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Winning gets it done

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

Stephen from Dillsburg, PA:
I have to admit my day is not complete until I have read "Ask Vic." The other day you mentioned the risks associated with drafting someone considered a "head case" or bad attitude, even though they were extremely talented. Would you be able to name a couple of cases where teams stretched and drafted a player with a bad attitude that turned out successful? Conversely, what are the worst cases?

Vic: Randy Moss' reputation for misbehavior certainly caused teams to pass on him in the 1998 draft. The Vikings took him at 21 and you'd have to agree that he's been worth the risk. Conversely, the Rams ignored the danger signs on Lawrence Phillips and drafted him with the sixth pick of the 1996 draft. That was, obviously, a mistake.

Chris from St Augustine, FL:
How many national TV appearances did New England have the year their four-year winning streak started?

Vic: The Patriots did not play on Monday Night Football in 2001. They played in only one prime-time game that season, in a Sunday-nighter against St. Louis.

D.J. from Brunswick, GA:
I'm a season ticket holder and a church-goer. It's hard to make the one o'clock games and attend church in Brunswick. For the past two years I've been trying to get my pastor to wrap it up early. Any suggestions?

Vic: Maybe the pastor needs a little extra donation.

Preston from Atlanta, GA:
You keep talking about the tough first half of the schedule but, these days, isn't it a bit misleading to base strength of schedule on last season's results since it's doubtful that a good percentage of last year's playoff teams will be in the playoffs this season?

Vic: You're absolutely right. When we looked at last season's schedule, we put a "W" next to San Diego and Pittsburgh, didn't we?

Steve from York, PA:
Can you explain what happened in the 2003 draft that allowed the Jaguars to move up and pick Byron Leftwich on draft day.

Vic: Minnesota had the seventh pick of the draft and was attempting to work a trade with Baltimore, who wanted to move into that spot and select Byron Leftwich. The trade wasn't consummated in time and Minnesota failed to make a pick before its allotted time expired. That allowed the Jaguars, who were to pick eighth, hand in Leftwich's name as their choice with the seventh pick of the draft. Minnesota passed again, allowing Carolina to select Jordan Gross. Minnesota then selected Kevin Williams, which turned out to be a very good pick. Baltimore later traded with New England to acquire its first-round pick, which the Ravens used to select Kyle Boller.

Scott from Newtown, PA:
I was born in Jacksonville, but I am now living in Newtown, Pa. I'm 14. I was looking over the Jaguars schedule and I was pretty impressed by the caliber of teams the Jags are playing. I know many people are upset about not getting any Monday night games, but a lot of people will be watching to see what the Jags do against the top teams on their schedule, allowing for more people to notice the Jags. What is your take on the publicity they will be getting from this schedule?

Vic: You're right, the Jaguars have the kind of schedule that can get a team noticed. If they, say, got hot early and went 6-0, which means they would've won at Indianapolis, at the Jets and at Pittsburgh, the Jaguars would be the toast of the league. Winning gets it done.

William from Jacksonville:
I love your column and read it every day. To the fans of Jacksonville who are upset by not having a Monday night game, grow up. One game last year was a sellout. Mr. Weaver is going to cover 10,000 seats so you can watch the games on TV instead of spending $20 a seat to see it live. Now you're upset because the NFL didn't give the Jags a Monday night game? Why would they? It would get blacked out anyway if it wasn't for the covered seats. Fans, do you want a Monday night game? Do you want the talk of the Jags moving to LA to end? Do you want the rest of the country and the NFL to recognize Jacksonville as a real football town? The answer is simple. Show up for the games and stop acting like spoiled children. Your thoughts?

Vic: That's pretty heady stuff, William.

Ben from Phoenix, AZ:
Where would you ideally like to see the Jaguars after eight games this year, considering the difficulty of the schedule? 4-4?

Vic: No, 4-4 wouldn't excite anyone. They could certainly make a run to the playoffs if they're 4-4 at the midway point, but this team's expectations are greater than 4-4. A 6-2 record at the midway point would be reason for celebration; 5-3 would make the Jaguars a legitimate playoff contender.

Dan from Columbus, NE:
I'm so pleased Marcus Stroud has signed a contract extension. Do you know any details, years, money, and will you tell us how much money is left for the year?

Vic: The contract adds five years to the one year Marcus Stroud has left on his old deal, so, technically you could say it's a five-year contract, but it's really a six-year deal because it dramatically changes the face of Stroud's salary cap hit this year. The contract pays him a $6.5 million signing bonus, a $3.2 million roster bonus in 2005, and a $2.5 million roster bonus in '06. His salary this season is $540,000 and $545,000 in '06, both of which are guaranteed. That makes the guaranteed money in the deal $13.285 million. His '07 salary is $1.415 million, $5 million in '08, $5.5 million in '09 and $6 million in 2010. Stroud had already been paid a $300,000 roster bonus for this season, and he will receive $100,000 workout bonuses in '05 and '06. His salary cap figure for this season includes $1.3 million in new signing bonus amortization, $1.182 million in signing bonus amortization remaining from his old deal, $3.2 million in new roster bonus, $300,000 in old roster bonus, $540,000 in salary and $100,000 in workout bonus, for a grand total of $6.622 million. That leaves the Jaguars a little more than $7 million under the cap.

Brad from Rocklin, CA:
I don't see why it's such a big deal for us to have a Monday night game. The Jaguars still play 16 games just like everyone else, except we won't have to play on six days rest like all the teams that have Monday-nighters. I think it's an advantage.

Vic: I agree.

Daniel from Orlando, FL:
It would be great if you could give as much notice on the "Ask Vic" convention as possible. I think that it's more important than the actual date, so we have time to try and work it out in our schedules.

Vic: I'll start working on it.

Daniel from Jacksonville:
I believe the Jags defensive line is set for a couple years now. They just finished signing Stroud and Henderson is next and I think Hayward is a developing end. What do you think?

Vic: It better be set. Do you realize what Wayne Weaver has spent in guaranteed money on two of those defensive linemen already this offseason: over $23 million.

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