PFT Sunday mailbag

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Last Sunday, we trotted out on an experimental basis a Sunday mailbag. Making it easier to handle was the fact that there wasn’t much mail in it.

Apparently, you liked it. Because this week the damn thing is overflowing.

Still, the rules are the rules. No matter how many questions are submitted, the best 10 get answered here.

That said, at least one question that was asked this week was so good — and the answer that I dug up was so intriguing — that it will get its own separate post later today.

Until then, here we go.

From @Sdchattanooga: Who is the #Colts QB of the future? #NFLDraft2020

Good question. We don’t know, and they don’t know. Philip Rivers was signed to be a one-year bridge while they figure it out. That’s possibly one of the reasons the Colts didn’t pursue Tom Brady, who intends to play for at least two more years.

So the Colts will know, and the rest of us will know, who their quarterback of the future will be in the future. Whoever it is, he’s not on the roster now.

For @Trae3boy: Will we have football in September?

No one knows at this point, and anyone who acts like they know is either foolish or lying, or both.

There are good reasons to remain deliberately foolish or to lie about it. The NFL wants fans to be engaged in the offseason. If the NFL starts talking seriously about the possibility of no 2020 season, who cares about the draft? Who cares about the schedule release?

Of course, that kind of talk didn’t bother the NFL in 2011, but only because the threat of no football meshed with the league’s financial objectives. The league was trying to squeeze the union into a new CBA, and the league regarded the vague threat of no football as a necessary evil, especially since the league had done a nice job of positioning the fans and the media to blame the players for no football, if no football happened.

I believe that the NFL will do everything in its power to have football this year, even if it happens in empty stadiums or with a much smaller crowd than usual. I also believe that high school and college football will not happen, which will give the NFL a way to make back some of its lost ticket revenue by televising games on Friday nights and throughout the day on Saturday, every week, if the NFL chooses to do that.

Consider this one for a moment. Instead of having five broadcast windows per week, the NFL could end up with nine: Thursday night, Friday night, three on Saturday, three on Sunday, and Monday night.

That could nearly double the TV revenue for 2020, and the ratings would skyrocket, since there would be no other football to watch. And that makes the stakes even higher for the NFL to find a way to play its games, in empty stadiums or in practice facilities or on the island where Fyre Fest was supposed to happen.

Sure, the league will at some point claim that it’s playing its games in the fulfillment of some sort of national duty. And that’s true. The deeper reality, however, is that many billions of dollars will be on the line.

From @Dirtbag1327: With the imminent decrease or nonexistence of training camps, will off-script offenses with mobile QBs have a distinct advantage?

Yes and no. To the extent that execution of the called play won’t be as crisp as it could or should be, a guy like Patrick Mahomes who can improvise will benefit from that. However, the improvisation needs reps as well, so that receivers will have an idea regarding where to go and what to do when the play moves onto the “just get open” phase.

Teams like the Chiefs will benefit from keeping their offensive nucleus together, a dynamic cemented by the recent one-year deal with Demarcus Robinson and the pay cut accepted by Sammy Watkins.

Also, with defenses likewise struggling to get up to speed absent full and normal preparations, plenty of teams (especially those with continuity on offense) will be able to get more out of the play that’s called, without having to rely on a second-phase fire drill.

That said, off-script offenses with mobile quarterbacks already have a distinct advantage. Which is why more and more teams are looking for that kind of quarterback.

From @TeGentzler14: What are the chances #tommy never takes a snap with the Bucs?

Very slim. He has said many times he plans to play until through 2022, the year he turns 45. Football definitely will be back by then, and there’s no reason to think he won’t play for the Bucs at some point in the next three years.

From @bigknuterockne: If you could take one player out of the HOF who would it be?

My family went to the Hall of Fame in 2005. My son was nine. As we walked through the room with the busts and I was sharing little tidbits with him about some of the players, we approached one and I made sure we just kept going.

O.J. Simpson.

Many Hall of Fame voters have more than a little OCD when it comes to adhering to the bylaws, even though the bylaws routinely are overlooked in order to enshrine or exclude certain players. Given the things Simpson did after his playing career, his bust should be removed, and if the bylaws need to change to make it happen, so be it.

I realize the precedent that sets. I understand there’s potentially a fine line between who stays and who goes based on post-career misconduct. Wherever the line may be, a double-murderer (as determined by a civil court in California) is on the wrong side of it.

From @MarkTrocinski: Are there any free agents that you are surprised are still available?

I’m very surprised cornerback Logan Ryan has yet to sign a new deal. Some were suggesting at one point last season that he should receive consideration for defensive player of the year. He had four forced fumbles, four interceptions, 4.5 sacks, and 18 passes defensed. (He also applied the last nail in Tom Brady’s New England career, with a late-game pick six during the playoffs.)

One problem could be Ryan’s versatility. He’s very good at a lot of things but not off-the-charts great at any specific thing. A year after Tyrann Mathieu got $14 million as a safety who does a lot of things, teams apparently don’t know how to value a cornerback who does a lot of things.

Three years ago, Ryan signed with the Titans for three years, $30 million. Coming off arguably his best season and still not 30 years old, even more should have been available, especially with Bradley Roby getting $36 million for three years to stay in Houston.

All Ryan can do at this point is wait, possibly in time signing a one-year deal and hitting the market again next year.

From @HowellDaniels: What’s your guilty pleasure go-to snack in the quarantine doldrums?

The miniature Reese’s Cups in gold foil. Frozen.

From @HowellDaniels: I realize Simms came recommended, but how did you find your writing staff?

Simms wasn’t necessarily “recommended”; he auditioned along with many others for the co-hosting gig on PFT Live. NBC made the final call, and in hindsight NBC made the right decision.

We have a very small writing staff and, over the years, we’ve had limited turnover. MDS was our first hire ever, years before NBC. Josh Alper was an early hire as well. Both ended up working for AOL’s Fanhouse, and both returned. Darin Gantt, a Hall of Fame voter who spent 14 years covering the Panthers, happened to be available when Gregg Rosenthal left NBC for NFL.com.

A few years ago, we were looking for a part-time day-shift writer, and we keep looking and looking and none of the options felt right. Then, out of the blue, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram had a round of layoffs, Charean Williams became available, and we pounced. She started on a part-time basis and is now a full-time member of the team. In addition to being a Hall of Fame voter and a past president of the Pro Football Writers Association, Charean had a vote on the all-time 100th anniversary team and the 15-person special Hall of Fame class of 2020.

Curtis Crabtree has been manning the overnight window at PFT for several years from Seattle, where he also works for KJR radio. With a crew of five full-time writers and one part-timer, we end up having coverage 20-21 hours on most days.

Maybe it’s because we don’t work in the same place, but everyone gets along incredibly well. The incidents or issues or problems are very few and very far between, and the fact that we have so few departures (and in turn so few openings) means that we’re doing something right, I hope.

From @ujayha11: Where do you think Cam and Jameis will go?

Cam should go to the Chargers, because the Chargers should be falling all over themselves to get him. If not the Chargers, the Dolphins, Raiders, and Patriots should at least give the possibility consideration. The biggest impediment for Cam continues to be the inability to give him a normal physical, given his foot, shoulder, and ankle issues.

Jameis is a much different story. He threw for 5,109 yards last year, but no one wants him to be their starter. And he’s likely still coming to grips with the fact that, at least for now, his days as a starter are over.

So will he become a backup in 2020? His mindset will be critical, because most teams want a backup who is content to be a backup and help the starter. Winston’s attitude may be that he’s going to try to topple the starter, so screw him. (Some teams want a backup like that, too.)

It could be that teams are waiting to pursue Jameis in order to allow him to come to grips that, wherever he lands, he’s not getting anything close to the $20 million he received in 2019 under his fifth-year option.

Winston’s best play could be to wait for someone to get injured. At that point, however, the team in question may be more inclined to go with the next man up in lieu of getting Winston up to speed. If (and I’m reluctant to say this lest I eventually be accused of applying a jinx) Tom Brady gets injured, a Winston return to Tampa makes a ton of sense.

Then there’s the baseball angle. Last August, he told Peter King that it’s something Winston still wants to do. If he’ll be on a football team but not playing, maybe he’ll finally decide to give baseball a try.

From @realEdwardMason: What new statistic would you like to see added to the official stats sheet?

This is a Chris Simms idea, and unlike his usual ideas it’s a great one.

For defensive linemen, the only stats that matter are tackles, tackles for loss, sacks, and forced fumbles. The best defensive linemen affect the game without doing any of those things, however. Specifically, they affect the game by f–king up a play.

So that’s the stat. The “eff up the play” stat. A stat that’s triggered when a defensive lineman’s burst through the offensive line irrevocably disrupts the intended attack, even if someone else gets the tackle or the tackle for loss or the sack or the forced fumble.

It wouldn’t be simple to tabulate, and it would require a keen eye and some subjectivity. But it ultimately could be spotted and tracked, and it would give the players who are the most disruptive in the league some hard evidence of the manner in which they disrupt things.

From Dragyn509: Do you think Carole Baskin killed her husband?

This is a bonus question, and for anyone who hasn’t watched The Tiger King and who plans to (is there anyone left in that category?), spoilers follow.

To be clear (i.e., I don’t want to be sued), this is an expression of opinion, as influenced by the information presented by the producers of the show and the specific manner in which the information was presented. “Documentary” hardly means “factual,” and there are easy devices for using video, words, and music to lead the audience to a desired conclusion.

So based on the way that show was put together, I came to the conclusion that, yes, Carole Baskin killed her husband and fed him to her tigers. And that’s probably the conclusion the producers wanted me and everyone else to come to.

Without getting into too many details (including the suspicious living will that gave Carole Baskin the right to handle her husband’s estate in the event of his “disability or disappearance“), she wasn’t indignant or upset about the suggestion that she killed her husband and fed him to her tigers. Maybe over the years she’s become desensitized to the accusation, but her husband died and to make matters worse she’s been accused of killing him and feeding him to her tigers! A normal person who is innocent would yell and scream and rant and rave every time the topic comes up.

But one thing is clear about The Tiger King: During the seven-episode limited series, normal persons are very few and very far between.

26 responses to “PFT Sunday mailbag

  1. A double murder determined by a California civil court isn’t a murder at all. For a former “lawyer” you have a disgusting disrespect for the law.

  2. I dont think removing OJs bust from Canton would be a smart decision. I could only imagine the slippery slope that would create with a potential revolving door in and out of the hall based on what happens after you have been inducted and your career is over. Best to rethink that one.

  3. The HOF is based on career achievements, which OJ had. If I take my son to Canton I absolutely will stop at the OJ bust and tell him the story of OJ’s fall, as a cautionary tale. To simply skip past it is to shelter him from the realities of the world. Everyone is entitled to parent as they see fit but to me I want my kids to be fully aware of the evils of the world so they can learn from it.

  4. Ray Lewis is in the HOF. Arguably Ray Lewis is on par with OJ Simpson. And if we’re using civil suits as the bar regarding guilt, it should be pointed out that Ray Lewis paid out settlements in wrongful death lawsuits. By this same logic Ray Lewis should be removed from Canton.

  5. Let’s pretend Rae Carruth kept playing like he did pre-injury, and let’s make it for 11 seasons since that’s how long OJ played. Then, in this pretend world, after the 11 seasons, Carruth did what he did to land himself in prison. Does he make it to the Hall? Not a chance. Get OJ out of there.

  6. From @bigknuterockne: If you could take one player out of the HOF who would it be?

    I would say with 99% certainty that this guy was not thinking about OJ when he crafted this question.

  7. @ Michael Edits Patents

    If Rae Caurruth “kept playing like he did pre-injury“ he would have been out of the league in 3-4 more years because he was a bust

  8. I know I’m gonna get skewered for this comment. That’s fine.

    I always assumed OJ was guilty. There’s now compelling evidence to suggest he didn’t do it. If you’ve got time on your hands – and many of us do – look into it. It’s a more fascinating story than perhaps you ever believed.

  9. “Winston’s attitude may be that he’s going to try to topple the starter, so screw him. (Some teams want a backup like that, too.)”

    I read this and immediately thought of the Raiders.

  10. Remove OJ?
    Like it or not, he’s part of NFL history.
    It shouldn’t matter what he did after retirement.
    Only matters is what he did during his career.

  11. No way Cam goes to the Patriots – he’s too much of an individual. Can you imagine Belichick allowing those outfits in press conferences?

  12. Agreed, get OJ out of there. Armed robbery is good enough.

    There is no disputing he killed two people.

  13. Least deserving player in the HOF? Easy>>> Joe Namath. Made it in based on one game. .500 career record as a starter. 173 career TDs against 220 interceptions. GTFOH

  14. The Carole Baskin situation does not pass the smell test – not even close. I agree—I’m not a big poker player but her tells are like billboards on the highway.

    She’s guilty and most likely won’t get put in jail for what she did. They blew that investigation from the beginning.

  15. Unless the Pats can come up with some bucks, they can’t pay Cam. Also, Winston finally had LASIK surgery, so now he can see downfield. Might lower the interceptions.

  16. Jimmy Johnson.
    His lifetime achievements are underwhelming at best.
    Now, if he could’ve won the power struggle with Jerrah… different story

  17. Hardly ever agree with Florio, but he’s spot on about Carole Baskin. No one puts the word “disappearance” in a will. It just doesn’t happen and should be a massive red flag. Her current husband knows it too. Why else go along with those ridiculous outfits in the photos? The guy doesn’t want to end up in the belly of a tiger that’s why. #freejoeexotic

  18. I just cannot conceive that Carol Baskin may have done away with her husband alone. Had to be some outside help, and eventually those persons will talk.

  19. There are no takebacks. Want to prevent another situation like OJ’s, then you’d have to make it a posthumous honor, which would deny the players and many of their fans from sharing in the enshrinement. Nothing’s perfect, but nothing’s better than the setup we have now either.

    But yeah, the question was more about statistical worthiness than moral fiber. Get Jerome Bettis out of there. He was a HOF character/personality, with a cute nickname, but not a HOF player.

  20. Perhaps the HOF should require OJ to live with Carole Baskin and her Tigers for a couple years — don’t they both live in FLA?

  21. aj66shanghai says:
    April 6, 2020 at 12:36 pm
    There are no takebacks. Want to prevent another situation like OJ’s, then you’d have to make it a posthumous honor, which would deny the players and many of their fans from sharing in the enshrinement. Nothing’s perfect, but nothing’s better than the setup we have now either.

    But yeah, the question was more about statistical worthiness than moral fiber. Get Jerome Bettis out of there. He was a HOF character/personality, with a cute nickname, but not a HOF player.
    ===========
    Bettis finished his 13 NFL seasons as the NFL’s 5th all-time leading rusher with 13,662 yards and 91 touchdowns. How is Bettis not a HOF player?

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