It's been a quick turnaround for the Patriots after Monday night's victory in Miami, and they've got a really big challenge Sunday against the Chargers, whose elite talent can sometimes get overshadowed by their lack of discipline.
For a few notes on Drew Bledsoe, Devin McCourty and Chad Ochocinco, let's unload this week's mailbag.
Drew Bledsoe's stats look great from a historical perspective, but he never passed the eye test for me. Don't you think that's important for the Hall of Fame?
There's been a lot of great debate this week over Bledsoe's candidacy for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and people have been passionate about both sides of it. When I sat down to research the material for that feature, I honestly had no idea of which direction it would take, but Bledsoe's numbers are so impressive compared to the other Hall of Fame quarterbacks. Because of those numbers, and some other reasons I listed, I think Bledsoe has the credentials to land in the Hall of Fame.
It doesn't mean I think he will get into the Hall of Fame.
There really weren't many people who were on the fence about Bledsoe, both during his career and afterward. Patriots fans either loved his style or they hated it. Obviously, Tom Brady's career has greatly overshadowed Bledsoe's, and I think that has taken away from some of the appreciation for Bledsoe. On the other side of his career, I wonder how many Patriots fans from an older generation didn't like Bledsoe because he was different than Steve Grogan, who was an icon during his days with New England.
There's also the argument that Bledsoe wasn't the greatest of his generation, and while that's true to a great extent, it's also a tough comparison to make. He started up when Joe Montana, Dan Marino, John Elway, Troy Aikman, Jim Kelly and Steve Young were winding down, and Bledsoe led into the careers of Brady and Peyton Manning. Brett Favre might have been the only great quarterback who shared a similar tenure in the NFL as Bledsoe.
I don't know if there's a right or wrong opinion about Bledsoe's Hall of Fame credentials. I just wanted to put his career into a historical perspective, and it's been fun listening to both sides of the argument.
What do you think about Devin McCourty's night against Brandon Marshall and the Dolphins?
I thought Devin McCourty was up and down, but for the most part, I thought he played all right. The thing I really take out of it is the trust the Patriots have to single him up against Brandon Marshall, which allowed the defense to zero in on slot receiver Davone Bess and running back Reggie Bush. In Week 4 of 2010, the Patriots had an all-hands-on-deck approach on Marshall, and it worked. Yet, Bess paced the offense, which allowed the Dolphins to hang with the Pats for the better part of three quarters.
The game plan was different this week, and I thought McCourty did a good job. It obviously wasn't perfect, and he obviously got beat several times while the score was still in doubt (I don't fault the players for yielding big stats after switching to the prevent defense). But McCourty's ability to contain Marshall one-on-one was beneficial toward the overall game plan.
Hey! I was wondering what your thoughts are on DeSean Jackson and his contract situation? If he doesn't get a contract extension, do you see him going anywhere next year?
Hi! All reports out of Philly indicate Jackson will get franchised if he doesn't reach a contract extension by the end of the season. They love him, and he's such a perfect asset for Michael Vick in that type of offense. There's no way the Eagles will let him escape.
Will we see more out of Ochocinco, or should I bench him on my fantasy football team?
–@eudailkneesaa, via Twitter
I have to believe Ochocinco will get more reps this week than he did against the Dolphins, and he'll figure it out eventually. However, until Ochocinco really breaks out, I'd leave him on the fantasy bench if you've got comparable options.