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'Crime' doesn't pay

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

Jim from Jacksonville:
This Cup finals has been great and I can't help but think of the similarities to the Ivan Drago fight in Rocky IV. It's the Penguins (Rocky) against a strong, talented, disciplined team that doesn't show much personality and wears the color of communism. Game three was clearly the "He's cut!" moment in the series and the last three back-and-forth games have been the equivalent of a "you didn't care about rounds 3-11, anyway" montage. We'll see if the trend continues and the Pens help to end the Cold War.

Vic: I think Ivan's gonna win this time.

Todd from Frederick, MD:
I have to say your response to Drew was absolutely fantastic and dead on. As a matter of fact, I think you should add it as a disclaimer to all "Ask Vics."

Vic: It didn't need to be said. Any loyal ticket-buying fan knew what I was saying before I said it. Those who don't know it, probably never will get it.

Carter from Fernandina Beach, FL:
Your recent comments about the NHL and Ovechkin's antics highlight a major difference between the NHL and the NFL. The NHL has always promoted the game first and foremost. The NFL seems to have adopted a Hollywood attitude of promoting the show rather than the real product, the game. From changing the rules to changing the game to the show-time intros to the Hollywood halftime extravaganzas at the Super Bowl, the show seems to have surpassed the game as the product the NFL is trying to sell. Can't we get back to the real product, the game?

Vic: I don't think so, Carter. The fans want the show and if the NHL had the TV presence the NFL does, the NHL would probably go Hollywood, too.

Ted from Saskatoon, SK:
What happens if a player who is not yet under contract gets hurt during OTAs? How is he compensated if he goes down for the year or, worse, his entire career?

Vic: It's standard practice in the league that the teams have a good-faith agreement with their unsigned draft picks that, in the event of injury, the team will negotiate with the player as though he wasn't injured. As you know, each draft position has a contract-value expectation.

Richard from Ormond Beach, FL:
How do you rate the importance of the strength coach as compared to the various position coaches or the two coordinators?

Vic: He is of immense importance. The strength and conditioning coach has an impact on every player on the team. Whatever edge he can provide is felt in each game, roster-wide through the whole season. So why do strength coaches tend to be unappreciated? Because we don't have tangible evidence of their impact on the game. When the offensive coordinator calls a trick play that scores the winning touchdown, or when the defensive coordinator's defense is number one in the league, we have tangible evidence to praise their coaching acumen. The strength coach's reputation relies on a short injury report, but that tends to be unappreciated because everyone's expectation is for players not to get hurt. The only time anyone talks about strength coaches is when a team sustains a lot of injuries.

Cedrick from Jacksonville:
After reading your response to Drew yesterday, you only reminded me of how much I miss going. I'm 16 and I went to every home game from 1995 until 2006, when my dad stopped buying tickets. There hasn't been a Sunday during the season when I've watched the game and not wished I was there. Just give me a few years, Vic. I'll be in the stands soon.

Vic: Please hurry.

J.R. from Yulee, FL:
Help me remember the supplemental draft with Bernie Kosar. Didn't he know that Cleveland (his hometown) would take him, so he made himself eligible for it?

Vic: Youngstown is his hometown but, yes, the manner in which the Browns acquired Kosar in the 1985 supplemental draft involved an element of collusion. The two sides worked the system. The Browns acquired the first pick of the supplemental draft from Buffalo for the Browns' first and third-round picks in the '85 regular college draft and first and sixth-round picks in '86. As you can see, the Browns knew on draft day in '85 that Kosar was going to seek eligibility for that year's supplemental draft. It was a dirty deal but the supplemental draft was a kind of ignored and unknown commodity that the Browns used in '84 to acquire running back Kevin Mack, linebacker Mike Johnson and kick-returner Gerald McNeil. Even though those four players helped turn the Browns into AFC title contenders, the Browns' use of the supplemental draft and the picks they traded away for Kosar and Mack sent the team into a draft death spiral that would devastate the team in the long run. The Browns had no first-round picks in '85 or '86, they completely misfired on linebackers Mike Junkin and Clifford Charlton in '87 and '88, and traded away their first-round pick for the '90 draft. The draft failures became legendary in '95 when coach Bill Belichick fell so deeply in love with Kyle Brady that Belichick didn't know what to do when the Jets made Brady their surprise pick one spot ahead of the Browns. Belichick let the clock expire and then traded down and picked linebacker Craig Powell, which left everyone scratching their head. Midway through the '95 season, the Browns were on their way to Baltimore. "Crime" doesn't pay.

Sean from Philadelphia, PA:
What effect, if any, does the Mark Sanchez deal have on the next few picks after him, specifically Monroe and the Jaguars?

Vic: It sets the bar high for the teams in the top 10, but I don't think it'll have as great an impact on the Jaguars this year as the Jets' deal with Vernon Gholston did last year, for the obvious reason that Sanchez is a quarterback and Eugene Monroe is a tackle, whereas Gholston is a pass-rusher whose contract had a direct impact on Derrick Harvey, a pass-rusher. I think the real impact is going to be between Jason Smith, Andre Smith and Monroe, the three top tackles in this year's draft. If Jason Smith gets a mega deal, that would impact Monroe directly.

Blake from Wichita, KS:
"Article writer" made me crack up. Writing reports on how some second-string player visited an animal shelter on his day off, or the unusual training habits of an undrafted free agent, man, it's no wonder you're so salty and disgruntled. That's gotta be the worst career ever. You're like over 50 and you write lame articles that nobody cares about for probably 40k per year. Good stuff. That's pretty much on par with what you deserve in life.

Vic: You want my job, don't you?

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