With the start of the season fastly approaching, I have two questions. First, why is Google Chrome putting a squiggly line below the word "fastly" in that previous sentence? And second, what do you guys want from me this year?
I'm sure that'll garner some smart-ass feedback, but I'm just wondering if there are any specific aspects of your team you think are undercovered by other bloggers/reporters/columnists/radio hosts/custodians.
Since those who involve themselves in the weekly mailbag are the most active members of this community, I figured this would be the perfect place to ask that question. If you have any ideas, shoot me an e-mail or drop me a comment.
All right, on with the show. Four super-duper questions this week, and we start with a really enticing one.
The Eli-Canton discussion begins
We begin with the B/R NFC East e-mail inbox where Cam sent me a link to a Dan Graziano blog post in which Graziano argues that if Eli Manning were to walk away tomorrow, he would not be a Hall of Famer.
Cam thinks that's ridiculous, and I agree. I know this is a silly hypothetical, but Eli has to be a Hall of Famer right now. I'm one who believes that a Hall of Fame career is manufactured by only a select few moments, and Manning has had those moments.
I've argued over and over that individuals don't win Super Bowls, but I think those victories should also be considered if or when we debate the Hall of Fame merits of any member of the New York Giants.
That's not to say that had Trent Dilfer won a second Super Bowl, he'd be a Hall of Famer, but when you consider the two rings, the two MVP trophies, the historic, clutch plays and then throw in his individual statistics, there's little doubt in my mind that Manning deserves to be considered a Hall of Fame player.
There are many who wouldn't agree with that, though, and voters consider longevity and stats that can be amassed. So, I'd recommend that Eli stick around a little longer.
What's in store for Cooley?
That's what Johnny D is wondering...
The Redskins obviously see something in Niles Paul, otherwise, they wouldn't have bothered converting him to tight end and definitely wouldn't be using him as heavily as they are. But I still think Paul's an insurance policy in case Fred Davis gets in trouble again, or Cooley gets hurt again.
Cooley is a locker-room hero who possesses the kind of qualities that could turn him into a great mentor. He has a chance to be the offense's version of London Fletcher. The problem is that Fletcher is still productive, and the 'Skins can't make room for Cooley—no matter how much of a positive influence he is—unless he's able to contribute on the field.
The really good news is that he's healthy and in great shape, and he's increasing his value by showing that he can play fullback if required. And since he's still the best blocker they have at the position, I think he'll stick around for 2012. But, it'll come at an expense because Cooley's slated to make $3.8 million this year.
I fear the 30-year-old will have to take a pay cut to stick around beyond that.
Expectations for RG3, take 342
Rex Grossman and John Beck weren't good which is part of the reason why they accumulated so many yards. The 'Skins trailed a fair bit and had injuries in the backfield and had to throw a lot. Both had fewer than seven yards per attempt.
Robert Griffin III might throw for 3,500 yards this year, but that number alone wouldn't represent a successful rookie season. In the link above, I set goals for RG3. None of them have to do with passing yards which are overrated.
Now, I think you know that. But it's still a good question because fantasy football peeps are curious. If Cam Newton can hit 4,000 yards as a rookie and if the 'Skins can throw for over 4,000 as a team, then Griffin can certainly do that if he starts all 16 games.
That said, I think they'll be careful with him. I'm not sure he'll be healthy enough to play all 16 games, and I don't think Washington will trail as much this year (that's a good thing!). So, I'm going to suggest that it's about a 20 percent chance he hits 3,500 yards.
Rob Ryan's gotta get it together quickly
Dario e-mails in asking how long Rob Ryan's leash is. He thinks Ryan overcomplicates things and that the Cowboys' brass won't tolerate his shenanigans for much longer.
I'm giving Ryan two more years. If the defense doesn't improve dramatically this year, he'll be entering 2013 in a do-or-die situation. There's no way they fire him during this season because it's his first full year with an offseason to prepare. But if this team doesn't make the playoffs and the defense is a big reason why that happens, he'll be on thin ice entering next season.
And a tough start to 2013 could be the final straw.
But, I think Cowboys fans have to be patient. The guy is a great defensive coordinator who should be able to do some big things with the personnel he has in place.
Finally, on the topic of tomatoes
I remarked on Twitter this week that I love everything tomato except tomatoes themselves to which which Eddie replied with this:
You blew my mind, Eddie. I needed an answer, immediately. And thus, I got up out of my chair, walked all the way across my 540 square foot condo, opened my fridge and got to the bottom of this.
What. The. Hell. Is. Tomato. Paste?
OK, so I'm panicking. What have I been eating all these years? What kind of fructose-laced by-product have I been squeezing onto my hot dogs for the last quarter-century?
Like any good journalist, I went to Wikipedia:
Tomato paste is a thick paste that is made by cooking tomatoes for several hours to reduce moisture, straining them to remove the seeds and skin, and cooking them again to reduce them to a thick, rich concentrate.
Anddd relief. Turns out, Eddie—if that is your real name—that I've been eating tomatoes the whole time. The only difference is they've been cooked, strained and then cooked again.
OK, just stop right there. I already know what you're thinking...
That does it for this week's mailbag.
Like I said last week, Philadelphia Eagles fans are free to begin participating in this process whenever they feel ready to do so. You can submit questions to me on Twitter, but if you're shy, private, anti-social media, long-winded or all of the above, you can e-mail me at BRNFCEast@gmail.com.