MORT'S MAILBAG: Jan. 15
Q: Now that Schottenheimer is out and Spurrier is in for the Washington Redskins, I have two questions: Will Stephen Davis, who led the NFC in rushing again this year, be completely ignored? And wouldn't Marty be a good fit for Carolina? The Panthers need somebody to crack the whip over there, and he seems to know how to do that pretty well. -- 'Skins #1 fan, Springfield, Va.
MORT -- Yeah, it's going to be interesting to see how Stephen Davis is utilized by Spurrier, because Spurrier is going to throw the football and lacks patience with the running game. Schottenheimer would be a great fit for Carolina -- they need a strong guy. The Panthers are a fairly young team and young players need to be led. Marty isn't afraid to lead. I think Marty is also a serious candidate in San Diego.
Q: Again the Baltimore Ravens are in the postseason but are getting no respect from any football analyst. And again they proved you all wrong. Everybody had them ranked way at the bottom, No. 12 in the playoff rankings. Can we not give respect where respect is due? I mean, they are the defending Super Bowl champs! -- Jared Chichester, Baltimore, Md.
MORT -- Jared, don't complain! The Ravens fed off the "no respect" thing a year ago, and judging by their attitude going into the playoffs they are using that mantra again. They are the defending champs, so they definitely have respect from their opponents, especially after Sunday.
Q: Steve Spurrier will get a $25 million deal, sources say ... Marty Schottenheimer is officially out, and sources say that ex-Florida coach Steve Spurrier is in -- do these sources have a name? Otherwise, my sources believe you made it up! -- Phillip Woeckener, Ashburn, Va.
MORT -- Phillip, yep, that's what we do around here -- we make it all up. Seriously, if the sources were identified, you never would have gotten the information (accurately) as early as you did. We always prefer that our sources go on the record, but that's not the way our business works. It's our job, my job, to make sure the sources are credible and that they are cross-checked.
Q: Is it possible for a retired or inactive NFL player to return to active play after having done a beer or alcohol commercial. I realize that active players may not do this. Please solve this question for me. Some of my friends have never heard of this rule. -- Sandra Goodwin, Longview, Texas
MORT -- Sandra, yes, Barry Sanders can un-retire any time he wants and return to the NFL to open arms. Same for Troy Aikman. They just would not be doing any more beer commercials -- if they came back.
Q: I keep hearing rumors that Ricky Williams might be traded to the Miami Dolphins. I've also heard that Jim Haslett loved Chris Chambers and was going to take him with the 53rd pick last year before Miami traded with Dallas and picked him at 52. Is there any chance that a trade of Williams for Chambers (and probably a draft pick or two) could happen? -- Mitch, Memphis, Tenn.
MORT -- Mitch, the Williams' rumors have been out there since last draft, but the New Orleans Saints have said that the salary cap prohibits a deal. I'm not ruling anything out. As for Chambers, I think the Saints liked him. But it's funny, the more success Chambers had this year, the more teams I heard wanted to draft him. Always happens like that. The Dolphins will not trade Chambers.
Q: What do you think about Drew Bledsoe as a Redskin next year? Can he fill the role for Spurrier? Would Spurrier be interested? -- Rory Dalton, Augusta, Ga.
MORT -- Rory, I'm not sure that Bledsoe and Spurrier would be a good fit. I'm pretty sure Spurrier is going to want to break in a young QB to train him just like he wants, and perhaps have a veteran backup like ex-Gator Shane Matthews to help him along.
Q: As a longtime Dolphins fan, I'm totally frustrated with the annual playoff blow up. They run Don Shula out for Jimmy Johnson, he throws in the towel after the Jacksonville blowout, and now Dave Wannstedt is keeping the tradition alive. Do you see owner Wayne Huizenga pushing to make any kind of coaching change? -- Sergio, Atlanta, Ga.
MORT -- Sergio, I understand your frustration, but remember -- this frustration was there when Shula was coaching in his latter years, too. Jimmy Johnson didn't get Dan Marino in his prime, and Dave Wannstedt is doing a pretty good job. I thought the Dolphins overachieved this year, given the fact they have Jay Fiedler at QB, a run-down RB in Lamar Smith and they were playing with an O-line that was three-fifths what it was a year ago. I'm not even mentioning the injury to Daryl Gardener. Only the Rams have won more regular-season games over the past two years than the Dolphins. Is Mike Shanahan a great coach? Yes, and he finished 8-8. Is Mike Holmgren a great coach. Yes, and he finished 9-7. I do think that this is a critical offseason for the Dolphins -- Wannstedt needs to make the right decisions about his offensive coordinator, his quarterback, his running back and his line.
Q: Why, after two losing seasons and a 7-5 record this year in a weak year for the Big Ten, is Kirk Ferentz mentioned as a candidate for NFL jobs as well as a "long shot" for the Notre Dame opening weeks ago? -- Tim Locher, Lee's Summit, Mo.
MORT -- Tim, Kirk Ferentz is highly regarded in coaching circles. He also fits the mode of a college head coach who has NFL experience as an assistant. That combination was worked well in the NFL. I can't speak to his record in Iowa, except that NFL people thinks he's doing a good job with the talent on hand.