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Training camp for real

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

David from Port Orange, FL:
Vic, I'm repeating: I believe in the salary cap, I believe in the salary cap, I believe in the salary cap. One part I don't believe is that money is not guaranteed to the players. Every other sport's players are guaranteed their money and have a much shorter career than football players. Looking into your crystal ball, do you see the NFL correcting this problem?

Vic: David, you've got your facts confused. First of all, the careers of pro football players are relatively short compared to other sports, especially baseball. Secondly, there are plenty of examples of guaranteed salaries in the NFL. Portions of Aaron Beasley's and Hardy Nickerson's salaries were guaranteed. In fact, guaranteed salary money is what got the Jaguars into salary cap trouble; by converting salary into bonus money and amortizing that money over the life of the contract. In that case, the player got his salary up front, in the form of a signing bonus for re-structuring his contract. NFL owners know the reason for not guaranteeing salaries. Ask baseball what that reason is? Guaranteed salaries have financially ruined baseball, and the NFL knows it has to avoid the same pitfall.

Joshua from Jacksonville:
I'm planning on attending practice on Saturday for the first time. Will I get to see the offense and defense put through their paces? Or is it less of a real practice and more for publicity/fan's amusement?

Vic: There will be nothing amusing about tomorrow's practices. Training camp is for real and it begins tomorrow at 8:45 a.m. The pads go on Sunday morning.

Andrew from Tampa, FL:
I know players are only paid their salaries during the regular season. How are they compensated during training camp?

Vic: Veterans receive $900 per week and $200 per preseason game. Rookies receive $725 per week and no extra money for preseason games.

Mathias from Madison, WI:
I love your column. Although this is completely off the subject, I am a defensive back for my high school football team. If you're at all willing, could you please give me some advice on what I should do or work on if I want to make my dream of playing college football or even playing as a professional a realistic possibility?

Vic: Work on your back-pedal and change of direction. If you're a little slow or have trouble turning your hips, bend over and start throwing a football between your legs.

Tommy from Jacksonville:
Can you tell me why you think the Jags are not more willing to give people like Leftwich, Brady and Manuwai more money, to make them more willing to sign?

Vic: You're kidding, right?

Bruce from St. Simons Island, GA:
Based on Del Rio's recent past in improving the Panthers defense (helped of course by Pepper), and his defensive background, I believe the Jags defense will show some distinct improvement this year (with or without Brackens). If so, I believe the Jags could be competitive this year. Am I off base, in your opinion?

Vic: No.

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