Thursday, August 26, 2010

19 comments Decent Ideas Intertwined With Idiotic Thinking...It's the TMQ AFC Preview!

TMQ triumphantly came back last week and his return this week to actually talking about the NFL is well-received by me. Contrary to the latest discussion by Bill Simmons about Jennifer Aniston's ovaries, I prefer talking about sports, so we have an NFL-related TMQ to chew over this week and that makes me happy. Whenever I do TMQ, I always end up with a few Easterbrook fans, which isn't a negative thing. The two biggest criticisms I have gotten from those who like TMQ usually go one of two ways.

First, they will mention it is his article and he can talk about whatever he wants. I agree, he can talk about whatever he wants, and I can call whatever he talks about stupid or mock it. He has a right to write about it in his column and I have a right to mock him. Second, I will hear that if I don't like him (and pretty much everyone I cover here), then why don't I just ignore what they write? I did ignore this bad sports journalism through most of my life and now that I am aware it exists, I can't ignore it. I have a hard time leaving things alone and I enjoy (in the way of not really enjoying it) seeing what Gregg comes up with from week-to-week.

Anyway, let's get on to Gregg's AFC Preview.

In 2008, only seven NFL teams rushed more often than they passed. In 2009, the number fell to just four -- Carolina, Cincinnati, Jersey/B and Tennessee. Maybe this is because, as the Football Outsiders website long has contended, establishing the pass has more tactical value (because of more yards gained per attempt) than establishing the run.

This could very well be true, but I still believe at some point a team has to run the ball to succeed in the NFL. I may change my point of view sometime before I die, but not too much before that time.

There are still teams that run the ball well who do well in the playoffs. Gregg is conveniently ignoring the Jets were in the AFC Championship Game last year with the #1 running offense in the NFL and the Giants had a strong running game when they won the Super Bowl two years ago.

Maybe it's because rules changes (no contact with the receiver after 5 yards, no head slaps by pass-rushers) encourage the forward pass. Or maybe it's because linemen are now so big.

The first reason Gregg gave is perfectly understandable, the second one is not as much. Defensive linemen are bigger and so are offensive linemen. So while the bigger defensive linemen plug up the hole the running back would go through, the bigger offensive linemen could theoretically push the bigger defensive lineman out of the way and make a bigger hole I will say I am not trying to nitpick Gregg as much this year, so it is possible the fatter linemen fighting each other gives the running back less room to run through a hole being created by the offensive line. I can see this happening, so maybe Gregg is right.

Ultimately, the fads for pass-wacky offense and spreading the field might be driven by the fact that offensive and defensive linemen have gotten so big that there simply isn't as much running room inside the tackles.

Count me in as slightly skeptical of this conclusion. This is possible, but I also happen to think the advancement of the passing game and the rules that help out the offensive in the NFL have more to do with the lack of teams running the ball. Though I think much of anything like this is cyclical in the NFL and good NFL teams will still have to run the ball.

Because of this decision, Rolle lasted until the sixth round -- NFL scouts and touts thought placing education over football made him weird. What it made him is smart!

OMG! I bet Myron Rolle can understand hundredths and tenths of a second and why they are important in sports. What makes Myron Rolle smart also makes Gregg Easterbrook pretty ignorant!

But shouldn't Rolle now be listed as a graduate of Oxford, not of Florida State? He holds a master's in medical anthropology from Oxford. It is his highest degree earned, so he should be listed as, and referred to as, an Oxford graduate.

No, he should not be listed as having gone to Oxford. Myron Rolle is not using his degree from Oxford at this point and was drafted by the Titans after having played football at Florida State. He played football at FSU and was drafted to play football, therefore the Titans put FSU as where he graduated from. I think we would use the higher degree if we weren't talking about sports, but wherever a college player played the sport he is turning professional in is usually the school a team will say he graduated from.

Baltimore Ravens: Everybody's fixating on the $32 million the Redskins have paid Albert Haynesworth the past year in return for nothing. How come Terrell Suggs is getting a free ride from the media? Last summer, Suggs, a pass-rush specialist, signed a deal with $39 million guaranteed -- and he already has the $39 million, as it was a rare front-loaded deal.

Nitpick time: I don't know if he already has the money. He is getting $33.1 million in bonuses over the first two years of the contract, so that was for 2009 and 2010. He didn't even get $39 million upfront and I don't know if all that money has been given to him at this point. So Gregg's number is incorrect and I don't think Suggs already has that full balance of $33.1 million.

Suggs registered 4.5 sacks in 2009, or $8.7 million per sack.

He also missed 3 games due to injury, which was a first in his entire career. He had played all 16 games every year prior to that. Also, Suggs had hurt his toe and knee last year in training camp, and I am pretty sure those two body parts are helpful for a pass rusher to succeed in the NFL. Injuries aren't an excuse, but are a potential explanation for his down year.

This winter, with the $39 million already banked, he celebrated by skipping minicamp.

It was not $39 million, it was $33.1 million. This criticism of Suggs goes over much better when Gregg bases his criticisms on the right contract numbers.

Suggs skipped minicamp and this is just a typical Gregg Easterbrook statement that intends to mislead the reader. Terrell Suggs is in the best shape of his career and even the coaching staff notices this. So he did skip minicamp, but that doesn't mean he is out of shape or is a malcontent like Haynesworth. The comparison ends here.

Gregg loves to say something like, "Suggs missed minicamp" leading the reader to believe Suggs is unhappy or is not in shape, when that isn't the truth.

Suggs has been nearly as much of a disappointment as Haynesworth.

No, he hasn't. Haynesworth's attitude is the disappointment, not his performance. Suggs is not a disappointment because he was injured last year and has shown up ready and willing to play well this year. Haynesworth skipped minicamp and has made trouble for Mike Shanahan all along the way.

Together, they form an argument against guarantees in NFL contracts.

The NFL is the only professional sport among the Big 3 major sports in the United States that doesn't have guaranteed contracts. If a MLB or NBA player signed the contracts Suggs and Haynesworth signed, then their teams could not cut them and would usually have to pay them every last dime. Football is a much more violent sport than baseball and basketball, yet it doesn't have fully guaranteed contracts. The NBA and MLB would be better examples of why parts of a player's contract shouldn't be guaranteed.

Regardless, the Ravens come into the season looking stacked. How about some trick plays? In the 2009 regular season, they threw a few trick plays into the mix, then went vanilla in the playoffs.

They didn't need trick plays to beat the Patriots. I don't know the obsession some people have with trick plays. I don't recall the Saints, Vikings, or Colts using a great amount of trick plays last year and they did fine. If those teams didn't have to use trick plays, why should other teams have to?

See, I am using Gregg's own reasoning that if a team made the Super Bowl or AFC/NFC Championship game doing something then it is a blanket rule that "something" always works. He did it at the beginning of the column to show that the NFL is switching to a more passing league and good teams won't need to run the ball as well in the future. I obviously don't believe trick plays should never be used, but I like to use Gregg's own bizarre reasoning against him sometimes.

the Bills have wasted first-round choices on busts Mike Williams, J.P. Losman and John McCargo and spent lottery-level first-round choices on Donte Whitner, Marshawn Lynch and Aaron Maybin, all of whom, in 2009, were kept on the bench by undrafted free agents.

Which is, of course, proof in Gregg's mind that undrafted free agents are better players than highly drafted and highly paid players, but not proof the Bills are terrible at drafting good players...which is the conclusion I come to.

Now the coach is Chan Gailey, whose credentials are strong.

He is 18-14 in the NFL. He isn't a terrible coach, but I wouldn't call his credentials strong.

Last year, Edwards was the NFL's shortest passer in an ultraconservative offense, with only 11 percent of his pass attempts traveling more than 20 yards. Winning NFL teams -- New Orleans, Minnesota, Indianapolis, New Orleans -- do not play ultraconservative, as the Bills have for several seasons.

It's tough to throw deep when your offensive line doesn't block for the quarterback and there are no receivers on the roster (other than Lee Evans and Terrell Owens) who make the defense respect the deep pass. It is more of a personnel problem than a play-calling problem to me.

Ochocinco might give the best Twitter of any pro athlete.

What the fuck does "give the best Twitter" mean? You don't GIVE Twitter to someone, like it is an STD or a present.

Last season, the Bengals faced a meaningless season-finale game against the Jets, rolled over, and the next week lost again to the Jets at home in the playoffs: two losses to Jersey/B in consecutive weeks, by a combined 61-14 score. Not trying to win that season-finale game surely was a factor in Cincinnati's early playoff exit.

I am sure it was the only factor in the Bengals early playoff exit. Otherwise, the Bengals would have beaten that crappy Jets team that almost made the Super Bowl and had the #1 defense and rushing offense (wait, so teams CAN win running the ball?) wouldn't they? Those Jets would have lost to the Bengals if only the Bengals had tried harder the week before when those two teams played. Did the Eagles not try hard enough to beat the Cowboys and that is why they lost in the playoffs to them?

If Gregg's theory isn't pure idiocy then why the Cardinals beat the Packers in the Wild Card game this past year after they lost 33-7 the week before? Shouldn't they have gotten beat the next week in the playoffs since they didn't try against the Packers in Week 17?

This season, Cincinnati plays at the Jets on Thanksgiving night. The Bengals had better have that contest circled -- it could define Cincinnati's season.

I can't even comment on how stupid this comment truly is.

Cleveland Browns: What is it that new Browns president Mike Holmgren saw on tape of Jake Delhomme that no one else sees?

Delhomme is having a pretty good preseason. I know Gregg doesn't know this, but it is true.

Holmgren has continued the yard-sale ethos. The net is that Cleveland has surrendered two recent first-round choices (Quinn and defensive end Kamerion Wimbley), plus fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round draft choices, for Sheldon Brown, Peyton Hillis, Chris Gocong, Seneca Wallace, third- and sixth-round choices and a conditional pick from Denver in 2012. That's an awful lot of roster turbulence.

Does it really make sense to keep a bunch of players on a shitty 2009 Cleveland Browns team? What part of that team last year was supposed to make Mike Holmgren think he didn't need to make any changes? In fact, if Holmgren did not overturn nearly the entire roster he should have been immediately fired. Roster turbulence is great when a team is trying to get rid of shitty players and build a winning team.

this year, two high-profile quarterbacks were brought in (Tebow and Quinn)

It doesn't matter if they are high-profile if they aren't good at playing quarterback. High-profile just means they are popular players, not necessarily effective players.

while defensive starter Elvis Dumervil was granted a monster contract and almost immediately lost for the season to injury.

I am sure this was completely intentional on Dumervil's part.

Denver now has three prominent, big-salary quarterbacks on its roster (Kyle Orton, plus Quinn and Tebow), but only one established player at guard (Chris Kuper). McDaniels had four No. 1 choices in his first two drafts, and used three of four on a quarterback, running back and wide receiver. It's a lot more fun to draft quarterbacks, running backs and receivers than trench performers.

I'm nitpicking again, but for fear of defending Josh McDaniels, I have to say if he is going to get rid of great offensive players he has to try and replace them somehow. That means he has to draft or sign in free agency these replacements. He may have a shitty plan in my eyes, but it does make sense. The offensive line in Denver isn't terrible either. I don't know how much work should really have been done to the offensive line when McDaniels has stripped the offense of most its weapons.

In 2008, the final season for Shanahan and Cutler, Broncos coaches called 693 passes (counting sacks and scrambles) and 397 rushes -- 64 percent passes. McDaniels came in vowing to establish the rush, and in 2009, he and his staff called 612 passes and 420 rushes -- 59 percent passes. That's not much difference.

It actually is a fairly significant difference. The Broncos had about 5% less offensive plays in 2009 over 2008 and they called for 5% more rushing plays than the year before. It's not a huge, huge difference but there is a difference to be seen here.

The Colts have shown that a mature winning team does not need a strong rushing attack to advance to the playoffs, but the Texans are not a mature winning team.

Do you know why they aren't a mature winning team? Because they haven't won a playoff game yet. Once they win a playoff game they become a mature winning team. If this doesn't make sense to you or you don't understand what a mature winning team is, don't worry, it is gibberish.

Indianapolis Colts Last season, the Colts opened 14-0 and closed 2-3. Guess that pretty much settles the argument about whether a team that has locked up its best playoff seed should stop trying to win.

This one example absolutely proves the rule is correct. Possibly Gregg would be more correct if he mentioned the Saints also rested their players and won the Super Bowl, but he prefers just to use this one example and say it settles an argument that can never really be settled.

Then later when Gregg is talking about the Colts he says,

Reggie Wayne was criticized for dropping the touchdown pass that would have given Indianapolis a last gasp in the final minute, but why wasn't Manning criticized for his bad fourth-quarter pass that was returned for a touchdown? Why wasn't Jim Caldwell criticized for putting the Colts into the tank late in the season

I guess that doesn't settle the argument about whether a team that has locked up a top playoff seed should continue to try and win? Why should Caldwell be criticized for this if the argument is settled it was the right call?

All this bad-vibe blame assigning -- but only to lesser persons, not to Manning or the coach -- is not a good harbinger for 2010.

I guess Bill Polian should have called out his Hall of Fame quarterback for throwing a bad pass. I am sure that would have been a great harbinger for 2010.

In the past two drafts, Jax used two first-round, one second-round and two third-round choices on offensive and defensive tackles. In the previous draft, counting trades, Jax spent first-, second-, third- and fourth-round choices on defensive ends. And this offseason, Jacksonville signed defensive end Aaron Kampman to a big-bucks free-agency deal. So far, there isn't much return on the investment.

It's going to be hard for Kampman to give the Jaguars return on the investment since not a single NFL game has been played yet. Can he wait to criticize players for not playing well until AFTER the season has started?

New York Jets: Since Rex Ryan took over the Jersey/B Jets in winter 2009, you'd think the emphasis would have been on defensive trench types.

Holy shit, that's exactly what I think. He's like Bill Simmons, he always knows what I am really thinking.

You'd think wrong:

Gregg outsmarts me once again.

Jones is 32, Tomlinson 31, and tailbacks tend to tail off at age 30. But we forgot -- Jones didn't play much in his first two NFL seasons. If you use carries and receptions as a rough approximation of how many times a back has been hit, Tomlinson has been hit 3,410 times in the NFL, Jones 2,569 times. That's 25 percent fewer hits on Jones, suggesting that Jones might have more yards left in the tank. The contracts signed by Tomlinson in Jersey/B and Jones in Kansas City were similar, so in effect the Jets traded Thomas Jones for LaDainian Tomlinson. In star-power terms, the Jets came out ahead; on the field, the Chiefs might benefit, at least in 2010.


I agree with Gregg on this. Tomlinson is pretty much done I believe. If anything saves him this year it will be that the Jets offensive line plays well.

Then again, in preseason games, Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has twice sent Tomlinson deep on "wheel" patterns. LT never ran deep pass patterns at San Diego, only screens and flares.

NEVER. Tomlinson NEVER ran a wheel route. All of his 3,955 receiving yards with the Chargers came on two types of passing plays.

The Dolphins tended to fade in the fourth quarter, being outscored 140-116.

They were outscored by 24 points over a 16 game season in the fourth quarter. It's not a good thing to be outscored in any quarter, but it doesn't really point out to me incredibly strongly the fourth quarter was the main source of the Dolphins problems last year or anything.

Actually, I bet Tony Sparano dressed too warmly for games and that caused the Dolphins to fade in the fourth quarter.

New England Patriots: By trading away veterans (Richard Seymour, Deion Branch) and endlessly trading down, New England attained a phenomenal 15 choices in the first three rounds of the past three drafts -- yet which of those guys can you name?

We all know name recognition is simply the best way to judge whether a player is any good or not.

The guys Bill Belichick chose with his extra selections so far have been injured or duds: Terrence Wheatley, Shawn Crable, Kevin O'Connell, Brandon Tate, Ron Brace, Tyrone McKenzie, Darius Butler, Pat Chung.

I am pretty sure five of these "duds" were drafted in the 2009 draft and have played one full season in the NFL. It's a bit early to call them duds or be too negative about them isn't?

Last season, the Flying Elvii had a severe lack of impact players, and no one from all those extra second- and third-round choices is threatening to become an impact player.

(Gregg Easterbrook looks into crystal ball, tries to see the future, but can't because five of these players haven't played more than one year in the NFL. He can't see the future, so he goes ahead and makes this prediction regardless)

The Patriots are one of the league's oldest teams;

Just to give a little more background on this, which Gregg refuses to do, the average age in the oldest and youngest team in the NFL only differs by 2.33 years. What's really important is at what positions are teams old.

Perhaps Belichick's strategy of endlessly trading down for extra picks reflects his awareness of a need to remake the Patriots roster: Belichick has banked extra first- and second-round choices in 2011, too. But if instead he had traded up for someone explosive -- C.J. Spiller, Dez Bryant -- New England's prospects might be brighter.

I think Belichick's strategy isn't the greatest strategy, but Gregg is being pretty critical regarding the makeup of a team that has gone 21-12 since their 18-1 season.

Last season, the Patriots had no offensive coordinator, with Belichick covering that post; this season, they also will have no defensive coordinator. It's Belichick, Belichick and more Belichick -- no coordinators.

TMQ has been complaining for years that NFL clubs are overstaffed at coach, since it's hard to believe a head coach needs 19 more coaches, which is how many Mike Shanahan has at Washington, including a safeties coach, a tight ends coach and an assistant coach for the special-teams coach. Belichick is veering to the other extreme.

Gregg goes to great lengths in his TMQ to point out how many pointless coaches are on staffs around the NFL, then when a coach has a small staff he complains about that. What is the optimum amount of coaches on a team that satisfies Gregg Easterbrook? I would love to know that number.

Raiders fun fact No. 4: I like the Rams over the Raiders on Sept. 19 -- because Oakland has lost seven consecutive home openers.

Of course you do. Team talent level means nothing in situations like this.

Weasel Coach Watch: Clancy Pendergast accepted a job as secondary coach of the Raiders, then two weeks later quit to become defensive coordinator at Cal. George Edwards accepted a job as defensive coordinator at Florida, then quit two weeks later to become defensive coordinator for the Buffalo Bills. One week before training camp began, Titans running backs coach Kennedy Pola quit to become offensive coordinator at USC.

Two of these moves were promotions. I have a hard time arguing a coach is a weasel in some situations where they take a promotion.

The latest example came over the winter when Henry Holt withdrew a book called "The Last Train from Hiroshima," which contained extensive fabrications regarding the Hiroshima bombing. Holt said it did not question the book because the author, Charles Pellegrino, had "a long history in the publishing world." He does have a long history -- as a science-fiction writer!

I am not defending publishers for not doing research or Pellegrino, but he has a long list of non-fiction books he has written as well. So he isn't purely a science-fiction writer.

Why do the Chargers of late perform well in the regular season then wheeze out in January? Maybe it's the San Diego lifestyle: They want to take off the athletic tape and hit the beach. Or maybe this team lacks mental toughness. All football games are hard physically, but playoff games are notably harder mentally than regular-season games. The further into the postseason a team advances, the more important psychology becomes -- because if you lose, you are embarrassed and your season is over, whereas if you lose in the regular season, that's annoying, but maybe you'll play better next week.

Wouldn't the Chargers, if they bought into the San Diego lifestyle, have a better record in the playoffs since there is more at stake then? If the team wants to hit the beach, wouldn't this be evident during the regular season when if they lose a game, "that's annoying, but maybe you'll play better next week?"

I would think if the Chargers wanted to be beach bums that would affect the regular season more than the playoffs, since those games are less crucial according to Gregg, so therefore the Chargers would be lazier about preparing for them according to their "San Diego lifestyle."

Turner ordered the Chargers to punt from the Patriots' 36 yard line. It was the conference championship -- the Super Bowl invite game -- and the Chargers' coach quit on the game with 9:21 remaining. Plus, no one went nuts on the sideline when Turner ordered the punt unit onto the field:

How dare the Chargers not publicly question their coach's decisions in the AFC Championship game! These players should do the right thing and show up their coach.

The veteran players should have insisted on going for it.

Obviously they have the "San Diego lifestyle" disease.

Jeff Fisher has the third-most wins of any active NFL coach -- trailing Belichick and Shanahan, with an outside chance of passing the latter this year.

An outside chance of passing Shanahan? There's almost no chance. Jeff Fisher is at 136 wins and Shanahan is at 146 wins. I doubt the Titans will win 11 more games than the Redskins this year.

It's great that he has stayed in one place so long and won so many games. But Fisher hasn't won a Super Bowl -- 16 years of trying, no ring.

It's pretty clear Fisher sucks as a coach based on this.

Tim Roberts of Waxahachie, Texas, reports, "On June 28 the trailer was released for 'Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows' Parts 1 and 2. Most of the trailer focused on Part 2's action sequences -- though Part 2 isn't set to be released until July 15, 2011. The trailer was advertising a movie that is more than a year away from theaters."

Isn't that against the law or something? I'm glad Tim Roberts "reported" this to us. Movie teasers have been misleading the public for way too long.

Tara McCook Segal of Arlington, Va., writes, "In Tysons Corner Center, just outside D.C., on Aug. 9, I took the accompanying picture. It's a Christmas store with a Halloween sign in the window: two forms of creep occurring simultaneously. Even creepier, the Halloween store sign says, COMING IN SEPTEMBER."

Has no one who reads TMQ ever heard of advertising or marketing? A Halloween store will open earlier than the week before Halloween, this is just rational business, and if a new store is coming, malls traditionally announce what the store will be and when it opens well before it does open so the public is aware and chooses to come to the store. It doesn't make business sense to secretly open a Halloween store on October 24th.

Many readers, including Laticia Gayle of Atlanta, noted that the NBA had the Heat and Hawks replay the final 52 seconds of a game after a gross officiating error.

We had this discussion last week about turning over games that were decided on the last call, but this doesn't fit the definition. Gregg (again) misleads his audience. It was not an officiating error that caused the replay of the final 52 seconds, but an error by the official scorer. The official scorer is not an official, so I wouldn't categorize it as an "officiating error," which makes it sounds like the game officials screwed the final 52 seconds up. It was the official scorer who worked for the Hawks, so you can see the problem when the Hawks benefited from his error.

Cory Soukup of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, notes, "There have been many instances where a baseball game ended and the official scorer later that day, and sometimes the next day, changed a hit to an error or vice versa. This creates precedents of game rulings changed after the game concludes."

There is a difference in changing a hit to an error, which is a call by the official scorer, and changing an umpire's call. The official scorer and the umpires are two different people employed by different groups who are held to two different standards.

Next Week: NFC preview, plus only 487 shopping days till Christmas 2011.

I can't wait. I think we should get an MLB-NFL summit together. Joe Morgan and Gregg Easterbrook talking about their respective sports...and Chris Berman can be the moderator.

19 comments:

ivn said...

I don't recall the Saints, Vikings, or Colts using a great amount of trick plays last year and they did fine

although to be fair, the Saints did score the decisive touchdown against the Cardinals. and it was awesome.

Now the coach is Chan Gailey, whose credentials are strong.

from Wikipedia:
"Gailey compiled six winning seasons in six years at the helm. However, he never defeated Tech's biggest rival, the University of Georgia, never won the ACC, never went to a BCS bowl, never won more than 9 games, and never finished in the top 25. The 2006 season was his most successful at Georgia Tech winning the ACC Coastal Division, but losing his last 3 games to rival UGA, Wake Forest in the ACC Championship Game and West Virginia in the Gator Bowl."
"Gailey was hired on January 16, 2008 to become the offensive coordinator of the Kansas City Chiefs...He was demoted after three pre-season games in 2009 and relieved of play-calling duties by head coach Todd Haley. Gailey was out of football in 2009.

you have to admit that's a strong resume.

Holmgren has continued the yard-sale ethos. The net is that Cleveland has surrendered two recent first-round choices (Quinn and defensive end Kamerion Wimbley), plus fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round draft choices, for Sheldon Brown, Peyton Hillis, Chris Gocong, Seneca Wallace, third- and sixth-round choices and a conditional pick from Denver in 2012. That's an awful lot of roster turbulence.

Holmgren more or less did the same thing in Seattle and wound up making the team relevant for the first time in franchise history.

also, note how Gregg never actually "previewed" anything. he basically just spat out a jumble of random factoids about what the team has done the last 2 years. in that way he actually kinda is like Joe Morgan.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, yes that is true. I feel like Gregg wants to use trick plays more often than they are currently used and I tend to question how well that would work. I don't like being fair to Gregg, please don't make me.

That Chan Gailey resume is super strong, so it looks like the ceiling for the Bills is a Wild Card spot. He didn't do a terrible job in Dallas, so I am interested to see if how he does with the Bills. I am not optimistic based on his time with the Chiefs last year.

Holmgren is turning the roster over, but it is not like he is tearing apart a strong offense or defense. He is getting rid of guys who don't belong on the team and getting value for other guys. To rebuild a team you need roster turbulence.

There's no preview at all. It's like he knows a bunch of facts that he read about and just spits them out at us as fast as he can. Then he will hear the stats from last year and make a blanket statement that annoys me.

rich said...

But shouldn't Rolle now be listed as a graduate of Oxford, not of Florida State?

In addition to what you said BGF, he spent four years at FSU. He spent one year at Oxford.

Together, they form an argument against guarantees in NFL contracts.

1. This is really the best two examples he can come up with? A great player who got hurt and busted his ass in the off-season and a guy playing in a defense he hates?

2. No one forces owners to give these guys guaranteed money. Imagine if the Jets continued balking at giving Revis guaranteed money and he left. You think TMQ would say something like "TMQ thinks letting Revis go was a terrible idea. DURRRRRRR"?

big-salary quarterbacks

I'm going to nitpick too. Quinn and Tebow both signed 5 year/ roughly 30M contracts. Quinn had about 8M guaranteed and Tebow had 9M. Since they're not getting all their guarantees, odds are the contracts are more around 5 years/20M... Those aren't really "big" salaries.

why wasn't Manning criticized for his bad fourth-quarter pass that was returned for a touchdown? Why wasn't Jim Caldwell criticized for putting the Colts into the tank late in the season

I remember a lot of people torched Manning for that pass and I also remember a lot of people criticizing Caldwell for being a lifeless, emotionless, conservative coach.

Jax used two first-round, one second-round and two third-round choices on offensive and defensive tackles. So far, there isn't much return on the investment.

It's a lot more fun to draft quarterbacks, running backs and receivers than trench performers.

So he basically rips on Denver for only drafting skill players because it's "fun," but then blasts another team for drafting "trench" guys...

The Dolphins tended to fade in the fourth quarter, being outscored 140-116.

Broncos coaches called 693 passes... 612 passes... That's not much difference.

You heard it hear folks. 24 over 16 games is a sign of a trend; 81 over 16 not that much difference.

yet which of those guys can you name?

They traded one of picks for Wes Welkaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa.

if instead he had traded up for someone explosive -- C.J. Spiller, Dez Bryant -- New England's prospects might be brighter.

Belichick won three super bowls riding behind a bunch of really solid, if unspectacular players. So why should he trade up to draft "explosive" players if they won three super bowls using a different model of team building?

Maybe it's the San Diego lifestyle: They want to take off the athletic tape and hit the beach.

So they don't want to hit the beach in September through November... but December and January?

Turner ordered the Chargers to punt from the Patriots' 36 yard line. It was the conference championship

Their starting RB was injured and not playing; their QB was playing with a relatively severe injury and their kicker was Nate Kaeding, a guy who notoriously sucks in the playoffs. At that point, the SD defense had held the greatest offense in league history to 21 points and had forced 4 punt and 3 interceptions. There's reason to think that maybe the defense could hold the Patriots off again. Considering it was 4th and 10, I'd be willing to say punting was a decent enough of an idea.

You also know what? THE CHARGERS NEVER GOT THE BALL BACK. That's right, NE ran the last 9 minutes out on the clock. How was Turner supposed to know that? That ande ven if they had gone for it, scored a TD and two point conversion, they would have still been down. Assuming it's their last drive still... they lose.

That and how can a team that makes the AFC championship game in 2008 and, if Nate Kaeding didn't completely lose it, should have made it in 2010 be considered a bad playoff team?

ivn said...

wow, I biffed on that first comment I made. to clarify: the Saints did score the decisive touchdown against the Cardinals with a flea-flicker. and it was awesome. yeesh.

Belichick won three super bowls riding behind a bunch of really solid, if unspectacular players. So why should he trade up to draft "explosive" players if they won three super bowls using a different model of team building?

really? you don't remember when the Pats won those Super Bowls on the backs of explosive playmakers like Antowain Smith and Deion Branch? I've noticed how sportswriters fucking love second-guessing Bill Belichick and they always have. they ate him alive (especially in Boston) when the Patriots drafted Seymour over David Terrell, and when they cut Lawyer Milloy, and when they traded down to get Jerod Mayo instead of trading up to get Vernon Gholston. it was thought that Rodney Harrison, Corey Dillon, and Randy Moss would blow up in their face. and yet they persist.

to build on what rich said, the thing that the Super Bowl winning Patriots teams had that the current Patriots team lacks isn't offensive playmaking, it's leadership on defense. those teams had a lot of prime time players (to unfortunately borrow a phrase from Dick Vitale) leading the defense: Harrison, Seymour, Willie McGinest, Ty Law, Mike Vrabel, Tedy Bruschi, etc. they always dug in and got a stop when they needed it the most. it looks like that's what the Patriots have been trying to do with Vince Wilfork, Mayo, Brandon Merriwether, Devin McCourty, Chung, Butler, and so on. Ugh, here I am rambling about the Pats like Peter King.

I'm also surprised that Gregg didn't spend a word or 2,000 picking Inception apart, especially considering how much he hates The Dark Knight.

rich said...

wow, I biffed on that first comment I made. to clarify: the Saints did score the decisive touchdown against the Cardinals with a flea-flicker. and it was awesome. yeesh.

They also had the onside kick to start the second half of the SB. I don't know if that's considered a "trick play," but there's that too.

As for the Pats (this feels wrong):

How many positions did the Patriots desperately need to fill holes in over the past couple of years? The only one I can think of is LB and they addressed that nicely with the Mayo pick. Other than that, why would they trade up to get a Dez Bryant or CJ Spiller? Belichick clearly goes for roster depth and it's worked out really, really well for them.

Like you said ivn, every year there are those players who the media gets riled up about that no one traded up for and it seems every year those players end up sucking. Gholston is a great example of this. It's one of those things that sportswriters can get away with knowing that in 3-5 years when they're shown to be incredibly stupid no one will remember what they said.

You basically hit the nail on the head with what the Patriots are lacking. Then again with the media's slobbering of Rex Ryan's testies, it's "hard" to remember that the Patriots won the division last year.

rich said...

I'll just add this too since ivn brought it up.

Inception was Shutter Island with explosions. The more I think about the movie, the more I realize that the movie broke almost every one of the "rules" it created.

That and after 10 minutes of screen time I was hoping that Ellen Page would get hit by a bus.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, Gregg just wants to be able to say a player from Oxford plays in the NFL. There's no reason to list him as graduating from Oxford since he was only there one year and never played football there. Real life is different from football in this case.

If TMQ did talk about Revis, I think he would end up supporting the Jets because he doesn't want the team to cave because that's bad luck and could lead to a Revis Curse! Like the "big salary" quarterback thing, Gregg is just typing and not really thinking that Quinn and Tebow aren't really big salary QB's and that was a terrible example for why contracts shouldn't be guaranteed in the NFL.

Good catch on that Broncos passes v. Dolphins being outscored in the 4th quarter. I missed the contradiction there.

I'm with you guys on the Patriots draft criticism Gregg has. The Pats won the Super Bowl without huge name guys at every position and it looks like Belichick is trying to duplicate that in some ways. I don't completely like how he accumulates picks and then trades for more picks, but it is WAY too early to judge some of these players. The Pats had a plan in the past to get certain players on the team and it looks like they are trying to stick to that plan.

I would think Gregg would be against a team drafting big name guys so that team can get team performers or guys who aren't the biggest name in the draft. I would think Gregg would like it when a team tries to draft players who build on a team concept, but I guess not. To say these guys aren't living up to their potential after one year is ridiculous. He thinks no one will remember what he writes, but I will remember.

In regard to San Diego, we all know Gregg hates any punting. That's a tough call and part of me thinks Turner should have gone for it, but Kaeding probably would have missed the kick knowing his playoff history and the Chargers never got the ball back. It's possible if they punt they can get better field position if they stop the Patriots. There was a decent argument to punt the ball, but it was a tough call. Of course, it didn't matter b/c they never got the ball back.

Gregg needs to never mention the San Diego lifestyle thing again. It's stupid and makes no sense.

I haven't seen Inception, but I had heard good things about it. I probably will rent it since I don't know if I care to see it in theaters.

FJ said...

Easterbrook is a tool who fancies himself a philosopher. He wrote some urgent piece to the "football gods" before Pats/Giants super bowl that the Pats lose because of karma or some other ridiculous thing, but that only scratches the surface of what I hate about his pretentious writing.

Since I like Simmons but also like your criticisms of him, I consider Easterbrook fair game too: I can like a sports journalist but appreciate you tearing him apart, it just makes it sweeter when I happen to dislike the writer in question.

KentAllard said...

I think most of us who had trouble escaping school list our undergraduate schools as where we graduated from, not the graduate schools where we wasted time at a higher price.

Tweets from ochcinco ARE just like an STD.

Shouldn't Gregggg's argument about teams who mail it in in the final game apply also to those teams that more or less tank in the pre-season? You know, the Colts. If they tried harder to win in the preseason, they wouldn't have come up short in the Super Bowl.*


* sarcasm

rich said...

Kent,

I list my undergraduate school because it's the only one people don't ask "where's that?"

::sighs, goes back to reading::

Bengoodfella said...

FJ, I actually sort of like Bill Simmons too...sometimes. His use of the football gods always just makes me wonder where he is actually coming from when he writes. He writes sort of tongue in cheek but he is also serious about some of the crap he writes. Sometimes, it is hard to tell the difference in what he is joking about and what he likes.

If there was real karma he wouldn't get to write TMQ for ESPN.

Kent, I list my undergraduate school since my graduate school was nice, but they really didn't do much for me. It was boring and I finished it because I had already started it and taken out the loans. I much prefer my undergrad school. In the case of if I played sports at one school and not the other and was drafted, obviously I would say I was from my undergrad school.

Gregg's rules don't apply to really anything. There is one instance which proves the rule and various other instances that disprove the rule. He ignores all that disprove the rule and focuses on what proves the rule he is trying to make.

Rich, I do the same thing. Even though few people know where my undergrad is located as well.

HH said...

New England attained a phenomenal 15 choices in the first three rounds of the past three drafts --

The Patriots are one of the league's oldest teams


Would the latter not imply that the Pats should make lots of draft picks to try to become younger?

Also, many of us can name the Patriots picks and even what happened to them. Brandon Tate looks like a stud who was injured in college and should contribute in his second year. Pats also like to draft linemen and defensive backs and then bring them up slowly as backups and special teamers before they start. [Brace, Butler, Chung, Vollmer in the second round of 2009, Gregg.] For a guy who has previously claimed that a team is better off trading its first-round pick for the entire seventh round, Gregg is letting his bias show here. He simply hates the Patriots, and has for years, and is now denigrating the very model he's been advising for years.

Bengoodfella said...

Ivn, it would indicate the Patriots are trying to get younger because they are older. That's probably a smart move then. It seems like Gregg doesn't like the Pats that much, and I remember him liking 2nd round and later picks over the 1st round highly drafted highly paid players. It doesn't make sense to me at all that he would criticize this.

What makes me upset is that he is judging these players on being in the league for such a short time.

Cory said...

No 2010 records from Gregg's crystal ball? No haiku? TMQ must be lowering his standards.

Bengoodfella said...

Cory, I thank God there was no haiku or a crystal ball. I am trying to be less nitpicking of him. The last thing I need is for him to bust out with a crystal ball. Haikus are great poetry devices, but I am not sure I like them in form of NFL previews.

rich said...

Jayson Stark drops the biggest steaming pile of hyperbole ever (http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/columns/story?columnist=stark_jayson&id=5503530):

"If Stephen Strasburg isn't going to throw a pitch for another year -- or even more -- the entire sport of baseball isn't going to be quite the same.

He may have only made 12 fucking starts in his entire career, but he changed everything about baseball. We'll never have another super hyped, ubber talented young player in the league again!

So apparently, his stuff translated just fine on any level.

Ya, too bad his "stuff" also required him to hurt his shoulder and blow out his arm. Other than that it translated just great.

This guy was special.

Was? I was unaware Strasburg's arm had fallen completely off. Oh it didn't? Holy shit, he must be dead then? He's not? Oh...

It was clear from the moment he stepped onto the big league stage in June and punched out 14 Pirates that he was something special.

Not really. It's the fucking Pirates Jayson, all this told us was that the Pirates sucked and we all knew that already.

We mentioned Kerry Wood earlier. Wood had Tommy John surgery right after his rookie year....
But he's never been that guy again.


Ya and this dude in Florida named Josh Johnson had it a few years ago after his first full season. I think he sucks ass now though, so forget him.

Also Kyle Drabek seems to have recovered from it quite nicely (he's been recorded hitting 100MPH since having the surgery)... considering he was the centerpiece in a trade for Roy Halladay after he had the surgery.

In an article where Stark admits we have no idea what will happen, he seems to think Strasburg would have an easier time recovering from a shotgun to the head.

Also worth noting: Wood had the surgery 11 years ago. Medical technology and therapy has improved a shitton in the past decade.

Strasburg will be fine, as long as he changes he mechanics. Go send his ass to Don Cooper next summer. With the resources that the Nationals will bring to bare for Strasburg, it's pretty safe to say he'll recover. Maybe not "he's a first ballot HOFer" recover, but he'll be fine.

It seems that no matter what Strasburg does, the media has to build up his legend. Before he makes a start he's the best prospect ever; after his first start he's Bob Gibson; he gets hurt and baseball isn't going to be the same. It's embarrassing.

This is our loss, too.

Looks at Phillies' roster I don't see Strasburg listed anywhere on here. Oh! Oooooohhhhh... now I get it. It's my loss that I won't get to see him pitch anymore! Ya, how will I ever manage being able to watch only: Lester, Buchholz, Leake, Price, Hamels, Jimenez, Johnson, Jaime Garcia, Hellickson, Cain, Lincecum and Tommy Hunter.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I have to read that article. Let's not forget to add John Smoltz to that list of TJ surgery guys who came back as strong. Also, Tim Hudson had it and he very well may be a better pitcher this year then he has been in many years. It's not a death sentence for pitchers.

Of course ESPN will hype up the Strasburg legend, that's what they do. He will recover and be fine. His stuff translated to the majors, but obviously something got him hurt. Strasburg is still young and the Nationals have Jordan Zimmerman coming back next year.

I can't wait to read the article.

Facebones said...

Just two comments on Greggg..

1) Wasn't April where he was praising clubs like the Eagles and Patriots for stockpiling draft picks? He wrote that, due to the hit or miss nature of most prospects, this was like buying more tickets to the lottery and you'd have a better chance of hitting it big. So now, the Patriots have followed that philosophy and they got a bunch of non-winning scratch-offs, and they suck?

2) Enough of the Christmas Creep bullshit. Hey guess what? We're in a crappy recession. Some stores make 50% of their profits during the six week Christmas season, so who can really blame them for wanting to push the envelope? If you don't like it, don't shop at that store.

And Christmas in July has been a QVC thing for a while. Some stores do it as a joke and to move some inventory, but christ, chill out and go back to masturbating over cheerleaders.

And you covered this already, but who the fuck cares that the seasonal Halloween Spirit store is going to open in September? Are they supposed to open Oct. 30th so as not to offend Greggg's tender sensibilities?

Bengoodfella said...

Facebones, I wish I could make a list of all the times Gregg has contradicted himself over the years. He did talk about how getting a bunch of 2nd round picks was a good move since players don't always pan out and they don't have to pay as much money for them. Of course like he always does, he bases his opinion on how it all turned out. It was a good idea if it works and he doesn't think it is working for the Patriots, so it is a bad idea.

I don't get the Christmas Creep thing. I think he is trying to be funny, but it is tedious. Stores make a shit load of money off Christmas, so naturally they are going to want Christmas to be all the time.

As far as the Halloween store goes, it makes sense to rent space early and get customers to buy costumes early rather than open a week before Halloween. They are probably paying rent monthly, so rather than only be open one month they pay rent for two months and earn money for two months. I agree, it business sense and it is just kind of dumb to criticize them for this.