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Cornerback never more important

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

Richard from Tampa, FL:
I am sure you will get hundreds of letters stating how great the Saints-Vikings game was. What I saw was a game where everything wrong with the NFL was on full display. This includes the micromanagement of every play in the overtime period, the calls that sustained drives that made the overtime period possible and, finally, the inability for the system to make a definitive call when one was truly needed. Rules and tacky spot fouls have watered down the game and shoot-outs are getting way too common. These fouls, that clearly favor the offense, are getting so common they are changing the outcome of games more often than a bad call. Some things never change and cannot be argued: The quarterback must go down and he must go down hard and turnovers will cost you a game. Your thoughts?

Vic: The tackling in yesterday's NFC title game was only slightly better than the tackling, or lack of it, in the Packers-Cardinals game. The tackling in the NFL is atrocious and improving it should be the priority of every head coach and defensive coordinator in the league during the offseason. It's time players start going to the ground in practice because that's what has to happen to learn how to tackle. The Vikings-Saints game was entertaining but the better team didn't win and that bothers me. The Vikings are clearly the better team, in all facets of the game. They should be in the Super Bowl but they're not because, in my opinion, they didn't give the ball often enough to Adrian Peterson. Yeah, I know about his fumbles, but it was easy to see he was the guy the Saints feared. He could've taken over that game. On a third-and-four play, he was taken out of the game and the camera followed him to the sideline, where I think I read his lips to have complained to his running backs coach, "Why was I taken out?" I was thinking the same thing. Instead of putting the ball into the hands of the most dominant physical specimen on the field, Brad Childress elected to give it to a 40-year-old quarterback who was being battered and abused. That's today's game. It's all about the quarterback and which team gets flagged for pass-interference last.

Scott from Orlando, FL:
Assuming Favre wants to play again, do you think some team will again risk it with his track record? His last few postseason visits ended as follows: 2009, interception that arguably sealed fate; 2007, interception that sealed loss; 2004, four interceptions; 2003, interception that sealed loss; 2002, two interceptions and one fumble lost in a lopsided loss; 2001, six interceptions in a lopsided loss. It's as if Favre has defined postseason choking for the past decade, not Peyton.

Vic: If Brett Favre wants to play another season, he'll have the chance and he'll get another $12 million to do it. I would expect the soap opera to resume any day now.

James from Indianapolis, IN:
Still think Brady is better than Manning?

Vic: Without question, Peyton Manning is the best quarterback in the game this season.

Peter from Toronto, Ontario:
With the seeming inability of defenses to stop anybody, do you think that it puts an added premium on defenders or does it downgrade the value of all but the cream-of-the-crop defenders, since there's only so much they can do?

Vic: What it all means is that you need two Darrelle Revis' if you really want to play defense in today's game. Did you see what the Colts did to poor Dwight Lowery? Manning looked away from Revis and focused all day on Lowery and whoever else was playing on the corner opposite Revis. The cornerback position has never been more important. If you don't have two good ones, then you better have a quarterback who can win the shoot-outs.

Jami from Arlington, VA:
Two dome teams make it to the Super Bowl. Has that ever happened? Is this the epitome of basketball on grass or turf?

Vic: This will be the first time two dome teams have faced each other in the Super Bowl and, yes, the Saints-Vikings matchup is the epitome of basketball on grass or turf. If I was the coach of a cold-weather team that played its games outdoors, I would be concerned by this trend. The cold-weather teams are usually built on strong defense and running games and that's not going to win for you in today's game. The cold-weather teams are at a disadvantage.

Preston from Patterson, NY:
What is the difference between the East-West Shrine Game and the Senior Bowl?

Vic: The Shrine Game is not as intense. It employs honorary coaches who assemble make-shift staffs. The Senior Bowl is a week-long audition. Its practices are conducted by NFL coaches and the players are under an intense microscope. Their professional football careers begin in Mobile, Ala.

Paul from Gainesville, FL:
Regarding the all-important coin flip between the Bears and Jaguars coming up soon, can't you make a good case that it would be better to lose that flip? Likely, just as good a player at spot 11 as spot 10, for less money, and pick 11 is almost as good for trade value?

Vic: I remember a coin flip the Bears lost. It was with the Steelers back in 1970 and it was for the first pick of the draft, Terry Bradshaw. The Bears traded the second pick to Green Bay, which drafted Notre Dame defensive tackle Mike McCoy, who had a so-so career. Considering all the examples of teams that came one pick away from a Hall of Fame player, I think I'd rather win the coin flip and have the higher pick.

Chris from Lynchburg, VA:
Just read John Clayton's top 10 list of NFL quarterbacks. His list in order is: Unitas, Montana, Graham, Elway, Favre, Marino, Brady, P. Manning, Bradshaw and Starr. I can't believe Bradshaw and Starr are so low and Favre and Marino are so high. Do you agree? What does your list look like?

Vic: I don't have a list, but I completely agree with his top three. I might change the order of the next seven, but I think John's got all of the top names.

Damian from Appleton, WI:
The league has changed the rules to help the offense, or basically to score more points, to help ratings. What do fans have to do to show our lack of support toward the change?

Vic: The fans are showing their support of the move toward more offense by delivering some of the highest TV ratings in history. The fan has spoken, the NFL has listened and is giving the fan exactly what he wants.

Juan from Jacksonville:
At what point is a 15-yard penalty assessed half the distance to the goal line, as opposed to the full 15 yards?

Vic: At the 29-yard line.

Troy from Jacksonville:
Do you think the Jaguars will try to acquire any popular players this offseason in order to attract fans?

Vic: I hope not. I've seen that before and I don't want to see it again. I want good players, not pretty faces.

Reese from Germantown, MD:
Before the NFC championship game, it looked like Favre was sniffing something handed to him by Tarvaris Jackson. When he sniffed it he immediately pulled his head away like it was pungent. Then, in the next shot they showed of him, his eyes were all read and watery. Am I crazy or was there something in that cup?

Vic: It was probably ammonia. I love it. I do it all the time.

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