GOOD FOR GORDON, BAD FOR ME. I just finished reading MMQB and am amazed at the Josh Gordon omission by you. Eric Decker’s and Alshon Jeffery’s great games were highlighted, but not one mention of Josh Gordon and the fact he is the only WR with two consecutive 200-yard receiving games? I would think that was at least as newsworthy, if not more so. What gives and what am I missing?
I received dozens of emails like yours, John. That was a mistake on my part not to mention Gordon. I usually do not name players as Players of the Week two weeks in a row, and Gordon was one of my Offensive Players of the Week last week. Still, this was a fairly extraordinary circumstance: the first time a player has had two consecutive 200-yard receiving games in the regular season in NFL history. I was wrong not to write something about him and you are right to point it out.
FOOTBALL. EMPHASIS ON THE FIRST SYLLABLE. Extra points are near 100 percent and Justin Tucker has made 93 percent of his field goals—we all agree, how boring! My simple solution—no more kickers. Instead let’s run one play for the points. For an extra point, one play from the 1-yard line. For field goals, you must be inside the 40 and then you can choose to run a play for the three points. From the 30-39 yard line, move the ball to the 6-yard line for one play; 20-29 move to the 5; 10-19 to the 4, 0-9 to the 3. It’s a simple solution and the result is exciting with creative play calling at its finest.
The one point I have about all of your various ideas for eliminating extra points and field goals is I don’t think the NFL wants to take the “foot” out of football. I don’t think they want to eliminate the field goal. I think they want to work on ways to make the field goal not as automatic as it is right now. Your ideas are intriguing, and I’m very much in favor of anything that would make field goals either more challenging, or to make it different conceptually. The best idea I’ve heard is a simple narrowing of the goal post. I don’t think the NFL is going to do anything to eliminate the field goal itself.
ZACH LINE UPDATE. I was hoping we could read more about Zach Line. My understanding was that no matter what happened to him (season-ending IR), we would continue to get insight on the life of a undrafted hopeful. I was excited to learn about him making the team, disappointed to hear about the injury and timing that led to him being placed on the IR. I understand it’s likely a less interesting story now that he isn’t going to compete in games, but what is he doing on a daily basis? Working out? Studying tape? Playing Madden 2013 on his XBox after trading Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart for a cornerback?
This is a very good idea. You’re right. I’m going to ask Jenny Vrentas to do another installment in the Zach Line series soon and I appreciate you reminding us that he’s an interesting character. The MMQB readers really have identified with his quest for a pro football career. So thank you.
RILEY COOPER BACKLASH. You wrote in MMQB that it was Chip Kelly’s best decision this year to give Riley Cooper another chance. Why? Because he’s playing well? I’m not saying that Cooper should or should not have been forgiven or given another chance (I believe that was up to his teammates, and it sounds like most of them supported him), but to say that his recent success validates Chip’s decision is shortsighted. Does that mean any superstar should get a free pass because they’re expected to excel? The punishment of any poor decision should not reflect the expected (or actual) production of the athlete, but rather the extent of their misgivings. I’m disappointed, Peter.
—Steven W., NYC
Here’s my question for you: if a person makes a terrible mistake and he asks forgiveness for the mistake, and he is granted conditional forgiveness—that is, he is basically told to prove that he means what he said in his apology—and then he spends the next four months doing all the right things, and then he has some success on the field to help his team win, is it not worth our praise?
Look, I understand your point. You believe I wouldn’t have praised the decision if Riley Cooper were not playing well. You might be right. I might not have taken much notice of him if he were inactive most weeks and just a marginal player. But the fact is he has played well and, by every report, has been a model citizen. I’m sorry that you’re disappointed in me, but this is a production business. Cooper was given another shot on the team, and he is producing. I think Kelly read the situation correctly, gave the guy another chance and is being rewarded. It’s not a good decision. As of now, it’s a great decision.
MORE RULES? If the NFL wants to be able to apply the Rooney Rule to head coaching candidates, then it must be applied to the entire “coaching pipeline.” How can you expect that new minority coaches who have not had the same opportunities as whites to be as qualified when they interview? I assert that if the NFL wants the Rooney Rule to work as intended, then they need to expand the scope and include coordinators and position coaches. Grooming minorities at the lower levels will ensure they have a fair opportunity at the head coaching level.
—Shane, Warner Robins, Ga.
I think you are right in wanting the Rooney Rule to spread down to lesser positions on the coaching staff. That’s smart. But I believe that one of the things you can’t do in this business is over-legislate the effort to do anything. One of the things that this new NFL committee is making sure that it does is to advance the cause of some white head coaching candidates just to be sure that everyone is getting an equal opportunity to get head coaching interviews. I’ll be interested to see if the league’s initiative works. In my opinion, over the years, the smartest owners have had an open mind entering their head coaching searches. When that happens, Mike Tomlin gets hired, and John Harbaugh gets hired.