Monday, December 28, 2009

17 comments MMQB Review: Peter Gets Confused Because There Isn't A Clearcut Favorite Edition

First, I want everyone to notice that my comeback on Bill Simmons in the ESPN NFL Pick 'Em league is nearly complete. Now I just have to hold him off for one more week. I wish I could say the same for my competition with Peter King (looks down sadly).

I'm going to skip the long, rambling introduction about Peter King and MMQB and relay to you something Cris Collinsworth (who I generally like because he can be insightful and is a 200% upgrade over John Madden in my mind) said about Brett Favre during last night's Cowboys-Redskins game. NBC was showing astounding video of Brad Childress and Brett Favre having a heated discussion on the sidelines during last week's game against Carolina. Since there was no audio we have no real indication whether it was the famous sidelines argument, but that's what NBC wants us to believe so we can believe that. While the video was playing Collinsworth said he agreed with Favre on the issue of whether he should have been pulled from the game or not (which I actually do too after some thought) and said this (paraphrased) in regard to Favre:

"I mean this is a guy who Childress begged to come out of retirement, he's one of the fiercest competitors in the game and he has played incredibly well this year. He's saved the Vikings and rescued them from hopelessness (I think that's the word he used, if not it was a word like this), so I think he should stay in the game."

The Vikings went 10-6 last year, made the playoffs and won their division. They weren't a bad team last year, when is the media going to start remembering this? Ever?

Ok, no more Favre rants, on to Peter King's MMQB, which he is posting later and later on Monday morning. It's like if the best teams in the NFL don't play or win their games during the weekend he can't find anything to talk about.

The link.

Five things I want to hit right at the top:
3. Steve Smith, the Carolina Steve Smith, leads the NFL in guts.


Anonymous said...

The crap about questioning the Colts decision is ridiculous. You would think 2 years wouldn't be enough for people to forget how meaningless a pefect regular season record is. Even if you are brain damaged and can't remember that, you would think seeing Painter get nailed from the blindside on his first play of the second drive would smarten up anyone else thinking nonsense about "Peyton should be in there". Unless you're as retarded as the CBS announcers (I think it was Dierdorf) and you believe in magic and think somehow Manning would have "sensed" (direct quote) the sack.

Anyone who has actually played football knows a major injury can occur on any play. That is why once the plays have no meaning, you protect your most important players, for when the plays do have meaning.

Both you and Peter King seem to hold around the same rank in the Kingdom of Idiots.

Dylan Murphy said...

The Last four Super Bowl Winners: Steelers, Giants, Colts, Steelers: none of which rested their players. Teams that rest players usually end up losing. We see it every year. How often do the two number one seeds face off in the Super Bowl? Never. The Patriots were one drive from winning the Super Bowl. Whereas the Colts on a number of occasions have lost when they rested their players.

KentAllard said...

I guess we need to make a note that one of the eleventy million interceptions Matt Cassell throws this year wasn't his fault. Good job with a relatively tame PK column.

Bengoodfella said...

Thanks anon for the wonderful review of my knowledge. I don't specifically think the Colts should have or should not have rested their starters in that game. I was just making the point that the Colts have been on a roll lately and I can't imagine the players were too happy that their hard work to go perfect was ended in such an uninspiring fashion. It think it is a valid point, I guess you disagree.

Another good point about "anyone who has actually played football knows a major injury can occur on any play." I never played professional football, therefore I, as one who lives inside at all times for fear of the sun would never be able to grasp this concept.

One concept I can grasp is this...if the "magic" you are talking about is a quarterback's ability to sense and avoid the rush, which isn't "magic" but an actual ability a quarterback has (anyone who knows football would know this) then I have to disagree. Curtis Painter took 2 sacks yesterday in less than a full game and Peyton Manning has taken 10 sacks ALL YEAR in 14 full games. It's not "magic" my friend, it's an actual ability a great QB has, and Peyton Manning has it.

I am not saying Manning would have avoided the sack from his blindside but I am saying Manning would have slided protection to his left and audibled (or whatever he does) to avoid being sacked or make the play call successful. He's a smart QB like that. I don't know if Manning would have sensed the sack, but he has a better grasp of the blocking schemes than Curtis Painter and I think his history (being sacked a little under 18 times per year) shows he knows how to avoid sacks.

Dylan, good point. The Colts have a timing based offense so a week or two with little game time could affect this timing. Maybe it won't, it's the coach's decision, but a team resting it's players hasn't worked incredibly well of late for some reason.

Kent, thanks. I didn't think it was that bad. Maybe a "6" on the scale of 1-10 we keep here in the Kingdom of Idiots.

ivn said...

I think the fact that Manning was visibly irritated at the decision to rest the starters should tell us whether or not it was a good decision. granted if the Colts win the Super Bowl it's all moot but I'll go on the record and say that I think it was a poor decision.

in regards to the first Anonymous poster it's not "magic" that would have prevented Manning from taking some of those hits; it's not a stretch to say that he has far better decision-making skills and a quicker release than does Curtis Painter.

I think the reason Rodney Harrison is on the "Football Night in America" (what a terrible ripoff of Hockey Night in Canada by the way) is to serve as the enforcer. if you don't think Rodney clotheslined Olbermann on the set for that "Urban Legend" line you're just being naive.

"c. Are you kidding me, Dwayne Bowe? What a shameful, unprofessional display of alligator arms, resulting in a Matt Cassel interception that never should have been."

I'm stunned that Todd Haley has alienated one of his star receivers. Stunned!

"Jon Beason wouldn't have even started at middle linebacker his rookie year because Dan Morgan was given the spot out of training camp and DeAngelo Williams sat the bench for two years behind DeShaun Foster."

and Jonathan Stewart will probably be rotting behind DeAngelo Williams when all's said and done.

"Teams that tank are doing the opposite of what the Colts were trying to accomplish. It's just different."

I don't think it's that different. in both cases the team is looking at the bigger picture; a team that rests its starters for the playoffs is saying that the current game is not as important as success down the road in the playoffs while a team that "tanks" is saying that the current game is not as important as success in the next season. they're both tanking the immediate presence for success in the long run, it's just that the "long run" is a different frame of time.

rich said...

Defense and offense are completely different beasts. A defensive player can handle "rest" more easily than an offensive player, especially a QB. When you rely on timing and "feel" to be successful, not playing for the better part of a month hurts you a lot. So Merriman missing 22 days because of "rest," not a big deal; Manning missing 22 days because of "rest," huge problem for the Colts. Having actually played football, long layoffs sucked and really screw with the OL and QB the most. If Peyton Manning was my QB and he said "I want to play," then I'd let the man play. Not for a perfect season, but because he knows what he needs to do in order to win.

As for injuries: yes, they can occur on any play, but when something doesn't work (resting) for the team, maybe the best thing to do is take the risk and play. Peyton Manning has missed 0 games due to injury in his career, so I'd say the odds of him getting hurt now in a "meaningless" situation is a lot lower than someone who has had injury issues in the past.

Basically: would you rather risk an injury to improve your odds to win a SB or do you protect yourself and set yourself up for (another) loss in the playoffs? Anyone who has actually played football would know that winning outweighs injury.

KentAllard said...

I would also think that Manning - it's killing me saying nice things about the Mannings - would be award of the situation, and, with nothing at stake, be quicker to get rid of the ball. He is a smart guy, and an avid student of the game, I say while dying inside. There's always the chance of a fluke injury, but it seems the risk would be about as low as possible.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, I don't think Manning would throw his coach under the bus, but you know he wanted to be out there on the field at least to win the game.

I wish that Harrison would clothesline Olbermann more often. He is hard for me to handle.

I can accept the "big picture" mindset that both teams (no matter winning or losing) are looking at. I still stick to my opinion, but I can see how both sides are looking at the big picture rather than what will benefit them right now. Obviously the intent is different in each case.

Is there a WR that Haley doesn't feud with? T.O., Boldin and now he has a problem of some sort with didn't just start with this bad catch though. He thought Bowe came into camp overweight if I recall correctly.

Rich, even though I never played football, I would submit that the reason the defensive players don't get bothered by as much time off is because the offense is more predicated on timing than the defense. Merriman won't be affected by the layoff, but who knows what will happen with Manning. It hasn't looked great for him in the past when he got time off before the playoffs, but maybe that's just a small sample size.

Rich, you and Ivn, both prove my point that there isn't magic to avoiding the rush. A QB either can do it or he can't and Peyton Manning can do it, as shown by the fact he hasn't gotten sacked much in his career and the fact he has never missed a game. Injuries can happen all the time, but a team needs to decide if they are going to go into the playoffs with momentum or go in making sure they are healthy and not taking a x% chance someone important gets hurt. The Colts chose to go in healthy, we'll see how it goes.

I think in that situation with a (meaningless as it is) perfect season on the line and the offense being based on timing the Colts should have played Manning the entire game. If he gets injured, then I look like a fool. Whatever gets a Super Bowl and I think Manning would have been fine.

Kent, I don't really like the Mannings either, but he would have been aware that he needed to get rid of the ball quicker. If he didn't "sense" the pass rush then he would certainly not have held onto the ball to let the pass rush get to him. His history proves this has been the case.

HH said...

I wonder why no one has mentioned the negative effect the starter benching could have on the Colts. Doesn't anyone think that the team could be quite deflated after missing such a once-in-a-lifetime chance at professional success? Don't you think motivating player to practice hard and prepare well would have been a cinch for the rest of the season. Don't forget, most of these players are in their 20s, not THAT much different from fans. The same sense of a wasted opportunity that Colts fans [and NFL fans] are experiencing must be affecting at least a few of those players. I think that has a far bigger impact than "rust" from resting. These guys have had 20 games and 120 or so practices when the season ends. They practice new plays every week and and execute them well.

I happen to think that the "pressure" aspect of being undefeated is overrated. I don't think 18-0 had much to do with the Patriots super bowl loss as much as great Giants play. I think the intensity of the Pats players actually worked to their advantage in the stretch run and playoffs. In a sport like this, it's not like you have time to think about pressure from play to play. If you can maintain your preparation during the week of practice, it's not like you think "We're undefeated! Damn! I'm so nervous I don't know what my route is!" Pressure would only affect your preparation, I think, and in the case of being undefeated I think it actually makes you prepare better.

If you know anything about human nature and especially the nature of professional athletes, you can be pretty sure that they want to be undefeated and will work hard to get it, and I think that's most likely a net benefit, even with increased pressure.

rich said...


I was agreeing with you on all counts over anonymous.

Speaking only for myself, there was no "magic" to avoiding the rush. There's some signals lineman give that indicate if they've been beaten (you can't always hear it though) and you more or less just step up into areas that you know don't have any defenders. It's not like Peyton has mystical radar that allows him to know when a defender is near him, he just knows that after a certain point (the whole "mental clock" analysts love to talk about) he needs to throw it and/or find somewhere to avoid pressure.

It's all about knowing how your OL blocks and the tendencies of the DL your facing. For example, if your OL is susceptible to getting pushed back by bull rushers, you have to make the adjustment to step up in the pocket and hope your OL can push the guy behind you.

As for the layoffs, defensive assignments are based on talent and intelligence, two things that don't change over the course of a month. Offensively it's based on timing and teamwork, which actually erodes a lot faster than I think people realize.

Injuries are one of those things that you know can happen at any time, you don't really concern yourself with them when you're busy with all of the happenings on the field. For a QB, you can really limit the chance of injury using a lot of the things mentioned in above comments. Specifically for Manning, I'd let him play. He's clearly "tough" having not missed a start in his career and like Kent said, he's smart enough to be able to avoid most of the on field risk.

In the end, it comes down to what helps you win the SB. Seeing as how the Colts have tried the "sit them all out" route before and failed miserably, it seems logical and prudent to play your starters and take the risk of an injury. It's not like if Manning has to keep playing if he's taking a beating and you have think the coaching staff is smart enough to know when to pull the plug if necessary.

Martin said...

Howard Bryant at ESPN actually has a nice take on all this. As he points out, 4 times this year the Colts had BIG leads going into the 4th quarter, and not once, not for a SINGLE play, did they pull Manning. To then pull him now for injury reasons is obnoxious and disingenuous bullshit. He was at least as much at risk in those games as this one, AND Painter sure could have used some live game snaps. This reeks of shoddy preparation in case Manning did sustain a minor (or even major) injury.

To me, it comes down to Polian/Caldwell/et all trying to prove...finally...that their way is the one that works. The fact it hasn't the majority of the time is just a minor bothersome nitpick. they desperatly want to be the brightest guy in the room, or at least the AFC, and not Belichek. This leads to the last problem, one which HH points out.

the Colt players wanted to try for teh record. How many more times are they going to be 13-0? How many of them would love/revel in being the team that did it, and not their bitter rivals the Pats? I doubt that the Colt players really have their heart into this game coming up. I know I wouldn't. I'd be "Who the hell cares? I'm not even going to bother to prep. Go forfeit the game Polian, you jackass."

Anonymous said...

Martin, that scenario sounds like the feud between Michael Jordan and Jerry Krause...


Bengoodfella said...

HH, that's a great point and I tried to touch on it briefly in the post. These guys have busted their asses all year and now the Colts lose a game because the coach wants to rest some players? I am not in the locker room, so I don't know if this is the case or not, but players could be thinking, "why the hell did we spend all that effort coming back against the Dolphins and the Texans just to have coach give up on winning a game to rest people?"

They may not think that, but it's also likely some of them are. These players want to win every game, that's how their built.

I agree with you on the pressure aspect of being undefeated in the playoffs. There is enough pressure as it is in the playoffs. You have to win anyway, so I don't know if there is added pressure to go undefeated at that point. I think it is viable to believe many of the Indy players weren't happy Monday morning. They may be over it by today...

Rich, I know you were. I re-read what I wrote and it sounded like I thought you were disagreeing. I meant that you were proving my point by agreeing with me and making a similar point. I didn't mean to sound like I didn't know you were agreeing with me.

There isn't "magic" but there are plenty of practices and experience from working with an offensive line to know what adjustments need to be made and how to block/avoid the rush. I think we are all right on that.

Obviously, you have played football and know firsthand about defensive/offensive players and how layoffs affect each. The Colts offense is very timing and precision based. The Colts may win the Super Bowl, but I would think they would want to keep that timing and momentum going into the playoffs.

If there is a QB in the NFL I would trust to not get injured, it is Manning. He only has a certain amount of control over it, but I think a game plan could be called that would help him from being pressured. The Colts have gone down this route before, so we'll see how it works for them.

Martin, Howard Bryant actually did have a good take on it (I read the article) and if there was ever a time to prep Painter to play and pull Manning it is with a big lead in the 4th quarter. The way they do things might be the right way, we will find out, but I will also say if the Colts win their next game and then win the Super Bowl, they had the chance to be the first 19-0 team ever and that is not as important as a Super Bowl, but it would be nice to know a team did that.

I am excited to see how this all plays out in the playoffs. I don't know if someone could convince me the Colts players aren't a little irked they didn't get to go for 19-0. You have to win all your games in the playoffs anyway, may as well go in with some momentum.

Shah, it's kind of interesting Jordan played so long in Chicago since he and Krause weren't the best of friends. I am trying to decide if that could happen again, where the star NBA player and the owner don't like each other.

HH said...

"So Schatz keeps numbers on the other important stats for defensive backs -- average yards allowed by team to No. 1 receivers (figuring that many corners will match up on the opposition's best wideout)"

This part annoys me, too. Many teams keep their corners on the same side all game - Asante Samuel is famous for his insistence to stay on the same side. Maybe it would help to actually watch the games and see who the player was trying to cover, rather than blaming or crediting him with something that may or may not have happened

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I don't think it is a good measurement either. Many times Chris Gamble didn't cover the other team's best receiver last year, though he did more of this during this season. Also, using a metric that is specific to cornerbacks isn't the best way to compare other defensive players (or even safeties) who are seriously considered for the Defensive Player of the Year Award.

It's a metric that would be used by someone just trying to push Revis' candidacy.

Victor said...

"They get the Jason Biggs in "American Pie" award for "peaking too early."

11 year old pop culture reference everyone!"

Waht, you think you're Bill Simmons now?

Bengoodfella said...

Victor, I know! I even put that part about the pop culture reference in there because it was a Bill Simmons thing to do. It was a Bill Simmons thing to do wasn't it?