Saturday, August 6, 2011

1 comments MMQB Review: Hard Knocks, Peter King Edition: Volume 1

Before I get to MMQB for this week, I have created Yahoo Fantasy Football and Fantasy College Football Pick 'Em leagues. We need a few more teams in the Fantasy Football league and need quite a few more teams in the College Football Pick 'Em league. Feel free to join up if you care to. The ID and password for the Fantasy Football league is "211530" and the password is "eckstein." The ID and password for the College Football Pick 'Em league is "1724" and the password is "asu." I am very clever with my passwords obviously.

I figure since there wasn't "Hard Knocks" this year on HBO, we can call Peter King's training camp tour "Hard Knocks, Peter King Edition" despite the fact it is 1/100th as interesting as an episode of the real "Hard Knocks." Peter is on a training camp tour and I am not sure, but I think he proposes to Mike Florio at least once in his MMQB. Let's just say Peter likes Mike Florio, and not just because he is a co-worker, but mostly because he is a co-worker. Also, because Peter hasn't told us anything this week, we do get a Nnamdi Asomugha update. I know he has signed with the Eagles, but I am betting Peter probably still thinks he will go to the Jets.

IN THE USO-MOBILE, ON I-81 IN CENTRAL VIRGINIA -- Camps are open. Football's back. I'm on the road, writing Monday Morning Quarterback in the cab of a big rig near the Blue Ridge Mountains.

For those who don't recall, Peter bitched long enough about having to drive to the training camps that he got his own bus to use during his training camp tours. Peter's personal automobile or a rental is apparently out of the question now that Peter is feuding with Hertz because they overcharged him to fill up the tank in the rental car he was too lazy to fill up himself. Peter doesn't have to fill up the tank in his USO-Mobile nor does he seem to have to drive the entire time, that's what the team of migrant workers he brought along his tour are for.

First, the headlines of the morning:

Quit with the bullshit! Does Nnamdi Asomugha still want to sign with the Jets? I have to know.

The Eagles wouldn't have signed Nnamdi Asomugha without a simultaneous middle-of-the-night exchange of text messages between GM Howie Roseman and the agent for Asomugha, Ben Dogra, 15 hours before he agreed to terms with Philadelphia.

(Howie Roseman texting Ben Dogra) "Its Howie. We want 2 make Nnamdi a very high paid cornerback in the NFL? Thoughts."

(Ben Dogra texting back) "Really? What u thinkin?"

(Howie Roseman) "$60 million 4 5 years? Good, bad, u tell me."

(Ben Dogra) "Good. Jets have offered 6 years $80 mil. Beat that?"

(Howie Roseman) "No the Jets haven't. I don't read MMQB. PK on your payroll. Don't lie. $60 mil 5 years. Done?"

(Ben Dogra) "Got me. I give PK Starbucks gift cards 4 Xmas. He thought it wld drive up price tlking a/b NA in MMQB. Fail! Deal done."

(Howie Roseman) "Do u know of any more scrambling QBs that can't throw we could sign."

(Ben Dogra) "Vince Young? hahaha...u wld never do---"

(Howie Roseman) "We just signed him."

Peyton Manning on Sunday found three different ways to say he'll never play outside of Indiana.

Meanwhile Tom Brady is still practicing in California to be with his kid, just like the selfish jerk he is. Gisele has ruined him! Brady will never have the work ethic of Peyton Manning, who will not leave the state of Indiana, even to play away games. Teams have to come to Indiana to play Peyton Manning and Colts. That's how much he loves Indiana.

The Asomugha story's the most interesting of the first week back.

If anyone read last week's MMQB, this should come as no shock Peter believes this is the most interesting story.

How'd we all miss Nnamdi to the Eagles?

Because Peter was too busy linking him repeatedly to the Jets. It's ok. It's not like Peter gets paid to know this information or anything.

Then, at precisely 12:38 a.m. Friday, Dogra pressed the button on a text message to Roseman that said: "Are u sure ..... be bold. Best deal in history.''

At almost the split second that Dogra sent the message, one time-stamped 12:38 a.m. popped into his phone from Roseman, sent obviously before Roseman had read Dogra's text. "Thanks for taking the time today. I appreciate the process. We need more of ur guys here.''

Well, clearly this means the Eagles should invest $60 million dollars in Asomugha since it just so happened their General Manager and Asomugha's agent texted each other at nearly the same time. It's simply fate.

Dogra thought it was eerie that their texts passed in the ether. And he wanted Roseman to not think it was over, because he knew how much Asomugha wanted to play in Philadelphia.

This isn't just eerie. This is the football gods proclaiming that, yes, Nnamdi Asomugha should play in Philadelphia.

This scene was probably like a bad romantic comedy movie set in a high school where the leading lady drops her books and bumps heads with the studly, yet insecure and completely available jock who tries to bend down and help her pick them up. Simply put, an eventual marriage is the only reasonable conclusion for why these two people bumped heads.

Dogra picked up the phone. No sooner did Roseman say hello than Dogra's cell phone beeped in his ear. Call-waiting. Asomugha.

Lifetime has just snatched up the movie rights to this story. It has everything in it. Drama, romance, a little action...and it gives Nnamdi Asomugha the big acting gig he has always wanted. Who needs New York now, bitches?

Dogra let it ring to voicemail because he had a message to deliver to Roseman first. "Don't you think it's strange we haven't communicated in five or six hours, and all of sudden we send each other texts at exactly the same time? Are you sure we don't want to explore this one last time?''

(Using the voice often heard in a soap opera during a lover's quarrel) "Let's explore this one more time. We owe to ourselves to see if this can work out. Don't give up on us. I haven't!"

Dogra's no mystic, but he'll always believe there was something eerie going on when two texts were sent simultaneously, and two phone calls made within 10 seconds of each other, all by the three people involved in making a deal happen.

I think the one thing we can really learn this from this story is that Peter King was wrong, again, about where a free agent may end up. Peter completely had Asomugha pegged for the Jets.

This I knew: Jerry Richardson had his heart transplant on Super Bowl Sunday between the Steelers and Cardinals. He got the phone call to hustle into the hospital in Charlotte for the surgery late that afternoon. This I didn't know: It was an NBC game that day, and when Richardson was being prepped for surgery, he had one request before being put under. "I wanted to hear that Faith Hill song,'' he said. The NBC theme song for the football game was the last thing, other than some personal words from his wife, he heard before the transplant.

(Jerry Richardson's wife) "I love you honey. You'll be fine."

(Jerry Richardson) "I can't wait to see you after this is done...(starts to fade off)"

(Richardson's wife) "Oh yes, I forgot to mention you may want to refuse to sign your head coach to a contract extension in a few seasons, make him a lame duck, sign Jake Delhomme to a contract extension and then release him a year later, and then alienate your entire fan base with vague promises to spend money once the impending lockout is over. That's the best course of action."

(Richardson) "Sounds great. I will do that...(falls asleep)"

Drew Brees didn't back down and was on the front line of those who told Smith if he had to miss a paycheck or three from his $10-million annual salary, he was willing.

What a guy. Drew Brees, who could quit playing in the NFL today and be set for life without having to work ever again, said he would not collect one or even three of the paychecks he doesn't really need in order to live comfortably for the rest of his life if that is what it took. He was willing to forgo a paycheck(s) he doesn't really need in order to get the deal done. He is not only a New Orleans Saint. He is also a human saint.

In all seriousness, I am sure Drew Brees is a great guy. Still, this is an instance where Peter King writes and doesn't seem to quite understand his audience. For us, missing one or three paychecks and still pocketing $7-$8 million dollars isn't quite a huge sacrifice for the cause. It shows a willingness to make the lockout last from the player's perspective, but to the reader of MMQB it also makes he/she realize a guy like Drew Brees is set for life regardless.

Last December, Richardson told me if Goodell was in office for 25 years, this would be the most important decision (or series of them) he ever made. I asked him last night how he felt Goodell did.

These are the softball-ass questions I like for my reporters to ask.

"Hey Peyton, do you like it when your receivers catch the football as you throw it?"

" real with me. Randy Moss, did you like having him on your team?

What did Peter expect Jerry Richardson to say? Did he expect him to say Goodell was useless? Or that Goodell did nothing to drive the process? A deal got done, both sides got what they wanted...there's back-patting to go all around.

"He was by far the driving force to getting this deal done,'' Richardson said. "when we picked this man five years ago, what a decision we made.

Yes, you owners are such geniuses for choosing Roger Goodell as the commissioner. Great job. Pop the bubbly. Whores for everyone.

"I played the game when Bert Bell was commissioner. Pete Rozelle was a major help to us when we tried to get the franchise for the Carolinas, and, of course, I owned the team when Paul Tagliabue was commissioner. Now Roger. I think he will stand up when it's all done to be the equal of all of them -- and, with his vision for the game, he could exceed them.''

Of course 10 years from now when a labor deal can't get done or Goodell has done something to piss off Jerry Richardson, he will be a moron. But for now, "goodwill to all men" is the motto.

even though I find it ridiculous to consider that half of the players in the league, as of this morning, haven't voted to approve the deal. But the one group that I feel for the most is the exclusive-rights free-agents group.

What? So half of the players haven't approved the deal? So what would happen if this group didn't approve the deal or is this a foregone conclusion they will?

Watching Cam Newton Sunday night in Spartanburg, S.C., three things were evident:

Before we get to the things that were evident, Peter King threw up a Tweet about how Cam Newton shunned him after camp. Cam should know well enough that if he wants to get into Peter's inner circle of favored quarterbacks he has to kiss some major ass.

The Big Lead had a good post about this and also some interesting commentary. I have no issue with Peter Tweeting that and I think Cam Newton should have at least said something to Peter, but it does seem like Peter is partly putting himself into a dramatic story, doesn't it? Did he expect Newton to love him, regardless of whether what Newton said was smart or stupid to say?

And though his accuracy is very much a work in progress (he missed six or eight open receivers Sunday),

Probably because the play had more than one word! Because see, Cam Newton is too stupid to know NFL plays!

It is training camp, nearly all of the receivers on the field seem to be open.

he does throw a beautiful deep ball -- as he did to wideout David Gettis late in practice, a 45-yard throw that landed in Gettis' arms perfectly.

Then after seeing how well his son was throwing the deep ball, Cam Newton's father tried to send the Panthers a $4,500 invoice for Cam's time with the team during training camp. Cam, of course, knew nothing about this.

One more reason why all teams should go to small college campuses,

The college-age ladies!

On Sunday, one of the Panther players went to the piano in the corner and began playing a Mozart sonata.

It was Cam Newton who did this. Then Cam Newton's father invoiced Wofford College (where the camp was held) $5,000 for Newton's "entertainer/icon" performance. Cam Newton, of course, knew nothing about this.

There's nothing wrong with that.

Don't worry unnamed Carolina Panther player who played a Mozart sonata, Peter King doesn't think your a homosexual! (wink, wink)


-- Atlanta cornerback Dunta Robinson, upon getting a text Friday evening that Nnamdi Asomugha had signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, not the New York Jets.

I like how Peter is making it seem like EVERYONE thought Asomugha was definitely going to the Jets. Maybe Robinson was Tweeting "WOW" because the Eagles got Asomugha or the amount of money that was involved. It doesn't necessarily mean he Tweeted "WOW" because Asomugha didn't sign with the Jets.

We're not likely to see many of these for a while -- Ocho sounds like he's going to be either cloistered up there in Foxboro or shutting up so as not to rub the Hoodie the wrong way, or both -- but I liked these four Chadisms from his interview session Saturday:

You know Peter King is very excited that Chad Johnson is playing in New England this next season. It's his favorite team and Johnson is a quote machine.

Then Peter talks about ESPN's new QB evaluation statistic. Which is scares the hell out of me because I have a feeling "grittiness" or "ability to make a highlight play" will end up being highly judged in the formula. You know, because it is ESPN and all.

It's be interesting to see if the Total QBR gets traction and usurps passer rating. I think we're ready for a system that scores on a scale of 1 to 100, takes more factors into account than passer rating, and involves the measurement of so-called clutch play. Like OPS (on-base plus slugging) and WAR (wins above replacement value) in baseball, it's time for a more thoughtful number to judge how quarterbacks play. Is this the one? I don't know. But I like rethinking passer rating.

Me too. Can we get someone else to do it though and not an entertainment network? The thought of this just scares me.

Wednesday -- The Jets, in Florham Park, N.J. Very seldom have the Jets been bridesmaids in player-chasing. We'll see how they feel.

Nnamdi! There is still time to change your mind! Go to the place you belong, with the Jets.

Monday, Aug. 8 -- The Lions, in Allen Park, Mich. Looking forward to talking to Jim Schwartz about his music tastes and his heavy-metal-loving tweets.

Because this is the type of information an NFL sportswriter needs to be giving his readers. God forbid Peter looks forward to actually providing information on the Lions season. I just want to know about Jim Schwartz's Tweets and what music he listens to.

Wednesday, Aug. 10 -- The Bears, in Bourbonnais, Ill. Memo to the drive-thru Starbucks about two miles from the Bears practice fields: We'll be stopping by for a couple of ventis that morning. I'll need a transfusion.

This just in: The Starbucks two miles from the Bears practice fields has been closed for "renovations" over the next month. The last time Peter was there he probably took 22 minutes to select what he wanted to drink and then got in an argument with a guy who "jumped in line" ahead of him...just like always happens in that Hell on Earth we call "Europe."

Then Peter talks about the Twitter fight between Mike Florio and Jay Feely, which may be the worst Twitter fight ever.

2:29 p.m.
, @ProFootballTalk: "It's a four-year, $12 million contract with $4 million signing bonus for Mare. A kicker.''

2:46 p.m., @ProFootballTalk: "Of course, Mare hasn't actually 'signed.' He agreed to terms. Which gives Panthers two days to come to their senses.''

2:52 p.m., @jayfeely: "NBC gave a lawyer w/no football experience a big contract.''

2:58 p.m., @ProFootballTalk: "@jayfeely ... At least we have something in common. Neither of us has actually played in an NFL game.''

3:52 p.m., @jayfeely: "now you sound like Skip Bayless. Come to camp, see if they can find shoulder pads small enough for you & we can find out''

All that's missing from this exchange is a "yo mama" joke.

2. I think you're all going to jump up and say, "Oh, you work with Florio, so you're pumping him up'' after this item. I guess I am.

"You know that thing you are accusing me of doing? Well yeah, I am doing that, but still listen to what I have to say because it means something coming from a non-neutral observer like me."

But if you want one sign that and czar founder Mike Florio have become power brokers in football, consider this. Falcons GM Thomas Dimitroff has a big-screen TV monitor with touch-screen capability in his office, and he has loaded with a few things. There's his roster (with detailed bio and scouting information on each player), the Weather Channel and The Rumor Mill on Dimitroff walks up to the screen a few times a day and clicks his fingernail on the PFT logo, and up it comes.

I think we all know General Managers read Pro Football Talk and I have read it for years and years. Still, there are plenty of other sites football executives read daily and beginning this sentence basically admitting he is just pumping up Florio because he works with him, doesn't do much for Peter's credibility in my book. I just like criticizing Peter King a little too much probably.

5. I think my British friend Neil Hornsby has done the fans of the hidden game of football a good service with his deep analysis of players on The site tracks every player's plays in the league, and its finding of who actually is playing well and who isn't is often a surprise. On Sunday, after the Eagles signed an invisible guard named Evan Mathis, Neil came out with this gem: Mathis has played 724 snaps over the past two years and allowed zero sacks. I asked Neil to give me his best deals of free agency so far. Here are his top five:

Let's look at a couple of these under-the-radar signings where teams signed valuable players that we may not have known where valuable. I'm pumped!

Nnamdi Asomugha, Eagles (5 years, $60 million)

Ok. He is a great player...but also the best available free agent. I'll give this one a pass.

Ray Edwards, Falcons (5 years, $27.5 million).

Oh...the second best defensive end in free agency.

6. I think I'm really looking forward to seeing the Sabols and others in Canton Friday night. Interesting to note that most of you who tweet me and email me -- I'd say the vast majority -- are more interested in the Sabol family drama (and I mean that in an affectionate way) than anything else at the Hall of Fame induction.

Who are those people who Tweet and email Peter about the Sabol family drama they are looking forward to? The Sabol extended family.

I, for one, am not even sure Sabol should have made the Hall of Fame with quality actual NFL players available to be inducted, but weren't. Of course I never really look forward to Hall of Fame inductions, so there's that.

8. I think the Kyle Orton-to-Miami deal isn't dead, though it seems to be a long shot. If I were Orton, I'd be pushing for it. Hard. Tim Tebow might not keep the job, but he's certainly going to have a good shot to win it this year at some point, and maybe very soon. I don't care what Orton would have to do to his contract to make it happen. Five years down the road, if he doesn't end up in Miami, he'll be saying to himself, "I should have redone my contract back in 2011. I should have figured how much they wanted to go with Tebow, and how I could have started from day one in Miami.''

I think Woody Paige has already established Kyle Orton is a terrible person, a complete moron, a bad teammates and probably had something to do with the Ebola virus outbreak in Africa.

9. I think I wonder why the Bears ever drafted Greg Olsen in the first place. Since Mike Ditka roamed Soldier Field as a player, have the Bears ever had a great offensive tight end? Ever used a tight end as a downfield offensive threat? That's a near-waste of a pick if you ask me. Interesting watching Olsen catching fastballs off the JUGS machine at Panthers camp Sunday night. One-handed.

Which is always a useful drill in case you are trying to piss of the fan base of your team by catching passes one-handed in actual games.

a. The Phillies must have the greatest minor league system of all time. It's brought them Hunter Pence, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee and Roy Oswalt in the last two years.

If only they had rankings of farm systems so Peter could figure this out. If only. Alas, this is just a pipe dream.

b. Ubaldo Jimenez looked too risky to trade major prospects for.

Jimenez has the following statistics in road games this year:

3-4 record, 3.38 ERA, 1.076 WHIP, .183 BAA, and 2 complete games. Doesn't look so risky away from Coors Field this year.

c. On the other hand, I kind of like the Erik Bedard deal for the Red Sox, because they didn't have to give up anybody good, and Bedard's been good in four of his last five starts.

So let me get this straight: Peter King doesn't like a player the Red Sox didn't trade for, who has #1 starter potential, because he says the pitcher looks "risky," but Erik Bedard who has had a ton of injuries, and appears to have #3 starter potential, and did get traded to the Red Sox, Peter really likes him. There's a shock.

f. Coffeenerdness: You do not want to get the coffee I tried at the CITGO in some small town off I-85 in South Carolina around 10 last night. Trust me. When you walked in the place, you smelled the burners. I think my coffee was brewed last April.

So everyone avoid the CITGO in a small town in South Carolina that is located on the major highway that runs through the entire state. Shouldn't be hard to find it. Just wade through the 100 other CITGO's in small towns in South Carolina.

g. Beernerdness: Not many to discuss, honestly. Did have a nice Paulaner Hefeweizen Saturday at my hotel in South Carolina. The nice waitress even put a lemon on the rim of the glass for me. That's the hotel where the USO crew and I discussed first names with the waitress, who changed hers from "Lindsay'' to "Linzy'' at age 13. We didn't ask many questions.

Naturally, anyone who changes the spelling of their name is crazy! If she had changed her name to "Lindsay Trece" then that would have been much more normal. See? Poor people are "crazy," wealthy people are "quirky."

i. I'm having a great time visiting America. Hope to see you. Feel free to say hello if our paths cross.

I will run away instead.


mconstant42 said...

I tried to join the Fantasy Football league but got this message

"There was a problem
There is not room in this league if all teams from last year return. To join, get the commissioner to increase the maximum number of teams, or remove teams that will not be returning. (Error #638)"

I'll join if not everybody is returning.