MMQB Mail: Bills not in any hurry; Carroll has potential edge in draft
Bills like Leslie Frazier a lot, but will take time making decision
With three picks in top 40, Pete Carroll can quickly put his mark on Seahawks
Mailbag questions on the Patriots trading Tom Brady and NFL overtime
Five quick observations, then your e-mail from a busy NFL week:
1. We don't know who the Bills' coach might be because, and I can assure you this, they don't know either. The Bills, I believe, have given up on two intriguing candidates, Bill Cowher and Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh. I said this weekend that Minnesota defensive coordinator Leslie Frazier was the leader, but with so many of the coaches they want to talk to still coaching (Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer and, as Fox's Jay Glazer reported Monday, Arizona's Russ Grimm), we can't know who's going to win it.
I think Mike Zimmer, the Bengals defensive boss, is not on the list of coaches the Bills want to interview. I would not be surprised if Jason Garrett of the Cowboys and San Diego's Ron Rivera are on the list.
When the Bills began this process, they made it clear they're going through a long process that won't be short-cutted unless Cowher would have said yes early. Look for this to take between a week and a month to get resolved. If they're the only job open (other than Oakland, which almost doesn't count because the pool of candidates is so different), why rush? But I do know they like Frazier a lot.
2. Tom Cable's in limbo. I keep hearing Cable expects to get fired, and I also hear of conflicting signs from inside the building that Al Davis may try to get him to fall in like with JaMarcus Russell again. I do know Cable is the first coach since Jon Gruden left who has a lot of support in the locker room. "He's exactly the kind of coach we need -- the kind guys on this team respect and feel gives us the best chance to win,'' said punter Shane Lechler. Tell Al.
3. Pete Carroll has this bit of good news to welcome him. The Seahawks have three of the top 40 picks in the April draft -- No. 6 (theirs), No. 14 (from Denver, in the deal that allowed the Broncos to draft Alphonso Smith last year) and No. 40 (theirs). I'll never forget going on a scouting trip with the Cowboys coaches in 1991 for Sports Illustrated and seeing how Jimmy Johnson worked. While all the pro coaches and scouts would go to a college's Pro Day and sit with the masses in a team meeting room to listen to coaches extols the virtues of Player X, Johnson or Butch Davis or Hubbard Alexander, career college guys, would take an assistant coach or trainer, guys they knew from years of recruiting or competing against, and pull them aside and get the real scoop, not the sanitized one.
The draft picks could be the edge Seattle needs to fill two long-term holes -- at quarterback and left tackle. Carroll needs to work the Combine and the college stops as hard as he worked recruiting to have a good chance to turn the Seahawks around quickly.
4. Congrats to Charles Woodson for winning Defensive Player of the Year. When you vote for these awards, you get pegged as a fan of one guy or another. I voted for Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis, who finished second in the AP Defensive Player vote. I never denied Woodson's brilliance; I just thought Revis had a better year for the Jets.
But this is one award I find zero fault in. It's like voting for San Diego or New Orleans as a Super Bowl city. Can't go wrong with either one. Kudos to Woodson, who had an Ed Reed-type impact in takeaways and ball-hawking for the number two defense in the NFL.
5. I might be out of my mind, and then again, I might not be. I heard from a few people, mostly on Twitter, about my statement saying I wasn't sure which QB-WR-TE trio I'd rather have right now -- the one in Green Bay or the one in Indy. "You never cease to amaze me,'' wrote Tom Illg of Apple Valley, Minn. "Are you completely insane? You are debating between Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne and Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings. How do you possibly stay employed as a football expert? You have to think about choosing either a first-ballot Hall of Fame player or a player who still has a lot to prove.''
Well, glad you're reading, Tom. Here's how I analyze it, using the years of current experience and the ages of each player on opening day 2010:
On opening day 2010, Tom, I'd take the Colts' trio. For the next seven years, I'd take Green Bay's. And that's my insanity defense.
Now onto your e-mail:
BILL BELICHICK IS NOT TRADING TOM BRADY. From Michael Donner of Rochester, N.Y.: "Hear me out, as I think this makes sense given the history of the Belichick Era (Deion Branch, Richard Seymour, Ty Law, Curtis Martin): Offer Tom Brady to the Raiders for their 2010 1st, 2nd, 3rd; 2011 2nd, 2012 1st, 2nd. Brady's contract is tradeable and Al Davis would love him for a variety of reasons; Brady could go back to California and live out the end of his career. Belichick could deal one of the first-rounders to the Rams for Steven Jackson and then draft Tim Tebow to run the exact same system in New England as he had in Florida. The Pats then have a solid running threat added in the backfield and under center. Am I crazy, or does this not make perfect sense?''
All except the trading Brady part. What makes more sense to me was raised by one of my Twitter followers the other day -- deal the first-rounder, 22nd overall, to Carolina, without a first-rounder right now, for one of its backs. Interesting. If it's Jonathan Stewart, I'd do it. I'm a little worried about the injury bug biting DeAngelo Williams.
GREAT QUESTION. From E. Alberto of Honduras: "If Peter King were head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles would he have benched Donovan McNabb for Michael Vick versus Dallas after Vick's touchdown? And yes, there are some Eagles fans down here. We don't boo Santa, but we do root for the birds!''
Honduras. Wow! Hey, it's freezing this morning in Boston. Wish I were there. I like the question and the possibilities, but if I did it, it would mean I'd already decided the McNabb Era was over in Philly. Once you take that genie out of the bottle -- the genie of yanking McNabb without warning from the biggest game of the year -- the mayhem would be so pronounced that you'd already have determined that Kevin Kolb was going to be your quarterback going forward. So the answer is no. Not sure at that exact moment I'd have been ready to make that call.
THE GAME WOULD HAVE BEEN OVER. From Doug of Aurora, Colo.: "Hey Peter, with regards to your 'both teams get the ball once' philosophy for overtime, how would the Cardinals-Packers game have progressed after the turnover/touchdown? Cardinals offense gets the kickoff with a chance to score a second time, or Packers offense gets the kickoff and a second chance (Cardinals offense sits out the entire OT)?''
The game would be over. Once Arizona scored, that signifies that both teams had a chance to score in overtime.
WE'RE GOING TO DO SOMETHING GOOD FOR MIKE MCGUIRE. From David Krichavsky of Manhattan (and the NFL office): "Look forward, like many of your readers I'm sure, to learning how we can help 1st Sgt Mike McGuire and his men as they deploy to Afghanistan. And thanks for reminding those of us who knew Tim Davey -- and letting those who didn't know him know -- how special and uniquely-NFL he was.''
I really liked Tim. Thought he was the Paul Zimmerman of NFL administrators -- irascible but incredibly knowledgeable, and warmer-hearted than he'd ever let on. As far as Mike McGuire, I'm excited about the little project we're putting together for his men, and I'll have more details in about two weeks.
WATCH OUT FOR THE PATRIOTS. From Robert of Portland, Ore.: "With what seems to be a large number of juniors coming out early in what was already a deep draft, what teams besides Cleveland look to be in the best positions to take advantage of this cornucopia of talent?''
New England has the most picks in the top two rounds -- four. I haven't gotten the exact spots confirmed yet, but I believe they'll be picking 22nd, 44th, 47th and 53rd overall. As one club president said to me Monday: "The Patriots are in the perfect spot to get some new pieces because it's going to be a pretty deep draft and they don't have the cost of one of the top six, eight picks.''
GEE THANKS. From Heather Boyer of Brooklyn: "The one thing that I read this morning that made me feel slightly better about the Packers loss Sunday was your column. I appreciate that you recognize the strength and talent of Aaron Rodgers and the team. But most of all I appreciate that you analyzed the last sack over and over and determined that the face mask was not a factor. I know that the missed call did not lose the game for the Packers, but it sure made the loss more difficult to accept with any sort of aplomb. I always enjoy your column, but this one helped me work through a difficult Monday morning. Thank you.''
You're welcome. One loss should not devastate what was a season of great progress.
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