Each Saturday throughout the regular season, I try to empty out the mailbag and answer some of your excellent questions and threats. You guys have had another outstanding week:
Steve from Lebanon, Ohio, what's on your mind, sir? In your article about the Philadelphia Eagles you stated Andy Reid should "try to put him [Kolb] in good situations." Are you now officially an Andy Reid minion touting the company line of putting players into better positions to succeed or has Reid's repetition of that mantra subliminally entered into your commentary? Maybe he can hire you as his spokesman/clock manager!
Mosley: Steve, I'm still awaiting official word on whether or not I'm one of Andy's "minions," so I'll get back to you on that one. To be more specific, I was highly critical of Reid for interrupting Kolb's rhythm in Week 1 against the Packers by running Michael Vick out there on first down. It was one thing to rotate Vick with an experienced quarterback like Donovan McNabb, but it was unwise to do that with Kolb. Reid knows that Kolb's biggest strength is his accuracy. On Sunday night, Kolb needs to find a rhythm early and see if he can find something downfield. I think Reid was scared to let Kolb do anything in that first game. That has to change Sunday night in San Francisco.
Harris from Denver thinks my column dissing the NFC East was a bit premature: Matt, I'm a diehard (yet displaced) New York Giants fan living in Denver. Thanks for the column. Between your articles and Ohm Youngmisuk's coverage [for ESPNNewYork.com], I feel like I'm still in Jersey. I think you jumped the gun on this column though! The season's not over for Big Blue and despite sloppy play in the red zone, the Giants weren't THAT bad against the Titans. Cowboys may win the division but the Giants will outlast them in the playoffs -- Tony Romo never executes when it matters most.
Mosley: Hey, I'm the one guy who picked the Giants to reach the Super Bowl in Arlington, Texas. But I can't defend that performance against the Tennessee Titans. It doesn't matter that they had more total yards than Tennessee. The Giants lost their poise and had six personal fouls. This hasn't been a disciplined football team. Perhaps all those sacks against Jay Cutler will get them going, but this doesn't look like a playoff team to me right now.
Mario from Fort Worth has a logistical question about Cowboys-Titans: Mr. Mosley, you will go to heaven for putting up with Randy Galloway [of ESPN 103.3 FM in Dallas-Fort Worth] To more pressing matters, what is going to happen Sunday at Cowboys Stadium and The Ballpark in Arlington if there is Game 4 of the ALDS? My problem is I have tickets for my family of six to both games with prime seats at both events. I am thinking of parking and getting from both stadiums to watch both games. Have you heard anything because I am planning mode to have this worked out by Wednesday or Thursday at the latest.
Mosley: I think a lot of folks would like to have your "problem," Mario. But hopefully the Rangers will wrap this series up against the Rays on Saturday and you won't have to worry. If there's a Game 4, you should be able to see most of the Rangers game before making the relatively short walk to the Ballpark. Since the Rangers make the playoffs once every decade or so, I'd stay for the end of that game and then join Cowboys-Titans in progress. Dallas head coach Wade Phillips has been very supportive of the Rangers, so fans will have to hope he's not distracted early in the game. Something tells me Jerry Jones will not have the Rangers game on the giant HD screen above the field -- even though he's also a Rangers enthusiast.
Mike from Virginia Beach, Va., has a thought on officiating: Matt, enjoy the blog. Quick question: Do NFL teams employ some kind of signal to notify thier players during the course of a play when a flag has been thrown? Obviously from where and who threw the flag on Michael Vick's run at the end of the first quarter last Sunday, it was a hold. A simple "fire" or "flag" call would have allowed him to get down and not try to stretch a play coming back in which he was sandwiched trying to gain extra yards. Even if he goes down and the flag was somehow on the Skins, they take the first down and he is still upright for the next play. Just curious if you know if any teams employ this type of tactic.
Mosley: It's simply too loud and chaotic for a quarterback to hear some sort of call like that when he's racing toward the goal line. Vick's in a zone at that point, so someone shouting "fire" isn't going to stop him in his tracks. Now if someone shouts that in section 220, it would probably make a stronger impression. Regarding a penalty on the defense, why in the world would anyone want Vick to stop when he's racing for a big gain?
Peter from Arlington, Va., makes a good point about my coverage of Eagles rookie Nate Allen: Any chance that Nate Allen will start to get some more attention in the NFC East blog? The only time you've mentioned him since the season started was in this past week's "Final Word", and although you didn't technically say anything bad about him, you seemed pretty sure [Donovan] McNabb would make him look bad. With three picks and a sack in four games, I'm ready to give him the Defensive Rookie of the Year award, but I understand if you're more cautious. Still, a little credit seems due.
Mosley: I had a lot of stuff on Allen heading into the season, but I haven't given him enough credit for his strong play through four games. Your comments are duly noted. He's a very mature rookie who seems to learn quickly from his mistakes. I think he's definitely in the mix for defensive rookie of the year. He's playing with a lot of confidence, which isn't always the case with rookie starters. It might be time for a Beast exclusive with Allen.
Bob O. from Dallas has something he needs to get off his chest: Matt, enjoyed reading your columns with the Dallas Morning News for years. Now that you've elevated to the national stage with ESPN.com, you are my No. 1 go-to guy for all all things NFC East! Continue the great analysis for us. BTW, great call on that 'Skins/Philly game. You sounded like a genius on that one.
Mosley: Thought you made some excellent points, Bob.
Patrick from Las Cruces, N.M., has a Felix Jones question: Matt, why doesn't Dallas go with Felix Jones? He is clearly the most talented back they have and when given an opportunity, has produced impressive numbers. Is it because they overpaid Marion Barber and now feel they must start him? This really concerns me about the Dallas braintrust. If someone who has never worked in the NFL, or in player personnel, can clearly see this, why can't these so- called "football men?"
Mosley: Patrick, there have been times when I'd totally agree with you about Jones. But he hasn't taken advantage of his opportunities this season. He added some bulk in the offseason and we were told he wouldn't lose any speed. Well, it looks like he's having trouble bouncing runs outside and he hasn't been that effective between the tackles. He was in the same draft as Chris Johnson, the running back who arrives in Arlington this weekend. Right now, Jones isn't making the Cowboys' personnel department look that smart. But he'll get plenty of opportunities this season.
Tommy from Blacksburg, Va., has a trade proposal for Mike Shanahan to ponder: As a devoted Redskins fan, I have seen the production of Clinton Portis decline ever since that terrible trade for Champ Bailey some years back. Ryan Torain has proved to be a competent second running back, but I don't see enough talent to become a starter in the NFL. So my question is this: with Portis past the hump, Torain's potential limited, would it be a smart move for the Redskins to trade for a running back before the trade deadline this year? The back that I have in mind is Carolina's Jonathan Stewart. Albeit he had a 55-yard TD catch this week, the Panthers are giving the majority of the carries to DeAngelo Williams and using Stewart as a change-of-pace back. With the Panthers 0-4, do you think they would be willing to trade Stewart for, say, a second-round draft pick? Thanks!
Mosley: Sorry to break it to you, but the Panthers wouldn't consider that for a second. And the Skins are taking a different approach with their draft picks in the Shanahan era. They could've gone after Vincent Jackson, but they thought it would undermine their 2011 draft.
I was asked to stop at 1,500 words, and it looks like we're there. Have a tremendous Saturday. If you see me at the Cotton Bowl this afternoon, stop by and say hello.