Hi everybody. Thanks for joining me today. Let's get started.
While I ultimately agree with the Ravens parting ways with Cam Cameron, seems to me the defense is more of the problem in terms of them getting where they want to go. They're simply incapable of generating consistent pass rush, and thus exposes a secondary I think has played decently despite their own brutal injuries.
Baltimore has certainly had its fair share of injuries on defense. They've been significant. But the Cameron firing was probably overdue. The Ravens had become too predictable on offense. While no one likes to see a man lose his job in this league, I know the move was a popular one among the players. Jim Caldwell is beloved there, too. We will see what he brings. They've got a real tough stretch coming up.
Hi, Ashley. If you were the general manager of the Minnesota Vikings, how would you handle the situation with their 32nd-ranked pass offense?
Oh boy. That's a fairly loaded question, Al. It boils down to the quarterback. Is he good enough? I'm not ready to close the door on the Christian Ponder era but I know Vikings fans have probably seen enough, right? They could use more weapons. Certainly they miss Percy Harvin. But I would think if they have an opportunity to make a run at, say, Alex Smith, in the offseason, they would consider it. I would.
What are your thoughts about this week's game of the week - 49ers at Patriots? Good game or blowout city like last night?
Sheesh. Who knows now. I expected a good game last night. The Patriots are such an interesting group. They've really made statements every time the moment has called for it. Crushed Luck. Beat Denver. Obliterated Houston. They've got a short week but it's another huge stage. They're at home. I would expect them to win. I hope it's a good game. I will be there.
Do you think Peterson and Manning will split the Comeback Player of the Year and MVP awards? Or will one of them sweep both honors?
That's a great question, Tony. I'm a voter and I haven't decided on either yet. You've got to put Tom Brady in the MVP race. He might even be leading at this point. The Comeback Player of the Year award is such a tough call because both of those guys are more than deserving. It's a great debate. But the numbers Peterson has put up, particularly recently, are jaw dropping. If I had to handicap it, I'd say it's probably his to lose but there are three games to go. We don't turn in our ballots until after the regular season is completed.
I haven't asked my fellow Redskins fans but I think Kirk Cousins can beat Cleveland. RGIII's knee needs the rest. Assuming the Skins are 8-6 could it hurt to start Cousins against the Eagles even if doctors clear RGIII?
Once doctors clear Griffin, he will play. That's how he is. He wants to play. They want him to play. And don't snooze on Cleveland. The Browns have won three straight games and have been tough. They deserve a lot of credit. They didn't quit.
What surprised you the most about last night's MNF game? (For me, the way the Patriots were able to neutralize Watt.) And on Cousins, I think that Washington will need to keep him since Griffin is the kind of player who will probably be hurt more than one would like, and they will continue to need a strong back-up. What do you think?
I totally agree on Cousins. He's not going anywhere. Mike Shanahan talked Sunday night about how cool it is having two rookie quarterbacks together, where they can learn the offense together. As for last night, the Patriots did neutralize Watt. That was a huge compliment to him that they worked so hard to do that. I guess I was surprised by how efficient New England was early. They put up 21 points before I even settled in. It was impressive.
Hi Ash,I am a big Giants Fan and wanted to know, what You think. Wil the win the NFC East and could go on another trip to the SB? I used the Play Off machin on ESPN and think that 2 W out of 3 remainig games should secure at least a WC Spot.
Will they win the NFC East? I think they will, but their remaining schedule is tough. At Atlanta and at Baltimore, two teams that don't lose at home, then against Philly in the season finale. But I like their team. They've got a ton of playoff experience and they know how to win in January. They'll be a tough out.
The Skins best not share the thoughts of their fans. Cleveland will bring it Sunday.
Can RG3 (realistically) win RoY if he misses this week due to his injury?
I don't know how much that will play into it. But I think the award is Luck's to lose. Who would've expected they would make the playoffs before this season started? Not me. And it is not out of the realm of possibility that they win their division. They've got Houston twice. If they win out -- a huge "if" I know -- they'll win it. That would be amazing.
Do you think it's realistic that the Colts can win a game in the playoffs? I love 'em, but they seem so far away from everyone else...
I'd like their chances a lot better if they got a home game. They're 6-1 at home.
Ashley, I agree with your comments on Alex Smith. He may be just what the Vikings need. Might Matt Flynn be another good quarterback for the Vikings to bring in to camp, if they don't pursue Smith?
If he's available, sure. Why not?
I'll be surprised if you don't take the Browns to beat the Skins
Just might. Haven't gotten that far yet, though.
Ashley, a few weeks ago you questioned why some of us were down on the Bears. Now after watching them lose yet another game against a quality team, are you ready to label them as fraudulent? They still have only beaten one playoff contender, and that was in Luck's first NFL start (and they were losing that game until Freeney got hurt).
You're right, Tom. They've got some issues. The loss to Minnesota was particularly telling. And now they've got the Packers. The good news at least is they still have to play Arizona. That should be a W. But you had it nailed weeks ago.
Will Nick Foles be starter for the Eagles next season? If not, who might Philadelphia look to bring in?
Great question. I think they're probably trying to figure that out now. That's why they're playing him and why Reid said he will remain the starter even when Vick is healthy, which is close. It's all about evaluating the talent they have now. He took a step last week, but let's not forget he was facing the league's worst pass defense. If not him, and not Vick, then they'll have to look at the handful of other guys out there: Smith, Flynn, maybe someone else. Of course, it's going to depend on who the head coach is.
I suspect Denver ends the season as the 3 seed. If they get past the first round and meet the Patriots do you think they fair better than the Texans given the def and quarterback? I thought schaub missed some passes and the corner were a step behind.
Well, I would't pencil them in at No. 3 just yet. A lot can happen over these next couple of weeks. Personally, I would love to see a Denver-New England matchup. That would be fun. It's pretty telling that the Broncos haven't lost since that first game against New England. They're hot. I'd give them a better chance than Houston but the Patriots were awfully impressive last night. If they play like that they'll be tough to beat.
Although I don't think firing Whisenhunt will help the Cardinals, performance dictates accountability. I think the GM, Rod Graves, has to go too; he has to share some of the responsibility for Arizona's failures to get a solid QB and offensive line play. What do you see for the Cardinals? Shame really, because the best franchises in the NFL are the ones that are models of stability--Steelers, Giants, Patriots...
I believe Whisenhunt has been through six quarterbacks, and only one, Kurt Warner, worked. And I think Graves is sitting on a scalding hot seat, too. It just goes to show how critical finding the right quarterback is to success in this league. They haven't been able to do that since Warner. And the real shame is that they're wasting the wonderful talent that is Larry Fitzgerald.
Hi Ashley. I agree that it is amazing what Adrian Peterson has done this year but I think Comeback Player of the Year should be Manning. Peterson basically played the entire season last year . Manning missed the entire year last year and his career was in jeopardy.
That is one of the arguments. But Peterson came back from a significant injury in record time and looks stronger than ever.
Hi Ashley. I want you to finish your own statement from earlier today - "And with the first pick in the 2013 NFL draft, the Kansas City Chiefs select... "
Hi Eric. Ask me in February. I'm not there yet.
Is it time to start applying Murphy's Law to Dez Bryant? The guy was just starting to turn the corner, and now he suffers another setback. How productive will Dez Bryant be for the Cowboys with the injury to his hand?
It is a shame. But from the sound of it, he's going to have to learn to deal with it. A case perhaps of mind over matter. Wide receivers are fussy by nature. That kind of injury is bothersome. We'll see how he deals with it.
Please tell me ths Jets aren't making the playoffs! The number of teams they could beat Sunday is 4, maybe.
The Jets aren't making the playoffs.
What is the Absolute Worst NFL Football Game that you have seen in 2012?
Oh gosh, I don't know. I think you could pick from Arizona's defeats. The Eagles have played some pretty dreadful football, too. Lot of lackluster effort during their skid.
If mentioned that the Patriots beatdown of the Texans was shocking (and it was) but was it more shocking than the Chargers beatdown of the Steelers? All I can say is WOW. I really can't believe that a team in the playoff hunt would show up on their home field against a 4-8 team and play as horrible as that.
That was very, very surprising, both how uninspired the Steelers were and the fact that the Chargers won on the road in arguably one of the hardest places to win in the league. Factor in the time change for San Diego at the 1 o'clock start. I was shocked. Would have never expected that.
I can't believe you support Western Kentucky hiring Bobby Petrino!
Where and when exactly did I do that?
Is Whisenhunt done at the end of the year?
I would think so. Hard to make a case for keeping him, other than he's an awesome, smart guy. The record is what it is.
Peterson plays in a tougher division and takes a pounding. Manning plays in a terrible division and rarely gets touched. It should be split between the two.
I've heard this, too. I will have to check, but I'm fairly certain as voters were can't split the ballot. But I'm not sure what the breakdown would have to be for the award to be split, whether only an exact tie would do it. I will look into that.
What do you think about the Seahawks? Ready to make some noise or too young?
I've been very impressed. The win at Chicago was important, even though the Bears are flawed (as was mentioned earlier), to give Seattle a significant road win. But they play tough D and the quarterback is having a solid season. Will they make noise? If they do, they'll have to do it on the road. They're probably not there, yet, but we will see.
Will the Raiders be able to right the ship within the next 3-5 years? Or did Al dig a hole that it might take a decade to escape from?
That's a pretty deep hole, but a decade? Wow. I would hope not. That is a long, long time. As someone mentioned a minute ago, the AFC West really is bad and worse than I expected. The Raiders, Chiefs and Chargers have been huge disappointments. I expected more from all three.
Thoughts on the bounty saga?
I think Tagliabue really popped the Saints as an organization. I think Scott Fujita was the big winner. He got totally exonerated, and good for him. He's maintained his innocence throughout. I think Sean Payton and Greg Williams were the big losers. It will be interesting to see what St. Louis does when Williams eventually is re-instated. And I think Anthony Hargrove could have used Tagliabue's ruling in August when he was trying to earn a spot with the Packers.
If the Colts manage to sweep and win the division would Luck have a realistic chance at MVP? 2-14 to 12-4 would suggest he should have a chance, but I feel the rest of his numbers would hold him back in comparison to the top QBs.
I would think so. There are obviously a lot of variables that would play into that, but if they finish 12-4, he would deserve consideration. That's a big "if" obviously, but it's not out of the realm of possibility.
What would be your dream Super Bowl matchup?
I don't know that I have one. It would be neat to have the Mannings face each other, although their parents would be a wreck. It also would be cool to have the Harbaugh bowl. As a general rule, I pull for good stories, interesting match ups and good games. That's really the trifecta for me.
Will andy Reid take time off or will he move to another team right away?
Someone asked me this very question earlier today. I don't think anything is guaranteed and certainly no one would fault Reid for taking a year off to regroup after the year he has had. But if I had to guess, if he has a chance to be a head coach in 2013 -- and I think he will -- I think he takes it. He's a football coach. That's what he does. It's who he is. I think he coaches in 2013.
Alright folks. Thanks for joining me. Have a great week. We'll do it again next week. And sorry Mike in Reno. I'll try to answer that next time. It's an interesting question.