Dr. J's Mailbox

Hey everyone! It's mailbox time! Thanks for all of your letters once again. Happy Holidays!

So with a highly paid and highly drafted rookie QB in the fold, Drew Brees is having a career season. If he takes this team to the playoffs, what do the Chargers do? Do they let him walk and start over next year with Rivers, ruining all of the strides the team has made in coming together this year? Do they try to deal Rivers and unload his salary and possibly pick up some nice draft picks? Do they try to keep both? Do they have enough cap room to do that? This has intrigued me but I don't hear any talk about what the Chargers do with Brees after the season except to let him walk.

Wildomar, CA

Tim, even during this streak, I was under the impression that Drew Brees was playing his last season with the San Diego Chargers. But now, I keep hearing that the Chargers will not merely franchise tag him to deal him, but to keep him. Yes, it will cost them $9M to keep him around for even the one season, but the Chargers will have about $23M to play with under next season's cap. It's a possibility that a trade is still forthcoming, but I still think that while this season has increased Brees' value tremendously, there are still some GM's that want to know if he's the next Tom Brady or the next Scott Mitchell.

The Atlanta Falcons beat San Diego and Denver (at Mile High, no less). It's funny to me how many sportswriters across the country drafting their power rankings choose to ignore the best measure of who should be higher -- head-2-head match ups.

Neal Weinrich
Atlanta, GA

Should I rank the Chiefs over the Colts because of their 45-35 win on Halloween? Or maybe I should rank the Chiefs over your Falcons since they DEMOLISHED them 56-10 on October 24th. That would be lunacy of course because no matter what the Chiefs did against the Colts and Falcons those consecutive weeks, both are far superior teams and everyone knows that.

The rankings are based on a number of things, including head-to-head, but mainly on how the team is playing, if they are winning, and HOW they are winning. A case in point, the 7th seed in the NFC playoff race right now is the NY Giants (St. Louis owns the tiebreaker), a team that by making a move to start a rookie QB has essentially thrown in the towel. Now you tell me, are the Giants among the best teams in the league?

Dr. J,
I think your recent power rankings have some significant flaws, in particular a relatively unfair bias against the New Orleans Saints. Two of the teams that the Saints clearly beat are the Chiefs and the Raiders, both of whom are ranked higher than the Saints this week. And they aren't ranked higher by just a few slots either. This does not make sense to me. Not only did the Saints beat both of these teams, but they have a better or equal record to each of them. Additionally, the Saints put forth a valiant effort against the falcons this past week, but they lost; and so they fell in the rankings by 3 spots. This is understandable. However, the Chiefs also lost and fell 3 spots, yet they 1) lost to a team (chargers 8-3) that's not as good as the 9-2 falcons that skimmed by the Saints and 2) allowed more points (34) than the Saints' 24. Granted, the Saints are not the most impressive squad this year, but to rank two teams that they beat significantly higher is just plain wrong. They have talent, but they make too many mistakes--on this level the Saints and the Chiefs are probably about even. They were both expected to be much better this year, too. So in these respects, they're fairly similar and certainly don't deserve such disparity between their respective rankings. And yes, I know these aren't the only factors that go into your analysis, but I beg to differ that those other factors could reasonably allow a 3-8 Chiefs team to be 8 spots higher than a 4-7 Saints squad.

Austin, TX

Brad, you've got a lot of twisted logic here, but I simply can't put it any simpler. The Saints stink. They've got a lot of talent in Deuce McAllister, Joe Horn, and Donte Stallworth, but for some reason, they stink. Maybe it's because Jim Haslett can't coach, maybe because Tom Benson is a bad owner, or maybe because things are too lax in the Big Easy, but they haven't put it together in a year when just about anyone in the NFC can make the playoffs. I don't know. I actually thought the Saints could be a contender for a playoff spot this season, but it just hasn't happened.

Dr. J.
I think the Chargers are the best team in the NFL...if Pittsburgh, New England, Philadelphia, and Indianapolis were not in NFL :-( And certainly they need to keep Drew Brees, replace Sammy Davis if they are going to have a chance in the next two years moving past the first round of playoffs.

What do you think?

Right now, I think the Chargers are a team that nobody wants to play. They are nearly unstoppable on offense (who would've thought that would ever be said) and they are tough against the run. They are hot and relatively healthy, two big aspects of teams that normally make a lot of noise come playoff time. Now, I don't think that they are better than Pittsburgh, New England, Philadelphia, or Indianapolis right now, but they've got a lot of things going their way. Either way, for a city that hasn't seen the playoffs in a decade, it's a lot of fun.

I have been a San Diego resident my entire life, except for twice. For much of 1994, I was residing in Newport Beach California (which residents do not call The O.C.), and just recently, when I moved to North Carolina. It was pointed out to me recently that 1994 was the last winning season for the Chargers. After the way they're looking this year, all I have to say is: I'm sorry San Diego, I should have left years ago…


Jessica, when you left, did Ryan Leaf and Bobby Beathard decide to leave San Diego with you? If so, then thanks for leaving...

Thoughts? Share them with me and you just might get your name in print. E-mail me at Dr@Sandiegosports.net and if you're naughty or nice, you might end up in my mailbox column.

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