1. How timely is C.J. Prosise for the Seahawks?
Two ways to slice that. The rookie third-round pick finally getting over his assorted preseason injured then a broken wrist into late October resulted in a breakout performance last weekend at New England: 153 total yards on 24 touches (17 runs, seven catches). His emergence is coinciding with the return of Thomas Rawls Sunday against the Eagles, his first game in more than two months. Voila! Double run-game upgrade. But if Prosise hadn’t broken his wrist, he and not Christine Michael would likely be Seattle’s leading rusher. And the Seahawks would have waived Michael weeks ago. I’d written here how Michael was showing wear. The team seemed done with him late last month, with his running out of bounds untouched and flinching out of his tailback stance for a costly penalty on the 5-yard line in a five-point loss at New Orleans. Raise your hand if you had in September C.J. Prosise as the savior to the Seahawks’ 30th-ranked rushing offense. Collect your prize at the door.
2. How likely is Arizona catching Seattle in the NFC West?
It’s not improbable, but it’s getting late for the defending division champion. The next three weeks will be telling for the Cardinals (4-4-1), if not decisive. Arizona plays at NFC North co-leader Minnesota Sunday, then at South-leading Atlanta next week and home to Washington (5-3-1) on Dec. 4. The Cardinals are keeping quarterback Carson Palmer healthy and are playing better – only one loss in their last five games. But that’s the same streak the Seahawks are on. Arizona needs to make up two games on the Seahawks somewhere between now and New Year’s Night. The Cardinals come to Seattle on Christmas Eve, so there’s one chance. But the Seahawks are 30-6 in November and December since Russell Wilson became their quarterback in 2012. They’ll have to lose a third of that five-year total in the next seven weeks to give Arizona a chance.
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3. Why should all kids in sports – college and even those young in the NFL – watch Tony Romo’s press conference from this past week?
To see an example of humility, teamwork, support and graciousness – traits not often associated with quarterbacks under $108 million contracts. Dallas’ 36-year-old QB has been out since mid-August when Seattle’s Cliff Avril crunched him and broke a bone in his back. In his absence rookie Dak Prescott has led the Cowboys to the league’s best record, 8-1. Romo, finally healthy again and ready to play, held his first press conference since his injury. He didn’t take questions and instead read a statement. He said, in part: "You see, football is a meritocracy. You aren’t handed anything. You earn everything, every single day. Over and over again, you have to prove it. … A great example of this is Dak Prescott and what he’s done. He’s earned the right to be our quarterback. As hard as that is for me to say, he’s earned that right. …. I remember the people that helped me when I was young. If I can be that to Dak, I’ve tried to be and I will be that going forward. I think you all know something magical is happening to our team. … I think Dak knows that I have his back, and I think I know he has mine. … For every high-school kid out there, or college player, there’s greatness in being the kind of teammate that truly wants to be part of a team. … There are special moments that come from a shared commitment to play your role while doing it together. That’s what you will remember. Not your stats or your prestige. … It’s what separates sports from everything else. It’s why we love it. It’s why we trust it."
4. Can the Packers put Aaron Rodgers’ ripping them behind them?
At 4-5 they must, or this season is lost. The All-World quarterback has been all grumpy over his team’s losing. After a loss to the Colts two weeks ago in which they trailed by 18 points in the fourth quarter at Lambeau Field, Rodgers said: I don’t understand it. I’m not a rah-rah guy, but I’m a focused, enthusiastic player, and I don’t know what the lack of juice was. You kind of felt it over the entire sideline. We didn’t have the same kind of enthusiasm and encouragement that we had the previous two weeks. So we’ve got to look deep in the mirror there, because that’s just not acceptable. … We have to respond better, like we did to close out the game, (and) get the crowd involved more than just the squirrel on the field." Their response? The squirrel did better. Green Bay’s putrid, 47-25 loss to Tennessee last weekend had some CheesePeople wandering if the Packers had quit on themselves, their quarterback, their season. It was their third consecutive loss. Now they play at hot Washington (5-3-1), at Philadelphia (5-4), then home to AFC South-leading Houston and the Seahawks on Dec. 11. It’s not too late; the Packers are only a game out of the NFC North lead behind Detroit and Minnesota. But the signs, the lack of a running game, the porous defense, the vibe and the words coming out of Wisconsin are currently worse than rotten cheddar.
5. Quick, how many quarterbacks have started for the Browns in the last 12 years?
Twelve? Fifteen? Eighteen? Try 21. Yes, Cleveland – winless this season – has gone blackjack at the sport’s most important position over the last 12 years. The Seahawks, by comparison, have started seven different quarterbacks in that span (Do you remember Charlie Frye once started a game for Seattle, in 2008 when the team finished Mike Holmgren’s final coaching season 4-12? Sorry, you tried to forget). This horrid issue for the even-more-horrid Browns came up again this past week because Ben Roethlisberger’s struggling Steelers (4-5 but only one game out in the AFC North) play 0-10 Cleveland on Sunday. He was asked if he could name the 12 different Browns QBs he’s faced in 12 years. "No chance," Roethlisberger told reporters, with a laugh. He has admitted to being mad that the Browns, the closest NFL team to where he grew up in Findlay, Ohio, didn’t draft him in 2004 and has said he could wait for another team to draft him to he could play the Browns. Well, he’s gone 19-2 against Cleveland in his career.