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It's as good as a sack

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

Mitch from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
There was an ESPN feature on Marcus Dupree last night. Is there any story that you have about him?

Vic: A couple of years ago, during training camp, I sat down at a table in the cafeteria where one of the young scouts was sitting. He had with him another man and when I sat down the young scout said, "Vic, meet Marcus Dupree." I put out my right hand, smiled and said, "Are you THE Marcus Dupree?" He smiled and said he was. The young scout looked at us quizzically and I immediately knew he wasn't aware of the legend of Marcus Dupree. I said, "You're sitting in the presence of a legend. You're with a guy who threatened to put half of college football on probation." I then explained, referencing a book entitled "The Courting of Marcus Dupree" and a particular scene in it that caused one coach to have to leave his job and take a job at another university. Eventually, they got him there and put that program on probation. All the while I told the story, Marcus smiled. By the way, he was at Jaguars training camp as part of his training to become a scout.

Ken from Jacksonville:
The story is the Jaguars promoted Matthews because the Colts were going to sign him off the practice squad. What is the process for this? Do the Colts have to ask the Jaguars for permission? What happens?

Vic: Practice squad players are free agents. They can sign with any team and no team has to ask permission to sign a player off a team's practice squad. The process is simple: The team that wants to sign a guy calls that guy's agent and makes a contract offer. At that point, it's up to the player. In most cases, the player signs the contract because it means he's going to be on an active roster and draw active-roster pay.

John from Neptune Beach, FL:
Why hasn't a tackle for loss reached the same level of frenzy as a sack? The net result is exactly the same.

Vic: It's because of something Joe Namath said a long time ago: "We're the trophy." That's how quarterbacks have long been treated by defenses. Quarterbacks are one of those big deer heads hunters wanna hang on their wall. They didn't wanna just sack them, they wanted to knock them out of the game. That was always the real trophy. As I used to say, put the long coat on the quarterback, which is a metaphor for send him to the bench on a cold day. That's how you won in the old days, and that's a mentality the NFL has spent the past several decades attempting to erase because injured quarterbacks are expensive and bad for the game. They're the stars of the game and the game needs them to be playing, not hanging on a wall.

Justin from Dublin, CA:
No fish on an airplane? Surely, you can't be serious.

Vic: Link

Chelten from Jacksonville:
Your thoughts on the Cam Newton fiasco?

Vic: I think everyone knows my stance on these matters: innocent until proven guilty. It applies to everyone, except Ben Roethlisberger, of course, who was convicted without even being charged.

Charlie from Jacksonville:
What do you think of the benching of Chad Henne this week? I know you have been high on him.

Vic: He has to learn to not throw interceptions. It's a lesson a lot of young quarterbacks have had to learn. They take risks because they think they can force the ball in. They have to learn to check it down or throw it away. I have no doubt the Dolphins have been working hard to teach him those things. Benching him should help drive home the point.

Bill from Dunnellon, FL:
The scantily-clad Lingerie Football League players are practically wearing hockey helmets while playing, and you notice that there are no helmet-to-helmet hits in that league, so your smaller helmet case is sound.

Vic: I hadn't noticed the helmets.

Bernie from Madison, WI:
Chad Henne has been benched in favor of Chad Pennington as the Dolphins starting quarterback. I remember you bemoaned the Dolphins for starting Pennington during Henne's rookie year and saying that making the playoffs and losing in the first round wasn't worth delaying the development of "The Man" who was the future of the franchise and all your other quarterback cliche nonsense. Well, how's that workin' out for ya?

Vic: It's working fine for me, Dr. Phil. Next Monday is pay day and I'll get the same amount in my check regardless of who plays quarterback for the Dolphins on Sunday. How's that workin' for you?

Jim from Ponte Vedra Beach, FL:
Where do we stand relative to a blackout for Sunday's game?

Vic: We really do have much for which to thank the military.

Chris from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
Speaking of Butkus and Bednarik, how would their style of play fit into today's game? Wouldn't they spend all of their time appealing fines?

Vic: I can't help but wonder how much Bednarik would've been fined for his clothesline on Frank Gifford.

Jim from St. Augustine, FL:
How did the Jags know the Colts were interested in Matthews?

Vic: Usually, the player's agent calls the team that has the agent's player on its practice squad, as a professional courtesy, to advise them that another team is attempting to sign that player. The agent, of course, is open to a counter offer, which the Jaguars obviously made.

Art from Aston, PA:
Who's the best rookie this year, in your opinion? Who is the most disappointing? I respect the way you keep it real, Vic.

Vic: Ndamukong Suh is as advertised. He's already being double-teamed. He's the best player in this rookie class. Sam Bradford has been very good. Another rookie quarterback, Colt McCoy, has shown a lot of resourcefulness. I'm not a fan of little guys with little arms, but he's playing within his talents and clearly knows how to get it done. I'm looking forward to seeing him play in Jacksonville next week. The guy who's really drawing raves is Maurkice Pouncey. He's being compared to Mike Webster and Dermontti Dawson and his offensive coordinator has even said that if they voted again for captains, he'd be voted in as one of them. That's a tall statement to make about a rookie. The most disappointing? It has to be Tim Tebow, not because of how he's played but because of the ridiculous expectations that were put on him and the amount of hype he received for everything from the underwear he wears to that silly training camp haircut. All of that and he hasn't even attempted a pass.

Michael from Florida:
Eliminate intentional grounding? You gotta be off your rocker. Nothing would frustrate me more than Alualu getting to Manning, only to have him throw the ball to the ground.

Vic: Don't you understand, that's as good as a sack? Alualu would have forced Manning to abort the play. The only thing that's missing is the yardage lost which, quite frankly, isn't that much. Hey, if you really wanna protect the quarterback, then this is a good way of doing it, in my opinion. It's a simple surrender play. Everybody should at least have the right to surrender. Think about that. Think about how that act of surrender is going to be celebrated by the defense. Think about how embarrassing it'll be for the quarterback and the offense. We're talking about a new dynamic. As far as I'm concerned, if quarterbacks are given the right to surrender, all that other don't-go-high, don't-go-low stuff can be eliminated and we can start playing real football again.

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