it's a couple minutes early, gang, but let's get started if tht's ok . .. hope all of you have a great holiday and, unlike yours truly, hope all your holiday shopping is complete
What do you think of the Job Tony Sparano and his front office has done in Miami this year? I know most teams are dealing with injuries, but Starting QB, RB, NT and top CB are out and yet the Fins are battling for playoffs...lets not forget, two seasons ago, this was a 1-15 roster. You look at ATL, QB and RB out and the Falcons have fallen apart.
given the injuries, a subject with which i deal in a column today, the fins have done very nice job . . . let's not overlook that they're 7-3 with chad henne, who was supposed to be the qb of the future, but has become the qb of the now
Didn't Jake Locker (UW QB) see what happened to Sam Bradford last year? Why is he not entering the draft?
jake had a lot of people advising him, including former nfl qb (and close friend) hugh millen, a former wash player ,. . . i think they convinced jake that anohrer year under sarkisian would benefit him .. . . as for injuries, we're betting, sir, that bradford is still a no. 1 . . . .probably not as high as he should have been, but a no. 1 nonetheless
Besides your ESPN colleagues, who are the NFL writers you consider "must read"?
don banks and peter king of SI, jay glazer of fox, jon czarnecki (when he has time to write) of fox, pete prisco and clark jude of cbs, rick gosselin of dallas morning news, vito stellino of florida times-union . . .i'm sure, sir, i'm missing some, but these guys are superb
Len,Do the 49ers have any shot at making the playoffs? I mean what is more realistic...the Falcons losing 2 of 3, or the Cowboys losing their last 3? I think we could maybe overtake the Boys, and if we tie them we get the tiebreaker.
hard to say, sir, since economics could enter into it, as noted a couple weeks ago . . . . browns are still paying off phil savage and romeo crennel, so that could be an issue . . . new gm of browns, whoever it is, will have a lot of say-so in this matter
How impressed are you with Aaron Rodgers? How much better is he going to get?
very impressed, sir, and still contend that in the long run, packers made the right decision at qb .. . . even in favre's final season, packers scouts i trust were bragging about how good rodgers was in practice . . . . guess they were right
Len, good to have you back. I was curious about your take on the Redskins quarterbacking future. Will Jason Campbell's late season resurgence keep them from taking a QB with their top 10 pick?
i'm a big campbell, fan, sir, so i may be a little biased . . . he's a class act and the way he's handled the team's attempts to get rid of him are admirable . . . tough to see him back again -- cerrato and snyder are already scouting draft-eligible guys -- but it could depend on the coach in 2010
Hey Len, if the Phins can sneak in to the Playoffs do you think they have enough to win it all? They SHOULD have beaten both the Colts and Saints this year..
i don't think the fins have the firepower, sir, to win it all . . . but as noted earlier, i certainly admire what they've done
Len Do you think it is very likely the Patriots will give their first round pick to the Carolina Panthers and go after Julius Peppers in the offseason because they have got to find someone to rush the passer?
there's been a lot of smoke, sir, about the pats' interest in peppers, but no fire . .. . pats might have learned something from the adalius thomas deal . .. that said, it's hard to imagine peppers back in carolina in 2010 at his pricetag
the Redskins seem to have been playing with alot more heart & physicality lately,... do u think this will keep Jim Zorn in Washington?
no, sir, i don't . . . .zorn is a terrific guy, and late-season play will help him some, but i think the ship has already sailed
Is Jerry Jones warming up the private jet to interview Wade Phillips replacement yet? Who is the best fit for Dallas's next head coach?
wade is a terrific person, sir, and players seems to like him . . . but they've got to win for him in december and beyond . . . tough to predict a new coach, because jerry isn't going to sacrifice power to land a guy like shanahan, who is going to command total control
Hey Len, do you think Matthew Stafford will get better as a QB over the years??
yes, sir, i do . .. . living in atlanta, i got to see a lot of stafford in college . . . and, even with 30 years of covering the nfl, the guy has one of the best, most facile, arms i've ever seen . . . and he clearly wants to be good
Which teams are the worst potential playoff matchup for each of the remaining undefeated teams?
tony dungy has made the point, sir, better than i can . . . the chargers seem to be a playoff nemesis for the colts, have won in indy, and are on a roll now
Len, is Sanchez's injury worse than they are letting on? If he is even 70% he must play. Clemens is awful.
no first-hand knowledge, sir, that sanchez is more hurt than advertised .. . as for clemons, i think the jets' brass conciously decided a year ago, when they traded for favre, that kellen wasn't the long-term answer
And for the Saints?
obviously, sir, if they clinch homefield throughout, they're going to be tough . . . certainly, a team built for the dome . . . but look out for minny
Len, if the Rams do end up with the top pick in the draft, do you think they should pick a QB of the future like Bradford or Clausen over a talent like Suh? I've always believed if you don't have a QB, you go get one.
i'm a big proponent, sir, that you've got to have a franchise-type qb to win in the nfl, and good buddy marc bulger has seen better days . . . still suh is a monster, and would be hard to pass . . . . from the guys to whom i talk (and it's exceedingly early in draft analysis), suh is rated higher than any of the qb prospects
Hey Len thank you for your time. Do you see the downward spiral of the Steelers as a blip on the radar or a potential multi year problem?
yes, sir, i do . . . was telling my brother (who lives in pgh) the other night that they'll probably rebound and win the sb in 2010 . .. .bet on coaching changes, though, (special teams and offense) in the offseason . . . the rooney family won't tolerate this, and tomlin knows that
You may have written on this already, but what is your opinion on the rest/don't-rest strategy for teams in the Saints/Colts position?
i'm really ambivalent, sir, which is why i haven't written much about it . . . i know the colts' track record what they rest guys, but it's hard to argue with bill polian's strategy, especially with all the injuries this year
will the bengals go all the way?
i don't thin "all the way" is in the cards, sir, but am impressed by what they've gone, particularly the job mike zimmer has done with the defense . . . you can do a lot of things when you've got two cbs playing so well, and that's been a key
Mr. Pasquarelli, how should Randy Moss be handled?
certainly a qus=estion, sir, i've been asked a lot the past couple days . . . the attribute bill belichick has told me several times is his favorie thing about moss is his competitiveness . . . think BB will appeal to that . . . will say this: i haven't seen last sunday's game, even on tape yet, so it's hard for me to truly evaluate moss' performance
Len whats going on with this rumor of the Steelers changing players and coaches after the season? I've heard the coaches but any news on possible players to be let go?
haven't heard much first-hand, sir, about personnel changes .. . beyond the unrestricted guys who won't be back . . . willie parker is gone, and it could be tough to keep casey hampton . . . i'm lobbying (for what little it means) for the stillers to draft alabama NT "mount" cody
will new england go all the way
alas, sir, not with tat defense
Do you see any sign that Jamarcus Russell has the desire needed to work hard on his game to be a good QB? He suggested in an interview last week that his teammates needed to step up.
really disappointed, sir, in russell . . . i know body language is a tough indicator, but the guy just doesn't seem to care . . . and that's the oponion, too, of lots of oakland officials
Any chance the Rams try to trade back a few steps to take a QB and get something for not being the ones to grab Suh? Partner with someone like Detroit or KC (even though KC should have used enough picks on the DL lately) to step back enough to still grab one of the top QBs.
Do the TB Bucs get another new head coach this offseason? Should they?
hard to change, sir, after just one season .. . . because it essentially means that management has to admit a mistake. .. but, sure, it's possible . . . they're are going to be a lot of very competent candidates available
do you think the falcons have underachived this year? and do you think they still have a shot at the playoffs?
no, sir, i don't think "underachieved" is the word . . . i DO think management underestimated how hard it would be to make so many defensive changes in one year. . . and they'd better draft some bigger corners for 2010
What's your take on trading down a top pick for lower picks and additional picks the following years? The usual suspects that are picking at the top every year are always more than one player away from contending, so why not stock up on potential? Plus, a first round bust that signs for heavy money sets a franchise back a few years
i've never been a big fan, sir, of trading down . . . history indicates it usually doen't work out too well . . . that said, your point is a good one . .. teams that pick high have got to pitch a strike . . . if not, it hurts them in a lot of ways, including financially
Who will be the best player in the upcoming NFL draft?
suh, sir, is an absolute beast, and at a position that is traditionally hardto fill
Hi Len, if a team did not pay any QBs, WR's, and Pass-Blockers and spent their money on having the best run game do you think they could win in the NFL?
i love the run game, ma'am, but the game has changed so mush, you've still got to have skill-position personnel to win
As much as I like how Singeltary has changed the culture surrounding my Niners, it seems as though he is outcoached more than he outcoaches others, in spite of last night's performance. Don't you think that organization would be better suited with Gruden as coach? I think he could have them more organized offensively and effectively have that team prepared before games and when adjustments during games are needed.
great question, sir, but i haven't seen enough of the 49ers to know how effective singletary has been . . . do know this: coaches can succeed a lot of ways . . . the best x-and-o guys don't always win . . . guys have to be compelled by some facet of a coach's personality to want to play hard for him . . . MS seems to have that kind of connection
Hey Len....why are you picking questions from the Atlanta area so many times? Give Buffalo some love!! Should the Bills go QB or DL in the draft? Perry Ferrell as next HC??
sorry, sir, about the atlanta influence . . . i really do try to avoid too many falcons-related questions . .. don't know fewell at all, but bottom line is that ralph wilson needs to loosen the reins a bit and get a "football man" to run things . . . as fore first pick, i'll repeat, hard to win without a qb, but wouldn't have a problem if they took suh
What do yall think about Knowson Moreno??
again, sir, i got to see him a lot in college, and felt like he lacked some top-end speed . . . but he's got great balance and instincts, as do most top rbs, and he's gotten better in little things (like pass pro) as the seasom goes on . . . sorry to end this, thanks for the time and the great questions, hope everyone has an enjoyable and blessed holiday . . . thanks again