Hope you guys had a wonderful Thanksgiving. I'm preparing to board a flight bound for Chicago's O'Hare Airport because I hear it's a neat place to visit during the holidays. The Beast blog will be attending Sunday's Bears-Eagles game, but I'll also be observing the Redskins and Giants. Now, let's see if we have any leftovers in this week's special holiday Mailbag:
Drew in Chicago, what's on your mind? Love the blog and honestly, you are the reason I come to ESPN.com. We have seen Peyton Manning time and time again make average receivers into major contributors in the Colts' offense. If Eli is able to do the same with Manningham, Calhoun, Hagan and Clayton in the coming weeks, do you think he silences the naysayers that still consider him to be a slightly above average QB? Or will he never be able to shed this stereotype simply because of the greatness of his brother?
Mosley: Drew, thanks for the kind words. I think Eli will always carry the "overrated" tag, in part, because of his older brother's greatness. But I do think that putting this team on his back for a couple weeks with Steve Smith and Hakeem Nicks out with injuries could earn him a little more respect. It's not like Peyton had to go through long stretches without Marvin Harrison or Reggie Wayne over the years, so I'm not sure it's fair to say he's done it with "average" receivers. The Colts do a nice job identifying young receivers who fit their system. Austin Collie might not be a star for the New York Giants, but I'm not sure that makes him "average." Peyton's already done enough to be a first-ballot Hall of Famer in my opinion. I don't think Eli's anywhere close to that right now, but I do know they have the same amount of Super Bowl rings.
Jason from Bryn Mawr, Pa., has a question about how we perceive this 3-8 Cowboys team: Ok, I know that this loss looked and felt different than losses earlier in season, but if we examine more closely, how much different is it really from the early season losses to Washington, Chicago, etc.? It obviously showed great character for the team to fight back after going down 17-0 early, but ill-timed penalties and another fluke turnover cost this team another game (just like Chicago and Washington).
Mosley: The Cowboys lost those games you referenced when we still thought they were playoff contenders. That obviously changed when the players quit on Wade Phillips and themselves en route to a 1-7 record. Even though Jason Garrett led the Cowboys to consecutive wins, I don't think a lot of folks felt great about their chances of beating one of the NFC's best teams Thursday. I think being able to fight back from a 17-0 deficit and eventually take the lead will serve this team well in the future. Garrett's raised everyone's expectations again in only three weeks as the interim head coach, and that's why he has to be considered the leading candidate for the job right now. I realize there were some mistakes in this game by the Cowboys, but none of them had to do with poor effort. That was the biggest indictment of these players before the man from Princeton took over.
Tom in Seattle has a question about Kevin Kolb's trade value: Just finished reading your thoughts on Kevin Kolb's off-season trade value and was a bit surprised by the relatively low value (2nd rounder) you think he has around the league. We're talking about a high second-round draft choice with four seasons of pro training in a complicated offense, along with a proven ability to excel (two NFC player of the week awards in six NFL starts). If you're a team in need of a starting quarterback, why use a first-rounder on an unproven commodity who will be paid franchise quarterback money?
Mosley: Tom, it's a fair question. I just know that the Eagles were reportedly seeking two first-rounders for Kolb at one point last season, and that seems a bit steep. There are a few general managers out there who love Kolb (Tom Heckert in Cleveland, for example), but that team already appears to have a fine young quarterback in Colt McCoy. I think Kolb's a sure-fire starter in the league, but the Eagles need to have someone reliable behind Vick because he takes more punishment than a lot of quarterbacks. As ESPN's Adam Schefter suggested recently, it's likely the Eagles will be content to retain both quarterbacks in 2011. They'll slap the franchise tag on Vick (roughly $15 million) and then keep Kolb as his backup. That is, unless a team such as the Bills or Vikings decide they can't live without him.
Andrew from New York has an issue with Chris Canty: Just to make sure, Chris Canty plays for the Giants defense, which has bragged about how many quarterbacks it has managed to injure this year, correct? The same one that had a stated goal of trying to knock Michael Vick out of the game? The first [Todd] Herremans play was certainly worthy of a call, but let's not blow this out of proportion -- or pretend that the Giants have clean hands.
Mosley: Canty doesn't say a lot to reporters, but he chose to call out Herremans last week for what he perceived to be "dirty" play. Herremans was able to respond and everyone moved on with their lives. I think every team wants to get some shots on the quarterback, and most of them don't feel bad when the quarterback is forced out of a game. I've never thought the Giants were a particularly dirty team, but I understand where you're coming from. I haven't really noticed New York's defenders doing anything out of the ordinary when they've knocked quarterbacks out of the game. In the game against the Bears, they simply pounded Jay Cutler into submission with repeated sacks and hits. Linebacker Michael Boley broke Tony Romo's collarbone, but it didn't happen on a particularly violent play. He drove Romo to the turf on a legal hit.
Stephen in Philadelphia has a question about Cowboys wide receiver Kevin Ogletree: Last year near the end of the season, Kevin Ogletree was starting to steal snaps from Roy Williams and actually made a few plays in those back to back games with Philly. I thought we had a future No. 2 WR on our hands. What happened with this guy?
Mosley: I think Ogletree simply fell out of favor with Jason Garrett. The Cowboys needed him to be a contributor on special teams, but he wasn't getting it done. And he didn't have the type of training camp that everyone was expecting. Ogletree appears to have a lot of talent, but he loses focus at times and will drop easy balls. If you're doing that during preseason games, you're probably not going to see the field in the regular-season. If he doesn't make a major move this offseason, he won't be on the roster in 2011.
John from Niwot, Colo., has a Washington question: The Redskins are an incredible 4-2 against teams with the same or better records than them this year, including a very close loss to the Colts. But they are 1-3 against teams with a worse record. In fact, the team the Redskins lost to have a combined 23-27 record while the teams they have beaten have a combined 29-21 record. What's up with that?
Mosley: John, you've done entirely too much research on this issue. The Redskins are trying to make the transition to a 3-4 defense on the fly and adjust to a new quarterback. They dominated the Eagles at the line of scrimmage in their first matchup and then were overwhelmed in Game 2 at FedEx. (And Vick was knocked out before halftime.) I think some of this is to be expected. This is a hard team to get a read on because they just don't have any consistency. They went to Tennessee and won an important game. But I could totally see them getting embarrassed at home against the Vikings on Sunday. This is about a .500 team -- and that's quite an improvement over last season.