The NFL season continues to roll on and we have a good idea of who these teams are – and aren't – as we hurtle towards Week 7. And the headlines seem to keep on coming one after the other. There was no shortage of topics for this week's mailbag. Let's see what's been on your NFL minds.
What are your thoughts on the whole Tua Tagovailoa situation? Are the Miami Dolphins right to go for Deshaun Watson? Is Tua finished or is this a premature, knee-jerk reaction from the owner? – Dave Garghan.
This is a fluid situation and things can move quickly in the NFL. So, this could have dated by the time you read this mailbag. But this does not look good for Tua and it also doesn't look good for the Dolphins to be openly courting a troubled quarterback accused of 22 sexual assaults.
Watson is still under investigation from the NFL and civil and criminal cases are ongoing. So, his future is cloudy, at best. My thought is that the Dolphins – or whoever trades for Watson - are looking to get him on board, take the public relations hit and then ride out any legal and suspension issues with a view to him being their quarterback in 2022. Even if, worst-case scenario, Watson's debut was drastically delayed until September 2023, he would still only be 28 years old and could give the Dolphins or another team at least a decade of elite play.
Like I said, this is not a good look for the Dolphins and it feels unsavoury. I do think Tua's form and level of play is a concern and team owner Stephen Ross wants his own Dan Marino, so I get the need to move for a proven passer. But could you not package up the picks for Russell Wilson and have considerably fewer problems? Sadly, there will be an initial backlash if and when Watson becomes a Dolphin. And then it will calm down and he will play on – it was the same way with Tyreek Hill and Kareem Hunt, two high-profile players who had significant off-the-field issues in recent years. That is far from ideal, but history suggests that will prove to be the case.
Are we now in a place where having more games in the UK and Europe is the focus rather than a UK-based franchise? – Dan from Torquay.
There has not been an official word on this, Dan, but I did speak to Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank in London a couple of weeks back and he felt that multiple games featuring different teams was a good plan. And, as we know, there is now a definite move to bring a game to Germany, as well as those in London.
I tend to think the NFL can operate along separate lines here for a while. They can continue to play games in various countries and cities (London, Germany and then maybe France?) with multiple teams taking turns to visit Europe thanks to the inventory created by the 17th game. But in playing those games year after year, the NFL also knows it is putting in place the foundations for a franchise.
The regular playing of games in London and Germany will create robust infrastructures. We have already seen that in London. We have a purpose-built NFL stadium, government support, the NFL Academy and NFL Foundation and excellent fan support. Replicate that in Germany and you instantly have two European markets that will be appealing the next time an owner thinks about moving his or her team.
Is Jared Goff the new Sam Bradford? – D. Gilmartin
I'm not sure Jared Goff is going to have a lot more opportunities to make the kind of money Sam Bradford brought in during what was largely an unsuccessful career. But I recognise the point you are trying to make.
Jared Goff is in trouble and running out of time in Detroit. And if he cannot make it with the Lions, where is he going to get his next opportunity to be an NFL starter? It has been a dramatic fall from grace for the first overall pick in the 2016 NFL Draft.
Goff needs to do more to help the 0-6 Lions. That was the belief put forward by his own head coach, Dan Campbell, after last week's loss to Cincinnati. I maintain the Lions trading for Goff was never about Goff – it was about getting the draft picks dangled in order to take Goff off the Rams' books. Campbell has no emotional investment in Goff and it doesn't seem like there is much of a football one there, either.
I don't know what the future holds for Goff but I'm picturing many years spent as a backup quarterback somewhere around the league. I just don't see him ever becoming what many thought he would be coming out of college.
How do the New York Giants and the Mara family move forward from the mess that is the 2021 G-Men? – Kush Ladani.
There are surely going to be some major changes. John Mara spoke about being sick of losing in the offseason so will not be happy with a 1-5 start. I think head coach Joe Judge will be safe from any impending cull, but there could still be some big-name sacrifices.
Daniel Jones will be playing for his Giants future for the remainder of the 2021 season. This was always going to be a prove-it campaign for him and four-turnover days like the one he produced against the Los Angeles Rams last weekend are not going to help his cause. He will not be helped by multiple skill-position injuries but Jones is more than a one-season problem – the quarterback leads the NFL with 19 lost fumbles since the start of 2019 and has also thrown 26 interceptions. That's 45 turnovers in 33 career games (32 starts).
I also think Giants fans will put pressure on ownership to make an example of general manager Dave Gettleman. In his fourth year with the Giants, Gettleman would have known he was on a hot seat. It's going to be very difficult for him if this year continues to unravel. As it stands right now, it's hard to see the Giants making the playoffs and that would be the only thing staving off major changes.
Are you planning to do NFL UK Live events this winter? – Adam Stamenkovic and Gary Kerr.
I don't know if there are plans for the big theatre-style NFL UK Live tours from back in the day, but please know this – they were the favourite part of my job and I would love to be back on the road and meeting the fans and talking football for a few hours.
With that in mind, stay tuned because I would love to take The Neil Reynolds Podcast on the road at some point in the future… if we can make the financials work. It is always good to get outside of London and to spend time with the fans, so let's see what we can make happen.
We did a very small show in London ahead of the Dolphins-Jaguars game and I would love to do more. Watch this space!