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Players shouldn't taunt fans

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

Ryan from Toronto, Ontario:
If the Colts lose to the Patriots this week, what rule changes should we expect to see implemented next season to help out Peyton?

Vic: How about defensive backs have to allow receivers to catch the ball first before they can touch them? Wait, that's already the rule, isn't it? All joking aside, it is pretty amazing how the Colts moved the ball against the Broncos; against everybody, for that matter. I've never seen a team move the ball with the ease the Colts do. The rules are the same for everyone. The Colts are just better equipped to take advantage of them.

Davy from Jacksonville:
Should we be rooting for Manning to win the Super Bowl in order to stop all this bias for the passing game? I'm willing to bet the 2000 Ravens wouldn't have gone all the way if they played in today's game. What do you think?

Vic: The Ravens were a man-to-man, high-pressure defense, which is exactly the style that doesn't work in today's game. You just can't play man-to-man the way the game is being officiated this season. That's what makes Denver's deal for Champ Bailey so bad. The Broncos didn't see what the "major emphasis" on the chuck rule would do. They didn't see that man-to-man would become a thing of the past and, in effect, so would shut-down corners. This is a different game than we had known. Defense is in the state of evolving. What team, what defensive coordinator will come up with the antidote to the advantage offense currently has? The three greatest defenses of all-time are considered to be the 1976 Steelers, the 1985 Bears and the 2000 Ravens. In my opinion, all three would've struggled in today's game. The '76 Steelers were bump and run all over the field and they couldn't play that way today. The '85 Bears were "cover zero," meaning no safeties over the top and man-to-man, bump and run with their corners and that sure wouldn't work either. The '00 Ravens probably could've adapted better to today's "major emphasis" because they were playing in a game more similar to today's than yesterday's, but you can bet they would've allowed a lot more than 165 points. The bottom line is that this year's game is not about defense, it's about offense. In time, somebody will figure out what to do. Someone always does. One of the reasons I have such great respect for what Terry Bradshaw did is that he won two Super Bowls under the old rules and he won two Super Bowls under the new rules. That makes him a quarterback for any era.

David from Gainesville, FL:
Though I agree with your angst regarding the selfishness of Shaun Alexander, I think it's important to remember that many (if not most) contract incentives for players are based on individual performance rather than team goals. If the NFL really wanted to promote itself as a team sport, contract incentives could be tied more to team wins and losses rather than individual yards and touchdowns. It might not be true in this case, but suppose Alexander had an incentive for winning the NFL rushing title. Wouldn't you be upset if you were in his shoes?

Vic: You're right, it is not true in this case. Shaun Alexander had no incentive in his contract linked to an NFL rushing title. He had no incentive in his contract that would've paid him one dollar more for having gained one more yard.

Adel from Jacksonville:
I understand this football team's philosophy is run the ball and stop the run, and I do know that coach Del Rio knows the areas we need to get better at, but I'd just like to make a statement that we do need a more consistent pass attack and a better pass-rush and pass-defense as well.

Vic: "Run the ball/stop the run" doesn't mean don't pass the ball and don't stop the pass. "Run the ball/stop the run" is merely a foundation on which everything is built. It is what you do first because football is first and foremost a game of blocking and tackling. Establishing that mind-set allows a team to be thorough in its approach. It allows a team to win in bad weather; to hold its own physically. Do you honestly think I believe you can win in this league without being able to pass the ball or stop the pass? But the history of the game clearly indicates that teams that don't give proper dedication to the physical aspects of the game usually don't win championships. It has happened from time to time that a team with an especially explosive offense surges to the top. St. Louis did that in 1999 and Indianapolis has done it this year. But they are the exception to the rule. Yes, the Jaguars need to improve their pass-rush, their pass-defense and their pass-offense. You do that by acquiring players, not by changing your philosophy. There's nothing wrong with Jack Del Rio's philosophy of football. It is time-honored.

Aimal from Washington, D.C:
What is up with all these home teams losing in the first round?

Vic: I don't know, but I will tell you this: I was not overly impressed by the quality of football I witnessed last weekend. What it told me most of all is that the NFL should definitely not expand its playoff field.

James from Jacksonville:
Your column, "The man needs help," is right on the money about Randy Moss. Going with that thought and the eventual trading of Moss, who do you think would take on his problems? Is there a coach out there who can change him or can a player like Randy Moss be changed?

Vic: If Randy Moss was to be traded, what do you think his Vikings teammates would say about him? Do you think they might open up and talk about what a negative influence and distraction he was to their efforts? Why do the Vikings always fade? Why do they appear to lack heart? I can't imagine why any coach would want to bring those questions into his locker room.

Asley from Jacksonville:
No matter what you say, you got to believe the Colts knew exactly what they were doing when they sat out their stars after three snaps so that the Broncos could beat them, in turn allowing a rematch the following week against a team the Colts knew they could destroy.

Vic: Other teams in the same situation did the same thing. It's what teams in clinched situations do; they rest their players. You're suggesting that if the Colts had played the Jaguars in the regular-season finale the Colts wouldn't have rested their players. I don't agree.

Alejandro from Jacksonville:
Why was it that such a big issue was made of Moss' full-moon touchdown celebration and not a single iota of attention was paid to the fact that Favre threw a punch at a Minnesota player during a skirmish in the third quarter?

Vic: I'll tell you why Moss' antics are a big deal to me. It's because we just witnessed a frightening situation in the NBA this past fall, in which players went up into the stands and fans came down onto the court. Players should not taunt the fans, but it's going on all of the time now. What business taunts its customers? Do we want a Ron Artest situation in the NFL? Professional athletes are supposed to be above taunting. They're supposed to be strong enough to endure heckling. It has always been that way. In my opinion, those who aren't emotionally strong enough to perform in a negative environment are not qualified to be a professional athlete.

Kevin from Jacksonville:
You're not giving yourself enough credit. I really think you have uncovered the NFL conspiracy of this season. The "give Peyton Manning a Super Bowl" rule enforcement had me laughing all day watching the helpless Denver defenders get treated like turnstiles. I wish they would place a rule emphasis on offensive pass interference that is the Colts three-wide-receiver set. Now for my question: With 70 percent of the Colts cap committed to the offense, how much longer until Dwight Freeney comes free? Also, how can the Colts possibly keep that offensive line together?

Vic: They'll just keep pushing the money out. You can do it for a long time, but, of course, the more you do it the farther you'll fall and the longer it'll take to recover. All you have to do is look at what it did to the Jaguars. They are now on five consecutive non-playoff seasons. When will it hit the Colts? When their big-money players begin to decline. Age or injury will do it. That's what happened to the Jaguars. They were paying way above production, and that's when they knew they had to blow it up. Then you begin paying for your salary cap mistakes.

Joshua from Jacksonville:
So what you're saying in reference to Randy Moss is that it's OK for 70,000 fans to curse and give Randy the finger for three hours but the moment he gets back at the fans he's the person who's wrong? If the NFL doesn't want that stuff on TV, then put it on tape delay. I personally liked it and thought it adds something to the game, as long people remember it's just a game. Play to win and play fair. That's what I'll teach my son.

Vic: It bothers me that you personally like it and think it adds something to the game. I'll stop there.

Adam from Bremerton, WA:
I respect your views on Randy Moss and his actions, but I disagree. I'm a firm believer in you can't teach an old dog new tricks. Nothing worked with Lawrence Phillips and nothing has worked with Terrell Owens. So now the question is, if Randy Moss were a free agent after this season and the Jaguars were in desperate need of a wide receiver, would you want Moss on your team?

Vic: That's precisely why he needs help. He is an amazingly-gifted athlete whose gift is being wasted by his misbehavior.

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