Posted: Tuesday January 23, 2007 2:20PM; Updated: Tuesday January 23, 2007 2:20PM
Peter King will answer your questions each week in Monday Morning Quarterback: Tuesday Edition.
I think Eric Mangini would not have used a second-round pick on someone he was not planning to give a fair chance. Pennington is a splendid field general, but he has the weakest deep arm of any decent-or-better quarterback in the NFL. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer came back after scouting all the quarterbacks in the draft last year and raved about Clemens' smarts, field sense and arm strength. Oh, he'll get his chance to play sometime. You can be sure of that.
DOES GROSSMAN EQUAL HARRINGTON? From Paul Harrington, of Toronto: "The Super Bowl doubts about Rex Grossman remind me of the doubts about Trent Dilfer of the Ravens in 2000. Dilfer played safe if unspectacular football against the Giants (12-25 153 yards, 1 TD, no interceptions.) The Ravens relied on their defense to win the day, easily beating the Giants via four interceptions and a fumble recovery. Do you think the Bears can afford to have Grossman play it safe and rely on their defense, seeing that they'll be facing Peyton Manning and not Kerry Collins?''
That'll be one of the story lines in the Super Bowl. Here's the difference: The Bears don't have anything near the Ravens' defense of 2000. In September they did, but this is just a good defense now. So Grossman's going to have to make some plays for the Bears to win. Against the Giants, Dilfer's only job was to not screw up, and he did his job well. Grossman of 2006, in my opinion, is better than Dilfer of 2000.
ANOTHER GOOD MATCHUP POINT. From Brian Solomon, of Princeton, N.J.: "If Ellis Hobbs could beat the Indy kickoff coverage for an 80-yard return, how much impact do you think the Bears' Devin Hester will have in the Super Bowl? If the Bears pull an upset, could we see a Desmond Howard-esque MVP performance from the sensational rookie?''
Maybe. But I'll bet a lot of money that with good directional booting on the Indy special teams, they'll have a plan for Hester. They're not going to just kick it to him six times.
SHOULD THE TITLE GAMES BE AT NEUTRAL SITES? From Alex Berman, of Coral Springs, Fla.: "The NFL floated an idea not too long ago about having the conference championship games at neutral sites. You mentioned in your column how much you liked the snowy conditions in Chicago on Sunday. Could you imagine if that game were played at Reliant Stadium or the Georgia Dome? It wouldn't have been anywhere near as enjoyable to watch or attend. I hope this neutral site idea for the conference title games never becomes reality, don't you?''
I don't see it ever happening. The teams would fight it, to be sure, because they want to earn home-field advantage if they play well enough during the regular season. And it would disadvantage the fans quite a bit if they had to fly somewhere to see their team's biggest game of the year.
BREES COULD HAVE THROWN IT AWAY, FOR SURE. From Will Carr, of Olympia, Wash.: "I've been wondering, without being able to go back and look at the play, what else Brees should have done when he got the intentional grounding call that you criticized him for. Taking the sack would have been the same. He couldn't run, because they were in his face. He obviously didn't see someone to throw to. Seems that throwing it away and hoping he didn't get the penalty because someone gets in the area seemed like the best choice out of a bunch of bad ones. Maybe throw an interception and limit the damage to 3 or 7 points instead of 2, 5, or 9? What do you think he should have done?''
I did see the replay. I forget whether it was Deuce McAllister or Reggie Bush, but one of those two backs was at about the three- or five-yard line, and all Brees had to do was rifle a throw at the feet of the back closest to him. Brees hasn't made a lot of mistakes all season, but that was clearly a big one that was avoidable.
SHE LIKES MANNING. From Peni Smith, of Brentwood, Tenn.: "As a University of Tennessee alumni (during the Peyton years), I can not agree more with your article praising him. While I do not personally know Peyton, I do remember his southern gentleman style of holding the doors open for ladies before/after class, etc. As you stated, he is one of the hardest workers in the NFL and I hope his persistence and dedication will finally lead him to a Super Bowl ring. As a former Vol, it will be even more victorious if the UT quarterback beats the Florida Gator quarterback in the Big One!!''
Tell the truth: When your cell phone rings, does Rocky Top play?