Wednesday, September 14, 2011

5 comments MMQB Review: Craziest Opening Weekend Since Last Year Edition

I don't feel obligated to cover Peter King's MMQB every week anymore, but it is like visiting an old friend and so I can't say I don't enjoy it from time to time. I expected Peter to announce this opening weekend as the craziest opening weekend in memory, since I feel like this happens nearly every year during the first weekend of the season. To his credit, he did not. Though one thing that is a bit irritating is he comments somewhat in-depth on certain games that he only caught the highlights for. Why comment on them then? Highlights are mostly shit. If you get paid to watch the NFL and didn't watch a portion of a game, don't comment on the game. Maybe I'm being a jerk, but I think that should be a basic rule. Clearly this is a rule Peter doesn't follow.

I know it is impossible to watch every game, but at least catch parts of games if you want comment on them, and commenting on a game in some sort of depth and then saying you didn't watch the game is just dumb in my opinion. I think it is quite annoying as well to give your audience more information on Peyton Manning's injury rather than spending that time watching games occurring. Maybe I am underestimating how much people care about Manning. He's hurt, we know very little, let's focus on the games and the players that actually played in those games. Peter has almost an entire page on Manning and how his injury affects the Colts today, tomorrow and in the future. There's plenty of time to talk about this. Why waste the space during the first weekend of the season?

Normally I think the NFL overdoes some of these "cause'' things, but Sunday, in 13 stadiums around the league, the message was proper and done well.

I'm glad Peter didn't think honoring the 10th anniversary of the worst attack on American soil was overdone. I hate it too when the NFL honors breast cancer survivors and other "causes" like that. Wear your stupid pink gloves, but we don't need speeches or any more than that. Peter just wants to see Brett Favre slinging the ball around the field like a child does, so he's glad the NFL keeps the breast cancer awareness messages to a minimum. Of course it was perfectly fine to saturate the coverage of Favre's father passing away when that occurred, there's never enough coverage for that type of "cause."

Remember our history, honor those who died and remember what a time of renewal can do in what can be such a divided country. Then play ball.

Peter King sincerely thanks you again 9/11 survivors and heroes!

Ten years ago, there was such a we're-all-in-this-together feeling in the country. I remember going to Kansas City to cover the Giants and Chiefs 12 days after 9/11, being on the field to do a TV appearance before the game and listening to "The Times They Are A-Changin' " by Bob Dylan. I saw Giants and Chiefs fans hold hands before the national anthem, and as I entered the Giants locker room, I saw tears from more than one player, totally washed out after all the emotion.

I'm pretty sure Peter King doesn't get the irony of discussing how in-this-together the United States citizenry was after 9/11, while talking about hearing "The Times They Are A-Changin'," which is essentially a song about Bob Dylan not being in-this-together with the 60's establishment, before an NFL game. That song was a symbol of the divide between old and young in the 60's. I just found this interesting.

Eleven headlines for 9/11:

I get it!

2. Peyton Manning might win the MVP of the league without playing. Things will get better for Indianapolis without the invaluable Manning; either that or they'll be in the UFL by mid-October. But the most striking event of Week 1 was how bad the Colts were in falling behind to Houston 34-0 at the half.

I didn't realize that Peyton Manning was a defensive player. Here I always thought he was a quarterback. I guess not having Manning in the lineup depressed the Colts defense and special teams so much they gave up 34 points. We'll call it "The Kyle Orton Effect," where a quarterback somehow has the ability to make a defense tremendously better or tremendously worse. There is a correlation between a good offense and a good defense, mostly with field position, but let's not pretend the loss of Manning is why the Colts gave up 34 points in the first half.

Also, I like how Peter says Manning could be the MVP by not playing. I said it a few weeks ago, but Manning's injury IS a sign of how important he is to the Colts, but it is also a sign the Colts have a crappy backup quarterback and defense that didn't play well.

More about this later, but the fact that president Bill Polian was watching Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck play at Duke on Saturday is a harbinger of an autumn where the Colts will do due diligence on every quarterback that might come out in the draft next April.

Yes, I care greatly about what the Colts offseason plan at quarterback may be. Who cares about the regular season and the NFL games that are being played? Let's talk about the upcoming offseason at length! It's never too early to speculate and hope Andrew Luck will fall in the Colts lap.

3. The Rams and Chargers got really beat up. St. Louis got run over in a disappointing home opener by Philadelphia, 31-13, and lost top wideout Danny Amendola (dislocated elbow)

If Danny Amendola is your top wideout, you have more offensive issues than just his injury.

4. Tony Romo had some help in blowing a 14-point, fourth-quarter lead and losing to the Jets. But the way he played in the last 10 minutes, he can retire the Goat of the Week Award. With the Cowboys ahead by seven with nine minutes left, he foolishly dove for the end zone -- the traffic was way too heavy to think he had a prayer to make it -- and got stripped of the ball, losing it.

I'm not going to defend Romo, but other quarterbacks would get lauded for "trying to make a play" in this situation. It was pretty stupid and he probably should have thrown the ball away, but I feel like I had to point it out.

5. I wouldn't go too far in burying Sunday's bad teams. The Manning-less Colts are one thing. But some of the teams we've seen be very good and who haven't had major injuries to sully their seasons --Pittsburgh and Atlanta, for instance -- aren't going 4-12.

I agree with the sentiment, not with the logic. So the teams that don't have injuries and just outright got their asses kicked, those are the teams that we shouldn't worry about? Logically, wouldn't a team that loses big have less excuses for this happening compared to a team that has injuries to key players that can explain the loss? So logically, shouldn't we worry about a team that lost badly while at full strength more than a team that had injury issues? Still, I'm not worried about Atlanta and Pittsburgh, so I agree with the sentiment.

6. Having said that, I do not like what I see out of the Chiefs. Kansas City had a bad summer on the field, never looked in sync on either side of the ball, lost Matt Cassel's best weapon (tight end Tony Moeaki) to a season-ending knee injury, and was powerless to stop the Bills in the worst home-opening defeat, 41-7, in franchise history. Bad signs abound in KC.

"Having made my rule about not burying teams yet, I will immediately contradict my rule."

8. Cam Newton's arm, and his attitude, made him a winner in a loss.

This is pure speculation from Peter because, as we will learn later, didn't even watch the game. Much like the Detroit-Tampa Bay game he didn't watch either.

Maybe being an itinerant has helped Newton. Over the past four falls, he has backed up Tim Tebow at Florida, starred at Blinn (junior) College, taken Auburn to a national championship, and now taken over the Panthers. He's used to change.

Or it could be he had a very good day against a potentially mediocre defense. But I am sure because Newton is used to change that had 0.12% to do with his performance yesterday.

9. The Ravens got their revenge on Pittsburgh. Terrell Suggs was a beast (three sacks, two forced fumbles), Bryant McKinnie played a creditable left tackle, Lardarius Webb was terrific in the slot, Ed Reed was his usual opportunistic self with two interceptions (the ball just finds him), and Joe Flacco looked like a very big-time quarterback not afraid of sticking the ball into tight spaces.

You know who else is a big-time quarterback not afraid of sticking the ball into tight spaces whether someone else wants him to or not? Ben Roethlisberger.

(It's weak, but I had to write it)

10. That was a significant win by the Lions.

Peter hears it was a significant win because he didn't watch the game. I'm pretty sure anyone could write a MMQB. Watch a Thursday night game and three Sunday games, complain about something that pissed you off during the week, call a few players and then give general statistics about the other games as if you watched them. Boom. Done.

With Stafford cramping up on a sunny day in Tampa with a 102-degree heat index, he still managed to go 24 of 33 for 305 yards, with three touchdowns and an interception

That is what the box score said.

11. Don't sleep on the Bears.

Thanks Peter. It would have been better to have been given this bit of advice BEFORE I went camping in the woods on Saturday night.

Then Peter goes on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on and on about Andrew Luck, the Colts, and Peyton Manning's injury. I'm sure there is a segment of the population that cares, but there are so many other interesting things that went on in the NFL on Sunday it just seems wasteful to spend 20% of MMQB on personnel moves that may happen in April.

Check out Bill Polian's history when confronted with a quarterback need:

1986: Polian's first major decision when promoted to GM of the Buffalo Bills: signing USFL quarterback Jim Kelly.

1995: Polian's second major decision when given the GM job in Carolina (after hiring Dom Capers as coach): drafting Penn State quarterback Kerry Collins.

1998: Polian's second major decision when given the GM job in Indianapolis (after hiring Jim Mora as coach): drafting Tennessee quarterback Peyton Manning.

Of course, the Bills had Vince Ferragamo and Bruce Mathison as quarterbacks in 1985, the Panthers were an expansion team that needed a quarterback obviously, and the Colts had Jim Harbaugh in 1997.

"Here are a bunch of facts that I will indicate mean something and then I will tell you they don't necessarily mean something. But remember, they very well could mean something...or not."

Manning's fate? I say it's very good.

So the neck injury isn't life-threatening? Whew...

Peter then talks to an orthopedic spine surgeon about Manning's injury and some random guy writes in and says he had a similar surgery and...(falls asleep)

Three other Manning points:

Like a field goal!

Tony Dungy had an excellent observation on our Saturday night NFL special on NBC. He said Manning's neck history dates to Oct. 22, 2006,

Little known fact: Prior to October 22, 2006, Peyton Manning had no neck.

"Earlier in the game,'' Dungy told me, "I'm outraged that there was a flag for roughing-the-passer on Dwight Freeney for just grazing the quarterback's helmet. So I'm yelling at the ref [Scott Green], 'Where's the flag! Where's the flag!' And I don't yell much, but I did then. So I didn't notice Peyton calling timeout and being shaken up. Peyton came to the sideline and said to [backup] Jim Sorgi, 'Jim, start warming up.'

Way to be in complete charge of your team, Tony Dungy. Did Peyton decide whether the Colts would punt or not on fourth down as well?

But that's the year we started cutting back on his throws at practice. I'm not putting two plus two together. I just figure he's getting older and he needs some time off, he's made enough throws. But now, as I look back on it, there's no doubt in my mind that this was the start of his neck problems.''

I'm just baffled we don't have a national holiday remembering this event. Of course, Peter thinks we shouldn't remember too much. Let's honor the neck injury just a little bit and then move on to football.

1. Green Bay (1-0). Read my short piece in the magazine this coming week, and see how Aaron Rodgers will try to make 12 skill players happy.

Russian whores for everyone?

3. New England (0-0). Haven't won a Super Bowl in seven seasons. Proverbial window's closing.

Thanks Dan Shaughnessy.

12. New Orleans (0-1). Still bullish on the Saints. But that defense has to find some answers.

How about not playing the Packers? You know, the team that is #1 in Peter's NFL power rankings. How is that for an answer?

"It felt good to know I could go out there and play lights out.''

-- Eagles quarterback Michael Vick, after going 14 of 32 and rushing for 98 yards in the decisive victory at St. Louis.

No problem with Vick being excited at how he played. And stats are never everything. But competing 44 percent of one's throws isn't exactly playing lights out.

Whatever Peter. Vick just signed a $100 million deal. As he gets older we all know he will get faster and more accurate.

Offensive Players of the Week

Cam Newton, QB, Carolina. In a loss, the Panthers won.

No, they pretty much lost to an average Cardinals team.

I didn't see much of the game, only the highlights, but Newton's competitiveness, his arm and his legs showed up at Arizona.

Those must have been some pretty descriptive highlights to get all that in 25 seconds.

I wasn't aware we weren't sure whether Newton's arms and legs were going to show up to the game. Was there an expectation Newton's arms and legs would just drink at a bar all game? They just don't have the work ethic to succeed in the NFL!

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington. The under-the-radar, terminally underappreciated Grossman -- rightfully so --

Can a person be underappreciated if he is rightfully underappreciated? Wouldn't that just make him appreciated?

Goat of the Week

Tony Romo, QB, Dallas. See above. I don't want to kill a guy I like twice in one column.

By calling him "Goat of the Week" you certainly didn't do that.

Then Peter shoehorns two Brett Favre mentions into the column for the simple reason he is obsessed with Brett Favre.

d. It took Mario Williams exactly six minutes to begin to prove Wade Phillips right. He got around Dallas Clark from the standup outside linebacker position and nailed Kerry Collins.

So if Mario Williams doesn’t have another sack this year then Wade Phillips will be right? Williams played well against the Colts without Peyton Manning, let’s wait a couple more weeks before saying Phillips was right to put Williams at linebacker.

k. As did Mark Sanchez. That was a weird game in the Meadowlands, but the thing I like about the Sanchize (26 of 44, 335 yards) is he doesn't let four or five bad series carry over to late in the game, when he knows he has to be good.

See how Peter did that? The fact Mark Sanchez has four or five bad series isn’t a concern to him because of the way Sanchez is able to bounce back and play well on the series that really count. So the fact Sanchez has four or five bad series only helps to show just what a great quarterback he is when it is required and those four or five bad series aren't an indication that Sanchez isn't where he perhaps should be in his third year in the NFL.

c. Gotta catch that ball, Andre Johnson, and not let it slip through the hands for an Indy pick.

Seriously? Andre Johnson had 7 catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. Peter has to talk about the drop Johnson had during the Texans beat down of the Colts?

h. In the last two drafts, the Bucs picked four defensive linemen in the first two rounds: Gerald McCoy, Brian Price, Adrian Clayborn and Da'Quan Bowers. Combined, they had five tackles, no sacks, no quarterback pressures on Sunday. Yikes.

i. In fact, the Bucs had no sacks and no pressures ... against a Detroit offensive line that isn't in the league's upper echelon. That's a bad sign for a team that will live or die on its young defensive stalwarts.

I know every NFL game means something, but it irritates me when Week 1 results cause people to react one way or another about a team. The four defensive linemen Peter talked about and said, “Yikes” in regard to their lack of pressure had a grand total of 18 games of experience before yesterday. Is it possible to maybe not read something drastic into their performance?

h. Beernerdness: Yes, I had the Spotted Cow in Wisconsin. Good summer beer. Light and a little cloudy-yellow.

I hope Spotted Cow is supposed to be yellow, but I will reserve the idea there is a 15% chance someone in Green Bay peed in Peter’s beer as revenge for helping to keep the “Will Favre retire” story alive for the previous three summers.

Oakland 21, Denver 20. Bad news for Jason Campbell: no Kevin Boss (knee) in what should have been his Raider debut. Campbell needs his tight end, and the Raiders have big plans for Boss in Hue Jackson's offense. For Denver to take advantage of that absence, the Broncos will have to fly around Campbell with a newly credible pass-rush (Elvis Dumervil, rookie Von Miller). That's why it'll be so close. But Oakland's run game will win out, I believe. If you stay awake until 1:20 or so Tuesday morning in the East, you'll get to see this second game of tonight's ESPN doubleheader. I'll be TiVoing, thanks.

Peter will be sure to fast forward through the remembrance of the 9/11 “cause.” He’s sure they will overdo it before finally getting around to playing football.


rich said...

is a harbinger of an autumn where the Colts will do due diligence on every quarterback that might come out in the draft next April.

You mean a team with a 35 year old QB might want to think about possibly replacing said QB someday? Regardless of the injury, the Colts should have been doing this anyway.

It was pretty stupid and he probably should have thrown the ball away, but I feel like I had to point it out.

I'll give you that some guys would be given the benefit of the doubt and I think Romo has a slightly unfair reputation of being a choker, but if you have the chance to basically cement the game, you throw it away or you cover make sure you get down before you can fumble the ball away.

Oh and that interception he threw... that may have been as bad a decision I have seen in a very, very long time.

Check out Bill Polian's history when confronted with a quarterback need:

Jim Kelly: Was the USFL MVP in 1984, lets not act like Polian really went out a limb for the guy.

Kerry Collins: Is this supposed to be a "look how good Polian is at filling the QB position"? Because if it is, this is a pretty terrible example. Collins was run out of town after 3 years, so... great decision?

Peyton Manning: From all accounts, it was 50/50 to go with Manning, meaning there was a 50% chance he almost went with Leaf. So maybe, just maybe Polian isn't the pariah Peter thinks he is.

Haven't won a Super Bowl in seven seasons.

OMG SEVEN SEASONS? That's like 50 years right?

Rex Grossman, QB, Washington. The under-the-radar, terminally underappreciated Grossman -- rightfully so --

He played well, but considering the other performances that people put up... no. He put up 21 points (defense scored 7) and didn't really have any sustained drives until the second quarter.

k. As did Mark Sanchez.

Also true: Sanchez forced the fumble at the goaline and laid a key block in getting the punt block that scored the tying touchdown.

In fact, the Bucs had no sacks and no pressures ... against a Detroit offensive line that isn't in the league's upper echelon.

Here's why that's fucking stupid: Bowers and Price don't start, while Clayborn is a starter who just go drafted... in a year where the off-season was shortened... can we give these guys more than 1 game?

Even better? Brian Price backs up McCoy.

So basically, the Bucs are in trouble because they're young defensive players, two playing in their first ever NFL game were not able to get pressure... what was that about not jumping on bad performances too early?

J.S. said...

I quite liked your "apprieciated" quip. Also, getting around Dallas Clark for an outside lineback is no big thing...since when did Dallas Clark, for all his talents, become Joe Thomas out there?

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I think the Colts should have drafted a quarterback this year anyway. It's just my opinion, but I can see why they didn't. I thought perhaps drafting a guy like Stanzi, Mallett, or T.J. Yates and letting him learn the system would be a great idea. What do I know though?

It was a stupid play by Romo, but I just feel like if Favre made the play we are talking about what a gamer he is.

I'm glad you remembered it was 50/50 on Leaf and Manning. Not sure how close the Colts were to choosing Leaf, but I recall there was a decision to be made. I don't put the whole Collins saga on Polian, but overall those Panthers teams weren't well-built for lasting success. I personally don't like Polian for various reasons so I will rip him if given the chance.

I think it is interesting how it is getting pointed out that Sanchez is a good QB b/c he steps up when he is needed...while completely forgetting he still has a great defense on his side and he tends to look average for stretches of the game.

Judging TB's d-line on their performance seems to be the very definition of over reacting in my opinion. Not to quote myself, but in my NFL preview I said they would look inconsistent at times this year. I would say the very first NFL game for 50% of the d-line is what I was talking about there.

J.S., I didn't get that. So Grossman is underappreciated, but he deserves he isn't underappreciated?

Miguel said...

Anyone else feel like Peter is slipping further in to alcoholism by the week? i.e. who needs coffeenerdness now that he has beernerdness

Bengoodfella said...

Miguel, I can see that. If he has a "cocainenerdness" section up next week I think we will know for sure he is headed for rock bottom.