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It was about courage

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

Thom from Jacksonville:
Your comments on Belichick got me thinking. I know he's considered a great coach. Is there a lesson there, that personnel guys do the drafting while coaches coach? I seem to remember a lot of fiascos when guys get the head coach and GM job together.

Vic: The two jobs are each too big for one man to do both. That old Bill Parcells crap about if "I gotta cook the meal I should do the shopping" is laughable. The best coach-GM situations are those that involve two men who respect each other's opinion, share a fundamental personnel philosophy and are capable of coming to joint decisions. Bill Belichick clearly has that going for him in New England, where Belichick and Scott Pioli represent one of the best coach-GM relationships in recent football history. Belichick and Pioli are daring men who understand the value of the cap and the need to turn over your roster on a yearly basis. Look at who the Patriots have lost this offseason: Willie McGinest, David Givens and Adam Vinatieri. Do you realize what kind of message that sends? Nobody is safe. Age and money have their limits. I am in awe of what they do in New England. They're the best.

Tony from Greenville, SC:
What do you think of the Adam Vinatieri signing for the Colts?

Vic: Three-and-a-half million dollars of signing bonus for a kicker? Are you kidding me? Two million a year in salary for a kicker? The Colts are now going to pay Vinatieri for all of the big kicks he made for the Patriots, just as the Jaguars paid Hugh Douglas for all the sacks he made for the Eagles.

Carter from San Jose, CA:
I heard former journeyman quarterback Rodney Peete say Johnny Unitas would not have been as dominant in today's NFL as he was during his career in the 1950's and '60's because back then quarterbacks only had to contend with two coverages. Any validity to his statement?

Vic: You're talking about the quarterback who gave us the two-minute drill. You're talking about the quarterback who modernized the position; a guy who called his own plays. Peete is correct when he says Unitas didn't face the complex coverage schemes that quarterbacks face today, but there's no doubt in my mind Unitas would've come to identify and dissect any defense presented to him. Let's talk about what Unitas faced then that quarterbacks don't face today. Back then, the quarterback was live to the ground. There was no tackle box rule, spike play or helmet speaker mechanism. You could hit quarterbacks anywhere you wanted, from the tips of their cleats to the top of the stripe on their helmet. Unitas was crippled from playing football. Offensive linemen couldn't use their hands to block and holding was 15 yards, not 10. Defensive linemen employed a legal tactic known as the "head slap." Unitas suffered a broken nose in a game and pushed mud up his nose to stop the bleeding. Some years ago Unitas was asked what made him so good and he gestured toward an area below his waist. Back then, football truly was a physical endeavor. It wasn't about coverages. It was about courage.

Cody from Jacksonville:
I read recently that the NFL owners have proposed that they will look into outlawing quarterbacks being hit in the legs. I understand there are those instances of Carson Palmer's catastrophic injury, but aren't all players subject to this type of risk? Is it fair to say quarterbacks are extremely babied these days as if they are too fragile to play real football? What are your thoughts?

Vic: The solution is simple. If you don't want your quarterback to get hit, then run the ball. It's time the owners stop letting these sissy finesse teams ruin the game.

Cole from Melbourne, FL:
When a player is franchised, the team who franchised him gets draft picks if that player goes to a different team. Who does the team get the draft picks from?

Vic: Any team that signs a "franchise" player must have a first-round pick in each of the next two drafts and those two first-round picks become compensation to the team that lost that "franchise" player.

Chris from Gainesville, FL:
I'm ecstatic that we locked up "Big John," but maybe "Victhink" has gripped me too hard because I get nervous about overspending every time the Jags sign anyone. I know I'm likely overreacting but, in your opinion, are the Jags in any danger of damaging the cap health they've so judiciously built?

Vic: Absolutely not. The John Henderson deal is fine. His salary is "flat," which means it's evenly divided over the life of the contract. Of Henderson's $13.6 million in bonus money, $3.5 million of it is roster bonus this year and $2.5 million is roster bonus next year, which means the majority of Henderson's amortization will have expired after the 2007 season. It's another beautiful job of contract structuring by Paul Vance, who has built the Jaguars' salary cap into the envy of the league. Vance is vigilant about providing for the team's future.

George from Baltimore, MD:
Was Brian Williams involved in the Vikings' infamous boat party last year?

Vic: My understanding is that he was not present. Having said that, I also gotta say this: If in my early 20's I had been invited to a party on a boat whose crew included several attractive women, I would've been the first one at the dock.

Tom from Boston, MA:
The Jaguars have two quarterbacks in Leftwich and Garrard, both capable of starting. Are they going to trade one of them or just waste their talent?

Vic: Last year, Byron Leftwich quarterbacked the Jaguars to seven wins and David Garrard quarterbacked the Jaguars to five wins. Which one did they waste?

Joel from Atlantic Beach, FL:
I completely understand the way you like to watch football. I am the same way. My wife will invite the neighbors over on Sundays and she doesn't understand why I get mad at her. It's not that I don't like our neighbors, it's that I like to watch the game; every play, every series, every replay. There is no other way to watch a game as far as I'm concerned. No distractions! I didn't really want people over for the Super Bowl, as I wanted to truly watch the game and I knew if others came over they would be more interested in the commercials. Why can't more people be like us, Vic?

Vic: I know.

Jon from American Fork, UT:
What's the difference between a roster bonus and a signing bonus?

Vic: Roster bonus is declared in full on a team's salary cap in the year the roster bonus is paid. Signing bonus is divided evenly over the life of the contract. The current CBA, of course, does not allow bonus proration beyond 2010.

Angie from Jacksonville:
Your poor wife. You really hit a nerve. I love your column but I really think you need to lighten up. My husband and I love watching football together. However, if he ever gets "irritated" at me for asking the score of the game, I would tell him to enjoy the comfort of the couch because that's where he will sleep for the entire season.

Vic: I'll bet your husband didn't give you a tile and grout cleaner for Christmas, though, did he? She loves it; can't stop smiling.

Tony from Jacksonville:
NFL Network reported yesterday that Lavar Arrington and the Jags are in serious contract negotiations to bring him to Jacksonville. Do you think he would be a good fit for our defense?

Vic: Absolutely he'd be a good fit. Arrington is a disruptive player. He sacks you, strips you. He's a difference-maker and he could make a big difference for the Jaguars at the weakside linebacker position. As I said on "Jaguars This Week" last night, the Jaguars have a keen interest in Arrington, but I have to believe their interest has a financial ceiling. How high is that ceiling? That's the big question.

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