Monday, November 1, 2010

9 comments MMQB Review: Let's Fire Someone Edition

After taking last week off from covering Peter King's MMQB I am back this week and so is Peter of course. He's giving some advice this week, and no it is not about what a great and comfortable ride the Acela is, but it is actually about football. Peter is not a Wade Phillips fan.

About as boring a football Sunday as there could be for the first couple of hours, Denver and San Francisco exporting horrible football to London; the Redskins stinking it up at Detroit; the Cowboys looking as pathetic as the '62 Mets; Kansas City and Buffalo playing offensive football like it was 1930 and not 2010; the Jets throwing a slumber party for their offense.

Who wants to watch football without storylines that overshadow the games? Boring! Does anyone watch sports for the actual competition? No way. It's all about the soap opera that surrounds each game. That's really all that interests Peter. If it can't help him write a story, it sucks.

Then some interesting things happened. Lots of them.

Brett Favre AND the Patriots played. Together. In the same game. Peter had to wash the couch cushions and the clothes he was wearing immediately after this game.

The benching of The Solution by Mike Shanahan;

How about we don't call Donovan McNabb this?

Jerry's got heartburn, and he needs to act on it.

To: Jerry Jones.
From: Me, representing everyone in the football world.
Re: Your team.

Please do not call yourself "America's Team" anymore. It's annoying. Otherwise your football issues are your football issues and I won't stick my nose in them.


But everyone can see your Cowboys are not playing hard. We saw it in the NBC viewing room Sunday, and Garrard saw it, too. He told me: "It just looked like they weren't into the game like an NFL team should be.''

That's tough criticism because if anyone knows what it is like for an NFL team to quit on their head coach it is David Garrard. Jack Del Rio got fired two seasons ago, it's just the Jaguars can't find anyone else better than him to coach the team so he is currently the interim head coach.

You don't see that with a Baltimore or Pittsburgh. Andy Reid's teams don't do that.

Dallas, you are not an East Coast NFL team, the standard upon which Peter compares anything.

We all know Wade's a prince of a guy. But he's the exact wrong man for this job right now. This team has abused Phillips' decency. It's time to put a guy in the job for the rest of the year who won't take the same crap Phillips is taking right now. I'd choose offensive coordinator Jason Garrett or special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis.

The important thing to do is hire someone from THIS coaching staff. The team will immediately respect this person, I am 100% sure of this.

Garrett will be uber-organized, and he'd show you whether he should or shouldn't be a candidate for the full-time job when you interview John Fox, Leslie Frazier, Bill Cowher and maybe Jon Gruden after the season.

Because Bill Cowher has shown he can be a successful coach outside of the Steelers organization? No offense to Cowher, but he is a good guy who want a ton of money and a lot of power when he has only been successful in the most well-run organization in the NFL. I'm not saying he isn't a good head coach, but Mike Tomlin has as many Super Bowls as he does and it didn't take him over 10 years to get one. The Steelers are just a successful organization, so I have to put some of Cowher's success in Pittsburgh on that. Just food for thought.

Also, please hire John Fox. Now. End my misery of having a lame duck head coach.

There's only one thing to do. You've never shied away from the tough calls, Jerry. This isn't even one of them, honestly. But it's got to be done. You've got to fire your coach.

Don't fire the players who aren't playing well, running roughshod over the head coach, and aren't listening to him anymore. Don't fire the guy whose idea it was to trade for Roy Williams and then sign him to a big contract (who was that again? Not Jerry Jones I am sure) and don't fire the person whose idea it was to not upgrade the offensive line after last the head coach.

When Washington coach Mike Shanahan made the move he made Sunday with 1:45 left in the fourth quarter and Washington trailing by six at Detroit, removing a healthy Donovan McNabb for Rex Grossman to run the two-minute offense, he said it was because of Grossman's familiarity with the two-minute offense from working with offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan at Houston in 2009. But the move tells me three things:

1. What the fuck?
2. What the fuck?
3. Rex Grossman? That's like being removed in the 7th inning for Brooks Conrad as your defensive replacement.

To say you're more comfortable with Rex Grossman than Donovan McNabb with the game on the line is something that should strike McNabb to the core.

It strikes me to the core too. I'm insulted for McNabb.

3. McNabb turns 34 this month. His contract is up at the end of the year. All along, we viewed the long-term deal of McNabb in Washington as a formality, to provide the fitting coronation to the Easter-night trade from the Eagles to the Redskins. Not so fast.

"We?" Whose "we?" Does Peter have a squirrel in his pocket? If I remember correctly I asked why the Redskins traded draft picks for an older quarterback who is learning a somewhat new offense. I thought it was a good trade for the Eagles and a good short-term trade for the Redskins. This long-term contract thing was always bullshit to me. I am sure others thought this way too. I like McNabb, much more than others do, but I didn't see this long-term deal as such a great idea. He's on the downside of his career.

I tend to think McNabb should be the more worried party after Sunday. Is he really that desirable a quarterback? The Eagles dangled him for two months last spring, and the only team to give a market offer for him was Washington.

(coughs) "Release him and then Carolina should sign him."

I don't really want McNabb on the Panthers, but I would love to see what the Panthers offense could do with a competent quarterback.

If the Eagles didn't want him with three or four prime years left,

HE DOESN'T HAVE THREE OR FOUR PRIME YEARS LEFT! That's my entire point that Peter King has seemed to miss. McNabb is 33 years old and he's had injury problems in the past. I don't know if he has three or four prime years left.

Can't you just imagine Al Davis this morning? Told you I was right to trade the one for Richard Seymour. Told you Darren McFadden was a franchise back. Told you this pass-rush would work. Told you Darrius Heyward-Bey had some Cliff Branch in him.

Al Davis is probably actually drooling in a bed somewhere, but I am sure if he were conscious he would feel very proud these moves worked out a couple of weeks in a row.

Watching chunks of Sunday's game, I found one thing evident: The Raiders are playing harder than they have been, flying to the ball like the Steelers and Ravens do on defense especially. Quarterback Jason Campbell points to a speech coach Tom Cable gave the team the night before the Denver game, when he implored them to stop worrying about making mistakes and to just play with abandon.

I'm not saying the Cowboys should not fire Wade Phillips, but the Raiders playing well this year reminds me of why coaching continuity is so important. The Raiders could have been impatient and started all over again this year by firing Tom Cable. They did not. Granted, he had not lost the team, maybe they are all afraid he'll punch them, and the team was still playing hard for him. The Cowboys just lost their franchise quarterback and now have Jon Kitna starting for them. That's a bit of a disappointment. I think coaching continuity is very important and teams shouldn't overreact to good or bad years because in the NFL teams can be good one year and very bad the next.

Suh on fire.

Sacks by Ndamukong Suh at midseason: 6.5.

Sacks, combined, by Jared Allen, Julius Peppers, Albert Haynesworth: 5.0

You wouldn't think a guy who dominated every team in college last year would do the same in the NFL, would you?

I would love to hear from some Bears fans about Peppers? Do you love him or are you ready to give up on him yet? I haven't been able to watch every game the Bears play, but I notice Peppers has two sacks this year and seems to have done his usual disappearing act in quite a few Bears games. Do you understand why some Panthers fans weren't exactly sad to see him go this past offseason? He is the absolute best at disappearing in the middle of a football field.

6. New York Giants (5-2). "In my mind, the Giants are the best team in the NFC,'' Sean Payton said Friday.

Well, if Sean Payton says it is true, then it must be true.

Quote of the Week III

"To mentally understand the game the way he does is just remarkable.''
-- Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh, after Cardinal quarterback Andrew Luck completed 19 of 26 with a touchdown and no interceptions Saturday night in Seattle in a 41-0 rout of Washington. The ballyhooed matchup of Luck versus Washington quarterback Jake Locker (7 of 14, 64 yards, no touchdowns, two interceptions) was a dud.

Locker is a senior. Luck is a third-year sophomore. It's now looking like Luck, should he decide to enter the draft, likely will be the highest-rated player in it, with Locker floating somewhere around the middle of the first round.

I can't help but wonder if Jake Locker isn't the most overrated quarterback prospect in the NFL draft this year. I know he doesn't have a whole lot to work with in Washington and much of his running ability has been taken away by injury, but he has put up some really bad numbers when he has faced good defensive competition. Part of Locker's charms as a quarterback is his running ability, but there are times he just doesn't look good at all even when he can't run.

Granted, he isn't terrible, but I am starting to wonder if he is really a 1st round pick.

MVP Watch

2. Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis. As usual, think of the two-loss Colts with Curtis Painter playing. I rest my case.

I understand this little fact makes Manning more valuable to the Colts, but if the Colts had more competent backup quarterback then that would make Manning less valuable to the Colts? Based on this reasoning any team with a crappy backup quarterback would have a quality MVP candidate by also having a great starting quarterback. Manning should be in the MVP race, but not just because he has a shitty backup.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

So my Montclair buddy Jack Bowers and California daughter, Laura, took a busman's holiday Thursday to see World Series Game 2 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. A great trip. The highlights:

Oh yes, please. Give me the highlights of a trip that you heard someone else took. There's nothing better than hearing traveling highlights third-hand. I would love to know what the Bowers friends down the block did for their summer vacations as well. Could you please ask Jack to ask them so he can tell you so you can tell us?

• Smelled marijuana near Fisherman's Wharf.

America's drug culture is ruining the smell of fish for them!

• Smelled marijuana near Lefty O'Doul's, the quaint only-in-San Francisco bar-cafeteria downtown.

How are they supposed to get drunk with all these drugs around them?

Saw lots of "TIMMY SMOKE'' T-shirt with marijuana leaves on them, in honor of Tim Lincecum getting pinched on a marijuana charge last year. Think that doesn't make him a favorite of the locals?

Oh I do think it makes him a favorite of the locals. Did Jack Bowers travel back into 1960's San Francisco and not tell anyone? What's with the constant mentions of the drug culture?

• Learned I might be able to manage better than Ron Washington. Giants led 2-0 in the bottom of the eighth. Two out. No one on. Buster Posey singles. Pitching change. In comes lefty setup guy Derek Holland. Four straight balls to Nate Schierholtz. Men on first and second. Up comes Cody Ross, hottest bat in the Giant postseason. Ball one. Ball two. Ball three. "He's got to warm up Feliz,'' I say. [Neftali Feliz, the trusted closer.] Nope. Ball four. Bases loaded. Eight balls, no strikes. NO ONE WARMING UP. NOT FELIZ, NOT ANYONE.

Why are managers fascinated with only using their closers in save situations? If Washington doesn't put Feliz in the game to keep it close then the Rangers will lose...and that's what happened. I don't get it. Closers don't have to just pitch in save situations. There are more high leverage situations when the closer should be pitching. This was one of them. What was he being saved for?

• Smelled marijuana walking out of the park, then a block later on Second Avenue, walking from the stadium.

Ok, we get it. There's marijuana in San Francisco. Move on.

Postscript: Ten hours after walking out of the stadium, I'm sitting in New York Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff's office in suburban New Jersey, interviewing him for a story. Isn't it a wonderful travel world?

Where in the introduction did Peter say that he went on this trip as well? I finally get the sense that he went on this little trip as well, but he didn't say that. He said just two people went on the trip:

So my Montclair buddy Jack Bowers and California daughter, Laura, took a busman's holiday Thursday to see World Series Game 2 at AT&T Park in San Francisco. A great trip. The highlights:

Nowhere in there does Peter mention he went on the trip as well. does employ editors right? Peter talks like he was on this trip to San Francisco, but he doesn't mention he was. I'm confused.

d. Favre played. He was glad he did. Played well too. "I was shocked I was able to play and move around the way I was,'' he said. No reason he won't play again next week too.

Favre was shocked he was able to move around as well as he did. Hey everyone come here Brett Favre talk about how well he played considering how injured he is. He's a real hero. Just ask him, he will tell you. I can't believe his team pulled out the vict---wait, they didn't win? That doesn't matter to Favre. He played well and that's all he gives a shit about.

At the snap, Adrian Peterson took the ball and ran right behind Loadholt. One problem: Brace was pushing Loadholt back. Peterson couldn't find a hole, and he was enveloped by the Patriot defense. Never would have happened if Brace hadn't win the man-to-man battle with Loadholt.

"Never would have happened if Brace hadn't win the man-to-man battle with Loadholt."

It's a good thing he win that battle, otherwise the Patriots don't wouldn't had won the game.

I notice these mistakes first time I read through this column. They are so small, but I still think they should be corrected before MMQB gets published.

(I read this post VERY carefully since I have criticized the editing. Which naturally means there is a huge editing error I missed)

h. Carson Palmer. I don't care what the stats say, he throws too many Rick Ankiel balls. In other words, the football equivalent of a ball ending up on the backstop.

Uh-oh, the media may be starting to notice that Carson Palmer isn't a good quarterback.

j. Max Hall. Looks like he's playing with zero confidence now, totally unlike the guy I saw in training camp.

This was the same Max Hall who is a rookie and the same Max Hall that Peter anointed the future for the Cardinals after he had one good game? Peter loves to over react to 1-2 good/bad games by a player.

The final show, with the top 10 players, will air Thursday night on NFL Network, followed by a one-hour wrap show with four or the voters (me, veteran NFL executives Ernie Accorsi and Mike Lombardi, and Jarrett Bell of USA Today)

"Four or the voters." I actually am beginning to think this gets edited after it gets published on the Internet, which of course, I think is terrible. I wouldn't dream of publishing something before I edited it.

Seems the biggest controversy so far has been the ranking of the modern quarterbacks (surprise) who've played since 1970. They've fallen in this order: Brett Favre 20, Tom Brady 21, John Elway 23, Dan Marino 25, Roger Staubach 46, Terry Bradshaw 50, Troy Aikman 80, Steve Young 81, Kurt Warner 90, Joe Namath 100.

Wow. Really? Favre over Brady, Elway, and Marino?

Joe Namath shouldn't be in the discussion for the Top 50 quarterbacks of all-time, much less in the discussion of the Top 100 players. Look at his numbers. I don't care that teams didn't pass as much back then.

A career completion percentage of 50.1%?

A TD to INT ratio of 173:220?

We can't even say he was a winner because he has a career losing record of 62-63.

His career passer rating is 65.5. Jamarcus Russell's is 65.2. Cade McNown's is 67.7. Bruce Gradkowski's is 66.7. You get the point.

Joe Namath should not be on this list and he should not be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I almost believe players should be able to be voted out of the Hall of Fame based on Namath's inclusion.

d. I have heard people complain that the price of newspapers is going up, or that newspaper websites, in starting to charge people for content (which is long overdue), are turning people away from the papers. Well, I guess paying $2 for the Times is prohibitive outside of New York City compared to recent days, when it could be had for less than a dollar. But I paid $2.49 for a Zone bar in Logan Airport the other day and $2 for the newspaper. I was finished with the Zone bar in seven bites -- maybe five minutes. I spent 75 minutes with the Times, then put the crossword in my bag (frustratingly) to work on it later in the week. Pretty good deal if you ask me.

The problem is that you are paying $2 to learn information that happened 12+ hours ago. I don't know if people will pay for newspaper content online. I could be wrong, but I think the days of having to pay for information are gone. This isn't the CIA. I shouldn't have to slip $5 bucks in someone's pocket to hear information on a story about how a player is recovering from surgery in the offseason.

i. Thanks, Celtics, for allowing my buddy Pete Thamel and me to parachute into the Celts-Heat LeBron Bowl opener. Very generous of you. Even got to meet my favorite player of my youth, Hondo Havlicek. That was fun. Except for me asking one too many stupid questions when trying to find out where some of the guys from that team were now. "Where's Larry Siegfried?'' I asked. Said Hondo: "He died two weeks ago.''

Would it be possible for Peter to just stick with football? It seems like the sports he loves as hobbies are sports he isn't well-informed about. After calling Derek Jeter the best player of his generation (which Peter clarified to mean the last 20 years, which doesn't make it any less crazy), now he is asking former NBA players about their teammates who aren't in attendance...mostly because they are dead.

j. And I know less about the NBA than I know about Norwegian politics. But I did leave the basketball game wondering how in the world anyone would think Chris Bosh is on LeBron's and Dwyane Wade's level. It should be the Big Two and Three-Quarters in Miami instead of the Big Three, shouldn't it?

From the mouth of babes...

Chris Bosh was a good player on a bad team. On a good team he is the second best player.

Indianapolis 30, Houston 23. This game can go a lot of ways, because both teams ought to feel pretty good coming off the bye. But if I'm analyzing a football game, and Peyton Manning has had two weeks to prepare, and Bill Walsh has had two weeks to prepare, I'd still probably pick Manning. Thus the prediction.

Not sure I get the comparison between a quarterback having two weeks to prepare and a head coach having two weeks to prepare. Manning is sort of the head coach of the Colts, but I still may not get it because Walsh and Manning have somewhat different responsibilities.

More importantly, logic dictates because Manning is better than Bill Walsh when given two weeks to prepare for a game, this means the Colts will beat the Texans tonight.


rich said...

I'd choose offensive coordinator Jason Garrett or special-teams coach Joe DeCamillis.

When I think head coach, I don't want a guy who has had previous head coaching experience. No way, give me the friggin' special teams coach...

3. McNabb turns 34 this month. His contract is up at the end of the year. All along, we viewed the long-term deal of McNabb in Washington as a formality, to provide the fitting coronation to the Easter-night trade from the Eagles to the Redskins.

Lets see here. Long term contract to a 34 year old with a history of season ending injuries... Yup, that's the Washington Redskins I know and love.

Told you Darrius Heyward-Bey had some Cliff Branch in him

So having two good games out of eight is a "told you so moment"? Heyward-Bey sucks ass, especially given he was the first WR taken in front of Britt and Nicks.

Think that doesn't make him a favorite of the locals?

Also helping? Those two Cy Young awards.

"He's got to warm up Feliz,'' I say. [Neftali Feliz, the trusted closer.]

Feliz was all over the place in the playoffs, his first three games he walked 5 guys. You don't really want to bring in a 22 year old with control issues to pitch in a nerve wrecking situation...

No reason he won't play again next week too.

Other than the fact he actually wasn't playing that well? Or the fact that his geriatric ass had to be carted off after getting a cut on his chin?

Brett Favre 20, Tom Brady 21, John Elway 23, Dan Marino 25, Roger Staubach 46, Terry Bradshaw 50, Troy Aikman 80, Steve Young 81, Kurt Warner 90, Joe Namath 100.

Favre at 20 is a joke. The guy has thrown a ton of interceptions in his career, a lot of them at times when he had no business making the throw. He's also had some pretty mediocre to bad years since his first retirement and you have to hold that against him. When did Elway ever have a bad year? He has more Super Bowls and more super bowl appearances than Favre and honestly if you gave me a choice between Favre and Elway, I take Elway every time.

Obviously, there are a couple of quarterbacks I haven't named who just might be in the last show

Ya, you wouldn't want to spoil the surprise...

One is active and might be playing tonight. Another is retired and has the same last name as a western state with a very big sky.

...Oh wait, you just did.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I think the worst part about thinking DeCamillis should be the replacement is that it is based on him being angry that his players screwed up and didn't listen to him. They didn't listen to him...and he should be the coach?

I thought the McNabb trade was good for the Redskins, but I didn't see the long term deal potential that Peter did.

If DHB ends up being a good WR then I am going to look dumb. I pretty much panned that choice for a while. I still have confidence he will be mediocre. You know Peter loves to get overexcited at 1-2 good games by a player. He was right about Arian Foster, but missed on Max Hall. He takes a player having a good week and blows it out of proportion.

Elway over Favre is a tough decision for me. Favre is/was a great QB but I think I may take Marino and Elway over Favre.

I thought he was talking about the famous Chris Idaho...but maybe it was Joe Montana.

your favourite sun said...

Namath's numbers look awful but so do most old-time players when viewed in a modern context. Are you going to bump Red Grange and Sammy Baugh from the Hall of Fame, too? It wasn't that they passed less back in those days, it was that the entire passing approach was strikingly different. That Namath could post a 50% completion rate and have more interceptions than TDs and still make the Pro Bowl tells you how differently the QB position was played back then. Teams actually ran the ball on 1st and goal from the two, they didn't care if a guy threw an interception forty or fifty yards downfield because they didn't fear points off turnovers as much, etc. In 1965 Namath completed 48.2% of his passes, which looks awful until you notice that the entire AFL completed only 45.3% of passes. If you look at a lot of other seasons you'll see similar splits. Context is very, very important here.

As for the QB rating, that was a stat arbitrarily conceived in a way to make "100" refer to a practically perfect QB. It was made up in 1971, aka a time when the entire NFL threw 150 more interceptions than touchdowns and barely completed half their passes. Its formula has not been changed since and thus does not account for the dramatic change in the NFL's playing style in the forty years since. Thus we have a stat that tells us that Trent Green is Dan Marino's equal, Jeff Garcia is better than Otto Graham, Dave Garrard is better than Jim Kelly, Jay Cutler is better than Roger Staubach(for the time being, anyways), Jake Delhomme is better than Warren Moon and Johnny Unitas was barely better than Vinny Testaverde. Also, Damon Huard and Jeff George > John Elway and Dan Fouts...I could go on like this but you get the idea. The stat's not meaningless but it's not very helpful in comparing across several eras.

Namath still doesn't belong on the top 100, but not for the reasons you stated. His prime was brief due to injuries, and even without seeing the full list I can tell there are too many QBs on it already. But I still felt it necessary to defend Namath's inclusion in the Hall of Fame, which should not be held hostage to the statistical expectations of the modern game.

your favourite sun said...

I meant to also point out that the Jets seemed to play a style that was less efficient than their contemporaries as well. What also stands out about the 1971 season was that the Jets were second to last in the NFL in completion percentage: 42.8%. Namath missed most of this season to injuries, returning only in December and actually improving the team's efficiency by completing 47.5% of his throws.

Bengoodfella said...

Sun, that's a good point. I probably didn't think it over as much as you did before I went on my rant. I will have to argue a bit with the Red Grange and Sammy Baugh. Those guys played in the 30's and 40's while Namath is a fairly modern quarterback that spanned the 60's and 70's when the passing game started to get more involved. So I don't think he has much to do with Grange and Baugh because he played in a modern era.

Other than that, you do have a point when you talk about the QB rating. So that's a good point. I don't want to rip Namath out of the Hall of Fame, but he doesn't deserve to be in the Top 100 (which you agreed with).

I understand the Jets also handcuffed what he could do with how inefficient they were and that is a part of it.

I won't want to take him out of the Hall of Fame for the reasons you stated, but he's still fairly overrated in my mind.

your favourite sun said...

If they seriously want to say he's one of the 100 best of all-time then he's being overrated. I have to wonder if his inclusion on the list was more for the novelty, like "We can't talk about the history of football without mentioning Broadway Joe!" Say the list was 200 Greatest rather than they then put Namath at #200? Because I could probably think of at least 199 guys to put ahead of him. But with his significance to the game's history--the crossover star on the AFL New York team, the cool story about Super Bowl III--they felt like they couldn't snub him, so they overrated him instead.

Bengoodfella said...

Sun, I do think you are right. They felt like they couldn't snub him on the list b/c that would make the list seem less...I'm not sure what it would make it "less" of, but they decided to include him and make people like us wonder why.

Good points in the reply originally, it made me think more than react.

Martin said...

I would never take Favre over Elway.

Terry Bradshaw at 50 is a joke. He should rate in front of Namath around the #198 mark. A team built around a great defense and a running game, and the guy who pretty much was on thin ice as the starter most of his career there whose only talent was throwing the ball deep, is the 50th best player of all time? Dude is rated above Marshall Faulk for cripes sake. His skill set is basically Derek Anderson.

Bengoodfella said...

Martin, I was so busy ragging on Namath I forgot to rag on Bradshaw. I guess we could use a lot of the same theory for Bradshaw that was used for Namath, but I agree his numbers aren't that impressive.

Rating him over Marshall Faulk is tough though. I probably should study the NFL HoF more b/c I get the feeling I wouldn't be impressed w/ a lot of the players in there.