It's time to open up the latest ATL Mailbag.
You guys really brought the heat Sunday. Thanks to all those who submitted a question. We'll try to make this a weekly thing during the summer and perhaps beyond.
Let's dig in.
That's a great question. I'll say Russell, who has dropped 50 pounds and caught the attention of NFL teams, according to NFL.com's Ian Rapaport. Tebow, in contrast, hasn't received a lick of interest, and members of his own camp reportedly believe his days in the league are numbered. This seems totally unfair given how destructively Russell treated his golden ticket, but he's ahead in this two-man slog back to relevance. Pretty incredible.
I'd strap him into that "A Clockwork Orange" chair where your eyelids are held open and make him watch the VH1 "Behind The Music" episode about Vanilla Ice. Specifically, the part when Suge Knight dangles Vanilla from a hotel balcony by his ankles. Then I'd install a brake pedal on the passenger side of his Ferrari, like they have in the driver's ed cars. Lastly, I'd slap him in the face, look him in the eye and say, "Fame is fleeting. Don't be a doucher."
Guaranteed he comes out of that a changed boy.
I'm torn. All the pieces seems to be in place on the roster, and I love the addition of tight end Tyler Eifert, a legit Offensive Rookie of the Year candidate. It also helps that the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to be in something of a controlled rebuild. Can they topple the Baltimore Ravens? If Andy Dalton can make the leap, I think they can. I'm just not as big a believer in Dalton as others, including Shek. Speaking of Dalton, check out Gregg Rosenthal's thoughts on him. Rosenthal lists Dalton as the ninth-best QB under 25.
That would require trusting Josh Freeman. I can't do it. I want to. I've tried. I've just been hurt too many times.
1) Rahim Moore: You don't want to pile on, but you can't avoid the reality of the situation. That game was over. The Broncos had all but advanced to the AFC title game. Moore's only job was to make sure Jacoby Jones didn't get behind him. He failed. Joe Flacco made the throw, and Jones made the catch. It will live in infamy in Denver ... and with good reason.
2) Peyton Manning: He was the best quarterback in the league last year, but he was outplayed by Flacco in a huge spot. In fairness, no one is talking about Manning's postseason failures here if Moore executes a simple coverage scheme. But Moore didn't, then Manning buried his team with that killer interception in overtime.
3) John Fox: The coach still insists he'd kneel on the ball again if given the chance, but Fox was dead wrong in not giving his Hall of Fame quarterback the chance to work his team into field-goal range after the stunning Jones touchdown. In the earlier series, Fox got conservative, taking the ball out of Manning's hands when one first down would've iced the game. Fox shrunk from the moment, and it might have cost him a ring.
So yeah, there's plenty of blame to go around -- and it has. Moore gets the most, though, because he deserves it. Let's hope he can move on.
As an aside ...
If the winner didn't yak, this is more impressive than space travel.
I say fact. As an aside: I hope you Colts fans realize how freaking lucky you are. Like, Powerball winner lucky. From Peyton Manning to Andrew Luck at the cost of only one 2-14 season the world already has forgotten? As a Jets fan, I say you buy me steak and shrimp cocktail at St. Elmo until Luck retires with two rings and all of Manning's passing records.
Hmmm. I guess I should set the ceiling at Super Bowl glory, though that would be a stretch. Let's say the reasonable best-case scenario is 11-5, Michael Vick wins Comeback Player of the Year (again) and the Eagles perform admirably in an NFC Championship Game loss to a team located on the West Coast. Oh, and Chip Kelly's practice mix tapes are given a commercial release, eventually becoming a preferred alternative to the tired "Now That's What I Call Music!" franchise.
I'm a big Cam Newton guy. He led my team to a fantasy title last year -- undeniable proof that reports of a "sophomore slump" were greatly exaggerated. Still, what's the deal with the Panthers not building an offense around their franchise star? I'd like to predict Newton becomes an MVP candidate in 2013, but we're one Steve Smith hamstring pull away from darkness in Charlotte.
Indulge me ...
MLB Network airs the worst baseball movies. During a pained elliptical machine session at the gym on Saturday, I was subjected to "The Babe," the 1992 film in which John Goodman portrays Babe Ruth as a man who swung the bat like that confused German exchange student from gym class. On Sunday, MLB doubled down with "Major League II," the movie that might be responsible for Chaz Sheen's downward spiral. It's like MLB Network can only televise baseball movies that you can buy at 7-Eleven for $2.99.
I'd say NFL Network should start airing football movies, but that's probably a bad idea. There aren't enough good films to choose from, a topic I broached with Jim Brown on the ATL Debate Club last week (SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT!). Even Scott Bakula is stunned that "Necessary Roughness" qualifies as a top-10 football flick.
I think the Niners' decision to trade for Anquan Boldin looks brilliant now. That said, don't expect Boldin to be the game-in and game-out star he was during the Ravens' Super Bowl run. Flacco and Boldin got hot for a month, but Boldin is not the same player he was in his Cardinals heyday. If used properly, he will be a nice weapon for Colin Kaepernick. But Michael Crabtree will be missed. A terrible loss for a team that seems to avoid major injuries everywhere but at the wide receiver position.