Ask Vic: Moss or no Moss, Brady a worthy MVP candidate

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Question: I don't get it. You call Tom Brady the MVP because of Randy Moss? Shouldn't that be the exact reason he is not the MVP? There's one thing in having a good offensive line, but a top receiving corps should actually make him less valuable to the team. For example, let's say Rex Grossman is the QB of the Patriots. Scary, right? What exactly does value mean to you? It would be much more logical to call Brady the biggest weapon in the Patriots' successful passing game, but it would also be logical to call Brett Favre the only real weapon in the Packers' offense and that, in fact, he is much more valuable to the Packers' success this year than Brady is to his. --Charles R.

I agree that Favre is a worthy MVP candidate, but I disagree with your assessment of Brady.

Certainly, Moss' presence has done plenty to help bring the best out of Brady. However, I maintain that it takes two to make a combination like that work as incredibly well as it has so far. You essentially said as much with your reference to Grossman. I seriously doubt that Grossman would have the same success with Moss because Grossman simply doesn't have anywhere near the talent that Brady possesses.

And it comes down to talent -- the ability to consistently make proper reads, to consistently show command in the pocket, and to consistently deliver the ball accurately and quickly to the open receiver. Brady is doing that better than anyone else in the league, although other quarterbacks -- including Favre -- are also doing it quite well.

I agree the Patriots are very good, but I don't know that they are nearly as good as everyone thinks they are. How good are they? Who have they played? Buffalo, N.Y. Jets, San Diego and Cincinnati -- all teams with 1-3 records. I wonder if they will run through Pittsburgh, Indy, Dallas, etc., the same way? They beat teams that they should beat. What are your thoughts? --Loren G., Buffalo, N.Y.

I'm not bothered in the least by the combined record of the Patriots' opponents to date. The Pats' dominance of those clubs makes the clearest case that they are the best team in the league. They've done exactly what an exceptional team is supposed to do against weaker ones.

And I have every reason to believe that, provided they stay healthy, they will continue on what looks like a run to a fourth Super Bowl victory.

Question: So, with the Bears playing more like Bear cubs, the quarterback situation has already changed, but what happened to Chris Leak? He was a stud in college, yet fell in the draft, much like Troy Smith. Does this have anything to do with his size? He seems like he could make some plays for the Bears in the future, so long as he hits the field. What's the deal? --B. Gross

The deal is that the Bears released Leak last month.

I suspect it had something to do with the fact that, at 5-foot-11, he is relatively short for the position and doesn't have the thickest of frames to hold up to the punishment that all quarterbacks must endure. I think it also had something to do with his struggles in finding passing lanes and his tendency to sail throws, particularly on passes over the middle.

Two other reasons Leak was not drafted, and instead signed with the Bears as a free agent, were: the fact he was a shotgun quarterback at Florida, posing a difficult adjustment to reading coverages while dropping back in the NFL, and problems he displayed in reading blitzes.

Of course, given the poor performances of Rex Grossman and Brian Griese, the Bears probably couldn't have done a whole lot worse with Leak or someone else.

Just wondering if you could enlighten me on the situation of my once-favorite player, Ricky Williams. I hear he is applying for reinstatement after he was suspended indefinitely under the league's substance-abuse policy. Just wondering: What's the situation with his contract and when would he possibly be playing in the NFL? And, most importantly, does he have any chance of playing in the NFL again? Thanks and appreciate the articles. --Joel W., New Zealand

Williams' NFL rights still belong to the Dolphins, although it is unclear whether they would be willing to welcome him back if Commissioner Roger Goodell reinstates him. The Dolphins have refused to comment on Williams since January, when Cam Cameron took over as coach.

Given Goodell's hard-line stance on player conduct, it seems likely that he will use every bit of the 15 days he will have to render a decision after the 45 days that medical advisors have to submit an evaluation of Williams.

It's conceivable that if Williams were cleared to return, he wouldn't join a team until the final few weeks of the season.

At one point, Cameron was believed to oppose the idea of having Williams back on the team, but there is speculation around the league that he might have a change of heart. The Dolphins don't have good depth at running back behind Ronnie Brown. They also might favor the idea of giving Williams action late in the season to help build up trade interest in him. At 30 and with relatively low football mileage on his body, he could very well be attractive to some teams seeking running back help.

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