With a longer-than-usual Football Night In America team dinner, I got back to the Motel 6 later than usual. So I needed to be efficient in answering the mailbag questions, so that I could get some sleep.
Of course, I prefer to think of it as being direct and succinct. Judge for yourselves whether I mailed it in.
With the chances of Mike Singletary getting fired looking likely, who are the potential candidates? Who would want the job? Richard L.
Keep an eye on Browns president Mike Holmgren, who has made noise about wanting to coach again. He has roots in San Francisco, and he worked for the 49ers before becoming the head coach of the Packers in 1992. Jim Harbaugh could be a possibility as well, since the iron at Stanford likely will never be any hotter than it is right now.
If the Vikings move to Los Angeles, would they be put in the NFC West and then the Rams to and NFC North? Makes sense geographically or would the Commish want to keep the divisions the same? Rob in Peoria, AZ.
It would make sense, but when it comes to the NFL not everything that makes sense ever happens. The Dallas Cowboys remain in the NFC East, and the Miami Dolphins are in the AFC East. Until 2002, the Arizona Cardinals were still part of the NFC East.
If there’s a way to configure the divisions that doesn’t create much of a disruption, it’s likely that the league would explore doing it. For now, the leading candidate to land in L.A. is the Chargers, who would remain in the AFC West.
Will all of the fines and penalties hurt James Harrison’s chances to win the defensive player of the year award? His physical dominance and well-rounded statistics are there as well as being one of the best players on one of the best defenses. Nick.
A suspension, if it ever happens, would hurt Harrison because it would take away one of the games in which he otherwise would be making his case. If anything, the notoriety coming from the fines and penalties will help him, since it gives him more buzz than his play alone ever could muster. At a minimum, he’ll be a near-unanimous choice for All-Pro.
With divisions like the NFC West possibly sending a sub-.500 team to the playoffs and divisions like the NFC South possibly sending two or more teams to the playoffs, should the NFL change the divisions up or change the way the playoffs work? David M.
If the NFC West champ has a record of 8-8 or worse, look for at a minimum a serious effort to implement reseeding based on total record. In other words, the division champions would be guaranteed playoff berths, but they wouldn’t be guaranteed first-round home games. If, as will surely be the case this year, the best second-place team from the other three divisions possesses a better record than the worst of the division winners, the top wild-card team would have a higher seed — and the division champ with the worst record would be required to go on the road.
That said, we’d be shocked if the NFL changes the current alignment of eight divisions and four teams per division. The present structure helps the league manufacture and sell hope in every NFL city, since every team has a one-in-four shot at making it to the playoffs.
What record is it going to take to win the AFC East? 14-2? 13-3? Could the runner-up finish a good four or five games ahead of the AFC West winner? David O.
Week 13 will go a long way toward determining the top two teams in the AFC, given that the 9-2 Patriots will host the 9-2 Jets, and the 8-3 Ravens will host the 8-3 Steelers.
Beyond that, the Patriots still play the Packers and Bears, the Jets still play the Steelers, Packers, and Bears, the Ravens still play the Saints, and the Steelers still play the Jets. In the end, 12-4 may be the best record in the AFC, with tiebreakers sorting it all out.
Meanwhile, the Chargers are 5-5 and rising. Though they likely won’t secure a bye, the Chargers could tighten things up, if they continue their annual in-season resurrection.
It was reported before the Titans-at-Dolphins game that Chad Pennington was going to hit substantial escalator clauses in his contract by starting the game. If true, what did that cost the Dolphins per play for the two plays he was in for? Mike J.
Pennington’s contract contains a roster bonus that pays out $200,000 for each game in which he plays at least one snap. He took two snaps in Week 10, before his shoulder snapped, again. Thus, he earned an extra $200,000 for his trouble.
I’m a Chiefs fan and I was intrigued when your site posted that Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald likely will want out of Arizona and that Kansas City is a possible destination. What would it take to get him? If I were the Cardinals I would want two first-round picks at least. We’ve seen that kind of compensation for lesser players. Brian B.
The question as to Fitzgerald becomes whether the Cardinals want to try to get value for him before the 2011 season ends, at which time he can leave without the use of the franchise tag or any other restricted. Though total free-agency losses in 2012 could net the Cardinals a compensatory draft pick in 2013, the Cardinals need to at least explore what the market would bear for Fitzgerald in 2011.
Then the question becomes whether an auction for his services could be generated, with teams outbidding each other in the hopes of securing the trade. Of course, Fitzgerald would have to want to play for the new team; even though a no-trade clause was dropped from the deal as part of a 2009 restructuring, Fitzgerald’s new team will want to sign him to a new deal, and if he’s not interested then it would make no sense to enter the bidding.
In your opinion does Buffalo draft a quarterback or do they draft a playmaking linebacker sackmaster next year since Aaron Maybin obviously isn’t working out? Seems like defense is by far our most pressing need after Buffalo giving up 30 or more points in most of their games this year. Kevin B.
The Bills desperately need a franchise quarterback. I think they’ll take the best quarterback available when they pick.
Mike, I remember reading that when Nike won the apparel contract for the NFL beginning in 2012 that there could be some major changes to the uniforms of all teams. In fact, you wrote in October: “Nike plans to ‘dramatically’ change NFL jerseys”. Makes sense I reasoned at the time, the sooner they make our closets full of Reebok jerseys obsolete the sooner we’ll all have to go get new Nike jerseys. In a Ravens forum I stumbled upon a website that supposedly has the new designs on the 2012 jerseys and they are terrible. I asked everyone around me and they all said they are terrible. Only thing good about them is that the worst one is the Steelers. This can’t be the dramatic changes you spoke of last month, can it? Wes G.
The images circulating on the Internet are the product not of a Nike employee but of someone who needs a more exciting job, a more rewarding hobby, or a girlfriend. Or any combination of the three.
Besides the Carolina Panthers, which teams can you see look into taking a QB in the first round of next years draft? Buffalo seems to be making progress with Ryan Fitzpatrick. Miami seems to be in the market again. Is Minnesota a possibility? Seattle, Arizona, SF? Carson Palmer seems to have hit a roadblock in Cincy. Ed W.
Teams that need quarterbacks won’t simply take a guy in the first-round unless he’s deemed worthy of being picked that high. Moreover, the unsettled labor situation could reduce the ability to get the quarterback ready for his rookie year by cutting down the available offseason workout opportunities, if the league ultimately locks out the players in March.
If the franchise tag ceases to be in the next off season, do you see the Eagles taking a gamble and offering up a Peyton Manning-esque type of deal (especially if Vick wins MVP or makes it to the Super Bowl) or perhaps doing a one-year “prove-it-again” type of deal? Also, if Kolb starts getting restless in the wake of a Vick contract, do you see his trade value increased after proving he can win games? Tim, Philadelphia.
I think the franchise tag will survive the next labor deal. Even though it helps primarily the Colts and Eagles this time around, every team benefits at some point from its presence.
As to Kolb, I think the Eagles need to keep him into the 2011 season, as insurance against Mike Vick doing something in the 2011 offseason that gets him thrown in jail and/or kicked out of the league. In 2007, the Falcons had Mike Vick and Matt Schaub, and the Falcons traded Schaub only a few weeks before Vick’s dogfighting operation was detected.
With all the Vince Young drama I have been wondering about an interesting situation. If Titans owner Bud Adams decides to keep Vince Young and fire Jeff Fisher, or trade him like you mentioned in the video mailbag, could Marty Mornhinweg be an option as Vince Young’s head coach? Mornhinweg was talked about for the Browns, and he is surely going to be a hot candidate for a head coaching position this year. Could Mornhinweg work similar magic with Vince Young like he has with Michael Vick? Brad K., Phoenix.
I wouldn’t put Mornhinweg at the top of the “A” list. First, he was a train wreck in Detroit as head coach. Second, Mornhinweg is an offensive coordinator who doesn’t call the plays. The last guy like that in Philly just got fired six days ago by the Vikings.
With Leslie Frazier now the interim coach in Minnesota, does interviewing him at the end of the season satisfy the Rooney Rule? Or do they need to interview a minority candidate other than the person currently at the helm?
Interviewing Frazier would comply with the Rooney Rule. Frazier also could be hired without any other interviews being conducted.