Dan Hanzus takes questions from you, the readers, in his latest mailbag. Thanks to everyone who sent in questions. I never doubted you. Well, maybe for a little bit there.
This week on the Around The NFL Podcast, we imagined a scenario in which the league pushed back the deadline one month to Nov. 30. Here were my two proposals:
The Patriots are the NFL's ultimate win-now team. No one defies time like Tom Brady, but is it really so crazy to think this is the last chance for this group to make a Super Bowl charge? And if that's the case ... why not get the band back together? Amendola is such a seasoned postseason performer that Rob Gronkowski gave him the (incredibly creative) nickname Danny "Playoff" Amendola. Phillip Dorsett has been a bust in New England's offense; pairing Amendola with Josh Gordon on the outside with Julian Edelman in the slot will bathe TB12 in warmth, especially with a healthy Gronk roaming the middle. As for the Dolphins, what do they need a 33-year-old wide receiver for, anyway?
The Jags had their shot. The window was open. They couldn't get through (the officials didn't help in the 2017 AFC title game, but what's done is done). Now they have a regressing defense and perhaps the worst quarterback mess in the league. Absent an unlikely trade to bring in a veteran passer, the Jaguars are headed toward a soft reboot. To top it off, they have in Jalen Ramsey a wildly talented and relentlessly talkative star of a cornerback who might not want to be there anymore. Tom Coughlin could be ready for a major shake-up.
The Chiefs, meanwhile, could absolutely use a game-changing presence in their secondary to put them over the hump. The terms of the trade -- and good on you if you noticed -- exactly replicate the deal that sent Khalil Mack to the Bears in September. Like Mack, a motivated and reenergized Ramsey could have a transformative effect on any defense he joins.
Too bad the deadline is in October. For now, at least.
When Brees hit the free-agent market following the 2005 season, the Dolphins and Saints emerged as the favorites to land the former Chargers quarterback. But Miami's team doctors were spooked by the state of Brees' surgically repaired throwing shoulder -- Brees would later say the Dolphins "felt I had a 25 percent chance of coming back and playing" -- so the team bailed on the Brees pursuit and traded for Daunte Culpepper. Brees went to the Saints, and the rest was history.
The cruel reality for Dolphins fans was that team doctors totally whiffed. While Brees became an NFL iron man behind center, Culpepper appeared in just four games in Miami, never able to fully make it back from a devastating knee injury that short-circuited his Vikings career. Can you imagine a scenario in which Brees and Tom Brady were battling it out in the AFC East for 15 years?
This is fun. Give me Sean McVay, an offensive genius with 20 to 25 years ahead of him in the game, as head coach. This works for two reasons: 1) McVay is the face of this new era of explosive offenses, and 2) it allows me to deliver the indignity of a demotion to The Hooded One. Yes, I'll be installing Bill Belichick as defensive coordinator, returning the old crank to his beginnings working under Bill Parcells with the Giants at the Meadowlands. At offensive coordinator, I'll bring in Andy Reid, who, in addition to serving as an incredible resource for McVay, can also work the grill at all team-related social functions.
There's no question Dick Whitman's difficult upbringing played a central role in all the tribulations that followed in his life. His father was a dishonest alcoholic, his mother was a prostitute who died in childbirth, his stepmother was a cold and distant substitute. The creation of Don Draper was an audacious attempt to wipe the slate of his sad origin story. Unfortunately for Dick/Don, he could never escape what was already inside. That said, you can argue that many of Don's issues -- including his rampant infidelity -- actually traced back to simple boredom and eternal restlessness. Don Draper could never settle down. Like the desperate hobo who happened upon his childhood home, he only knew one way to live. Keep moving or die.
(College students: Feel free to copy and paste this for your next theme paper.)
This is a very interesting time to pose this question. I'd almost call it a suspicious time and wonder if our friend Andy Dalton is a fan of either the Chargers or any dairy-hating NFC North outfit. This query comes when Rivers' value has never been higher and Rodgers' star has never been duller. The latter is all relative, of course: A subpar Aaron Rodgers season is still better than a season from 98 percent of quarterbacks to ever play the game. But Rodgers has been undeniably mortal this year, while the red-hot Rivers has the Chargers surging toward 12 wins.
Still. C'mon. Aaron Rodgers will go down as a top-five quarterback in the history of the sport. Like much of America, I've gained a newfound appreciation for Rivers in recent years, but he'd be lucky to crack my top 20. I choose to take the macro viewpoint here.
If you're a Packers fan, you want the solution to be simple. But the truth is that the Packers have a lot of work to do if they're to return to true Super Bowl contender status. Where to start? The quarterback needs more consistent weapons. Do you find that in the draft or free agency, or do you try to develop the likes of Equanimeous St. Brown and Marquez Valdes-Scantling? Is the current version of Jimmy Graham a real solution at tight end? And don't forget about the defense, which saw little in the way of reinforcements in the final draft classes of erstwhile former general manager Ted Thompson. The scariest question: Have we already seen the best of Aaron Rodgers?
It's easy to make Mike McCarthy the scapegoat, because yeah, he's been there forever and has made poor decisions in some very high-profile spots this season. But Rodgers' brilliance has been hiding rot in the foundation for years. A new head coach is like a carpenter -- he can only fix so much. I think the Packers' hopes ride on current GM Brian Gutekunst more than anyone else.
Man, I can only speak for myself, but my wife and I got married at 32 and had our two boys at 34 and 36 and I'm convinced we nailed it. We were able to enjoy our 20s and settle into our 30s before it was time to showcase our elite baby-makin' skills. But that's just us. In your case, it might not be the worst idea to just let the wifey decide the timing. She's doing all the work anyway. Good luck.
For Donald, I'd go with a musk ox. For Lockett, it's obviously an otter. I don't know what "clingfilm" means and I choose not to look it up.
One thing that's important to remember: There was never a Patriots before the Patriots. We've seen other dynasties, but no other team has ever had a run that has lasted half as long as what we've seen in New England over the past 17 years. So I'll take the easy way out and say when the Pats finally do crumble to the ground, there won't be another Goliath ready to take us into the late 2030s. The Belichick/Brady Patriots are a once-in-a-century type deal.
Until next time ...