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Clarett a major talent

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

Norm from Orange Park, FL:
Vic, another comment about hometown crowd noise. I feel the 12th man, so to speak, should be free to make as much noise as humanly possible, but a line has to be drawn somewhere. I use Kansas City as my point. During the playoffs, the noise at Kansas City was huge, but almost all of the fans were beating their "Thunder Sticks," which all looked exactly alike, leading me to believe they were passed out as fans entered the stadium. I think this is not fair and the home team should be forbidden by the NFL to sponsor noise other than encouraging fans to be vocal. Any thoughts?

Vic: The league forbids the use of noisemakers at games. That's all I can tell you.

Tony from Jacksonville:
In the history of the Super Bowl, which conference has the most wins?

Vic: The NFC has won 19, the AFC 15, the NFL two and the AFL two.

Ernest from Cerritos, CA:
As always, great job with the column. Thanks for keeping us Jag fans on both sides of the U.S. informed, educated and laughing. I don't know how many of these types of questions you've gotten already, but I'd still like to ask. Here is my question. I'd like to know your opinion on the subject of ex-NFL players moving into front office/executive positions. Why do teams feel the need to put an ex-player, especially a famous one (Dan Marino being the most recent) in such a position?

Vic: As I've already said, just because you can quarterback a team doesn't mean you can manage one. Ex-players have woven themselves into every piece of the game, including the front office and the media. What qualified Matt Millen to run the Lions? Deion Sanders in the media? Gimme a break. The emphasis on the entertainment aspect of the game has reached the point that names have become more important than qualifications. Managing a franchise requires knowledge of the NFL's personnel procedures. A general manager or director of football operations should understand the inner workings of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the salary cap. Frankly, I don't know one current player who understands either. By the way, the general manager of the Carolina Panthers is a former sportswriter.

Keith from Miami, FL:
I'm a subscriber to "Jaguars Inside Report." Are you saying that Vol. 9, Issue 23, Dec. 31, 2003, is the final issue of it?

Vic: Unfortunately, that's correct.

Malosi from Santa Monica, CA:
Could you expound on why teams send certain players to NFL Europe? Is it viewed as a good thing if you are sent by your team, or do they send their lowest echelon of players?

Vic: NFL Europe is a developmental league. Teams allocate players they believe are in need of development. Those players come from the bottoms of teams rosters. They are usually players in need of improvement, if they are to have any chance of making an NFL roster, and they are always players who, if they are injured, would not damage their NFL team's salary cap. In other words, no accelerating amortization.

Alan from Jacksonville:
During a play, if the quarterback is between the tackles, is he allowed to spike the ball at any time, or would that be intentional grounding?

Vic: It would be intentional grounding. Spiking the ball has to be a deliberate and immediate act, performed with the obvious intent to stop the clock, not avoid a sack. While between the tackles, any pass thrown with the clear intent to avoid a sack is intentional grounding. Once the quarterback is outside the tackles, he may throw the ball away without risk of incurring an intentional grounding penalty, but the pass must cross the line of scrimmage.

Don from Fort Myers, FL:
What's your opinion on Clarett entering the draft. If you had the opportunity to pick him in the second round, would you pick him?

Vic: It's a moot point. He's in. Scout him, grade him, fit him on your board and draft him where he falls. Obviously, his inactivity this past season and the distractions his lifestyle pose must be considered in the grading process, but Maurice Clarett is a major talent and I expect him to be a high draft choice.

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