ESPN Insider Adam Schefter hits five of the biggest questions around the league once a week during the NFL preseason and regular season, and sporadically throughout the playoffs and offseason. Have a query of your own? Submit it here.
What should be the level of concern in New England over this team? If the Patriots lose Sunday to Cincinnati, they will be under .500.
Right now, it should be fairly high. The Patriots have looked vulnerable in many areas, most notably up front. It sure looks as if this team misses its former offensive line coach, the legendary Dante Scarnecchia. The unit has not functioned the same, Tom Brady has not had time to set up in the pocket, and the Patriots have not looked explosive on offense. At all. The good part for them is that they play in the AFC East, a division in which there isn't another team that is going to run away with the title. So they can struggle some, improve as the year goes on, and potentially still win the division.
Who do you think are the top coaching candidates to replace Dennis Allen this offseason?
In a perfect world, Raiders owner Mark Davis would be able to bring back Jon Gruden. But Gruden never has shown a willingness to return to Oakland, so unless Davis can make that happen, he will have to wade into the pool of candidates. But at least he will have a head start while he has interim coach Tony Sparano. Typically teams do the opposite of what they had. Oakland had a young, defensive-minded coach. So now Oakland needs a great, dynamic head coach, though the preference would be a seasoned, offensive-minded coach: a Darrell Bevell or a Pat Shurmur, someone like that. But Gruden would be the crown achievement.
Orton is a solid quarterback, and for now, he is an upgrade over Manuel. And some think Manuel's time on the bench will give him a chance to study the game, see things he didn't have time to see before, and grow as a QB. The quick reaction is that it's over for him in Buffalo, and maybe it is. But at some point, he is going to get another chance. And if that doesn't work out, then it's time for Buffalo to move on from him, officially. But for now, the Bills are more concerned about winning a wide-open AFC East.
What’s been most impressive to you about the Dallas Cowboys’ 3-1 start?
So much, to be honest. There were so many who thought the Cowboys would be one of the worst teams in football. Instead, they're sitting there at 3-1. Rod Marinelli has done a first-rate job with an undermanned defense. Scott Linehan has done a great job calling plays. And this team has run the ball. DeMarco Murray has been the league's best running back. And if he can run like that all season, Dallas will keep winning all season.
Great question. These Giants are a tough team to figure out. The way they looked last Thursday night was beyond impressive. It was one of the best games they have played in years, since their last Super Bowl win. There was a Thursday night win in Carolina a couple of years ago that was impressive; that win in Washington was right up there. Now it's up to this team to play that way more regularly. The encouraging part is, the past two games, Eli Manning has come to life and looked strong. If he can carry that through, the Giants will be a tough out. But first: a big test Sunday at home against an Atlanta team that is hurting up front, where the Giants have a chance to take advantage.