View Full Version : Faceoff: Passers' Super worries, advice for title losers

01-26-2011, 05:15 PM

NFL Faceoff: Pete Prisco vs. Clark Judge

CBSSports.com pro football writers Pete Prisco and Clark Judge face off weekly throughout the season.

Which quarterback should be more fearful of the blitz next week?

PRISCO: I say Ben Roethlisberger. I think the Packers do a great job hiding their blitzes, but it's more than that. The Steelers' offensive line isn't as good as the Packers' line. Green Bay's line is better equipped to handle the stunts and looks and blitzes the Steelers will throw at them. The Pittsburgh line is playing with two backup tackles and center Maurkice Pouncey, who is key at calling the line checks, will play despite a high ankle sprain. How much will he be limited? Both teams are outstanding at blitzing and showing a ton of looks, but the Packers have the better line. The Steelers were 30th in the league in sacks per pass play. That happened despite having a mobile passer. Roethlisberger might want to get some extra conditioning in this week. He might be running a lot come a week from Sunday.

JUDGE: Aaron Rodgers, and here's why: He suffered two concussions this season. That means Rodgers is a James Harrison hit to the head away from a third. Pittsburgh loves to attack the pocket, and Green Bay's pass protection is nothing more than adequate. Granted, Rodgers is mobile, so he can escape some of the heat, but take another shot to the head like the one Julius Peppers delivered last weekend, and we may be looking at Matt Flynn. Ben Roethlisberger gets sacked more, but Roethlisberger isn't a concussion waiting to happen. Rodgers could be, which makes him more vulnerable.

What do last week's losers need to do to take the next step?

PRISCO: I'll start with the Jets. They have to improve the outside pass rush. When you use a 3-4 scheme, it's imperative that a team gets pressure from the edge. The Jets didn't get that from the outside linebackers. They need a player like Clay Matthews or James Harrison, two 3-4 rushers who will be in the Super Bowl. The Jets also need to lean more on Mark Sanchez. It's time to give him the ball. As for the Bears, they need outside help in the passing game. There is speed there in Johnny Knox and Devin Hester, but they don't play to that speed. Jay Cutler needs help. On defense, there is a need for a corner to go with Charles Tillman. Tim Jennings isn't the long-term answer. And, finally, the offensive line needs to play better.

JUDGE: The Bears must find better wide receivers. They paid a lot to acquire Jay Cutler because they believe he's an elite quarterback. OK, fine. Then equip him with at least one elite receiver. He doesn't have one, and it costs the Bears against teams with quality defensive backs (Green Bay). But don't stop there. I'd look to upgrade my offensive line, too. If I'm the Jets I make Shonn Greene my featured back and stop having him split time with LaDainian Tomlinson. Tomlinson predictably wore down as the season wore on. Plus, he turns 32 this year. So give Greene more carries and start giving Joe McKnight more of a role. But let's look big picture here: I'd turn over more of the offense to Mark Sanchez. He was the team's best player the last two games, and it's time to take off the training wheels. The guy enters his third season, and he proved he can carry the offense. So let him.

Who's the best team not to make Super Bowl XLV?

PRISCO: I'll go with the Atlanta Falcons. The Packers ambushed them, but there is a lot of young talent on that roster. I think as they move forward, they have to allow Matt Ryan to become more of a pocket passer. He's more than capable. It's time to open up the offense. That means maybe getting more help in terms of weapons, including a young tight end. On defense, they have a bunch of young players who start and are ready to move their games to the next level. But they have to get help for the pass rush. John Abraham isn't a kid anymore and Kroy Biermann was a major disappointment this season. That lack of a pass rush showed up against the Packers in the loss in the divisional round. But I like the youth of the team and I like the way Ryan played this season. Now let him do more.

JUDGE: It's still New England, with the Baltimore Ravens losing in a photo finish. The Patriots have the game's best player in Tom Brady, and they don't make mistakes. That's a tough combination to overcome, even when you have the league's 30th-ranked pass defense. But the Jets did it, and they did it because they were the better team in the playoffs. They weren't, however, the better team this season. New England hammered Pittsburgh, overcame Baltimore and battered Chicago. It also put the Jets away by 42. I don't know that the Pats would have beaten Baltimore in the playoffs, but I do know the Ravens probably would have committed mistakes New England would not. In fact, the Ravens did, sabotaging their chances for an upset of Pittsburgh. That's one reason I'll take New England. The other: Brady. Those three Super Bowl rings are there for a reason.

If you owned the Bengals, would you trade Carson Palmer?

PRISCO: I would listen to offers -- and then say no. What are you going to get? And if you do trade him, then what? You draft a kid? I think the Bengals need to sit down with Palmer and make him realize that this was essentially the same team that won the division in 2009. There is talent on the roster. They do need to get a deep threat for him. But Palmer also has to realize that he wasn't the same player in 2010. There was clearly something off with him. I like the guy. I think he has the talent to be a Super Bowl quarterback. That's why I wouldn't trade him. Mike Brown has already come out and said he won't trade him. That's wise. Now if somebody offered two first-round picks, or a first- and a third-rounder, that might change things. But without a CBA, he can't be traded anyway. Palmer won't retire either. He's too competitive for that, no matter what he's saying to his agents and to the Bengals.

JUDGE: Yes. I know franchise quarterbacks are hard to find, but Palmer's not a franchise quarterback anymore. He's more like an ordinary one. Sure, he has his moments, but so does Buffalo's Ryan Fitzpatrick. Cincinnati seems to have gone as far as it can with Palmer and it's apparent that Palmer feels he has gone as far as he can with Cincinnati. Because the Bengals need to start over, I would deal him for draft picks. There are plenty of teams out that should be interested, including San Francisco, Arizona and Seattle, and I would auction Palmer off to the highest bidder, then find my next starter in the draft. Look, Cincinnati hasn't won a playoff game with Palmer, and the Bengals just hit rock bottom. Combine that with his trade value, which won't be as high next season as it is now, and we have our answer. Make the move, Cincinnati.