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Can't hide weaknesses in NFL

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

Joe from Jefferson City, MO:
I was watching the Cowboys and Seahawks and, when talking about Kurt Warner, Joe Buck mentioned a Hall of Fame bid. Do you feel Warner could make the Hall?

Vic: No chance; that's ridiculous commentary. We've reached the point that we think anybody who's having a good season belongs in the Hall of Fame. Take a look at who isn't in the Hall of Fame. In my opinion, Warner would barely deserve nomination, at least as it stands at this point in his career. He's a journeyman who won a Super Bowl; that's all. Jim Plunkett won two and he's not in the Hall of Fame.

Raymo from Jacksonville:
Are the Patriots quarterbacks a product of the system?

Vic: No, they're not "systems quarterbacks" because all NFL quarterbacks are pretty much playing in the same pro-style system. You can make a point for "systems quarterbacks" in college football because there are different systems. Look at Texas Tech and that pass-happy offense of theirs. Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, Sonny Crumbie and Cody Hodges all had seasons in which they threw for 4,000 or more yards and 31 or more touchdowns, but success didn't follow them from Texas Tech to the NFL. If Graham Harrell becomes an NFL star, he'll be the first out of the Mike Leach system to do so. Look at the Urban Meyer system. If Tim Tebow is a success in the NFL, he'll be the first out of that system. Look at Andre Ware and David Klinger out of the old Houston system. They were quickly out of the league. You can put an average guy in a college program that surrounds him with dominant athletes, emphasizes what he does well and doesn't ask him to do what he can't, and the guy will look like the second coming of Johnny Unitas, Sammy Baugh or whatever great NFL quarterback you'd like to use as an example. Their star quickly falls once they get into the league, however, because they can't make all of the throws and NFL defenses find that out and, you guessed it, they make them make the throws they can't make. That's the definition of a "systems quarterback." He's a guy who played in a system that camouflaged his weaknesses. You can't do that in the NFL. Eventually, your weaknesses will be exposed. Maybe Matt Cassel is the real thing; maybe he isn't. In time, we'll know because there's no hiding a quarterback's deficiencies in the NFL. If a guy doesn't have the goods, there's no system that'll save him.

Sharon from Port Charlotte, FL:
Troy Polamalu is one of my favorite players. His character and his sportsmanship is how professionals should handle themselves. Do you have any stories you can tell me about Troy? He is such a pleasure to watch.

Vic: His uncle is Kennedy Pola, the Jaguars' running backs coach, and Kennedy is intensely proud of his nephew and the two of them have a very close relationship. Kennedy loves to brag on Troy and for good reason, but this story comes from a reporter in Pittsburgh. Polamalu was enjoying dinner one night at a restaurant and, of course, he is easily recognized and vulnerable to autograph seekers. Polamalu saw that he was recognized but he was so grateful for not having his night out interrupted that he picked up the tab for everyone. I like that kind of stuff a lot.

Shawn from Honolulu, HI:
I remember reading your in-game blog where you mentioned that Manuwai was down and if we lost him it would be devastating. How is his recovery coming along?

Vic: When he went down in the season-opener, I knew right away it would be a devastating injury for the Jaguars because Vince Manuwai was the engine that powered the team's running game the past few seasons and this season has confirmed that opinion. As far as I know, he's on his way to a full recovery. I've seen him moving about the complex with confidence and ease.

Chris from Jacksonville:
After watching the horrific games on Thursday, do you favor the idea that the league should pick other teams to play on Thanksgiving besides Dallas and Detroit?

Vic: I've answered this question a lot and nobody seems to get the answer. Trust me, franchises aren't lined up wanting to host Thanksgiving Day games. Detroit and Dallas have them because they volunteered for them. Most teams wouldn't want any part of hosting a Thanksgiving game, for the obvious reason that a lot of fans don't want to go to a game on Thanksgiving because they're spending the day with family and may even be out of town on that day. I have no doubt that if the Jaguars hosted a Thanksgiving Day game, they would get a lot of complaints from their season-ticket holders because they planned on being out of town or spending the day with family and they would see the money they spent on tickets for that game as being wasted.

Chris from Rochester, MN:
I want to be patient with Charlie Weis as the coach of Notre Dame, but they have been pathetic the last two years. What should my school's athletic director do about this situation?

Vic: I can tell you what their former athletic director did: He went to Duke. Notre Dame has a bigger decision to make than whether or not to keep Weis. Notre Dame has to decide if it wants to maintain the high academic standards it sets for its football players, or if it wants to win at the highest level of college football. That's the decision. Calculus and football don't mix, yet, all Notre Dame freshmen must take freshman calculus. I don't wanna mention names, but ask yourself where some of the schools at the top of the current rankings would be if their players had to take calculus. I promise you, any time Notre Dame decides it wants to win at all cost, the competitive advantage it enjoys would overwhelm the rest of college football.

Paul from Marion, IA:
You can't be a power running team without the right type of offensive line, which the Jags don't have this year, and the Jags can't be a passing team because they can't protect Garrard and the receivers don't offer enough diversity. So what can the Jags do to get the offense on track?

Vic: You've answered your own questions. The Jaguars need to turn their attention in a big way toward their offensive line and they also still need a big-play wide receiver. In other words, as Fred Taylor said, the mix is bad. I think that's something that can be fixed in the offseason, but the defensive side of the ball has even more needs and I don't think you can address both sides of the ball completely in one year. Patience will be required.

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