It's a new week, friends, and that means we’re throwing the doors wide open to you and your questions, comments, complaints, rants and one-liners here in the Shutdown Mailbag. You know the drill here: unburden your football soul via email at email@example.com or via Twitter at @jaybusbee. Now, gather ‘round. But not too close. We might headbutt ya.
In your opinion, does the league suspend the Colts' Erik Walden for his head-butt on Titans’ Delanie Walker?
-Andy L. Zachary
Without a doubt. If the NFL's all insane about using the head as a weapon during play (which is, you know, the proper thing to do to prevent players' brains from being turned to apples n' cinnamon oatmeal), then the same rules should apply after the whistle's blown. Let's take another look, shall we:
Related: it's fairly amazing that Walker didn't just drop like a cut-string puppet. You ever touch an NFL player's head? It's not recommended, and we've never done it, but we'd imagine it's like smacking the side of a building. If you or I had gotten head-butted there, our skulls would've caved in. We'd be a mass of blood and tears and teeth, and that's not a good look for anybody.
Unbelievably, yes, the Jets very well could make the playoffs. If someone had given you this list of teams at the start of the year: — Vikings, Giants, Buccaneers, Dolphins, Falcons, Texans, and Jets — and told you to pick the most dysfunctional one, you'd say Jets in a walk, right? Not even close. Not only are the Jets flying below the radar (ha!) on the media-controversy front, they're playing decent enough ball that they can edge their way into the playoffs in that final AFC spot. You've got to figure KC/Denver will take one wild card, which leaves New York, Tennessee, Baltimore, Cleveland and San Diego fighting over that last one, with the Jets currently holding the one-game edge. Sweet heaven, if Rex Ryan not only survives TebowSanchezMediaPalooza but pulls a playoff berth out of that sewage? Nominate him for Pope.
Next, reader summerdeijz writes, "Our dog has a few issues: steel plates in both back legs, seizures, and 21 different allergies. And since my husband is a huge Tampa Bay Bucs fan, we had to get the dog's braces Bucc'ed out." Check it:
HELL YEAH ROBOPUP. Good on ya, doggy. He's available for your fantasy team starting in Week 11, people. And even with steel plates in both back legs, he's probably still more mobile than Mike Glennon.
@jaybusbee Any thoughts on what positions the ATL Falcons will target in '14 draft? What are the most pressing needs?
— Susan Bernstein (@velvetbarstool) November 13, 2013
Defense. DEFENSE. D-FENCE. It doesn't matter where. The Falcons had trouble with defense last year, surrendering multi-touchdown leads to both the Seahawks and the 49ers in last year's NFC playoffs. Atlanta, as you recall, was able to hold off Seattle, but not San Francisco. This year, decimated by injuries, the offense hasn't been able to mount much of a charge, but the defense has been abysmal, particularly the secondary. Atlanta has Matt Ryan and Julio Jones to build the offense around; now it's time to upgrade the D. As the Saints and Panthers have shown, the NFC South isn't going to sit still.
Video time! Check out this classic NFL on NBC intro from 1981:
Disco-slash-adult film music! Single-color outline graphics! Men-only Schlitz sponsorship! My god, we need these kinds of intros today. Your grandchildren are going to see Fox Sports' Cleatus hopping around onscreen and think we existed at the low point of sports culture's trough. And they wouldn't be wrong.
Colin Kaepernick, when things don't go his way, gets a deer-in-the-headlights glazed over look that augurs no good end. Russell Wilson, on the other hand, like all great athletes, seems to see the game in slow motion. This is a gift that cannot be coached. He finds a way to win and, like Joe Montana, rarely helps you to beat him. Since become Seattle's starting quarterback, Russell's record is now 21-7, and after 28 games, he has yet to lose a game by more than 7 points. In other words he has helped to keep his team in every single game he's played.
If he stays healthy, Russell Wilson has Canton written all over him. I'm not sure that Kaepernick is even in the league in five years.
Bold statement there, but I agree with the trajectories. Wilson is doing everything he can to build an elite-level career. Kaepernick, on the other hand, is like the young phenom baseball player who tears up the league his first time through, then struggles when teams figure him out. How he manages a counter-counterpunch will go a long way toward determining his future. I think he'll be around for a long time just because of his athleticism and youth, but he's going to have a hard time getting past that Brees-Wilson-Rodgers hegemony in the NFC, and that's not even considering the fact that Ryan, Tony Romo and Robert Griffin III are capable of occasional outstanding play as well.
All right, friends, that’ll do it for this week. Think you can do better than this week’s round of letter-writers? Take your shot by emailing or tweeting via the contacts below. This is also a reminder that you can tune in to our twice-weekly podcast, the catchily-named Shutdown Corner Podcast, right here on iTunes. And come on back to Shutdown Corner every day, multiple times a day, for the best NFL coverage in the known universe.
Enjoy the games, everybody!