The Tuesday Mailbag

Jay Cutler returned in Week 15 after missing the previous four weeks with an ankle injury, throwing for 265 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Bears to a 38-31 win over the Browns. (Tony Dejak/AP)
Jay Cutler returned in Week 15 after missing the previous four weeks with an ankle injury, throwing for 265 yards and three touchdowns in leading the Bears to a 38-31 win over the Browns. (Tony Dejak/AP)

COOL IT ON CUTLER. I don’t know how you can have Kirk Cousins as one of your offensive players of the week and then say in your defensive players section that Zack Bowman had to bail out “the awful quarterback play of Jay Cutler.” Cutler had very similar numbers to Cousins—they both had three touchdowns and two picks, Cutler had a stronger completion percentage of 71 percent vs. 64 percent and Cutler had a higher overall rating, 102 to 94. In the second half, when the game was being decided, Cutler had a quarterback rating of 143.5.

Given the rust inherent in coming back after being off for a month, maybe give the guy a little time to get back in a groove and start to play well? Doesn’t it seem fair to say you are either vastly overrating what Kirk Cousins did or underrating Jay Cutler?

—Jeremiah F., Providence

I was too hard on Cutler. I watched most of the first half of that game, and his throws consistently sailed high. Obviously he played better in the second half and was an important contributor when they really needed to score late. But, I think that Cousins, who has had 1/50th the NFL experience of Cutler, had a significantly tougher road on Sunday. I’d argue that he played the best game that a Washington quarterback has played this year, and he did so walking onto the field for the first time all year, after backing up the starter for three months. But I get it. I was too hard on Cutler. You and others were right to call me out on it.

GOLD DIGGERS. Loved the Michael Thomas story. I’ve always wondered how teams keep tabs on players on other teams’ practice squads. Would the Dolphins have had any insight into Thomas’s progress since 2012 (when he went undrafted), or would their decision to sign him have been based entirely on their pre-draft scouting reports?

—Kris Borg-Olivier

Great question. In most situations, when grabbing guys from other teams’ practice squads, teams rely on a combo platter of information. There’s little doubt that the Dolphins would have liked Thomas when he played at Stanford and it’s highly likely that when they scouted the last two preseasons, that he would have stuck out to them. Usually in a case like this, Miami would be looking for a good special teams player and would have what coaches and GMs would call their “short list” of players either on the street or on practice squads of other teams. When they have a hole on their roster, they are able to go down that list and see who is next in line. Sometimes a team strikes gold when picking up one of these players. And last week, the Dolphins struck gold in Michael Thomas.

SEATTLE’S SECRET. It seems like everyone in the NFL has a shortage of quality defensive backs—except the Seahawks. Antoine Winfield retired because he couldn’t make the team. With Brandon Browner and Walter Thurmond both out, Byron Maxwell and Jeremy Lane have not just filled in but absolutely thrived. So is it the scheme? Front-seven pressure? Pete Carroll’s attitude and “everyone competes” mentality? Why do the Seahawks have so many good and a few great defensive backs when everyone else is looking to find just two quality starters?

—Ray Alejandro, Houston

TALK BACK

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

Awesome question. I think the answer has three factors involved:

1. As Earl Thomas told me a couple of weeks ago, the backups are never referred to as “backups” from the moment the final roster is set. They’re simply referred to as cornerbacks. When they play, guys like Richard Sherman and Thomas put pressure on them to perform as a starter would. Take the case of Maxwell. He has played so well because he has allowed the chip that Sherman and Thomas and others have put on his shoulder to motivate him to play at a very high level. So I think part of this, quite frankly, is mental.

2. General Manager John Schneider looks for not just a good athlete at the cornerback position, but also a player who is going to have a great bit of confidence in himself and who is going to show that when he plays. Schneider does not want shrinking violets in his secondary.

3. Pete Carroll and the defensive coaching staff know that a huge help to a cornerback’s ability to shut down a good receiver is the presence of safeties over the top that can instill fear into receivers and help corners feel like they don’t have to be on an island. With big hitters like Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas behind them, that’s a tremendous help to cornerbacks.

GET OUT THE SCISSORS, STEELERS. I have always enjoyed your perspective on the NFL and I would love to hear your thoughts about the upcoming management decisions about the Steelers. Put your GM hat on. What decisions would you make in regards to player personnel moves with the Pittsburgh Steelers after this season?

—Doug Mclane, Bossier City, La.

I think the first thing that I would do is stop extending veterans of a certain age. You’re going to have to make tough decisions in this environment, especially when the cap is only going up $3.3 million in 2014. If that means that you have to cut Ike Taylor to save $7 million or you have to cut LaMarr Woodley for additional significant cap savings, those are decisions that might hurt today, but are going to help you build a deeper team tomorrow.

CALLING THE COMPETITION COMMITTEE. Wanted to ask about the hit on the Bengals punter Sunday night. That had to be illegal and fine-worthy right? If a QB got hit like that, the player who hit him would have been flagged, possibly ejected, certainly fined and maybe suspended. If the NFL is serious about player safety, don’t they have to do something about a play like that?

—Timothy B., Southfield, Mich.

There is no question in my mind that the Competition Committee will analyze the hit on Kevin Huber when it meets to discuss new rules after this season. That hit, though legal, flies in the face of what the NFL is trying to do, which is to make the game safer. I agree with you. The game would be much better off without hits like that.

THE NFL VERSION OF FLOPPING? This has been building up over the past year and has now reached disturbing levels. Is it just me or does it seem like every pass that is closely defended and broken up results in the receiver getting up and doing the “throw the flag” gyration and gesture? It looks like the incessant flopping so commonly seen in soccer. Let’s call a couple unsportsmanlike penalties to calm this annoying tactic or require the receiver to sit a couple of plays. What are your thoughts on this?

—Stuart S.

I think you’re exaggerating. I agree that it is an obnoxious practice by the offensive players, but this league throws enough penalty flags as it is. I respect the fact that this annoys you, but I think it’s too minor of an annoyance to deserve a penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct.

themmqb.com

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93 comments
mikeytrapp
mikeytrapp

Wait . . . the hit on Kevin Huber was legal?  It was not even close to being legal.  Your rep as a shill for the league remains untarnished, Peter.

John Schneck
John Schneck

Brady is not having an MVP year by any stretch.  Peter King is the New England boot-boy.  Brady has lost games that in the past he would will his team to win.  This was especially prevelent in Miami.   Giving back the #1 seed is just not Brady.  No MVP for him or #2 or #3.  


And neither is Russell Wilson.  Although he is the poster boy of the new wave of QB's for composure and understanding of the game,  and he is blowing away the other poster boys like Andrew and RGIII right now,  lets be honest,  his numbers, which are pretty pedestrian do not scream out MVP.  


The teams success has more to do with his defense being #1 in the NFL than he does being an "MVP" -- 


So, that pretty much brings Manning to the top by default.   He is the obvious choice right now. 


And this is from a die-hard Seahawks fan.


However,  we'll take the win in the Meadowlands come February over the MVP any day.   


js

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

Personally, I feel Brady deserves the award. He has lost Welker, Woodhead, Hernandez, Wilfork, Mayo, Gronk for a significant period of time, Amendola for a few games, Kelly, Vereen for 10 weeks, and despite all of that, the Pats are 10-4, beaten the Saints and Broncos, and are in prime position for a playoff bye and another run at his 4th title. With roughly the same team that Manning has, Tim Tebow won a playoff game. If Tim Tebow was QB for the Pats, they'd be 3-11. That's all you need to know.

Darren1
Darren1

I must say I agree with Stuart S. The constant gesticulating for a PI penalty is highly annoying. New rules instituted last year in the NBA for such behavior now results in a technical foul. 

Wisconsin Death Trip
Wisconsin Death Trip

"Now Entering the MVP Race: Jamaal Charles"

Apparently Peter you don't even read your own magazine. SI anointed Peyton Manning as sportsman of the year. Your "pamphlet" at SI has already picked the MVP for this season.....GET IT?

John64
John64

It's kind of funny and ironic that Peter "I love me some Peyton" King wrote this piece. Everyone knows his MVP vote was cast in stone for Manning after his 5th TD pass vs the Ravens on opening night.

rckymtn4
rckymtn4

I disagree that motioning for a flag is too insignificant to call a penalty. If you can get a penalty for taking your helmet off or celebrating a touchdown wrong, then signaling for a penalty is right up that alley. I'm a Broncos fan but every time Eric Decker motions for a penalty (which is about every time he doesn't make the catch) I want to pull my hair out.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

again manning will likely get is as his final 2 games against 2-12 houston and 4-10 oakland, and after what charles just did to the raiders, just imangine what manning will do, and i think he will likely play only a half, as i think hets the record against the texans and depending on what happens with the colts and chiefs, if the chiefs lose and broncos win, they get the west and guranteed a top 2 seed

Ron5
Ron5

Seahawks:

4. PEDs

SilverX2
SilverX2

I noticed no mention of the "gift win" the ravens got last night. I guess only the patriots get "gift wins" In case you are wondering the ravens got away with a few PI calls, and then got PI calls in their favor when there was not contact what so ever

jim1096
jim1096

This comment is totally "homer" worthy but if the Bears manage to make the playoffs, Josh McCown could be considered given his stellar play and keeping the Bears afloat. 

tsf14
tsf14

I agree with Stuart S. that the whining has gotten totally out of control in the NFL. Not just the receivers but everyone. Defensive backs almost never foul  I'm a Patriots fan but Tom Brady is the worst - cries about everything.  Go back to the huddle and run the next play. 

Odin's Goat
Odin's Goat

@Reedster2185Still foaming at the mouth whenever the Pats get a mention?  Just try and unbunch a bit.

Jon8
Jon8

@VexPith


I did! I voted for Nick Foles! (Note: NOT an Eagles fan!)

John64
John64

@John Schneck Absolutely Manning is the only choice for MVP.  Especially considering the Broncos will stomp the Texans and Raiders to finish 13-3, win the #1 seed and Manning will be the first QB ever to throw for 50+ TDs and 5,000+ yards in the same season.  

And then yes... Seattle will ruin his immaculate season in frigid SB 48...

John64
John64

@John Schneck Someday I believe SI will put out an article entitled "Tom Brady or Peyton Manning: Which QB does Peter King drool over more?"  And the answer will be:  "Trick question. He loves them both equally as a father would love his two sons."



John64
John64

@RescuedfromESPNHey I like Tom Brady as much as the next overzealous, demented fanboy, but do you realize the extreme vitriol that would be hurled Brady's way if HE won MVP??  Anyone and everyone who isn't a Brady fan (oh yeah, there are A LOT of them) would lose their collective minds and cry foul for decades to come.  Trust me on this one... it wouldn't be worth it.

George
George

@John64 fatboy king loves farve a ton more than Peyton or Brady.

blynder
blynder

@rckymtn4 

I'm a Denver fan as well.  Decker does that quite a bit and it is noticeable.  I don't think it should be a fine - but I'd also love to see a coach pull a player aside and say "knock that $h!Z off!"  Let the ref's call the game and let ME argue with them about plays and penalties!"  But alas...

I also happen to feel the same way about celebrations after sacks, big hits and TD's.  My coach in H.S. told us (where NO celebrating was allowed - ever), "Act like you've been there before."  Generally, a nice way to handle success to me.  Humility means so much more.

pk_sea
pk_sea

@Ron5 The only difference between Seattle and some other team is that Seattle got caught. Put your binky back in your mouth and quit whining. 

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

@SilverX2 ok it wasn't a gift win, as they earned it i mean my god tucker hit a 61 yard field goal, no the reason why the lions lost, is megatron dropped 3 catches he routinely makes

Ron5
Ron5

@SilverX2In Petey's universe no games are played after Sunday and before Thursday. They are always excluded from his players of the week.

never4get
never4get

@SilverX2 I noticed no mention of the low hit on Joe Flacco's knee that got no flag and left him limping the rest of the evening. Both teams were 7-6 and we got no endzone action. Your boys have an all world defensive line and the best WR in the world, but we still scrapped out a two point win. Both teams had plenty of calls for false starts and encroachment all night long. Quit whining about the refs and try winning the games you're supposed to win. Maybe one day you'll get into the win column in the playoffs for a change. With all that talent on both sides of the ball, you've got no one to blame but yourselves.




evil.aaronm
evil.aaronm

@SilverX2 Seems to be a pattern.  The NFL called up Minnesota last week to apologize for giving the game to the Ravens, then, too.

blynder
blynder

@jim1096 

Most have said it - a pretty strong probably not - but it does make me wonder if there shouldn't be an award for unsung hero or unexpected hero or something.  I suppose that is what the pro bowl could be for (no way we see McCown there)...

John64
John64

@jim1096 Considered a capable backup QB? Sure, ok.  Considered for MVP?  Uh.... no.

Bucky182
Bucky182

@tsf14 Agree. While watching the Green Bay-Dallas game (I'm a Packers fan) on Sunday there was an incomplete pass intended for Miles Austin and there was noticeable contact. Maybe not enough for a flag but there was definitely contact on Austin. When the play was over Austin got up, made a quick glance toward the official, saw there was no flag, and jogged back to the huddle. I remember thinking to myself how rare it was to see a guy do that. I can appreciate a player that appreciates what the officials do. Grow up and move on. Since when does throwing your arms up and crying magically make a flag appear?

Mike26
Mike26

@tsf14 I agree 1000% about the whining.  Any time Brady is hit he lays on the ground waiting for a flag.  As soon as it comes, he hops up, smiles and starts clapping.


And there's no way you're a Patriot fan.  ZERO CHANCE.  No real Patriot fan would EVER criticize their Field Commander...

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

@John64 @RescuedfromESPN Indeed. Don't get me wrong, Peyton Manning is one of the all-time greats and has had a fantastic year. The main reason Manning gets so much flak is that he had to play along side another All-time great who is slightly better than him. Is Brady better than Manning? Yes, but that shouldn't mean the Manning isn't amazing and top-5 all time in his own right. 

KevinB2014
KevinB2014

@Darren1 @CobyPreimesberger Agree. People write posts that they want others to read, yet they won't even take the time to go back and read them themselves before clicking the "Post comment" button. I often stop reading after it becomes apparent that the poster shows no respect for their readers. Proofreading: what a novel concept.

blynder
blynder

@picklejuice @Ron5 

I've always wondered why a football player would want to use pot; but I have not smoked in a long time - what I remember is that I felt more lethargic and had slower reaction/alerts - why do that in a fast moving sport?  Of course they're not high during games but - whatever. 

I don't smoke anymore (and really only did it a handful of times) and am confused on why it is illegal and alcohol is legal.  Seeing a football player being busted for pot just makes me shake my head tbh. It's about morality more than any given benefit... To me, this is one of those things that just needs to go away.  Let's stop busting them for smoking pot; unless it is a driving under the influence (of pot) or showing up to work (on pot) or something of that nature.

Mike26
Mike26

@picklejuice @Ron5 100% correct.


AND, 100% stupid and selfish that ANY player gets caught with it in their systems - especially multiple players from the same team.  ALLEGEDLY.

John64
John64

@never4get  Every week these boards are littered with people whining about calls or no-calls.  Ugh... Enough with the whining about flags already.  You all sound like Tom Brady and/or pretty much any and all WRs when you do that... 

PatrickMurphy
PatrickMurphy

@never4get@SilverX2 I'll tell you what should have been an unsportsmanslike conduct penalty.  Stafford's leap for a TD when he was signaling for a spike a few games ago.


If the defense would have come after him, they would have been penalized but instead Stafford knew that they would just line up and he could jump over and score. 


Something has to be done to clarify that when motioning for a spike you have to go through with it.

John64
John64

@Mike26  But I always get a kick out of comments like that...  "I'm not a Patriots fan, in fact I DESPISE Tom Brady and I hope he DIES of AIDS today!!!!  ...but he's probably the greatest QB of all-time and seems like a really cool guy..."  LOL... 

John64
John64

@Mike26  It's the PEYTON fanboys that flat out refuse to EVER criticize their man crush.  Or ever put one ounce of blame on him for any game lost or INT thrown.  That guy is the recipient for more lame excuses for his failures by his fan base than any player in NFL history. 

John64
John64

@Mike26  Untrue.  I'm a HUGE Brady fan and I put 100% of the blame on him for EVERY SINGLE Patriots loss since 2001, minus 2008.  Go ahead, try me...  Brady either gets it done or he doesn't. NO excuses from me.  Plus he dresses like an idiot and he really needs to stop the drama queen act. 

RescuedfromESPN
RescuedfromESPN

@John64 @RescuedfromESPN Sadly, he gets compared to Brady, which brings him down by comparison. All Manning needs to do is beat NE in the playoffs again and win another SB and that should secure his legacy as the greatest of the generation.

John64
John64

@RescuedfromESPN  What if Denver doesn't play NE in the playoffs, but he wins another SB?  

I agree 100%--- there is no way Brett Favre is a better all-time QB than Joe Montana, yet his cumulative stats obliterate Montana's.  

John64
John64

@RescuedfromESPN  Wait... so you're saying the reason Manning gets so much criticism is because he played in the same era as a QB who is better, and that QB is Brady?

That seems like a slightly bizarre concept if I may be so bold. 

What, in your opinion, would Manning have to accomplish to leap ahead of Brady on your all-time QB list? 

John Schneck
John Schneck

@DeeEmm1 @blynder @picklejuice @Ron5 

...which is exactly why no one is Seattle cares if Brandon Browner comes back to the team or not.  His play this year is down a couple of notches from his first.  It is obvious to me 'something' happened... is that 'something'  Pot? it has changed him.  


Pot is the opposite of PED's.


js

DeeEmm1
DeeEmm1

@blynder@picklejuice@Ron5They do it after practices and games to relax their aching bodies, not for during games. Although, for some people, being high during the game might be beneficial. It doesn't affect everyone the same way.

Darren1
Darren1

@blynder @picklejuice @Ron5 I was a goalkeeper in high school and college and the one time I tried cannabis during a summer league game (against a bad team we knew we were going to whip) I was terrible -- poor reaction time, indecisive, just kind of out of it. Never did THAT again!!!

woodson26
woodson26

@John64@never4getNot to mention the soccer players that tumble whenever they are touched and beg for calls...like the emailer mentioned

John64
John64

@Mike26  Anymore when I watch the NFL, I feel like it's slowly morphing into the WWE.  Everything is for glitzy-entertainment value and the game itself is reflecting that.  It's becoming like arena football. Offenses just go through defenses like a knife through butter anymore.  It's too easy.  And the gaudy, video game passing numbers also reflect that.  

Incompletion? Screw that, because somewhere we'll find a defensive holding or P.I. or pushing-the-passer or helmet-to-helmet or some other penalty that involves a defender offending an offensive player.

Can't wait for the "Illegal verbal abuse, #65, defense, 15 yards, automatic first down." penalty that results in your favorite team losing a super bowl...

rckymtn4
rckymtn4

@Mike26 @sstafford0707 @John64 It seems that the Broncos have been on tv a lot but it seems you haven't watched any games. Yes, Manning hits receivers on timing patterns but he also is very good at going through his progressions on those times when his receivers are "breathed upon."

Mike26
Mike26

@sstafford0707 @Mike26 @John64 Stas-wise, not at all - EXCEPT when a defense plays the WR's tight and the officials let them get breathed upon.  When that happens, the ultra-important timing is affected and Manning doesn't have the arm strength to threaten downfield more than 35-40 yards - and then they Broncos struggle to win.

sstafford0707
sstafford0707

@Mike26@John64Manning is having his 2nd-highest ever Y/At so it really doesn't matter of his down-field strength has diminished

Mike26
Mike26

@John64 @Mike26 John, you're getting harder and harder to argue with; my only disagreement is that the Bradyians are nealry as bad as the Mannings.  I appreciate and respect both of them but can see that both are on the downslope of their careers - yes, even Manning, whose stats are gaudy but throwing distance is decreasing annually (and noticeably).

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