MMQB Mail (cont.)
Now onto your e-mail:
I'M NOT DOWN ON TARVARIS. From Nick Taylor of Montreal: "Enjoy your column. I'm puzzled as to why you seem down on Tarvaris Jackson and his prospects this year. If I recall correctly, your advice to Childress about a year ago was to stick with him. Since then, Jackson must have been the most heavily criticized QB with a 95+ rating in NFL history. In fairness, stats don't tell the whole story: he was tentative at times, got benched, and played poorly in his first playoff game (but that was against an Eagles defense that made Eli Manning look just as bad the next week). Bottom line, the guy is a small-school product with a grand total of 19 starts under his belt, and he's probably still learning the West Coast offense. He's still unproven, sure, but it's way too early to suggest he doesn't belong. Why exactly would J.D. Booty leapfrog him on the depth chart? Jackson's got plenty of tools and great backs to support him.''
Look, I'm just trying to read the tea leaves here. And the tea leaves say the Vikings felt a major need to jack up the quarterback competition because they had major doubts about Jackson being good enough to play. You don't trade for a part-time starter and court Brett Favre through the offseason if you think Jackson's your long-term answer. As far as Booty goes, I just know the staff likes his down-the-road potential a lot. I'll be there Thursday, and I'll let you know what I see when I'm there.
YES, I DO. From Todd Wallace of Shepherdsville, Ky.: "Do you think there should be a place in the Hall of Fame for defensive and offensive coordinators? The late Jim Johnson's overall record as a DC in the NFL is outstanding. No one would question that. Don't you think he is HOF worthy? Or Dick LeBeau after he retires? I understand why head coaches are inducted and even owners and general managers, but how come there is no room in the Hall for guys like Jim Johnson? I think he belongs, and I'm a Giants fan.''
You are preaching to the choir. I will be an avid backer of Dick LeBeau when the Hall discussion comes up this year, and I would consider both Johnson and Monte Kiffin. LeBeau, in my mind, is ahead of both, but all should be contenders.
GOOD QUESTION. From Glidjy Dupont of Cambria Heights, N.Y.: "Peter, Why do NFL teams allow someone like Mike Shanahan to visit their summer camps while knowing fully they may face a Shanahan-coached team in the not too distant future (next year)? I can't imagine someone like Bill Belichick allowing a potential adversary to take a peek into his bag of tricks. Why do other NFL coaches allow it?''
Very good question, and something I asked a few Steeler officials. I think it's respect for Shanahan, number one. Two: They can pick his brain about offense while he's in camp, and don't think Belichick won't do that tonight or tomorrow in Foxboro when Shanahan is there. Three: Kinship of coach. Kyle Shanahan, Mike's son, was an assistant in Tampa Bay for two years when Mike Tomlin coached there, and Tomlin liked Kyle and talked football with Mike occasionally. And as Shanahan told me, "It's not like I'm in their staff meetings and I'm getting their scouting reports on players.'' So he's in there, but I don't think they're giving him the keys to the country store, either.
BASEBALL INTERRUPTUS. From Chris of Philadelphia: "Why can't we investigate Senator Mitchell? You can't tell me he couldn't find any prominent Boston players to put in his report, and all of a sudden, two of the biggest names in all of Red Sox history show up as positive tests? Please. This has Yankee witch hunt all over it. He needs to be investigated for wasting taxpayers dollars. This should not go unnoticed!''
Duly noted, and good point. But it wasn't taxpayer dollars that funded George Mitchell's investigation -- it was major-league baseball dollars.
OKAY. I NEED TO HEAR THIS. From Pat Patterson of Chicago: "Don't apologize for tweeting to get the word out quickly [on my Tweet debunking the Mike Vick-to-the-Patriots report last Friday]. SI may not realize it yet, but you're actually helping them. We, the readers, get good, timely info from your tweets, which makes us more likely to read your web posts and buy the magazine. Keep up the good work.''
Good point. It's a difficult question, but you're making the point I think that's the most valid.
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