Dr. J's Mailbox --- 10/16/03

Thanks again to everyone who wrote. Looks like I'm going overseas and international. I've gotten letters from Hawaii, Nova Scotia, Mexico, and now Hong Kong. So thank you all for that. And remember, just like my hero Ted Leitner, just because I <b>have</b> one, doesn't mean that I <b>am</b> one… <br><br> On to the letters!

I know you are probably as sick of talking about Rush Limbaugh's comments on ESPN regarding McNabb as I am, but you have made so egregious an error in your reply to "Amy in Orlando" on 10/10/03 that I can't let it pass un-checked. I quote you: "Now the discussion of whether McNabb is overrated is another matter."

This shows you have completely missed the point of both Amy's letter and Rush Limbaugh's comments. The entire context and motive of his comments was that McNabb is overrated! It's not "another matter", it is the entire matter! Instead of labeling him racist, ignorant, or insensitive, you might want to examine (as Amy in Orlando did) whether or not he was right. How can he be branded all those things, if he is right?? And besides, he shouldn't even have to be right... he is (or was) paid to give commentary and his opinion.

Matt in Chi-town

Amy in Orlando's letter was a comparison of McNabb and Garcia and my analysis was on that alone. I agreed that Garcia's numbers were better, but McNabb's overall win-loss record was the reason that he is revered as he is by the media. Whether or not he is overrated is another matter because if we are talking about wins, he isn't. But if we're talking strictly statistics, his do not measure up with many of his peers. I frankly like to see what a QB can do for his team besides putting up gaudy numbers that may by a result of a pass friendly offense.

As for Rush Limbaugh, and I promise this is the last I will speak on this matter, if he had just said that he thought McNabb was overrated and that the Eagles have been carried by this defense, I would have seen his point, and maybe even agreed to most of it. But the minute that he added the comments about the media and fans handling McNabb with kid gloves, he lost me. Forget that this guy once went 20 of 25 for 257 yards and 4 TDs on a broken ankle and has the utmost respect of his organization and teammates. Limbaugh's comments showed that he knows nothing about football. I mean, McNabb plays in PHILADELPHIA! If there is any place in this country where the fans and media give you absolutely no room for error, it's the City of Brotherly Love. They've booed Mike Schmidt, the Easter Bunny, and Santa Claus and cheered as Michael Irvin once lay on the turf motionless. Do you think they'd pause and think before booing McNabb just because he's an African-American? Not if he'd just thrown his 3rd interception they wouldn't.

By your quotes the last couple weeks, at least, it seems like you have something against, or have a chip on your shoulder for the San Francisco 49ers. Is this true or not? Please explain... Thanks.

Shawn Mille
Central Pennsylvanian

Shawn, I must admit, there is a little bit of resentment there mainly due to the disarray of their front office and their absolute apathy toward mere playoff appearances. They blew out Steve Mariucci despite a record of 60-43 and the 49ers earned playoff berths four times (1997, 1998, 2001 & 2002) during his tenure. It's amazing to me that a team expects to win the Super Bowl every year and yet does not have the wherewithal to truly evaluate their roster and see if they have a Super Bowl team. The 49ers must accept that they are rebuilding, and I don't see this front office or many in their fan base accepting that any time soon.

I think Herm has no one to blame but himself and the Jets management. Why doesn't anyone talk about how BAD the Jets drafts have been the last few years? 2000 was the last time the Jets had a productive draft, and outside of the four first round picks, they don't have anything to show for that draft either (Coles having left after 3 seasons). Herm might be a great speaker and motivator, but his draft choices and game planning leave something to be desired. He and Pete Carroll have a lot in common, and similarly Herm probably has a brighter future in the college ranks than in the NFL.

Wally Shedd

I would be surprised if Herm Edwards was blown out of the Meadowlands at the end of this season. This team was depleted even before opening week. They lost Chad Pennington to a wrist injury, one of their best linemen, Randy Thomas, their top receiver Laveranues Coles, their best return man, Chad Morton, and their kicker, John Hall. I mean would you rather have Coles or Curtis Conway running a crossing pattern? I don't think all the blame will fall on Herm Edwards, if anything, look at Terry Bradway for some terrible drafts and bad moves keeping talent on the roster. The worst part? They have one of the top capologists in the business in Mike Tannenbaum. If Hem is let go, there will be a lot of teams looking for his services.

Nobody likes excuses in the NFL because every team has them. I wish the media would stop blaming the Raiders woes on age... Oakland has a good mix of youth...Jolley, Harris, Coleman.. etc. The problem is heart. The Raiders are a team that knows how hard it was to get there and they are playing like it is not worth the pain, effort, and sweat needed to get there again... The players are not willing to take another ride on that bus.... so they are walking through the season like a kid taking his cousin to senior prom...Call them heartless, not OLD.

Tony Ingalls
Sacramento, CA.

As much as I'd like to call the Raiders a lot of things, heartless is not one of them. Guys like Rich Gannon, Tim Brown, Jerry Rice, and Rod Woodson are grizzly veterans with tons and tons of guts. Brown, Rice, and Woodson may be some of the best ever to play, but they aren't the best right now. Without Jerry Porter, the Raiders don't have any speed to stretch the secondary, and defenses can just play zone and cherry pick.

The Broncos statistically are rated almost dead even in every category with the Chiefs. Their defense is 24 positions better! Even with their win over the Broncos with last minute special teams heroics why do you rate them higher week after week. Furthermore why do you always have a sarcastic comment about the Broncos in the weekly commentary.

Yes I am Bronco fan, but always an AFC fan.
Bob D. D. Ince

Bob, the Broncos are fortunate that the Lions and the Steelers didn't have a ball bounce their way, otherwise, the Broncos are 3-3 and right in the middle of the pack. Yes, they are moving the ball very well on offense with Jake Plummer at the helm (4th overall) and have been surprisingly tough on defense (also 4th overall). I'm simply not a believer in their QB position (either Plummer or Steve Beuerlein.) I love Clinton Portis and I'll even give Mike Shanahan his proper due (although I find his Billy Martin-like paranoia/managerial style a bit tiresome), but they've only met one team with a winning record thus far this season and lost to them. They will get their chances against the best in the league at Minnesota, at Indianapolis, at Green Bay, and home games against New England and Kansas City. If they are for real, they'll have plenty of opportunity to prove it.

I recently read one of your comments about Terrell Owens, Randy Moss, & Harrison and you posted some stats. Why would you not use their career numbers? Moss' stats speak for themselves. Moss has done it with different QB's and RB's. Harrison has had Peyton Manning since 1999. If you're going to compare the stats, don't just pick and choose, look at the facts. Moss 5 seasons, 5-1000 receiving yards, a record. He has the most receiving TDs since 1998. The Vikings were a struggling team and he still put up good numbers. Culpepper is not Manning and never will be. If you put Harrison on the Vikings, it wouldn't be close.

Randy Evans

Here are Harrison's and Moss's career numbers including this season thus far:
M. Harrison8113111698926813.3797928
R. Moss68580443725816.4786642

Moss may not have had Steve Young or Jeff Garcia or Peyton Manning or an offense that emphasized the short pass, but Harrison didn't have Cris Carter or Jerry Rice lined up on the other side drawing the team's best cover man either.

Carolina is one of the undefeated teams left in the league and have even topped last year's so called world champions; so what does it take to get a little press in this world? A Sharpie in your sock? A geriatric offense? Carolina is not only undefeated in regular season but was also undefeated in their four pre-season games. The only press they get is "..and Stephen Davis rushed for x-amount of yards..." Even the pre-game shows gloss over the Carolina Panthers. It just seems as though the Panthers aren't respected in the league. Is it because the media has no stellar names to cling to?

Don Garvin

The Panthers haven't gotten the media's attention and it may be to their benefit. They can sneak under the radar and pound teams with their ferocious defense and run through them with Stephen Davis. I had Carolina pegged as one of the teams to watch in the preseason (I ranked them 15th overall) but even I am stunned at their very impressive start. Enjoy your team Don; let other teams get the press. As long as the Panthers continue playing the way that they are, they will get the press when it matters the most.

I want to tell you that I started reading your column a couple of weeks ago, and now is a must for me every Friday. The Giants were supposed to be good on offense this year, they have the weapons and I think their offense is ok... but the Defense, last year was a very good defense, and now they are allowing more yards than who knows. At the beginning of the season I thought they will 12-4, now I'm questioning myself. What´s your prediction?

Sergio Calderon
Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Gracias Sr. Calderon por su mensaje. Aprecio el tiempo que usted tomó para leer mi artículo. The Giants problems can be traced to their offensive line. They failed to give 6'5" Kerry Collins the passing lanes that he needs to be effective and they haven't opened the holes for fumble prone Tiki Barber to run through. The Giants want to be a tough as nails team, but I don't think they have the personnel to do it.

In your column, you made a mistake regarding McCardell's fumble recovery for a touchdown in last week's Indy-TB game. You claim that McCardell was still considered to be on offense when he recovered the fumble and scored the touchdown.

The NFL Rules state that a fumble with less than two minutes in the half may only be advanced by the offense if the player who fumbled recovers the ball. Had the situation on Monday night occurred with less than two minutes remaining in the half, the touchdown still would have counted. This is because there was a change of possession and Indy was considered a return team while TB became the defense. When the second fumble occurred, McCardell was now part of the return team and Indy once again became the defense. The concept of "offense" no longer exists when a turnover occurs. As such, McCardell's fumble recovery is a defensive stat and his touchdown is considered a return touchdown.

Thanks for your time,
Scott Holewinski
Hartford, CT

Thanks for that Scott. I guess you were right. But as long as Tampa Bay's defense got the points, my fantasy team was happy. Then a league ruling came out saying the defense did not get points and only those leagues getting return points saw the benefit. At least I was not the only one to err.

I will never be convinced that the success of the Rams was anything other than Vermeil. Since he left the Rams, what have they done? It boils down to this, Martz had a Super Bowl caliber team GIVEN to him and he has eroded it into an also-ran. Vermeil took over ANOTHER also-ran and has built IT into an offensive juggernaut that has Super Bowl written all over it. Who was the true Genius in St. Louis?

Brian Whisenhunt

It appears that Dick Vermeil is the genius. I think Mike Martz abandons the run too quickly and falls in love with the 5WR set too often. This allows defenses to pin their ears back, blitz a linebacker or two or maybe a safety on top of it, and disrupt the timing quite easily. I think only now, is Martz running the ball more often and ironically, it's when Marshall Faulk is out with an injury.

I have been a Rams fan all my life and was wondering if you feel that Warner is a better QB than Bulger and should be playing instead. I understand Faulk out with the injury but would like to hear your comments on the QB situation.

Pastor Darren Anderson

I still feel that when healthy, Kurt Warner is the better QB. I just don't think his hand has fully healed. And call me crazy, but when Warner has played, Mike Martz seems to want to pass the ball on every down. Defenses have been able to tee off on Warner as a result. It's got to have affected him somewhat.

I know I shouldn't even think this, much less write it, being a Skins fan, but do you think LaVar Arrington is overrated? He is a decent linebacker, but it seems that he is regarded as a superstar. When does he perform as a superstar? I haven't seen it, have you? His play never seems to match his intensity and his talk.

Will Carr

I don't think he's regarded as a superstar around the league just yet. He is certainly a physical specimen and has the ability to be a superstar linebacker, but I think once the Redskins become more of a contender will he get his recognition. As it stands, he is third on the team in tackles with 33 and Washington is middle of the pack defensively (15th).

I've heard many "Dol-phans" claim that Ricky Williams runs the offense, and that Jay Fiedler is a nobody. I'm a die-hard Miami fan, and I believe Fiedler is given less credit than he is due. He has the second highest winning percentage amongst active QBs. And while Chris Chambers and Randy McMichael received accolades, Fiedler is virtually ignored. Sure, Ricky is the go-to guy. Sure Fiedler ain't a Marino. But who is really the offensive leader?

Hong Kong

I think there is no doubt that this team will run Ricky Williams and will need Ricky Williams to run and run well in order for them to be successful. This team wants to play possession football and beat teams up with their defense and keep the score down. I think Fielder has the respect of his teammates if not the media and the fans around the NFL. Remember, this team brought in hometown boy Brian Griese and son of Hall of Famer Bob Griese and gave him every opportunity to start, but it's Fielder that's the starter to this day.

The other day I heard two words used in the same sentence that haven't seriously been used together since 1999. Cowboys. Playoffs. Am I hearing things?

Jevin Synder

You might want to get that hearing thing checked out there Jevin, because we're only on week seven, but the Cowboys are off to their best start since 1995 when they won the Super Bowl. I'm not saying that they are close to that team, but I will say that they've got the right man at the helm if they are going to make some noise in the NFL this season.

How would you rank the Falcons with Michael Vick back?


Hard to say, Scott, but I can tell you this, before he was hurt, I had the Falcons as one of the scariest teams to face this season, and if wasn't because of those gaudy new uniforms either…

The Pack at #12...are you crazy? We beat undefeated Seattle, then we beat undefeated KC (Except for the last half of the fourth quarter) You know we should have won that game...without a couple of opportunistic bounces...we win!!! I know, shoulda-coulda-didn't, but anyone out there saw the power of the Pack! I don't think any team wants to play us now!!! We will see who gets the final laugh at the end of the season!

Packer Mike

Mike, I've been a big advocate of the Packers and got a lot of flak for it from fans who thought my preseason ranking of 3rd overall was way too high. But until this team starts playing better defense, they'll be looking up at the rest of the league. I love their offense, but as the Rams have shown, it's not nearly enough. Not in the NFC and certainly not this season.

Thought you're "Yankees Suck Yankees Suck" comments were out of place in your rankings of the NFL teams this past week. If you feel the urge to root for the Sox then do it in a baseball forum!!!


It is too bad that you hate the Yanks, but I guess the only thing worse is being a Red Sox fan. It is pretty lame to put anti-Yankees stuff in a football column.

Brendan Murphy

Guys, lighten up a little will ya? It was only in reference to the ALCS and the Patriots beating the Giants last Sunday. And for the record, I'm not a Red Sox fan but was rooting for a Red Sox/Cubs World Series (sorry Cubaholics). To me, rooting for the Yankees to win the World Series is like cheering for Donald Trump to win the Powerball Lottery…

hello my good Dr. i first want to thank you for the articles u write. they are informative without prejudice. I couldn't help but laugh as i scrolled through your power rankings for week 7 in the NFL glad to see u have the Pats in the top 10 and very nice addition of the yankees suck! comments ........ I as im sure all Patriots fans around the world greatly appreciate the levitivity of the comment on an NFL page. thank you again for the informative articles ..........

Chris Duphily

See! Somebody got it!

Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the way you express/write up your game picks each week (right or wrong). Now if only I could get them on Friday morning instead of Saturday so that I could use them for my office pool picks.....

Scott Jeggle

Talk to my editor! I've got these things ready to go by Wednesdays. What do you say, Denis?

Note from the editor: Nice guy that I am (keep those smart comments to yourselves), I see no reason why they cannot be out Friday morning. Consider it done. -Denis

Thanks for your e-mail. I do get hundreds of messages every week so I may or may not be able to answer your question. But please don't stop writing me at doctorjmailbox@yahoo.com; you may be the next one to appear in the latest edition of Dr. J's Mailbox.

Many thanks again,
Dr. J

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