Monday, November 22, 2010

7 comments MMQB Review: Now There Is A Clear Best Team in the NFL Edition

I know I keep bringing it up every single week, but when is Peter King going to suggest that the Vikings would be better off not starting Brett Favre anymore? What kills me is experts like Troy Aikman still insist, even when broadcasting a game and seeing firsthand evidence to the contrary, that Favre gives the Vikings the best chance to win a game over Tarvaris Jackson. I just feel like Peter King should be smart enough to see the Favre doesn't give the Vikings the best chance to win at this point.

Today, Peter has big news for us...he has blown up his Fine Fifteen. So instead of the randomly placed order he usually places his Fine Fifteen in, the order is now more random and even features the NFL's best team...despite Peter saying a week ago there wasn't a best team in the NFL. So really nothing has changed, but Peter finds it revolutionary.

Are you ready for your closeups, Jason Garrett and Leslie Frazier?

How can Leslie Frazier coach the Vikings this year when he will be the Panthers coach next year? When he does well in Minnesota he will get hired for the job on a permanent I think it is best if he isn't a head coach this year.

(and naturally after I wrote this, Leslie Frazier is named interim Viking coach)

BenJarvus Green-Ellis, Danny Woodhead and James Sanders just beat Peyton Manning. What a country.

There was also a guy by the name "Tom Brady" that had something to do with the Patriots beating Peyton Manning.

You'll never guess who's using Slingbox.

I'll never guess because I don't give a shit.

"You'll never guess who loves toast in the morning. Scroll down to the bottom of the page 5 to find out and be shocked. I'll give you a hint...he does not like key lime pie."

It's hard to not have great admiration for Aaron Rodgers. After the Packers embarrassed the Vikings Sunday at the Metrodome, Rodgers made a beeline for Brett Favre at midfield, and they embraced for a good 20 seconds, both whispering into each other's earholes.

(Peter crying alone in the dark after he sees this) "Why can't it be my earhole, Brett? WHYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYYY?"

Here is how I imagine the conversation went:

(Rodgers) "You should have stayed retired shithead. I respect you and all of that, but I could not be happier I beat your ass twice this year. You were a douche then and you are a douche now."

(Favre) "I'm a legend, you are a nobody. Look at my grizzled beard. I have an injury, do you have a second for me to describe it to you?"

(Rodgers) "I'm playing with a sprained ankle and a broken ring finger. Go buy some balls. Good luck plowing the land this next fall Brett, you know what, I'll even let you do my Hall of Fame induction speech."

Somewhere, in some deep place, Rodgers had to be feeling some measure of tremendous satisfaction, but he wasn't going to show it in that embrace, and no matter what he thought of Favre, he realized the moment and knew it was only right to treat Favre with the dignity he hoped one day the man who vanquished him would treat him. Maybe sometime around 2024.

Hearing my question about what went on between he and Favre, Rodgers said, "I'd rather keep that private. I don't think it'd be right to share it.''

Yep, that's how the conversation went. I don't know if this has been official yet or not, but can we get an official decree from the President that the Packers did the absolute right thing in keeping Rodgers over Favre three years ago? Is there even a question anymore? Even with Favre having a great year in 2009, Rodgers' numbers weren't terribly much worse and Rodgers is younger than Favre.

The Packers, for what it's worth, look like the best team in the league to me after 10 games

So the Packers are the best team in the NFL? Glad we've decided this since it doesn't make a difference at all in what will happen for the rest of the NFL season.

(and if you want to say it's the Patriots, I couldn't argue much, or the Eagles or Falcons or Jets or even the Saints)

Or they may not be. Thanks for the help. It is always nice to get the completely hedged opinion of a paid expert.

The defense has gotten early instability settled; coordinator Dom Capers has figured out the right personnel combinations, and the corner combo or Tramon Williams and Charles Woodson -- who has turned into the kind of leader a head coach dreams of -- is playing as well as any corner tandem in the league. Green Bay's allowed 10 points in the past 12 quarters. The Packers shut out the Jets at the Meadowlands. In the past two weeks, they didn't let two bad teams breathe.

You mean the "fad" 3-4 defense actually works when the right personnel is used? What would Gregg Easterbrook think about this?

3. The big-name coaches -- Bill Cowher, Jon Gruden -- will be in play. But will you want to lock them in at a big number for 2011 if you're not sure when or if you'll be playing football?

No, you won't. Cowher has coached in the most stable organization in the NFL for nearly his entire coaching career, so I have questions on whether he is a great coach or just fit the Steelers organization very well. Jon Gruden...maybe. He is like Mike Shanahan in that he likes veterans too much for my taste and is he really worth that much more money compared to another head coach?

In Minnesota, if Zygi Wilf succumbs to the masses and fires Brad Childress, he's got a reasonably priced defensive coordinator in place, Leslie Frazier, who's already a go-to confidant for many of the players, and the offense would be in good shape with coordinator Darrell Bevell keeping the reins.

But Leslie Frazier is coaching in Carolina next year. He can't coach two teams at one time.

(I wanted Leslie Frazier. I don't think I will get it now.)

In Carolina, there's not an obvious guy in-house, though owner Jerry Richardson wants to keep the coaching payroll down, so he could think of promoting from within.

Peter King is a moron. He has speculated Bill Cowher and Marty Schottenheimer will coach in Carolina next year. This could not be more off-base. The Panthers suck so Peter doesn't pay attention to them and I understand that. When Peter has answered the question about who will be in Carolina next year, he would be better off throwing darts at a board. There's a good in-house candidate, Peter just doesn't seem to care to look. Brian Baker is an obvious guy if the Panthers stay in-house.

I'm hearing more and more that Gruden could live with another year at ESPN -- he has one hard-and-fast year left on his contract there -- but would love to be in play for the right job. I think Cowher would go only to a place where the circumstances were right, and that job might not exist this year.

The circumstances haven't been right for four years now. When will the circumstances be right for him?

The third-most desirable guy (unless John Fox's star is not totally tarnished by this awful season in Carolina) might be Stanford coach Jim Harbaugh,

John Fox has essentially given up on the year and has spent the past three weeks making personnel moves that don't give his team the best chance to win. Tom Sorenson of the Charlotte Observer accused him of mutiny. If an owner is looking for a guy who will be passive aggressive when he isn't happy that he wasn't given a team full of veterans to coach then Fox is the guy. To be successful, Fox needs a team full of veterans.

As I said on NBC last night, this is bound to be an incendiary topic between the team and Young, and probably between the coaching staff and owner Bud Adams. Young is a 9-to-5 quarterback who doesn't work at his craft enough, either in the classroom or in rehabbing injuries. His leadership is poor because he doesn't show the commitment of many of his teammates.

I was hard on Vince Young last year, and have gone easier on him this year, but this is the problem with quarterbacks who have been able to coast on their talent for long periods of time. Just ask Mike Vick, it seems he has learned. When a quarterback has been able to coast on his talent, he doesn't have to do the work others put in. Unfortunately, practice habits and commitment to the team is more public when a player is the quarterback because it has a trickle-down effect on the team.

And though he's played better this year (10 touchdown, three interceptions), I get the sense the coaching staff has tired of spoonfeeding Young a version of the offense and not the whole thing, which makes Collins a more desirable option at this point, despite his age and creakiness.

Young really doesn't know the whole offense? He's been there five years and doesn't know the entire offense? Is this a joke?

I'm told Adams still views Young as the franchise star, which is part of the problem. The Longhorn Vince Young is not the Titan Vince Young. He's not the leader or player he was in college; is the petulant Iversonian figure who throws his uniform into the stands after a tough game the guy you build your franchise around? Adams would be foolish to think he is. Adams, I believe, is in love with a player who doesn't exist.

Peter King knows how this feels. He's in love with a quarterback that doesn't exist anymore too...not the way Peter used to remember him .

(Peter begins tearing up)

For now, the Titans, only a game out of first place in the AFC South, will go with sixth-round prospect Rusty Smith as quarterback entering a crucial stretch of four straight division games. It's not looking like their year. The worst decision they could make is going forward with Young into 2011 and beyond. Tennessee needs to cut its losses. Now.

To sum up Peter King's opinion...he thinks the Titans should cut Vince Young off their roster right now because of this incident and his lack of commitment to the team. Young is having a pretty good year in regard to performance and was removed from the game because he was injured and then threw a temper tantrum. Young is still performing at a fairly high level, so cutting him may seem a bit extreme. On the other hand, Peter does not believe Brett Favre (as stated in his MMQB last week) should even be benched, even though he is on the sidelines arguing with his coach, has shown a lack of commitment to the team by showing up in August over the past couple of summers, has a history of changing the play from what the coach wants run, and is not performing at a high level at all. I don't see how Peter can justify these two positions.

I bet Michael Vick hurts this morning. Justin Tuck sacked Vick three times Sunday in Philadelphia's 27-17 win over the Giants, and the Giants hit Vick another five times behind the line, and he exposed himself to more punishment in 11 rushes. Twice on the NBC telecast I heard the kind of audible hits that the announcers ooh and aah at, where shoulder pads meet shoulder pads or helmets. This is the torment coaches over the years have had when Vick plays: How much punishment can he take? He's already missed four starts this year, three after getting violently sandwiched by the Redskins on a run.

This is the problem with many running quarterbacks. Unfortunately, what makes Vick so difficult to defend also subjects him to a lot of hard hits. A team that signs him has to have a good backup quarterback who can enter the game when needed. Of course that team also needs a good backup quarterback to run the team when Vick decides he has gotten his long-term contract and doesn't have to work as hard anymore. Vick is in a contract year remember. It's possible he could tank after this year and not work as hard as he has lately.

I know, I know. You can't trust Parcells on this. When he took the Patriots job in 1993, he said, "This is my last job.'' When he quit the Jets after the 1999 season, he said, "This is definitely the end of my coaching career.'' When he turned down the Bucs' job in 2002, he said: "Write this on your little chalkboard -- I'm not coaching again.'' And here was are, almost nine years later, and I'm believing him?

You believed Brett Favre a few years ago when he told you the same thing. Peter basically tends to believe whatever people tell him, or at least that's how it seems at times.

The Fine Fifteen

Can you feel the drama?

1. Green Bay (7-3). Revolutionary move.

No, it's not. It is a power poll based on personal opinion. I could name San Francisco as the best team in the NFL and then say how revolutionary I am, but it isn't revolutionary because it's my FREAKING OPINION...not a fact.

2. New England (8-2). Tom Brady said he wishes he could have done more in the fourth quarter to help the Patriots win. Admirable, but 31 points is a good day's work in that rivalry.

The Colts almost came back and won the game. I'm not saying Tom Brady should be criticized, but if the Colts had come back to win the game then I think the Patriots offense should have gotten some minor amounts of criticism for not scoring again in the 4th quarter. God knows Bill Simmons would criticize Peyton Manning as a choker if the roles were reversed and the Patriots came back on the Colts in the 4th quarter and Manning couldn't score again to increase the Colts lead.

So 31 points is great but don't bail Brady out, because he sort of has a point.

5. Atlanta (8-2). Matt Ryan's back to rookie-phenom levels: 18 touchdowns, five picks, four wins in a row, by a total of 35 points.

Atlanta is 8-2, which is a better record than any other NFL team, but is #5 in Peter's power poll. I guess if a team beats Brett Favre it is much more impressive than anything a team from Atlanta (is that even a real city?) can do.

8. Pittsburgh (7-3). Embarrassed by the Pats. Embarrassed the Raiders. Not sure what this team is with all the injuries.

Every week Peter makes excuses for the Steelers about their injuries. Stop it. Other teams have injuries too and Peter doesn't make excuses for them. Why does he do this every single damn week with the Steelers?

MVP Watch

4. Mark Sanchez, QB, New York Jets. In the Jets' past three pulse-pounding wins, Sanchez has had the three most productive passing days of his career. A valuable player is one who plays great when the important games matter, and that's exactly what Sanchez is doing.

Peter has Sanchez over Drew Brees as the MVP. I say switch these two quarterbacks around and put Brees on the Jets and put Sanchez on the Saints. Peter really thinks Brees wouldn't have a better record than Sanchez if you switch those quarterbacks on their respective teams? Brees is more valuable.

Quote of the Week III

"I've tasted the caviar now, so eating out of the garbage is not where I want to be.''
-- Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, on the current quarterback-troubled, Kurt Warner-free days with the Cardinals, to Kent Somers of the Arizona Republic.

I have one compound word for you Cardinal fans: Uh-oh.

At least Larry Fitzgerald doesn't have Brian St. Pierre throwing him passes. He needs to be thankful for that.

Defensive Players of the Week

Julius Peppers, DE, Chicago.

The force behind the Bears' beatdown of Miami quarterback Tyler Thigpen Thursday night, Peppers had six tackles and three sacks (for 14 yards of losses), leading Chicago to a 16-0 win over the feeble Fish. Peppers' sacks came in a 26-minute span starting late in the second quarter, and snuffed out three drives. Chicago is paying Peppers a million bucks a game, on average, and on Thursday, he played like a million bucks.

Remember that great game Peppers had last year against the Vikings on Sunday Night Football? Isn't it weird how Peppers always has a good game when it is nationally televised? In games that are locally or regionally televised he just doesn't seem to play as well. It's almost like he can play really well when he wants to or something. He's only been doing this since 2002 and no one has really noticed, so that's good for him.

Vick has played 58 percent of the Eagles' offensive football this year -- 23 quarters to Kevin Kolb's 17.

Vick has thrown 55.5 percent of the Eagles' passes this year and started six of Philly's 10 games. (He is 5-1.) Four other candidates for MVP have started all of their teams games and have these comparable numbers: Drew Brees, 100 percent of his team's passes; Peyton Manning, 100 percent; Philip Rivers, 99.7 percent; Tom Brady 99.4 percent.

Notice how Peter doesn't put Mark Sanchez on this list of MVP candidates, but he put Sanchez 4th in his MVP watch. He can't even be consistent in his own opinion.

I have never liked JFK Airport in New York. It's hard to get to (except at 2 a.m.) because of traffic. Its eight terminals are spread out, making connections on different airlines a royal pain. The modernization of some of the terminals (like the one with JetBlue in it) helps, but, in general, you have to allow for so much more time flying out of there that I avoid it whenever possible.

Last Wednesday, it was not possible. I spoke to SI writer Jon Wertheim's class at Princeton at 2, then attended a program of Write On Sports, the invaluable New Jersey youth writing and mentoring program run by former Associated Press editor Byron Yake, in downtown Newark at 6:30. I had a 10:30 p.m. American flight back to Boston, so I figured if I left Newark around 8:15 and returned my rental car, I should make it just fine.

Bad misjudgment.

Then Peter goes into a loooooooooooooooooooooooooong story about how he cut it close to his flight and then, get this, things went wrong. Granted, some of these things were the fault of the airport, but Peter should just assume that everyone is an idiot, rather than believing airport employees' main reason for existence is to cater to his own every little question or need when he is in a hurry.

9:45. We leave. He would have had to be parked to be driving any slower. After five minutes of him meandering toward the terminals, with me as the only passenger on board, I said, "Can we go straight to Terminal 8? Flight leaves at 10:30.'' He said no, we had to go to every terminal, in order. I asked if he could make an exception.

"You wanna get me fired?'' he said. "You gonna find me another job?''

9:51. Terminal 1. "I'll get off here,'' I said, and jumped off, and ran to the taxi line.

Peter's an athlete. He ran a marathon. He can run.

The rule for this story is to get to your flight as early as possible. I thought most travelers knew this rule...especially in New York.

a. Cameron Wake, the Miami outside linebacker, who rushes the passer the way Pete Rose ran the bases. Irrepressible.

The rushes the passer by running around the field like he is running the bases on a baseball diamond? This may be the worst analogy ever.

h. Tony Dungy on what the Titans should do with their dissatisfied quarterback: "I think you've got to cut ties with Vince Young.'' Bold. Beautiful.

Tony Dungy is the moral authority on everything. Just ask him, he will tell you just how perfect he truly is.

d. Ridiculous Carolina secondary play, letting the moderately speedy (which is to say, fairly slow for a wideout) T.J. Houshmandzadeh get behind it for an easy 56-yard TD throw from Joe Flacco, early in the first quarter.

e. 1:07 p.m. Baltimore 7, Carolina 0. Game over.

I can't defend a terrible team, but it was 20-13 in the 4th quarter. The Panthers had the ball down 7 points and couldn't get a first down. So, it was not "game over" at 7-0 at all.

i. GRAHAM GANO! THREE YARDS SHORT on a 47-yard field goal that would have defused all of the debate that Donovan McNabb can't win the close games inside the two-minute warning! Short?!

Yes, why did you intentionally miss that kick? I wonder if Peter has a complaint about the overtime kick that Gano hit to win the game?

9. I think, as I did a month ago, that a fine is more likely for Brett Favre than a suspension. Nothing has changed my mind on this, basically because of his 14 years with a clean record (since the Vicodin rehab in 1996), and no prior violations of the league's personal conduct policy. Usually -- and I have to stress that word, usually -- the league doesn't whack a guy with a suspension on his first personal-conduct violation.

It's just boys being boys. No big deal, nothing to see here. Who hasn't sent text message pictures to a co-worker and then called that person on the phone asking for a date while married? Doesn't everyone do this?

h. Who's that Westbrook guy for Oklahoma City? What a basketball player.

What do you know, Peter only notices an athlete when he plays against his favorite team. He just sounds stupid saying shit like this. It just makes Peter sound ignorant about the NBA and seems like a feeble attempt to pretend he is keeping up with the sport. It's like my father asking me what Pearl Jam is up to these days.

l. Happy Thanksgiving, one and all. My favorite holiday of the year. You didn't know? I love to eat, and there's nothing on the Thanksgiving table I won't touch -- as you can probably tell.

It also gives Peter a chance to see that LeBron James fellow. Boy, he and Dwight Howard have some broad shoulders. Peter sees some All-Star game appearances in their future.


The Casey said...

You know, I'm always worried when I read a bunch of good stories about my favorite team, because I worry about the players buying into the hype, but it would be nice if the Falcons even got mentioned in some of these columns. I don't think Easterbrook has even had a one-sentence comment on the Falcons in a month. Maybe its because their highly-drafted players seem to be playing well? If only Roddy White had gone to Youngstown State!

Bengoodfella said...

Didn't Roddy White go to a small school? I thought he did. I remember the questions a/b him out of college was partly because the level of competition he faced. I may be wrong. Either way, the Falcons are the best team in the NFC until further notice.

I picked Green Bay to make the Super Bowl and I still believe the Falcons are better right now.

The Casey said...

Alabama-Birmingham. But he was a first-round pick.

ivn said...

Bill Simmons made a swipe at PK in his chat today...

in regards to the Falcons, you can't forget about "highly-drafted, highly-paid"(TM) quarterback Matt Ryan out of Boston College--which, according to TMQ, is apparently a football factory school:
By contrast, you'd quickly run out of fingers counting recent first-round football-factory receivers who either were busts or failed to live up to their billing. and he lists:
Charles Rogers - from Michigan State. major conference school, but not a football factory.
Troy Williamson - South Carolina, historically irrelevant football program
Matt Jones - Arkansas, good once every half-dozen years or so but a mid-level SEC program
David Terrell, Ted Ginn Jr., Michael Clayton
Darrius Heyward-Bey - Maryland, not a football factory
Ashley Lelie - Hawaii. are you kidding me?
Reggie Williams - Washington
Koren Robinson

let's spin this around on him! Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne, Anquan Boldin, Calvin Johnson (Georgia Tech apparently counts as a football factory now), DeSean Jackson (ditto for Cal), Larry Fitzgerald (and Pitt), Santana Moss, Dwayne Bowe, Percy Harvin...

So 31 points is great but don't bail Brady out, because he sort of has a point.

maybe by "doing more" Brady meant playing linebacker or something, because this Patriots defense is as soft as I've ever seen it.

Bengoodfella said...

Casey, White's the most underrated receiver in the NFL. If only he played in a big city...wait, Atlanta is a big city.

Ivn, I read the whole thing and couldn't find the swipe. Am I stupid or did I just miss it?

Gregg is an idiot. I have TMQ all ready to go and I address part of the issue you just talked about. He doesn't know what he is talking about.

Brady should play linebacker. He has the hair to do it now. He would be like Clay Matthews. Brady gets pumped up like a linebacker does.

ivn said...

Ivn, I read the whole thing and couldn't find the swipe. Am I stupid or did I just miss it?

someone asked him a question about having Goodell on his podcast and Simmons said something along the lines of "it wouldn't be worth it, Goodell's more used to eating dinner with reporters than having to answer hard questions from them," and was amazed that an ostensibly objective reporter would allow himself to be photographed in such a situation. it was a reference to this: (near the bottom of the page, under the "Travel Note of he Week")

Bengoodfella said...

Okay, I got it. That's pretty funny. I have to take Bill's side on this one. PK did talk about that meal with Goodell in MMQB and I think that is my biggest criticism of him. He doesn't want to ask tough questions, but wants to be buddy-buddy with those he covers.

Yeah, PK does some criticism, but it's all pretty soft. He is just cozy with a lot of NFL people.

Simmons has a point.