Mailbag: All-decade outrage, allegations fly
Posted by ESPN.com's Mike Sando
Drew from Fife, Wash., writes: Sando, normally I agree with a lot that you write, but you are clearly showing your bias towards Seattle if you think Shaun Alexander is the better choice of running back over Marhall Faulk. Yes, Alexander scored a lot of touchdows over the years. But that was a product of what might have been the strongest left side of an offensive line ever. Once Hutch went to the Vikes, Alexander's carrer was over.
Mike Sando: You really think I'm so lazy in my analysis to consider Alexander over Faulk for the all-decade team because I covered the Seahawks? Was I then secretly covering for myself by taking Kurt Warner over Matt Hasselbeck at quarterback? Jeremy Newberry over Robbie Tobeck at center? It makes no sense.
Faulk had three great years this decade. Alexander had five. Both benefited from superb supporting casts. The Rams put two offensive linemen on the all-decade team, same as the Seahawks. Faulk had the better career and was the better player over the course of his career. This was not an all-career team. It was specific to the years 2000 through 2008.
As for Hutchinson, yes, his departure hurt the Seattle offense. But it wasn't the primary factor in Alexander's demise. Remember, that was Alexander carrying 26 times for 108 yards and two touchdowns during a playoff game at Soldier Field on Jan. 14, 2007 -- with Rob Sims at left guard for Seattle.
Greg from Seattle writes: I feel compelled to push Joe Nedney's case for the NFC West all-decade team. He has outkicked Josh Brown over the past few years. He doesn't quite have Brown's leg, but his accuracy is several percentage points better. And Wilkins? Come on. In four of eight seasons this decade, his accuracy has been below 80%.
Mike Sando: Nedney is worthy for consideration. I think Nedney, Brown, Jeff Wilkins and Neil Rackers have all done great things at times this decade. Of the four, Nedney has the fewest seasons in the division with four. That is a factor as well.
Jeremy from Phoenix writes: I just got done watching Warren Sapp on NFL Network list their top five wide recievers in the league. Are you kidding me!!! They listed Larry Fitzgerald at No. 4! That's absolutely absurd.
Fitzgerald is a super human. He is sick. There is no way to describe what he can do on the field. He completed more highlight-reel catches last season alone than most receivers will complete in their entire careers. He broke just about every playoff record that exists for recievers. He turned in arguably the second-best playoff performance of any reciever in history next to Jerry Rice.
All of this said and he gets supplanted on the list by Steve Smith? Correct me if i'm wrong, but weren't Steve Smith and the Panthers on the recieving end of a complete jack-stomping by Fitz and the Cards ... in Carolina?
I can justify Randy Moss taking the No. 1 spot given his body of work. Andre Johnson came in at two. But come on!? Smith at No. 3 ahead of Fitz? This is a joke. To me this is an example of, not only the Cards, but the entire division not getting respect and being looked over. Which is fine. We all saw how the lack of respect factor worked out for the Cards last season. But am I right in being little baffled by this Mike? Or am I over reacting?
Mike Sando: Steve Smith is a great player. I have no problem with him being up there with Fitzgerald. I don't think it's a travesty to have Smith third. That said, I prefer Fitzgerald to Smith based on his size and the fact that he is less reliant on speed and shiftiness.
It's a little lazy, I think, to automatically charge bias or lack of respect when someone writes something disagreeable. I'd rather discuss the merits of the issue than hurl accusations. Ranking Fitzgerald sixth or eighth or down there would appear disrespectful. Ranking Smith third and Fitzgerald fourth? That sounds like a subject for debate.
Rich from Bellevue, Wash., writes: The millions-per-victory thing was great, but flawed. Why on earth do you only count regular-season victories? Obviously the teams that are squeezing playoff wins and Super Bowl victories out of their millions are getting more bang for the buck! I'd like to see you release new numbers taking into account playoffs. Thanks!
Mike Sando: Not a bad idea. On the other hand, the money spent covered only regular-season paychecks. The NFL pays salaries in the playoffs.
Aaron from Columbus, Ohio writes: Regarding the role of backup running back for the Rams, do you feel that because Antonio Pittman is coming up on the end of his contract, and hasn't shown a whole lot of ability over the last couple of years, that he will produce better numbers this season?
I know that the offensive line additions and acquiring a real fullback should automatically make life easier for the running backs, but I am wondering whether he will put forth more effort to remain desired in the league. If he doesn't do well, do you picture him playing in the NFL any further than this?
Mike Sando: Pittman was a fourth-round choice in 2007. That probably means he has not run out of chances, even if things do not turn out OK in St. Louis. I do not know him well enough to say what might motivate him, or what might be holding him back. The Rams are in trouble if they need Pittman or their other backup running backs for extended periods, even though Pittman would probably put up better numbers running behind a better line.