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Posted: Friday September 12, 2008 9:33AM; Updated: Friday September 12, 2008 9:33AM
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NFL MAILBAG

Z mail (cont.)

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Dr. Z's Mailbag
Dr. Z will answer select user questions each week in his NFL mailbag.
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• And now we say aloha as the sun sinks over the ratings and move on to real football. Victor of Queretario, Mexico, where the foot still is taken very seriously in football, wonders why an onside kick cannot be set up as a bloop, over the first rank and in front of the rear echelon, thus giving your coverage people a great advantage in momentum. It's been done, often with great success -- as a surprise. But once it happened, then all coaches made it part of their onside-kick-return drills. Be ready for the bloop kick. Another variation I've seen is a flat kick, drilled like a line drive at the enemy's front rank, with hopes of a violent ricochet. Works sometimes, doesn't on other occasions, just like my ex-brother in law.

• Garrett from Davis, Calif., where they train budding winemakers, notes that blockers on the line outnumber rushers, so is it logical to assume that the defense will usually win, one to one? Yes. The league learned that the hard way in the 1970's when all the better athletes, among the big guys, were going on defense. The rules have been geared toward evening the odds ever since. So they get outnumbered, 5-4, in a usual set, with as many as eight blockers employed in extreme max, or maximum protection, and only two receivers sent out on a pattern.

The defense counters not by rushing so many people that it becomes an eight vs. eight logjam, but rushing fewer, making the offense waste its troops, and then swarming the receivers downfield, looking for the pick. The eternal tides of warfare, high tide and ebb tide, advance and recede, as analysts such as poor old Z survey the battlefield through their field glasses, like European observers at Civil War battlefields, and then try to put it all into coherent form for their loyal readers.

• Nice comments from Max of Kennebunk, Maine (you ever hear the old Bob and Ray routine in which members of the studio audience were invited to produce a line of verse, after being supplied the first line, and a lady said she had one about her husband, Max. He's brave as a lion. "MY MAX!" He's swift as an eagle. " MY MAX!" He's strong as an ox. "MY MOX"), and thanks , Mox, uh, Max, for what you wrote. He has a little question about my betting formula (only one?). "What happens when your own point spread and the Vegas line differ by three or more points but both support the same team?" You go their way. For instance. I had the Cowboys favored by four over the Eagles. The opening Vegas line had the Boys by 7 1/2. So under my system, my play is on Dallas, giving the points. Gabeesh?

• Matt of "none given," and I know why he gives none because he fears the wrath of Jets fans who see in Brett Favre the Second Coming... anyway, Matt sees a few chicks in the armor. Namely, ahem, whereas No. 4 played with verve and aplomb, he nevertheless threw one, under fire, up for grabs -- to Chansi Stuckey, and lo and behold, the kid snatched it away from a mob and came up with six points. Could have been a pick as easily as it was a TD.

You're preaching to the choir, pal. Next comment.

"Favre was the one who did the Pack wrong, not the other way around." Couldn't agree more. That calls for a drink. "I'm having a dinner party and need a red wine for an Italian meal," he writes. Linda's favorite Italian wine is amarone, and the easiest to find is Masi, but it's not cheap. Another great thing with Italian food is a good, spicy Zinfandel from California. See if you can find a Seghesio Old Vines, Family Vineyard. Again, not cheap but simply terrific.

• Saving the best for last. Am I joking about the Redhead charting a bit of Denver-Oakland for me while I caught a few z's? asks Scott of Raleigh. "If not, I can only say that you may be the luckiest man on the face of the earth."

Luck has nothing to do with it. Linda and many others underwent a rigorous charting exam before wedding bells rang... honey, just kidding...for God's sake, just kidding. Now look what I done?

 
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