Dr. J's Mailbox

I apologize for all of those who wrote and didn't get chosen for this week's mailbox. But the better (and timelier) your letters are, the more likely you will get a response from me here in the column. In other words, if you think I suck, at least tell me why…. <br><br> On to the letters of the week!

After all of the criticism of the comment Rush Limbaugh made on ESPN regarding Donovan McNabb, I'm still curious as to the response. I realize that the comment was made in poor taste and it was an insensitive way to go about questioning McNabb's abilities in the eyes of the media. However, the question was not exactly answered. Why is Donovan McNabb regarded so highly in the media? I sincerely hope the reason isn't because of Mr. Limbaugh's comments. I would just like to know what makes him so great.

In 57 Games, McNabb has completed 56.4% of his passes. He has thrown for 10,341 yards averaging 181.4 yards per game. He has thrown 71 touchdowns, but has turned the ball over 60 times - including 19 of his 31 fumbles that were lost. As a "Rushing" quarterback, he has rushed the ball 297 times averaging 6.9 yards per carry and 14 touchdowns. He also has been sacked 153 for a loss of 986 yards.

In 65 Games, Garcia has completed 61.7% of his passes. He has thrown for 14,461 yards averaging 222.5 yards per game. He has thrown 99 touchdowns, and has turned the ball over 57 times - only 8 of those were fumbles. As a "Non-Rushing" quarterback, he has rushed the ball 278 times averaging 4.9 yards per carry and 15 touchdowns. He only has been sacked 86 for a loss of 473 yards, nearly half as many times as McNabb.

So tell me why the media says McNabb's statistics are better than Garcia's or so many other quarterbacks for that reason. This question has not been answered by the media, instead, the media has completely avoided the question and made Rush Limbaugh the scapegoat.

Mr. Limbaugh, although his comments are brash and insensitive, has a right to free speech. And as a political commentator, he has constantly questioned the media and politicians. And just like politicians, the media is avoiding the question.

Thank you,
Amy in Orlando


Amy, you bring up some fantastic points in the comparison, but if you're going to compare just Donovan McNabb and Jeff Garcia, then there's one stat that you failed to mention and the stat that I believe the media focuses upon. In games that Donovan McNabb started, including this season, the Eagles are 35-18, and have been to the last two NFC Championship Games. Jeff Garcia, in the same time period, is 34-35 and has advanced the 49ers out of the first round just twice in his career. It may not be pretty, but McNabb has won and has won with class. The media are just like regular people as they gravitate to those with the charisma, the demeanor, and the winners.

Now the discussion of whether McNabb is overrated is another matter. He hasn't taken his team to the Super Bowl; he doesn't have the gaudy statistics like Kurt Warner or Steve McNair or even Jeff Garcia. But his teams win and good or bad, the QB gets the most of the glory when they win and most of the blame when they lose. I personally think his intangibles outweigh his statistics.

I'm so sick and tired on how everyone jumps on and off bandwagons in the NFL, and I'm not just talking the fans. Last year, you couldn't hear a positive comment about Randy Moss, and now you can't find a negative one because the Vikings are winning. Last year, Owens was vilified, but more light-heartedly than anything due to the Niners winning, and this year he's Satan himself. So what if the Niners are 1-3 and Owens is crying on the sidelines, hasn't anyone noticed he's done this for what seems like forever now? Yeah, of course, and the things from last year and the year before are being brought back up with a more negative aspect. Why do they blow out of proportion when the team's defense collapses in the forth quarter, mental errors are made in the dying moment, and the entire offense sucks?

Thanks for your time, sorry about the rant.
Andrew Davidson.


Face it Andrew, it is partially because the Vikings are winning and the Niners are losing that Moss and Owens are now viewed the way they are. Owens complains when he doesn't get the ball and under Steve Mariucci, it was the coach's fault. And that was when they were winning! Now that they are losing and Owens is still not getting the ball as much as he would like, it's now the Dennis Erickson's, offensive coordinator's, and Jeff Garcia's fault. That rings hollow in many fans' and sportswriter's ears. It's no longer fire and intensity. It is selfishness and immaturity. In the case of Randy Moss, he has actually gotten better and the game films show it. He's running out all of his routes, he's a better downfield blocker, and he's making a concerted effort to be a better teammate. Will that continue? Who knows. But for now, the Vikings are undefeated and all is well. The Niners are 2-3, and all is hell…

You poor misguided soul. Ranking the the mighty Pack way down at #15 is obviously a very big miscalculation on your part. You should take a long look at the facts. Sure the offensive play calling is predictable, and just because the screen pass is now considered a long pass play doesn't mean its time for a new offensive coordinator. Just because the defensive line couldn't stop my grandma from gaining 100 yards on the ground or lay a finger on her if she was back there chucking the ball down field doesn't mean they should boot them all and start over with rookies. Sure the db's have given up almost 1000 yards in the air already but that's because teams in the past were so used to playing catch up that they just naturally throw the ball against us. I have faith in the boys and I'm sure they will be the toughest team in the league at play of time, so rank them at number one and quit all this foolishness.

Marty


Hey Marty, this is my column and I'm the only one who gets to be sarcastic! But don't lose hope with the Pack. As long as Brett Favre is in the backfield, anything can happen. But of course, it doesn't solve the problems along the defensive line.

What about my RAIDERS! I think they are still the team to beat in the NFL this year. Yea they have lost 2 games but they lost 4 last year big deal. I think Gannon has finally found his timing but they need to give Garner the ball more. The D however needs to step up and play to their potential. When it all comes together the rest of the league better get ready cause it will be like a Texas dust storm blanketing the rest of the league

Kevin Ramsey
Gaffney, SC


Um, yeah…the Raiders looked really good giving up 31 points to a bad Charger team and even better giving up a lead late against a really bad Bears team. I'm not yet ready to bury them just yet, but they aren't the team to beat this year. Not when there are the Colts, Chiefs, and Broncos in the AFC. Oakland needs to get younger in a hurry and we may just be watching their last gasp.

What's with all the foot dragging and reluctance of Butch Davis to play Tim Couch when Holcomb is obviously injured and risks further injury by playing? Couch is a number 1 draft pick and it was nip and tuck between him and Holcomb in the preseason. It seemed like a no brainer, but yet Davis took his time about making a seemingly simple decision. Couch appears underappreciated and would probably be better off anywhere else- Dallas maybe?

Ken Vandiver


Tim Couch's last few games have really given Butch Davis something to think about. Kelly Holcomb has been gutsy, but the Browns weren't moving on offense with him. Oddly enough, that seemed to be the same problem under Couch last season before Holcomb stepped in. Maybe they'll have to play one QB until the other falters and then go to the other…

The Niners problems start in the front office. Anybody in there have any pro football experience? York? Donahue? Erickson? Answer - not really. Erickson is probably a fine college coach, but does not have the capability for the pros. Donahue - does anyone trust this guy?The team needs a change at the top and that's probably saying goodbye to Erickson and then a concerted effort at developing Rattay. Garcia, a fine gentleman, is finished for this year and probably his pro career.

Oxypete


I wasn't a fan of Eddie DeBartolo's, but at least when he was running the team, he left the football decisions to football people. What the York's are doing was what Jerry Jones was doing in Dallas before he hired Bill Parcells. The Niners are in rebuilding mode and no one will admit to it. I don't know what the answer is, but so far, this regime has left a lot to be desired. They may be spoiled by the success of their past.

As for Jeff Garcia, I really think his back problems are worse than he's letting on. I don't know if it means the beginning of the end, but if it persists, I think Tim Rattay should step in until Garcia is fully healthy.

Last night, Indy intercepted the ball and fumbled it. Keenan McCardell picked up that fumble and ran it in for a touchdown. Is Keenan McCardell on Defense or Offense at that time?

Damian


McCardell was still on offense despite the fumble and change of possession. If Mike Doss took the interception all the way back, it's not a rushing or receiving TD, it's a return.

That dominating Buccaneers defense sure as hell didn't stop the Colts offense with less than 4 minutes left in the game. As much talk that was on the Buccaneers website last week about the game last night....they should have been blown out of the water. Peyton Manning is looking more and more like Unitas. For Keyshawn Johnson, he should have been sitting the entire game. As many catches as he has he should be scoring more than 1 touchdown. As for him talking about Marvin Harrison being the best NFL receiver because he catches off screen plays, that's the Colts offense. As long as he catches the ball it doesn't really matter.

Sincerely,
Amanda Moore


That was without a doubt, the most surprising comeback I'd ever seen because of the time left, the score, and the defense that was involved. If you played those last four minutes 100 times, 99 times, the Bucs defense would hold off the Colts and win the game. It was a tremendous coming of age game for the Colts.

As for Keyshawn Johnson and his big mouth, I think it was just plain old jealousy. He may have a ring, but no one considers him one of the best receivers in the league like people consider Harrison to be, and it's something that Johnson so desperately wants. I can name ten guys that I'd rather have catching passes for me than Johnson.

Do you think the Colts are for real this year? Or is it the weak schedule they have played so far? What do you think of their defense this year. Can they play with the big Boys? (Tampa Bay, Kansas City, Carolina) or will they burn out and crash like they did last year?(Jets beating them into the ground)

Ed Menke
Hawaii


Ed, you are the first person from the Islands to write me, so aloha! I think that the Colts have improved significantly on defense and also have enough running backs to help balance out their offense. I think that they are for real and could hang with those teams already mentioned. That incredible Monday Night game just solidified their status as one of the league's best.

While I realize that the Saints loss looked very pitiful, how long will it take for head coaches to realize that some days, the quarterback just doesn't have it. The problem in New Orleans isn't Haslet, it is the has-been... at quarterback.

MonkeySkull


It's easy to blame the QB when things go wrong, but I think that the Saints are just totally out of sync on all aspects of the game. But since you can't fire the players, the coach will be the one to go.

Amos Zereoue is NOT the answer. Tommy Maddox is NOT the answer. This comes down to basics also. Amos is too small. Tommy is not Terry. However, a balanced attack could provide the success that the Steeler fans deserve. Has Traditional Steeler football been abandoned? What ever happened to the running game. Put the Bus in from the get-go and punish the defense. This Steeler team in order to win consistently will need to re-discover the running game via the Bus. Mix in Amos, Randle El and the passing game opens up for Tommy.

Thanks for letting me vent. Is there anyway you can get the message to the people who can at least hear the opinion of not only myself, but each and every Steeler fan that I come across when were scraching our heads as to what has gone wrong. WE WANT OUR STEELERS OF OLD BACK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tom Schroeder


The Steelers have a powerful offensive line and should lean on teams until they fall over. Bettis and Zereoue would be a nice one-two punch in the running game. I can understand their desire to throw the ball when they have all those weapons in the wide receiving corps, but do they really want Tommy Maddox doing the throwing? I think he's a serviceable QB, but with that offensive line and defense, I think they should go back to old school Steelers football.

Ok, frankly I'm tired of hearing about TO and Moss. They are good recievers, but they dont' know when to shut up. The only thing I've about recivers all year is about TO and Moss. This only bothers me because the only wide reciever that can beat both of them has not even been mentioned. He had a bad game a couple weeks ago, but he was not jumping up and down throwing a hissy fit at his offensive coordinator. He calmly sat on the bench and during the week he talked to his Quarterback and they worked it out. What happened that next week? He had 3 touchdowns. I am not tryin' to put Harrison up on stool, but let's face it, that's where he is.

Josh Fitch


I agree with you Josh, Harrison has been a steady and quiet performer and in some cases, better than both Moss and Owens both in production and demeanor. Take a look at these stats:

Season Averages Since 1999:
 ReceptionsYardsTouchdowns
Marvin Harrison117158013
Randy Moss87135710
Terrell Owens88122912


Why and the hell are the Raiders doing so bad after a great year with a MVP at QB and I know that porter gives a deep threat but they still have the two oldest WR and the best in my mind.

Kyle Rascon


Maybe the problem is that the front office is thinking like you are, behind the times. The team is old in all the wrong spots and they don't have adequate replacements ready for them. They don't have the elite players at the skill positions and their age has hindered their ability to stretch the defense. Thus teams keep the receivers in front of them and prevent them from turning short passes into long gains.

Have a question for the Dr., want to question the Dr. or even interrogate the Dr.? Dr. J answers fans questions, sometimes sarcastically, from around the NFL. Dr. J can be reached at doctorjmailbox@yahoo.com. Letters are answered weekly on The Insiders Sports Network.

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