Wow. What a debate!
No, not that debate.
This league provides us with endless fodder to bicker over. And Week 5's Sunday action confirmed some truths ... while leaving other hot-button topics up for discussion.
In this edition of the Schein Nine, we examine the pressing issues of the day, and decide whether they are open to debate or not.
1) The Dallas Cowboys are for real.
Rookie revelation Dak Prescott is 4-1 and notched two more touchdowns (one running, one throwing) on Sunday. Oh, and did I mention he's yet to throw an interception? That's remarkable: 155 passes and zero picks -- unsurprisingly, an NFL record to start a career.
Of course, Prescott isn't the only first-year stud in Dallas. Ezekiel Elliott is an absolute force. He exposed Cincy's defense, scooting for 134 yards and two touchdowns on just 15 carries. His speed, power, and vision are incredible, and this is why I loved Dallas taking him fourth overall in April. Through five weeks of action, he's comfortably leading the NFL in rushing yards. Talk about an instant return on investment ...
2) A healthy Tony Romo gets his job back.
I love Romo. I have argued for years that he is elite and misunderstood and never gets anywhere near the credit he deserves due to the chaos and areas of deficiency surrounding him.
But this is seriously up for debate.
First of all, can you trust Romo ever being fully healthy -- or anywhere close to that -- again? The guy has dealt with so many injuries over the past half-decade. It's hard to imagine him ever regaining his true form.
Romo was supposed to be healthy this season. Following March surgery on his left clavicle, we heard all about how he was ahead of schedule in the offseason and training camp. Talking to Dallas COO Stephen Jones on my SiriusXM Radio show right after the 2016 NFL Draft, Romo's health seemed to be an afterthought. Then, in the third week of the preseason, Cliff Avril hit Romo on a rather innocent hit ... and the quarterback crumpled to the ground, writhing in pain, having broken a bone in his already-surgically-repaired back. A horrible broken record playing right before our eyes.
We are still a ways off on this one, as Romo remains in the rehab stage. Still, while I respect Romo more than most, can I trust him to stay healthy, given all of the recent ailments he has encountered? He's no spring chicken at 36. This team is rolling behind the rookie. Cowboys players obviously are watching this closely -- and they'll know if the wrong decision is made.
3) The Miami Dolphins need a new quarterback.
Adam Gase is wrong.
Some quarterbacks have the arm. Some possess the touch or elite athleticism. Some bring the savvy and smarts and leadership. Others are clutch.
Hiring Gase made sense, since he's the quarterback whisperer who aided Jay Cutler and Tim Tebow. Maybe he needs to stop whispering and start shouting. After throwing two more picks (and zero touchdowns) on Sunday, Tannehill's TD-to-INT ratio is under water at 6:7.
It's Year 5 for Tannehill. He doesn't have it. And it looks like Gase is the last to know.
4) Mike McCoy should be the first head coach to lose his job.
Sadly for Mike, there's no debate here.
San Diego is a soul-crushing 1-4, having held fourth-quarter leads in three of those four losses. In Sunday's defeat, the heartbreak came when the Bolts lined up for a game-tying field goal with just over two minutes remaining ... and dropped the snap. With inept special teams and horrible defense, the Chargers continue to waste Philip Rivers' Hall of Fame career.
5) The Minnesota Vikings are the most complete team in the NFL.
And then there was one.
Having said that, this remains up for debate.
I still don't fully trust the run game or the offensive line -- and consequently, the ability for Minnesota to keep Bradford healthy. While you can sell me on the Vikes making a Super Bowl run, I still think Green Bay (with Aaron Rodgers) remains the team to beat in the NFC North. Yes, I know the Vikings beat the Packers in Minnesota. Let's see what happens in late December when the two teams face off at Lambeau.
All that said ... Bravo, Vikings. You're undoubtedly in the thick of the title conversation. And given what this team has dealt with injury-wise, that's nothing short of astounding.
6) The Atlanta Falcons are the team to beat in the NFC South.
Matt Ryan is having an MVP-type season. Kyle Shanahan is the assistant coach of the year -- he's done an outstanding job balancing the offense. The 1-2 backfield punch of Devonta Freeman and Tevin Coleman is a nightmare for opposing defenses. Atlanta beat the Broncos with Julio Jones logging two catches. That's a good thing!
Atlanta is 4-1 in a division where everyone else is below .500. The Panthers are struggling with a poor offensive line and a complete lack of viable cover men. The Buccaneers have not looked like the breakthrough bunch many predicted, with Jameis Winston giving away the football at a prodigious rate. And the Saints are dreadful.
7) Tom Brady is the best quarterback ever.
I've written this many times on NFL.com, so I'm not overreacting to his sizzling 2016 debut (the beginning of Brady's second revenge tour). His four rings and six Super Bowl appearances speak for themselves. So do the wins and numbers and domination over the past 15 years.
But it was pretty cool to see Brady come back from suspension and immediately remind you that he's the G.O.A.T., with 406 yards passing and three touchdowns in a blowout win on the road.
8) The Oakland Raiders are a playoff team.
Check out the landscape of the AFC. Look at the records. Look at the quarterback play. Look at the coaching. It's a tough place to play.
There is a debate because of the competitive nature of the conference and the fact that the Raiders aren't blowing teams away. But don't get it twisted: It's happening.
9) Jay Cutler's run as the Chicago Bears' quarterback is over.
But at least Chicago had a pulse in the defeat at Indy. You don't always see that with the Bears when Cutler is under center. Brian Hoyer completed 76.7 percent of his passes for 397 yards and two touchdowns -- without throwing a single interception. In fact, he hasn't thrown a pick yet, with six touchdown passes and a 108.5 passer rating.
When Cutler returns from a thumb injury, he should stay glued to the bench. Keep Hoyer on the field. He's not the long-term answer, but at least he'll battle on a weekly basis.
Looking forward beyond this (lost) season, it's time for a Bears change at the game's most important position. Frankly, it's time for many changes in Chicago.