Sunday, July 19, 2009

15 comments MMQB Review: Non Peter Edition 4

(Editor/Writer's Note: This may be the dumbest idea ever...but I just want to make sure. I think pretty much everyone plays fantasy football and I thought of the best/gayest/dumbest idea ever. I thought about starting a Yahoo BotB Fantasy League for this year. If anyone is interested in participating, tell me in the comments or shoot me an email. It would just be your standard Yahoo Fantasy Football League and I tend to do the same leagues every year so I thought this might change it up a little. I would make it a 12 team league. If you are interested I will get it together, if not and it is a horrible idea, forget I wrote this.)

It has been three long, grueling weeks since we were last able to hear the inane whinings of the coffee guzzling, Brett Favre loving, Peter King. It has been a long three weeks without hearing about the latest travel note about how hard a fully comped life interviewing athletes and watching football can be on the road. It has also been a long time without getting to read Peter's latest shout-out to his friends who apparently do not have access to email, text or phone, so Peter has to deliver greetings and messages in his Ten Things I Think I Think. Fortunately, this is the last week we have to experience this.

Over the last few weeks when active players have been writing for Peter's MMQB, I could not help but think that there has to be some conflict of interest about all of this. I realize Peter is not a hard hitting journalist, but he is supposed to cover these and athletes and uncover interesting topics of information about them to share with the public. It's fine to know athletes and maybe interact with them from time to time, but Peter has a solid history being more than friends with athletes and shading his coverage so it doesn't make the athlete look bad (i.e. anything related to Brett Favre, Peyton Manning when Peter did the feature on how everything was good with the Colts when it was not). This week I feel like the conflict is even more apparent. Sean Payton, the head coach of the Saints is the guest colunnist.

The same Sean Payton who is the head coach of one of the 32 teams that Peter gets paid to cover and give inside information and perhaps criticize from time to time. Ordinarily, I would not worry about this but since in my opinion Peter has shaded his opinions for his friends and even held back information, I think Peter has another semi-conflict here...especially since Payton could be on the hot seat this year.

I am the first NFL coach to pen this column, and with that, I feel a certain pressure to make sure I provide his followers with something of substance.

The first time Sean Payton writes something of substance in the MMQB will be the first time anything of substance has been written in the MMQB.

One of the great things about our league is the optimism each team and its fan base share at the start of a new year.

Things are looking up Detroit Lions and San Francisco 49ers! This is your year!

History has told us there will be four to six new playoff teams this season. Who are this year's Atlanta Falcons, Miami Dolphins, Baltimore Ravens or Arizona Cardinals?

History also tells us that four to six head coaches will be fired. I wonder what coaches have been simply average over the time span with their current teams and the ownership may think they have given them enough time to turn it around? I am trying to think of one.

Here's one.

If I had to choose one non-playoff team from last season that has a chance to make it into the 2009 postseason it would be the New York Jets. I think Rex Ryan will do a great job of creating a culture that lends itself to winning. I also love Mark Sanchez as a young quarterback prospect.

No wonder Peter had Sean Payton write this week. He likes Mark Sanchez and says obvious things. If you write for Peter's MMQB, you have to pimp the same guys that Peter pimps and make obvious predictions.

The Jets were 9-7 last year and only did not get a playoff spot because 39 year old Brett Favre played like 39 year old Brett Favre down the stretch. It's not exactly a leap to say they will make the playoffs. The Jets are not exactly a sleeper team. The turnarounds of the Dolphins and Falcons was much more dramatic and impressive last year than anything the Jets can do this year...unless they go 16-0.

So, Peter, what's with putting the Saints 24th in your offseason power rankings? I mean, where is the respect?

You went 8-8 last year, though that was a miracle, and your defense is still has not proven it is not a weak spot on the field for the Saints. Not to mention Peter really likes it when teams prove something by making big trades or signing big free agents that he can talk about and then he moves them up in the power rankings which is why the Bears are in the top 5. Peter is not impressed that your team may be returning every starter from last year's team, he is impressed with the off season moves your team made...that and he really doesn't analyze anything but looks at the team pictures of each team and then lists them for his power rankings in the order of how many friends he has on each team.

A tip of my visor to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and Seahawks coach Jim Mora for climbing Mount Rainer. Pretty good stuff for a great cause. Now, if I could only convince Goodell to have Will Smith and Charles Grant climb to the top of Mount Rainer in lieu of serving their four-game suspensions. That would be a pretty good tradeoff if you ask me.

Climb a mountain instead of serve a suspension? I don't think so. Maybe cross the Mojave Desert on foot instead of serve a suspension. That's a better idea.

What a coup for ESPN to get Jon Gruden under contract for Monday Night Football.

Yes, it is not often generally unsuccessful coaches get fired and end up broadcasting football games. Gruden's claim to fame in my mind is piggy backing Tony Dungy's building of Tampa Bay into a Super Bowl victory over his former team, the Oakland Raiders, who he got incredibly lucky to play against in such a big game. Otherwise, Gruden is just so-so for me. It's pretty often these guys average NFL coaches get fired and then if they can put two sentences together they end up broadcasting.

In 1997, he gave me my first NFL job. I prefer him up in a television booth somewhere with a coat and tie on, but I know it's only a matter of time until he's back on the sidelines causing us all fits once again.

Yes, some unsuspecting owner will have not have paid attention to the last couple of years in Tampa Bay when Gruden collected mediocre quarterbacks and pissed his players off.

A lot has been written and discussed regarding the tragic death of Steve McNair. How we choose to remember him can vary greatly from person to person. However unfortunate, that has changed to some degree.

If you have read what I have written about the death of Steve McNair, you know that I was sad to see him die at such a young age and he was one of my favorite football players that wasn't on my favorite team. I keep running into a little problem with the whole, "I want to remember him less as the guy who died with his mistress and remember him more for being the great quarterback and guy that he was." The reason I say this is because I have seen pictures of him on vacation with his mistress who killed him and she certainly wasn't the only woman he was stepping out with. I hate to say it, but what if cheating on his wife and everything that goes along with it was also a part of who he was? That part of his life wasn't all of who Steve McNair was, but neither was football, and I know we tend to remember the good and forget the bad, but I think his affair with his killer is being treated as an outlying part of his personality when it may not have been as outlying as we all want to believe.

1. I think everyone reading this column wishes the best and a full recovery to Eagles defensive coordinator Jim Johnson. Having coached nine years in the NFC East, I know every coach and player who had to prepare for his defense respects the hell out of him. Jim is an NFL legend and we want him back on the sidelines.

Where's his fundraiser to raise money for him, and only him, to help him coach football again? Huh Peter?

2. I think former Saints linebacker Rickey Jackson and ex-Seattle defensive tackle Cortez Kennedy should have a spot reserved for them in Canton.

Rickey Jackson is actually ineligible for the Hall of Fame because he is currently enshrined in the NFL's Hall of Very Good.

Cortez Kennedy? Maybe. Let's not dilute the NFL Hall of Fame like we have diluted the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame.

4. I think Jim Grobe and his coaching staff have done a great job at Wake Forest. We drafted two of their players this season, safety Chip Vaughn and linebacker Stanley Arnoux, and both are impressive young men.

Is this the correct time to mention that the New Orleans Saints could have pretty much drafted any defensive player in the draft and that person would have made the roster? Maybe the Saints defense is not that bad, and Jim Grobe has done a good job, but I just like taking cheap shots at the Saints defense.

6. I think congratulations are in order to our favorite NFL writer, Peter King. During next month's Pro Football Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities, Peter will be honored with the prestigious Dick McCann Memorial Award, given to Peter by his peers in recognition of his long and distinguished career as a pro football writer.

I have come to the conclusion here is how to win an award when you are a sportswriter: Don't die. If you don't die, you pretty much will win a ton of awards no matter how good or bad your writing is.

"A long and distinguished career" means "he didn't die and he was not fired for making racial or sexist jokes and gestures." Just try to avoid that and you will be honored at some point in the future for your writing prowess.

c. Craziest thing I have seen in awhile.

The New Orleans Saints defense created a turnover or stopped the other team from scoring?

While I was enjoying the Cubs game against the Twins, outfielder Milton Bradley caught a routine fly ball and proceeded to throw the ball into the bleachers.

That is the craziest thing I have ever heard about...unless I want to count the 2 other times every baseball season this exact situation occurs.

The problem was there was only one out, and a run scored. In that scenario, Bradley is paid to know the situation.

Bradley should have just done what Jeff Francouer does. He never knows exactly how many outs there are, so he just starts jogging to the dugout when the rest of his teammates do. I am pretty sure he can't count. Is it wrong for me to make fun of him since he is not on the Braves anymore?

He quickly became the poster child for the importance of being aware of your situation. That is precisely why we practice game situations every week, so players know what to do.

Much like Peter King, Sean Payton doesn't seem to know a whole lot about baseball. This situation happens twice a year in baseball. I don't think it is fair to make Milton Bradley the poster child for this when dozens of players have done this before he did. This is a rare situation but Payton is acting like this has never been done before.

e. If you're looking for the best sand beaches in America, look no further than the Fort Walton beaches along Florida's panhandle. They are fantastic. Our family has vacationed here the past five years. I am actually typing feverishly to meet my deadline as I sit on my porch overlooking the Gulf of Mexico. Plenty of sunshine and not overly crowded. If you like getting in crystal clear water, swimming and surfing, you will love this spot. The water temperature is perfect, high 70s, low 80s. A great place to visit and I use it to unwind before the rigors of the 24-7 NFL season.

Much like Peter King, Sean Payton loves to tell us about the great places he gets to visit.

I like how Sean Payton writes that the beaches are not overly crowded, except he is typing this in a column where hundreds of thousands of people can read it...meaning if Peter's readers are loyal servants like Bill Simmons' readers the reservations are already being booked for next summer and the beach will be crowded...and this will cause Sean Payton to rue the day he mentioned this in the MMQB.

10. I think I like working on an upcoming game plan more than I do writing a column. I was terrible in English and I have to thank Greg Bensel, our vice president of communications, for helping me through this project.

Every single guest columnist has commented on how hard it is to write MMQB. That tells me either it is easier to prepare an upcoming game plan or NFL players and coaches really need to take a few English courses.

Thank God next week Peter comes back. I am refreshed and ready to read his meaningless drivel once again so I can translate it and nitpick it apart to the masses.

Thanks for reading everyone...


The Casey said...

I think 24th might end up being a little low for the Saints. I think they've got enough talent to win the NFC South.

Also, I kind of got the impression that he was commenting on the character of the Wake Forest kids, not so much the actual football talent.

Also, did you notice that Sean Payton forgot to mention Favre? Even to tell us that he wasn't really going to talk about him? No more substitute MMQBing for you, Sean Payton!

Bengoodfella said...

If that defense turns it around, they could very well win the South. It is actually their year to do so. I know it won't be the Panthers, they can't pull off two straight good years no matter how they try. I am still going to be hard on the defense because I have to see it to believe it.

You may be right about the Wake Forest thing, I just like to take cheap shots at the Saints defense and sometimes it doesn't work.

I did notice he forgot to mention Favre and I wondered which reader would be the first to notice. I wasn't going to mention Favre, except that one time, because Payton did not either.

He's out! You don't mention Favre, you are person non grata to Peter.

AJ said...

Payton is the best MMQB ever just for never mentioning Brettttts name ever, keep him get rid of Peter!

Of course the rest of what he was was garbage, but thats not really the point.

Bengoodfella said...

No more Brett for one week! That is nice, especially since next week there will be a ton of mentions by Peter just to catch up.

I am a little bit excited to read Peter's post next week, though I know it will be epic and I am going to have to read through it, I am hoping it will contain great stories.

AJ said...

It will contain great stories....about all the coffee places he has visited over the past few weeks.

Bengoodfella said...

I am sure it will also contain stories about well Brett Favre is throwing, how he got a chance to see the Red Sox play, then he will misunderstand a rule in baseball, he will mention what a great job the guest authors did and then piggy back one of their ideas.

I just hope he piggy backs the Chris Cooley idea of Smart Football. I can't get enough of tearing that idea apart.

KentAllard said...

It's a shame Payton didn't take the opportunity to expound on his own coaching philosophy. I'd like to know what he thinks the purpose, if any, of a defensive back is, for example.

Bengoodfella said...

I noticed that Payton got some criticism for his MMQB being boring and lacking substance. I agree. I would have been very interested to hear, like you said, his philosophy or at least hear what he has to say about coaching in the NFL. We got none of that.

I also noticed on my lunch break how KSK made the same point about the conflict of interest that I did. It's a valid point we both make I think.

ivn said...

which coaches do you think are going to get fired this year? I'll bet on any combination of Jack Del Rio, Brad Childress, Tom Cable, Marvin Lewis, and Dick Jauron (with Jim Zorn as a wild card).

how come everyone has been going ga-ga over Sanchez for like the past six months? how soon everyone forgets Matt Leinart and John David Booty.

also I would be interested in a fantasy football league.

Fred Trigger said...

Look at Ivn, being the first one to step up to the plate for the fantasy league. Thats 3, which means there are 9 spots open for whoever else is interested in joining and watching me dominate the league.

Bengoodfella said...

I think Del Rio will be safe. I have Lewis, Cable, Phillips, Jauren, and Childress on my short list of coaches to get fired.

Everyone loves Mark Sanchez. I don't get it. He may be a great NFL player but he just did not prove much to me on the college level in his limited amount of time starting for USC. I think because he is good looking and plays in New York you hear more about his potential.

Ivn, I have marked you down. I want to get a minimum of 8 teams so we do need 9 more.

RuleBook said...

Count me in for fantasy football

Martin said...

It sure woulda been nice if Sean had actually added something from a coaches perspective. His spot on risk taking choice of the Jets as making the playoffs was cringe-worthy. At least he didn't do a three paragraph whine on why the local coffee house isn't as good as Starbucks.

Sure, I'll be in the league. I specialize in not making trades and finishing 2nd.

AJ said...

Put me down for the league.

I hope I have the first pick, I'm taking this Sanchez kid everyone is talking about.

Bengoodfella said...

Ok, we have 6 people for Fantasy football, now we just need two more to make the league fun and get to 8 teams. I need to do better at making trades as well, I have never been so great at it...though I am better in football at making trades than any other fantasy sport.

I really wish Sean Payton had shared some knowledge with us about being a head coach in the league and sort of how the week goes. That is something I would be interested in, maybe the coach's schedule or something more in depth like that.