Thursday, January 14, 2010

19 comments Two For One Thursday: King and Steroids

You know you all wanted it and you got it. Two different articles in one post. Don't act like you aren't excited at this wonderful deal. Today we have my personal favorite Peter King and Johnette Howard.

I have a soft spot for Peter King mailbags. I don't know if it is because usually the first part is just an extension of his MMQB or it is the only time he directly answers his fan's questions. It's probably a mixture of both, but either way I enjoy reading Peter's "these people aren't an insider like me" reaction to his fan's questions and his indignant responses when they question him. Fortunately, we get a little bit of both in Peter's weekly mailbag this week.

Five quick observations, then your e-mail from a busy NFL week:

Busy week, but still a one page mailbag. If I was a major sportswriter I would probably do a huge mailbag, depending on how mail I got of course. Mailbags just seem like a lot of fun, I can't lie, so I don't know why Peter doesn't do a larger one. I think Bill Simmons does a good job in getting a huge mailbag together (though the questions and answers sometimes irritate me).

1. We don't know who the Bills' coach might be because, and I can assure you this, they don't know either.

Anyone really surprised the Bills have no idea who their coach will be? Me neither.

When the Bills began this process, they made it clear they're going through a long process that won't be short-cutted unless Cowher would have said yes early.

Because of course Bill Cowher is the mecca for any team that wants to hire a coach who has had success in the NFL before. Bill Cowher is the only qualified coach currently available in the job market apparently. I like Bill Cowher and I think he is a good coach, but doesn't anyone remember when he was on sort of thin ice with the Steelers and couldn't win the big games? His last year at Pittsburgh he went 8-8 and there was a 3 year stretch where his best year was 9-7. Again, he seems to be a great coach, but he also has a 12-9 playoff record and a history of losing home AFC Championship Games.

If they're the only job open (other than Oakland, which almost doesn't count because the pool of candidates is so different), why rush? But I do know they like Frazier a lot.

Two things:

1. I like how Peter acknowledges the pool of candidates for the Oakland job is so different from the pool for any other NFL team. I just wonder if people who have never actually coached or played in the NFL are candidates? Is Al Davis going to attempt to lure Phil Jackson or possibly a high profile celebrity (Matt Damon?) to the Raiders to coach them? Would we put this past him?

2. I also like how the Vikings like Leslie Frazier a lot, but they want to wait on Cowher first of course. Bill Cowher is the high school girl who broke up with her boyfriend after sophomore year and now all the guys are trying to score with her when they are seniors. These senior guys are spending so much time trying to get with her, they are completely ignoring the fact there are potentially as good sophomore and junior girls to date. I feel like some NFL teams are too blinded by Cowher to look at other candidates.

(How's that for a random high school analogy?)

2. Tom Cable's in limbo. I keep hearing Cable expects to get fired, and I also hear of conflicting signs from inside the building that Al Davis may try to get him to fall in like with JaMarcus Russell again.

If I were Tom Cable and "falling in line" with JaMarcus Russell is a condition of employment then I am going to soon be unemployed. At what point do you think the NFL should step in and start running the Raiders? It's not that the team doesn't know what they are doing, it is that they don't get a chance to show they know what they are doing because the owner is a moron. A meddling owner getting older and more senile is not a path to success.

3. Pete Carroll has this bit of good news to welcome him. The Seahawks have three of the top 40 picks in the April draft -- No. 6 (theirs), No. 14 (from Denver, in the deal that allowed the Broncos to draft Alphonso Smith last year) and No. 40 (theirs).

Peter looks at this as good news, while I am not so sure this is really good news. Sure, give a good head coach a bunch of draft picks and that might lead to success, but give a head coach with a career record of 33-31 and hasn't coached at all in the NFL in a decade those three early picks and it could be disaster waiting to happen.

Pete Carroll has coached 4 seasons in the NFL and led his team to the following finishes in the division: 5th, 1st, 4th, and 4th.

Here is a list of players that Pete Carroll's teams have drafted while he was the head coach I realize he wasn't the General Manager, but he had to have some say in these picks:

1994 (with the Jets):

1994111212Aaron GlennDBTexas A&M

221241Ryan YarboroughWRWyoming

332994Lou BenfattiDTPenn State

4414117Orlando ParkerWRTroy State

5521152Horace MorrisLBTennessee

6612173Fred LesterRBAlabama A&M

7714208Glenn FoleyQBBoston College

Other than Aaron Glenn and Fred Lester does anyone recognize those names?

1997 (with the Patriots):

1997112929Chris CantyDBKansas State

222959Brandon MitchellDETexas A&M

33161Sedrick ShawRBIowa

432989Chris CarterDBTexas

54197Damon Denson GMichigan

6429125Ed Ellis TBuffalo

7529159Vernon CrawfordLBFlorida State

8629192Tony GaiterWRMiami (FL)

9729230Scott Rehberg TCentral Michigan

1998:

1998111818Robert EdwardsRBGeorgia

212222Tebucky JonesDBSyracuse

322252Tony SimmonsWRWisconsin

422454Rod RutledgeTEAlabama

532081Chris FloydRBMichigan

632283Greg SpiresDEFlorida State

7423115Leonta RheamsDTHouston

8522145Ron MerkersonLBColorado

9623176Harold ShawRBSouthern Mississippi

10722211Jason Andersen CBrigham Young

1999:

1999111717Damien Woody CBoston College

212828Andy KatzenmoyerLBOhio State

321546Kevin FaulkRBLouisiana State

433091Tony GeorgeDBFlorida

5521154Derrick Fletcher TBaylor

6611180Marcus WashingtonDBColorado

7721227Michael BishopQBKansas State

8735241Sean MoreyWRBrown

Out of those four drafts there are four players that are or were starter quality in my book. The Patriots had bad luck with Robert Edwards and I didn't count him in that list of quality starters, but from his previous draft history is Pete Carroll a guy a team should trust to handle multiple draft choices? Even ignoring the fact he has been out of the NFL since 1999, I would say "no."

I'm not saying Pete Carroll is going to bust in Seattle, certainly he may have become a better coach in his time at USC, but based on his coaching and drafting history it doesn't look good to me. Coaching college football is so different from coaching in the NFL and part of Carroll's success at USC was that he was a great recruiter and usually had better players than anyone else because of that. I know it sounds like a cliche that he played with better players, but it is also partly true.

When you watched a USC game did you think, "man, Pete Carroll is getting a lot out of these guys," or "what a game plan by Pete Carroll and his staff!" Probably not. He always seemed to have better players because he was a great recruiter. This won't be the case in the NFL. Count me as apprehensive for the Pete Carroll Era in Seattle.

The draft picks could be the edge Seattle needs to fill two long-term holes -- at quarterback and left tackle. Carroll needs to work the Combine and the college stops as hard as he worked recruiting to have a good chance to turn the Seahawks around quickly.

But it's still not the same as recruiting. Pete Carroll can still work hard but he also has little control over what players fall to him beyond the #6 pick. It also isn't a situation where he can get three good quarterbacks (Aaron Corp, Matt Barkley, and Mitch Mustain) on his roster and hope to God one of them stands apart in training camp and practice enough to be the starter. If Carroll wants a quarterback at #6, he will have to pick THE GUY at that spot. Drafting is ever-so-different from recruiting.

I heard from a few people, mostly on Twitter, about my statement saying I wasn't sure which QB-WR-TE trio I'd rather have right now -- the one in Green Bay or the one in Indy.

Probably because Peter phrased his opinion poorly. He picked an older trio and a younger trio and then tried to compare them now, instead of saying he would rather have the Colts trio now and the Packers trio in 3 years.

"You never cease to amaze me,'' wrote Tom Illg of Apple Valley, Minn. "Are you completely insane? You are debating between Peyton Manning, Dallas Clark, Reggie Wayne and Aaron Rodgers, Jermichael Finley, Greg Jennings. How do you possibly stay employed as a football expert? You have to think about choosing either a first-ballot Hall of Fame player or a player who still has a lot to prove.''

There are times I could take what Tom from Minnesota wrote here and just put it on a loop when talking about Peter King. I could just throw these three phrases in after every Peter King statement when I am doing the MMQB Review:

1. "You never cease to amaze me."

2. "Are you completely insane."

3. "How do you possibly stay employed as a football expert?"

I could just simply write those three phrases and it may still be entertaining. Let's see how Peter responds to this reader...

Well, glad you're reading, Tom.

"Gosh, you have a lot of anger Tom. I am surprised that someone would have so much anger that a football expert would make exaggerated or unclear claims. Can't I just say whatever I want without repercussions from you picky-ass readers?"

On opening day 2010, Tom, I'd take the Colts' trio. For the next seven years, I'd take Green Bay's. And that's my insanity defense.

You know who else this type comparison could go for, but it doesn't seem like Peter ever brought this up when "he who should not be talked about" was retiring/unretiring? I hesitate to say it since I talk about these two all the time, but this "I'd rather have this guy now, but this other guy 4 years from now" comparison could also have worked well for (code names) Brett Rodgers and Aaron Favre two years ago. Yet Peter never attempted to make it when analyzing the situation two summers ago.

Michael Donner of Rochester, N.Y.: "Hear me out, as I think this makes sense given the history of the Belichick Era (Deion Branch, Richard Seymour, Ty Law, Curtis Martin): Offer Tom Brady to the Raiders for their 2010 1st, 2nd, 3rd; 2011 2nd, 2012 1st, 2nd. Brady's contract is tradeable and Al Davis would love him for a variety of reasons; Belichick could deal one of the first-rounders to the Rams for Steven Jackson and then draft Tim Tebow to run the exact same system in New England as he had in Florida.

This is why normal people should not try to be amateur General Managers. Is Tom Brady really the problem with this New England Patriot team and is Tim Tebow really a great replacement for Brady? I say "no" to both of these questions. I call this type trade proposal a "Fantasy Madden Trade" because it combines the idea in Fantasy Football you can try to trade which ever player you want, in return for a ton of draft picks which is a staple of the Madden football games. These do not work in real life. I hate it when a person just assumes an inferior team will cough up draft picks for established players. It drives me crazy.

I am sure the Raiders like Tom Brady, but would they trade: 2 first round draft picks, 3 second round draft picks, and one 3rd round draft choice for Tom Brady when he is a free agent after 2010? How does this make sense? Then this guy just assumes the Rams will take a 1st round pick for Steven Jackson and Tim Tebow will be available for the Patriots to draft...oh yeah, the Patriots will also change their entire offensive system to the one Tebow ran at Florida.

So the plan is to rebuild the entire Patriots team, offensively around Tim Tebow...by trading one of the best quarterbacks of all-time. Does this sound a bit risky to anyone?

The Pats then have a solid running threat added in the backfield and under center. Am I crazy, or does this not make perfect sense?''

The Patriots then have an unproven 1st round draft pick starting at quarterback and a team learning a new offensive system. It sounds a little crazy to me.

PK: All except the trading Brady part.

Haha, Peter with the smackdown! Then Peter loses his mind and irritates me.

What makes more sense to me was raised by one of my Twitter followers the other day -- deal the first-rounder, 22nd overall, to Carolina, without a first-rounder right now, for one of its backs.

Oh of course, the Panthers would love to trade one of the top 13 running backs in rushing yards last year to any team who will give them a 1st round draft choice! Can Carolina throw in a 2nd round pick just to make it even? Then Peter jumps right on the crazy train...

If it's Jonathan Stewart, I'd do it. I'm a little worried about the injury bug biting DeAngelo Williams.

Well of course they will trade the younger (22 years old) of the two backs for a 1st round pick that is almost a 2nd round pick (#22). The Panthers drafted Stewart at #13 and he looks like a franchise back, but I am sure, since they are stupid, they would trade him now that he is a proven player for an upper 1st round pick. Where can they sign to make this happen?

Not to mention, Peter King proves he really doesn't follow the NFL that closely when he mentions DeAngelo Williams having the "injury bug." Jonathan Stewart participated in roughly 30% of the practices during the season this year because he has nagging injuries and needs to be ready to play on Sunday. Williams only missed games at the end of this year because the team had Stewart and they didn't have to rush him back since they weren't in the playoff hunt. I would expect someone who follows the NFL to know this.

Just to be sure I am not crazy, I asked my favorite Panthers beat writer and fellow Appalachian State grad Darin Gantt on Twitter if this was a possibility. Gantt is easily my favorite beat writer that follows the Panthers and he actually knows his stuff and writes well, rather than being the type of writer who tries to start speculation or increase readership with his columns. I can appreciate that.

daringantt I wouldn't. Same for Pep? Let's talk. RT @bengoodfella Peter King said Pats could trade 1st to Carolina for J-Stew. Would Cats go for that?


By "I wouldn't" he means "They wouldn't."

daringantt Just read the King item in question http://tinyurl.com/yfhzwkv, not sure I see Stew being that much more durable than DeAngelo.

daringantt Not sure they're eager to give up either one. RT @OrangeChuck Maybe Carolina is more willing to trade Stew because of his injury status.

My point of all this writing is that Peter King should realize the Panthers set up their entire team to run the ball and that requires keeping two of the best running backs in the NFL. Stewart is young, affordable and productive. There is no reason to get rid of him. This is like asking if the Giants should trade Steve Smith for a 1st round pick to use on defense or the Cowboys should trade Felix Jones for a 1st round pick. Just because there is depth at a position doesn't mean the team wants to trade out of that depth. Peter also should know that Stewart is the one with the injury bug, not Williams.

From E. Alberto of Honduras: "If Peter King were head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles would he have benched Donovan McNabb for Michael Vick versus Dallas after Vick's touchdown?

What is with some of the questions Peter is asked today? If McNabb was going to be replaced, it better be with Kevin Kolb and not Mike Vick. I would hope to God this is how it would be. Also, didn't Vick fumble a handoff in the Cowboys game? It's not like he performed supremely well.

PK: Once you take that genie out of the bottle -- the genie of yanking McNabb without warning from the biggest game of the year -- the mayhem would be so pronounced that you'd already have determined that Kevin Kolb was going to be your quarterback going forward. So the answer is no. Not sure at that exact moment I'd have been ready to make that call.

This is another problem with yanking McNabb, though really I don't know if yanking him in the game should cause a massive quarterback controversy, even though it probably would. More importantly, the part Peter didn't address is why the hell the Eagles would yank McNabb for Vick and not Kolb?

From Robert of Portland, Ore.: "With what seems to be a large number of juniors coming out early in what was already a deep draft, what teams besides Cleveland look to be in the best positions to take advantage of this cornucopia of talent?''

PK: New England has the most picks in the top two rounds -- four. I haven't gotten the exact spots confirmed yet, but I believe they'll be picking 22nd, 44th, 47th and 53rd overall. As one club president said to me Monday: "The Patriots are in the perfect spot to get some new pieces because it's going to be a pretty deep draft and they don't have the cost of one of the top six, eight picks.''

What? Hasn't Peter heard? The Patriots dynasty is over! Done! Never to rise again! Trade Tom Brady to the Raiders and draft Tim Tebow to run the Urban Meyer offense and watch the team succeed in the future! Trade Moss, Welker, and Mayo, it is time to rebuild around Tim Tebow!

You can't tell me all these media outlets were over reacting to a bad playoff loss can you? There is no way the media could over react to a loss like this, especially a large media outlet like there is in Boston.

I just wanted to take this time to emphasize how stupid it is for everyone to assume the Patriots are done as a team. They have a bunch of draft picks in prime spots and a bright head coach. Everyone needs to simmer down a little about writing the obituary for the Patriots team.

From Heather Boyer of Brooklyn: "The one thing that I read this morning that made me feel slightly better about the Packers loss Sunday was your column. I appreciate that you recognize the strength and talent of Aaron Rodgers and the team. But most of all I appreciate that you analyzed the last sack over and over and determined that the face mask was not a factor. I know that the missed call did not lose the game for the Packers, but it sure made the loss more difficult to accept with any sort of aplomb. I always enjoy your column, but this one helped me work through a difficult Monday morning. Thank you.''

Actually, the facemask sort of was a factor in the Packers losing the game (other than the fact they played zero defense), but I am glad Peter can help other people feel better about a tough loss.

-Everyone has obviously heard the least shocking news of the week. Mark McGwire finally admitted he used steroids for nearly a decade in the late 1980's to the late 1990's. One reason I dislike the sports media is that revelations like this from athletes is never enough for them. You read articles written by sportswriters about how players should just come clean and then when players come clean the media writes crap about how the players didn't really come clean...or they have some other complaint. Our example for the day is Johnette Howard.

It was supposed to be the day that Mark McGwire re-surfaced and finally made things right.

Clearly McGwire felt compelled to do it since he is now the hitting instructor for the Cardinals. He must have felt now was the right time or was motivated to come clean since he was getting back involved with MLB.

But by time McGwire finished talking Monday about his tainted home-run hitting career, McGwire’s expected but long overdue admission that he used performance-enhancing drugs deserved an asterisk, too.

No apology is ever good enough for the media. A contrite apology is seen as not really coming clean and an apology without a player being contrite is seen as not really being sorry. The sports media will not let the players win. They can't let it happen. They want more than tears, more than blood. It's like they want to just get a chance to rip the player one more time and will use any excuse to do it.

What McGwire delivered wasn’t a show of true contrition.

Does it really matter? He is getting low Hall of Fame vote totals, everyone assumed he used steroids anyway, and there is very little sympathy from fans and baseball people alike. Who cares if he was contrite? He admitted he used PEDs like everyone wanted him to do at the Congressional hearing a few years ago. Mark McGwire is just another baseball cheater that has wrecked the record books and our illusions about baseball over the last 20 years. We knew it then sort of and we know it now for sure. Let's move on.

The most fascinating mutation of baseball’s drug era has always been The Superstar Steroid User like McGwire or Alex Rodriguez, Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens, not the journeymen who were all just trying to keep their roster spots.

Because the media doesn't get any joy from tearing down journeymen who cheated and possibly cost another borderline player a roster spot. Pointing out the journeymen who cheated and possibly denied another player his dream of playing in the major leagues isn't as fun to talk about as players who are stars and cheated. I think a good case could be made that more wrong was done to players who were borderline MLB players and didn't get a spot because the guy ahead of him was on some sort of PED.

The ego and hubris, the sense of entitlement and indignation McGwire felt at being criticized for his admittedly bad choices all bubbled up as he talked.

This is why players don't confess. If a player doesn't confess, he is just a cheater. If a player does confess the media can then call him a cheater and take personal shots at him (by calling him names) as well.

Mark McGwire cheated. Did him admitting it tell us anything we didn't really know prior? So what's different other than he admitted it? He is still a PED user who is going to try and make the Hall of Fame despite his admission. Does the direct knowledge of his PED use really change our opinion of him compared to the suspected knowledge? He got 23% (or around there) of the Hall of Fame vote this year. He was already treated like a PED user in the Hall of Fame voter's eyes, so really his admission doesn't do much other than give people like Johnette Howard a chance to call him names.

A workmanlike question about the five years McGwire went underground after the disastrous 2005 Congressional hearings in which McGwire said “I’m not here to talk about the past” struck a raw chord with McGwire.

“It wasn’t an exile,” McGwire tersely corrected Costas, “It was a retirement.”

The thing was, IT WAS A RETIREMENT! Mark McGwire had been traveling for 7 months of the year for 20 years of his life. He wanted to spend time with his family and get away from baseball. It's his right. He wanted to get away from baseball, so he did. He shouldn't be forced to do baseball television shows or make himself available for interviews anymore if he doesn't want to. Contrary to the belief of Johnette Howard, Mark McGwire may have actually been retired and away from the game for reasons that don't have to do with steroids. The perception the media has that athletes should always make themselves ready and available for interview at all times has mystified me for a while now.

McGwire didn’t mind freely admitting that the carefully orchestrated way his apology was rolled out — the surprise release of his written statement at 3 p.m. ET Monday, followed by supportive statements that baseball commissioner Bud Selig and St. Louis manager Tony La Russa released within the hour — was intentionally timed to smooth his return to baseball next month as the Cardinals hitting coach.

Yes, this is absolutely true. It's a public relations move. I wonder at what point sportswriters are going to quit standing over headlines of college football coaches who leave a college for more money and PED users admitting their PED use when it is convenient and beneficial for them, and stop naively screaming, "Oh my God, I can't believe this! What a shocking and underhanded move!" Maybe I am more jaded but I expect these things to happen and it doesn't bother me anymore. Isn't it time to stop being shocked?

Like Pettitte, McGwire said he used steroids only so he’d be healthy enough to play, and not for any strength gain — which is simply impossible to believe.

So don't believe it. McGwire is probably lying about this. He lied about using steroids for 5 years since that congressional hearing, so it should be nothing new. If you assume a player is lying, it saves a lot of time when going through the moral indignation phase of writing columns about that player.

Like A-Rod, McGwire tried for a little legacy repair by pointing out to Costas that he’d had good years and bad years before he used steroids in 1993 and afterward.

Which is probably a true statement. What does Johnette Howard expect McGwire to say?

"I don't really have any good years other than when I was on steroids, so don't even bother looking to see if I did. I was a marginal player at best."

McGwire is proud of his accomplishments and is trying to back up his statement that he was a good player and took the steroids to get healthy, by pointing out he was a good player before he took steroids.

He blamed his drift toward steroid use partly on the era he was playing in when he should’ve put the blame wholly on personal choices he made.

I hate to break it to Ms. Howard but this is probably true. McGwire made a poor personal decision to use steroids but if he played in an era when no one else was using steroids he may not have felt the need to do them to keep up. He made a bad decision because he felt pressure to do anything to stay on top of his game. It's an excuse built solidly on a truth.

He swore La Russa, his manager at two major league stops, never knew the truth about his steroid use until he told him in a phone call Monday morning — a farce that La Russa, McGwire’s longtime apologist, continued to repeat during the rounds of interviews he did Monday.

I personally don't see how La Russa gets off without any more blame like he does. He should get a tiny amount of blame from the media but he doesn't. He personally has had alcohol-related problems, there is a list of players he has coached baseball players who were the benchmark for steroid users, and he continuously claims to not know anything about steroids in baseball. I can't help but feel he always knew more than he claims he knew.

I have never said Albert Pujols used steroids, but how can he not be linked to them when his manager has managed other players who are known PED users, nearly every other top slugger of this era other than Pujols has been found to use some form of PED, and he has been linked to a trainer who used steroids? There is some circumstantial evidence regarding Pujols. I want to believe Pujols is clean, but it doesn't help my belief with some of his affiliations.

He was the closest thing baseball had to The Hulk when he and Sammy Sosa locked up in their mesmerizing chase of Maris’ single-season home run record in the summer of 1998. By then McGwire was a 255-pound strongman. His Cardinals uniforms looked like they’d been shrink-wrapped on him.

Yet how many sportswriters, journalists or observers who are criticizing McGwire now and had access to McGwire at the time blew the whistle or said anything about what they thought? Zero that I could find. As I have said before, the sports world, including sports journalists who had access to see these players bodies before/after steroids were all along for the ride. I find the same writers who condemn McGwire now at the time of his steroid admission to be culpable in turning a blind eye in 1998. Don't lie, I bet many of them suspected something.

McGwire’s statements might be worth getting more worked up about if most people who are inclined to care hadn’t long ago decided that McGwire used steroids and moved on.

Yet, Johnette Howard is still worked up.

Nothing McGwire said Monday is going to help him lose the stigma of being the only hitter with more than 500 home runs not to be voted into the Hall of Fame. (In four tries, he’s never gotten more than 24 percent of the 75 percent of the votes needed;

I can't answer the question of whether Mark McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame or not. My inclination is to say, "no," but then I believe Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez should be in the Hall of Fame when they retire. That's a sort of contradiction. More importantly, what about those players that have been suspected but never linked, is it fair they may be in the Hall of Fame while the unlucky ones who got caught aren't? Probably not, but life is not fair. PED users are a tough case and I am glad I don't have to vote one way or another on this issue for the Hall of Fame (actually, I would like to vote because I am sure the voters are going to screw it all up).

So don’t say he finally came clean. He didn’t even come close. He just got closer than ever before.

I am sure there are some things McGwire is holding back. He attempted to come clean though and I can understand why he didn't fully come clean. It's because nothing is good enough for sportswriters, no matter how the apology goes, they will still find a problem with it. McGwire just told us what we all knew already, I don't know what else Johnette Howard wanted from him, other than being able to have the pure joy of him being in a position where he can make whatever apology he wants and still get criticized. No apology a PED user has given has ever satisfied the sports media. He used steroids, more information about this isn't going to change anything and his reasoning really shouldn't matter that much.

19 comments:

Fred Trigger said...

McGwire hit 49 HR's and slugged .618 which was a rookie record at the time (since broken by Ryan Braun). He was always a big dude, and an awesome hitter.

KentAllard said...

I didn't want to announce this yet, but...Al is going to name me the next head coach of the Raiders. The reason I'm jumping the gun on this is I plan to fill my staff with Bengoodfella, Fred Trigger, J.S. and the regular posters here at The Bottom of the Barrel. You can send me your preferences for position on the coaching staff, or I can just do it the "Raider Way", and just pull names out of a hat and match them with jobs randomly. I do need to tell you I've agreed to name Jamarcus Quarterback for Life, and our first round draft choice will be wide receiver Waybert Phlegming from North Mississippi State. Despite his 5.9 speed in the 40 and being born without arms, I think he will gel with the team. Just win, baby!

I think Carroll is a huge gamble. As much as it pains me to admit it, he was great in college, but mediocre at best in the pros, just like Charlie Weis was considered one of the top pro coordinators, but could never get the hang of college.

Bengoodfella said...

Kent, I accept whatever position you would like to fill me on the staff at. Personally I think I want to be Quality Control for the offense since it pretty much sounds like a job that tells everyone how much they suck and need to improve. I would be a very busy man on the Raiders current team.

I would love the opportunity to coach JaMarcus Russell. I feel like I would just be thrilled to have an up close and personal view of his daily work habits.

Pete Carroll is a big gamble for me as well. He didn't show me too much in New York or New England. Maybe he has become a better coach in the time since he was gone or maybe he will be at Stanford in a couple of years. Who knows? But based on history, I am predicting failure.

Fred, I loved the Bash Brothers and think the media should just lay off McGwire. They wanted him to admit to it, he did, now let's all move on. It's never enough for them though. No apology is ever contrite or real enough.

KentAllard said...

Quality Control? You got it. Of course, the Raiders have never used that before, but there's a first time for everything.

I forgot to mention, trading Jonathan Stewart for the #22 pick is a great idea. After it, though, the Panthers will need another running back, so I hope there's a back like Jonathan Stewart available at #22.

Bengoodfella said...

It may sound like insanity but they value Stewart more than Peppers right now. Peter King should know this. I went all out on that question because it was borderline retarded. I can't believe Peter dropped that suggestion. Then the team would literally draft another RB at that spot with the #22 pick and pay him as much as they are paying Stewart. Idiocy. They don't want a 1st round pick that badly.

Also, I would love to be the QC for the offense. I would be on JaMarcus Russell all day about how low quality his throws are. By the way, has anyone seen Darren McFadden lately?

KentAllard said...

I think McFadden is in the witness protection program or something.

BTW, did you see where Russell got excused from the Raiders year-end meeting due to "family issues" - and was photographed partying in Las Vegas when the meeting was held.

I also learned he wears a tiny diamond-encrusted Jamarcus Russell around his neck. What amazing bling.

rich said...

So here's how I think the Giants can overcome their struggles from last season.

First round pick for Aaron Rodgers
then trade Eli Manning for Larry Fitzgerald
Brandon Jacobs and a 2nd round pick for Peterson and Rice
Sinorice Moss for Santana Moss
Trade a 3rd, 4th and 5th for Revis
Trade Burress (he's in prison I know, but think of his speed!) for Asomugha.

If I'm the Giants I totally make all those trades and Madden allows me to override objections, so the other team's thoughts don't matter.

KentAllard, can I claim a stake in the cheerleading coach and the WR coach? I mean you can't teach speed, so I feel like I'd have a negligible amount of work to do.

RuleBook said...

Ben, I think you should know that the Quality Control coach is simply the guy that watches all of the film and breaks it down into play categories. It is the lowest rung of the coaching ladder, and is generally an entry point for aspiring coaches. It sounds to me to be the most boring job, and it certainly isn't one of any authority.

Kent, I think I want to be the offensive line coach. That way, I can teach them only how to run block, and we can get Jamarcus knocked out for the season within just a few passing plays.

HH said...

You're underrating Carroll's drafts a little. There aren't many stars in there, to be sure, which is a problem, but he's been pretty good at getting quality contributors. Greg Spires was a starter on the fantastic Tampa defenses earlier this decade, Mitchell, Rutledge, and Floyd were average but solid. The 1998 draft in particular was not awful. I wouldn't call him a good drafter, especially for a team that clearly needs top-end talent with their high picks, but I'd trust him to handle second-day drafting and get players who will make the roster.

Martin said...

I think Carrol will do fine in Seattle, and by fine I mean, for 3 years the team will tread water while he tries to fix all the holes that have been appearing the last couple seasons. After 3 seasons of 6-10, 7-9, 9-7 football, or as they call it in Seahawk Country "The Holmgren Years", Pete and the fans will have enough animosity that he will leave for his new dream job of Raider Head Coach.

KentAllard said...

Yes to everyone. The staff is coming together nicely. We do need an offensive coordinator. I told Ryan Leaf you guys would get first crack at it if anyone wants it, otherwise, it's the Leaf-fense for 2010.

Bengoodfella said...

McFadden is in witness protection? It seems fairly likely. Two years ago I predicted in my Raiders season preview that he and JaMarcus Russell would quit the team and form a gang in Oakland...I am still waiting.

I did hear about JaMarcus leaving the team for personal reasons and then being seen partying. It's so ballsy, I think I am actually cheering for him now.

Rich, that's a pretty good team. I do have to admit when you proposed the Burress for Asomugha trade, it wouldn't shock me if Al Davis did it. Burress will be out of prison soon and Asomugha has a big contract. I don't underestimate Al Davis anymore.

Rulebook, I figured it was a pretty bad position. I don't want that bringing me down though. I think I could do it and make it more exciting. Though now that I have heard the OC position is available I think that's the position I want. To coordinate an offense for the Raiders would be heaven. Naked bootlegs with JaMarcus Russell, McFadden in the Wildcat then running a reverse to Russell, and finally an entire half of draw plays and screen passes.

Hmmm, teaching them only to run block and then knock JaMarcus out early? Do you think Tom Cable tried that when he was OL coach?

HH, I am not really trying to rate Carroll's draft, just show that Carroll hasn't been great at finding top shelf talent in the NFL draft. It's something I think he is going to need to turn the Seahawks around. I may have been looking too much at players who are going to be starters, rather than guys who can be depth. So we can agree that maybe Carroll should draft in the 2nd day and let another person try to draft in rounds 1-3. Maybe?

Martin, the Seahawks do have some holes in their team, but they also have some good players. First priority is a quarterback and really Carroll should be able to do that since he recruited some good QB's at USC. I don't have faith in Carroll to do well because I think the NFL is just so different from college and any new stuff he learned at USC may not work as well in the pros.

Kent, I want the OC position. I may get fired early in the season but I will take that chance. I can't have Ryan Leaf take the job.

AJ said...

I would like to be OC...and we should trade all RB's because I dont plan to run the ball at all. Just get me a guy that can throw the ball, and I'll make the most of it. I honestly believe people over react to how an offense should be run, and they think to much. It's a "chess match" to some, but I believe in simple offenses.

Bengoodfella said...

Ok, we can be co-OC's. I think if the Raiders traded McFadden, Bush, and Fargas they could easily get a couple picks for them. Sounds like a plan, let's do it.

Anonymous said...

Heh, the raiders are insane...

1) PK's wrong about the Cable situation. It's mostly that a) Tom Cable hasn't improved his record from last year. b) Tom Cable hasn't developed JR (regardless of JR's motivation--I've seen enough that if his head was ever on straight, he'd be top tier QB. Then again, their's always Jeff George. c) Probably what the Russell comment was about was with that last throw under the bus job Cable did on Russell. Word was, Davis was furious and I'd have to agree that it was, in the corporate sense and in many other senses, nonprofessional.

Seriously though, don't cry for Cable. He's a serial loser who fucked up at Idaho, at A Falcons, and now at Oakland, picking up fucked up coaching along the way. That "blame the QB bullshit" came straight from the Mora playbook--and yeah, Jim Mora Jr and his coaching staff was a big reason why Atlanta underperformed, and why Vick regressed a bit as a passer in his last year. I dont' think Mora will ever again sniff a good coaching gig again, but then some people got no taste. Cable repeated much of the bull by using Gradkowski's mobility and veteran experience to cover up for his inadequacies as a play-caller and game preparer, same as what Mora did to Vick.

Speaking of Vick...

1) Kolb couldn't come in because he was the 3rd string, same situation as Pat White and Thigpen in Miami.

2) If Vick knew very much of the playbook, then he's probably by far a better emergency quarterback in a playoff game than Kolb is. That single touchdown play was shear respect da man sorta gimmick that would have never worked with Kolb, and Kolb was in no way prepared to deal with the Dallas Dline. Nor is Kolb really a better QB than Vick '06. I think, if I was Andy Reid, what I would have done is do more quarterback draws with McNabb. But then that involves running and we know the Eagles can't have THAT!

lastly...
I am so goddamned sick and tired of all the Tebow love. You would have to work *really* hard to make him into a real quarterback, and when it comes right down to it, Josh Nesbitt (he isn't that different from Phillip Rivers, actually) is probably a more pro-ready QB than Tebow is (he certainly will be on some teams draft boards for QB in the late rounds 2011) and taken up like Dennis Dixon.

When it comes right down to it, 2010 is about as bad as 2007, with the only hope of a genuine star being Bradford surprising us in various ways. I suspect Clausen will flame out like Quinn does, but well, he has Quinn for an example.

--shah8

Martin said...

What exactly is it that you've seen that gives any, ANY impression at all that JaMarcus would ever be a decent, much less a top flight QB in this league? You can't teach which doesn't want to be taught. He never studies, doesn't care, and doesn't give a crap about being a leader on the team. Amazing how (dear god, did you just call GRADKOWSKI mobile and veteran saavy??)when they replaced JaMarcus with a long time, never seen as more then a stop-gap, journeyman, the Raiders actually looked like a decent team. If Cable was able to cover up his inadequacies by inserting Bruce Gradkowski as his starting QB, he might be the most capable coach who's ever coached this game.

Seriously, JaMarcus is like that piece of dog poop on your driveway you are just waiting to dry up before you remove it cause you don't want it to slip and stain the concrete.

Bengoodfella said...

Shah, it's fairly obvious from the quotes from the Raiders players that they like Tom Cable, but is he really the best coach for them in the long run? I agree with you, I don't think so. There is a difference in liking a coach and keeping him because of that and keeping a coach because he can coach. The Raiders need someone who can coach.

I don't know if JaMarcus Russell could be a top tier QB or not. It doesn't seem like he has the dedication to the game and really wants to be a great quarterback. This is from outward appearances at least. Maybe no one has taught him to do all that, but I wouldn't think a top tier QB would need to be taught to be a professional. Of course we will never know because the Raiders don't seem to want to get good coaches on the staff to work with Russell.

Mora is to blame for trying to put Vick in the West Coast offense. That was just a disaster in the making. Vick is not a WC offense type quarterback. Not to sound like I am on repeat but I had heard stories about how Vick didn't want to work hard to learn the offense and preferred to not stay after practice and work harder. I know some Falcons players said that about him after he left the team.

I know the Kolb was the 3rd string QB and I wasn't suggesting the Eagles replace McNabb with Kolb or Vick. I just don't think Vick is a worthwhile NFL quarterback. That TD pass to Maclin was out of respect for Vick's running ability but I think he is a terrible fit in Reid's offense. The Eagles misused Vick all year, I think they could have used him more effectively.

I am tired of the Tebow love as well. I can't believe that guy thought that getting rid of Brady and getting Tebow was a great idea. That's nonsense. Nesbitt isn't going to get the respect he deserves b/c he plays in that Triple Option offense at GT. I think he throws a pretty good ball in general though. I liked Dennis Dixon at Oregon though, I think he is going to be a solid backup in the NFL.

I am not a huge Clausen fan either. I think he has really benefitted from having some good receivers at ND. I am not down on him, but I am not quite as high as others on him in general.

Martin, tell me how you really feel...

Anonymous said...

Well, my perception of JR's qualities are:

1) He's pretty tall and able to use it.

2) He has long and strong arms but is still relatively quick with his release.

3) He sees the middle of the field well and when mechanics are firing right, is very accurate.

I think JR's principle field problem is that there seems to be something wrong with his peripheral vision. He doesn't really feel pressure that well (highly exaggarated by terrible pass blocking), and he does not throw to the outside with good placement or touch. He also has an Alex Smith tendency, from what I can guess, of being relunctant to commit to an action in a half-understood context, so he's not reliable in a broken play situation (and often without the proverbial dump-off or lane for scrambling anyways).

As far as working hard, lazy, whatever, I think a big part of that is simply not adjusting to the work level in the pros from college. Most elite talent do not suffer from terrible work ethic (And the Maurice Claretts and Felipe Lopezes of the world gives plenty of warnings). They just don't work hard enough. That part can be fixed, and yeah, to an extent, pro coaches and pro players do have to teach new players the needed level of work and profesionalism.

Will Jamarcus Russell succeed? Probably not. Not quite so much for his failures up to now but that his window for getting others to invest effort in training him has closed. Quarterbacks are the face of the franchise, and teams put tons of effort into marginal players like Chris Sims and neglect better ones. The only saving grace is that there isn't really a whole lotta good quarterbacks out there, and the Raiders ain't about to get any of the ones likely to actually be an improvement until at least 2011, and that's only because of the draft. No Troy Smiths and Chris Redmans are going to even think of going to the Raiders, so Russell is it. And seriously, Gradkowski isn't really a better option--he just hadn't had the tape on him yet.

--shah8

Bengoodfella said...

Shah, gotcha. I think one of the biggest problems with JaMarcus Russell is that he was lazy in his game preparation earlier in his career and it is going to follow him a little bit. Some of his problems aren't really his problems, but organizational problems, but still I question his work ethic.

The good news is the Raiders aren't going to be giving up on him any time soon. You are right about that. There aren't a lot of other options. I just wish they had a coaching staff that could be brought in to even see if he could be salvaged.