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Sunday, November 23, 2008

Talkbackers weigh in on high school sports and the Redskins.

The Post's expansion of high school coverage over the past few years has done a great service by highlighting the accomplishments of many talented student-athletes and their coaches. The Post's "High School Passer Rating" (debuting Nov. 12) does a disservice.

Aside from the absurdity of creating a statistic that compares quarterbacks with no variable to account for the fact that some play against the competition of small private school leagues and others in massive public school districts, do we really need another statistic of any kind in youth sports? Another way for high school athletes and coaches to compare themselves or rank themselves against one another while losing focus on why prep sports exist in the first place? Why bother trying to include "glorified intangibles" such as leadership, poise and penchant for heroics? Perhaps because that's why the games are supposed to be played -- to teach our young people how to compete, control their emotions in the heat of competition, become leaders and care as much about their teammates as their own success and statistics.

Brendan Sullivan, Washington

Micah Pollack, deputy high school editor, responds: "We wanted a statistic that was high school specific that would help identify the area's best passers."

The Post's high school passer rating formula suffers from the same problem as the college and pro passer-rating formulas:

· The failure to consider throwaways that are intended to avoid loss of yardage.

· Dropped passes by receivers.

· Penalties for sacks that could have been avoided.

Darrel Salisbury, Lorton

Who needs passer ratings in any competition? I look at the standings.

Echoes of Steve Spurrier in Jim Zorn's crucial decisions in the Redskins' loss to Dallas? For example, third and 13, within field goal range, trailing 14-10, calling a pass play in which [Jason] Campbell is sacked, losing nine yards, resulting in a 46-yard field goal attempt falling short. Zorn responded by saying that in light of the high-powered Dallas offense, he wanted to get seven points.

Advice: Take points when you can get them and rely on your defense to carry the day.

Tom Graves, Alexandria

I can't fault Zorn's call; Campbell should have thrown the ball away and his line should have given him better protection.

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