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Bills' Jackson could play quarterback in a pinch

>Question: Has Fred Jackson ever played quarterback, and could he run the "Arkansas" formation that the Dolphins have been using with Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams?

-- Ed Stevens, Miami

Answer: The Bills aren't saying whether they have practiced this formation, but there's no doubt they could run it if they wanted to.

Being a good passer is not a major requirement of running the "Arkansas" or "Wildcat" formation, as the Dolphins call it. However, it's good to have a slight threat of the pass, because if the safeties creep forward, an easy pass down the seam to the tight end is possible.

Jackson did not play quarterback in high school but he says he could run the formation.

"I've never played quarterback in my life," he said. "I have a pretty good arm. I can throw. I wouldn't say I'm the most accurate person on the team, but I can throw if I need to. I was actually 2 for 2 in the Arena League for touchdowns [on halfback options]. One was about 15 yards and one was 6 yards."

Jackson was listed as the third quarterback for several games last season, when the Bills had just two QBs on the roster. But that was more of a roster-juggling move.

Bills receiver Roscoe Parrish was a very good high school quarterback. He passed for 2,201 yards as a senior at Miami Senior High. You might recall Mike Mularkey lined him up in the shotgun on a play in 2005, and he threw a pass that went for a 3-yard gain.


>Q: Why aren't the Bills cutting more on the backside of zone run plays? The one time they actually did cut on the backside (Dockery did it) was Fred Jackson's nice cutback run versus St. Louis.

A: The Bills do use cut-blocking by linemen at times. But it's not a big part of their scheme. Lines that rely a great deal on cut-blocking, such as Denver's, acquire smaller, more mobile players. The Bills have a bigger, power-based line.

Says offensive line coach Sean Kugler: "We do have designed plays where we do have backside cutting. We have plays that start front-side and come back to the back side. We have predetermined times we cut and predetermined times we don't cut, where we're hoping to push the flow back. Sometimes we want to seal the defense. If they watch closely, there are times we cut."


>Q: Why are the hashmarks still used in the NFL, and what is the point?

-- Robert Mahoney, Wheatfield

A: When a player is tackled near the sideline there needs to be a uniform place to spot the ball, since you would not want to spot it, say, 3 yards from the sideline. Rather than spot it every time directly in the middle of the field, which would give the offense a slight advantage, the hashmarks were created. The field is 53 yards wide. The hashmarks are 23.3 yards from the sideline.


>Q: You wrote about football games at Yankee Stadium. I saw a boxing match there in the summer of 1951 or 1952. It was 97 degrees and the referee had to be relieved. Do you know who fought?

-- Joe Duane, Buffalo

A: It probably was Joey Maxim versus Sugar Ray Robinson for the light-heavyweight title in June 1952. Robinson was winning the fight but couldn't get out of his corner in the 14th round due to heat prostration and Maxim won.

Question Mark, the weekly feature in which Bills beat reporter Mark Gaughan answers your football questions, appears in Football Friday each week. Send your questions, with name and hometown, by e-mail to or mail to Question Mark, The Buffalo News Sports Department, One News Plaza, P.O. Box 100, Buffalo, NY 14240. A replay of Mark's live chat from from Thursday is at

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