It’s mailbag time, folks! Let’s have some fun with this!
Thank you again for all your questions. Remember you can hit me up on Twitter or Instagram if there’s anything you want to ask for next week’s mailbag.
What is up with the Arizona Cardinals offense and their clap snap count? — anonymous
The Cardinals were on national TV for their second preseason game against the Oakland Raiders, so we got to see their new offense up close and personal. If you noticed, and you probably did, Cardinals rookie quarterback Kyler Murray got called for a false start twice when he clapped his hands to simulate a snap count.
The NFL recently changed the rules for how a quarterback can use his hands before the snap. If the QB flashes his hands before the snap in a forceful way and it draws the defensive line offsides, it’s a false start on the QB.
This is exactly what happened with Murray.
The clap snap count is used primarily in college football. The noise of the clap is supposedly crisper than the voice or, clearly, louder than a silent count. I think it’s pointless in the NFL.
The offense has a supreme advantage of knowing when the play starts with a snap count. There’s that split second before the ball is snapped to get a jump on the defense and it’s most important in the trenches. When you’re facing Aaron Donald, getting that split second of advantage can be so useful.
With a clap snap count, that advantage is now gone. Everyone hears the snap at the exact same time, even when noise isn’t an issue like at home. I don’t like it.
Do the Jets (or maybe even the Bills) have any possible chance of winning the AFC East? — @markbrown247
Never say never, but unless Tom Brady gets injured, I have a hard time believing anyone else is winning the division. Brady had owned the teams in the AFC East since he took over the job from Drew Bledsoe.
Both the Bills and Jets should be greatly improved this season, though.
I’d give the Jets a slightly better chance than the Bills because of the quarterback position. Sam Darnold has looked fantastic with Adam Gase running the offense. Gase, while not a successful head coach in Miami, has always been an outstanding coach for his quarterbacks. So I’d bet on the Jets rather than the Bills, if anyone could win the division other than Brady and the Patriots.
How good was Adrian Peterson in that 2012 season, and as an all-time back? And would he still be the best running back in today’s era despite his lack of receiving skills? — @keegs_7
What Peterson did in 2012 was remarkable. As his teammate that year in Minnesota, I was in awe of watching him run the ball and his ability to be so quick and explosive, but also truck defenders who got in his way.
He played the tail end of that season with a sports hernia, or what is now commonly referred to as a core abdominal injury. He played through the pain. I know the feeling because I had the same injury as he did during training camp. I had to get immediate surgery and I was eventually back by the end of camp.
Because of the injury, Peterson didn’t practice at all the last six weeks of the season. Like I’ve said plenty of times before, the run game takes timing and rhythm. You need to practice that during practice.
Well, he couldn’t practice, so we did a 10-minute walkthrough on Friday mornings before practice with Peterson. We would go over every run once or twice, and move along. That was it! And he’d come out on Sunday and rush for 150 yards. So talented.
As to the last question about receiving skills, I think Peterson would be a Hall of Famer in any era, but I think teams would look at drafting him differently now because of that lack of receiving skills. He started playing in an era when that wasn’t required of backs, so maybe he would have adapted his game to fit the game had he entered the NFL at this moment. Nonetheless, he’s amazing.