Wednesday, January 12, 2011

13 comments MMQB Review: Can't Get Enough Playoff Nuggets Edition

I don't do Peter King's MMQB anymore, at least not on a dedicated weekly basis. Our time together has passed. Much like a crazed ex-lover, I like to keep tabs on him though and see if he is still doing what he did when I wrote about him every week. Fortunately, when I check in on him, I find nothing has changed. His child-like joy at obvious things ("that Jeter is a hell of a player") still makes him a joy to read. By "joy" I mean "complete headache."

Five other nuggets of the weekend that fascinate me. One: How the Bengals helped Seattle pull it off.

"Here's how NOT to play football well."

Two: How the ghost of Bill Walsh is going to help Jim Harbaugh do his job.

Haunt the visitor's locker room in San Francisco...obviously.

Five: How Brett Favre's favorite general manager had a very, very good weekend.

As always, many things in Peter King's world are seen from the perspective of Brett Favre. Tell us how Favre's favorite country plans on getting out of the war in Afghanistan. What plans does Favre's first football NFL team have to beat Favre's second football team on Saturday night? More importantly, how will the quarterback that used to back up Favre try to win a game on the road against the quarterback that Brett Favre has only met in person once?

"I think you're probably overstating what happened here,'' he told me 90 minutes after Seattle, a 10-point 'dog, sent the Saints home early. "Ed Werder asked me the same thing -- like, how did it feel to be a part of one of the big upsets of all time. I just don't see it that way. We all thought we were going to win.''

Well, they're delusional.

How delusional the Seahawks must be to have believed they could win a football game they ended up winning! It's like the time Starbucks started offering coffee under $2. NO ONE WANTS CHEAP COFFEE! It is pure delusion to believe anyone would want cheap coffee like that. It was a slap in the face to elite coffee drinkers everywhere to have themselves associated with a drink that could be bought by any person on the street. Starbucks, you were this close to having Peter King boycott your establishment! Once that happens, you go bankrupt. Just ask the Marriott.

Either that or Pete Carroll hypnotized them into thinking that.

(Pete Carroll) "Hey guys, here's what you do. If you start losing and see you may lose the game, just quit playing completely."

(Matt Hasselbeck) "But that sounds like quitting in the face of adversity."

(Pete Carroll pats Hasselbeck on the back and hands him a marijuana cigarette) "It's not. That's what I did at USC and everyone seems to have forgotten about it. So if we start losing, we'll just say we had a better opportunity to play at a different venue and this has NOTHING to do with the fact we are losing the game against the Saints."

(Matt Hasselbeck) "I think we'll just try to win the game."

(Pete Carroll drops acid) "Whatever floats your boat man."

Hasselbeck credited Pete Carroll for creating an atmosphere of "care about it like I care about it, or you're gone." He said he wasn't thinking that, as a free-agent, this could have been his last game in Seattle, "because we've got like 29 guys in the last year of their contract -- it could be all of our last game.''

I am pretty sure Carroll didn't use this motivational method at USC. If so, all of the players would have transferred to another school citing the fact they wanted "a different challenge."

All over New York, scenes like the one I'm about to describe must have been playing out. You see, the Football Night in America studio crew was dismissed after halftime of the Jets-Colts game, and so Rodney Harrison, Dan Patrick and I adjourned to a midtown Manhattan bar for the wrap party a little early and watched the last 10 minutes of the game on TV.

I like how they were "dismissed" like they were children in school or something.

And with 2:45 left in the game, the Jets punted to the Colts, who started a drive at their 20, down 14-13. Adam Vinatieri calmly practiced kicking a ball into a net on the Indy sideline."Your season's over!'' Harrison said, and the Jet fans knew what he meant.

But even though people in these parts trust Nick Folk to make a field goal the same way they trust Mayor Bloomberg to clear snow, this thing wasn't over. And when Antonio Cromartie, in the underrated big play of the weekend, returned the ensuing kickoff to the Jets' 46, throats got very dry in Colt-land.

Harrison stood up and looked over at the Jets fans. "Your season's not over!'' he yelled, and those guys sent over beers for us.

But Rodney...you just said the Jets season was over and Jets fans knew what you meant. I think Harrison is becoming the king of saying one thing and then getting to take it back later. He's a guy who was a hard-hitting safety when he played in the NFL and once he became an analyst he was all about fining players for hard hits.

One minute the Jets season is over and the next minute Harrison is kissing Jets fans' ass because he was dead wrong. Fine, I just like being hard on Rodney Harrison. Still, it is funny he announced the game was over and then just a few minutes later the stupidity of Jim Caldwell made him look stupid. It is always funny when a normal guy in a public place says a game is over and then it turns out he is wrong, but it is even funnier when that guy is an NFL analyst.

Mark Sanchez got the Jets to the Colt 34, just in Folk's range (Folk's long enough from 55, but you have no idea if he'll make it) for the winner. And for some reason we still can't figure out, Jim Caldwell used Indy's last timeout here. Incredible call -- New York had but one timeout left, and would have had to burn it to stop the clock before Folk's field goal try. But here came Caldwell, throwing the Jets a lifeline and giving them time to talk it over.

This is the one of the few indications we have gotten that Jim Caldwell is fairly overmatched as an NFL head coach. This was not only a bad call, but a call that essentially had a huge part in ending the Colts season. Caldwell doesn't seem to have that difficult of a job. Let Peyton Manning run the team and try not to fuck anything else up along the way. Well, by calling a timeout he gave the Jets a chance to gain their bearings and think of a play to run to get into better field position. It just didn't make sense to do this.

Gregg Easterbrook thought the Ravens should have called timeout a few weeks ago because he said the Ravens defense was tired and I disagreed with him. This is why. When an offensive team is running the two minute drill and are out of timeouts you don't want to give them time to figure out what the hell is going on. Make them make decisions quickly and you can increase the chance of mistakes. The Colts should think about firing Caldwell after this. I just think he is overmatched and the Colts players that count seem to know it for sure now.

• Peyton Manning, who played great Sunday, will be 35 in March. He now has played 13 years in the NFL and won one championship. The championship window, obviously, is starting to close for Manning. When his career's done, we won't be able to call him the eighth-best player of all time, which NFL Films did this fall, at least compared to the others on the list, unless he wins more titles. I'm not among those who think you have to win four or five championships to be considered the best ever at the most important position in the game,

There's a shock. It just so happens Peter King's favorite quarterback in the history of the world, Brett Favre, has exactly one Super Bowl victory. Though in his defense he did appear in two Super Bowls, which is still not incredibly impressive for an elite quarterback not named Dan Marino.

but I can't put Manning, today, over Otto Graham, Joe Montana and Tom Brady. I know that's not why he's feeling devastated today, and I know he is. But the impact on his legacy if he doesn't win another championship or two will be a big hit.

After I have sort of blamed Favre for his team not making enough Super Bowls, I will say it is not Manning's fault his team doesn't always win playoff games. Manning hasn't had a bad playoff game performance since 2006, which is when the Colts won the Super Bowl. In fact, Manning had one of the worst postseasons in his career when the Colts won the Super Bowl.

• Jim Caldwell needs to go to clock management school. In a 28-28 game at Jacksonville in Week 4, the Jags had one timeout left and started a drive at their 23-yard line inside the final minute. They ran Maurice Jones-Drew on first down and didn't call time. They seemed content to play for overtime. But the Colts called time with 36 seconds left. Jacksonville then went aggressively downfield and got in position for a 59-yard Josh Scobee field goal to win it at the gun.

Not really he doesn't need clock management lessons. The Colts front office needs to really consider if Jim Caldwell is head coach material. He coached at Wake Forest for 8 years and accumulated a 26-63 record, including one having one winning season. ONE WINNING SEASON! This is the guy who is in charge of Peyton Manning's waning years as a quality quarterback? They have to do better than that for him. The offense can run itself but when it comes time for strategic decisions and basic things like calling timeouts Caldwell is overmatched. 26-63 at Wake Forest. That was his record, including 3 three-win seasons. This is the guy in charge of getting Peyton Manning another Super Bowl victory.

"I was going to make sure they couldn't take the clock down,'' he said. "Make them snap the ball. They were in field goal range. So we wanted to make them snap the ball as many times as they could."

This was Caldwell's explanation. He used the Colts last timeout, while the Jets had a timeout, to make sure they couldn't run the clock down? The Jets still had another timeout, so they could kneel the ball down and then run the clock down even after the Colts took a timeout. No matter whether Caldwell called the timeout or not the Colts could run the clock down. Does Jim Caldwell understand football and the play clock at all?

Yes, they were in field goal range. You can't change that, but you want to make sure they don't get in better field goal range...you know, by giving them a chance to choose a play that may get them closer to field goal range. So Caldwell's logic was based on not wanting the Jets to be able to run the clock down, which they were able to do no matter what, and the fact they were in field goal range, which wasn't going to change. The timeout fixed nothing.

• In Denver, they're starting at Ground Zero, with Pat Bowlen handing John Elway football authority. "I definitely want someone with head-coaching experience,'' Denver vice president of football operations Elway told me Friday night. "Either in college or pro football. I want a great competitor. I want someone who is smart, very smart. And I want someone who can work well within a good football system. With Josh [McDaniels], we went out on a limb [in terms of giving the coach lots of powers] and not only did it not work, it turned out to be sort of a disaster.''

No Bill Cowher or Jon Gruden czar type as coach, then.

I get tired of the sports media trying to link Jon Gruden and Bill Cowher to every open job, when it is smart teams like the Broncos who learn from their mistakes and don't want a coach that requires full responsibility and say over management and player decisions. Nothing is wrong with Cowher or Gruden, but I have a feeling a desperate team with deep pockets and less sense is going to be the one to hire them. There have been several openings this past offseason for head coaches and there haven't even been overtures to Gruden and Cowher to coach again. I don't believe Cowher and Gruden are not wanting head coaching gigs, I think part of their current stance is that no teams have shown enough interest in them for either coach to feel like they want to take their time out to interview with a team. Why hire Gruden or Cowher when you can find a guy who will have success for 1/3 of the price?

Also said Saturday on NBC, in one of the most widely misunderstood segments in Peter King TV history, the following: Elway told me, "I don't think Tim Tebow is a good NFL quarterback at this time.'' ... And that Josh McDaniels, were he to get an offensive coordinator or quarterback coaching job where there was a quarterback need, could well urge that team to trade for Tebow because he still believes in him strongly. And that in the event of a lockout in the spring by owners, until there is a new collective-bargaining agreement, no players can be traded, so Tebow would not be able to be dealt until a new CBA is reached.

Attention all assorted Rocky Mountain conspiracy-theorists: I never said, or implied, that John Elway was thinking or looking to trade Tim Tebow.

Not shockingly, Peter doesn't get this. He didn't come out and say the Broncos were thinking of trading Tebow, but he quoted Elway as saying Tebow isn't a good NFL quarterback at this time and Elway saying Josh McDaniels, if he latches on somewhere, may want to trade for Tebow. There is a slight assumption in those statements that because Elway doesn't like Tebow at this time and McDaniels may overvalue Tebow it may be to the Broncos benefit to trade him. THEN he quoted Elway as saying Tebow couldn't be traded until a new CBA is reached. So you could see how Elway discussing the specifics of trading Tebow might confuse people. If you can't see this then I don't know what to tell you.

Think about our country and what kind of place it's become when a 22-year-old man can freely walk up to a congresswoman and shoot her in the head, and then kill six others, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl born on 9/11, whose parents said she wanted to have a job one day to help the less fortunate,

I don't want to get into politics too much, but the country hasn't "become" anything. Throughout the history of the United States, and even years before that, anyone could walk up to a congressperson (or other public figure) and shoot him/her (most likely "him") in the head and then kill other people. If anything, security for public figures has gotten much better through time. Abraham Lincoln was killed by someone walking into his box in the theater. That wouldn't happen to today's President. So Peter needs to quit this "becoming" bullshit like something has changed over time. Maybe rhetoric has been amped up and there seem to be more crazy people out there, but the United States hasn't "become" anything in this situation. A person has always been able to walk up freely to a public figure and shoot them if they planned well enough. If anything, it is harder for a person to do this in 2011 than it used to be.

I do agree the rhetoric that (maybe) leads to situations like this is out of hand.

9. Philadelphia (10-7). Doesn't it feel like a tale of two seasons? Season one: The Mike Vick Miracle. Season two: Mike Vick Falls to Earth.

I feel like this is the story of Mike Vick's career. He didn't play terribly in the game against the Packers on Sunday, but I still have completely bought into the "Vick is a real quarterback now" bullshit that writers like Peter King were dishing out to their readers all year. Vick is still a good quarterback, but he really isn't too much different from what he always has been, which is an excellent scrambling quarterback that still doesn't throw the ball incredibly well. All season sportswriters, just like Peter King, have told us differently. I am not sure it is different.

10. Indianapolis (10-7). I can't think of an offseason the Colts have entered with more questions. Bill and Chris Polian had better fix that offensive line. A franchise receiver wouldn't hurt either, because so many of the Colts' wideouts get hurt.

Oh, well the Colts will just go get a franchise wide receiver. That shouldn't be hard to do with a late 1st round pick, a potential salary cap and Peyton Manning's contract extension coming up.

Offensive Players of the Week

Marshawn Lynch, RB, Seattle.

There's no debating his 67-yard touchdown run was one of the best in NFL history. I know that covers a lot of ground, but think back to all the great runs you've seen. Marcus Allen's field-crosser in the Super Bowl, the gallops you saw from Gale Sayers on NFL Films (unless you're 55-plus and saw them with your own eyes), the scores of terrific ones by Barry Sanders that took your breath away. This one had it all. Breaking three tackles at the line of scrimmage, the speed to break away from the pack, the violent and punishing straight-arm of Tracy Porter, and the eight Saints total who had chances (some good, some vague) to tackle him. Oh, and he rushed 19 times for 131 yards in one of the upsets of the year.

Lynch did have a great run, but take away that run and he ran 18 times for 64 yards, which isn't a great average. Just thought I would point that out. Lynch probably shouldn't have gotten to share the Offensive Player of the Week with Hasselbeck in Peter's column.

Sunday, 9:18 a.m., Fifth Avenue and 51st Street, Manhattan:

I'm walking to get a coffee at Starbucks and just as I'm about to cross Fifth, a young guy, maybe 23, almost walks past me when he sees my Seattle Mariners sweatshirt. "SEAHAWKS BABY! How 'bout Matty Ice!!!'' he yells, and puts his hand up to give me a high-five. I give him one, and he says, "It's our year, baby. Super Bowl!''

Only in New York, kids, only in New York.

Not really Peter. This type of stuff happens in a bunch of cities.

i. The Peyton Manning Sony commercial shown between the first and second quarters of Baltimore-Kansas City. Nothing against it, and I understand the way the commercial world works, with these things put together months ago, but I can imagine being a Colts fan Sunday, looking at the TV, seeing Manning.

So Sony should not show the Peyton Manning commercial because the Colts lost the night before? What kind of bizarre logic is this that a major corporation should pull their commercials in an effort not to remind fans of their pitchman's football team that team lost the night before?

(Sony executive #1) "We have to pull all of the Peyton Manning commercials off the air."

(Sony executive #2) "Why? They are popular commercials."

(Sony executive #1) "Because the Colts lost last night and it wouldn't be right to rub the Colts' fans face in it."

(Sony executive #2) "You're an idiot and you're fired."

6. I think the NFL is littered with highly drafted safety busts over the years, but from watching football this weekend, Eric Berry and Earl Thomas will not be two of them.

Peter King is all about the NFL safety busts. I wonder if Peter still considers Sean Taylor to be a bust at safety still? Remember how Peter referred to Taylor as an underachiever at the safety position a little bit over a year ago? Apparently, he isn't impressed with Taylor's inability to deflect bullets.

8. I think Mike Mayock did his future employment opportunities a very good turn Saturday in the Seattle-New Orleans game on NBC. He just always seemed to say the right thing at the right time (with the exception of saying Sean Payton shouldn't have gone for it on fourth-and-three-inches, down 14 with 19 minutes left). Would love to see him, and hear him, do more games.

You mean the same guy who claimed vehemently he didn't see holding on one particular play...and then 4 seconds later the replay showed there was definitely holding followed by a mumbled "yeah, I guess that was holding" or something like that? (I couldn't hear so well because he sort of mumbled it) He wasn't terrible, but it is fun to watch an announcer proclaim strongly there isn't a penalty on a play and then immediately proven wrong.

f. Coffeenerdness: I gave the Amtrak coffee one more try Friday, sucker that I am for caffeine in the morning. First sip. OK, hot enough. Second sip ... why'd I try this again? Weakest coffee on the planet. And there it sat for three hours. I guess I shouldn't complain that there's only one thing wrong with the Acela.

Peter complains about the Acela every single week in his MMQB. Yet, he also tells everyone to they should take a train more often...so why does he seem to hate taking the train so much? Or does Peter just need something to complain about, including weak coffee, people who he is staring at that don't seem to do anything productive on the train, or loud kids on the train.

I think Peter just likes having something to complain about. He's going to be a monster complainer when he isn't writing MMQB anymore.

13 comments:

Adeel said...

I'm going to go out and defend Vick here. With the Falcons, he was grotesquely overrated as a passer.

He played four full seasons with Atlanta. Here are the last three:

2004 - 56% completion percentage, 14/12 TD/INT, 154 YPG, 7.2 yards per attempt
2005 - 55% completion percentage, 15/13, 160 YPG, 6.2 YPA
2006 - 52% completion percentage, 20/13, 154 YPG, 6.4 YPA

This year:

62% completion percentage, 21/6 TD vs INT, 251 YPG, 8 yards per attempt

This was a very good year. Of course, anyone can have a very good year. The key is whether he can keep doing this.

rich said...

But the impact on his legacy if he doesn't win another championship or two will be a big hit.

Why? Why does Manning's legacy have to take a hit? It's not Manning's fault that the Colts have only one SB victory. In fact the only reason the Colts have been competitive some of these years is because of Manning. He's one of the best of all time and it should matter if the teams he played on were good enough to win 1 SB or 10.

Jim Caldwell needs to go to clock management school.

But it's totally Manning's fault that the Colts can't win a Super Bowl with a mediocre defense and questionable coaching.

Think about our country and what kind of place it's become when a 22-year-old man can freely walk up to a congresswoman and shoot her in the head

Remember back when a guy shot at Ronald Reagan? Ya, those were the days when America was really awesome!

Also of note, the congresswoman left without a security detail which would have been provided if she wanted it. Just saying.

Weakest coffee on the planet.

If you don't like the coffee do what normal people do and buy it somewhere else and take it with you. Coffee comes in cups that let you magically transport liquids. If you're lucky you might even get a lid to keep it from spilling!

Also, for a guy who pisses away as much time and money on coffee you'd think the guy would have invested in a coffee machine and a good thermos. That way he could make his own coffee, exactly the way he likes it.

Bengoodfella said...

Adeel, that's fine to defend Vick. He had a good year. I guess I should have clarified that I particularly don't think Vick is that different. He had a great contract year. I just question whether he will be able to keep his completion percentage and TD:INT ratio up. So yes, he did have a good year, so I shouldn't try to say he wasn't a different player this year...but I don't believe it will translate favorably to the future.

I could be wrong, I was convinced Josh Freeman was going to be a bust.

Rich, I hate defending Manning, but it is true. His career playoff record isn't great. I pin this loss on Caldwell though. Manning put them in a position, with very little weapons, to win the game. Manning has been great over his last couple of playoff games. I do have to say the fact Manning is going to have his legacy take a hit from some people b/c of his 1 Super Bowl victory, but I am not sure it is fair.

I don't even understand what the hell Peter is talking about in regard to thinking gun control is worse nowadays. A person dedicated to injuring a public figure has always been able to be able to do so...not always successfully, but if anything security is better now than it used to be. I really believe he has no point.

Peter doesn't understand the concept of a thermos. He prefers to bitch about the coffee.

Dylan said...

Adeel,

I completely agree that Vick had a much better season overall than he has in the past. But if you break it down by game, his first half severely helped his overall stats. When he first took over the starting job, he was nearly unstoppable. Beginning with the first matchup against the Giants in Week 11, teams began to figure him out. His TD/INT ratio was 10/6, plus an additional 9 fumbles (only 3 were lost). His YPA was still a healthy 10.2 and his completion percentage at 63%, but he definitely came down to a human level.

Ultimately, I'm somewhere between you and BGF. I give him lots of credit improving, but the downward trend, especially with the turnovers, has me a bit worried. As you noted, the key is wehther someone can continue his success. I don't quite think he'll be bad next season, but I definitely believe there will be a regression. But your guess is as good as mine.

Rich,

I completely agree about Manning. Of all the major professional team sports, football is the one where one player has the least impact. Quarterback may be the most important position in all of sports, but it's in the sense that teams with bad QBs have no chance. Teams with good QBs do not guarantee success. A great QB brings teams to a certain threshold, and it's up to the rest of the team to take them over the hump. As proven by last week's game against Seattle, it did not matter how well Drew Brees played. The defense lost hte game, plain and simple. I hate people who consider Brady better than Manning simply because of the Super Bowls. I'm okay with people rating Brady higher based on other qualifications, but rings is no measurement of ability (unless the rest of the team is strong). There are too many factors to let SB rings weigh too heavily.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, I think Vick will go back to the Vick in Atlanta. What he will lose in mobility he will make up for in better decision making. I guess we'll see.

As far as the Super Bowls go, I would consider Brady better than Manning, but not because of the Super Bowls. I agree with you on this. It is interesting how Peter talks about Peyton's legacy being diminished and then talks about how terrible Caldwell was as a coach in that game. He should be fired...immediately.

Anonymous said...

You expect Peter Finnius King to MAKE HIS OWN COFFEE? Like some kind of han and egger! I think not people

Anonymous said...

han=ham

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, Peter WILL NOT make his own coffee. How dare I forget this little fact. I don't know why I suggested he bring a thermos when I know he prefers hotels to have delicious, piping-hot expensive coffee available at all hours.

Adeel said...

Dylan, that's a good point. Vick, if he was a pitcher, would be a good reliever or closer. He does great when he hasn't been figured out, and then gradually regresses to the mean.

Ben, how about a take on this week's Easterbrook column? I like him, but a lot of irrational obsessions (eg cheerleaders in short skirts leading to wins) can make it annoying.

As for Manning, my favourite player, the truth is somewhere in between. Manning is one of the greatest because of how well he normally plays. When he doesn't play well, such as at the start of his playoff career, that has to count against him.

Bengoodfella said...

Adeel, I haven't gotten a chance to completely read Easterbrook's column this week. I am working on it. I have had to post it on Monday because I have run out of time lately to write anything about it before then.

I did notice his caption for the Bucs cheerleader said you could bounce quarters off her stomach. It's just creepy how he leers after this women. He doesn't understand the breakdown creepiness levels when it comes to men constantly commenting on cheerleaders being attractive.

Ages 4-10: It's cute. He notices girls.

Ages 10-14: Let's keep this check and monitor how long he's in the bathroom. Also, be sure to check the computer's history.

Ages 15-30: Completely typical. The cheerleaders are the man's age or go to his school. It falls in his age sub-set, plus the cheerleader may be attractive, so it make sense.

Ages 30-40: It's fun to comment on a cheerleader's attractiveness. If a person hasn't gotten married, he is settled down enough to where the idea of ogling younger girls is pretty harmless. It is more about being reminded you aren't 25 years old anymore.

Ages 41-50: There's really no need to comment constantly on cheerleaders. Why does he keep doing it? Is he still trying to be funny? He does know these cheerleaders could be his daughter right?

Ages 50-68: Constantly ogling cheerleaders has reached maximum creepiness level. These cheerleaders could be his granddaughter. Is this interest in cheerleaders a sign he has an excessive interest in younger women. Yes, they are attractive but why must he talk about them and their bodies? Is it safe to leave teenage girls with him?

Ages 69-death: It's cute.

Gregg is 57 years old by the way.

Dylan said...

Adeel,

That's a pretty good analogy. I would definitely agree with that. I'm curious to see how he fairs next season. Most great players slightly adapt their game or simply out-prepare the other team. Neither you or I know if he is quite capable of that, but we will find out in 6 months.

Dylan said...

That was terrible math. More like 9-10 months.

Bengoodfella said...

Dylan, I am a known Vick-hater, but even I would say if he plays like he did for the most part his year he would be worth a decent contract. I just really have a hard time imagining he will be able to keep it up. For Eagles fans sake, I do hope so...as long they aren't playing the Panthers.