The MMQB needs readers' help for Thanksgiving football project. Plus we answer questions about Rob Gronkowski's MVP candidacy, Jadeveon Clowney's social media habits and the Robert Griffin III locker room drama
On Monday, I asked the readers of The MMQB to help us with a Thanksgiving project. During Thanksgiving week, we want to run some short essays and, hopefully, some photos of the best high school football games in the country played on Thanksgiving Day.
Here’s what we want: 200-word essays on what makes the Thanksgiving Day game that you know well so significant. Tell me a great story about a specific game in the rivalry or tell me what is it about the rivalry that makes it so appealing and such a good slice of Americana. We’d like to represent the full scope of the country—from Alaska to the Florida Keys, from Maine to Hawaii.
You can send your essays to firstname.lastname@example.org by Saturday, Nov. 22. We will pick the best ones and run them on our site during Thanksgiving week. The writers of those essays that we publish will win a The MMQB t-shirt. And for the best game that we hear about, The MMQB will staff the game with a writer on Thanksgiving Day and have a complete story on our site on the day after Thanksgiving.
Thanks for your help with this and now onto your email for the week...
GRONK FOR MVP. Is there any doubt that Rob Gronkowski should get serious consideration for the MVP? He is THE difference maker on the best team in the NFL. No Gronkowski, no No.1 seed for the Pats.
I see your point. And I agree that Gronkowski has been vital for New England’s rebound over the last month. But I would have a hard time thinking that the Patriots with Jimmy Garoppolo and Rob Gronkowski playing would be a better football team than with Tom Brady and Tim Wright playing. The quarterback touches the ball on every offensive snap. Gronkowski might touch it on one out of every 8-10 offensive snaps. I realize it’s not all about how many times he catches the ball; I respect the argument that Gronkowski’s mere presence can impact how the defense plays the other 10 Patriots on the field. But I’d rather take my chances without Gronkowski than without Brady.
CHARGERS NEED A BYE. Peter, has there ever been a team in greater need of a bye than San Diego? They lost a close one to Kansas City, were never really competitive against Denver, and then were blown out by Miami. Is this all the preseason expectations of regression coming to fruition or a big mother of a speed bump? How does a team realign itself after a three-game stretch like this knowing that the five-game stretch to close out the season is much worse? Thanks for your time.
—Peter P., Round Rock, Texas
Excellent question. I was stunned by the San Diego performance in Miami. But I think one of the takeaways from the 37-0 loss at Miami is that you can’t take an unlimited number of losses and injuries on the offensive line when you’re playing a good pressure team, such as Miami. What I would do if I were Mike McCoy is to tell his team to get away from football, all of it, for week. Working out or doing cardio is fine. But I wouldn’t even want the players to do much physically, other than to rest and to get their bodies in position to be performing at peak levels when the bye is over. I really like the bye system, particularly when it’s close to the middle of the season. And I think San Diego, particularly on offense, needs a complete breather to give them a chance to play the way they were playing a month ago.
CLOWNEY DOGGING IT? Peter, I wanted to get your thoughts on reports that the Houston organization is not happy with Jadeveon Clowney and that he might have been on Instagram as his team was losing their game. Being from South Carolina, we want to see our local kids do well, but I am afraid Clowney is showing what many of us saw during his college stint—world of talent, but lazy with no inclination that he loves the game.
—Bryan, Spartanburg, S.C.
I think it’s way too early to draw those conclusions. I do know that there were some eyebrows raised in Houston because of a suspicion that Clowney could have played in Sunday’s game. But I’m always hesitant to malign a player who is undergoing treatment of any kind. I just don’t know what’s going on inside the guy’s body and until there is a significant track record to suggest that a player is dogging it, I won’t buy it.
RGIII LOCKER ROOM MESS. Can you request that all media members refrain from reporting on "divided locker rooms?" When you get several dozen men who are among the best in the world at their craft together, there are going to be some huge egos, and those huge egos won’t always mesh together perfectly 100% of the time. Big deal. Stop reporting it as front-page news. Move on.
—Rick Mathieu, Chevy Chase, Md.
After the ESPN report that Robert Griffin III was alienating teammates in his locker room, we learned that the catcalls heard when Griffin was speaking to the media on Friday might have been directed at the media, not at Griffin. I never like to draw definitive conclusions on a story that I was not present to witness and is followed by claims on both sides that there has been a misunderstanding. So for now, in the case of Griffin and his teammates, I’m inclined to give it a pass. But I also think that it’s unrealistic to think that if a beat writer witnesses discord in a locker room, or is told about said discord, that he/she should then simply forget about it because some people might not care. That to me is a cover-up, whether conscious or unconscious, and beat writers should not be a part of that.
SUSPENSION FOR SUGGS? I understand that Baltimore-Pittsburgh is a heated-rivalry, and I have no issue with letting them play rough, but Terrell Suggs’ shot on LeGarrette Blount was flat-out dirty. My question is simple: Do you think Suggs should be fined and/or suspended?
—Jim, Mount Laurel, N.J.
Yes, I think he should be fined. I would only suspend him if he has on his record right now a couple recent violations (the way, say, a Brandon Meriweather would have). I really thought the hit was bad. Many of you asked me why I hadn’t commented on the hit in Monday’s column, which is a fair question. But when I sat down to write, I hadn’t seen the hit. Often times during the Sunday Night game, I’m working on other things at NBC, and that was the case here. But once I saw it Monday, I saw what the fuss was about. Suggs definitely deserves a fine for going at Blount the way he did.
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