Rams' Jackson still has gas in tank for playoff contender; more mail
NEW YORK --
That is one angry Sandy. Thanks to all for well-wishes regarding this massive storm. As my buddy Don Banks says of me, "World's luckiest man continues hot streak." We've escaped unscathed.
I live in midtown, 40 blocks north of the East Village, where cars this morning were submarines. We got a lot of wind and some rain, but nothing else. I feel for those affected by this brutal storm. The pictures from so many places break your heart, and I've seen so many familiar sights from my old Jersey stomping grounds in devastation. My heartfelt best wishes to the millions dealing with the fallout.
Jackson's case is very similar to Ichiro's last summer. Seattle wanted to move Ichiro, who had a heavy pricetag, and the Yankees bought him. Jackson is due $10.7 million through the end of the 2013 season -- $3.7 for the rest of this year, $7 million next season -- and still is a productive, eager back and a very good teammate. Since the start of last year, behind a shaky line, Jackson is averaging 4.2 yards per rush (368 carries, 1,548 yards).
Green Bay, Dallas and Arizona are the logical suspects. (I would have said Pittsburgh, but Jonathan Dwyer's been so good that he's negated the need for one.) I don't think GM Ted Thompson would want to take on that salary in Green Bay. Jerry Jones should in Dallas; his backs can't stay healthy, and Tony Romo needs the offensive help. Arizona had nine carries for seven yards Monday night, and its top two backs are both on IR, though Beanie Wells has the designation that he can return.
I do think the Rams would deal Jackson in the division if the price were right. The price has to be a fourth- or third-round pick, I believe. We'll see what the next 48 hours bring. This is a player who can still contribute to a playoff contender, and I think he's worth a mid-round pick.
The more you watch
Well, he can, and his 18-of-19, 232-yard, three-touchdown, no-pick night in the 24-3 win over Arizona just proves one thing: Even if you gameplan to shut down the running game, Smith can beat a good defense. Take away one 17-yard gain by Frank Gore, and the Niners struggled running it all night (3.4 yard per rush excepting the 17-yarder). But Smith hung in against good Arizona pressure and put the ball where he wanted all night. What was so impressive, I thought, was what Smith's become adept at doing -- putting the ball on a spot where his receivers can make plays after the catch. Entering their bye, the Niners got a huge boost from Smith.
If the season ended today,
One other factor: Philbin's reunion with defensive coordinator
Only two teams have allowed fewer points than Miami, and only two fewer rushing yards. "Defensively,'' said Philbin, "we've got very good players. When I got the job, I didn't choose Kevin Coyle because he knew the 4-3 so well. It was because I knew what a passion he had for football, and I knew he could help make our players better. Our defense plays fast and plays with passion."
As for being 4-3, he said: "I wasn't sure how it would all come together this year. But I felt good about the way we prepared in the summer and the way we practiced. We worked them hard. In this league, you prepare every week and do your scouting reports, and the way I look at it, if you do the right things, you should have a good chance to win every game.''
Miami and Indy meet in Indianapolis Sunday, each 4-3 and each with a legitimate wild-card shot.
Now for your email:
You're right -- and all of you who beat me up on Twitter are right too. Should have had the Broncos eighth, ahead of Baltimore, Miami and Pittsburgh, instead of behind them. Brainlock by me.
• ON SPORTSMANSHIP.
Good question. I thought that was pretty petty too. I think fans should let players know their feelings when they see things like that -- and I think the fans in England, if a team ever gets relocated there, would be vocal, as would the press, in making their feelings known.
• I DISAGREE, BUT THAT MAKES THE WORLD GO ROUND.
What if the defender isn't in position to make the play? My rejoinder stays the same: The only way Conte doesn't hit the receiver in a defenseless position is by not hitting him. And I don't think that's fair to the defender. Your point would be that once a player is not in the right position, then he should just back away from a diving receiver. Why?
• ON THE STEELER THROWUPS.
Good point. The difference is, how many years did the Steelers wear those awful things? I read somewhere one year. What historical photo of some great Steeler have you ever seen with that ridiculous jersey on? I've never seen one. It's a dumb jersey and a dumb idea to resuscitate it now.
• ON THE FUTURE OF ANDY REID.
I think Reid would have at least one job offer if he leaves Philly, and if it's the right one, to him, then I think he'd take it.