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Rule enforcement no joke

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

Charlie from New Smyrna Beach, FL:
My brother-in-law is a Bucs fan. He says his team sold its soul for the Super Bowl victory they had in 2002, regarding the cap. He's happy with mediocrity until his team can make another serious run. I believe that I would be happy if we did the same type of thing. I would accept 10 years of losing for one Super Bowl victory. I wonder if there are any other fans that feel the same.

Vic: I'm sure there are a lot of fans who would agree with you, but I'm not one of them. I don't like the idea of giving away nine years of my life, so to speak, for one good one.

Wade from Winston-Salem, NC:
You've pointed out there's no such thing as a shut-down corner anymore, with the increased enforcement of the chuck rule. It seems to me that if corners are going to be devalued, pass-rush is even more important, which obviously is a problem for the Jags at the DE position. Do you think the Jags need two new ends, either through draft or free agency, or just one and let Spicer and the rest of the crew fight it out for the other spot?

Vic: Why stop at two? Pass-rushers are at such a premium that if you get a chance to acquire a third guy who can get to the quarterback, do it. Traditionally, there have been two ways to play pass-defense: rush or cover. The "major point of emphasis" on the chuck rule doesn't allow teams to cover any more, so rushing the quarterback has never been more important. In my opinion, that's how defenses are going to solve the problem the "major point of emphasis" on the chuck rule has created. You're going to see an even greater emphasis on rushing the passer next season, and that'll create a new and even greater problem for the league: more quarterback injuries. Why don't they just let the game alone?

Nate from Macclenny, FL:
You've kind of joked at the fact that the NFL will keep changing the rules until Manning has a ring. Well, I did a bit of research and found this information: The Colts are the number one team to gain penalty yardage in passing and the number one team to gain penalty yardage in total offense. The Colts had 529 penalty yards on offense, 70 percent of which came on third down. I got that info from It goes to show the best way to stop the pass is to sack the QB. Shut-down CBs are a thing of the past, which puts more pressure on the DE position.

Vic: Why did you think I was kind of joking?

Richard from Woonsocket, RI:
I heard today the Pats were going to "doctor" the field to try and slow the Colts down. Is this possible or does the league examine the field prior to kickoff?

Vic: The field is always inspected by the game officials before the game. The league is not in control of these divisional-round playoff games. They don't take control until the conference title games. Just as in the regular season, the home team is responsible for providing the best possible playing-field conditions in these divisional-round playoff games. The league is placing its trust in the Patriots to provide a fair playing environment.

David from Columbia, MO:
I have to agree with your statement that teams shouldn't build with the Super Bowl in mind; they should build to consistently make the playoffs because once you're in the playoffs you never know what will happen. If you don't make the playoffs, you obviously have zero chance at the Super Bowl. Would you agree?

Vic: I completely agree. My philosophy is try to be a playoff contender every year. The more you make the playoffs, the more opportunity you'll have to get hot at the right time of the year and go all the way. I believe in a healthy salary cap. I reject ever loading up for one season and, in the process, mortgaging your team's future. I do subscribe to the "dirty-little secret" theory.

Ansar from Jacksonville:
I know a "West Coast offense" is often a misconception to some, but do you think the Jags are looking for that in a coordinator, or are they looking for a vertical passing game?

Vic: I believe Jack Del Rio wants a coordinator who will throw the ball down the field, instead of sideways.

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