Footenotes – Return of the Mailbag (!), NFL Week 4, Royals’ Job Hunt

Mandatory Image Credit: Orlin Wagner/AP

Hey, all! In last week’s edition of Footenotes, we addressed Ned Yost’s final game as the skipper for the Kansas City Royals, drooled over Patrick Mahomes (honestly, that is probably an every-week deal) and hypothesized about Kansas’ pending violations. This week, THE MAILBAG IS BACK and I couldn’t be more excited to answer some questions. Before we get there, though, here are a few other thoughts.

NFL’s wild week(end)

As things turned out, Thursday’s Philadelphia/Green Bay game was just an appetizer compared to what we’d experience on Sunday. Both the Eagles and Packers put on a show, leaving everyone (myself included) wanting more. We certainly got it three days later.

Tennessee 24, Atlanta 10: Wow. I wasn’t as high on the Falcons as most heading into the season but after watching the offense’s pathetic performance against the Titans, I’m prepping my hand to slam the panic button. We’ll give it one more week, though…

Cleveland 40, Baltimore 25: The Lamar Jackson hype train seems to be slowing down more and more each week. He’s going to be a very good player in this league but after back-to-back lackluster performances, one must wonder which version of him is the real one. Baker Mayfield, on the other hand, played one of his best games on Sunday. Much-needed win for the Browns, who find themselves in first place in the AFC North through four weeks.

New England 16, Buffalo 10: Tom Brady was B-A-D in this game. Not as in Stephen A. Smith’s version of a “baaaaaaaaaaad man,” but literally a terrible performance from one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time. Had Josh Allen cut down on his turnovers, Buffalo would have won. Allen’s injury was essentially the final nail in the Bills’ coffin. Make no mistake, though: The Bills have a tremendous defense and a developing QB. Depending on how fast Allen matures, this team’s ceiling is pretty high.

Kansas City 34, Detroit 30: We’re going to try to keep the Patrick Mahomes talk to just one paragraph today. He was outplayed by Matthew Stafford for almost the entire game but when it mattered most, the 2018-19 MVP engineered a classic drive that eerily resembled those of the legendary signal-callers before him. Mahomes showed an immense amount of growth as a leader on Sunday. That’s what will matter come playoff time.

Carolina 16, Houston 10: Carolina’s goose may not be totally cooked, even if Cam Newton is out long-term. Kyle Allen wasn’t great on Sunday and fumbled the ball far too often, but he put his team in a position to win. Deshaun Watson, on the other hand, couldn’t do so. His defense tried its best to keep him in the game, but 10 points isn’t going to win many games in today’s NFL. This clip of Watson breaking down Carolina’s coverage is pretty neat, though:

Oakland 31, Indianapolis 24: Both Derek Carr and Jacoby Brissett continue to have underrated seasons. Both QBs have been very solid thus far. This game didn’t change my outlook on either team very much, but it hopefully showed the world that Oakland isn’t a complete mess and Indianapolis is a fringe playoff team at best.

Los Angeles (Chargers) 30, Miami 10: Not much to see here. I feel bad for Dolphins fans. You guys are a lot more patient than I would be. Actually, I did grow up a Chiefs fan. I feel your pain.

New York (Giants) 24, Washington 3: The Dwayne Haskins era couldn’t have gotten off to a worse start if you’re the Redskins. I’m still a firm believer in the kid and think he’s made up of all the right stuff, but it was a rough showing for him. New York is 2-0 in the Daniel Jones era. What a time to be alive.

Seattle 27, Arizona 10: Russell Wilson is one of the greatest quarterbacks of this generation. His numbers may not always jump off the stat sheet, but he’s remarkably efficient. Kyler Murray and Kliff Kingsbury still have a ways to go before they’re on notice as one of the NFL’s more dangerous units.

Tampa Bay 55, Los Angeles (Rams) 40: Jared Goff cannot turn the ball over like he did on Sunday. More on that later. Jameis Winston played like a man fighting for his job. To be honest, he is (in 2020 and beyond). Could Tampa Bay be a sleeper team? If Winston shows growth under head coach Bruce Arians’ system, perhaps.

Chicago 16, Minnesota 6: What a disappointing start to the season if you’re the Minnesota Vikings. Kirk Cousins is getting paid a lot of money for a little bit of production. Luckily for the franchise and its fans, he’s only under contract for the remainder of 2019 and then the 2020 season. On Chicago’s side, Mitch Trubisky is now battling a shoulder injury and will be replaced by Chase Daniel. This season, they might not be that far apart from being the same player.

Jacksonville 26, Denver 24: How can you not be a huge fan of Gardner Minshew? There’s legitimate talk right now that he’s single-handedly saved the Jags’ season. On the other end of the spectrum, the Broncos have lost eight consecutive games dating back to last season. A quality performance from Joe Flacco, which is a rarity, was wasted on Sunday.

New Orleans 12, Dallas 10: We knew heading into the game that the Cowboys’ defense was championship-caliber. With Ezekiel Elliott being shut down (18 carries for 35 yards), Dak Prescott couldn’t pick up the pieces. That’s worrisome if you’re Jerry Jones. Watching what’s currently unfolding in Minnesota with Cousins, Dallas doesn’t want to end up in that same position down the road when things fall apart. In other news, how ’bout the Saints? Even when they play like they’re trying to lose, they win.

Potential replacements for Ned Yost

With Ned Yost out of the picture and new owner John Sherman set to take control for the Kansas City Royals in the near future, things are starting to align for a job hunt at Yost’s old position:

A pipe dream for Royals fans would be either Maddon or Girardi. I haven’t heard any news in regards to Girardi, but Maddon has been linked to the Angels organization due to the firing of Brad Ausmus. If we’re being honest, the Royals job likely doesn’t appeal to either candidate.

This all boils down to how much input Sherman wants to have in the process of hiring a new manager. General manager Dayton Moore has preached maintaining a loving, team-oriented clubhouse environment for years, which makes me think Matheny securing the job isn’t a done deal. His exit from St. Louis is still fresh in the minds of many.

I’ve heard Grifol’s name from a ton of people in casual conversation over the past few days. Ibañez and Beltran are both also terrific options if Moore/Sherman are interested in bringing someone on who has ties to the organization. This process will be a ton of fun to watch unfold, as the Royals are still a couple of years away from being a competitive club. The team’s next skipper will have to specialize in developing young talent, because there will be plenty of it at Kauffman Stadium in the near future.

Return of the Mailbag

  • Did a zero-TD day from Mahomes hurt his MVP chances?

I don’t think so. Although he wasn’t playing his best football throughout nearly the entire game, he came through when it mattered the most and ended up with over 300 yards through the air and another 50+ on the ground. Especially when factoring in how poorly both Lamar Jackson and Dak Prescott played, I think the award would easily go to Mahomes if it were decided today.

  • Would you rather have Jared Goff or Kirk Cousins?

Goff all the way. He has bad games and certainly isn’t an elite QB, but he’s a fierce competitor and is younger than Cousins. Ceiling is higher, etc.

  • Has Tom Brady hit ‘the edge’?

I doubt it. He usually has one bad performance each year or a loss to a division rival where the national media will consider it the sky falling. Brady is still a very good QB, even at this stage of his career.

  • Are the Lions better than everyone thinks?

Yes and no. It depends on who “everyone” is. Matthew Stafford has a decent cast of weapons this year. He’s a fantastic QB who’s flown under many radars over the years. I hope he gains the recognition he deserves one day, for his sake. Detroit had either a terrible defense, a poor running game, or both over the past several years. We’ll see where things go from here but going toe-to-toe with one of the top five teams in the NFL this past Sunday is a moral victory, if those exist.

  • Are the Bills playoff contenders?

Yes! Unless Josh Allen plays like he did on Sunday. He’s still learning and has a long way to go before becoming a complete QB in this league but with such a dominant defense, I think Buffalo could win 8-10 games and compete for a wild card spot. Absolutely within reason. I wrote an article before the season where I stated Buffalo “clearly” wasn’t a contender but assuming the offense is near-average for the rest of the year, it is a playoff contender.

  • Is Andy Reid the worst in-game time manager ever?

Well… no. I don’t think so, at least. It would be difficult to name coaches who are much worse at it than Reid, but he’s near the top of that list for sure. The benefits he brings as a head coach far outweigh some questionable time management skills, though.

  • How much swag did Bill Self have in the Late Night in the Phog announcement?

In case you haven’t seen it yet, here’s the video:

This is a huge you-know-what to the NCAA. Not only is Self wearing an Adidas shirt, but he has the dollar sign chain to go with it. Both Self and the University of Kansas Athletic Department knew exactly what they were doing when they published this video. If swag were measured on a scale ranging from 1-10, give Self an 11 for this.

  • Should Gardner Minshew be an MVP candidate?

If the season ended today, yes.*

*The season doesn’t end today.

Minshew has been a treat to watch thus far and his team’s season has been resurrected because of him but without a great team record and some better numbers, he doesn’t stand a chance at winning MVP. He’s in the conversation as of today but as a rookie QB with just a few weeks of football under his belt, there are too many factors working against him for every week to be nearly perfect.

  • NBA predictions?

You’ll have to stay tuned for next week’s article. Sorry to be that guy, but it’ll be worth the wait!

  • MLB season thoughts?

As someone who follows the Royals very closely, the team being so bad made it a lot easier to watch other squads. I’ve found that I enjoy the Milwaukee Brewers, Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros a ton. To me, it’s a two-horse race in the American League. Really a one-horse race (Houston is absolutely stacked), but I’d never bet against the Bronx Bombers.

In the NL, my sleeper team is the Atlanta Braves. This team is young but with Ronald Acuña *hopefully* healthy for the team’s playoff run, there isn’t a group out there that is easier to root for. St. Louis has exceeded my expectations this season and Milwaukee is fun, but I think it comes down to either Los Angeles or Atlanta. Maybe we’ll see Astros vs. Dodgers again? Only time will tell.

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