Posted: Tuesday November 13, 2007 3:27PM; Updated: Tuesday November 13, 2007 7:49PM
DOWN ON RIVERS. From Rick Betourne of Chesapeake, Va.: "The Chargers are toast. Even as emotional as they were Sunday, how can they legitimately be called a playoff team? Philip Rivers is AWFUL! I kept saying to my son, 'Who is he throwing to?'
"Consistently, he was throwing to receivers who were covered, double-covered, even triple-covered. People wonder why LT is not having the same year -- Philip Rivers."
Rivers' decline stuns me. I really thought he was a ready made NFL quarterback when he came out of N.C. State and now his accuracy and decision making have regressed hugely. My dime-store opinion. The chargers have to go back to being a blood and guts run team first, the way they were under Marty Schottenheimer last year. I think it's ridiculous to suggest that they've lost something in the running game other than the will to run it. And once they run more consistently, Rivers will have a less-crowded secondary to strafe.
MORE QB QUESTIONS. From Mike Kearney of Burlington, Ontario: "I raise my green tea to you this morning and ask "Who is the No. 3 NFC quarterback in the Pro Bowl?" Favre and Romo are one and two. For No. 3, is it Garcia, Brees or Hasselbeck? The whole world needs to know.
As of now, I'd pick Garcia, who has been the model of efficiency playing for a quarterback coach who demands it. Brees has had one spectacular month, not good enough for the Pro Bowl, even in these watered-down QB days. Hasselbeck has been more inconsistent than Garcia.
VINATIERI FALL-OUT. From Jay of Trenton, N.J.: "Hey Peter, do you think Adam Vinatieri's missed "gimme" vs. San Diego tarnished his HOF resume at all?"
No. I respect the question. But one blown regular-season game hardly tarnishes the resume of the best clutch kicker in NFL history.
PAUL THINKS I CHOSE WRONG EAGLE. From Paul of Naples, Fla.: "How about a little recognition for Brian Westbrook as the offensive player of Week 10? Three touchdowns and 183 total yards is too good to ignore from a tailback. Quarterbacks get too much of the glory, and it's small things like sportswriters naming Donovan McNabb the player of the week that perpetuate their inflated importance. McNabb is a good story, but Westbrook is hands-down the Eagles' MVP every week."
You make an excellent point. I picked McNabb for offensive player of the week because of how he responded to one of the most pressure-packed games of his career with a four-touchdown, zero-interception day. True, Westbrook made one of those TDs happen all by his electric self. But I think a quarterback with the weight of the world on his shoulders, on and off the field, deserves a bigger round of applause for playing well than a running back who made some game-changing plays.
FAVRE-ULOUS. From Mark F. of Worcester, Mass.: "Saw Deanna Favre on last week's Monday Night Game. Is it bad form to note what a babe she is?"
I will relay the message and you can count on two things. One, she'll be very pleased. Two, she'll blush.
TOUCHING STORY FROM A 49ERS FAN. From Phil of Toronto: "A story about Dick Nolan: I have been a Niners fan since I was 14, in 1965. In 1972, when the team made its first ever trip to nearby Buffalo following the NFL/AFL merger, I bought tickets. A couple of days prior I decided that it would be even better to drive in the day before and hopefully meet some players. Accordingly, I called the team's headquarters and asked to speak to Dick Nolan. They put me on hold and, a couple of minutes later, Dick was on the line (obviously, this is something that would never happen today).
"I told him that I was coming and asked if it was possible for me to attend the Saturday practice. He said yes and told me that he would leave my name with security so I would be allowed in. Driving into Buffalo, I wondered if he would really bother to do so. Well, when I arrived, my name was indeed there and I went in. I went over to Dick to thank him for making the effort. He was a kind and gracious man, who took a moment to introduce me to my favorite Niner at the time, Gene Washington. I would probably still be a Niners fan today if he hadn't been so gracious to me, but his actions certainly ensured I would be a lifelong fan of the team, and him."
I'm going to give you the biggest cliché in sports -- the apple does not fall very far from the tree. Mike Nolan is one of the three or four head coaches that I have ever covered, who, regardless of your opinion or stance, treats a reporter with precisely the same respect. He's truly one of the most decent men I've ever met, in or out of football.
COMES DOWN TO THE COST. From Mark Matlock of Greenville, S.C.: "Do you think the cable companies that don't carry the NFL Network are going to have a revelation here in the next week or so with that Green Bay-Dallas game staring them in the face? Sounds like a lot of sports bars are going to be doing a bang-up business Nov. 29."
It's simple for Big Cable: it's not worth passing on the cost the NFL is asking for eight late-season football games. It's pretty simple really, a matter of supply and demand. I've talked to some cable people and they just don't think the quality of the NFL Network for 12 months a year is worth making it one of the biggest ticket channels on a regular cable TV menu. Stay tuned. I'll be writing more about this in Monday Morning Quarterback next week.
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