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What if Brees is the guy?

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

Chris from Wichita, KS:
I know this is way off in the future, but we can't ignore the amazingly "old" rookie QB Ben Roethlisberger. He has a pocket presence that fooled both the Patriots' and the Eagles' blitzers. What type of scheme do you think the Jags would use against this new phenom?

Vic: The Eagles decided to "bring the house," but it didn't rattle Roethlisberger. He knew exactly where to go with the ball. I would imagine the next tactic would be to drop a lot of defenders into coverage and test Roethlisberger's patience. Will he do as all rookie quarterbacks do and try to force the ball into coverage? Maybe it's already been tried; I don't know. The Jaguars are not a big blitz team, for obvious reasons. They have coverage problems that forbid them from being too aggressive with the blitz. I would expect the Jaguars would test Roethlisberger's patience.

Tim from Jacksonville:
If a team chooses to kick a field goal on third down and misses, do they get to kick it again on fourth down?

Vic: The kicking team relinquishes possession when the ball has been kicked across the line of scrimmage. If the kick is blocked behind the line of scrimmage, does not cross the line of scrimmage and the kicking team recovers the ball, it would have another down to try again.

Jack from Gainesville, FL:
I saw a report where the time has passed for re-doing contracts and having the money count toward this year's cap. Is this true?

Vic: That is not true. Teams may sign players to new contracts and include money from those contracts in the current salary cap year up until the Saturday before the last day of the regular season. Nov. 8 was the last day you could increase a player's 2004 salary and count that increase in the current year. In those cases after Nov. 8 the increase in salary would be treated as signing bonus and would be spread evenly over the life of the contract. The Jaguars have $7.7 million in remaining room on their 2004 salary cap. I would expect the Jaguars to sign a player or two to new contracts before the season is over, which would allow the Jaguars to move portions of money from those contracts onto this year's salary cap. Trust me on this one, they know what they're doing and they're not going to finish the season with wasted cap space. It also must be remembered, however, that a portion of that $7.7 million will be used for players who've reached incentives in their contracts.

Jason from Macclenny, FL:
The Lions are 32nd in the NFL against the run. Do you see Fred having a monster day?

Vic: The Lions are not 32nd, they are 14th in the league against the run. The Lions are 32nd in the league in rush-offense. I see no reason, however, why Fred Taylor can't have a big day. Clinton Portis did.

Jay from Jacksonville:
How do you think the new TV deal will affect future salary caps?

Vic: The new TV deal will result in an increase in league total revenue which will result in an increase in future salary caps.

Scott from Thunder Bay, Ontario:
How can you say that Garrard has the potential to be a great quarterback when he has only taken 60 snaps? Don't you need a little more experience before you can say that?

Vic: His athletic skills are undeniable. In my opinion, he has the talent to be an NFL-caliber starting quarterback. Let's put it this way, teams have attempted to trade for him so they must feel the same way.

Hasso from Jacksonville:
"Cincinnati wasted last season by not playing Carson Palmer." So I guess the Chargers are wasting this season by starting Drew Brees, right?

Vic: John Kitna didn't have the kind of year Drew Brees is having. Brees is currently the second-ranked AFC quarterback with a 108.7 passer rating, including 18 touchdown passes against only three interceptions. Those are monster numbers, not to mention that Brees has led the Chargers from the worst record in the NFL in 2003 to a 6-3 record that has them tied with Denver for first place in the AFC West this year. So I can't say the Chargers are wasting this season because it has the potential to end in the playoffs, whereas the Bengals were a mere 8-8 last season. But I think it's fair to question the Chargers' evaluation of Brees. They drafted Phillip Rivers because they didn't think Brees was the answer. What if he is?

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