Join jaguars.com senior editor Vic Ketchman as he tackles the fans' tough questions.
Evan from Regina, Canada:
Were there any teams in the league that covered seats last year?
Vic: No; the Bears covered a small section of seats the previous year when they played at the University of Illinois.
Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I'll be going to Miami to see the first exhibition game. Do you think I'll see the first string in the first quarter?
Kevin from Philadelphia, PA:
What are your thoughts on Reggie Williams' contract?
Vic: There's nothing about it that's alarming. The signing bonus is right where it should be, according to the Dunta Robinson contract that preceded Reggie Williams' deal, and the length of the contract is team-friendly. Most importantly, the Jaguars got it done in time for Williams to be in training camp from the start. The bottom line is that when you draft in the top 10, you're gonna have to reach into your pocket; make that both pockets. But the Jaguars have room on their salary cap to get deals like that done because they haven't overspent in free agency and they have expired almost all of the "dead" money that was the result of their aggressive re-structuring campaigns of the late-'90s and of 2000 and '01. The Jaguars salary cap is healthy to the point that it's no longer an issue. There's no need to be afraid of the cap any longer. We can all focus our attention on the game itself, and that's how it should be.
Gil from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I can understand the logic behind covering seats, but what happens to the fans who have season tickets in the covered areas? I ask because I just purchased tickets in the upper deck as a birthday present for a brother-in-law. Will I have to upgrade if the upper decks are covered?
Vic: There's no plan to which I can refer. The Jaguars will do a lot of homework on the subject before they implement it. My instincts, however, would have me believe that anybody who loses their seat to a sheet, will get a better seat for the same price.
Fred from Portland, OR:
Why are the Jaguars allowed 90 players on their roster. You mentioned that the limit is 80 players and I only know of five players with NFL Europe exemptions, so why are an additional five players exempt?
Vic: OK, let's start with four Jaguars who played in NFL Europe: Konrad Dean, Marques Ogden, Jimmy McClain and Kenny Jackson. They are all on the Jaguars training camp roster and practicing as exempted players. The Jaguars were granted two more NFL Europe exemptions because of the type of players they allocated to Europe: Players who were on the Jaguars' roster last season. Those two exemptions are termed rookie/first-year player exemptions, which means you can place two players on your training camp roster who are either rookies or first-year players. Most teams assign those exemptions to first-year players they know they won't cut, which allows the team to maintain the flexibility of that type of exemption for the duration of the preseason. The Jaguars have assigned the rookie/first-year player exemptions to Byron Leftwich and Rashean Mathis. They probably won't be cut this summer. OK, that's six exemptions, which takes us to 86 on the roster. Chris Brown and Akeem Akbar are two other NFL Europe players who are on the Jaguars roster, though they are not practicing because they were assigned to the Europe "injured" list and have yet to be declared healthy. That makes 88, right? Then there are Matt Leonard and Deon Humphrey, who were placed on the reserve/injured list just before the start of training camp. The maximum number of NFL Europe exemptions allowed is 10, plus one for an NFL Europe League "national," which is a player other than a U.S. citizen who played in NFL Europe. Is that more than you ever wanted to know about NFL Europe? It's more than I wanna know.
David from Middleburg, FL:
While reviewing the start date and locations for training camps around the league, I noticed the Jaguars are the only team to hold training camp in their home stadium. Why do they no longer use a separate training facility? It can't be solely for the sake of the fans, can it?
Vic: The Houston Texans and New England Patriots also conduct their training camps at their stadium practice complexes, and the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers and Washington Redskins conduct their training camps at their separate-site team practice facilities. As you can see, the Jaguars aren't doing anything out of the norm. In fact, staying at home is becoming the norm, for the obvious reason that it's difficult to find available college facilities that are the equal of the NFL's. The Jaguars went to Wisconsin in 1995 for the purpose of getting out of the Florida heat. The temperature then hit 106 degrees and all throughout the upper Midwest cattle were dying in the field. That was the last time the Jaguars left Jacksonville for training camp. Yes, it has a lot to do with fans being able to attend training camp, and a little to do with dead cows.
Ed from New York, NY:
The Jaguars are predicted to be the surprise team this year in the NFL. Who do you think will be the surprise team this year?
Vic: To qualify as a surprise team, you have to have had a bad record last season. The Jaguars qualify. The second criterion for being a surprise team is that you have to cause people to believe you're better than last year's record, and the Jaguars' performance in the second half of last season did much to make people believe they were better than their record. Carolina is the perfect example of last year's surprise team. Other teams I would consider to have "surprise" potential this season are Buffalo, Cincinnati, Detroit, New Orleans and Atlanta (would they really qualify as a surprise?)
Kyle from Jacksonville:
If they cover seats will they have to stay covered if the Jaguars play a home playoff game?
Vic: Yes, if it's in the same season.