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At his best in big games

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

Phillip from Palm Coast, FL:
What does a real quarterback look like? I'd say it's a guy who's a big-game winner – Joe Montana, Brett Favre, Tom Brady – guys that aren't necessarily perfect mechanically or mobile but somehow find a way to get the job done. In my opinion, those are real quarterbacks. What does your real quarterback look like, Vic?

Vic: He has to be or have been at his best in the big games. That's why my idea of a real quarterback is a guy like Terry Bradshaw and not a guy like Dan Fouts. Bradshaw was at his best in the postseason. He threw 30 postseason touchdown passes in a day and age when teams didn't throw the ball very often. One Bradshaw statistic I really like is that he threw at least one touchdown pass in the fourth quarter of each of the four Super Bowls in which he played, and won. Fouts, on the other hand, is an example of a guy who always seemed to play his worst in the biggest games. He threw five interceptions in a home playoff loss to Houston in 1979, when the Oilers were playing without Earl Campbell and Dan Pastorini. It should've been an easy win for the Chargers, who would've hosted the AFC title game had they won. Fouts also threw five interceptions in a 1982 playoff loss to Miami, and that gave him 16 interceptions in seven postseason games. So, I begin with big games. A real quarterback has to be at his best in the big games. That doesn't mean he has to win them all, but he has to have played well. Montana was out of this world. Brady is sensational. I could go on and on. From a personality standpoint, my idea of a real quarterback is a courageous leader who plays hurt and inspires his teammates to do the same. I don't care if he gets it done with his arm, his legs or his head, as long as he gets it done. By applying those standards, I think you can figure out where I stand on particular guys.

Zach from Boston, MA:
Could you describe the injury to Jets quarterback Chad Pennington? It seems to me he isn't throwing the ball as well or with as much power as in years past.

Vic: He underwent shoulder reconstruction surgery during the offseason.

Jeremy from Jacksonville:
Do we, as fans, take football way too seriously? When was the point that we forgot it was a game? Simple entertainment? I was a bit shocked by people's reaction to Seattle using a shade to protect their players, and outraged that some were angered that the league didn't slap their wrists for it. Does anyone remember Corey Stringer? I, for one, never wish to see a tragedy like that on our field.

Vic: Thank you so much for having a brain. How could anyone have expected the league to rule against something that might save somebody's life?

Dave from Port St. Lucie, FL:
In last week's game, Peyton Manning walked away from center and kept making his typical gestures (pointing here and there). The center then snapped the ball directly to a running back. It seems Manning's actions should have resulted in a penalty for illegal motion since his arm actions were toward the line of scrimmage and he was not set. Do you agree?

Vic: All of that stuff looks so goofy I can't bear to watch it or comment on it. Please, no more questions about Manning's manic pre-snap behavior.

Dave from Kitchener, Ontario:
I am quite concerned about the Jaguars rush-defense after the first two weeks of the season. It has given up over 120 yards per game, along with a yards per carry average of 4.3. With the big money spent on free agent defensive end Reggie Hayward and the improved health of other Jaguars defensive ends, should I be worried that things will not improve, or is there light at the end of the tunnel?

Vic: This is something we should watch. Run-defense goes to the heart of everything you're trying to do on defense. If you can't stop the run, you will slowly deteriorate in every aspect of the game. The Seattle game was a story of two halves. In the first half, Shaun Alexander shoved the ball down the Jaguars' throats on a long touchdown drive just before the end of the half. In the second half, the Jaguars stopped him cold. Against the Colts, the Jaguars contained Edgerrin James while focusing most of their efforts on Peyton Manning. Then, in the fourth quarter, James gained 63 yards in a game-winning, 88-yard touchdown drive. The Jaguars have played a 3-3-5 defense in the first two games and I applaud the creativity because they play in a division with Manning and that means having to stop the most prolific passing attack in all of football. That's exactly what the Jaguars did this past Sunday and it was the 3-3-5 that did it. It thoroughly befuddled and frustrated Manning. The downside was that it allowed the Colts to turn to the run, for which their offensive coordinator, Tom Moore, must be complimented. So what will the Jaguars do this Sunday against the Jets? Will they stick with the 3-3-5 or go back to their 4-3 base? Either way, they must stop the run because you can't win if you don't. This is something we should watch.

Scott from St. Marys, GA:
The Colts website mentioned several times a Jaguars defender faking an injury to slow down the Colts offense. Who are they talking about and do you think it is accurate?

Vic: The player is John Henderson and he is listed on this week's injury report as "probable" with a shoulder injury.

Steven from Jacksonville:
If Pittsburgh wins all of its games leading up to our match up, wouldn't they be playing to break New England's consecutive regular season win-streak record when they face us?

Vic: Yes, but the Steelers will have to get past two formidable tasks before that can happen. They are currently at 16 in a row. They have New England this Sunday, then a bye, then a Monday-nighter in San Diego, then the Jaguars. That's a tough stretch of schedule.

Jim from Jacksonville:
How can you say Peyton Manning is tough? His uniform rarely gets dirty from sacks. I've never seen him get hit like Byron did.

Vic: Manning played with a broken jaw a few years ago. That's pretty tough.

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