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You pay it, you claim it

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

Kevin from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
I was looking at an on-line poll in reference to the success or failure of Jacksonville's Super Bowl XXXIX capability. The pessimism of most of the comments was discouraging, to say the least. What are your thoughts on Jacksonville's ability to host the big game? I don't want to skew your answer, but I am hoping for at least a little optimism from someone. Take care and keep up the great column. By the way, whatever happened to Alan and the "Ask Vic Travel Club?"

Vic: In my opinion, Jacksonville has some great natural resources to host a Super Bowl: great beaches, golf courses and proximity to resort destinations are some of those resources. But the biggest of all may be what the expanded region offers. In my opinion, anywhere from Savannah to Daytona to Orlando is capable of housing fans and providing entertainment, and would still be close enough to Jacksonville for fans to make the game-day trek. Los Angeles has used an expansive area of southern California when the Rose Bowl has hosted the Super Bowl. I don't know to what degree Jacksonville will incorporate regionality into its hosting of the game, but, in my opinion, it would greatly increase Jacksonville's chance of success at hosting this game. As far as the travel club is concerned, Alan is in charge and he said he's designing a web site for it.

Justin from Jacksonville:
Hey, Vic, love your column; keep up the good work. How do you think Mike Mularkey will do with the Buffalo Bills? Also, if he does a good job with Buffalo, do you think our fans will bother with Wayne Weaver about passing him up to get Del Rio? I think Mularkey will do a great job with Buffalo. What do you think?

Vic: What if they both turn out to be "home run" hires? You can't pick both. As far as Mike Mularkey is concerned, he's at the point in his career that he's ready to take his shot at head coaching. He's 42 and an accomplished offensive coordinator who took the Steelers to the AFC title game on the strength of a running game in 2001, then came a roughing-the-kicker penalty away from going to the AFC title game in 2002 on the strength of a passing game. His quarterbacks have been Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox. His offensive design has been extremely innovative and has been copied by a lot of teams. Mike is a calm and logical person who manages and relates well to players. The big question is this: How will he react when his team gets a little left of center? It's the great unknown that goes with all rookie head coaches. Time will tell.

Jason from Lake City , FL:
How are the Pro Bowl coaches chosen?

Vic: The coaching staffs of the teams that lose in the conference title games serve as AFC and NFC coaches.

Lane from Orlando, FL:
My question involves voiding contracts if a team is over the salary cap and the league steps in. If one of those contracts involved a large signing bonus, would the player have to return the bonus? You always say, "You pay it, you claim it." The signing bonus would've been paid up front and the team would have to claim it. How could they claim it if the contract's voided? It seems as though the player would have to return the signing bonus.

Vic: The league can't force money to be returned. The player signed that deal in all good faith. It's not his fault the team would have acted irresponsibly in managing its salary cap. He keeps the signing bonus and the league voids what remains of his contract, which means his salary is taken off the cap. If the accelerated amortization increases the team's cap problem, then so be it. Next! You pay it, you claim it.

Ron from Green Cove Springs, FL:
Vic, I have some bad news. My wife moved out of the house last week. My question is, if she doesn't come back, what do I do with her season ticket?

Vic: I hope you're not considering doing something stupid. Easy, big guy. This is a situation similar to that old joke: My wife ran off with my best friend and I miss him. I'm sure he'd love a season ticket to see the Jags.

Jon from Ocala, FL:
What team has lost the most conference championship games?

Vic: The Giants have lost 11, the Raiders and Rams have each lost nine, and the Cowboys have lost eight.

Ryan from Jacksonville:
With the salary cap and the prospect of free agency, I think teams are having more and more difficulty fielding playoff-caliber teams for more than three or four years. After this year, for instance, the Eagles and Titans will have drastically different looks at several positions. Also, the adjustment and development period after hiring a new head coach for a team may reduce that window of opportunity even further. Do you agree with this, and how has the Jags' front office been dealing with this?

Vic: It's called managing your salary cap. If a team does it properly, it minimizes its losing cycles and maximizes its periods of winning. And if you do that, you won't be hiring a new head coach.

Ed from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
In the AFC title game, when the ball was snapped over the punter's head, why didn't he just fall on it on the one-yard line instead of kicking for a safety?

Vic: Because that would've given the Patriots possession at the Colts' one-yard line, and allowing two points is better than giving up seven.

Chris from Pass Christian, MS:
Donovan McNabb didn't do you proud. However, during the Eagles/Panthers game the announcers said the Eagles receivers were creating routes. Then later on, on the interception by Morgan, Eagles running back Duce Staley did a stop and go and the QB wasn't on the same page. Please explain the "hot reads" and if they were in use.

Vic: Todd Pinkston broke off at least two routes and Cris Collinsworth was extremely critical of Pinkston. I don't know what the Eagles' system for adjusting routes is, but it appeared as though their receivers did whatever they wanted. On top of that, they dropped balls all over the place. They were horrible and have been horrible for the three years the Eagles have lost NFC title games. The Eagles' inability to provide Donovan McNabb with a quality receiving corps has been at the root of the team's frustration.

Bob from Jacksonville:
I am a Jax native and I was wondering if there was a possibility of a walk-on tryout with the Jaguars. I run the 40 in 4.22 and bench 210. I was free safety in high school, so what are the chances of someone like me making the Jags team?

Vic: Forty what, inches?

David from Orlando, FL:
Are there any limitations to "punching at the football" to try to get a ball-carrier to fumble? It seems very dangerous at how hard these guys swing their fists at the ball, elbow, stomach or whatever else is in the way. What's next, hitting a guy below the belt?

Vic: That's one of the reasons the tackling is so bad. They're playing with their hands and arms instead of their shoulders. I'd like to see the league address the swinging of the arm technique. It's cheap looking. By the way, if I was a coach I would require my players to wear big-boy shoulder pads. I'm tired of watching players dressed as though they're playing in a flag-football game. The game needs more shoulders and fewer hands; too much push and shove.

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