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Mailbag (cont.)

Posted: Friday March 30, 2007 7:16AM; Updated: Monday April 2, 2007 10:44AM
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Dr. Z will answer select user questions each week in his NFL mailbag.
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Here's a paired Manning entry, father and son. Steve of Norman, Okla., wants to know if Peyton could become one of the greatest color commentators of all time. Depends on how much he wants it. If he hits the tapes as much as Jaworski does, he could be terrific because he's a bright guy with a sense of humor. If he gives it the brushoff, it'll show. It always does. And Paul of New Orleans asks if Archie, the dad, was the most sacked QB of all time when he was struggling with the Saints. It's possible, but they seldom kept sacks by quarterback in those days. They didn't keep them by sacker, either, until 1982, 11 years after Manning entered the league. I saw him take some awful beatings. In fact I remember a Rams game when it was so brutal that the Ram rushers, Jack Youngblood in particular, took pity on him and started letting him down easy.

From Bruce of Alexandria, Va.: "When does the book come out?" If God is willing and my days are not given to lolling about under the apple tree, it should be six months after I get off my sabbatical, which will be the start of the season. In March, in other words, not an opportune time for a football book to come out but it should be more than that -- wine and food and mixing with the famous. Why just the other night Linda and I had the honor of being dinner guests at the home of the president.

Of the Acme Cardboard Company.

Jim of Sacramento wants to know why things have gone so wrong for Matt Millen, who was so bright as a player and TV commentator. Oh Lord, this is tough because he's a friend. Bad decisions. Poor personnel evaluation. Did not surround himself with strong enough people. Then the bad breaks, in the form of injuries. Before he became a GM, he was never faced with the same magnitude of decision making.

From LT of Cleveland -- How would Bo Jackson have rated in the pantheon of great backs, if he hadn't have gotten hurt? Very hard to say. It's always easy to just say he would have been one of the greatest, but isn't durability and being able to avoid the crippling injury a part of it? And if I were arguing the opposition, and I think I'd rather be, I'd say, "Yeah, sure, Z, but aren't you the one who always gets misty eyed talking about the greatness of QB Greg Cook, if only he hadn't have gotten hurt?" That's me, folks, hedging my bets as usual, slinking coward that I am.

Patrick of Toledo asks what the action will be like when the Class of 2011 -- Marshall Faulk, Deion Sanders, Curtis Martin, Jerome Bettis, etc -- is on parade in front of the Hall of Fame Selectors. Deion's my No.1 choice. Martin is No. 2, although I think Faulk definitely belongs, based on his versatility and success as a combination runner-receiver. I don't think Bettis will make it in this fast company. He'll do better against less strenuous competition.

Kemp, a Redskin fan from Charlottesville, Va., proposes three Skins for the Hall and would like my commentary, which I am glad to give because he is one of the few Washington faithful without a nasty thing to say about your faithful narrator. Cornerback Pat Fischer -- an outside chance. Until last year I would have said no, but Roger Wehrli getting in changed my thinking. A wonderful, courageous competitor. LB Chris Hanburger -- no. Too many other good ones have to go in first, i.e., Lee Roy Jordan, Chuck Howley, etc. TE Jerry Smith -- no. How can you leave Todd Christensen out and put him in? Let's follow a normal chain of command here.

Here's my e-mailer of the Week, Anthony Verna of Hoboken, N.J., who gets it on two levels. First he ensnares me in a debate I've enjoyed ever since I began playing rugby in the early years of American recreational sports: Which is tougher, rugger or football? Then he melts my heart with this one: "A few years ago I wrote in asking how someone finds his own redhead ... and I have a second date tonight with a redhead. Wish me luck!"

Well, let this modest award serve as an omen for good fortune with your own redhead, but keep in mind that it's not the color of the head that counts, it's the hair. And please tell your friend from Liverpool that the mere necessity for all that padding should tell you that football is the more dangerous pastime. There's hitting in rugby, but it's not the sharp pop-pop-pop of the gridiron. The tackling is more of a bulldogging style. But when you get to the really highest international level, it's a different animal. Once I asked my former teammate on the Old Blue RFC, Mike Sherlock, who had played prop forward for the U.S. National team, the Eagles, what a tight scrum was like at the international level.

"It's like nothing you've ever seen," he said. "You're bound so tight that it's scary. You feel that one slip or false move and you'll immediately tear or break something."

From Dave of Busan, South Korea: "Can you please tell us what Houston is doing?" He goes on to voice exactly my own complaints. Drafted a QB, David Carr, No.1 on the whole board and then tried to destroy him with dreadful O-lines, finally cutting him favor of a non-starter, after passing up Vince Young last year. Goofy. Unless, of course, Matt Schaub turns out to be all-world. They said they "admired his leadership." Leading what? The Falcons, when Vick was hurt?

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