Friday, March 2, 2012

7 comments MMQB Review: Anyone Remember That 'Seinfeld' Show? Edition

Last week Peter King previewed the pre-draft Combine in Indianapolis by previewing the only two college players who have declared for the NFL Draft, Robert Griffin III and Andrew Luck. This week Peter follows up on last week's discussion of what makes Griffin and Luck so great by telling his MMQB-reading audience what makes Griffin and Luck so great. They are nice guys, they were great quarterbacks in college, and more importantly, they give Peter King attention in order to help him write stories about them. They are not like that asshole #1 pick from last year, Cam Newton, who doesn't seem to want to bow down at the altar of Peter King and give Peter material to write stories. This week we will find that Andrew Luck doesn't think as much about the Stanford learning experience as we once thought and Peter still isn't over chicken and beer in the Red Sox clubhouse. This week we also learn the second overall pick is valuable now and apparently someone compared Peter to Michael Jordan.

It's impossible to not like Stanford's Andrew Luck and Baylor's Robert Griffin III.

And we all know "being liked" is the #1 prerequisite for being a good NFL quarterback. Plus good hygiene is important. Also, letting Peter King interview you and lightly touch your inner thigh. That's another indicator of a good NFL quarterback.

Luck is humble; you can tell he's uneasy saying nice things about himself,

And yet he continues to say nice things about himself. HOW HUMBLE IS THIS GUY? HE DOESN'T EVEN LIKE IT WHEN HE SAYS NICE THINGS ABOUT HIMSELF!

or things designed to paint him as the Next Big Thing in the NFL.

Luck is very humble. That's why he has said all along he plans to start for whichever team drafts him. That's not Luck not being humble, that is Luck being a competitor. It doesn't make him not humble or anything like that. Luck just expects he will be a better quarterback after training camp than any other quarterback on the roster of the team that drafts him and he knows this without knowing (though he does know) which team will draft him and he says this before the Combine even begins. That's being humble.

Griffin's humble too, but charismatically so; he has no problem telling you anything you want to know about him.

I'm not sure charismatically humble is really any type of descriptor for a person.

"He's a humble guy. Depressingly humble with a slight twist of melancholy joy."

Two moments I liked.

1. When Andrew Luck looked deep into my eyes.

2. When RGIII touched my hand upon shaking it. I'm still getting shivers.

I was asking Luck, in his agent's hotel room, about a lot of things educational -- his reading habits, his college experience, living in Germany and England in his formative years,

the size of his penis, what his favorite class in college was, and whether he thought we could lock eyes for 15 minutes without either of us looking away."

And almost like he could read my intentions, he swatted them away. Not in a derisive way, but just to make sure I understood him. "Yes, school's important,'' he said. "But football's always been more important.

Remember kids this is a role model for you. Sure, academics are important, but sports are always more important. Also try heroin at least twice in your life, punch a cop at least once a year and if a woman is screaming "no" then that means just keep doing what you are doing because she is enjoying it.

Wasn't it just last year the media was heralding Andrew Luck for making academics the biggest part of his life by staying in college and not entering the NFL Draft? Now we come to learn that Andrew Luck doesn't care as much about academics when it comes to that or playing football. Will you find the media take back all the "His architecture degree was more important than money so that's why Luck didn't enter the NFL Draft" stories from last year? Hell no. The media has created a narrative and they will be damned if reality messes that narrative up.

The more I play, the more I love it. I've gotten to the point where, the more you learn about the game, the less you know. I love it. I want to learn more about it all the time. So, yes, academics were important in our household. Both of my parents were lawyers. They went to school forever. Stanford, Silicon Valley, the opportunities they presented were a big plus. But on top of that, coach [Jim] Harbaugh was so infectious. The staff was so good. If I didn't think we could win there, I wouldn't have gone.''

Wait, so let me get this straight. Academics and going to Stanford were important, but Andrew Luck went to that college because he knew he could win football games, not because of athletics? Doesn't he understand this doesn't jive with things that were written about him? Does this mean Andrew Luck is no different than any other highly recruited college athlete who chooses a college so he can make it to the pros while winning games in college? This confuses me. It's just the media has painted him as a guy who really gives a shit about his degree, that's the narrative chosen, and it seems Andrew Luck chose Stanford based on the football team. Luck also just said football was more important than academics to him. This is confusing because this isn't how the media has portrayed Luck.

I'm not going after Andrew Luck and I think he is going to make a great NFL quarterback. I also believe the personal created by the media is fake and Luck isn't really that humble. Last year he was painted by the media as a shining example of a college athlete who wanted to get his degree before he went to the pros. He wanted to get an architecture degree to "fall back on" after the NFL. It's just the cutest damn thing I'd ever heard, but we know it was bullshit. He wanted to stay in college one more year and then go to the NFL. He didn't go to Stanford because of a chance to get a degree, he went there to play football. I don't blame Andrew Luck for this portrayal of him. He's just gone around and tried to be the picture the media has painted of him. He isn't different from other college athletes though, he is just more savvy when he knows what the media wants from him. I think that's my biggest takeaway from these comments and I think no different of him as a result.

As far as being humble, Luck isn't any more humble than any other college quarterback who projects to be a top draft pick. He wants to start immediately in the NFL and actually believes he deserves to start immediately in the NFL. There is nothing wrong with this either. Last year Cam Newton got shit for saying he wanted to be "an entertainer and an icon." Andrew Luck wants this too, he's just smart enough not to say it. Luck wants to do commercials and be on the cover of magazines, video games and anything else he can sell his likeness to. He knows he can be one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL if he works hard enough at it.

This portrayal of him as a kid who cared about his education and went to Stanford for architecture is bullshit. I am sure Luck worked hard to do well in his courses, but he knew he was at Stanford for football. How Peter King is claiming he is humble is also bullshit. You can read what Luck says and know it is bullshit. He is as humble as a person can be who knows he was the best player on the field 95% of the time through his career. Stanford was partly a place to get an education, but mostly a way to get drafted into the NFL. There is nothing wrong with this of course.

I just get the feeling the media doesn't want Luck to be seen this way. The media has just chosen a different form of this narrative to tell their readers.

Throw away the draft trade value chart. It's meaningless when there's a player creating the buzz of Griffin. Same thing with Ryan Leaf 14 years ago.

Now there is a comparison that should make General Managers more eager to trade up to draft Griffin.

The Rams will drive a hard bargain. Cleveland (fourth overall pick), Washington (sixth) and Miami (eighth) will be in the derby to move up; Seattle (12) and a couple of mystery teams could be too.

I know the Rams will drive a hard bargain, but they already have what they think is their franchise quarterback in Sam Bradford. So if you are the Browns you will offer a good deal to move up and take Griffin, but the Browns also know if the Rams can't make a trade, and neither do the Vikings, then they have a good chance of drafting Griffin anyway. I know this is a long shot, but if the Rams hold out for more than teams are willing to pay and their pick doesn't get traded (which I don't think will happen, but it is a possibility), then the Rams probably aren't taking Griffin. Neither are the Vikings since they have Ponder. So the Browns are in a good position because they can try to top any teams offer for the #2 spot or if no trades are made, Griffin could fall to them. It's just a thought. I don't believe it will happen, but the Browns have excess the draft picks to outbid the Redskins and Dolphins and they are the only team with a chance of landing Griffin if no trades are made. It is a good position to be in.

"The whole paradigm has changed in several ways,'' said Rams COO Kevin Demoff Saturday night. "Griffin could be cheaper than Flynn. The fact that you can get a potential franchise quarterback for what the top picks are paid now makes it easier to justify trading a lot for it.''

I'm not sure I completely agree. Making a move to get a potential franchise quarterback like Griffin has less long-term risk now because he isn't going to be paid as much, but I don't know if the fact Griffin gets paid less under the new rookie cap justifies trading a lot for the pick. If you are a team like the Browns or Redskins those picks you have at #4 and #6 respectively have a lot of value because those players don't get paid as much either and a trading draft picks is still a risk because you could miss out on other good players being available in the spot you traded out of. I think a trade for Griffin carries less long-term risk, but trading a lot of picks for the ability to draft Griffin isn't more justified now because those draft picks a team would trade still have as much value now as they did prior to the new rookie salary cap. It isn't like a 2nd round pick has less value now. So there is less risk in drafting a player, but just as much risk in trading up to draft a least in terms of draft picks given up.

Stephen Hill (who?) was The Man this weekend.

I like how Peter writes "(who?)" because he doesn't know who Stephen Hill is. Because Peter's lack of knowledge on college football means his readers lack the same amount of knowledge that Peter lacks. It just irritates me that Peter acts like Stephen Hill is a nobody simply because he hasn't heard of him. Peter's lack of knowledge says more about how he doesn't doesn't follow college football more than it reflects on Stephen Hill's anonymity.

His 2011 season was odd. He didn't have a 100-yard receiving game in his last nine games; only twice did he catch more than three balls in a game. In three seasons, he caught only 49 passes ... but he did average 25.5 yards per catch in his career.

In Hill's defense, he is like Damaryius Thomas in that he had a terrible passing quarterback trying to get him the ball. So his season wasn't so odd because Georgia Tech runs the triple option offense, so Hill doesn't get a lot of catch his quarterback throws like a 9th grader.

After Luck and Griffin, Ryan Tannehill is the hot guy -- though Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, Brock Osweiler of Arizona State and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, who threw well at the combine, are more pro-ready right now.

Ah yes, that elusive term "pro-ready" which was conferred upon Jimmy Clausen and other college quarterbacks to mean "they played in a pro system and probably don't have the upside of the other quarterbacks available in the draft."

Among coaches I spoke with over the weekend, Tannehill's got some gaps in his game and could be picked higher than he should go, the same way Christian Ponder and Jake Locker went higher than most football people expected last April.

I will be the first to admit I am terrible at evaluating quarterbacks (I thought Newton would be average and Locker would be far I'm wrong), but Tannehill has never really impressed me that much. It seems to me he is going to be benefiting from NFL teams needing quarterbacks and convincing themselves over the long few minutes until the draft that a certain quarterback can be good in the NFL. It's like when you get stuck in a room with a bunch of people for a long period of time. Eventually, those people who aren't attractive are going to start looking attractive to you. I call this the Campbell University Rule.

Remember "Seinfeld,'' a show about nothing?

Of course we remember "Seinfeld." Who the hell can forget about that show when it has been off the air for only 15 years?

And so on Sunday, I went into an NFL Network television truck to watch, as Kramer and George and Jerry and Elaine did for so long so well, a show about nothing, televised by 16 cameras all over the field at Lucas Oil Stadium.

I wonder what is with the weak "Seinfeld" comparison to the Combine? It feels very, very forced.

"So I went home and spent time with my wife over the weekend, much like Jesse and Becky on 'Full House' did for so long..."

The visuals are often good and the commentary interesting, as on Sunday when Rich Eisen pointed out that Andrew Luck was standing on the sideline he'd likely be standing on for years with the Colts once Indy drafts him;

Intriguing! Get this though...Andrew Luck is standing in the very building where the 2010 NCAA Tournament Final Four was played. What team played in the NCAA Tournament Final Four that year? The West Virginia Mountaineers. Whose father is the Athletic Director for West Virginia University? Andrew Luck. Amazing!

It's there, and it's pleasant to look at, but if you don't have content piece after content piece, you're going to be changing the channel to "F Troop" after the quarterbacks throw.

So Peter asks us if we remember "Seinfeld" and then makes a random mention to "F-Troop" as if we are supposed to remember a television series that ran for 3 years in the mid-1960's.

Rex Ryan looks like he's losing weight. Odd, too, to see Ryan sitting alone, reading the paper for a few minutes Sunday at a Starbucks without being bothered

Rex Ryan wasn't bothered at Starbucks, except by Peter King's leering and staring at him the entire time he was there.

The Seahawks like Ryan Tannehill and Brock Osweiler. If they don't end up with Peyton Manning or Matt Flynn, I bet they end up with one of those two quarterback projects ...

Really? Didn't Peter King just refer to Osweiler by saying,

Ryan Tannehill is the hot guy -- though Brandon Weeden of Oklahoma State, Brock Osweiler of Arizona State and Michigan State's Kirk Cousins, who threw well at the combine, are more pro-ready right now.

Apparently Osweiler is a project who is also pro-ready right now. Doesn't seem like that is confusing at all. It appears Osweiler is ready to play quarterback in the NFL, but not quite ready to actually play quarterback in the NFL.

I think Denver picks a quarterback in the first two rounds ...

And Woody Paige just had a heart attack. How dare the Broncos draft a quarterback to compete with President Tebow.

Who said Woody's Tim Tebow articles are getting out of hand? He just has Tebow penciled in as the President of the United States in 12 years. That's reasonable.

I can't see Trent Richardson going very high, The Jets would think seriously of Trent Richardson at 16.

I guess it depends on your point of view, but I think Richardson at #16 is him going fairly high. Maybe it doesn't meet the imaginary threshold for "very" high though.

Tomorrow: The NFL alum who won an Oscar, and the surprise agent for Andrew Luck.

Satan? Is Satan Andrew Luck's surprise agent? If so, I'd love to see the fawning NFL media drool over how great of a negotiator Satan is going to be. I wonder which sportswriter will be the first to write a "Colts make a deal with the Devil headline" if Satan ends up being Andrew Luck's agent? I'm guessing Mike Lupica.

"We lost two coaches from our offensive staff and the prospect of going forward, the responsibility that I have, while I am very interested in his career, I think he will be an outstanding coach for the New York Giants going forward, but we have to put our hands around our situation first.''

-- Giants coach Tom Coughlin, on the club denying permission to Kevin Gilbride Jr., an offensive assistant, to interview with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to be their quarterback coach.

This generated intense interest from several coaches at the combine -- one head coach, four or five assistants -- whom I spoke with. Gilbride is the son of the Giants' well-respected offensive coordinator, and when Coughlin denied him permission (which was in his rights), it rubbed coaches the wrong way.

Get Howard Bryant on the phone immediately to right this injustice! Kevin Gilbride Jr, doesn't get a chance to coach for the team he wants to coach for and isn't free to get out of his contract whenever he wants. This is just another example of the owners keeping the players and coaches down. Oh that's right, no one cares if coaches can't get the opportunity to receive a promotion with a different team.

and if Coughlin gives Gilbride Jr. the vacant Giants quarterback-coaching job, which he may do, all will be well. If he doesn't, I would expect it could -- could, I stress; not will necessarily -- create some tension on the staff.

Well, we will look forward to hopefully not hearing anything further about this.

Don Banks made this wish-I'd-thought-of-this point Sunday afternoon in the press room at the combine: Jim Harbaugh was replaced as Indianapolis' quarterback by Peyton Manning in 1998. Jim Harbaugh coached Andrew Luck to replace Peyton Manning as Indianapolis' quarterback in 2012.

To make this situation even more interesting...they are all white quarterbacks who throw right-handed. It's almost like Andrew Luck was destined to play for the Colts.

To make this situation even more interestingier, Chuck Pagano is the head coach of the Colts now. Who did he work under this past season? John Harbaugh. That's Jim Harbaugh's brother. Who plays quarterback for Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco? Alex Smith. Who was Alex Smith's college coach? Urban Meyer. Guess who else played quarterback under Urban Meyer? Tim Tebow. Who does Tim Tebow love? God. Who hates God? Satan, who just happens to be Andrew Luck's agent. Amazing and phenomenal. Pointing out coincidences like this sure manages to kill space in MMQB, doesn't it?

"Can't wait to not watch The Artist when it's on HBO or Showtime.''

-- @PeteAbe, Boston Globe baseball writer Pete Abraham, following the awarding for Best Picture Sunday night at the Oscars.

I agree with this. Hollywood just likes to pretend they are cultured every once in a while. This year is one of those years, so they named a silent movie in black and white the best picture of the year. Either that or the Oscar voters were nostalgic for movies that looked like movies from their childhood. Either way, in 10 years we will look back and think this wasn't the best picture of 2011.

Switching it up today, post-combine. Handing off five of the Scouting Combine thoughts to Mike Mayock, who spoke with me off the NFL Network set Sunday afternoon:

You mean the same Mike Mayock who didn't like Cam Newton very much last year? He had Blaine Gabbert as his best quarterback in the draft. It's not a huge issue and people make mistakes, but this also goes to his evaluation of college players at the quarterback position coming out of college. This is just something to be aware of I think.

(I think Gabbert deserves another year in Jacksonville to prove what he may be able to do, but at this point the evaluation of Gabbert as the #1 quarterback in the 2011 class looks pretty far off. I'm fairly optimistic for Gabbert this upcoming season under Mike Mularky.)

1. "I think Andrew Luck is more athletic than people will ever give him credit for. When you compare his numbers this year to Cam Newton's numbers last year, they're almost identical. We all gushed about the athlete Cam was, but we don't with Luck, whose athleticism is underrated.

Almost identical? As long as you don't count the rushing yards each had during their junior year and the fact Luck had 663 more passing yards on 124 more passing attempts than Newton. Other than that, they were exactly alike.

Whereas Robert Griffin's pocket awareness is underrated also. It's an interesting juxtaposition between those two guys. We kind of want to push them into categories we're comfortable with,

Then stop doing this. Stop comparing Cam Newton to Griffin/Luck. Stop comparing Luck to Peyton Manning. Just stop. But he won't and neither will anyone else.

5. "I think the tight-end class is a bad class. And that's not good, given that everyone is looking for the next Gronkowski and Hernandez. I don't have a tight end with a first-round grade.''

But what about Coby Fleener? He's the next Rob Gronksowski! Isn't that what I keep hearing?

3. I think when I went to Indy and looked forward to seeing Justin Blackmon, I thought I was going to see someone bigger than he is. I thought I'd see a slightly smaller Calvin Johnson, from having watched enough highlights of Blackmon. But what I saw is more Brandon Lloyd than Calvin Johnson. Seems like a very good kid, and a good player certainly. And as a couple of NFL people told me over the weekend, he plays big. Understood. If I were about to make him the fourth or fifth pick in the draft, I'd like a guy more imposing than an eighth of an inch shorter than 6-1 and who weighs 207 pounds.

Out of the Top 10 wide receivers in terms of yardage for 2011, five of them are listed as 6'0" or shorter.

In 2010, out of the Top 10 wide receivers in terms of yardage, six of them are listed at 6'0" or shorter.

In 2009, out of the Top 10 wide receivers in terms of yardage, five of them are listed at 6'0" or shorter.

So while I respect Peter King's idea of drafting taller wide receivers earlier in the draft, I don't know if height is necessarily the end-all-be-all for determining whether a player should be a Top 10 pick at the wide receiver position or not. Every year it seems receivers that aren't imposing or below 6'1" in height. It very well may not matter that much.

d. Wondering what it must have been like for longtime Giants VP and scout Chris Mara to sit at the Oscars last night and listen to Colin Firth say of his daughter Rooney that her role in The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo was "dazzling perfection?''

It must have been dazzling perfection to hear this.

e. Congrats to the Vancouver Canucks. In the span of 24 hours, they went to Detroit and broke the Wings' 23-game home winning streak and then won in New Jersey against one of the hottest teams in the league.

The Vancouver Canucks respond by accepting Peter's congratulations and then asking who the hell Peter King is.

f. Finally saw Ides of March. Disturbing, if you know the outcome, but well done and politically smart.

George Clooney can now rest easy now knowing his movie has Peter King's approval.

g. Lord, who is doing the Red Sox PR? More shooting the messenger after an offseason of ignoring the drinking-in-the-clubhouse-during-games stories from last season.

They are ignoring the story because it is irrelevant. Only morons believe the Red Sox drinking beer in the clubhouse should have any effect on the 2012 season and a person is half of a moron for thinking the Red Sox collapsed last year because of beer and chicken.

The team never addressed it, except to say it wants it buried and wants everyone to look ahead, not behind.

The team never addressed it...except when Bobby Valentine banned alcohol from the Red Sox clubhouse. Other than that, it wasn't addressed. I guess the "problem" being solved isn't enough for Peter. What the hell does he want? People to get fired over this? Does he want an hour long press conference? It is only an issue because people like Peter King are fixated on this issue and falsely believe the Red Sox owe the community some sort of apology for doing things in the clubhouse the players did when the Red Sox were successful. Let it go.

"It's a new chapter, beginning today," Red Sox CEO Larry Lucchino said at spring training the other day. "Our idea is, let's write this new chapter. Enough has been said about the last chapter.'' But not by you. Not saying, "It'll never happen again, and it's a disgrace it ever happened in the first place.''

It is not a disgrace it happened in the first place. Teams drink in the clubhouse all the time and starting pitchers (gasp!) even get drunk the night before a game when they don't have to pitch. Shockingly, starting pitchers getting drunk the night before a game doesn't have an effect on the team's performance when he isn't pitching. Amazing isn't it?

Whoever in the organization had the grand plan of eliminating the issue by ignoring it and sneering at the media when it was brought up has no idea that such an irresponsible issue doesn't go away in the eyes of many followers -- like me -- if you bash people over the head for bringing it up.

The issue wasn't ignored by the Red Sox, it was eliminated. A detailed apology really isn't necessary. If Peter King really believes the Red Sox struggled in September last year because pitchers drank beer in the clubhouse on their off days then he is even more ignorant and ridiculous than I ever thought he was.

h. Coffeenerdness: Ordered my latte at the JW Marriott Starbucks in Indianapolis Sunday morning. Turned around to see 49ers quarterback coach Geep Chryst. "Ordering behind you at Starbucks,'' Chryst said, "is like going after Michael Jordan in a dunk contest.'' Why, thank you.

I have no words for this. I don't even understand what this means really.

Maybe Peter King believes he is the greatest ever at ordering coffee? Or does Geep Chryst believe Peter is an incredibly incompetent owner, as well as general manager, of coffee?


Jake said...

I thought you were joking about Woody writing an article about Tebow becoming president. Wow.
Not that there was any real chance of it actually happening, but he technically never could since he wasn't born in the U.S.

Justin Zeth said...

Jake, his parents are natural-born U.S. citizens and therefore so is he. You don't have to be born in the U.S. to be president, you just have to be a natural-born citizen.

I wish I had something interesting to say, but MMQB is a relentlessly shallow column and you've already said what little needs said, Ben.

Bengoodfella said...

Jake, I wasn't joking about Woody writing on Tim Tebow being President. Imagine if Tebow ever learns how to play QB at an NFL level...will we ever get to read about anything else, other than Tebow?

Justin, you don't have to say anything interesting if you don't want. I like to say what little needs to be said, but in longer form. It's my specialty.

I can't fathom Tebow as President. Make him go away.

Justin Zeth said...

I think what you meant was "QB Broncos". That was a great shtick, you shouldn't have abandoned it so soon.

Bengoodfella said...

Justin, I sometimes have a terrible memory. I won't stop doing that from now on, I promise.

By the way, I just wrote a great (or what I thought was great) MMQB and a power surge just wiped it all away. I fucking hate Blogger. Hate it.

Justin Zeth said...

I write all my blog posts in notepad and insert formatting after pasting it into Blogger, for exactly that reason. I've lost entire long posts just by fatfingering the wrong key at the wrong time.

Bengoodfella said...

I used to use notepad, but just quit doing it for some reason. I may start doing that again. I would have lost it there too since notepad doesn't automatically save. I just hate power surges.