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Hot spots in training camp

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

Tom from Jacksonville:
I, too, was very sad about the demise of Jaguars Inside Report. I still have a copy of every issue. Now for the question: Right after he was drafted I was hearing some really nice comments about Anthony Maddox, but nothing lately. Has he been living up to expectations throughout the spring drills and does it look like he will be able to provide the depth we need on the defensive line?

Vic: You can't make judgments on defensive linemen until the pads go on and the combat is real. I can tell you that based on spring drills it's very easy to see that Anthony Maddox is cat-quick. Now, we need to know if he's strong enough, instinctive enough and tough enough to play in this league. Soon, we'll know.

Rob from St. Augustine, FL:
How do you think the Jags would be doing if we were still in the AFC Central?

Vic: Baltimore, Cincinnati and Tennessee would probably be the Jaguars' chief competition this season. Pittsburgh appears to have begun a rebuilding phase with Ben Roethlisberger as the centerpiece player. Cleveland seems to be spinning its wheels. It would be a heckuva division with a lot of young, first-round quarterbacks and one established star. I think the Jaguars would be in the hunt for the division title, just as I believe they will be in the hunt for the AFC South title this season.

David from Oviedo, FL:
Vic, training camp is right around the corner. I think the Jags did a great job this offseason adding depth to the roster. What will be the most hotly-contested positions?

Vic: It's thought Mike Pearson and Ephraim Salaam will have a nice head-to-head at left offensive tackle. I'm looking forward to a LaBrandon Toefield-Greg Jones shoot-out for the backup running back job, though I think each will be used in specialty roles that will produce playing time for each guy. Cornerback will be a position of focus, with Juran Bolden and Dewayne Washington competing for the starting job opposite Rashean Mathis. Of course, the kicker's job is wide open. But the area of the team that will most interest me, I think, will be linebacker. The Jaguars have an interesting group that includes a top rookie (Daryl Smith), a pricey veteran (Greg Favors) and a young veteran (Tommy Hendricks) who would seem to be coming into his prime years. Then there's Mike Peterson and Akin Ayodele, and a rookie pass-rush specialist (Jorge Cordova) whose impact could come in a lot of ways. And I want to see some more from Tony Gilbert, though he may be more of a special teams guy. In my opinion, competition will be most intense at linebacker. I don't think we can assume anything at this point in time.

Irv from Jacksonville:
I read here that the golf tournament is shaping up and filling up with avid golfers. I think that's great but have a question for you pertaining to the tournament. Will you make money at this tournament?

Vic: No; we'll probably lose money.

Cheryl from Jacksonville:
I was one of the Jaguars fans in the stands in Foxboro who had a ball belting out, "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow," along with Patriots fans during our game there last December. We had a ball, and a few snowball fights when we got back to Boston that evening. But it sure was nice to get back home to Jacksonville. There's no place like home; hot and sunny Christmas and all.

Vic: But you remember the snow, don't you? I don't like the stuff, either, but ask any TV exec what happens to a game's ratings when it starts to snow.

Steve from Jacksonville:
I am hoping for a great turnout for the convention this year, so that it will be repeated next year. Unfortunately, I am unable to attend this year due to vacation plans. My question concerns Fu. I know we'll know more as camp unfolds, but do you see him being able to make this team with the stable of running backs on this roster now, given his affinity to hammy problems? If he does make the roster, what might his role be? I would really like to see him hang on, but I don't see the staff holding a spot for a three-downs-a-game running back. Your thoughts?

Vic: The convention is filling up; no problem. As for Fu (vowel rationing), I think he'll be given a great opportunity in this training camp to prove he can play the fullback position. That's where I think his future with the Jaguars is, at fullback. Fu can do it all and he's an especially gifted pass receiver out of the backfield. The issue with him is his chronic hamstring problems. He must prove he can be a dependable player. I expect Fu to be given an opportunity to compete with Marc Edwards for the fullback job this summer. That's a competition we should watch, too.

John from Jacksonville:
I am interested in the life of a player agent. When a contract is made, what percentage does the agent usually get? Does this percentage cover bonus and salary? How many players does an agent typically sign per year? Is the agent's primary purpose simply to get the deal done? If you are a great player who is selected high in the draft, why do you need an agent when you will get big dollars anyway?

Vic: Agents' commissions may not exceed three percent of the total of the value of the player's contract. The player pays his agent that fee as the player is paid by the team. The agent does not earn commission on money in the contract not paid. The top agents will probably sign between five and 10 new clients per year. The agent's primary purpose is to negotiate the best possible deal for his client and, in so doing, set an example to prospective clients that will cause them to hire the agent. High draft choices especially need agents because the complexity of negotiating big-bucks contracts in the salary cap era is beyond the comprehension of people who are not trained and skilled in that discipline. In theory, agents should facilitate negotiations, because they are familiar with the process and the people with whom they will be negotiating. Of course, it doesn't always work that way.

Rudolph from Bietigheim, Germany:
Excuse this question if it's ridiculous but I am new to American-style football. Are all goal posts where they kick field goals through in the NFL the same height? Is there a difference in college football? Any exact dimensions (or an acceptable range) would be appreciated. It seems like they were shorter in the older vintage NFL games. Is this true or just a filming perspective?

Vic: The height of the crossbar is the same in college football and in the NFL; 10 feet. The distance between the uprights, however, is significantly different. In college football, the uprights are 23 feet, four inches apart. NFL uprights are 18 feet, six inches apart. The NFL uprights are also taller; the NFL went to extended-height uprights in the 1960s. The exact dimensions of the NFL goal posts are, according to the "Official Playing Rules of the NFL," as follows: "In the plane of each end line there shall be a centrally placed horizontal crossbar 18 feet, six inches in length, the top face of which is 10 feet above the ground. The goal is the vertical plane extending indefinitely above the crossbar and between the lines indicated by the outer edges of the goal posts. All goal posts will be the single-standard type, offset from the end line and bright gold in color. The uprights will extend 30 feet above the crossbar and will be no less than three inches and no more than four inches in diameter. An orange-colored ribbon four inches by 42 inches is to be attached to the top of each post."

John from Jacksonville:
Have they made a song yet with the line, "Let it hurricane, let it hurricane, let it hurricane?"

Vic: There you go.

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