I love summer weekends. I love watching U.S. Open golf. I love being worshiped and adored by my children on Father's Day. I love answering mailbag questions.
Yeah, pretty much in heaven, right here.
On the topic of up-and-coming assistant coaches, which is the subject of next week's Power Rankings, Bcindc from Washington, D.C., (of course) brings up Juan Castillo, recently promoted from offensive line coach to defensive coordinator for the Philadelphia Eagles: "If he pulls off this d-coordinator job he is a lock for head coaching."
Dan Graziano: A fine point, Bc. The move Andy Reid made with Castillo raised eyebrows all across the league, and there's a reasonable chance it was just a case of Andy having wanted to hire Howard Mudd for offensive line but also keep one of his guys on the staff. But it's a heavy responsibility regardless, and if the Eagles show significant improvement on defense over the next couple of years, Castillo is likely to be looked at much more favorably on the coaching-prospect circuit. But he is 51 years old and has been with the Eagles for 17 years, so it's tough to call him an "up-and-comer." His résumé will look a lot more impressive if he has success all of a sudden on the other side of the ball, but I'm not sure he's anything like "a lock."
The Dude from Dallas thinks, "if the Cowboys struggle, it would be time to pull the trigger and draft a quarterback. An objective assessment of Tony Romo's career up to this point would lead one to believe, if no playoffs this year and he struggles, then there is no more argument for his 'potential.'"
DG: Well, The Dude, I saw that you admitted later in your note to being anti-Romo, and for me that's the only explanation for your thinking on this one. I think, if Romo struggles, you might be able to make a case for looking QB in next year's draft. But it's been quite a while since Romo has struggled. He was utterly brilliant in 2009, especially in December, which everybody used to say was his nemesis. And he was playing very well last year before his injury. I don't see any reason to think Romo will struggle, or that the Cowboys rank him very high on their list of problems and concerns.
Stefan from Sunnyside, N.Y., "just wanted to say congrats on the gig as a native of Ridgewood, New Jersey. Good luck!"
DG: Thanks, Stefan. Go Maroons.
st8prop from Atlanta (Really? Atlanta? What's the story behind that?) thinks the Giants should be careful letting defensive coordinator Perry Fewell interview for head-coaching positions elsewhere: "I am in the opinion that they should NOT extend Tom Coughlin's contract, urge him to retire and to let Fewell become the Giants new HC. I am a huge fan of Coughlin..but I think its time for new blood. I think the players we have now will respond a lot better to Fewell and I feel the Giants need a defensive mind at HC, since that has been the staple of the Giants since forever. Your thoughts?"
DG: My thoughts are that the Giants move very slowly and deliberately on issues such as this, but that another season without making the playoffs could put Coughlin in serious trouble. I don't necessarily agree that it should, and John Mara and the Giants aren't the kind of organization that would make a move simply because of pressure from the public. But Coughlin is going to be 65 when this season starts, and I wonder if another disappointing season might make it unnecessary for them to "encourage" him to retire -- i.e., whether it's something he might consider doing on his own. I also think, if that happens, Fewell will be a candidate for the job but not a slam dunk. The outside pressure (which, again, won't have as much influence as it might in other places) likely would be to hire a bigger name such as Bill Cowher. But again, lots of "ifs" here. The Giants should be playoff contenders in 2011, and a first-place finish likely would leave these decisions up to Coughlin.
Wayne from Fredericksburg, Va., wants to know if we're serious about doing an NFC East blog fantasy football league and wants credit for the idea if we do.
DG: As a heart attack, Wayne. It's been talked about before, and it will happen -- assuming the lockout ends and they actually play. And sure, if you want me to say it was your idea, I can do that.
Chris from Herndon, Va. (lots of Virginia postmarks in the mailbag this week!), is concerned about Trent Williams' work ethic in light of his absence from the Redskins' player workouts. Chris writes that "There were concerns over his work ethic when drafted and according to ESPN 980, 'multiple sources' say that this concern only grew through his rookie season.Have you heard anything about this?"
DG: Yes, before the draft, that was the big question about Williams -- would he be driven enough to translate his outstanding talent into success in the NFL? I spent some time with Williams in New York the week of the draft, and he struck me as a fairly laid-back kid, certainly not the most intense guy and a bit of a goofy personality. But I think a lot of the work-ethic stuff gets overblown at draft time, and I think it'd be foolish to put that label on a young man at this stage of his career. As I've written a few times, I read absolutely nothing into his or anyone else's absence from the workouts. These guys aren't insured against injury right now during the lockout, and if they feel better about working out on their own and taking less risk, I can't blame them for that. The Redskins people I spoke with last year liked Williams and love his potential. I'll give him more than one season before labeling him. And in terms of offensive line, he's probably the very least of their problems.
Finally, ak from Va. (can't make this stuff up), asks a question I literally get every single week and have answered more than once. But since people keep asking, I'll keep answering. The question is what the order of draft picks in 2012 would be if there's no 2011 NFL season.
DG: The league has not decided that, because, it says, it hasn't considered the possibility that the 2011 season would be canceled. That seems odd to me -- to have a lockout but not be willing to extend it indefinitely -- but a lot of this seems odd to me, and the NFL keeps saying there will be a season. It has not, to my knowledge, put a procedure in place for determining the draft order if there is not. To my knowledge, there's no reason to be sure there would even be a 2012 draft if there were no 2011 season.
Thanks as always for all the questions, and enjoy your summer weekend. I know I will!