Dr. J's Mailbox – 11/7/03

My apologies for not having the Mailbox last week. There was a lot more going on in San Diego last week than just football as you all probably know. But hey, there wasn't much football going on in San Diego before that anyway…<br><br> And now, on to the mailbox!

Schottenheimer has to start Flutie if he wants to protect the future of Brees. All Schottenheimer has done in the past five games is allowed Brees to foster bad habits, then set them in stone. Brees needs to be pulled back and allowed to see the error of his ways. True, a constantly changing offensive line does not help, but allowing Brees to make the same mistakes only sets them deeper. Flutie can provide a spark for this team, and this doesn't mean that Brees will not see action later this year. Brees can use the time to see how Flutie gets the team rallied around him, then find his own way to do the same. For me, right now, I don't see Brees as our future, and if we get the first draft pick next year, there's Eli Manning out there.........

Glenn Brock


Just as a good system can make a great player (Jeff Garcia, Marc Bulger, Clinton Portis) a bad system can break a good one too. I think Drew Brees' talents are not being used properly. Schottenheimer ran the ball ten straight times on 1st down against a Miami defense that is 2nd against the run. They were unable to move the ball at all against a Chicago defense that has been less than stellar all season long. I've heard through the grapevine that Flutie runs the offense better because often times, he doesn't run the play that's called by the booth. That was a complaint that Norv Turner had. But in this case, I'd prefer Flutie or Brees to call the plays. This dinosaur offense that Schottenheimer is so intent on using simply will not work against defenses in the NFL today. I don't think it helps that Brian Schottenheimer is the QB coach either.

I'm still willing to give Brees the opportunity to play in a different system that uses him, Tomlinson, and Boston properly. But until this coaching staff is removed, his development will be stunted. Eli Manning is sorely tempting though…

Take a look at the Yankees roster...Jeter, Posada, Williams, Petitte, Rivera...the core of the Yankees championship teams over the last decade. All of them products of the Yankees farm system. Did they also mix in people like Clemens and Cone on the way? Absolutely, but is that fundamentally different than the Red Sox (Pedro and Manny), Marlins (Pudge), Cubs (Alou) or any other team? Steinbrenner has run a successful franchise. Would you rather have him stuff the money into his pockets like the owner of the Clippers? He pays his players well. Find something else to preach about because the Yankee-hating is old.

David Heller


Dave, hating the Yankees NEVER gets old. Besides, a lot of your fellow fans hate them right now, don't they?

I know that the schedule of which team is playing the other is pretty much set by the standings at the end of the season. I'm reaching here but I suspect that the times are negotiated with the teams and the media. Things like Monday night and Sunday night games are most likely set by who the media wants for those Prime Time games. Aren't Randy Moss and Dante Culpepper big enough draws for a national audience?

Jeffrey A. Michael
Warwick, Rhode Island


Jeffery, I'm a big fan of making MNF able to switch their games. I mean, the Raiders, Steelers, Browns, and Jets will make appearances on Monday night later this year. I'd rather see the Panthers, Chiefs, or Vikings who will not be on MNF the rest of the way. But FOX and CBS are less willing to give up their marquee matchups. Who can blame them?

The thing I am very tired of hearing is that Kordell Stewart is a bad QB. Even worse, "stinks" at the Quarterback position. People who say this, are people who read statistics and believe they know what they are talking about. Are you one to watch every performance of Kordell Stewart and the teamates he is surrounded by? Because I am. And it could not be more apparent to me that Kordell has yet to be a part of a team with a regularly strong offensive line. When he did have a strong offensive line backing him up (1997 in particular), he was magically a good Quarterback. How fast that changed. Surely, Kordell must have forgotten how to play football! No.

Mike Sullivan


I couldn't disagree more. There's no doubt that Kordell Stewart is a great athlete, but he makes too many of the same mistakes that have plagued him his entire career. He doesn't look the safeties off very often, he'll try to make the throw into cramped quarters, and he gives up on the play too quickly. And I'm not the only one that feels this way. It could very well be a one and done year for him in Chicago.

You noted in your October 24th mailbox column that: "This team proved that they are one of the best defenses in football over the last five years and cumulated in last year's thrashing of the Raiders in the Super Bowl."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that Callahan never changed the codewords used by the offense under Gruden. It's pretty easy to play defense when you know what the play is before the ball is snapped. Don't get me wrong. They have a great defense. Definitely not one of the best ever, but very, very good.

Jim Charles


You are mentioning the Super Bowl Jim, but I mentioned the last five years. The Bucs have been a stellar team defensively thanks to Tony Dungy's tenure there. They just happened to get over the hump finally, under Jon Gruden. But they've been a great defensive team for five years ,which is like an eternity in this era of free agency and salary cap issues.

I have been an Arizona Cardinals fan for a while. They may not be the best team by a long shot, but they really are not as bad as everyone rips. They could have a very good offensive if only the defense could step up more. With the emergence of Anquan Boldin as a top receiver should help Marcel Shipp excel on the run because he has a great chance to be a good starter. Even Jeff Blake is doing pretty good for his first year with Arizona. I think that Arizona could be a good team in the future.

Mike Nolan


It's not often that I run into an Arizona Cardinals fan, even less often that I run into one with something positive to say about them. But there's certainly a lot to like about them, particularly Boldin and Shipp. The Cards will get their new stadium which is supposed to be fantastic, but it's all going to be up to the skinflint Bill Bidwell to put forth the money to build and sustain a winning team. This is something that he's never shown a willingness to do.

You wrote, "Other than Al Singleton, Terrance Newman, and (ahem) Toby Gowin, isn't this essentially the same roster that finished 5-11 under Dave Campo last season? The biggest move this offseason was the release of Emmitt Smith." Absolutely not, this roster has been revamped both in additional personnel and in starters! Let's take a look....

Starters
Offensive Line: Gennaro DiNapoli (part time starter), Ryan Young
Running Backs: Richie Anderson, Aveion Cason (3rd down back)
Receivers: Terry Glenn
Tight Ends: Jason Witten, Dan Campbell
Defensive Line: Willie Blade
Linebackers: Al Singleton
Cornerback: Terrance Newman
Kicker: Toby Gowin
KR/PR: Zuriel Smith
DS: Jeff Robinson (Out last season)

So as you can see the roster is not essentially the same. I agree with you that Parcells has done an awesome job and the best job that anyone could have done (the best off season acquisition in my book) but to say this is the same team as last year's is going a little too far. Just the offensive line should tell you that. Last year they had 9 or 10 different starting group throughout the season!

Thanks Lonnie Warren


Lonnie, I know that Cowboys fans are excited and have a lot of hope for the near future, but I think even Bill Parcells knows that this team isn't quite ready yet. They're off to a great start (6-2) and have already surpassed their win total from a year ago, but it's not how you start, it's how you finish. The Cowboys have the Bills, Patriots, Panthers, Dolphins, and Eagles in the second half of their schedule. They'll have to prove it against a tough part of their schedule.

I just want to tell you I sure enjoy reading your comments on your football picks each week. Even though I don't agree with "all" of your comments, especially when you talk about my Pittsburgh Steelers but sometimes your right even on them, but it still pains me to read negative comments on my favorite team for many years now, but I'm hoping they get better than they are right now. So keep up the good work, because I enjoy your comments.

I'm a 63 year old female football fan.
Mrs. Bonnie Duncan
Arizona


Well thank you ma'am. It's a pleasure to hear from you. But sadly, I'm afraid things will get worse with your favorite team before they get better. Bill Cowher's message may have worn thin with this team and their offensive line woes are making it nearly impossible for them to play their style of Steeler football.

It could be worse; you could be a Chargers fan…

Thanks for all the letters again. Please keep them coming at doctorjmailbox@yahoo.com and I'll do my very best to answer any questions that you might have. No topic is off limits. Well, except for my bulging bank account thanks to this gig….

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