Jaguars News | Jacksonville Jaguars -

He saved the franchise

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

Craig from Malaga, Spain:
Can we say Drew Brees is one of the best free-agent signings of all time?

Vic: I don't think there's any doubt about that. I tip my hat to him. Watching him play, you can easily see the concerns any personnel person would have about his lack of arm strength. I'll bet that 70 percent of Brees' completions were to receivers that were working back toward the quarterback, which is what you would expect of a guy that doesn't have the arm to hit receivers working away from him. Those passes, however, were right on the money and right on time. The Saints took a major risk when they signed Brees. Not only was he a short guy with a suspect arm, he was also coming off an arm injury. When the Saints signed him, the franchise was at the desperation point. It was coming out of Katrina and the team and the city were at the tipping point. Brees saved the franchise. I don't think it's an exaggeration to say that.

Derek from Griffith, IN:
I can't believe Goodell would actually consider banning the three-point stance.

Vic: This is the new NFL and we're all going to have to accept it. Yesterday's Super Bowl was classic basketball on grass. Running the ball and stopping the run was of little importance. In fact, I don't understand why the Colts didn't run the ball more. At no time did the Saints show they could stop the Colts' running game but, in the final analysis, they didn't have to stop the Colts' running game because the Colts stopped running. The NFL is in a tough spot. They've got the concussion police chasing them and the league has got to do everything possible to decrease the number of concussions. Eliminating three-point and four-point stances would further advance push and shove and eliminate thump and butt. Don't forget, the league is likely heading toward an 18-game season and that'll likely require more softening measures.

John from Houston, TX:
Did you enjoy the game?

Vic: Yeah, I did. It's not as though I don't enjoy good passing attacks; I do enjoy watching them. I thought the game had a good pace to it and TV didn't seem to interfere with that pace nearly as much as it has in the past. I'm not gonna tell you those are great teams that would measure up against the great Steelers, 49ers or Cowboys teams of their decades, but the Colts and Saints are good teams that put on a good show. They are symbolic of the times and, frankly, these are pretty good times for the NFL.

Ray from Nampa, ID:
So what did the Saints do that the other teams couldn't do during the regular season to beat the Colts?

Vic: They intercepted the ball. That's what they did. With the game on the line, they intercepted the ball and ran with it for a touchdown. I'll tell you what else they did: They made field goals instead of missing them, as Houston had. They won the stats and the game, instead of dominating the stats and losing the game, as Miami had. Now here's the real big one: When they went for it on fourth down and failed, they didn't crumble, as New England had. One more thing: They didn't play scared, as so many opponents had. The Saints attacked, and I'm not talking about with the pass-rush, I'm talking about with the go-for-it-on-the-goal-line and onside-kick mindset of the Saints' head coach.

Franchot from St. Augustine, FL:
Who do you think is the biggest choker, Brett Favre or Peyton Manning? By the way, I'll take "Big Ben" over those two any day.

Vic: It's all about crunch time. It always has been and always will be, and there's no greater crunch time than the ball in your hands with the game on the line in the final two minutes of the Super Bowl.

Beau from Twin Falls, ID:
Why did the Jaguars not re-sign Bobby McCray? It seems he provides more pressure than what they have now.

Vic: I'm sorry, but I didn't see the pressure. I saw a little bit toward the end of the game but, for the most part, I thought Manning had all day to throw.

Norm from Nampa, ID:
Do you think Gregg Williams' experience playing Indy twice as our previous defensive coordinator helped him in some way scheme on how to play and attack Peyton Manning?

Vic: I'm sure it did but let's not forget that Williams was the Titans' defensive coordinator in 1999 when the Titans clobbered Manning and the Colts in the postseason. I think Williams knew how to defend Manning before he got to the Jaguars. Let's also not forget that he beat Manning in the first game between the two teams in 2008. What did Williams know? I think he knew to disregard the run. Load up against the pass and let them run it if they wish because they won't stick with it. It's just not what they do or want to do. I didn't see anything sexy in the Saints' defensive scheme. I just saw a defense that was committed to defending against the pass and making the tackle after the catch.

Brian from Greenwood, IN:
Third and goal from the three with less than a minute and a half left on the clock and needing to score a TD to even have a chance to win and the MVP of the league hands the ball off? What was that?

Vic: I don't know if that was the play from the sideline or if Manning checked into it, but it shouldn't have surprised anybody because, as I've been saying for years, the Colts run two plays on the goal line: They run trap and they run trap pass, and it's a formula that has worked beautifully for them. Williams no doubt knew it and was ready for it. The Saints defense was well-schooled. They knew their keys and identified them quickly.

Lou from Apollo, PA:
Where do you rank the game among the best Super Bowls?

Vic: As Manning was driving the Colts toward what appeared would be the tying touchdown, I was thinking to myself that we were gonna have another photo finish, as we did in the previous two Super Bowls. Then came the interception and that was the end of that. It was a good game, but it was not the equal of the previous two. There was no David Tyree, Larry Fitzgerald or Santonio Holmes catch, and certainly no crunch-time drive, as Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger had executed. What we did have, however, was the culmination of the great New Orleans feel-good story. That's what made the game great.

Johnny from Hastings, FL:
I just saw Peyton "The Choker" Manning show his colors by doing what losers do: walk off the field. No sportsmanship whatsoever. If I didn't already despise him, I would now. Am I way off on this?

Vic: Yeah, I think you are. The moments immediately following the conclusion of the Super Bowl are very hectic. I have no doubt Manning has or will congratulate Brees at a more relaxed time. Manning has always been a gentleman. He's never taunted anyone or celebrated in an undignified manner.

Alan from Jacksonville:
How come when Manning calls an audible and the offensive linemen all stand up and move they are not flagged for a false start?

Vic: Because they had yet to assume a three-point stance.

Sonny from Jacksonville:
Steve Mariucci picked the Colts to win the big game due to the look Peyton Manning had on his face when he walked in the building. Maybe the Jags have to find someone with that look on their face in the draft.

Vic: Ah, yes, the old look in the eye. Well, I saw another look as Brees was driving the Saints toward the go-ahead touchdown. TV kept showing Manning on the bench and what I saw was a guy who was fretting. The look on his face was distinct. He didn't want any part of having to go back out there and score. That's the thing I may remember most from this Super Bowl. I'll remember the look on Manning's face as the Saints were driving.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content