Analysis  

 

32 questions: On RGIII's knee, 49ers' power, Chip Kelly's recipe

Once upon a time, on a website far, far away, we used to take a weekly, top-to-bottom trip around the National Football League known as "32 Questions."

Thanks to some grumpy men in purple, that ended abruptly last September, leaving far more than 32 of you with indignant queries of your own. Now, at long last, there is clarity: 32Q has returned in all its red, white and blue splendor, just in time for an NFL season that will be unquestionably charged and compelling.

For those of you who've never experienced the magic that is 32Q, here's a quick primer: We at 32 Questions Headquarters ("32QHQ," for the cool kids) will never say the "R-word," as this is no BCS-tainted football landscape -- and besides, NFL.com has that whole thing handled quite capably in another format.

That said, the sequential listing of these inquisitive musings represents our (translation: my) take on the current NFL pecking order, meaning that 31 fan bases will regularly accuse me of a) hating the team they love; b) writing this column while under the influence; and c) having "no credibility," which many would define as "an innate and unceasing affirmation of my irrational beliefs."

This, of course, is all good: Passion is what drives this sport, and whether you're a fan of the team I'm picking to win it all or the one I fear might not win at all, 32Q will have something for you each Monday through the end of the season.

A week from now -- by which time, you know, real games actually will have been played -- we'll all have much stronger opinions about the assemblage of this food chain. Until then, I'm conflicted about what to do with teams like the defending NFC East champion Washington Redskins, what with the uncertainty surrounding star quarterback Robert Griffin III's surgically repaired knee and the conflicting sentiments attributed to said quarterback, head coach Mike Shanahan and physician/aspiring offensive coordinator James Andrews.

Meanwhile, up the parkway, the Baltimore Ravens are being dissed and dismissed by virtually everyone. Typically, as a sign of respect, I give the defending champs the top spot heading into the season. This time, despite my deep regard for the organization, I'm going off the reservation and projecting that Life After Ray won't be quite as charmed.

After all, nothing is typical here at 32QHQ. We're thrilled to be back, and we won't stop inquiring until someone cuts the mic and drags us off the stage.

Throw your hands up:

1) Seattle Seahawks: Do any two professional sports franchises mess with each other more blatantly than the Seahawks and 49ers -- and are any of us not grateful for this state of affairs?

2) San Francisco 49ers: When Jim Harbaugh told reporters, "We're the San Francisco 49ers. We can do whatever we want," was one of them tempted to respond, "Like cause a power outage in the Super Bowl?"

3) Atlanta Falcons: If you were one of those people in March getting worked up about the prospect of Tony Gonzalez having time off during training camp, can you now admit you should have taken a chill pill?


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4) Cincinnati Bengals: Do you think the newly extended Geno Atkins will trade one of his sharp "Geno 911" T-shirts for one of my "WTF" offerings?

5) Denver Broncos: Hey, Broncos fans, what would you rather have on your stadium: a Joe Flacco banner or the image from a certain 58th Ave. billboard of two years ago?

6) Baltimore Ravens: Am I the only person who thinks that if Elvis Dumervil sacks Peyton Manning in Thursday night's opener, the Ravens' newest pass rusher should celebrate by pretending to load a spool of old-school fax paper?

7) New England Patriots: Now that the Patriots have released Jake Ballard, does Bill Belichick's decision to claim the ex-New York Giants tight end off waivers in 2012 look a tad less genius?

8) Houston Texans: Yo, A.J. ("Wish You'd Call Me T.O.") Bouye -- seriously?

9) Chicago Bears: If Brandon Marshall returns from his four-day absence, holds a press conference and gives new Bears coach Marc Trestman a hug on the podium, should we really start to worry?

10) St. Louis Rams: If rookie running back Zac Stacy does what Jeff Fisher thinks he might in 2013 and beyond, how many of you fantasy players will thank me for the tip?

11) Green Bay Packers: After Ted Thompson told the Green Bay Press-Gazette that people worried about the Pack's young tackles should "go on with their life," did the Packers' general manager mutter under his breath, "but please keep watching games and buying our merchandise"?

12) Pittsburgh Steelers: If Troy Polamalu leads the Steelers back to the postseason, will his massage therapist get a playoff share?

13) Washington Redskins: The next time I'm writing on deadline, do you think my anxious editor will appreciate my suggestion that he embark upon "Operation Patience"?

14) Indianapolis Colts: Given that one highly respected talent evaluator told me Dwayne Allen is Indy's "second-best player" behind Andrew Luck, is it any wonder I'm predicting a breakout season for the second-year tight end?

15) New Orleans Saints: When I watch fifth-round draft pick Kenny Stills, why do I feel like he might be the 2013 version of '06 seventh-round pick Marques Colston?

16) Dallas Cowboys: When doctors tell Jerry Jones he has the "brain of a 40-year-old," they're not talking about this guy, are they?

17) New York Giants: When punter Steve Weatherford said he wanted "to see some progression" from his teammates during the preseason, did "Father Time" set his watch alarm to ensure that he'd remember to check on said progress the following week?

18) Arizona Cardinals: When Larry Fitzgerald screamed "We've got a quarterback!" during a preseason game in Green Bay, did a bunch of Oakland Raiders receivers simultaneously exclaim, "And we don't!"?

19) Philadelphia Eagles: If Chip Kelly and Cowboys vice president Stephen Jones were locked in a kitchen with a blender, would they create a personalized smoothie with secret sauce?

20) Detroit Lions: After wideout Nate Burleson vowed to donate $500 per dropped pass to Detroit-area schools, wouldn't it have been sporting of former team president Matt Millen to offer the same for each draft pick bungled during his tenure?

21) Minnesota Vikings: Did Aaron Rodgers steal shampoo from Greg Jennings' locker in Green Bay last year or what?

22) Kansas City Chiefs: With so many people (like me) picking K.C. to make the playoffs, is it possible that a team that finished 2-14 last season could now be overrated?

23) Carolina Panthers: After Ted Ginn compared himself to a Ferrari, did former Miami Dolphins coach Cam Cameron go out and buy a set for Ginn's entire family?

24) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: How great would it be if Greg Schiano were to announce that Darrelle Revis "will be in the starting lineup for the opener against the Jets ... and return at least one interception for a touchdown"?

25) Miami Dolphins: If the coaching thing doesn't work out for Joe Philbin, will Fox Sports 1 be tempted to pair him with his namesake on "Crowd Goes Wild"?

26) Buffalo Bills: If Jeff Tuel ends up starting and somehow outduels Tom Brady in the season opener, will the rookie quarterback send a game ball to Mike Leach?

27) Cleveland Browns: If a judge asks Josh Gordon or Greg Little to run a "streak" pattern when they appear in Cleveland Municipal Court two days after the Browns' season opener, will Anthony Saveriano line up in the slot?

28) Tennessee Titans: Wouldn't another Bernard Pollard-led "near mutiny" be that much more interesting in a Gregg Williams-led meeting?

29) San Diego Chargers: If "White Hot Monday Night" is blacked out in San Diego, do we all have an obligation to clown the Chargers' marketing department?

30) New York Jets: The next time my NFL Media colleague Jeff Darlington and I debrief with a certain New York Daily News reporter at the downtown Indianapolis Steak 'n Shake, what are the odds we'll order an honorary triple steakburger with cheese for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie?

31) Jacksonville Jaguars: Speaking of which ... has Jags senior vice president of technology and analytics Tony Khan broken down the precise dip in life expectancy caused by ingesting a combine's worth of mint cookies 'n cream shakes -- and even if he has, is there any chance that will stop me from consuming said shakes come February?

32) Oakland Raiders: If I told you that Matt McGloin was the team's best hope at quarterback this season, would you confidently project Teddy Bridgewater as the team's best hope for 2014?

Follow Michael Silver on Twitter @MikeSilver.

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