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Time to turn a deaf ear

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

John from Jacksonville:
On the subject of game checks for the playoffs and Super Bowl, if you're an active player on the sidelines and do not play you'll still get a game check, right? What about the deactivated players and those on injured reserve? Is it no play, no pay for them?

Vic: All players on the roster – active, deactivated, injured reserve, etc. – receive a playoff check.

Alan from Jacksonville:
In the event that a team makes the Super Bowl, does that team's local radio broadcast team get to call the game for their radio network or is that also regulated by the NFL so that only the official Super Bowl radio broadcast team is permitted to broadcast?

Vic: The two teams playing in the Super Bowl are permitted to have their radio networks "call" the game.

Jon from North Adams, MA:
Are there any big playmaker guys the Jaguars are looking to acquire over the offseason? Or is it too soon to know?

Vic: As I have said on more than a couple of occasions, Feb. 8 is the first day teams may designate "franchise" and "transition" players, so we have to wait until then before we begin throwing names around. It's suspected Walter Jones won't be tagged again. If he isn't, I'd have to believe the Jaguars would have interest in him. Another name that interests me is Kendrell Bell. He only played three games this season and the Steelers are deep enough at linebacker that they may not try to re-sign him. When he's been healthy, and that hasn't been often in the last couple of years, Bell has been a major playmaker. He's a big-time pass-rusher who can be used at linebacker or end, and he has also been an impact player on special teams. He is the quintessential "run and hit" defensive player.

John from Atwater, CA:
You had said the Jaguars don't have anybody except Darius to put the "franchise" tag on this offseason. Do teams have to use the "franchise" tag every year and how many times can a team designate it to the same player consecutively?

Vic: Teams are not required to use the "franchise" tag. It's a designation a team may use to protect its rights to a player's service, and teams use the "franchise" tag to protect a player with whom they have yet to negotiate a new contract and whose value is considered to be the equal of the average of the top five salaries at his position in the league. A team may use the "franchise" designation on a player as many times as it wishes. The player is not required to sign the "franchise" tender. When he does sign the tender, his salary is guaranteed. The team may not trade him until he signs the tender.

Tom from Malabar, FL:
Are offensive line coaches not sufficiently knowledgeable of the entire offense to be offensive coordinators? I ask because I think the Steelers' Russ Grimm has done a terrific job over the years but I haven't seen his name mentioned as a candidate for any of the offensive coordinator jobs around the league.

Vic: Nobody knows offense better than an offensive line coach and some of the finest offensive minds in the history of the game have belonged to coaches whose expertise was the offensive line. Vince Lombardi and Chuck Noll immediately come to mind. The reason we're not seeing as many coordinators come out of the offensive line ranks today is because of the overwhelming importance and demands on the quarterback position. The offensive coordinator almost has to be a man who can relate to and communicate with the quarterback. In the case of Russ Grimm, he is not just an offensive line coach, he is an assistant head coach, which makes him the highest-ranking assistant on Bill Cowher's staff. Offensive coordinator would be a step down for Grimm. His next job will be a head coach job. Technically, permission may be denied for any team to interview a coach currently under contract for a job with another team. When the move would be a step up, say, from offensive line coach to offensive coordinator, permission is often granted, but it can be denied.

Jeff from Jacksonville:
Hugh Douglas has ripped Jacksonville again, claiming it was the coach's fault for his decline and that the city is nothing but a small redneck town that is racist. This brings me to my question of how much will the Super Bowl help change this city and is there any other city in the NFL that gets the same amount of disrespect that Jacksonville has received?

Vic: I don't know what the deal is with Hugh Douglas. Maybe he was bitten by a dog while he lived here. Jacksonville needs to turn a deaf ear to Douglas and to those who will criticize it for not being a worthy Super Bowl destination. Frankly, I think we're a little too concerned about Jacksonville's image. It's gotten to the point that we're begging people to like us. That needs to stop. Jacksonville is about to host the most high-profile game in sports and it brings with it the promise of major economic gain, both short and long term. That's good enough for me.

I see that Fred Taylor has had surgery. How many has he had in his career and how bad is his injury?

Vic: I think this is the first knee surgery of Fred Taylor's pro career. I have no way of knowing the extent of the surgery but it was performed on the medial collateral ligament in Taylor's left knee and the medial collateral is a fast-healing ligament that doesn't raise the alarm bells anterior cruciate ligament tears do.

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