We're kicking off our Thursday Super Bowl chat with Houston Texans' JJ Watt at 9:45 a.m. ET!
<A name='watt'></A>We've got JJ!
JJ, what was the atmosphere like in the locker room and on the field with making it to the Playoffs for the first time in team history?
Esctatic. We were very excited about making history and having a chance to do something special. Disappointing in the end, but excited about next year.
Hey JJ, what was your favorite stadium to play in this year?
I had a good game up in Baltimore my last game, individually. But as a team, I want to get back up there to get a victory. I like playing in cold weather. That was fun.
do you think you could still play TE?
If Coach Kubiak asked me to, I wouldn't be opposed to it.
What was your favorite pizza at Pizza Hut?
I went with chicken, bacon, jalapenos, then I dipped it in ranch. I had to gain some weight while I was there, so that's what I did.
are you surprised by the attention ton your pizza hut story?
Not really. I think people are intrigued by it, because it's a different path to get where I am. But it's a good story, because it shows with hard work you can get to where I am.
Would you rather have the Patriots' offense or the Giants' defense to win the Super Bowl?
I would take the Patriots offense. With Tom Brady, those TEs, and Wes Welker, they're a very good unit.
JJ, how do you feel your rookie season went?
I had fun. I learned a lot. Obviously, it didn't end in the Super Bowl like I wanted it to, but I'm very excited about the future.
Who do you think will win Super Bowl XLVI?
That's a tough call. I'm not sure. This is one of the tougher games, I've had to decide. I like the Giants' DL play, but Tom Brady and that offense is tough. That's giving an answer without giving an answer.
what wouldyou like tos ee happen this offseason?
We have a couple of guys up for free agency, guys like Mario, I would love to have him back. But for the most part, we're going to work hard and do what we do as a team to have success next season.
Most surprising part of being in the NFL?
I think team chemistry. A lot of people said the NFL is not very good for team chemistry. But our lockerroom is very close. Taht was a good surprise.
what was it like running out for your first game?
Awesome! It was very cool, knowing that my parents were in the stands, seeing me play in my first NFL game. It was a very surreal experience.
Super Bowl party plans?
I don't have many. I won't be in Indy for the Super Bowl. I don't plan on attending a Super Bowl until I'm in it. I plan to lay low with my family.
welcome to the NFL moment?
With the lockout, it was a little bit different for me. When I got drafted, my locker was next to Mario Williams. When I walked in and saw that, it was like it was the real deal.
how did the lockout effect your rookie year?
I think it effected the defensive guys less than offensive guys. I think I had a little of an advantage, because I was working out the entire time. Defense is more instinctive. It was a little easier to pick up the defense.
aer you looking forward to a full offseason?
I am. I'm looking forward to OTAs and all that, because it's a chance for me to grow as a player and get better. Any chance I can do that, I'm looking forward to it.
I appreciate all of my fans. I look forward to performing for you guys next season!
We'll have Dallas Cowboys' Demarcus Ware chatting at 10:45 a.m. ET!
<a name='ware'></a>We've got DeMarcus Ware!
The Giants beat you guys twice this season, what were the keys to them winning? How do you stop them?
When you think about the Giants, Eli has been more consistent this year. Also, on their defensive side, they've been able to get pressure and make key plays. You have to make them one dimensional and get pressure on Eli.
We've seen the Giants defensive players talking smack this week, but what's their offensive players like? Do you hear a lot from them when you and your defense is out on the field?
Some of the guys talk a little trash like Bradshaw and Jacobs. The two RBs talk trash. They're a trash talking team, that's what they do.
Yesterday was national signing day, what are your memories of that day for you?
When you think about moving to the next level, having an opportunity to see your hard work push you to the next level. It gets better at each level you reach.
With your relationship with Reebok, does that mean you get free shoes for life?
They'll probably do that! It's a great chance to work with Reebok and their new line. They're bringing fitness back to the world. It's a great opportunity to be a part of that. Having fun with working out.
Aside from yourself, who else do you think are some of the best pass rusher in the league?
If you go year to year, Pierre-Paul, Osi, Jared Allen, Von Miller, those guys have been pretty good this year.
Where do you think the Boys need to get better at to get to the next level and go all the way?
I think in the latter part of the season, in crunch time. Me being able to make more plays in crunch time. Being more consistent.
Hey folks, hang on one second. DeMarcus is going to do a quick hit on First Take and then he'll jump right back into the chat!
He's on First Take right now!
Attn: Buzz, we need the Morning Buzz back, work sux without it
That's why it's called work.
BTW, we just added a Matthew Stafford chat at 11:45 am ET.
DeMarcus is finished with First Take, so he'll be rejoining the chat here shortly!
Here is here!
How upsetting was the loss to the Giants in Week 17, knowing you could make the playoffs with a win?
It's always upsetting when it's the second time losing to the Giants like that.
Mr. Lumber Yard, how did you feel when you broke Jim Jeffcoats sack record this year? And how does it feel knowing Harvey Martin's record is within reach?
When you think about records, it's a bad thing, you think about winning championships and we haven't done that yet. It's bittersweet.
Do you have a favorite sack of somebody?
I would probably maybe a sack against the Patriots. It was a big turnover for us. A player that I looked up to was Osi. He taught me a lot. This is his second time going to the Super Bowl. You learn from that.
d-ware- Would you rather the cowboys draft a linebacker to play opposite of you or a cornerback?
I am comfortable with what we have now, but you can never have enough CBs. You can never have enough depth.
What types of things do you do to stay fit in the off-season and make sure you are ready to go when the season comes around?
It's a transitional stage for me at the beginning. I'll do some running. I'll start a nutritional program. Lift weights, try to get bigger and stay fit.
Being rivals with the giants will you root against them Sunday? Or will you root more for friends on either team?
I'll root more for the Giants because they're the NFC East. And I'm a pass rusher and they have a good pass rush.
Mr. Ware, you faced the Giants twice this year in high pressure games that they won, what is it about this Giants team that has allowed them to keep winning key games?
Against big pressure, you said it. In pressure situations, they make big plays. Eli's been consistent throughout the whole game.
Giants Dline vs Pats Oline, who wins the battle?
I think it's a good matchup. It depends if their running or passing the ball or not. You have to take it with a grain of salt and the front seven of the Giants, they've been playing well. It will be a great matchup.
Thank you guys for the support. Having an opportunity to get some steam off my chest. Thank you!
Next up we've got Matthew Stafford chatting at 11:45 a.m. ET!
Buzz, r u having a Super Bowl party on ur new Patio?
It's a deck.
No party, I don't think, this year. I just want to watch it in quiet. Just me and LadyBuzz. We'll get some snacks and have some fun.
Matthew Stafford is coming up in just a few minutes!
Buzz, who you got in the Super bowl?
I was unsure at first, but with everyone picking the Giants, I'm starting to lean Patriots.
Yeah i'm going with the G-men, the run they made at the end of the year can only be right for them to win on an ending note
The Patriots went on a run to end the year too - 10 straight. And no team that's won less than 10 games in the regular season has ever won the Super Bowl.
Stafford should be here soon!
Hmmmmm....he must have gotten tied up with something.
<a name='stafford'></a>He's here!
Matthew, I am a huge Lions fan! How much fun was it playing this year, winning and most importantly being injury-free?
It was awesome. It was a big step I wanted to take this year, to play in all 16. I was able to play through some minor injuries. It was great turning this team around. The city has a great group of fans.
Matthew, you got any special plays in the making for the Beach Bowl this weekend?
I haven't yet! I'm still drawing it up in the sand. It's a great event. It's free to the public here on Saturday. The Fray is playing a free concert after.
Stafford, first of all thank you for carrying my team all year in fantasy football. Second who is the d lineman or linebacker who is the most intimidating to see lined up across from you.
I don't know about a single player. But you look at the Raiders front seven and that's a big group of guys.
Matt, what position do you think the lions need to bulk up next season in order to solidify your status as contenders?
I don't know if there's any single position. As a team and organization, we've done a good job of getting the best available player. It's been working out for us in the past. I think we'll keep doing that.
Matthew, is it surreal to think that three QBs, including yourself, passed for over 5,000 yards this season?
It's pretty crazy. It was a fun year. When you do something like that, everybody on our team knows that's a team achievement. I'm happy to be a part of it. I'm surrounded by great players.
Hey Matthew, how frustrating is it to know that, aside from a few mistakes, you could have beaten the Saints in the playoffs and moved on?
That's the way every game goes in the NFL. There are a couple of plays here and there that change a game. We'll move on from that and learn for next year.
Will you convince Calvin Johnson to stay since he has 1yr left on his deal
Calvin wants to do two things, he wants to be successful and he wants to win. As long as we keep doing what we're doing, hopefully he doesn't have anything to worry about.
Who's the best basketball player on the Lions? I think the Pistons are looking for some help!
I'm not sure. Cliff Avril talks a big game. He owns 100 pairs of Jordans. If you do that, you better be good.
Matt how important is it to have Jahvid Best and Le-shore healthy ?
It's very important. Any time your top two backs go down, it's tough from there on out. Getting those two guys back this year will be a big boost for us.
Mr. Stafford, who do you got in the super bowl this sunday?
It's a tough pick. I think it will be a good game. I'm an NFC guy, so I'm going with the Giants. Eli's been playing well right now, I think he's the difference.
Good evening Matt, this year your offense was a bit one dimensional the latter part of the season. Any plans on addressing youre teams running game through the draft?
When they went down, we knew we were going to have to put more emphasis on the passing game. In the NFC there are some great offenses and you have to try to keep u pwith them.
How weird was it coming into the league from Georgia throwing to Calvin who is from Georgia Tech? What kind of bets do you two have?
We have some friendly wagers during the year. I got over the weirdness of that after watching him play.
Matthew, Who was the toughest defense you faced this year?
I think San Fran. They were playing defense at a very high level. They slowed us down. They carried that through the whole season.
Next up, we'll have Matt Forte of the Chicago Bears at 12:15 ET!
<a name='forte'></a>Matt is here!
Matt,Cubs or Sox?
Everybody asks me that question. I would say both. I've thrown the first pitch out for both. I'm not really loyal to either team, because I'm not from Chicago.
Mr. Forte, whats your favorite thing to eat before the game?
It has to be grilled chicken and pasta.
Any word on when your agent and new Bears GM Phil Emery sit down to talk about your contract?
They've spoken over the phone already. I would expect in the next few days and weeks that they'll sit down and start talking.
Matt, aside from the injuries, how do you feel the season went? Something to build on?
Yeah, there's always something to build on. Before the injuries, we were 7-3 with a five game winning streak. We have to get back to that form and stay away from the injury bug. There are a lot of guys on the team that have some playoff experience.
What was the feeling like being selected to your first pro bowl? You earned it!
It was great. I was excited when I got picked to go. I was scared at first that I wouldn't get picked by missing the last four games. It was a nice experience to be around the best players in the game.
As a Jay Cutler fan I have always believed him to be a little misunderstood. What is he like behind the scenes?
He's misunderstood a lot. I think the media blows things up. He's a good guy, fun to be around. I think that when you have people just seeing him from the outside, they form their opinions. I think he's probably teh total opposite of what some people think.
Matt what do you think the bears need the most this offseason?
I would say talk to my agent.
Your thoughts on a new O-Cord?
I think we'll be fine. Coach Tice is a good coach. I think he'll bring a new motivation to our offense. He'll be a great coach for us.
Matt, how tough do you see the division being over the next few years with the Packers being who they are and the Lions improving a lot?
We have a really tough division. Since I've been in the NFL, it's been pretty tough and competitive. Now that everybody knows the Packers have a good team and the Lions have been improving, it's time for us to keep improving and hopefully contend with the Packers for the division.
The last few years have seen a shift in game dynamics. With the upcoming year, do you think the team should draft offense or defense?
I think it should be pretty even. We have some spots on offense to fill as well as defense. We need to focus on the draft of getting some players and balance it out.
Matt, how does the knee feel now?
How was your cameo on "The League"? Could you see yourself in more acting gigs?
It was fun. I've always wanted to be on a TV show or have a cameo. It was fun to do, see what they do behind the scenes. I could see myself being in TV shows or movies.
Favorite place to eat/drink/ hangout in the chi?
they have so many restaurants in Chicago. I like Park 52 in Hyde Park. I like all of the restaurants on Rush St.
Joe's Stone Crab as well.
Matt - what'd you think of Rodgers' comments on the Pro Bowl?
He wasn't lying about it. There were some guys, I guess you could say, weren't up to speed out there. But it's the Pro Bowl, so maybe they weren't out there playing too hard. To each his own.
Hi Matt, I know you're not from Chicago, but ya gotta eat there. What's your favorite Chi-town style pizza joint in town?
I like Lou Malnatti's.
Is Devin Hester a HOF?
Yeah, he should have that solidified already. He's broken the record for returns. I think he might be a shoe-in when he's done.
Thanks for the support!
Thanks Matt! He had to run off to do more media events.
Maurice Jones-Drew will be here at 12:45 p.m. ET to chat!
Giants 31 .pat.17
I can't see it being that big of a spread.
What a great day buzzmaster! So many great stars here.
Buzz, who was your pick to win the Super Bowl at the beginning of the year?
I can't remember that far back!...I think I had Saints over Pats.
Buzz, hope you're both healthy and happy. Enjoy the Super Bowl - celebrate life!
Who do you think will win the Super Bowl next year, Buzzmaster?
Can we get through this one first? And then maybe the draft and free agency?
NE 38 .NY 28
I'm taking the under 55.
In your opinion, will the Redskins, Browns, or another team get RG3?
I didn't follow the Browns very closely this year, but is McCoy that bad? I thought he had a decent rookie year, no?
The under? Worst case scenario, The Giants slow down the Pats, and the pats score in the 20's, meanwhile the Pats D isn't slowing anyone. Over seems like the CLOSEST thing to a lock this year.
Teams never score as many points as we think in these big games. Something like 27-23. That's 50 points, that's still under.
I'm taking the over. I think Brady and Co. is really out for vengeance and Brady always plays well when he is being doubted.
Also it is an indoor stadium so conditions will be perfect.
McCoy's decent, but I'm not sure if Holmgren believes in him. He'd rather had RG3, especially because he's similar to Cam Newton.
<a name='mjd'></a>MJD is here!
Maurice, what do you think is the most crucial step the Jaguars need to take to become better next year?
I think really just putting weapons around our QB. Our defense is solid. Getting some more weapons is the best step we can do.
What is your assessment of Gabbert?
We didn't baby Blaine. We never tried to protect him. I think he did a great job. His stats didn't show like we wanted, but his attitude never change. That's big with a great QB.
MJD, big fan of your style of play! Have you had a chance to meet your new owner and sit down and talk with him to see what his plans are for the team?
Actually, I have. He's a great guy. Very smart man. Expects excellence out of the Jags. His new attitude will be great for the city.
MoJoD, how do you withstand all of the pounding?
I go through a vigorous regimen each week. In the offseason, I take ample time to rest before starting my workouts.
What do you feel is the biggest difference between college and the NFL?
The speed of the game. So much faster. With that though, you have to be more patient. The game is so fast, but if you're not patient enough, you won't be successful.
what are you memories of signing your letteR?
I had orginally committed to UCLA before so it wasn't that big of a deal, but to know my performance on the field gave me a free education, that was great.
Hey Maurice, where was your favorite place to play this year?
I would have to say Carolina. That was a monsoon game. That was the most fun game I've played in.
How would you feel if your team moved to a place like Los Angeles?
I don't get distracted by that. You can only control what you can control. We just worry about being ready on Sunday.
I have been a jags fan since the very beginning. Do you think Khan will get the jags back to the playoffs and to their first superbowl?
It would be awesome. Our new owner already told us he'll give us whatever we want. That's what we want.
Would you rather face the Texans' defense or the Giants' defense?
Defenses don't scare offensive players. I'd like to play both of them at the same time.
pick on Sunday?
I'm going with the Patriots.
Did you learn a lot from Fred Taylor when he was starting?
Oh yeah, definitely. fred has taught me so much on and off the field. More than I could imagine. I have to thank my career for him.
Is there anybody coming in the 2012 draft that reminds you of you out of college
I only watch UCLA. Those are the only guys I can watch.
can you grow a mustache like your new owner? if so, what are your thoughts on doing it as a team morale builder?
I would have to grow out a beard first before the mustache.
MJD you've been on my fantasy football team the past couple years and have been a beast! Are you big into fantasy and if so do you try and draft yourself?
Every year, I draft myself, the last 3-4 years. Things have been going well.
Which RB's playing now do you most admire?
Barry Sanders growing up. I loved him. And Kaufmann
Any thoughts on the Peyton Manning situation?
It's a horrible way for a guy to go out, if this was his last year, but I don't think it is. We'll be facing him twice a year next year.
Are you offended they don't call a too many men penalty when your on the field?
Yeah, always offended!
ready to replace my Jimmy Smith Jags jersey with an MJD! Heard a new style is coming out -- should I wait? Go Jags!
What took you so long? You might as well wait it out.
Do you want to be on the cover for Madden 13?
It's a goal of mine.
Thank you. The show must go on.
Thanks MJD! Next up is NFL blogger Mike Sando!
<a name='sando'></a>Good to be here.
Was there any rookie this past year that made you say wow this guys gonna be great?
Absolutely. Aldon Smith, Von Miller, Cam Newton and Patrick Peterson were a few. Covering the NFC West, I also got to see a lower-profile player, Doug Baldwin, make his mark as an undrafted free agent. Baldwin was at his best on third down. He was terrific out of the slot and showed good toughness. He plays with a chip on his shoulder and appears to have a bright future.
Hey Mike, I am a Bears fan and love Cutler. I think he is one of the toughest QBs in football. People say a lot of bad things about him but he has had major injuries that forced him out. What do you think of him? And be honest.
Well, a few years ago I thought he was going to be a superstar. So did a lot of people I spoke with in the league, including one assistant coach who has since become a head coach. My opinion of him is less favorable now, but it did improve some with the toughness and resourcefulness he showed this past season. I think playing in a more conservative scheme could help him by suppressing some of his risk-taking tendencies.
What did you think of the Seahawks this year? I think they are strong in every aspect except for the QB position. Do you think Tavaris Jackson is the future for Seattle or do the Seahawks need to draft or sign someone else?
They need another pass-rusher, too, and some help at linebacker. But you're right. QB is most important. Give this team a better QB and it would take a big step.
Will be on the radio for 5-7 minutes. You can listen here: http://mynorthwest.com/streams/streampop_espn.php
OK, back. Sorry about that. Lots going on here.
Mike, Vikings fan here. I really enjoyed Sidney Rice when he was with the Vikings. Seems like he's had some bad luck with injuries, especially since he joined the Seahawks. Do you think they will bring Rice back in 2012 and hope for better health for him?
Rice is definitely coming back, but he must show more durability. That was a concern in Minnesota too. He has a basketball player's body.
Huge Seahawk fan here and I was wondering if you think 'Tez will get into the HOF?
Yes, I think he will get in, but it is impossible to say when. He has made the final 10 in each of the past two seasons. That suggests voters like his credentials. But with 44 selectors picking from 15 players for five spots, there are lots of possible combinations in a given year. Once the five are named, we'll hear people complain about who was left out. But those people will usually not tell us which of the fortunate five should NOT get in. There are more worthy players than spots available, in my view.
What's your gut feeling on what the Rams will do with No. 2 pick in draft. Love your blog by the way.
Thanks. My gut feeling is that they will try like mad to trade the pick, and it is possible they will find a taker given that salaries have gone down at the top of the draft.
Would losing Ed Donatell to the Raiders have any implications in the 49ers ability to re-sign Rogers and Goldson?
Do not think so. Money talks. Carlos Rogers also likes the overall feel in San Francisco, not just from the DB coach. Mostly from the organization itself. Also, the team could use the franchise tag, most likely for Dashon Goldson.
With the Patriots having lost their last Super Bowl trip against the Giants, what do you think they will do differently this time to win?
It's a different game, but clearly, they need to protect Tom Brady better this time. They need better answers against pressure. I'm feeling the Giants' momentum and confidence by think Brady appears primed for a lights-out performance.
How perfect is Peyton Manning for Seattle?
No more perfect than he would be for other teams.
Hey Mike, big fan here. Do you forsee any coaching staff changes on the Seahawks this offseason, or are they happy with what they have and will look to improve the team with players only?
Thanks, Doc. There have been a couple small changes to this point. I do not anticipate anything major because most staffs are filled or filling up, and the guys Seattle wants to keep -- Tom Cable, Casey Bradley -- aren't getting away.
Hi Mike, Alex Smith going back to the 49ers seems like a formality. What kind of contract (in terms of years) do you think he will get?
Seems like they could do something for three years, or they could do a five-year deal with an option bonus along the lines of what Kevin Kolb has in his deal. That would give Smith good money up front while giving the 49ers an easy way out if there were better options for the team a year from now.
Any chance Matt Flynn lands out West? And if, so where?
Yeah, there's a chance. I'm skeptical on Seattle breaking the bank for him, but if the money were right, that could make some sense. Have not heard any rumblings along those lines, though.
Can you give people that don't live in the Northeast a reason to care about this Super Bowl? A recent rematch without the spice of breaking the undefeated season and 2 teams that backed into the Super Bowl not because they won the conference championship games but because their opponents lost those games.
Sure, take a long look at Tom Brady and that Patriots offense. NFC West teams face Brady next season.
What difference will DC Williams bring to the Rams defense?
I remember Matt Hasselbeck going out of his way to say he respected Steve Spagnuolo's defense for how fundamentally sound it was. Gregg Williams will bring a higher-risk defense. Notably, Hasselbeck had big games against the Saints. Williams will not face Hasselbeck in the NFC West, but I'm curious to see how well his defense holds up fundamentally. Applying pressure without getting burned can be tough. How will Williams approach that early on? I do think Williams will tailor the scheme to his talent, as opposed to forcing a system on the players. That is what he believes in and that could help in the short term.
I don't like my Rams giving up a home game to play in London. Your thoughts?
I would not like it either if I were a season-ticket holder. It does not invite trust from the fanbase amid all the questions about a possible relocation, either.
Hey Mike, just heard Greg Manusky became new coordinator in Indy, does that mean he entices any Niners to go there, i.e. Shawnte Spencer?
Yeah, that would make sense to see him pick up players from his past.
Do you see the NFC West going from one of the weaker divisions in recent memory to one of the more competitive. With all the coaching changes and infusion of youth these teams have had. It could make for an interesting next 4-5 years. What do you think?
Yes, and the transition is already under way. Check out the NFC West blog for Larry Fitzgerald's thoughts on the matter. He said what we could see: NFC West games have become more physical.
What chance do you give my Rams coming back home to L.A.?
I've been skeptical about the Los Angeles market but do think an NFL team will appear there eventually. I think there's a good chance the Rams wind up there again. Too many things point to that possibility.
Could you talk a little about Doug Baldwin's contract with Seattle since I'm sure it was a short, small-money deal and he's obviously outplayed it.
Baldwin is probably stuck for a while. The new labor agreement forced three-year deals on rookie free agents. Seattle probably will not want to set precedent by tearing up those deals prematurely (in their eyes).
Re: Baldwin's contract -- They don't need to tear it up. They could very realistically "extend" his contract by another couple years and add a signing bonus. Best of both worlds.
Right, but Baldwin has ZERO leverage. None.
If the Rams can somehow hold onto Brandon Lloyd and trade back to 4-6 and still get Blackmon, plus picks, do you see that being enough at the wideout position next year for them to focus the rest of the draft and free agency on other needs like O-Line and outside LB? Wouldn't the above be a perfect situation for them?
Perfect. Too perfect. If those sorts of things start happening for the Rams, we'll know things have changed.
Who do you think has the best chance of winning the NFC West besides the 49ers next season?
Maybe an edge to Seattle based on the young talent there.
Seeing as most 49er fans believe they lost the game rather than the Giants winning it can you explain what SF was doing to win the game? It didn't feel like either team was going to score on the two defenses and it was going to come down to a turn over.
I agree with your characterization as it applies to the second half. Neither team was going to score conventionally, it seemed. I thought the 49ers needed to force a turnover to win. They missed two pretty routine chances for interceptions. They got an unlucky (not necessarily bad, but just unfortunate) ruling on the potential fumble by Ahmad Bradshaw.
With all the success the Seahawks had with their youth, do you see any of the veteran players being let go this off-season or not resigned?
No doubt. Hard to see them re-signing Raheem Brock. Tough to see Marcus Trufant coming back.
Should the Seahawks draft a QB?
Yes. They should have drafted more in recent seasons, ideally.
It sure doesn't seem like I should still be saying the Rams' need is at O-Line, right? It's time to get it figured out. It was probably the least productive, most expensive line I have seen in a long time.
Not only that, but the personnel on the line did not fit as well for the 2011 coordinator, Josh McDaniels.
Did you see anything in Flagstaff last year that confirms all the good things that have been said about Ryan Williams? If he fully recovers from his injury, is he going to be a star for the Cardinals?
Yes, I thought Ryan Williams looked terrific. He was quick and could change directions without losing much speed. Williams looked like a great back to pair with Beanie Wells. As for his health, let's check back in camp.
I've got some interviews to track down at the moment and need to get running. Thanks so much for your participation.
Football Scientist KC Joyner will be by at 4 p.m. ET to take your questions!
Hey buzz, i think we're alone....take the Giants ;)
Nope. That seems to be the trendy pick. I don't want that.
<a name='joyner'></a>Remember Football Scientist KC Joyner stops by at 4 p.m. ET to wrap up our Thursday chat!
Good afternoon! Let's talk some football!
whats up guys, dillon from erie pa, do u think tom brady cements his spot into the pro football hall of fame with a win? DETAILS!!!!!!
Is the answer to that question really in doubt?
was sherman a more impressive rookie than trufant iyo
A leftover question from the Sando chat. Sherman had some struggles early on but got much better as the season progressed. By season's end he was better than Trufant.
Will you be betting on how long the national anthem takes?
No, but I'll be hoping that the singer does not go overboard in trying to draw attention. It's about doing the song justice, not about drawing attention to oneself.
KC, did you ever think the Manning getting more press than Brady at the Super Bowl would be the one NOT playing this Sunday?
Well, politicians are getting a lot of attention this time of year and Peyton is said to be of that ilk, so it isn't entirely surprising.
KC, I know Football is a team sport, but does the continued success of Big Ben and Eli Manning say more about their organizations and team or more about Philip Rivers and San Diego?
It may say more about Norv Turner as compared to Mike Tomlin and Tom Coughlin as it does anything else.
I think Kelly Clarkson is supposed to be singing the anthen this year....she usually does a good job IMHO!
What we really need is Dr. Z for this type of thing. He used to gauge how long each anthem too and would have some biting comments if the singer's performance called for it.
Is there any chance the Bears can get a big name wide receiver in free agency, the draft, or trade?
The draft has about 10 wide receivers of 1st or 2nd round caliber. Free agency should be chock full of good prospects as well. If Chicago can't upgrade at WR this offseason, it won't be for a lack of opportunity.
Mr. Joyner...do you agree with the Eagle's decision to keep Castillo as DC? Do you think they plan on keeping Mudd as well? That run game was STOUT!!
Here's the skinny on Castillo. Last year the Eagles ranked 1st in the league in interception/sack percentage (meaning the percentage of plays where their defense posted a sack or interception). Their big issue was in coverage and if they can fix that (which is part of the reason they hired a new secondary coach) while still getting the sacks/picks, they will have one of the best defenses in the NFL.
At the risk of sounding un-American, I say do away with the National Anthem altogether. I don't think people give it the respect it deserves at the games any more anyway.
Best national anthem I ever heard was either last year or the year before when they had a soldier sing it. His rendition of the song was crisp and respectful and he didn't try to make it into a long rendition for his resume. If all of them were performed like that, life would be good.
Please tell me that the Steelers will resign Wallace long term?? Please??
Hey, I'm on board with Wallace being the best WR in the NFL. Pittsburgh knows their offense revolves around being able to hit vertical passes and that Wallace is the best in the league at that. It would be quite surprising if they did not re-sign him to a long term deal.
KC - can either NY or NE gameplan from their regular season match up or have both teams evolved too much from that game?
Too much evolution, especially on the side of the Giants. Their run game is now performing at its usual dominant level, and that was something that could not be said in that first contest.
KC, what position do you see the Vikings addressing first in free agency or do they focus their attention solely on the draft?
They have way too many weaknesses to focus solely on the draft. Getting wideout help would be something they could address in FA, but the big area of assistance could be the secondary. This isn't the strongest FA crop in that area, but there are still more than a few players who could help the Vikings upgrade there.
What exactly is a football scientist, it sounds like a career I would like to get in to
It's someone who spends way too much time breaking down football tapes.
Uh oh, the 'Wallace is the best WR in the NFL' debate has been opened. Better get your helmets on!
Can't say that the anti-Wallace, pro-Megatron haters are showing up today. They must be enjoying the Super Bowl festivities right about now.
if P.Manning isnt in indi next year what team will he look in to for the 2012 season?
It would almost certainly have to be a team that is a Super Bowl contender, as it is hard to think that Peyton would join a lesser level club. The Jets would have to be on that list, as would the Redskins (they are much closer to being a playoff contender than it might seem).
KC, how about picking one player from each team that you could see emerging as an unsung hero of the Super Bowl. For example, Julian Edelman for the Pats and Jake Ballard for the Giants would be my choices.
I'd agree on Ballard. For the Patriots, I'd pick Deion Branch. He's very underrated and if he can get matched up against Aaron Ross, it could be a matchup that Brady targets quite often.
KC - if you were the Pats would you be looking at the last Jets-Giants game for some insight into how to defend the G-Men? I thought outside of the Cruz play the Jets had them well covered.
Excellent point. Only issue is that the Patriots don't have the secondary firepower that the Jets have. New England's defense this year has been more based around its ability to generate sacks and turnovers, so they may have to adopt a somewhat different approach than Gang Green did.
What do you see the ravens doing in the offseason to improve the team and make another deep playoff run?
Let's hope they take advantage of the aforementioned depth at the WR position in FA and the draft. They have the makings of a good WR corps but could use 1-2 more good talents to get them over the top.
Time for an end to the Pro Bowl, KC? What a pitiful display of football. Almost made me long for some XFL.
The NFL needs to move the Pro Bowl overseas. If the NFL players knew they were showcasing the league for an overseas audience, they would be much more likely to go all out than they are for the Hawaiian vacation crowd.
How would you rank prospective FA pass rushers Mario Williams, Cliff Avril and Robert Mathis for a 4-3 team?
Williams easily rates first. Avril probably rates over Mathis, but it also depends on which team we are talking about picking the player (Mathis is a better fit for some rosters than Avril).
Not sure if hes unsung anymore, but if Victor Cruz has a big game, that bodes well for the G-Men...
If Cruz has a big game, it might be all she wrote for the Patriots. I don't like their chances in a shootout game against the NY pass rush.
Chances of Flynn (From packers) landing out west?
The odds are that Flynn will end up in Miami, but a west coast trip could be in his future if the team is willing to put up some big $.
K.C., There has been a lot of talk about the Pat's going up tempo/no huddle to limit subs and tire the Giant D. You a fan of this? Could the Giants be planning this strategy as well? Their 2 minute has been money all year.
It's a great move if the other team is not prepared for it, but the Giants are likely getting ready for it. The key will be to force an incompletion, as that is the best time to rush in substitutes during a quick tempo drive. Giants could also take that tack, but I'm thinking their mindset will be more around running the ball (something a recent TFS ESPN.com article says they should be able to do).
With the short shelf life of RBs and their ability to play early on...how does Cedric Benson have a job??? He is so undynamic...any metrics say I'm wrong?
The thing about Benson is that he does get whatever yardage is blocked for him (meaning if the O line gives him a chance at a 4-yard gain, he's money to get the 4 yards). His upside is quite low (he hasn't topped the 7-yard GBYPA mark) but that type of reliable productivity does have value.
KC, so, who do you have winning the big one. I'm completely torn...toss up to me...seems like one special teams play could define the whole game.
Did a breakdown a couple of nights ago measuring which team had the edge in 8 personnel areas. NY had a 5-2-1 record in that battle. NE has somewhat better special teams but not enough to make up for the personnel deficiencies. Have the Giants winning the game by a 34-24 score.
Any chance p.Manning ends up in seattle ?
From a personnel perspective, that makes a ton of sense. The Hawks have the makings of a strong defense, have an improving O line and some talent at WR (Golden Tate has serious upside potential).
Is Wilfork the most important player in this game? I can't see the Pat's winning unless he blows up the middle and disrupts the rhythm of the Giant O.
Ever watch those old Super Bowl highlight videos? If so, Wilfork could be the Reggie Kinlaw from Super Bowl XV. He wrecked the Eagles offense that game and Wilfork could do the same to NY.
The Metrics for a decent and respectful pre-game National Anthem include: staying on pitch; remembering the words; length of the ordeal; not noodling over several different notes for each word; and avoiding breathiness into the mic that causes unfortunate lyrics such as, "...hand the rockets red glare...". Am I forgetting anything obvious?
I think that just about covers it!
Saw an article on RFAs this offseason - which player would be more worthy of frontloading a huge contract and surrendering a first round pick for - Arian Foster or Mike Wllace?
One can get productivity out of a running game with good blocking, but it is very difficult to get vertical productivity without having top vertical WRs. That makes Wallace more valuable and gives him the win here.
There are a lot of names on the free agent market with Peyton Manning obviously leading the group; do you see any other big names leaving their current teams?
Not trying to avoid the question, but it's really hard to say until the tags are announced.
I'll give the lessons on singing the National Anthem...Uh-Oh! I'll make up for it now!
Had to know that joke was coming! Now we just need a Roseanne Barr comment.
KC - without meaning to state the obvious, will the team's whose offensive line protects the QB best come out victorious or can either team overcome a poor performance up front?
Too true. Both teams have weaknesses on their O lines that could be the turning point of this contest.
Were you surprised to see Brian Waters' "terrible" season continue against the Ravens? How can a guy this bad even be on an NFL roster, much less a Pro Bowl roster? Oh, that's right, its a meaningless popularity contest right?
Actually addressed this topic on Twitter earlier this week. The adjective used for Waters in last week's chat was "awful". Have since revised that to say he had a mediocre season in run blocking and a solid/good season in pass blocking. I still think he's a weakness the Giants will go after. And as far as the Pro Bowl goes, just note that Brandon Browner was in that game. Browner was for much of the 2011 season one of the worst cornerbacks in the NFL.
I think a key to the game is whether or not the Giants allow Pats' receivers to get big yards after the catch. The Ravens were the first team to control that with great tackling, and they held the Pats to the fewest points in months. If the first guy is missing Welker and Hernandez, the Pats will put up a lot of points.
Spot on comment, Don.
How about Pittsburgh's Defense next year? Drastically different to supplement the cap or just a couple of tweaks to players who would be starting anyway?
They don't need to overhaul the defense but getting younger is a necessity. In other words, start the transition to a new personnel group but don't go overboard in doing so.
I remember Dan from last week. He's STILL on that?
Yep. It caused enough of a stir last week that my Twitter account had more than a few comments telling me I was wrong about Waters. I went back and watched more tapes to see what they said. His run blocking still didn't look any better (he's very good at times but is very bad at other times) but his pass blocking was better, with the caveat of the Patriots offensive scheme makes the entire group look better than they are.
Can Water's snap the ball? I'd sure take him over Baas and I'm a Jint fan!
Totally with you on Baas. He had some good seasons in SF but has been mediocre for NY this year.
KC, who are you top 5 picks in fantasy for next year...I know it's way early!
Wow, that is an early question! Off the top of the head, it would be Rodgers, Foster, Newton, Peterson and Brees.
Mike Wallace is 50% of the deep threat that I was.
Can't say I buy that, as Wallace is better than that.
you'd still pick Peterson top 5 coming off of that knee surgery?
Meant to caveat that with a comment about his surgery. As long as things look to be progressing well, then he keeps that spot. Otherwise, it could be Forte (injury issues as well) or Stafford. But these are really early picks and things could change big time over the next seven months.
Top 5 fastest players in the NFL?
Would that the NFL's fastest man competition were still around. Then we could answer this question definitively.
KC, seems everyone is picking the Giants to win but the bettors still like the Patriots and even have the line going the other way (back to -3 from -2.5 a day ago). Ever remember seeing such a crazy split between fans and bettors?
Can't say one comes to mind, but that could be more of a question for Chad Millman and his Vegas contacts.
Have to run but before I do I just wanted to thank you, KC, for holding these chats every week during the season and playoffs. Always informative, always thought-provoking, and always filled with humor. Thanks also to the regulars who make it here every week. You folks are alright in my book. Take care and I'll catch you soon.
Might as well end this with a J.B. post. Quick notes - links to the TFS ESPN articles are always posted on Twitter @KCJoynerTFS. I'll be taking part in a Cover It Live Super Bowl chat on ESPN.com, so feel free to stop by and say hey during the big game. Hope to see you all here in next week's chat!