Friday, December 23, 2011

8 comments TMQ: Not a Merry Christmas to Gregg Easterbrook's Readers

Before I get to TMQ this week, I wanted to give a brief plug for a new blog that is up and running. It is called Suite Sports. Two years ago I had an idea about a blog which basically connected a group of blogs together into one site. I never acted on this idea because I am lazy and wasn't sure how to effectively execute the idea, but Suite Sports is sort of that set-up and I think it is a great idea. I don't normally pimp too much stuff I get emailed about pimping, but I thought this site had promise and wanted to give it a shout-out. Now I will proceed to ruin Christmas with a review of this week's TMQ.

Last week in TMQ, as he is want to do, Gregg Easterbrook talked about Broncos QB and poorly dissected why he is a successful NFL quarterback. Also, Gregg explained (yet again) the key to the Packers' success is the five tight ends on the roster. This week Gregg points out the drawback to having five tight ends on the roster. Though, in typical Easterbrook fashion, he isn't aware he is pointing out a drawback. Not only should the Packers keep five tight ends on the roster to ensure success, but they also need more defensive linemen in order to be successful in the future. I am guessing Gregg isn't aware their is a roster limit in the NFL. What's weird about Gregg criticizing the Packers defense is Gregg has stated several times before part of the Packers' strength on defense is their "Times Square defense" where the offensive line doesn't know where the defenders are coming from. More defensive linemen on the roster would potentially cut down on the effectiveness of this defense since defensive linemen traditionally aren't the most mobile of defenders. Regardless, let's get to some contradictions and horseshit excuses for why Gregg is wrong.

The question has been out there for generations: Why would anyone want a partridge in a pear tree for Christmas?

No one cares. Why would anyone want to read TMQ on a weekly basis? No one knows, and yet here we are reading it again.

Now if the nine ladies dancing are NFL cheerleaders, no further explanation is required.

You are a creepy, middle-aged pervert. Keep your bizarre sexual fetishes to yourself.

Which got me to thinking about what the lyrics would be if football were substituted. The result is the song and video here --

I will not click on that link. It is a hired-out group singing the 12 days of Christmas for the NFL. Gregg is so hard up for football-related material he is now producing songs and putting them in TMQ. This brings me to the point that I rarely know or understand exactly what Gregg is going for in writing TMQ. I think he wants to be a quirky, yet informative-to-the-reader casual observer of the NFL. This isn't how he comes off though. He comes off as a pervy, uneducated critic of NFL teams and coaches who works too hard to second-guess what goes on during a football game. He reminds me of my a person who is a casual fan of a sport who doesn't understand why the simple observations he makes aren't accurate or helpful.

Here's an example. Think of when you watch a football game and a casual fan of the NFL upon seeing a running back trying to run up the middle of the defense says, "why doesn't the running back just go to the outside?" It seems reasonable upon first thought. Those who watch football a lot know the offensive line sets up a specific blocking plan for a play and if the running back runs to the outside on certain running plays there is a possibility there will be a holding call or the defense will cut him off and cause a loss of yardage. Sure, it works sometimes. Then the one time a running back bounces outside the person acts like this would work every time. This is Gregg in a nutshell. He makes an uneducated observation, sees it work one time and then doesn't understand why a team doesn't do that every time. This is why Gregg sees a team use motion to gain a short yardage first down and then thinks this would work every time.

In football news, the sole undefeated team might benefit from losing, while the sole winless team might wish it hadn't won.

Very deep. Of course the sole undefeated team might not benefit from losing, while the sole winless might be glad they won a game. It doesn't sound as dramatic to say this though.

For the Colts the equation is simple: They want the first choice in the 2012 draft.

The Colts want to win games. That's what all NFL teams want to do. One of the most annoying discussions involving sports made it's way into my ear at work the other day. A person told me the Carolina Panthers needed to keep losing to get a high draft pick in next year's draft. I told this idiot it is much more important for the Panthers to win games and set up a winning culture under a new coach than to lose a few games to get a better draft pick. It isn't like good players aren't available after the first 10 picks and teams that draft well are going to (hopefully) continue to draft well. In response, I asked him if he wanted the Eagles to keep losing and get a better pick. This guy said "yes," and then continued to say he wanted the Eagles to lose so Andy Reid would get fired and then they get a better pick. This is idiocy. In this guy's mind, starting over with a new coach, losing more games, and getting a better draft pick was better than winning games. I find this absurd. I told him I hope enjoys having Jon Gruden as a coach next year and he sounded excited. Some people deserve to get what they ask for.

So, the Colts don't want the first choice in the draft specifically. They want to win games. I think a culture of winning is much more important than a good draft pick. Good teams draft well and a team doesn't have to have a top-10 pick to have a good draft.

Now, at 1-13, Indianapolis might see the 2-12 Vikings, or as a long shot the 2-12 Rams, sneak into pole position. With just two games remaining, Colts, don't mess up and win again!

Isn't it interesting how the Rams have lost all those games over the past few years, gotten better draft picks and haven't improved? Bizarre. You would think since they lost games and got a better draft pick, they would have a better team than they do. Isn't this the entire idea behind losing games for a better draft pick? So why didn't it work for the Rams? It's also weird how the Pittsburgh Steelers don't lose games and still end up with quality players even though they don't lose games to get a better draft pick? What about the Browns? Shouldn't they have turned it all around by now since they are losing games and getting high draft picks? Compare this to the Saints who haven't had a high draft pick for a few years yet seem to find quality players in the draft. It is almost as if the actual drafting of quality players is many times more important than having a good draft pick.

For the Packers, a 13-1 record ends the pressure to reach 19-0. Best to get this over with now! If Green Bay goes on to win the Super Bowl, no one outside Missouri will ever remember the Packs' loss at Kansas City.

So Gregg has reached the conclusion losing a game is good because it takes the pressure off a team.

In 2009, the Colts essentially deliberately lost after reaching 14-0, and the negative vibrations sabotaged the remainder of the season.

Now Gregg has reached the conclusion losing a game is good, unless losing a game isn't good because it sends the team on a downward spiral. Gregg can tell us this one of these two things will happen with certainty. For a team trying for perfection, it may be a good thing they lost a game or it may be a bad thing that team lost a game. Gregg will be sure to tell us for sure after the season if this loss to the Chiefs was a good or bad thing for the Packers. One thing is for sure, it may or may not be good and Gregg will take credit no matter how the rest of the Packers' season turns out.

Green Bay faithful will say the problem at Kansas City was injuries to Greg Jennings and three of the team's offensive tackles. It's more than that -- the Chiefs found some Packers weaknesses.

One of the Packers weaknesses the Chiefs found? Three of the Packers offensive tackles were hurt. The other weakness of the Packers is that it is really hard to go perfect in the NFL regular season.

On the goal-line play that gave the hosts their 19th point (they won 19-14), Kansas City fielded a jumbo set with three tight ends. Green Bay could not reply, because the Packers don't have the personnel to go jumbo on defense.

Why don't the Packers have the personnel to go jumbo on defense? Why is it that Gregg? Perhaps because they carry five tight ends on the active roster? MAYBE THIS HAS SOMETHING TO DO WITH IT?

Of course Gregg will never bring this little fact up. He wants to compliment the Packers for keeping five tight ends and criticize them for not having the personnel to go jumbo on defense while ignoring the 53 man roster limit.

Also, the Packers can put a jumbo package of sorts in. They have defensive linemen that weigh 340, 337, 340, and 294 pounds. It's not the most jumbo of packages, but the Packers do have some weight on the defensive line. This is part of the downside of carrying five tight ends on the active roster though, there are less roster spots at other at roster spots.

The Green Bay defense is built on the assumption the Packers will jump to a quick lead and then need to stop the pass as opponents try to come back. What if the Packers don't jump to a quick lead?

Anarchy begins. That's what happens.

Green Bay carries only seven defensive linemen on its roster, versus the NFL norm of eight or nine.


I don't know how ESPN lets him writes his shit-filled column every week. I'm vexed. For weeks now, Gregg has told us the Packers carry five tight ends and that is the secret to their success. The Packers lose one game, one game is all they have lost, and all of a sudden Gregg is criticizing the Packers for not having eight or nine defensive linemen on the roster. He is completely ignoring the elephant in the room, that his own "secret to the Packers success" is part of the very reason the Packers don't have eight or nine defensive linemen. There is a 53 man roster and there isn't a way to get around this. If the Packers keep eight or nine defensive linemen, as well as five tight ends they would have 39 roster spots for 20 other positions on the roster. That's not good roster management.

Of course, because he absolutely refuses to see the connection and refuses to ever admit he was wrong about something, Gregg in no way acknowledges part of the reason why the Packers only have seven defensive linemen on the active roster. Acknowledging that reason would make it look like Gregg's "five tight end theory" is bullshit, which it is, but he can't run the risk of his crackpot theories having holes poked in them.

Now that the final undefeated team has fallen, I will reproduce from my AutoText, changing only a few specifics, the item TMQ runs annually when the final undefeated falls -- and will continue to run annually, since I believe no NFL team ever will finish 19-0. My heirs will be using this item!

This will happen unless we, as a united country, are able to prevent Gregg's heirs from ever writing a single word about sports. It's up to us to accomplish this.

This season TMQ has been noting the math showing that deliberately punting out of bounds makes a lot more sense in field position terms than booming a punt to a hot return man such as Peterson or Devin Hester.

"The math" Gregg uses assumes a punter always kicks the football 40 yards or more and always can punt the ball exactly where he wants it to go. We all know these are two large assumptions that would have to be correct in order for "the math" to work out.

TMQ Error: Last week's column contained an item that said in part, "During the runback of an interception by the Lions, linebacker Stephen Tulloch was called for unnecessary roughness for hitting Minnesota quarterback Christian Ponder. Until this year, during a change of possession, the quarterback could not be hit unless he was attempting to make the tackle. Ponder was, on this down, attempting to make the tackle. But as of the 2011 season, the quarterback cannot be hit on a change-of-possession down under any circumstances. Lions' coach Jim Schwartz went nuts protesting the call. Maybe Detroit would draw fewer personal fouls if the Lions knew NFL rules."

Gregg admits he was wrong...sort of.

It turns out my description of the new rule was wrong,

Of course, being Gregg Easterbrook he was wrong, but there are other factors he couldn't help that caused him to be wrong.

ESPN's earlier article about the new rule was wrong, and Schwartz might have been right.

ESPN was wrong? I can't believe this.

I would think a person who is criticizing an NFL head coach for not knowing the NFL rules would do more research than rely on an article that says he is correct. I would think wrong. Maybe Gregg wouldn't have to apologize for being wrong if he knew the NFL rules.

Newton handed the ball forward between the legs of seldom-used blocking back Richie Brockel.

Brockel is actually listed as a tight end. In fact, the Panthers have four tight ends on the roster. If only they had five tight ends they would be 13-1 like the Packers...or 1-13 like the Colts.

Europe's population situation seems fairly stable, so building fixed rail lines between its cities is not much of a risk. But America is young and still in flux; it's lunchtime in America.

So cities in Europe are not growing and then declining in population? There isn't much population fluctuation in Europe? Why do I have a hard time believing this?

A decade ago, Phoenix was growing like mad. Now it's not. If government built an extremely expensive bullet train line from, say, Phoenix to San Diego, the line would already be a dinosaur.

Because no one lives in Phoenix anymore of course...except for the 1.4 million people that live there. None of those people would ever use a train of course. The Phoenix metro area is the 14th largest in the United States, but because it isn't growing, I guess Gregg believes this means...something in regard to trains. It's fine to argue trains are a bad idea, but to act as if there aren't many people in the Phoenix area since it isn't actively growing is a failed argument.

Unless you are certain large numbers of people will want to travel between two cities for at least several generations -- you can be certain of that for New York to Boston, can you be certain for Orlando to Tampa?

While in Europe the travel route for citizens is now set for the next 200 years. Nothing will change in that time.

Having given Skins defensive coordinator Jim Haslett flak for big blitzing too much, TMQ admits this tactic worked at Snoopy Stadium, two of Eli Manning's interceptions coming off the big blitz.

I could get used to this humility from Gregg. Of course, one or two weeks from now when the Redskins lose a game, Gregg will blame blitzing and completely forget the instances when blitzing worked for the Redskins. So any progress Gregg has made will be forgotten once he finds one instance where blitzing did not work perfectly.

Game scoreless, Santonio Holmes carelessly fumbled;

I guess this is as opposed to carefully fumbling?

Then on a busted play -- Mark Sanchez turned one way, LaDainian Tomlinson went the other -- Sanchez carelessly fumbled.

Sanchez could be a little more careful when fumbling the football. At least fumble the football so it bounces right back to you!

I like how Gregg says Sanchez/Holmes "carelessly fumbled," as if their intention their entire time was to fumble the football, but neither player planned well enough to recover their own fumble.

Throughout the contest, LeSean McCoy gained yards by cutting back against a Jets defense that was playing for the flashy big sack and not bothering to "contain."

Because on running plays, the defense is always looking for a good sack of the quarterback. At least when Gregg criticizes a team it should make sense. Gregg is assuming when a defense tries for a sack they always rush towards the middle of the offensive line and not towards the outside of the offensive line. Also, Gregg is simply an idiot overall for making blanket statements like this. I can understand the idea a team is looking for sacks on certain plays, but to chalk all of McCoy's running yards to the Jets simply not containing him probably isn't accurate.

That standard should include an independent neurologist on the sideline during games. My kids' public high school has a highly credentialed neurologist on the sideline during football games. A public high school can arrange this, but not the made-of-money NFL?

I can't say I disagree with the sentiment, but click on the link and look at this public school Gregg's son attended. It is a public school, but doesn't it look like it is a nicer part of the Maryland area? So it is a public school, but it certainly looks like a pretty damn nice public school. My point? My point is this school probably has the resources to have a neurologist on the sidelines while other public schools may not be as fortunate.

Justin Bauserman of Indianapolis writes, "Brady Hoke belongs among the ranks of weasel coaches. First he walked out on his own alma mater, Ball State, without even coaching in the 2008 International Bowl after the team's terrific 12-1 season. His walkout essentially doomed his team to a loss in the bowl. Hoke broke his promises to Ball State in order to sign a lucrative five-year contract at San Diego State. When more money was waved by Michigan, Hoke walked out on his SDSU deal after just two seasons. How long before Michigan fans rue the day some NFL team offers him more, and he breaks his promises and bolts again?"

While I understand that coaches look like weasels when they leave a college football team before a bowl game, I also understand these were promotions for Brady Hoke. If you were offered a promotion would you turn down the higher prestige and higher pay because you don't want to break a promise to your current staff or employer? I do get it seems pretty bad for Hoke to walk out on Ball State and San Diego State, but Hoke has taken nothing but promotions (based on going to a more prestigious program), so I also understand he does what is best for him and his family. It doesn't mean anyone has to like it or college athletes aren't mistreated because they have to sit out one year when they transfer. It simply means a promotion from being head coach at San Diego State University to head coach at the University of Michigan is a fairly large promotion no head coach would turn down.

The Bills, who haven't made the playoffs in a league-worst dozen years, look like they've learned nothing in that span and yet again require a total housecleaning.

Except for those Bills, like Fred Jackson, who Gregg said earlier this year deserved contract extensions now to show how serious the Bills are about taking care of their own players. So there should be a total housecleaning except for those unspecified players (other than Fred Jackson) Gregg talked about when the Bills were playing better that deserved contract extensions.

Next Week: They went undrafted, or were let go, or both. Tuesday Morning Quarterback's annual All-Unwanted All-Pros.

This is easily my least favorite column of the year. If I said that about another TMQ, I didn't mean it, because the unwanted and undrafted column is my least favorite. Gregg will put players like Aaron Maybin, who he would have called a highly paid glory boy first round draft pick previously, as an unwanted player. Gregg wants to have it both ways. He wants to criticize a team for giving up on a player and also be able to criticize the player as a first round bust when he doesn't play well for his first team. Gregg never thinks certain players are let go for a reason. Also, Gregg will still call a guy like Wes Welker unwanted. It's just madness.


Ericb said...

They want to win games. I think a culture of winning is much more important than a good draft pick"

Also, football players, like most people, take pride in their work. These are young men who have a very limited time window within which to make a name for themselves. Also many don't even know if they will be with the same team next season. I don't know why people would think that players would want to be bad on purpose so a team they may not even be on next year might be in a better position to rebuild so that they they might have a chance a being good 3 to 5 years down the road. This is against human nature. A team's top brass might think this way but they are not on the field. Players and coaches want to win.

Ericb said...

"With just two games remaining, Colts, don't mess up and win again!"

I love this. Isn't Greg Mr. Undrafted-payers-are-far-superior-to-top-drafted-glory-boys ?

jacktotherack said...

First, Ericb, I completely agree. What dumb media people like Gregggg seem to forget when they spout all this "just lose on purpose" nonsense is the players on an NFL field are some of the most competitive people alive. If they weren't they would have never made it there to begin with. No player is going to just roll over so they can pick Luck next year. That shit is fun to talk about over a few beers, but it isn't reality.

"In 2009, the Colts essentially deliberately lost after reaching 14-0, and the negative vibrations sabotaged the remainder of the season."

Here is more Gregg horseshit. I remember getting mad when he claimed this two years ago. Yes those negative vibrations sure sabotaged that season, so much so that they made the MUTHAFUCKIN SUPER BOWL!!! I mean, does this idiot really think it was Indy resting their starters that caused them to lose that game? Is that what caused Manning to not see Tracy Porter? God this line of thinking pisses me off, it's just too stupid, inane, and lazy to tolerate. He should be fired for writing this shit. They lost to a LOADED Saints team with a HOF QB of their own.

God I hate this man. Merry Christmas!!

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, I agree. Players and coaches want to win games. I know it sounds good to lose to get a better draft pick, but players are smart enough to realize if a team keeps losing then a lot of those players may not be on the team in the next year. So what's the point losing if it only makes you look bad.

Gregg has a ton of contradictions. The idea he thinks the Colts should lose games to get a high draft pick is in complete contradiction to how he feels about highly drafted players. He has an entire column every year about how great undrafted players are, but he thinks the Colts need to get a higher draft pick. Amazing.

Jack, I agree too. Why would a player on the Colts lose intentionally to make the team look worse? NFL does also mean "Not For Long" because teams that go 1-15 or 2-14 tend to have massive personnel turnover. Wouldn't it be smarter to perform at a high level and hope you get to keep your job?

If Peyton Manning had played in two more games he never would have thrown that interception. That's Gregg's position apparently. It's all horseshit, like most of his positions on NFL-related issues.

He won't be fired because he gives ESPN pageviews which is all they care about. His accuracy doesn't matter. As long as he gets a reaction. That's the ESPN way.

Merry Christmas to you too.

rich said...

The question has been out there for generations: Why would anyone want a partridge in a pear tree for Christmas?

1) It's a fucking song.
2) The song is about what they got, not stuff they wanted. Who wants 10 drummers drumming?

Now if the nine ladies dancing are NFL cheerleaders, no further explanation is required.

The song is about what your "true love gave to you" and given that day 5 is golden rings, I think it's safe to assume that the receiver of the gifts is a girl. Hence, 9 cheerleaders would be a shitty gift for a true love to get his gf/wife.

Ya, I just overanalyzed a song, but fuck it someone had to do it!

Now, at 1-13, Indianapolis might see the 2-12 Vikings, or as a long shot the 2-12 Rams, sneak into pole position.

Even if all three teams finish with the same record, the Colts get the first pick.

As jack said about PK, doesn't Gregg get paid to know this shit?

Green Bay carries only seven defensive linemen on its roster, versus the NFL norm of eight or nine.

Green Bay runs a 3-4 defense, so having 7 DEs means every position has a backup + 1 extra plyer. If you run a 4-3, to have the same set up you'd need 9 players. So there's a very simple explanation for why they only have 7 linemen, which is why our football guru couldn't figure it out.

The Bills, who haven't made the playoffs in a league-worst dozen years, look like they've learned nothing in that span and yet again require a total housecleaning.

But they have a lot of undrafted free agents and a bunch of late round draft picks! They should be the best team in the league!

Something that wasn't talked about from TMQs article:

Pulaski just won another Arkansas 4A state title. The Bruins did not punt, and onside kicked after every score, until attaining an insurmountable lead.

You know why this works in HS? Because you can, rather easily, get players who are much better than the teams you play. My HS just won their 5 state title in 8 years. Why? Because when you start winning them, you get money to build facilities, get coaches and people who think their kids' future is football will move there.

Now you know why a good college or NFL team would never do this? Because it's fucking stupid. There is not one college or NFL team that would convert enough fourth downs and/or onside kicks to justify this.

HS? Sure. Even in state games, sometimes the other team isn't as good. It happens, but could you imagine how laughably dumb it would be if say, LSU did this to Alabama?

One final point on this, it works only if you have the superior team. If you have an inferior team, then your offense won't convert the fourth downs and your defense wouldn't be able to stop shit.

Basically, Gregg thinks that because something is working in HS, that it would work exceedingly well at the next level, which is why he's a moron.

Justin Zeth said...

From the Nitpicking the Nitpicking File: I think it's pretty obvious what Gregg meant by "carelessly fumbled", and went with that wording because it's a lot less clunky than "fumbled because he was careless with the ball". (Whether they actually WERE that careless is another subject, of course...)

Gregg provides plenty of material worthy of being burned to ashes; no need to overdo it!

I just discovered this blog a couple weeks ago and it's already one of the five items on my "Must Read Daily" list. Hope you keep finding time to blast lazy writers for years to come (and get paid for it eventually to boot).

Jeremy Conlin said...

Thanks for the shout out, good sir.

You've been nice enough to post my columns in the past, and I'm happy to return the favor should you ever be so inclined.

Bengoodfella said...

Justin, I do nitpick others, so I am man enough to take my own medicine. I just thought carelessly fumbled was a funny way to say it, though perhaps it is shorter that way as well. I do have edit it every week to make sure I don't overdo it...sometimes I do.

Hopefully, I will continue giving you good stuff to read and enjoy. I'm glad you enjoy reading it up to this point. No one will pay for me for my writing, not sure I'd want to get paid either, but as long as I have the time I will be here.

Jeremy, not a problem. I have it bookmarked and plan on reading it as much as possible.