The Tuesday Mailbag

Nick Foles threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, and also rushed for another, in his first 2013 start for the Eagles. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Nick Foles threw for 296 yards and three touchdowns, and also rushed for another, in his first 2013 start for the Eagles. (Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

FOLES VS. VICK. Surprised there wasn’t more talk in MMQB about the phenomenal day Nick Foles had on Sunday. One thing is apparent—the Philly offense is a lot more efficient with Foles at the helm.  Vick is big play or bust and has really struggled in the red zone where windows are obviously smaller. Mike has always had a problem with anticipation and throwing guys open; Foles excels in this area. I believe if Philly wants to win the brutal NFC East, Foles is the guy to do that. Curious your thoughts? 

—Matt

One of the biggest misconceptions about Chip Kelly as a coach is that he has to have a mobile or running quarterback in order to win. He doesn’t. He needs a quarterback who can run an offense at a fast pace, even if that quarterback isn’t a runner. What it will come down to for Kelly, I believe, is which quarterback he feels gives him the best chance to win, while turning the ball over the least. If Foles plays well against Dallas on Sunday and doesn’t turn it over, I think it could be tough for Kelly to give back the starting job to Vick.

DUE RESPECT FOR DWAYNE. Always enjoy reading your thoughts after another great weekend of football. I will have to say that I was a little disappointed that you did not list Dwayne Harris in your Special Teams section. Scoring one touchdown, putting the offense in prime position that led to another touchdown, making a crucial tackle on a return were all plays leading to the Cowboys victory. Harris had 222 yards on four returns, nine more yards than the offense managed to gain in the entire game. Without the plays Harris made last night, I doubt the Cowboys win.

—Chris Z., Allen, Texas

Obviously, Dwayne Harris should have been one of my Special Teams Players of the Week. What happened in this week, and in many weeks, is that I watch games on Sunday and mostly through observing games I pick the guys who I like the best. In addition, at about 2 or 3 a.m. I take 15 or 20 minutes to look over every summary of the games to see if I’m missing anybody—maybe a player who had three or four sacks or who had a great day like Harris did. I don’t know why, but I skipped the Washington vs. Dallas stat book and woke up to about 65 tweets saying, “You idiot. What about the great game that Harris played?” So, please excuse my ignorance.

IT STARTS UNDER CENTER. Thoroughly enjoy your column, as many folks do.  As a Vikings fan I think it’s hard to understand what happens to a team from year to year. For instance, the Vikings—a playoff team last year, yet in the tank six weeks into this season.  Is it possible for you to enlighten us, and this can be any team, to what can transpire from one year to another in how the dynamics of a team changes for the worse when it seems like things should have improved based on the team’s offseason actions?  Since your profession gets you closer to team members (staff and players), I was hoping you could shed some light on how the elements and relationships within a team can create these situations that we can’t see as fans.  Thanks again for your efforts.

—Randy, Nunn, Colo.

The story of the Minnesota Vikings is the story of the importance of quarterbacks above all other positions in this sport. At the top of my Monday column, I wrote 1,200 words about Tom Brady and how he beat a 5-0 team on Sunday by driving the Patriots 70 yards to the winning touchdown. He did this by using four receivers on the winning drive. Three of these four receivers he didn’t know six months ago. In today’s football, if you have a quarterback who can solve problems and integrate free-agent receivers like Kenbrell Thompkins into your offense, so that with 10 seconds to go, you have enough faith to throw the ball to an undrafted rookie with the game on the line—you have everything you need. That’s what I’m talking about when I mention the importance of quarterbacks.

In Minnesota, the Vikings haven’t solved their quarterback problem. So, maybe Josh Freeman will do that. Maybe Christian Ponder can recover and do that. But until the Vikings fix that spot under center for good, I don’t care how good Adrian Peterson is and I don’t care how many sacks their good defensive front produces, the Vikings always will struggle to win big games without a quarterback. Every team does.

CHALLENGING PROBLEM. I think the NFL should make unnecessary roughness calls on quarterbacks and defenseless players challengeable. Four reasons: 1) The hits happen so fast and so violently, the referees often err on the side of caution. 2) The onus is still on the challenging coach to throw the flag only if he thinks enough evidence exists to show the hit was clean. 3) 15-yard penalties can easily be game changers; just look at the correctly called late hit out of bounds penalty called against the Bucs that resulted in a victory for the Jets. 4) After removing touchdowns and turnovers from the coaches’ need to challenge, there are far fewer plays coaches throw the flag. Thoughts?

—Shane, Warner Robins, Ga.

I have long been in favor of expanding replay to include judgment calls. I’m not in favor of increasing the number of calls in games that coaches can challenge. But, if they see a play that they feel is definitely wrong, they should be able to challenge it. I don’t think this would lead to an epidemic of challenges. Most coaches will want to save a challenge and not use it on what could be a marginal helmet-to-helmet call. But helmet hits or pass interference, those to me are fair game to be challenged.

Talk Back

Got a question for Peter? Send it to talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in next Tuesday's mailbag.

RANKINGS REMINDER. Kansas City is doing great, but you’re ranking like they do in college. Sorry, they’re not the second-best team in the NFL. If you feel they would have a chance to beat the Seahawks in Seattle, then sure they could be No. 2. But I doubt you do.

—Mike, Reno, Nev.

Here’s how I try to rank teams: would No. 1 beat No. 2 on a neutral field in Wichita? Would No. 8 beat No. 9 on the same neutral field? I rank teams not based on who I think would win the game at somebody’s home field, but who I think is a better team if you take home field away. Right now, if Kansas City played Seattle on a neutral field, I think that the game would be very close, but I would give Kansas City a slight edge. The Chiefs pressure the QB better than Seattle does right now. And regarding anybody playing the Seahawks in Seattle? I’d pick the Seahawks to win against any team at home—even Denver.

CREDIT THE PATRIOTS DEFENSE. I love your column and look forward to it every Monday, but the Brady love this week was a bit much.  The real heroics came from the Patriots defense. A little over three minutes left, Brady has the ball for what is supposed to be a winning drive.  He does nothing and gives the ball over on downs deep in Patriots territory.  If the Saints drive for a TD, it’s over.  The defense holds and gives Brady yet another chance for a winning driving with over two minutes left.  He immediately throws a very ill-advised pass into double coverage that’s picked off.  If the Saints make a first down, it’s over.  But the Pats hold—and Brady is given his third chance to score.  He does.  Thrilling, yes.  Special, maybe not.  Please name a QB in today’s NFL who you wouldn’t expect to score late if given three chances.  Even Thad Lewis could do it. Stuffing the Saints offense twice when they could have put the game out of reach? That was something special.

—Jim, Montpelier, Vt.

Excellent points. All of them right on. However, look back at that first drive, which began with 3:29 left in the fourth. Look at the clear drop by Brandon Bolden on second down, which prevented a first down. Look at the clear drop on fourth down by Aaron Dobson; that too prevented a first down and what would have been the ensuing four fresh downs to continue the drive.

But you’re absolutely right about the New England defense. In the first five games of the season, the Saints had five three-and-outs. On this day, the Patriots forced seven. I should have written more about the defense. But I thought a bigger accomplishment on this day was a Hall of Fame quarterback throwing to receivers who are, at best, very marginal NFL players—at least now. They might turn into more than that. So while I respect your idea that the defense deserves more credit, and it certainly does, I think what Brady accomplished deserved the acknowledgment I gave it. 

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86 comments
Gary6
Gary6

As a cowboys fan, I dont understand the Vikings question about how a team can be a playoff team one year then suck the next.  Our team is 8-8.  We were 8-8 last year, and the year before.  We are 3-3, headed for 8-8.  We have an average coach, an average QB, and A GM that overpays for average performance.  32 teams in the NFL, and I would like to design a "We are #16" foam finger/hand to wear to the games.

FightingTard
FightingTard

Someone needs to remind Peter that there are other teams in the NFL apart from the Pats and there are other players apart from Brady and Manning.

His two pieces this week have been a major bit of fanboy love the likes of which we have never seen before.

Jon8
Jon8

If the NFL is in a mind to make some rule changes, Intentional Grounding should be front and center! The penalty, 10 yards AND loss of down for an incomplete pass is absurd!

In an era when you are trying to find ways to protect the QB, here is a no-brainier staring you in the face! Eliminate IG as a penalty. Let the QB's throw the ball away! Will this eliminate sacks? Absolutely not as QB's will still hold the ball too long, blitzes and bull rushes will still be to quick for the QB to contend with!

The result of the play is an incomplete pass and 3 of those in a row and you are punting and it definitely would help protect the QB!

Jon8
Jon8

Fauria is just further proof that defensive backs and safeties have to be bigger! The day of the hard-hitting 5'10" safety is gone!

We need 6'5" DB's! That'll be the next wave!

dennis
dennis

Let's say the refs made the accurate call when the Patriots jumped past the neutral zone on fourth down, and the Saints were rightfully given the first down. The game would have been over at that point, and no talking now about what a great guy Brady is. So therefore, he owes the refs more than his defense. Not whining, but just putting the Patriots' "win" into perspective.

thowe211
thowe211

Fauria....I saw last year tear up Arizona and knew the kid was going to be something special.  Still amazed he didn't get drafted.

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

King writes:

"But until the Vikings fix that spot under center for good, I don’t care how good Adrian Peterson is and I don’t care how many sacks their good defensive front produces, the Vikings always will struggle to win big games without a quarterback. Every team does."

He's right in that every franchise needs a quarterback to be consistently good. But right now, the story of the Vikings collapse is a defense that's No. 30 in points allowed per game, No. 31 in yards allowed and No. 31 in third down conversions allowed. Their "good defensive front" has produced 10 sacks all year -- 29th in the league.

The offense has problems and the quarterback spot has been inconsistent, but they're No. 10 in scoring. The biggest problems are on the other side of the ball, even if it's easier to analyze the team with a sermon on the importance of quarterbacking.

 

T.Christian
T.Christian

The question about the Vikings becomes 100+ words about Brady and 50 words about Vikings. Nice.

Ericfollowedbyanumber
Ericfollowedbyanumber

“What separates Joe,’’ said coach Jim Schwartz, “and has allowed him to make those plays is he’s really strong and has really strong hands.” 

Those hands stand out in comparison to Pettigrew's, who can drop anything, and what he does catch he manages to fumble.

luvfoozball
luvfoozball

Shouldn't Joseph Fauria be mad at the Lions too because they passed on him continuously for 7 rounds?

KirkNewsted
KirkNewsted

Nice whitewash on the e-mails today Peter.  Funny how none of the e-mails called you out on coaches and being a homer.

Rickapolis
Rickapolis

Gee whiz, I get so tired of Peter King writing what HE wants in HIS articles. Shouldn't he be writing what I want??? He sure does have a lot of nerve. Oh well, I guess I'll read again next week just to see if he dares to do it again.

LeeMorrell
LeeMorrell

So let me get this straight...you work for NBC on the SNF broadcast and you didn't even bother to look at the stats from the game, let alone highlights or - GASP - watch the game you did pregame analysis for?  NBC needs to review your contract...

enelsoniii1
enelsoniii1

What a total stud! The Browns had NO ANSWER for him, and the same will be true for any team coming up - with CJ on the other side, what exactly do you do on jump balls? Try the Revis approach of holding?

touseyd
touseyd

so let me make sure i got this right. this whiteboy gets to dance around the endzone but no fine from goodell and is glorified on MMQB, but ochocinco,T.O.,joe horn, black WRs,etc. get fined. Thanks just making sure i got that right.

Mike26
Mike26

(channeling my inner Anti-New England vibe):  Peter, I believe you mean that your wrote 12,000 words about Tom Brady yesterday, not just 1,200.  Those commas in numbers can really be tricky!

MicahThoughtlife
MicahThoughtlife

@FightingTard actually we have seen it before. MMQB usually has a bias in its coverage toward the Patriots. Understandable in some ways, it's a successful and storied franchise and King has personal links with the Boston area, but I agree it does get old. The Manning thing, ok I get where you're coming from but personally, with the year this guy's having right now, I don't mind King giving him coverage, in fact I'm all for it. Who would you rather?

noly972
noly972

@Jon8 Make it a spot foul with loss of down. That's the equivalent of a sack. In fact, they could award a sack as part of the foul.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

@Jon8 Stupid.  AS if QB's don't get enough damn protection from week to week.

Mike26
Mike26

@Jon8 You've had some doozies recently, but this jumps to the top of the list.  It becomes clearer each week that you've not played the game at a high level and studied it even less than you've played.  The more you post the less doubt everyone has about your true football aptitude.

jb22
jb22

@Jon8 So if a QB is being wrapped up and about to take a sack he can just lightly toss the ball to the ground for an incomplete pass?  No thanks.

rjl8125
rjl8125

@dennis Let's say Stills gets called for offensive pass interference in the end zone (if Aaron Dobson's one hand push off on the 25 yard gain in the third quarter was interference, then Still's two handed push off should have been called, also) or the helmet to helmet hit that knocked Amendola unconscious (on 3rd down) was called to keep that drive going; then the off sides would not have mattered, either.

The Saints lost, fair and square. Quit crying.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@dennis Arguing a holding call that no one -- refs, booth team, coaches -- spotted during the game is pretty much the dictionary definition of whining.

marino.eccher
marino.eccher

@T.Christian It was also really off-base. The quarterbacking has been muddled, but the Vikings are bad this year because the defense has been rancid.

AlisonWestbrooke
AlisonWestbrooke

@luvfoozball The Lions had immediate concerns in other positions that had to be addressed....and they did that with each of their draft picks in 2013. They were just lucky that Fauria was still available at the end.

josef918
josef918

@LeeMorrell I gotta say...I just don't get this one.  'I overlooked the stat line' doesn't even begin to explain it.

RCH
RCH

@touseyd Whiteboys cant be fined for dancing because whiteboys can't dance.

thomasoverley
thomasoverley

@touseyd Hey race Baiter every single one of them can and could dance while getting into the End Zone and many of them did and do, its the things they did BEYOND that like pulling out the sharpie ect..  Hate when some idiot finds a way to bring race into a story where there is none

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@touseyd Follow the link to Fauria's dancing. He spends like five seconds celebrating. No taunting. No obscene gestures. No lifting up his shirt to reveal some sort of message. There are rules about this sort of stuff, and if you think that Ochocinco and T.O. didn't willingly violate them, you're kidding yourself. There are plenty of touchdowns scored every Thursday, Sunday and Monday by black players who do a little dance and don't get penalized for it. Don't try to draw some sort of racial lines based on the fact that a few guys get hit for breaking the rules.

donald5
donald5

@touseyd You will find that your whiny racial tirade does not hold much water when you look at what they were fined for.  They get fined for using props you moron.

thomasoverley
thomasoverley

@Mike26 could not agree more, love MMQB but his constant pats obsession makes it tough at times

MicahThoughtlife
MicahThoughtlife

@marino.eccher @T.Christian Yeah exactly, the point about the quarterbacking is moot because, hey, it wasn't stellar last year either. Seemed to me the questioner was asking what's different, not what's the same. So yeah I agree the slide on defense would have been a better point to make.

texpete
texpete

@RCH @touseyd You know all this dance, celebration stuff did get out of hand at one time.  I think it was sometime between when I loved watching football, and now, but seriously isn't time we admit it is almost biologically impossible not to dance in the end zone?  Let me lay some (mostly true, I guess) knowledge on you about the body.

 Picture this, a player gets the ball, suddenly his brain sends a quick FYI to his sympathetic nervous system, "man the adrenals boys this could get ugly".  When all of a sudden the player breaks into the open and the brain says "Holy crap there are 8 300 lb men chasing us. Brain to adrenals kick it in boys we are in "fight or flight" mode and it looks like we're going with flight.  Give me all your adrenaline and keep it coming.  Adrenals to brain "I'm givin' ya all we've got captain." Heart pumping every ounce of blood to the muscles adrenaline all over that darn place, biologically speaking it is a mess. Brain screaming "ahhh we're all gonna die, we're gonna die give us more adrenaline." 
When all of a sudden, the brain says, "Hey we stopped?  Why did we stop? I mean we crossed this white line and we're not gonna die?"  However the muscles and heart haven't come to the same conclusion.  It takes a while for the brain to blow the all clear, and call his pal the parasympathetic "Yeah this is the brain, this dude is not getting that he needs to calm down, give him a big dose of Acetylcholine before he starts dancing or waving or something.  That is not appropriate behavior after having just escaped with your life and after reaching an objective. I say again INAPPROPRIATE!"  Meanwhile the poor guys legs and arms are like, "Oh now you want the librarian?  Killer on that side, Dewy Decimal this side?." Well too bad, because the feet just left and we are moon walking and then doing the salsa before that stupid brain stops us.  

It is a true battle of biology and it is difficult to predict the winner.  It's like neurotransmitter Texas Hold em, and sometimes your body just goes all in.

Meanwhile in the stands and at home we didn't do a darn thing, and we cannot sit down.  Us fat guys with wearing his jersey are high fiving, doing little living room, dances, heck most of us will even kiss a baby or it's momma if one is close by.  We have no skills, and as for hormones, the room goes silent when those Low T commercials come on.  All the while, the guy who did all the work which we are currently taking credit for, what does he get?  A pat on the butt from 40 guys on the sideline.  Now I know dancing is a violation, but I ask you would you feel more violated dancing with a 3 teammates or having 40 of them pat you on the butt?

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@touseyd Come to think of it, didn't Ochocinco actually, like, budget end zone fines, knowing that he'd incur them for the stuff he'd do? I seem to remember PK chastising him for that by essentially saying that he can do whatever he wants with his money, but wouldn't it be better spent on, like, charity?

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@thomasoverley @Mike26 This was all over the board Monday and I actually went back and took a look at this year's regular-season columns. The Pats were only really touched on in one column before this week's. PK's written about the Bengals more in 2013.

SpartanTarget
SpartanTarget

@ericwkillian @SpartanTarget @touseyd Retired player funds and other stuff the league's worked out with the Player's Association. There are still a lot smarter ways to give to charity (like picking your own) and it ain't like Ochocinco was intentionally getting penalized because he loved to give.

BostonTim
BostonTim

@SpartanTarget @thomasoverley @Mike26 But it's not like Brady conducted an epic 70 yard drive with 73 seconds left and no timeouts, finishing with a gorgeous 17 yard TD pass to his undrafted rookie FA to win the Biggest game of the against year against one of the hottest and best teams  in football, right.  Can't he find something worth writing about?  Whaaaa Whaaaa Whaaaa!

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