Marc's Mailbag

Marc Sessler is a writer for's Around the League blog and each Friday he will answer your NFL questions, right up until the Super Bowl.

Should we take the Falcons seriously?

Liam in London

In a word, yes.

In more than a word: Atlanta has been one of the league's most dangerous teams this season, but until they strike someone down in January, all bets are off.

There's a difference to this year's club -- a little bit of a chip on the shoulder -- and they've embraced the fact people don't buy into them. On the field, their vertical passing scheme has put up points every week. They just need to get through this first playoff game -- get that monkey off their back -- but Seattle is a tough draw. If Atlanta stumbles, the heat will be turned up to the max.

Is Mike Shanahan to blame for RG3's knee injury?


The more I've read and learned about the events in Washington on Sunday, I'm less inclined to heap blame on the coach. It's easy for us to sit around and talk about how Griffin should have been pulled early -- I felt this way at first -- but he isn't a victim. He openly wanted to compete.

Griffin never wanted to sit out of the Cleveland game, but the team shut him down. Shanahan's not out to destroy anyone's career, but some of the abuse heaped on him this week suggests nothing less.

As RG3 tweeted, "Many may question, criticize & think they have all the right answers. But few have been in the line of fire in battle."

Are we going to get to a point where every team wants a mobile quarterback? It seems like the trend is picking up.

Katie G.

I think the trajectory is more mobile passers, not less, especially as teams see how diverse an offense can be with elements of the option mixed into a pro-style scheme.

I laugh at the notion that option offense is a one-year fad. The core tenets of the zone-read offering we saw in Washington (with Griffin) and Seattle (with Russell Wilson) are successful because they neutralize a defense's ability to play the aggressor.

Having to account for three or four possible plays with every snap is a killer, and teams might learn to defend that better next season, but any quarterback who can run these plays is a valuable asset to evolving offenses.

The NFL is stocked with coaches who won't want to change, but it's adapt or die. We've seen offenses evolve wildly over the past few seasons, and 2012 will long be remembered for that.

When people write about "blowing up and starting again," what changes are made aside from a new general manager and a coach?

Harry Scott

The change can be dramatic. It comes down to scheme and personnel. If an offense moves from a run-oriented attack to a pass-happy system under a new coach, that often means new quarterbacks, new linemen, new tight ends, maybe a fullback or the removal of a fullback.

When a new defensive coach switches from the 4-3 to the 3-4 and back again, that might require an entirely new makeup for the front seven. New coaches also might prefer man vs. zone coverage, which means different types of cornerbacks and safeties.

Those personnel changes can take years to fill, and if it doesn't equate to win, the regime will be fired and a new one brought in, starting the process all over again. This is why teams like the Patriots, Steelers, Packers and Ravens have found success -- consistency is important.

Let's hit a few quick ones before we close this week's Q&A:

Your Super Bowl pick?

Tonya, London

I started the season with Patriots-49ers and I'm sticking with it.

Why didn't the Jets fire Rex Ryan?

Matthew Walter

This comes down Woody Johnson, the owner, who is enamored with everything Ryan brings away from the game. Johnson loves the Jets stealing attention from the Giants in Gotham and Ryan has been able to that more consistently than any coach in team history.

The Jets, however, are a real mess on the field right now, and I'm not sure they're going to find an enthusiastic front-office candidate to replace fired general manager Mike Tannenbaum. The next guy inherits major quarterback issues, a coach who doesn't want to take orders from anyone, and an eroded roster.

If that doesn't change, Ryan won't be long for The Big Apple.

Who's still alive after this weekend?

Jacob E.

I have the Broncos, Patriots, 49ers and Seahawks. And I hope you enjoy all the games.

Follow Marc Sessler on Twitter @MarcSesslerNFL.