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Posted: Friday September 12, 2008 9:33AM; Updated: Friday September 12, 2008 9:33AM
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Cobbling together a PRs defense

Story Highlights
  • Rams fans take offense at ... not being ranked 32nd?
  • Breaking down differences between onsides and bloop kick
  • Why there's more offensive linemen than defensive
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Steven Jackson and the Rams aren't the worst team in the NFL but they are close.
Steven Jackson and the Rams aren't the worst team in the NFL but they are close.
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Dr. Z's Mailbag
Dr. Z will answer select user questions each week in his NFL mailbag.

OK, let me get this straight now. How many enemies did I make this week with my Power Rankings? Cardinals fans hate me for ranking them lower than Miami. Steelers fans hate me for placing them two notches below the Patriots, who, if you haven't heard, are having QB identity problems. Giant fans hate me on general principles (how about normal sized fans?).

Very few questions are involved here, just the usual late week bellyaching, and oh boy, here's an e-mail from Dawn Kelsey, signed "Worn out (already) Rams Fan," and this should be a good one because I ranked her team 31st. OK, let's have your best shot.

"As a season ticket owner for the St. Losers, I mean the St. Louis Rams, I have one question: Why would you put them above the Raiders?" Huh? Next few sentences are about the team's general ineptness, but here's the snapper, and it is why I have bestowed on this little lady my coveted E-mailer of the Week Award.

"Jim Hanifan (color commentator) and D'Marco Farr (sideline reporter) used the last quarter of the Eagles game to discuss why a Cobb salad is called a Cobb salad. It was less painful than having to listen to the play by play."

Oh boy, is this my kind of letter. I ranked the Raiders dead last and the Rams one position above them because of the level of coaching. Oakland was a freewheeling, undisciplined mess Monday night. Ten penalties, etc. Now let's get down to business. Cobb salad. Named after Ty Cobb because it contains Georgia peaches. Leads the dinner table in base hits.

Ha ha. Cobb salad. Named after its creator, Robert H. Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby in Hollywood. Now admit it, isn't this more interesting than listening to a litany of whining about ratings and stuff like that?

• The Arizona gang includes Dave G. of New Jersey and Chad of L.A. They're downright livid because Cards were 25th and Dolphins were... were... good heavens, did I really have them up there at 22nd? Stay cool, boys, it will all be settled on the field of valor Sunday.

• New England drops only to second, despite Matt Cassel's appearance at the quarterback position. This drew a good geographical cross section of anger, from Bob of Washington, Ed of Pittsburgh and Alti of Chicago ("I never thought I could burp and sneeze at the same time"... good one... One more physical descriptive and we've got the hat trick). The Patriots, coming off an unbeaten regular season, get the courtesy of being placed near the top. It's still up to someone to come and displace them. When that happens I will note it in my rankings.

• "Aren't the defending champs No. 1 until they lose?" asks David P, a cheesehead transplanted in Pacific, Mo., and a Giants supporter. Until this year, yeah. And I guess I did kind of apply that criterion to the Patriots. But I'm going to be brutally honest with you, even at the cost of branding myself an illogical fool. I'm so sick of hearing various Giants using that "we don't get no respect" angle that I said to myself, as I was doing the rankings, "Oh you don't, huh? Well, here's some more non-respect to whine about, so I think I'll put you at No. 5, and let's see what happens." I figure that strictly on ability, rather than on noblesse oblige, that's about right.

"You're setting yourself up for a major knockoff with that one," the Flaming Redhead warns. In the words of Conrad Dobler, "Here I am, come get me!"

• Next batter! OK, Buffalo, you're up. What did I do now? First word comes from the Queen City's own Patrick, who writes, "O my god! The Bills cracked the top ten! Thank you so much!" What's this, humility just because I had them at No. 9? Well, thank you so much, sir.

"The Bills have been playing smart and with heart," adds Ian of Rochester. Boy, you never know in this ratings game. Pick up two friends and a barn full of enemies. "Serve them all cookies and milk and maybe they'll go home," the Redhead says. OK, honey, go back to your McCain-Obama tutorial and leave the serious stuff to me.

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