The 2021 NFL season is in full flow now and we're starting to get an idea about some of these teams, for good and for bad. We're also inching ever-closer to the 2021 London Games and it's the subject of games played in the UK that kicks off this week's mailbag.
Do you feel the pandemic could be a reason why we could never get a franchise in the UK? In case another health crisis or anything prevents international travel and how much money that London team would be losing if that was the case. – Matthew Hawkings (@Hawkings_Mattus)
It's an interesting debate to have, Matthew, that's for sure. I personally feel that if the league wants to put a franchise in London – and that would very much be up to individual teams now the groundwork has been laid in building a fan base, stadia and government support – I think it would happen. And I think the franchise would add a lot of prestige and money to the NFL.
If another health crisis were to come about, the London franchise would be playing behind closed doors or with limited attendances like everybody else in the league. And I would like to think they would still be able to travel with exemptions to play games. So, I think every NFL team would be in the same boat and having a London franchise or not would make little difference.
There are many times when I feel the NFL is happy to play some games in London and then look to expand into exciting new territories such as Germany, France, Brazil and Australia. That would be very cool to see this game being played around the world Grand Prix style. But then I look at empty seats in Jacksonville week after week and think, 'Why wouldn't the Jags want to move to London?' Either way, it's great the games are coming back from next weekend and London games are here to stay in one form or another.
If the Indianapolis Colts keep losing, should they sit Carson Wentz to avoid losing a first-round pick next season? And if yes, should they aggressively chase a quarterback in the NFL Draft? – Pingman (@pingman95)
I'm not sure head coach Frank Reich and his players will think that way in the heat of the battle. But I'm pretty sure that thought must be rattling around in the back of general manager Chris Ballard's brain. As a reminder, the Colts have to give a first-rounder to Philadelphia if Wentz plays 75 percent of this season's snaps. Or he plays 70 percent and the Colts make the playoffs.
If this team continues to slide and Wentz continues to play poorly, I could see the Colts looking to protect their first-round pick. They seem to really like him but I have major doubts. A quarterback is supposed to be calm under fire and it all just looks too frantic when Wentz is out there. And that's not a one-year problem, either.
And the very best quarterbacks in the game make rapid-fire decisions which mean pass rushes don't get near them. That's not Wentz. He invites pressure by hanging onto the ball for way too long and I think that has to be down to him not reading defenses efficiently enough. I think the Colts should absolutely be in play for drafting a first-round quarterback in 2022, if one is available to them.
Why do the Seattle Seahawks seem to only play for one half? Is this Russell Wilson's last season in the Pacific Northwest? – Stuart Roper (@ropenfold)
Being out-played in the second half can be a damning indictment of coaching and the adjustments you are making, or not, as the case may be. The opposite of the Los Angeles Rams being 40-0 in games in which they lead at the half under Sean McVay.
Seattle have scored 62 points in the first half of games this season and just 13 in all of their third and fourth quarters. I think Pete Carroll is under some pressure because his defense seems worse than ever and that has long been the backbone of his coaching philosophy.
Your second question is the absolute biggest facing this franchise. I think he will move on if this season does not see the Seahawks competing for a Super Bowl. I don't see Seattle as serious contenders and I think Wilson will demand and receive the trade he coveted this past offseason. Will that trigger a move for a total re-boot? Will Carroll go out of the door with him. It is going to be an interesting few months ahead but not many of them pleasant for Seahawks fans.
Who is the number one running back at the Dallas Cowboys? Ezekiel Elliott or Tony Pollard? And is Dak Prescott proving he deserved to get paid? – Owen Davies (@Owend1927)
Let's start with Dak and he totally showed he was worth the long-term investment from the Cowboys. He is smart, in total command of the offense and throwing accurate and deadly passes all over the yard. You could make a case for him being the best quarterback in the league so far this season.
He should certainly be in the conversation.
When it comes to the Cowboys' running backs, I think they are 1a and 1b now. And that's not a massive knock on Zeke, although some of the pop has come off his runs in recent seasons. Elliott has the smarts and the toughness to remain a key part of the attack, but Pollard is too fresh and explosive to leave on the bench. By committee is a good way forward for the Dallas rushing game.
Which team has been the biggest surprise (good and bad) through the first three weeks? – MJ (@47yards)
Let's start with the 'good' category and I have to admit I did not expect the Arizona Cardinals to be 3-0 at this stage of the season. I'm always impressed by Kyler Murray at quarterback, but the Cards are getting different guys pop up each week… Rondale Moore, AJ Green, Christian Kirk, James Conner. That's what good teams do.
I think the Cowboys are much stronger than I expected and look the class of the NFC East. One of my major disappointments is in the same division and it is the Washington Football Team. Where has their defense been in the first three weeks?
I thought the Rams would be good but also expected a bedding-in process for Sean McVay and Matthew Stafford. To say that pair have hit the ground running would be an understatement. Seattle have disappointed on defense, Pittsburgh on offense and Kansas City with some general carelessness that could cost them dear if it happened in the playoffs. But the biggest disappointment, for me, has been the Colts. I really thought they would be competitive and they have been far from it for three weeks.