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Olsen was the best

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

William from Dallas, TX:
What do you think of the new three-day draft format? I assume it's a move to gain prime-time viewers and sell more advertising. Do you think it will also result in an increased number of trades?

Vic: I like it. Everybody puts a lot of energy into the draft, why rush it and make it drudgery? The first day of the draft had become tedious toward the end of the day, something you just wanted to end, and it's not as though second and third-round picks are unimportant. As far as trades are concerned, we've seen an increase nearly every year, for the obvious reason that teams are doing everything they can to fit themselves to the pick. Yeah, I'd expect to see more trades, based on the trend and based on the fact that teams will have an extra night of analysis and time to work the phones.

Mike from Boston, MA:
Your response to Kyle from Indy was dead on. It's the same thing here in New England. A little over 10 years ago, you couldn't give away Pats tickets for free. Nobody wanted to go to the games. Now they have a waiting list full of bandwagon fans. It's funny how quickly these people forget the past.

Vic: The Patriots media guide shows attendances in the 20's for home games during the Patriots' lean years. I think people have forgotten how bad it was in the early-'90's. The Patriots were playing in awful Schaefer Stadium and they were a distant fourth to the Red Sox, Celtics and Bruins. Now look at them. That's how quickly things can change, for the good and for the bad. I'll never forget that a long time ago a wise man pointed through the press box window at a sellout crowd and said, "It doesn't have to be like this." He's absolutely right. Fans are fickle. There are only a few franchises that have sustained sellout crowds and waiting lists through losing periods.

D.J. from Orlando, FL:
I heard from some friends that we were blasted on ESPN "First Take," saying GM Gene polled fans on whether or not to draft Tebow. We both know this is completely false and the poll was merely a time-killer in between fan questions on the conference call. What say you?

Vic: I'm disappointed in my media brethren on this one because they didn't get the facts right. I was interviewed on a radio show and the host asked me why I posted that poll on From what I understand, he had excoriated me prior to my appearance on the show for being an idiot and putting the poll on I then explained that it wasn't published on I told him it was part of a phone conversation. He didn't know what to say so I then explained the whole "Fan Forum" concept, that it was a conference call with season ticket holders, many of whom the Jaguars are attempting to renew. GM Gene had nothing to do with the poll question. He was merely the guest of the "Fan Forum." He was the centerpiece, the guy to whom fans posed their questions. I was the moderator. There were four poll questions during the hour-long "Fan Forum" and the questions were the creation of a well-meaning marketing exec who was trying his best to provide an hour of entertainment for season ticket holders. For the life of me, I can't figure out why it should be considered taboo to ask that question. Have we become that fragile that we shouldn't ask people to express their opinion? Not this guy, folks. I still believe in the truth being the pure defense. It was a harmless question and the result was an indictment of nothing, merely an indication of the opinion of Jaguars season ticket holders. I wanna know what they think because I value their opinion. did a similar poll the next day and came away with a nearly-identical result. The big boys didn't get their facts right on this one. They got lazy. Smith had nothing to do with it. He didn't even know it was coming and neither did I. What's the big deal? Isn't this supposed to be a tough game for tough guys?

Wayne from Jacksonville:
Will you please explain why the Colts, or any team, would pay a player a roster bonus and then cut him?

Vic: Well, you know, it is an uncapped year.

Justin from Jacksonville:
This is not a question but a simple statement. I wish you baboons would quit asking Vic which player we can choose to fill the seats. Go buy tickets and make some memories.

Vic: Don't call my baboons baboons.

Dave from St. Louis, MO:
Do you have any personal memories of Merlin Olsen? He was a bit before my time.

Vic: Let's start with the fact that he was one of the great all-time defensive tackles. He was the anchor of the "Fearsome Foursome" and he could've starred in any era. Now let's move forward to his days as the best analyst on the top broadcast team in the game, Dick Enberg and Merlin Olsen. Oh, they were good. Olsen spoke with the dignity of a Hall of Famer. His delivery oozed calm and respect. He had an ability to find meaning that other analysts couldn't identify, and he never, ever talked down to the fans by using technical terms such as cover two and three technique. In my opinion, he was the best analyst in football history. My personal memory of him is from a time early in his analyst career. I was walking through the lobby of a Cleveland hotel when our paths crossed. I said hello and he said, "Hi, Vic," even though we had never met. Right away I knew this was a guy who did his homework and took his job seriously. You see, PR guys provide the TV people newspaper clips of the teams, so right away I knew Olsen had read the clips and had identified me from my column picture. Good analysts do that. They read about the teams whose games they're going to describe. I was very sorry to hear of Olsen's passing. I didn't know he had cancer. I'll always remember him as having been the best voice on TV at a time when the game was at its best, too.

Travis from Jacksonville:
I was looking at the quarterback scouting reports on another website and saw that they listed being left-handed as a weakness of Tim Tebow's. How is being left-handed a weakness?

Vic: It's not a weakness, it's just a somewhat undesirable trait because you're paying a left tackle a ton of money to protect your quarterback's blindside, which becomes your right tackle's job when you have a left-handed quarterback. Now you find yourself having to have two "left tackles," so to speak, and that's not what you want, from either a payroll or scheme standpoint. Tony Boselli and Leon Searcy are the classic examples. Boselli was drafted to protect Steve Beuerlein's blindside. When Mark Brunell won the job, the Jaguars had to make Leon Searcy the highest-paid offensive lineman in history to protect Brunell's blindside. It gets expensive.

Dave from Jacksonville:
I think I understand why the Colts signed the guy and why they cut him, but tell me if I'm wrong. Was it because they wanted to get a compensatory pick because they have their eye on someone they want to get as a sleeper but don't want to use one of their picks on?

Vic: That's not it because cutting a player does not qualify a team for compensatory pick consideration.

Mike from Jacksonville:
With Rolando McClain running a 4.69, do you consider that a poor time and do you think he will fall out of the top 10 now?

Vic: That's an OK time, but the bigger issue now is his Crohn's Disease. It could push his draft stock lower.

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