap relief.|
Mike Weidner from Atlanta, GA:
One position I am worried about is safety. If Lake is unable to play this year, the Jags are in trouble. Is there any possibility Aaron Beasley could be switched to safety? He's certainly big enough.
|Vic: Beasley has the tools to play safety: He's athletic, smart, instinctive and catches the ball well. However, Beasley is paid according to the standards of a cornerback, which are considerably higher than for a safety. He's likely to stay right where he is.|
Kiley Johnson from Grangeville, ID:
Fred Taylor has had problems with injuries throughout his short career. Do you think he can handle 25-30 touches a game on a regular basis, or will we see a small committee of backs, with Taylor getting only 15-20 touches a game?
|Vic: Taylor proved in the second half of last season that he can be a workhorse running back, and he wants to be that kind of back. That'll be the role in which he'll be cast this season.|
Timothy Graham from Jacksonville:
I love the Jaguars and I want them to do well this year, as we all do in Jacksonville. But I look at the release of players such as Brant Boyer, Rich Griffith and Leon Searcy, to a strong divisional rival, no less. How are we expecting the Jaguars to do anything this year? We re-sign Mark Brunell, but isn't it going to be hard for him to throw from his back?
|Vic: Change is a necessary evil of the free agency/salary cap system. Replacement is an absolute must, which is why player development is so important. I've said over and over that the key to success in the salary cap era is having "jars on the shelf." Don't forget, Searcy came to the Jaguars from the Steelers, who suffered a major setback when they lost their former first-round draft choice. The bottom line is that no matter how efficient a team is in dealing with its cap, it's got to let a few players go every year or its cap will soon fall into disrepair. Good franchises find a way to replace those players.|
Ron Quinn from Green Cove Springs, FL:
How does a guy get cast as a fullback, as opposed to a running back. I used to think size was the biggest factor, but the best running backs seem to be as big as the fullbacks. Is speed the determining factor?
|Vic: Blocking ability is the determining factor. For example, John L. Williams was a big-time running back at the University of Florida, but Williams carved out a niche as a do-it-all fullback in the NFL. The same can be said of Keith Byars. When their rushing skills began to erode, they were athletic enough to block and catch. That's the perfect combination for fullback. The feature back does the rushing; the fullback provides the complement. When your blocking is better than your rushing, you're a fullback.|