Welcome back to the mailbag! The NFL, needless to say, has been surrounded by hot takes and news headlines both on and off the football field. It’s been difficult to separate the two and the ‘stick to sports’ crowd has been louder than ever. Let’s compromise. I’ll answer one question that’s an amalgam of sports with politics and the rest I’ll keep to football while also keeping it light. Deal? Deal.
Let’s open some mail:
Has Sam Shields formally retired from the NFL? Has any team given him a physical?— Edward Oines (@edwardoines) October 5, 2017
Sam Shields, former WR1 coverman for the Green Bay Packers, has been largely off the radar of NFL teams. He was released from the Packers roster in February of 2017 while also receiving a 2-game suspension in September by the league for a marijuana charge. He opened the door of his Green Bay home after the police came knocking while holding a blunt. Very discreet, bro.
So he very well would be serving that suspension if he does sign with a team.
The Packers are also still carrying dead money from Shields’ contract, and elected to bring back Davon House this offseason instead. So that should tell you all you need to know about what the Packers think Shields’ ability to play is.
Sometime in June, Shields posted this image to his Instagram story:
He also posted an Instagram picture (which has since been deleted) after he had been cut from the Packers. It indicated that he wasn’t happy with the release. Looks like next season he’s going to try and field some offers.
By then, he’ll be approaching 31 years-old and has had 5 concussions. With the heavy emphasis on brain injuries and CTE, I’m not sure what team would take the risk.
Why was Aaron Rodgers so vague when speaking about what to do about mass shootings? What is your opinion about what he means we should do?— TPC SW MO (@tigerpackcard) October 5, 2017
Rodgers’ comments on the mass shootings and also on the protests going on around the NFL have been very lukewarm. He’s taking a stance while also not really taking a stance if that makes sense? Much like a lot of sports stars, it’s easy for athletes to use that coach speak where they keep things vague and always say the right thing. It’s clear that Rodgers was upset about what happened, but he avoided taking a strong stance, which I would have liked to see.
I think what he has meant was that we should have stronger gun regulation and allow people to kneel during the national anthem, but he’s not going to outwardly say that because he knows a lot is at risk. And I also don’t really know if that’s what he was saying! It’s left up for interpretation and people will see it how they want to.
If someone as high profile as Aaron Rodgers got into the fold with Malcolm Jenkins or Eric Reid, I think people may start looking at both situations differently. Rodgers isn’t in a position to lose his job. I think he, and others like Tom Brady, can afford to take a stronger stance and speak up for what they believe in. That counts for if Brady wants to still show support for Trump too.
Just take a strong stance! Not everyone’s going to love you, but you may get some respect for your strong convictions.
#askAPC 8 teams that won't make it into playoffs?— Andrew Schuba (@andrew_schuba) October 5, 2017
Okay. Back to football.
Teams we can effectively cross off. It’s early, but I’ll make my predictions because even teams that start 0-2 have a difficult time making the playoffs. According to Oddsshark, of 83 teams since 2007 that have started 0-2, only 9 made the playoffs. That’s just 10.8%.
Quick cross offs: Browns and 49ers. Sashi Brown said the Browns were still in the process of a rebuild just recently. You don’t say that if you think you’re going to make the playoffs. And the Niners have no quarterback and might play in the toughest division in football. Rams back!
6 more to go.
Chicago Bears and not because this is a Packers site. They’ve committed to Mitch Trubisky as the starter and he’ll have ups and downs. He might come out swinging, but I think if he was a playoff caliber QB, he would’ve started from Week 1.
5 more left.
The Giants are 0-4 staring up at Dallas, Philly and Washington in the division, all 3 of whom are off to solid starts. The Colts are on hear because we still don’t know if Andrew Luck is coming back at some point. And the Chargers may be able to pass the Raiders, but they’re not better than Kansas City and Denver. I take back what I said before— the AFC West is actually the best division in football (Sorry, NFC West, you’re still fun!)
Two more and this is tricky because they’re both 2-2 teams. But I think it’s safe to say the Jets and the Cardinals. The Jets, I think, have a better record than what their team actually is at this point and I don’t trust Carson Palmer. He’s let me down too many times and without David Johnson for an extended amount of time, it’ll be a tough NFC road. I’m still giving the 1-3 Bengals a shot because they’ve found some offense and the Dolphins have only played 3 games so far.
Yeah, that’s my 8: Browns, Niners, Bears, Colts, Giants, Chargers, Jets, and Cardinals. The 2018 Draft is right around the corner.
Who is going to cover Bryant?— Gary Getzin (@gfgetzin) October 4, 2017
It’s gotta be Kevin King. He’s been growing at a much more accelerated rate than other highly drafted Packer defensive backs and his coverage skills are more polished than I think a lot of people expected.
Packers rookie Kevin King has a better passer rating allowed in coverage than Patrick Peterson, Desmond Trufant, and Marcus Peters.— Peter Bukowski (@Peter_Bukowski) October 3, 2017
He’s matched up well against Julio Jones, struggled a little more against A.J. Green, but is now welcoming a matchup with Dez Bryant if he gets it.
King has turned into a consistent presence for the Pack and as noted here, the other corner spots for the Packers have not been as certain. If King is able to continue to shadow the opposing team’s stud receiver, then that leaves others in the secondary like Josh Jones and Morgan Burnett to do more.
Who else is covering him? Davon House?
I’d rather have the rookie get the big matchup experience.
Let’s do this again soon!