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Posted: Tuesday October 2, 2007 12:27PM; Updated: Tuesday October 2, 2007 4:40PM
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JAKE PLUMMER IS HAPPILY RETIRED. IN MONTANA, FROM WHAT I HEAR. From Bryan Thompson of Waterford, Ontario: "What do you think the chances are of the Bears making a deal with Tampa and convincing Plummer out of retirement? I know he has never been the best at protecting the ball, but he's a lot better then they have now.''

I would say the chances are not good. Everyone who knows Jake thinks he's ensconced in retirement, doesn't care about the money and won't come back to football. He's one of those people I always thought would walk away from football and never look back because he has a number of other interests -- some of them outdoorsy, some of them human-needs related.

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PATRICK, I WAS THINKING EXACTLY THE SAME THING. From Patrick Reep of Eagan, Minn.: "You commented, 'My God, is Adrian Peterson a great-looking running back.' He is impressive to watch. My question is why he only ran the ball two times in the second half after going 10 rushes for 108 yards in the first half? We know we have a quarterback issue with the Vikings but do you think we have a coaching issue too? With you here to watch the game yesterday, do you have any insight from your perspective about what you saw about Childress and his coaching for the Vikings?''

I like Childress a lot and think he's a really smart guy. But this was a one-score game for 49 minutes. It ended with the Vikings calling 43 pass plays and 22 run plays -- even though they averaged 7.0 yards per rush and the Packers clearly were out-played against the run all day. Plus, who do you want with the ball? Kelly Holcomb, a nice NFL backup? Or two good running backs running downhill? Childress should have taken the ball on his first two drives of the second half and run Peterson and Chester Taylor until the Packers cried uncle.

THE COWBOYS ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE! From Brian Edwards of Brooklyn: "I saw you had Dallas ranked as the third best team in the NFL. I know they are blowing teams out of the water, but how much of their success is due to the fact that their opponents have a combined 3-13 record?''

Some, certainly. But this is an explosive offensive team that shredded the Bear defense before the injuries ravaged them. We'll get a great read on the 'Boys when they play New England in two weeks.

DON'T DESPAIR, PARTISANS OF THE LIGHTNING BOLT. From Peter Polito of Vista, Calif.: "At what point this season is Chargers GM A.J. Smith going to realize that Norv Turner is single-handedly destroying one of the most stacked teams in recent history? I have been a Chargers fan since birth, so I have become accustomed to having my heart ripped out by them, but this is a new low. Please, Peter, tell me there is reason to still have hope!''

Of all the teams stinking it up right now, San Diego's the one with the best chance to recover. I feel your pain. But give them one more week before abandoning ship. I say Norv's going to do the right things with the run game this week.

MARTY SCHOTTENHEIMER'S LEGACY. From Craig Beers of Wethersfield, Conn.: "Is Marty Schottenheimer the most underappreciated coach of all time? Many think Martyball held good teams back, but I believe he overachieved with mediocre talent. Marty's record in Cleveland (44-27) and Kansas City (103-58-1) was solid, but his successors fared worse. In the three seasons after Marty's departure, Cleveland went 18-29-1 and Kansas City 21-27. Considering San Diego was 47-33 during Marty's tenure, is their 1-3 start a harbinger of future seasons?''

What a load of stats to digest there, Craig. I believe Schottenheimer, for better or worse, will go down as a top 20 coach in history -- but with the rap of getting good teams close but never to a championship. I'm on record last winter as saying it was a big mistake by A.J. Smith to get rid of Schottenheimer, because this was a rock-solid defensive team, a smart, ground-hugging offensive team -- a team, in short, built perfectly for Schottenheimer's conservative coaching ways. But having said that, being a 5-13 playoff coach is a hard number to break away from.

MIKE MCCARTHY IS MY COACH OF THE YEAR RIGHT NOW. From Ted L. of Buffalo: "How much credit do you give Green Bay coach Mike McCarthy for his work with Brett Favre? He seems much improved with McCarthy.''

Glad you asked, Ted. McCarthy has done such a terrific job with getting his team to believe it's on the right road. When I saw him Saturday night, before the Vikings-Packers game, he told me one of the great things that happened to the 2007 Packers actually happened in 2006, after the Packers were walloped by the Jets to fall to 4-8.

"We had our best week of practice all season,'' McCarthy said. "It was clear that even though it wasn't showing up on the scoreboard, we were getting better, and they were buying into the system.''

Green Bay won its last four, then McCarthy stood by in support of GM Ted Thompson doing practically nothing pro-active with an 8-8 team in the offseason. "I'm convinced that in the NFL, in the offseason, the best way to improve your team comes from within," said McCarthy." You've got to get players to work hard to improve, not always think there's a better player somewhere else. That's what our guys did this off-season.''

Re: Favre, it's clear to see Favre trusts McCarthy when the coach says, in effect, Trust me. I know the best thing for our team is to play conservatively, build a bond with a bunch of offensive players you don't know, and, above all, don't turn the ball over.

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