Tuesday, April 21, 2009

12 comments Mocking TMQ's Mocking of NFL Mock Drafts

Have you missed writers referring to themselves in the third person as a group or organization when there is really only one person, have you not had enough "g"s in your Greg lately, and do you miss the football knowledge that only a person who understands nothing about football can convey? Sounds to me like you need a little TMQ mocking the draft, except it not actually TMQ, but Gregg Easterbrook writing as the fictional TMQ, and really every column he writes is a mockery of good football journalism as a whole.

With the NFL draft approaching -- oh, you hadn't heard? -- it's trendy for sports pundits to say the teams at the top wish they had lower selections, owing to the outrageous bonus demands of top choices and the media pressure that comes with choosing high. This isn't a new problem! Eight years ago, TMQ made this very point.

Yes, you did seem to point out this problem 8 years ago when it was a problem then as well. Only TMQ can try to take credit today for pointing out the obvious 8 years ago.

"As I made a point of saying back in 2001, this Peyton Manning is a great quarterback."

Including this year, it's usually not even clear whom the team holding the first selection should choose -- the last consensus No. 1 choice was Carson Palmer in 2003.

Except in 2006 and 2008 when Mario Williams and Jake Long already had deals signed before they were actually drafted at #1. Also, this year the Lions are nearing a deal with the #1 before the draft. It all seems like a pretty good consensus at that point, let's just ignore that though so Gregg can desperately try to make a point, factual or not.

This year the buzz question has been whether the Lions, holding the first choice, should simply refuse to pick -- putting the Rams on the clock and allowing the Lions to go second, thus saving maybe $5 million in bonus money.

The buzz question having been given a buzz answer by me that no matter where a team picks, skill position players and quarterbacks generally want more money. It took me a minute and a half to look that up and that was because I changed my ITunes song twice. Again, a team not picking at their allotted slot does not equal savings all the time.

Perhaps if the Lions refused to pick, then the Rams would refuse to pick and the Chiefs would refuse to pick and the Seahawks would refuse to pick.

Then everyone will go out for ice cream and ride a magical unicorn into the sun.

In an everyone-passes scenario, how far down would you have to drop to find a team willing to choose first?

I am going to say Pick #2 with St. Louis.

But no team holding a top choice will ever pass or trade down straight-up, for a reason college professors and sports pundits overlook: public relations.

Actually, that is an incredibly important reason a team would not trade a second round pick straight up for a first round pick. Publicly the owner and fans would relate they want the General Manager fired. Public relations is probably one of the most important reasons not to do this. Nobody overlooks this. The team that did this would be conceding a chance to choose any player they want just to save money. There would be hell fire and brimstone from the local media even though money wise it makes sense...maybe.

Suppose last year, when the Dolphins held the first selection and there was no consensus No. 1 choice, Miami had deliberately passed in order to drop to the second or third position. Suppose the Dolphins had then ended up with Jake Long, the player they chose first in 2008, anyway, and saved millions on his bonus.
Suppose five other teams had jumped in quickly to pick and the Dolphins ended up with Vernon Gholston or another player they did not want. They would save millions but get a potentially crappy player. Doesn't seem so worth it then, does it?

It is equally ridiculous, but less commented on, that first-round choices receive so much more than midround choices, when football is a team sport, and midround players often outperform first choices.

What is really ridiculous is that you just made a statement that has absolutely no factual evidence backing it up, or if there is any type of factual evidence backing it up you certainly don't provide any. I am glad I can't just type anything that came to mind to try and prove a point I have and not get called out on it.

Mid-round players really outperform mid-round choices? Pro Bowl selections mean very little overall but it can give a general idea of how good a player is as compared another player when concerned with draft status. The players highlighted in yellow when you click on the links below are Pro Bowl players and look where most where drafted.

2008, 2006, 2005.

That is just data over the last three years, and there is a definite trend, so it certainly seems like Gregg is full of shit...or lazy. Yet again, another example of ESPN allowing a columnist to write whatever he/she wants without any factual merit. You would think they would not encourage non-factual data on their web site but I guess not. Opinions are great but when professional writers start writing incorrect facts, the line should be drawn.

I will agree midround players are generally better bargains than first round players who are drafted in the top 10, but first year players tend to outperform mid-round players.

What do these five collegians have in common? They're all from schools with good football graduation rates. Wake Forrest (Curry) is at 83 percent; Texas Tech (Crabtree) at 79 percent; Boston College (Raji) at 92 percent; Virginia (Monroe) at 66 percent; and Baylor (Smith) at 78 percent. So you can have a monster-good football program and still graduate most players -- please tell that to Texas (50 percent) and Alabama (44 percent).

I would just like to point out I am all for high graduation rates...(How ironic he talks about graduation rates and then misspells Wake Forest.) but I would also like to point out both Texas and Alabama made BCS bowls last year while none of the five teams with high graduation rates did. So based on Gregg's data, you CAN'T have a monster-good (?) program and graduate players.

As for the Flying Elvii, last year on draft day, needing front-seven help, they traded down, passing on the chance to draft touted front-seven players Sedrick Ellis, Derrick Harvey and Keith Rivers, in order to select Jerod Mayo and gain an extra choice, which they exercised on linebacker Shawn Crable. Rivers had a sound rookie season, but Ellis was invisible with 30 tackles,

Why is it that a person who doesn't understand pro football is able to write a weekly pro football column? I am not sure judging a defensive tackle on tackles made is the best way to measure his success. 30 tackles isn't exactly bad for a defensive tackle anyway, but Ellis also had 4 sacks and 5 passes defensed. Not exactly invisible for a rookie. Gregg Easterbrook doesn't even understand how to judge players, how can he write an entire column about the NFL?

New England can accomplish more with three second-round choices than most teams can accomplish with two first-round selections.

I would hope that almost any team in the NFL could do more with 3 selections than 2 selections, especially if the comparison between the two rounds is between the 1st and 2nd round.

9. Green Bay Packers: James L. Kraft, door-to-door cheese merchant

It's time for Packers fans to forget the Brett Favre era and get back to their roots -- wearing cheese on their heads. Kraft, who began selling cheese from a horse-drawn wagon in 1903, went down in history as the developer of pasteurized processed cheese, while Kraft employee Edwin Traisman invented Cheez Whiz. Recently, Cheez Whiz was repackaged in a wide-mouth jar that allows direct dipping, sparing indolent consumers the bother of picking up a knife.

They wore cheese on their head all of last year. He gets paid a lot of money to write about cheese.

Series Finale of "Battlestar Galactica" Complaints:

This is really, really loooooooooooooong. (Cue irony) He has some good points though. Even a person like me who has never watched this show thinks it is stupid there is not more realism in a Science Fiction show. Come on, we need more reality in our Science Fiction shows!

I can't believe how Gregg accepts certain aspects of the show, like how the entire show takes place using technology not currently available, yet takes place in the past, but can't accept some of the more minor discrepancies in the show's storylines. It would be absolute torture to ever watch a television program with this man. I would stab him in the chest with a Jalapeno Popper Dorito before the opening credits of "Lost."

They vow to stop building factories and cities, and live as simple farmers: One character declares that science always leads to war, and they must not infect Earth with that dark impulse.

There's never any convincing reason why people arriving at a verdant planet aboard faster-than-light starships would decide to give up all technology and learning. Would you vote to surrender the ability to make power generators, steel plows and antibiotics?

So Gregg needs a convincing reason this completely fictional show had its characters give up on technology? How about where that one character declares that science always leads to war, and they must not infect Earth with that dark impulse? You...just...typed...that.

It's as if the scriptwriters just could not function without a stereotypical good-versus-evil combat plotline to hang the action on.

Scriptwriters are so stupid sometimes. Can't they write one Sci-Fi/Action movie or television show without a conflict? Who needs a conflict to further the action of the plot? It would be so much more interesting to just show the characters roaming around the world with zero conflict...which would lead to no action. I think TMQ should write a movie with the Boston Sports Guy.

• Early in the series the 10-foot-tall Cylon battle bots were depicted as having such strong armor it was impossible to kill one without explosives. In the final battle, small-arms fire not only kills them easily, they go flying backward when hit.

Everyone knows in real life 10 foot tall Cylon battle bots would never fly backward!

• The recurring visions characters experienced -- such as a foretelling of five glowing people on a balcony, realized at the culmination of the last battle -- could have occurred only if some higher being already knew Galactica's future. If some higher being already knew the future, why did they have to go through all that?

Gregg still hasn't come to terms with the potential existence of an all-knowing God.

TMQ has long contended that because many Hollywood scripts are written by guys who always flunk out with girls, cinema often depicts a reality in which good-looking young women crave sex with geeky, overweight or aging men.

This man:

would be a stud.

• Setting foot on Earth, Adama marvels it is "1 million light-years" from home. The Milky Way is 100,000 light-years across, while the next closest galaxy, Andromeda, is 1.5 million light-years distant. If you traveled 1 million light-years in any direction from Earth, you'd end up in the intergalactic void: the worlds of Kobol either were much closer to Earth than a million light-years, or much farther away. Considering dozens of people worked on the Battlestar series for six years, couldn't someone have fact-checked basic astronomy references?

Just like how you would think someone could fact check Gregg's weekly TMQ...but that doesn't happen either.

Please Click "I Accept" to the Unwritten Rules: Everybody's talking about Mark Sanchez -- but is he a one-year wonder, like Akili Smith?

We are just going to pretend Gregg and I don't have a similar position on Mark Sanchez. Onward we march...

Though Sanchez will get a big paycheck soon, where he would have received none in 2009 had he stayed in school, there's a good possibility his early departure will cause his lifetime earnings to decline.

Well gosh, this sounds like a pretty fucking non sensical statement since Sanchez is going to be drafted (according to experts) pretty high this year and will get paid a shitload of money. Let's see some logic:

If he cashes a big bonus check this year, then becomes a bust owing to inexperience, he will earn far less over the course of his sports career than if he'd played out the string at USC.

I love how Gregg Easterbrook is assuming that one more year of college is going to make the difference in Sanchez being a bust or not being a bust. That is completely untrue. If Sanchez is not going to succeed in the pros this year, he will probably not succeed next year either because he is an older player and has been at USC for four years already. I don't think "inexperience" is the reason a 22 year old 4th year junior would not do well in the NFL (of course Gregg does not know Sanchez is a year older than most juniors because he absolutely refuses to look anything up).

I doubt there is so much he can learn at USC in one more year that would make the difference in the wide gap between him being an absolute bust and him not being an absolute bust. If anything, if he performs poorly next year his draft stock might slip with Bradford, Tebow, and McCoy coming out next year and not get drafted in the first round, which would mean he should have gone to the draft this year.

I am giving myself a headache but I am basically saying one more year of college is not going to help a fifth year senior who is going to turn 23 in November. His "inexperience" will also be helped actually playing NFL games...but I personally think he will suck, but not because of inexperience, but because he sucks.

And TMQ will remain suspicious of the grunted gentleman. Cutler has a fine arm, but what exactly has he accomplished in the NFL to justify all his whining? Cutler is 17-20 as an NFL starter. Kyle Orton is 21-12 -- I'll take the guy who wins the game, please.

My headache is not getting any better right now. How the hell does this guy get to write columns about the NFL? He is making me question the existence of an all-knowing God. Just because Kyle Orton has a better record as a starter compared to Jay Cutler does not mean Kyle Orton is a better quarterback. You would think at some point these sportswriters would get their head from up their ass and realize they are spouting absolute nonsense.

I am going to go ahead and chisel this in stone: Two quarterbacks should never completely be compared by their win-loss record because there are many, many other elements that go into a quarterback's win-loss record like special teams play and defensive play.

Orton did play with a better defense in Chicago, but Cutler played with better offensive personnel

I will let his own words prove his point as incorrect. Gregg Easterbrook earlier in this column:

Here's some draft advice. The top three offensive teams last season -- New Orleans, Denver and Houston -- did not make the playoffs. The top three defensive teams last season -- Pittsburgh, Baltimore and Philadelphia -- all made the playoffs. Now, what should your draft strategy be?

It is funny how he forgets how important defense is when it is convenient for him in trying to make a point.

plus the Denver home-field advantage.

Being what? The high altitude? This makes no sense, how this is a bigger advantage than the Bears have in Chicago? If any team has a homefield advantage it is the Bears in November and December because they have a team built for cold weather and the players are used to playing in the cold. I think this is a draw overall but this statement still makes little sense.

Though Cutler made the Pro Bowl, he finished 16th in quarterback rating, behind Seneca Wallace and Shaun Hill, while throwing 18 interceptions, second-worst in the league.

But is his rating is ahead of Kyle Orton's? I am not going to look this up, I know Cutler has a higher rating than Orton. This has been over-covered on this site. Quit cherry picking stats and start to look at any other statistics. Cutler is superior to Orton in nearly every single one of them.

Like Cutler, Campbell is 17-20 as a starter -- yet Cutler is constantly praised and Campbell constantly criticized. Yet Campbell was the one who played behind a terrible offensive line last season, while Cutler was protected by one of football's best pair of tackles.

True, but there is this thing called "defense" that also plays a role in deciding football games.

Gregg talks at length about AIG after this and he is actually pretty correct about all of that...maybe he should stick to that type stuff and not talk football ever again.

More Proof of the Decline of Western Civilization: "SportsCenter" went live at 12:30 a.m. on Feb. 27, moments after the midnight onset of NFL free agency, to report middle-of-the-night player movements.

I can be hard on ESPN but SportsCenter is a sports news show. Players signing with different teams at the free agent deadline is news, so they report it. That's pretty much their job and I don't get how this is supposed to be proof of the decline of Western Civilization. If they did not report the free agent signings, then I would see a problem.

TMQ's Seventh-Round Forecast:

Prepare for unfunny.

213. Seattle. Vince Anderson, cornerback, Webber International. Has eaten a tuna salad sub in under 58.24.

Just space filler.

222. New Orleans. George Hypolite, defensive tackle, Colorado. Plans to auction his draft position on eBay.

You know, every column doesn't have to be an epic length.

238. New York Giants. Courtney Greene, safety, Rutgers. If fails in NFL bid, may go pro in Double Dutch.

Oh so tedious...

255. Detroit (comp selection). Stanley Bryant, tackle, East Carolina. Confused during recruiting visit because East Carolina is located in North Carolina.

The Eastern part of North Carolina, hence the name.

Next Week: TMQ's plan to grade the draft interrupted when honor-code violations are discovered in fifth round.

We get another week of TMQ! I will be sure to pop 4 Advil in before reading it and get ready for some really, really bad observations and criticisms about football that actually make sense if you know anything about the sport. I am pumped...


Edward said...

This whole "teams hate to pick early because of the price" thing is really getting on my nerves. Having the first pick only sucks if you draft a bust.

Look at Mario Williams. He's coming off two double-digit sack seasons, and according to USA Today, his cap value last year was $6.88 million. He's also under contract for three more years. He's an incredible value.

And, if you look at the 2006 and 2008 drafts, the first pick (a DE and an OT, respectively), has less guaranteed money than the third pick (a QB in each case).

Basically, if you have the first pick, the only way it can truly be a total loss is if you draft a QB who flames out. A bust at nearly any other position can still contribute as part of a rotation or at a slightly different position (a LT moving to RT or G, a DE still being used on pass-rush downs, etc).

Bengoodfella said...

See, using that logic is exactly why I don't think the Lions should choose Stafford. QB's have a high flame out rate in the first round and they are usually more expensive. Williams is a deal at that rate. He may get expensive later into the deal but the contract will be renegotiated at that point.

I have mentioned this several times but no matter where a QB gets picked, they will want more money than the slot is usually allotted for. Look at Brady Quinn in 2007. (I linked 2007 twice for rookie salaries in my post and did not mean to) He got $30 million guaranteed at #22 and the two guys around him, got $13.4 million and $11.8 million. QB's want more usually, it just seems to be the trend.

Here is the 2006 chart I left out and it proves the point as well.


Look at Cutler and Leinart. They got way more than the allotted amount compared to the guys around them. Long form answer, I agree with you.

Bengoodfella said...

I tell you which quarterback I like, and I only base this on watching some of his games and the scouting report on him, but I like Brian Hoyer of Michigan State. Not that the Lions should draft him but I think he and Rhett Bomar are going to make some team happy in the middle rounds.

The Casey said...

I think that 80-90% of college QBs will need to sit for a year or two in order to get adjusted to the NFL game. The Lions obviously need a lot of pieces, but this looks like a deep draft at OT, one of the other positions they are supposed to be looking at for the top pick. Most of the mock drafts I've seen have 5-6 OTs going in the first round, so I think Detroit can still get a good one at #20. People are focusing solely on the #1 pick, but Detroit's job is to get as much value out of the whole draft as possible. I think they could get Stafford at #1 and still get a good OT to protect him at #20. Anyway, my $0.02.

The Casey said...

Does nobody else think that the Rams might take a QB if the Lions don't pick? Bulger's not getting any younger, but he could hold things down for a year or two while a young QB developed. I think that the Lions should only let the pick slide if they have multiple players rated exactly the same on their draft board according to both talent and need.

I don't think of any of those 5 schools as "monster-good football programs". Just because you have one good player doesn't even mean you ahve a good team, much less a good program. Isn't that something that Easterbrook preaches, that football is a team, not an individual, sport?

I wonder if Page 2 writers are required to take Cherry-Picking Stats 101 and then the Ignoring Stats For Anecdotal Evidence seminar.

Bengoodfella said...

There is an argument to take Stafford #1 and then get the OL at #20 and I would not argue with that logic because it does make sense. I just feel like there is going to be a run on OT in the early first round and I also don't think Detroit is a great situation for Stafford. Realistically, your plan would make sense but I don't think the Lions are like the Falcons and Ravens last year in that playing Stafford right away would be counterproductive. Of course, as you said, they could sit him and let him learn, which is probably going to happen.

I could see the Rams taking a QB at #2, though I think that would be dumb because they need OL pretty badly.

According to Easterbrook, having one good player means the entire team is now good. He is the master at taking one incident and then turning it into a trend. He does the same thing with punting, where he takes one instance where a team should not have punted and then makes it this massive ordeal where every team should not punt in every situation.

I laughed at your seminar ideas. I really think the writers have to take those classes, it really does seem that way to me. Easterbrook is one of the best at using anecdotal evidence to try and prove a point.

RuleBook said...

Cutler is 17-20 as an NFL starter. Kyle Orton is 21-12 -- I'll take the guy who wins the game, please.Starting win percentage of QBs:

Vince Young: .600
Kerry Collins: .480

Apparently I missed all of the articles saying that Vince Young should be starting for TEN this year, since record is all that matters.

Bengoodfella said...

I love it when RuleBook brings out numbers that don't show I miscalculated about something and actually chide someone else for using numbers incorrectly.

Well of course Vince Young should be the starter, he has won more games than Kerry Collins.

I don't know why columnists still insist on using W-L to measure the value of football quarterbacks and even pitchers in MLB. It's not even a stat head thing to do to ignore those numbers as being irrelevant for comparing two players, it just seems like common sense to admit they can be misleading in a comparison between two players.

Martin said...

I think teams only don't like to pick early when they can't find a top line guy to fill a need hole on their roster. Like this year the Chargers really, really need a GOOD safety. They haven't had a decent safety since Rodney was let go to the Pats. There aren't any great safeties out there this year, so they are going to have to draft the best player available, which isn't so bad at the 16th slot. If they were at the 8th slot...that might be a different story.

Only TMQ would put Wake in his monster good program list, a team that has had two good seasons out of what, the last dozen years? Monster good programs would be Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, LSU and USC. They win, they win big, they win big games and everybody takes them seriously. I know lots of SEC fans, and while they might hate USC, they know that it has talent and can play with the big boys. Ohio State? West Virginia? Virginia Tech? Wake Forest? Boston College? Not So much..and please let's not even bring up Texas Tech or Baylor...BAYLOR FOR GOD'S SAKE!! STAB ME IN THE EYEBALL!! Monster good program my ass.

My friend was a huge Battlestar fan, and while you might guffaw at "realism" in a sci-fi show, the problem he had was that the "realism" that they did try and use made no sense, or wasn't consistant from one episode to the next. Not to be a nudge, but seriously, for 4 years, human hand weapons did diddly squat against the armored cylons. This was a problem for 2 reasons...

1- Um, why would you make/use weapons against an enemy that didn't work? They'd already fought a war against these things, so one would hope that they might have weapons that worked. (Kev, my friend, was in teh Army for 12 years, as you can imagine, this grinded his teeth to no end)
2- Since it was established for 4 years that human hand weapons didn't work, why then did they suddenly work in teh final episode? It left a bad taste in the mouth, kind of like a fan favorite leaving the team for a 5 million dollar contract at the end of his career and saying the home team disrespected him with it's offer, which turns out to have been like 3 million with 2 million in performance/health clauses.

Only TMQ would take the use of "It's a million light years" which seemed to be used in an allegorical sense, not literally. Like "Man we drove a million miles to get to the game today." Course he thinks wins are a good way to gauge QB effectiveness, so...yeah there's that.

Bengoodfella said...

The thing about many of the teams in the top 10 is that they have a lot of holes so one guy isn't going to be the fix. That is ironic because the Panthers would probably love to get rid of Peppers and pick in the top 10 to get a defensive lineman but they are stuck in the second round.

I have never watched an episode of BSG but I do admit it is probably annoying to have inconsistent scripts from episode to episode. Still, Gregg is way too picky about some of the things that he complains about. It is a little overboard when he starts criticizing Sci-Fi for being Sci-Fi. Clearly, these discrepancies did not bother me b/c I did not watch the show.

Yeah, I thought that phrase wall allegorical. Gregg tends to take things at face value a lot and not look into them, but then when he does look into them he gets VERY picky. I could never watch a show with him.

Martin said...

Yeah, sadly, his criticisms of sci-fi are invariably things like "Faster then Light travel? Impossible! Teleporters converting mass to energy and then reassembling it? Impossible!" Obviously missing the whole "fiction" part of sci fi. He wants Science Probablity! Sci Pro!

BTW the show Timewarp with the super high speed 80k frames persecond cameras is unreal. It's on Discovery, and it's nerdy, but cool nerdy.

Bengoodfella said...

Scientific Probability is what it is all about to Easterbrook. No fiction involved with it at all would be preferable to him.

I don't know if I have time for another super nerdy show. Right now MonsterQuest and UFO Hunters takes up a lot of my time.