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Time out for a concussion?

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

John from Neptune Beach, FL:
I didn't see the game but the picture on of the hit on Austin Collie seems to clearly show he lowered his head to a point where a helmet-to-chest contact suddenly became helmet-to-helmet. The NFL has to recognize that avoiding helmet-to-helmet contact cannot solely be the defensive player's responsibility.

Vic: The game is over; it's too late now. The penalty was assessed and the damage was done. Fairness did not prevail and it will not prevail as long as the officials are instructed to error on the side of caution because that, in itself, is a prejudiced practice. Where's replay review on this one? It can't be used because its application is selective and that's why, in my opinion, it shouldn't be used at all.

Duran from Rapid City, SD:
Looking ahead at the upcoming two weeks, the game against Houston looks huge because then we play an easier opponent, Cleveland, while the Titans play Miami and then Washington. If we could get two wins and have the Titans split, that would make for a huge re-match on Dec 5.

Vic: Easier opponent? Ask New England and New Orleans how easy Cleveland is. Truth be known, I think Cleveland may be the most underrated team in the league in the strongest division in the league.

Krist from Palm Beach, FL:
Thought you didn't like NFL Red Zone? In the past, you had stated it was too fast-paced for your taste. What changed your mind?

Vic: Replay review changed my mind. The thing I love about Red Zone is they don't make you sit through replay review and then listen to the extremely boring explanation. I thought Ron Winter was gonna tell us what he had for dinner last night.

Cary from Denver, CO:
How is Tyson Alualu comparing to some of the other players that were thought of as being on the Jaguars radar?

Vic: C.J. Spiller went one pick ahead of Alualu. Had Spiller been available, he may have been the Jags' pick. He hasn't made much of an impact for the Bills as a rookie, though I have no doubt he's gonna be a good player for them. With Spiller gone, I think Alualu was the Jags' guy all the way. I think they felt strongly that either Spiller or Alualu would be there for them.

Mike from Jacksonville Beach, FL:
What do you think of Peyton Hillis? Does he remind you of anyone and do you think he's an every-downs back?

Vic: I'll get a good look at him on Nov. 21. Ask me what I think after that game. Based on what I've seen of him, he reminds me a little of Jim Taylor.

Ryan from Clyde, OH:
I think that if a player fumbles the football because he was knocked unconscious, it's only fair that they rule it incomplete. A team/player shouldn't be penalized for having a concussion and not being able to have control of the ball.

Vic: That's hilarious. You'd have guys faking concussions all over the place. The NFL would have to institute an on-sight concussion diagnosis control center. After every fumble, the game would be stopped and the player would be examined to determine whether or not he had sustained a concussion which, of course, would determine which team got possession of the ball. I can hear the referee now: "After further review, the player's eyes are not fixed and dilated, therefore, he does not have a concussion and the ruling on the field of fumble is confirmed."

Matt from Jacksonville:
I think you give Belichick a little too much credit as a coach. He was 1-6 in his first seven seasons as a head coach, then he gained Brady and never had another losing season. Since Brady took over, the Pats have only had two seasons without winning the division, and one was the year he went down with his knee injury. So I don't believe it's all just a coincidence.

Vic: We've reached the point that my own words are being used against me. Hey, Matt, I'll put it in simpler terms for you. Bill Belichick was 5-13 as Patriots coach and on his way to being fired when he made Tom Brady the starter for game three of the 2001 season. I'm not giving Belichick too much credit. All I said is that he was right on Bernie Kosar, and he was.

Bryan from Orange Park, FL:
Is the "basketball on grass" phenomenon a direct result of Fantasy Football? Fans want and need more points and yardage, so let's give it to them?

Vic: No, it's not. "Basketball on grass" is a direct result of the rules changes of 1978, especially the "illegal contact" rule beyond five yards of the line of scrimmage. "Basketball on grass" was an early 1980's invention by the San Diego Chargers of "Air Coryell" fame and the San Francisco 49ers of "West Coast offense" fame.

Bo from Dresden, NC:
Can a running back get called for intentional grounding on a halfback pass? Also, JoePa gets 400. Your take?

Vic: I've never seen it called but I see nothing in the rulebook that says running backs can't be penalized for intentional grounding. As for Joe Paterno, there's nothing wrong with having icons; 110,000 people seem to like it. Believe it or not, some things are more important than being number one.

Brendon from Monterey, CA:
PolianBall: That's what I call this brand of open-spaces football, in which defenders aren't allowed to touch anybody, and it is threatening my standing as a life-long NFL fan.

Vic: Brendon, my inbox was overwhelmed by similar sentiment on Monday following the Colts-Eagles game. Bill Polian wasn't the driving force in killing bump-and-run coverage, but he certainly was the driving force in the major point of emphasis on the "illegal contact" rule following the 2003 season, and it has created a second wave of offensive explosion. Never has it been easier to complete passes and score points. That the ball could be placed on the one-yard line for whatever minor infraction Ike Taylor committed late in last night's game is ridiculously penal and game-altering, but it's a style of football that favors the Colts and Polian works for the Colts so it's hard to fault him for doing what is best for his team. Here's the interesting thing: I sense a strong backlash among fans. I think fans are getting tired of the field being tilted so decidedly toward offense and, especially, the Colts. Peyton Manning has always been a white-hat player, but that hat's starting to turn a darker color in light of this favoritism. The fan wants fairness. I see the penalty on Casey Hampton for a low hit on Carson Palmer, which was at mid-thigh, and I say that's not fair because the day before Trent Cole got flagged for barely touching Manning's helmet. They can't go high, they can't go low. The target is too small. It's not fair.

Mike from St. Augustine, FL:
Would you ever bring in an aging veteran if you felt he had a number of years left? Is three years enough? Five years?

Vic: One year's enough. I don't have anything against adding an old player to the roster, as long as you don't trade a draft pick to acquire him. That's what I'm against. When you do that, you're trading youth for age and that's something I would never advocate.

Adam from Bloomsbury, NJ:
Khalif Barnes has more receiving touchdowns this year than Reggie Williams, Matt Jones and Jerry Porter combined.

Vic: So, I guess we can say without a doubt that Williams, Jones and Porter were not playmakers.

Steve from Waterloo, Ontario:
Every year you give us your midseason predictions for the Super Bowl. Let's have 'em, Vic.

Vic: Ravens vs. Falcons, still. Hey, they're playing the Super Bowl on Thursday night.

Eric from Princeton, NJ:
Last week, I watched Field of Dreams, which portrayed the beauty of baseball and made me yearn for my days in Little League. I got so caught up in the film that I went out and had a catch with my dad, which we both loved. Is there a football movie that conjures up the same feelings for you?

Vic: There's a scene in the movie All the Right Moves that takes me back to my high school days. It's the scene in which the coach is making his pregame speech and it really touches a nerve with me because I heard the same speech when I was in high school. I grew up in one of those down-on-the-river mill towns. When I first saw the movie and it got to the pregame speech part, I knew the words before I heard them. They're words I can't use in this column. They're words that would get a coach fired if he used them today. The movie's adviser was a high school coach who had coached in one of those mill towns. He knew the words.

Dennis from Ft. Myers, FL:
Could the fans also be at fault for this sudden danger the game is facing? We want points, Vic. We want touchdowns. We don't want three yards and a cloud of dust. We want fireworks, baby.

Vic: You got 'em, baby.

Mark from Green Bay, WI:
Watching the Packers game, I saw they used a three-man backfield, almost a wishbone formation. The play worked well and seemed to surprise the defense, as well as astound the announcers. What do you think about teams reverting to old plays?

Vic: It's just a "look." It was just a means for diverting the defense's attention from where the real focus of the play was. There's nothing wrong with that kind of stuff. New "looks" have long been sound strategy, but it's not going to win for you on a consistent basis. Cleveland did a similar thing with Colt McCoy against the Patriots. On a short-yardage play, they first gave the impression they were just trying to draw the Patriots offside, then they made a dramatic shift to a spread formation, which further diverted the attention of the Patriots' defense, and then the ball was snapped and McCoy ran straight ahead for a first down. There's nothing wrong with that kind of stuff. A little here and there is good for the game, but it's players, not plays, that win for you over the long haul.

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