MORT'S MAILBAG: Sept. 5
Q: Who do you feel is the better quarterback, Donovan McNabb or Daunte Culpepper? -- Edward Makarewicz, Ashley, Penn.
MORT: Edward, wow, that's like the Elway vs. Marino question. I love 'em both. I did rank McNabb ahead of Culpepper in my recent QB ratings, based on evaluations from coaches, scouts, players, etc., and then mixed with my own analysis. McNabb hasn't had a Randy Moss, a Cris Carter or even a Robert Smith in his first couple of years. However, Culpepper in many ways is incredible. He's a freak, in the best sports sense of the word. I know this much: It's exciting to have two young star QBs like Culpepper and McNabb, and throw in a bunch of other young ones like Peyton Manning, Brian Griese, Aaron Brooks, et al, and I believe the panic over the departure of Elway, Marino, Steve Young and Troy Aikman has subsided.
Q: Anyone who would rank Donovan McNabb ahead of Kurt Warner clearly knows nothing of football. Warner threw for 41 touchdowns two years ago in leading his team to a world championship. Donovan McNabb likely won't throw 41 touchdowns in his career! McNabb is a good athlete who is a genius at escaping pass pressure, but he's still at the remedial level when it comes to reading NFL defenses. Warner is the most accurate passer since Montana; McNabb throws about 60 percent of his balls directly into the ground. Wake up, Mort. -- Mike Stettiner, Woburn, Mass.
|Rams QB Kurt Warner has thrown 15 interceptions this season (and 18 TDs).|
MORT: Mike, relax. Any of those top guys could be No. 1. But don't suggest that McNabb is "remedial" -- you are wrong. Warner is great, and I know Mike Martz wouldn't trade him for anyone, but I bet if McNabb played with Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt and Marshall Faulk, and an offense that wide-open, he would throw for 30 to 40 TDs. Don't stereotype McNabb as simply a "good athlete." That's an insult.
Q: How could you put someone like Kurt Warner in your magnificent seven of QB ratings? The man threw 18 interceptions last year with only 21 TDs. I think even Elvis Grbac could've fit better into that spot and I'm no Elvis fan. I'm sick and tired of all you so-called analysts making Kurt Warner out to be some kind of god. He reminds me of Brett Favre. He had his Super Bowl year and now look at him -- no one even cares about Brett Favre. He's a ghost and Kurt Warner will soon follow. Trust me. -- Aaron Keel, Santa Clara, Calif.
MORT: Aaron, I know a lot of great coaches out there who would love to have Brett Favre or Kurt Warner. Don't get too worked up over this stuff, OK?
Q: What you know about quarterbacks plus a quarter won't get you a cup of coffee. -- Bruce Wayne Selton, Jacksboro, Tenn.
MORT: Bruce, how about espresso?
Q: With Darrell Green retiring, the NFL is saying goodbye to one of its greatest players ever. How would you rate Darrell among all-time NFL great cornerbacks? -- Charles Van Der Berg, Livingston, Ala.
MORT: Charles, I would probably put Darrell in my top five corners of all time, but I still have to figure out who the other four are.
Q: Q: I know John Clayton is on the Todd Pinkston band wagon, and I would like to be, but until I hear you tell me that he will be a near 1,000-yard receiver for McNabb this year, I'll have to be skeptical. Do you think he'll be McNabb's first 1,000-yard receiver? -- Josh Andrews, Toledo, Ohio
MORT: Josh, Pinkston really looked sharp in camp, and I think there is hope he will become a 1,000-yard guy. I just wonder whether he will hold up physically (he's thin, as you know). Just call me guardedly optimistic that he will be McNabb's main man. But I think it is critical for the Eagles' Super Bowl hopes that he becomes that type of threat.
Q: What's with the complete lack of respect for the Giants (again -- remember last year all the experts were wrong)? I have seen all of the Eagles' preseason games and heard all the reports from their training camp and nothing would indicate that their offense is that much better than last year. The Eagles' offense is better than last year, but the Giants' defense is better this year and last year in game one they shut down Duce Staley. I would even say that the Giants' D is better than the Eagles' D. I am pretty baffled at how the "experts" pick the Eagles to win the NFC East. Until they prove they can beat the Giants, they haven't proven that they can win the NFC East, period. -- Sean P. Bamford, Newtown, Pa.
MORT: Sean, I know it may seem like "disrespect" -- but that has nothing to do with it, from my perspective. I think the Giants have a very tough schedule that will catch up with them. I think their defense might be better, but I believe their offense could decline a little bit. I'm not sold on the O-line getting any better, just a little older. A year ago, I projected the Giants as a playoff team, but I think they'll fall short this year. Will I be shocked if they go back to the playoffs? No. That's an outstanding coaching staff with some pretty good players, especially on defense. As for the Eagles' offense, I can't believe it won't be better than last year with Duce Staley back, but you are right -- it was not all that impressive in preseason.
Q: I love your stuff. I was wondering what the difference is between being released and waived. -- Mark Sylva, Malibu, Calif.
MORT: Mark, if you are not a vested veteran, you are waived, and thereby subject to be claimed within the first 24 hours. Veterans are released, and immediately free to negotiate with any team.
Q: I recently drafted Mike Anderson in my fantasy football league and was wondering: Who do you see getting the nod at RB for the Broncos? Do you see any one particular back getting more carries than another? I never thought Terrell Davis was as good as the media made him out to be. Not to say he's not good, but just a beneficiary of great players around him. -- Joe, Alexandria, Ind.
MORT: Joe, I think you just need to stay tuned on the Broncos' backs situation. Davis is going to get a chance to show he's the same guy who had a 2,000-yard season. If he's not, then I expect Anderson will get his shot. Anderson will get 5-to-10 carries per game, I suspect, and more if Davis isn't his old self, or has more health problems. Anderson ran very well in the preseason, but he did not help himself with a couple of fumbles. By the way, the healthy Davis really was that good.
Q: Even after the addition of Thomas Smith, to me the Colts' defense is still suspect. What do you think? -- Dupont Koo, Hong Kong, China
MORT: Dupont, it is exciting to hear from your part of the world! I think the Colts' defense still has some flaws, but Smith brings more experience and ability. I think the Colts improved a lot up front when they were able to sign Mike Wells (also from the Bears) and Christian Peter (ex-Giant). Those two defensive tackles are "grunts" and should make the run defense more stout, which should free up a pretty good linebacking group to make plays. They do lack a DE opposite Chad Bratzke, but I think the improvements are enough to put the Colts in the Super Bowl mix. Thanks again for the question.
Q: I have Freddy Jones at TE on my fantasy football team. He had a hernia problem. Will he be ready to go in Week 1? I have Jeff George as a reserve QB. Is he a keeper? -- John Ewert, Dubuque, Iowa
MORT: John, yes, Jones is going to play vs. the Redskins. I think he'll have a big year. I can't get too excited about Jeff George, but at least he's a reserve.
Q: Do you think that the Vikings will get a new stadium? -- Jason, Mankato, Minn.
MORT: Jason, I don't know, but something has to be done. Nobody wants the Vikings to leave Minnesota, so I think it will get every benefit of the doubt until all means are exhausted.
Q: What will happen to Erik Williams if/when Leon Searcy comes back to playing form? Maybe he would move inside to guard? This way Williams won't have to chase speed guys like Kearse/Carter, and he can use all of his 335 pounds to dominate the interior. -- Kyle Hopson, Baltimore, Md.
MORT: Kyle, I think if Erik Williams looks like he can still play, then Searcy might be tried at guard.
Q: Mort, forgive my ignorance, but why is Indianapolis such a bad place for the Colts? Why would L.A. even have a chance at stealing that franchise from Indianapolis? I understand the market-share position, but why did L.A. lose not one but two franchises? -- Scott, Franklin Wis.
MORT: Scott, I don't want to characterize the Indianapolis market as "bad," but it has its limitations, which has an impact on how the Colts compete financially (and ultimately on the field) with other NFL markets. It's obvious L.A. has done very little to keep or attract its NFL teams, but it is Los Angeles. And, I know that Jim Irsay prefers to stay in Indianapolis but he has very real issues that must be resolved.
Q: I applaud you and your fellow journalists for your shocking predictions for the season. Every single person has the same teams going to the playoffs. Amazing, daring picks. Hasn't anybody noticed the dramatic turnover the past three years in division champions? You guys are all sheep. One person says the Bucs are the team of the year, and everyone follows. Give me a break. It's ridiculous. You want some picks, let's go. The Raiders are old. Someone will get hurt, they will struggle and miss the playoffs. The Colts are one-dimensional. The trio has been healthy for a while, but what if someone gets hurt. They will not make the playoffs. Brad Johnson is not the answer for the Bucs. Didn't anyone see him ruin three straight potential game-winning drives last year as the Lions upset the Skins? He gets too easily frazzled. They will make the playoffs, but not much more. And the Giants are a worthless fluke, the result of a weak NFC. Look for the Seahawks and the Jaguars to surprise some this year, and in the NFC the Pack will rule and win the Central. The Lions and 49ers will also contend. I do not claim to be an expert, but at least I'm not afraid to take some chances with picks. Sheep. All of you. -- Kevin Morris, Clarkston, Mich.
MORT: Kevin, you have a point. Let the record show it. I am projecting the Atlanta Falcons as a playoff contender. How about that?