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Top five postseason quarterbacks

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

John from Jacksonville:
Is the two-point conversion recorded as a statistical event for the QB, running back or receiver?

Vic: No, it's an untimed free play that does not figure into the final stats of a game or a player's career.

Andy from Jacksonville:
How significant is one year of experience in the NFL? Would we see a bigger improvement over a rookie season depending on position?

Vic: It's big. A second-year player knows what to expect of the season and how to pace himself. He also knows what's expected of him and what his role and place are on the team and in the locker room. By the end of the spring and the conditioning program, he'll understand the all-year nature of the NFL and what's required to succeed at his craft. I also think development varies by position, with the greatest development in year two coming at the premium positions, such as left tackle. Wait until you see the difference in Eugene Monroe this year. He was really coming on late last season. I expect Monroe to become a dominant blocker this year.

Patrick from Jacksonville:
What are your thoughts on the Jags wide receivers going into next season?

Vic: It appears to be a solid unit. I don't think the Jaguars have great need at wide receiver, but that doesn't mean they shouldn't draft one if he's sitting at the top of their board when it's their turn to pick.

Stefano from Charleston, SC:
I know you bristle a little when people blame the media for things, but I recently read an ESPN article where Rick Reilly (whose writing I genuinely detest) praised Norv Turner for being an underrated genius. Combine that with the endless magic pencil theatrics of Jaworski, et al. Don't you think much of the plays make the players must be laid at the feet of the media?

Vic: If you include the ex-players in the media that bore us with all that cover two crap, then, yes, I think the media bears some blame. More than anything, I hate when some ex-player talks down to his audience by speaking in football jargon that not only the average guy can't understand, but other ex-players may not understand because the language he's speaking may be specific to the team for which he played. I especially hate the cover two, cover three, cover 400 crap. Just say it: Double-high safety, single-high safety, etc. When my dad was still alive, he asked me one day, "Hey, wadda they mean when they say cover two." I said, "It's just two safeties in the back, dad." He said, "That's all? Why don't they just say that? I thought it was something special." Here's another one: quarter, quarter, halves. Oh, how I hate to hear that. There's only one thing I hate more: when the average fan starts talking that way. Yes, football is a game of strategy, but more importantly it's a game of human confrontation. The most entertaining writers and broadcasters feature the human confrontation. John Madden was very good at that. From time to time he'd give you a technical description of what was happening, which he'd do in a rather subdued and humble way, but I always felt his "Boom!" said more than his technical analysis. I think he knew that, too, and that's why he was so successful. Don Meredith knew it and so did Howard Cosell and that's why "Monday Night Football" was a hit. I don't think I ever heard Meredith utter the words "cover two."

Kevin from Floral Park, NY:
This is a pretty big coin toss for the Jaguars at the combine. Since the Jaguars do not have a second-round pick, if they lose the toss they will not have the top position until the fourth round.

Vic: No, they won't. If they lose the coin toss to the Bears, the Jaguars won't draft 10th in any round except the fifth round. The Bears would draft 10th in round one, the Jags would have the 10th pick of round two but traded their second-round pick to New England, the Dolphins will have the 10th pick of round three and the Jaguars will pick 12th in that round, the Jaguars will pick 11th in round four, 10th in round five, 12th in round six and they have traded their seventh-round pick.

Fred from Jacksonville:
With regard to the poll of best second-round picks, and with no offense to Rashean Mathis or Daryl Smith as great selections, why is Maurice Jones-Drew not on this list? Is it because he is such an obvious choice that they left him off intentionally?

Vic: Yes.

Brian from Jacksonville:
Are people actually going to accept the game of football without a three-point stance? The concept seems ridiculous and laughable to me. The sport would be unrecognizable without defensive ends and tackles getting down on all fours and firing off the line.

Vic: Football is a game that has evolved over its history. If the elimination of the three-point stance is another link in that evolutionary chain, then so be it. First of all, we've all been given a preview as to how it would look. The Steelers have been using their stand-around or walk-around defense for the past few years. The Packers imitated it this past year with something they renamed their "Psycho Defense." Circumstances dictate change and the concussion scare is a major circumstance that is dictating change. Frankly, I don't think they'll eliminate the three-point stance this quickly because that's too radical of a change without having prepared for it. Maybe that's what Roger Goodell is doing; he's preparing us for it. Either way, all of life is about change and we're never quite sure what the results will be. The year I started covering the NFL, they moved the hash marks toward the center of the field. The idea was that it would open up the passing game and result in more yards and points, but it had the opposite result. There was an explosion of thousand-yard rushers that year and fewer passes were attempted and completed. Defenses caught up with that evolutionary process and by the end of 1976 teams were neither running nor throwing for yards or points. I covered five shutouts in the '76 season and the NFL knew it had to do something, which it did over the next couple of years by eliminating the head slap and bump-and-run pass-coverage. Boy, would I love to see these tackles of today play in the head-slap era. We'd see how athletic they are when their head is ringing. What I'm trying to say is that there are only two things you can do with the ball: You can run with it or you can throw it. Every little change is going to favor one or the other and we're never quite sure which it'll be. What we do know is there tends to be an alternating result.

Scott from Canandaigua, NY:
Both teams felt the most comfortable with the ball in their best players' hands, aka the quarterback. Did the Colts want Manning to have the ball or Addai? I know how you preach that the great teams take what they want, not what the defenses give them. I appreciate the confidence in that statement but, ultimately, teams must do what it takes to win, nothing more or less. Just win, baby.

Vic: You're right, but they didn't win. The Steelers of the '70's wanted to run the traps, and they did, and they won four Super Bowls. The 49ers of the '80's and early '90's wanted to pass the ball, and they did, and they won five Super Bowls. The Cowboys of the '90's wanted to run the lead draw with Emmitt, and they did, and they won three Super Bowls. Those were great teams and they took what they wanted to take, because that's what great teams do. All the others have to take what you give them, and the Saints were giving the run.

Brian from Fruit Cove, FL:
On the Colts' last possession, Manning threw a pass that bounced off a player and hit the crossbar before hitting the ground. Would that have been a live ball for either team to make a play on?

Vic: The play was whistled dead the moment it hit the crossbar or goal post or whatever it hit. Officials are in play, but the goal posts are not.

Jamie from Tampa, FL:
A rule prohibiting hands on the ground for linemen might allow for wider line splits. Could this be good news for Tebow?

Vic: Yeah, if he's playing fullback.

Chris from Jacksonville:
Hey, Vic, a few weeks ago you had a reference to Brant Boyer as the ex-Jaguars player who was cut and re-signed more than any other player. I vividly remember those times because Brant actually sold his condo and was ready to move home when he got re-signed one time. So, instead of signing a new lease, Brant moved into the spare bedroom at my house. It was a once in a lifetime experience. I was wondering if you have any stories of Brant?

Vic: Yeah, I remember this one time we were playing golf. We had thrown down a few beers and were having a good time and Brant started laughing. I said, "What's so funny?" He said, "You should see this geeky kid I'm living with. He keeps hangin' around me like I'm his big brother or something. I smeared some Cramergesic in his underwear and he didn't even know it. He just kept walkin' around scratching himself." Hey, I'm just kidding, Chris. I have no doubt Brant has very fond memories of those days.

Jeff from Fullerton, CA:
Who do you believe are the top five postseason quarterbacks in the game today?

Vic: I'll go with Drew Brees as number one, out of respect and admiration for what he did on Sunday. It's the latest and greatest example of crunch-time heroics. Good for you, Drew. Number two goes to Ben Roethlisberger, for his 8-2 postseason record, which includes his dramatics of a year ago. I'm especially partial to Roethlisberger for the game-saving tackle he made in the 2005 playoff win in Indianapolis and the game-clinching block he made in that season's Super Bowl. Number three goes to Tom Brady, who would otherwise be number one for his fantastic 14-4 postseason record, but he was clearly off his game this past season and I have to wait to see if he regains his stride in his second season back from ACL surgery. If he does, he goes right back to the top of my postseason quarterback rankings. Number four is Philip Rivers, who has twice beaten Peyton Manning and appears to have the grit for postseason success but disappointed greatly by losing to the Jets at home this year. Number five is Eli Manning, who is 4-2 lifetime in the postseason but scored a win over Brady in Super Bowl XLII with a crunch-time touchdown drive. If there's a guy on the horizon, it's Aaron Rodgers. He could become the best of the bunch.

Lee from Stuart, FL:
I thought Caldwell made a huge mistake by sending Stover out to attempt a 51-yard field goal instead of going for it on fourth down. There was no way he was going to make it. What did you think of the call?

Vic: I didn't like it. There were three options: go for it, punt it or kick it and I thought kick it was the least attractive option.

Micah from Chicago, IL:
If our scouts are getting national attention for their work, how come our team isn't ending up with obscure gems like Garcon or Collie? Or amazing rookie stars like DeSean Jackson? Where's our surprise pass-rusher from a Division III school? I'd like to see some flashy rookie performances before I give the scouts honors (no pun intended).

Vic: The Jaguars executed arguably the best draft in the league last season. You'd have to be blind not to see that. The Derek Cox and Terrance Knighton picks, which were back to back in the third round, represent the best one-two punch in last year's draft. I think you need to do your homework before you start denying praise for someone who truly deserves it.

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