Monday, January 24, 2011

13 comments Gregg Easterbrook Continues To Talk About Spygate...Doesn't Realize It Isn't 2007 Anymore

Gregg Easterbrook is still talking about Spygate. I guess I shouldn't be surprised at all. He is one of the few people in the world who believes there are football gods which punish teams for bad deeds (like not going for it on fourth down) and he would go back as far as possible to explain how a team lost using non-football reasoning in order to cover up for his limited football knowledge. Since he can't sufficiently explain how the Patriots lost to the Jets using football terminology, he starts harping on Spygate again. Aren't we past this story now?

Since taking the field with a 18-0 record in Super Bowl XLII, just 60 minutes from perfection, the New England Patriots have not won a playoff game.

The Patriots went 18-0 AFTER Spygate happened. So the football gods rewarded the Patriots before they punished the Patriots. If the football gods are thinking of ways to punish the Patriots they are doing a shitty job by having them make the playoffs the past two years and reap the revenue from an additional home game. The football gods would probably also not allow the Patriots to have as many high-quality draft picks in the upcoming draft as they do.

In their latest postseason collapse, versus the New York Jets, New England's offense, averaging a league-best 32 points, was held to 14 points at home until a garbage-time touchdown with seconds remaining.

This garbage-time touchdown gave the Patriots a chance to recover an onside kick and then because they were only down 7 points, if they had recovered, would have had a chance to tie the game. So it was a garbage-time touchdown that allowed them a chance to win the game if they recovered an onside kick.

Belichick suffered public humiliation -- plus the Patriots' loss of a first-round draft choice -- when it was revealed that for years he had staff methodically film other teams' sidelines. But Belichick has never owned up to what seemed like cheating to practically everyone except him.

Belichick never apologized unless you want to count the following times he didn't apologize, like at the owner's meetings to the other owners or when he said the following:

"Although it remains a league matter, I want to apologize to everyone who has been affected, most of all ownership, staff and players," Belichick said. "Following the league's decision, I will have further comment."

Belichick never actually said he meant to break the rule because he claims that he misinterpreted the NFL's rule on taping. Maybe this is true and maybe it isn't. It doesn't matter now, it's over and he and the Patriots got punished.

After being caught, Belichick said he wished "to apologize to everyone who has been affected." But he's never admitted to cheating, hard as it is to think of any other word for what Belichick did.

Apparently the football gods are still angry.

Or apparently the Patriots lost a playoff game to another good team, the same good team that was in the AFC Championship game last year. So either there are supernatural reasons for why the Patriots lost or it could be because the Jets had a good gameplan and executed the gameplan well.

Of course this entire season Gregg Easterbrook spent inordinate amounts of time fawning over the Patriots and how smart they were. So naturally when they don't win the Super Bowl all of a sudden the football gods don't like them, yet the football gods loved them all season. Go figure.

In mythology, the gods punish hubris by imposing frustration -- allowing a mortal to come close to his desires, then be denied. That's what keeps happening to Belichick. Perhaps until such time as Belichick may do the right thing and admit that he cheated, the football gods will continue to punish this team. It's a shame that New England fans are caught in the backwash.

This is such a moronic way of writing about the Patriots' playoff loss that I am embarrassed I am even addressing it.

Other explanations for the Patriots' collapse:

There are no "other" explanations for the Patriots loss other than the Jets played better than they did in one game. That's it. Looking for any reasons outside of the realm of football strategy is a fool's errand.

One other thing. You won't read Gregg Easterbrook talking about this at all, but the Jets beat the Patriots with a "blitz-wacky" defense that Gregg tends to criticize on a weekly basis. Yeah sure, the Jets didn't blitz as much as they usually do, but they did send guys from different directions (i.e. not the defensive line, like safeties and 1-2 linebackers) at Brady. Gregg says that elite quarterbacks like to be blitzed because they can find the open man and he even has a section titled, "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again" in his TMQ. Basically he isn't a fan of blitzing, yet that's partially how the Jets beat the Patriots. You will be sure since Gregg Easterbrook was wrong he will not be focusing on the fact the Jets blitzed effectively and will in no way acknowledge his blanket statements of the past about blitzing were misguided and just overall wrong.

The Jets watch NBC. Three weeks ago Rodney Harrison, a former New England star who's now an NBC analyst, said the way to beat Tom Brady was to jam his receivers at the line while mixing coverages in the center of the field. Too many teams, Harrison said, show Brady backed-off simple coverages because they're afraid of giving up a big play. Jam and mix instead. That's what Jersey/B did.

Or it could be this is how the Jets play defense. Anyone who has watched a couple Jets games this year know it isn't NBC that gave the Jets this idea, but Rex Ryan who is the brains behind this strategy. I guess we are all wrong in thinking Rex Ryan was the head coach of the Jets when in reality the Jets get most of their ideas from Rodney Harrison or any other sports talking head. Somewhere Tom Jackson is nodding affirmatively.

Defense trumps offense in the playoffs.

The 2010 Oregon Ducks were college football's highest scoring team, averaging a hard-to-believe 49 points, yet scored only 19 points in their BCS title loss.

Auburn was also one of the highest scoring teams in college football and they only scored 22 points in the BCS title game. It is not like the Ducks were the only high-scoring team in that game, Auburn certainly classified in this category as well.

The playoffs are about mindset. During the regular season, if you lose a game, oh well, there's another one next week. During the postseason, lose and you go home. This cranks up the pressure, and some teams handle pressure better than others. The Jets lost to the Patriots 45-3 during the regular season and said, "Oh well." They came into Gillette Field on Sunday, in a do-or-die situation, mentally stronger than the Patriots. Their mindset was to destroy New England, while New England's mindset was to finesse the Jets.

Gregg's ability to read minds is unparalleled. Later in this column Gregg will complain about a helmet-to-helmet hit a Patriots player put on a Jets player. This is one of a few examples of how the Patriots weren't just trying to finesse the Jets. This is just being said because the Patriots lost the game and Gregg isn't fit to talk the strategic reasons why the Patriots lost, so he starts making up reasons about football gods and pretending he can read minds.

Pressure hits maximum in the Super Bowl, where all the players and coaches who have reached that point are good, and mindset often is decisive. The four teams still standing -- the Steelers, Bears, Packers and Jets -- all play power defense.

Three of those four teams also play a 3-4 defense, which is something Gregg devoted an entire TMQ to earlier this year while calling it a "fad" and said that offenses would figure it out sooner or later. Gregg also blamed the Bills inability to play well on defense this year to switching to a 3-4 defense and earlier this year he criticized the Packers move to the 3-4 defense. This annoys me every week. Gregg Easterbrook makes claims and then will never admit when he is wrong, but he is the very first to tell us all when he is right. Own it. If you write it, own it. Gregg doesn't do this.

Seahawks' players returning to their hometowns this winter will be able to swagger around saying, "Yeah baby, first 8-10 football team, nobody will ever take that away from us." They'll be telling their grandchildren, "I was on the only 8-10 football team of all time."

They can say this unless another NFL team goes 7-9 in the regular season or the season gets expanded to 18 games, which seems like a pretty good probability. So there could be a ton of 8-10 teams in the near future in an 18 game season. Good to hear Gregg isn't paying attention at all to NFL current events.

And in other football news, What the Martz! The Chicago Bears leading 28-3 early in the fourth quarter against the losing-record Blue Men Group, Mike Martz sent in a trick play -- tailback Matt Forte lines up in the Wildcat, then throws long. What the Martz? The Bears have the game all but sewn up, and should be grinding the clock in order to get starters off the field. Instead trick play, interception, Seahawks quickly make the margin 28-10 and Lovie Smith is forced to leave his starters in until the two-minute warning --

This is another example of where Gregg's inability to understand basic NFL strategy shows. Mike Martz knew the Bears were going to win and wanted to have the Wildcat with Forte on film for the Packers to be forced to study. He wanted to give the Packers another look to prepare for. I can't remember where I read this, but I read it on a couple of sites about how smart of Mike Martz this was. I tend to agree.

The failed trick play triggered a sequence that forced Chicago to keep its starters on the field. Green Bay will now enter the NFC championship with its starters having had a full day more rest than Chicago's. Games have been decided by less.

Irrelevant. The Falcons and Patriots had two weeks off before they played teams that had played the week before and both teams lost at home to these teams that played a week earlier. In fact, Green Bay played Sunday night and then beat Atlanta the next Saturday night, so this is potentially a really, really irrelevant point.

Missy of the Vikings, who not only has the ultimate cheerleader's name but according to her team bio is a past National Dance Association champion who is studying for a master's in science education at the University of Minnesota. Also according to her team bio, Missy reports, "I love a good math or science problem," which is not something one hears a cheer-babe say every day.

Gregg takes leering at cheerleaders and makes it sound so academic.

TMQ loves the ploy, on a high-pressure play, of going to some guy who never gets the ball.

Of course Gregg loves this ploy. Why would a team want to get the ball to one of their best players in this situation? THAT WOULD MAKE NO SENSE TO DO!

Steelers coaches sent rookie Antonio Brown -- who came into the postseason with 16 receptions, and who, when he does play, lines up in the slot as a possession receiver -- deep up the right sideline to draw safeties away from Hines Ward.

So the Steelers didn't really intend to go to Brown, they wanted the ball to go to Hines Ward. It is not as if the Steelers planned to go to Brown in a high pressure situation, it just so happened he got open. Perhaps crediting the Steelers with intentionally going with a player that doesn't get the ball much in this situation is overstating the Steelers intentions a bit?

Roethlisberger throws the deep sideline route better than any NFL quarterback,

This is an assumptive statement that has no proof shown by Gregg. It may be true, but Gregg merely stating it is true doesn't make it so.

Down 35-14, Atlanta defensive coordinator Brian vanGorder panicked and started calling lots of blitzes, which only led to big plays for the Packers.

How the hell would have not blitzing improved the Falcons chances of winning the game? They had tried not to blitz excessively in the game already and it didn't work. They needed to create a turnover. Sitting back and letting the Packers nickel-and-dime them while chewing up the clock is perhaps the worst possible strategy ever. The Falcons had to take risks and try to get a key turnover and blitzing was the key to doing this.

Scoring to pull within 42-20 at the start of the fourth quarter, why didn't the Falcons -- desperate for points -- go for two? Maybe because their coaches had quit on the game.

So it is fine to gamble and try to get as many points as possible on offense, but when the defense tries to gamble it is bad strategy? If the Falcons had not blitzed at all and not put pressure on the Packers defensively then that would be a sign the Falcons coaches had quit.

The Patriots lined up trips right with Brandon Tate wide and Deion Branch alone on the left side. Antonio Cromartie was in press coverage on Branch; on the right, nickelback Drew Coleman was way backed off against Tate. At the snap, safety Eric Smith blitzed,

Remember, Gregg just got done telling us how little the Jets blitzed in this game...

meaning Tom Brady had to release the ball quickly. Brady never looked right, "telegraphing" his decision to throw left to Branch, who was jammed at the line by Cromartie and in the wrong place when the ball arrived. Tate was open on a curl for the first down, but Brady never looked that way. Sour, especially for a player viewed as a master quarterback.

So the Jets blitzed Brady and he made a bad decision? I thought all elite quarterbacks wanted to be blitzed? Isn't that what Gregg tells us on a weekly basis, how a great quarterback wants to get blitzed? Again, Gregg proves his own previous statements untrue. Great quarterbacks like to be blitzed...when they can read where the blitz is coming from. Perhaps Gregg should quit writing in absolutes.

Two weeks ago, Facebook, which is privately held, sold 2 percent of its equity for $1 billion, a transaction that values the company at $50 billion. (Two percent of $50 billion is $1 billion.)

Because Gregg's readers are too stupid to fully understand this without Gregg explaining 2% of $50 billion is $1 billion. If we could all be as wise as Gregg.

"This better not be another three-man rush!" Your columnist exclaimed those words -- I've got multiple witnesses -- as the Steelers broke the huddle, game tied, facing third-and-19 on their 38 just before the two-minute warning.

All football tactics involve an element of luck -- something that's not worked earlier might work now. But for the Ravens, the three-man rush had been a disaster in the second half.

I am glad I am getting a better look at Gregg's idea of football strategy. Here's Gregg's defensive strategy in a nutshell: "Don't blitz, don't rush just three men."

So that leaves his defensive strategy for a team as rushing exactly four defenders at the quarterback, any more and that is blitzing too much, and too few and he will criticize a team for not having enough pressure on the quarterback.

The winning Steelers, by contrast, used a three-man rush on just one snap. In the final minute, leading 31-24 and Baltimore possessing the ball at midfield, the Steelers rushed either four or five to sustain pressure on the visiting quarterback.

Rushing five players would probably be considered blitzing, which is something Gregg does not encourage teams to do. He criticized the Redskins earlier this year for blitzing too much and allowing the Texans to come back, but here he thinks it was a great idea for the Steelers to blitz a little. The difference in these situations, as always, is the outcome. Gregg has no overall strategy he would use in any situation on the football field, he bases ALL of his opinions on whether a strategy ended up working or not. Anyone can point out what a team did wrong after the game is over, yet Gregg insists on making steadfast rules for what a team should do, and then eventually contradicts these rules.

The Ravens' megabucks offensive line faltered --

Megabucks? I am pretty sure the Ravens line doesn't make excessively more money than other NFL offensive lines. Combining all five starting linemen for the Ravens in the Steelers game they earned around $8.835 million. Gregg's favorite offensive linemen of all-time, Jeff Saturday, earned $8.9 million this year alone. So yeah, calling them "megabucks" doesn't check out in reality, just like still referring to Saturday as an overachieving undrafted free agent (which he was at one point) is a little misleading considering his salary for one year is more than five offensive linemen make for another NFL team.

Four of the five Ravens offensive linemen were drafted by Baltimore. None of the linemen were drafted in the first 20 picks of the 1st round. Four of the five offensive linemen were drafted in 2006 or later. If anything, the Ravens offensive line is a great example of how a team should build their offensive line through the draft.

Part of this was smart coaching against the Falcons' surprisingly weak coaching. Abraham is one of the league's few defenders who has the green light to make lots of inside moves, playing for the sack but abandoning containment. A dozen times Saturday night, Abraham made an inside move. Rodgers knew that if he saw Abraham coming from inside, there would be no containment, and he should spin to that side.

I don't know if this is true or not, but RIGHT BESIDE this statement in TMQ is a picture of Aaron Rodgers rolling to his right (not left like Gregg claims he did because if Abraham is coming from more towards the middle then it wouldn't make sense to roll right or he would roll right into Abraham) and John Abraham matching up (after having rushed what really, really looks like on the outside) against a tackle with Abraham's left arm on the left shoulder of the tackle (which presumably wouldn't occur if Abraham had tried to come from the inside because he would be on the tackle's right shoulder). It's just funny Gregg writes this statement and there is photographic evidence to the contrary, at least on one play, immediately beside this statement.

The Seahawks, first football team ever to be 8-9, first NFL team ever to appear in the divisionals with a losing record, trailed the host Bears 7-0 when they faced fourth-and-1 on the Chicago 40-yard line -- and punted. The punt occurred in the first quarter -- and TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook. Yea, verily, it came to pass.

I wonder how many times during an NFL season Gregg writes "game over" in his Miley Cyrus notebook? My guess is that he writes this at least 50 times per year and it comes true only when he mentions it in his column, which is probably once every two weeks or so.

Why wasn't the home team in a hurry-up? This was one of the many questionable decisions by Bill Belichick, normally a master of tactics. Belichick called six rushes on the possession, keeping the clock ticking. Even when behind, occasional running plays make the defense honest, and the 3-3-5 look that the Jets were using is vulnerable to the run.

Gregg complains the Patriots didn't hurry up enough and then immediately talks about strategy behind why they would not hurry up. So using his logic, it may have made sense, even if it did kill the clock.

But the Patriots appeared to be trying to kill the clock -- and were down by two scores.

Gregg is basing his criticism entirely on what the Patriots looked like they were doing. This man can read minds very well.

Trailing 21-11 at the two-minute warning, Belichick opted for a field goal on fourth-and-9 at the Jets' 17. True, the Patriots had failed on fourth-and-13 on their previous possession. But at that juncture they needed a touchdown in the final two minutes, and were only 17 yards from paydirt. In a two-scores endgame situation, go for the touchdown when you're close.

I liked this move. Gregg just complained the Patriots were killing the clock on this drive and so Belichick went ahead and scored so more time wouldn't come off the clock. They had to recover an onside kick anyway, so they may as well have gone ahead and scored some points.

On one snap, defensive end Shaun Ellis threw Patriots guard Dan Connelly to the ground and sacked Brady. Nothing fancy, no stunts.

That would be highly-paid, lazy first round draft pick Shaun Ellis that through undrafted free agent Dan Connelly to the ground. Shocking Gregg doesn't include this.

David Harris intercepted Brady in the first quarter and seemed on his way to a touchdown, then began to jog at about the 20, while no Jets ran to convoy-block for him. Harris was caught from behind by Alge Crumpler, a blocking tight end who is not fast;

Alge Crumpler, the blocking tight end only, and his career statistics:

-He is 2nd among all active tight ends in yards per catch.
-2-time All Pro selection (blocking tight ends don't get named to this team)
-373 career receptions
-4,743 career yards receiving
-39 touchdowns

He's a blocking tight end though...

Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels, but stop or sustain drives. New England had just scored to pull within 14-11; the Jets faced second-and-6 on their 29 at the start of the fourth quarter. Mark Sanchez threw a quick crossing route to Jerricho Cotchery, who was covered by a linebacker. Cotchery sprinted to the sideline then turned upfield, legging out a 58-yard gain -- where were the safeties?

This 58 yard fourth quarter reception was hidden. I am not sure I can believe that.

Dan Bestul of Monroe, Wis., writes, "The Packers have played well in part because Donald Driver -- once the featured receiver in the offense -- has been willing to accept a diminished role in exchange for wins. Compare that to Reggie Wayne's 'I shouldn't have suited up' whining."

Ok, there is a difference. The Colts had several receivers injured and Peyton Manning only targeted him once. Wayne is the featured receiver in the Colts offense, while Driver (as Gregg admits), is no longer the featured receiver. So Wayne was whining because his diminished role led to a loss, while Driver's diminished role helped lead the Packers to a win. I hope Gregg gets this. The Colts needed Wayne to play well to win a game. If he accepts a diminished role, they lose...which is what happened.

Next Week: The Jets hit Ben Roethlisberger, and he doesn't notice.

I guess not every quarterback can be huge and throw defensive linemen off of them. Jay Cutler seems to notice (cheap shot) when defensive players hit him. There have already been a couple of phases to this whole "how injured was Jay Cutler thing." We've gone through these steps:

1. Disbelief Cutler wasn't on the field.
2. Criticizing Cutler for not being on the field.
3. "Open minded" people saying we don't really know how injured Cutler was.
4. Articles, like those written by Jim Trotter, that essentially say Cutler was injured and all these knee-jerk reactions were because we don't like Cutler and he tried really, really hard to come back in the game.
5. The knee-jerk reaction people are supposed to feel bad.

I criticized Cutler mildly on Twitter for not being in the game, only because he was listed by the FOX crew as "questionable" to continue and was riding a stationary bike. I don't recall going quite as far as others did, I just thought he should try to tough it out, which apparently he did try to do. Granted, we don't have a clue about how injured he really was, but given the fact the audience knew he was getting his ass kicked, he was walking and riding a bike, his return was given as "questionable," and it was the NFC Championship Game...isn't it normal for there to be some question about his return? It's just natural for there to be questions. He's the quarterback and the leader of the offense.

Jim Trotter wrote an article defending Cutler and it is a well-written article, but in my opinion it doesn't prove there shouldn't have been some criticism of Cutler. It was never stated during the game or immediately after the game that Bears doctors had removed Cutler from the game. In fact, it was indicated during that time Cutler had taken himself out of the game and no one I can recall said "team doctors told Cutler he can't go back out." This is a non-story now in my opinion. Those who criticize Cutler shouldn't have their feet held to the fire because they only based their opinion on what they saw. Knee-jerk opinions are the norm now, many times they are right, many times they are wrong. Here's hoping Bears fans hope for a speedy recovery from Cutler, because I don't know if Caleb Hanie is the long-term answer at quarterback.

Back to TMQ...I am pretty sure Gregg Easterbrook will be talking about Spygate for the rest of his writing career. I don't know why. It's another story that is very much over, yet certain people like him keep harping on it.


HH said...

The Seahawks, first football team ever to be 8-9

Except the 1999 Cowboys, who finished the season 8-9. There could be more teams, but that's the one I remember.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, I tried to remember some more, but I didn't even catch the 1999 Cowboys. There will be a lot more teams that finish this way in the near future if the NFL goes to an 18 game season.

FormerPhD said...

But he's never admitted to cheating, hard as it is to think of any other word for what Belichick did.

Apparently the football gods are still angry.

1. If I recall correctly, the "cheating" was that the guy filming was in the wrong place (on the field?) Had the film been taken from another location it would have been perfectly fine.

2. It's stupid to think that numerous teams weren't doing the same thing.

3. The football gods were so pissed off that Belicheck won three super bowls while he was doing this. Seems like the football gods are a lot like baseball writers and PEDs.

The Jets lost to the Patriots 45-3 during the regular season and said, "Oh well." They came into Gillette Field on Sunday, in a do-or-die situation, mentally stronger than the Patriots.

Gregg seems to forget that the Jets beat the Patriots by 14 in week 2. Guess the Patriots were still reeling from that loss.

Missy of the Vikings, who not only has the ultimate cheerleader's name

I think Missy is more a stripper/porn name.

Two weeks ago, Facebook, which is privately held, sold 2 percent of its equity for $1 billion, a transaction that values the company at $50 billion. (Two percent of $50 billion is $1 billion.)

Gregg emailed that question for Missy. She loves math!

Rodgers knew that if he saw Abraham coming from inside, there would be no containment, and he should spin to that side.

No. Abraham knew that he could break containment because he was going against a right handed QB. You know how awkward it is to try to roll out to the left as a right handed QB? So Abraham could break containment because, honestly, Rodgers probably wasn't going to spin back to the left.

first football team ever to be 8-9

By my count there have been four 8-8 teams to make the playoffs and lose in the wild card round. So they're the fifth team to ever be 8-9.

Martin F. said...

I'm going to chime in on Cutlers injury here. Phil Rivers played with a more serious injury a couple years ago, but that might be the extreme end of the spectrum. Cutler has a tendency to sail his balls when he doesn't step into his throws. With a sprained MCL he sure isn't going to be stepping into his throws, and his passes are going to suck. Maybe he wussed out pain wise, nobody ever knows the pain someone else is going through (I had a sciatic nerve that would flare up for about 5 years. I looked fine, could barely walk), but it was probably the smart thing to do. Even when playing well he's an interception waiting to happen, injured and sailing balls....Bears woulda had no chance.

Dylan said...

To mimic what's already been said but needs to be reiterated, Jay Cutler's benching helped. Regardless of whether he's tough or not, he was playing terribly. His injury was a blessing in disguise. And Lovie Smith refused to put him back in the game. It's not like Cutler said, "don't put me back in."

I've had enough of this.

your favourite sun said...

The reason why people shouldn't have kneejerk reactions is that it leads to other people doing stupid things like this:

Others are already agreeing with the points I want to make, but I would add that sometimes trying to "tough it out" is actually selfish. Hanie gave them the best shot at winning that game, not an injured Cutler. As for whether he tried going back out, someone else made a terrific point: can't we all agree that no matter how poorly he plays, Cutler is willing to go back out there, over and over? That no matter how many interceptions he throws it doesn't stop him from wanting to go out and make more throws? Accusing him of being different now is ignoring one of the aspects of his game that usually gets criticized.

Hopefully it does become a non-story and Bears fans get over it. Really, given how obvious it is that Hanie gave them the best chance at winning, they have no cause to complain. (If the Bears decided to stick the whole game with Todd Collins, then they'd have something to bitch about.)

FormerPhD said...

The other thing about the Cutler situation is that even if he wasn't hurt "badly," then it still might be hurt enough to keep him out.

For example, I've had shoulder injuries where I could do everything just fine until I went to throw a football and I'd almost pass out from the pain.

It's easy to look at someone else and say "ya, I'd play through that pain, he's just being a pussy," but how can we? It ended up being a sprain, but again, I've had injuries that turned out to be nothing that kept me from returning to games. It all depends on what hurts. If you're a QB who relies on a strong plant, like Cutler does, then even the slightest problems with your MCL is going to cause pain and stability issues.

Like Dylan and YFS already pointed out, Cutler wasn't exactly lighting it up and taking away the plant leg and the end result would be awful.

Here's my question though, what happens if Cutler does play and the Bears lose? What happens if Hanie leads the Bears back? Is all of this Cutler bashing happen? Sportswriters are quick to point out that sometimes players who play hurt are selfish and hurt the team (Favre, Cal Ripken), but then are also quick to criticize players who pull themselves out when they, assumingly, know they're going to be ineffective.

The only problem I had was Cutler didn't really talk to Collins and/or Hanie, but then again, maybe he did and the cameras just didn't show it.

ivn said...

That would be highly-paid, lazy first round draft pick Shaun Ellis that through undrafted free agent Dan Connelly to the ground. Shocking Gregg doesn't include this.

not to mention that Shaun Ellis played ball at the University of Tennessee (a football factory!) whereas Connolly went to Southeast Missouri State, better known as the Harvard of the directional Missouri universities. the plot thickens.

I'm going to side with Cutler here, just because he's consistently gotten the shit kicked out of him over the last two years and he's never blamed his offensive line and missed a game and a half total (thanks to that ridiculous Giants game this year). I'll cautiously believe him. also, Maurice Jones-Drew (one of the guys throwing stones at Cutler via Twitter) can eat a bag of dicks. way to not play the last 2 games with the division (and my fantasy football championship) on the line, asshole.

John Keohane said...

The other thing to note about Gregg's Wayne/Driver comparison:

2010 NFL Season:

Reggie Wayne:111 catches, 1,355 yards, 6 TD
Donald Driver: 51 catches, 565, 4 TD.

In sum: Reggie Wayne was a first team All Pro. Donald Driver was a second team All Packer. Hell, James Jones might be more important to that team now.

However, this does explain Gregg's infatuation with Spygate. He thinks its still 2007!

Anonymous said...

Driver was battling injuries and old age, but he's still more important than Butterfingers Jones, who only comes in on three and four receiver situations. At least I would hope so or the Packer title hopes will likely slip through the guy's hands like so many a Rodgers pass.

But yeah, comparing Driver to Wayne's role is out there.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I absolutely believe other teams were doing the same thing. This of course doesn't mean the Patriots were innocent, but they were the ones that got caught.

Missy, is indeed a pornstar/stripper name.

Boy, Gregg missed on that "only team to be 8-9" comment didn't he?

As far as the whole "Cutler being benched" thing actually helping the Bears goes. I understand that point, but I am not sure anyone thought Caleb Hanie would come in the game and play well. So while Cutler looked like shit out there, Todd Collins proved he wasn't the most capable of backups and Hanie was a pretty much unknown player. So I do get the argument Cutler being taken out helped the Bears, but some of the criticism of Cutler, including what little I participated in, was before we knew Hanie could come in and play well. So even an injured Cutler was seen as the Bears only hope for winning the game.

It is interesting because I find the fans come to Cutler's defense more often than players and sportswriters tend to. I defended Cutler for a while when he was in Denver and even now I think he gets a bad rap. Players and sportswriters hate him it seems.

So I guess my point in all of this rambling is while I don't really understand the harshness of some of the criticism, many people thought Cutler gave the Bears the best chance to win the game, even injured, over Hanie and Collins. I had heard of Hanie and knew the Bears liked him, but I didn't know he could come in the game and play as well as he did. Few people who criticized Cutler initially knew this either.

What also didn't help was the coverage by FOX. They really made it sound like Cutler had tweaked a knee or something like that. They showed him on the bike and said he was questionable to return. Honestly, it sounded like a minor injury that wouldn't keep him from playing. In contrast, CBS acted like Ben Roethlisberger tore his ACL when the helmet of the Jets player hit him in the knee. They repeatedly showed the replay and talked about how hurt Roethlisberger was. Same thing with Sanchez's shoulder. They showed him warming up on the sidelines and talked about him toughing it out. CBS made it seem like those two QB's were toughing out tough injuries, while FOX acted like Cutler's knee got banged up.

Ivn, great point. Gregg doesn't mention a football factory player ran over a small college undrafted free agent. If it were opposite, you know he would mention it.

John, I probably should have used some stats, but that further proves my point. I don't know if James Jones is more important, but it is quite clear Wayne has to take a major role with the Colts for them to be good, while Driver can play a complementary role and the Packers have the WR talent to make the Super Bowl.

Nice joke about Gregg thinking it is 2007. I should have thought about that one.

Anon, I want Aaron Rodgers to win a Super Bowl so badly. I want him to tie Favre so, so, so badly. I read a really, really, really, really presumptive article that said Favre may be seen as the guy who bridged the Starr and Rodgers eras in Green Bay. It's a really stupid statement for now because it is not correct and really premature, but the idea excites me.

Nunyer said...

Maybe I'm not recalling correctly or maybe Gregg or some editors caught the mistake after the fact... but I remember the article referencing Seattle as the first ever 8-10 team, not 8-9. I haven't gone back and looked at the article... but that's what I recalled reading last week.

As far as Mike Martz... He gets offensive production, no doubt about that... but he's the smartest guy in the room and loves to overcomplicate things. The end around on 3rd and 3? Classic Martz for ya... Why not run an end around against a defense that always has pressure coming from the edge and CBs that stay on the line and jam? Well, nothing outside of being about the fucking stupidiest option available in the playbook at the time... seeing the Packers have been vulnerable to between the tackles rushing all season. Hate to sound like Easterbrook, but if you can't gain three yards at home when playing in four down territory by simply taking it straight at the defense... then you ain't making the Super Bowl anyhow.

As far as Cutler's injury. He stunk before he got hurt, he stunk worse after he got hurt. I really didn't see any more viable options for the coaching staff. They were either going to ride their ineffective starter straight into the brick wall or try to win the game. I suppose the kneejerk crazies can howl about Cutler not playing Captain Cheerleader on the sidelines the few times the Fox cameras caught him... but I try to not pay attention to kneejerk crazies.

Bengoodfella said...

Nunyer, you are right. It was 8-10. Further proof I am a moron...but keep reading!

I didn't like that call either. The Packers tend to bring outside pressure, sometimes from the corners, so it just didn't seem like a great call to me.

I have no problem with Cutler not being a cheerleader. That doesn't matter to me. It's good to see an injured player cheering for his team, but it isn't required. I just want to separate those who couldn't believe Cutler came out of the game with those who say, "but look how good Hanie did," because at the time I think injured Cutler was a better option than Collins and Hanie.