Neil Reynolds' Week 8 Mailbag

It's time to open up the Friday mailbag as we move towards a Halloween Sunday of NFL football. Has it been a horror show for your team this season? Or is your club one of those moving in the right direction as we near the mid-point of this campaign and get into the thick of what should be a dramatic race to the Super Bowl.

Is Baker Mayfield the long-term answer at quarterback for the Cleveland Browns? – Tom Marshall.

I'm genuinely not sure. I think there is a reason the Browns have been stalling on the contract extension for Baker when Josh Allen already has his big deal from the Buffalo Bills. Now in his fourth season, Mayfield's career passer rating is 90 – that's pretty indicative as that is right around the NFL average.

Injury aside, I would say Baker is an average quarterback at the moment and he needs the help of an elite offensive line and a powerful running game. When those things are in place, Baker can thrive. But if you're asking to win multiple games on his own… that's not happening all that often. I think he can be limited.

When on top form and in the right situation, Baker Mayfield is a functional quarterback who you can win with, but even that's hardly a ringing endorsement, is it? Surely we should be singing the praises of a first overall pick louder than that?

Is Kyle Shanahan overrated? We thought he would give the San Francisco 49ers multiple Super Bowls. At this point, I'd take multiple winning seasons! – Ash (@Ashdubyah).

I think Kyle Shanahan is a bright mind and an excellent play-caller. But he and other head coaches around the league will be the first to tell you that the NFL is a production business. Since taking charge in San Francisco, Shanahan has gone 6-10, 4-12, 13-3, 6-10 and now 2-4.

Injuries have played a role, for sure. But so has the lack of elite production from the quarterback position. We saw what Shanahan could do in Atlanta when Matt Ryan was a league MVP. We have seen very little of that kind of production with Jimmy Garoppolo at the helm.

I like Shanahan as a coach, but this Trey Lance gamble needs to pay off for him and general manager John Lynch in a big way. The pair have plenty of time remaining on their current contracts, which have been extended. Shanahan's runs out in 2025 and Lynch until 2024. But winning is the name of the game and that has not happened nearly enough to date. The pressure is on.

Do the New York Giants stick with Daniel Jones? – Sam (@SamBennett89)

It's going to be a very hard evaluation of Daniel Jones if he is without the likes of Saquon Barkley, Kenny Golladay and Kadarius Toney for much of what is shaping up to be another difficult season in the Big Apple.

The obvious conversations regarding Jones have centred on his penchant for fumbling and throwing interceptions in his first two and a bit years in the NFL. But there is also an alarming lack of production. In 14 games last season, Jones threw 11 touchdown passes. In seven contests so far this year, he has just five touchdown passes.

Those numbers are not going to cut it, even if you are leading an offense hit hard by injuries. There is still much for Jones to prove as he enters the stretch run of the 2021 season.

Are the Kansas City Chiefs in danger of ruining their franchise quarterback with their current offensive line and poor defense? – John Bell.

Extreme physical pressure always has and always will affect quarterbacks, even the greatest in the game's history. When the New York Giants got all over the legendary Tom Brady in the 2007 and 2011 season Super Bowls, it was they who emerged victorious and not TB12.

Patrick Mahomes was running for his life in last season's Super Bowl and it is that high-profile game that catches our attention. But the truth is that KC's offensive line was pretty bad before that game and Mahomes was having to create a lot of magic on the move.

This year, the Chiefs overhauled the line with five new starters. That is a lot of change in one season, but this high-priced unit should be playing its way into form now. But they're not. There is physical pressure on Mahomes, but also mental pressure because he feels like he has to score every time he steps on the field. Kansas City's defense is that bad. It's not an ideal situation for Mahomes because he starts to force things too much, but he is special and I'm backing him to play his way out of trouble.

Why don't the Miami Dolphins just wait and give Tua a chance, then go all in on Aaron Rodgers or Russell Wilson at the end of the season rather than focusing on Deshaun Watson? – Ian Forrester.

That would be music to the ears of many Miami fans, Ian. That would certainly be my preference. There is something rather unsavoury about the prospect of Watson – in his current circumstances – heading to Miami.

Tua has 13 NFL starts to his name – not even a full season – and has shown some signs of growth in the past couple of weeks. Now where he doesn't help himself is that he seems to follow every good move with a mistake that hurts the team. So, the jury is still very much out on Tua.

I don't mind Miami moving on from Tua if he is not good enough and I'm not convinced yet. I would rather an offseason play was made for Wilson, but the Dolphins may be looking at the value they can get from any deal. Let's work on the assumption that all three quarterbacks play until they are 40. Miami would get two years out of Rodgers, seven years out of Wilson and 14 out of Watson. Maybe that is in their thinking?

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