Tuesday, September 18, 2012

10 comments MMQB Review: Counting to Five Be Hard for Peter Edition

I have noticed there seemed to be a difference of opinion among sportswriters on how the replacement officials are doing. That was prior to last night of course, when the officiating in the Denver-Atlanta game was seen by millions. Some sportswriters had thought there wasn't a big difference in the regular officials and the replacement officials (Pete Prisco) and others thought the officiating had been pretty bad so far (Bomani Jones) and it won't get any better. Peter King has always leaned towards saying the officiating hasn't been great, yet hasn't been overly critical.

It seems Peter is now completely on the side of the NFL (or is it the officials?) by saying the officiating was shoddy this weekend. That was Monday morning when Peter wrote this MMQB and now after the Denver-Atlanta "MNF" game he thinks the officiating truly does stink and everything is broken. All it took for Peter to change his mind was a matchup of some of Peter's favorite players being affected by bad officiating and Peter has now become mad as hell and he isn't taking it anymore. The officials can screw with the Cardinals, but Peter will be damned if you mess with an Eagles-Ravens game or Peyton Manning and Matt Ryan.

Last week I thought the replacement officials were adequate. Watching football Sunday, I felt like a passenger in a car going 20 miles an hour too fast on a mountain road with hairpin turns; we weren't going to die, but it was going to be a dicey ride.

Decent example by Peter, but he probably really felt like how he does when he wakes up at a hotel that doesn't provide free coffee which tastes delicious and to his standards. I mean, Peter knows he is getting coffee at some point, but how much will it be and at what price? Will Peter's day just sort-of be inconvenienced or will there be a huge line at Starbucks because this shitty hotel doesn't provide decent free coffee?

With two minutes left in the game and the ball at the Baltimore 1-yard line, Michael Vick went back to pass, with replacement referee Robert Frazier standing five yards behind him, looking directly at Vick. Haloti Ngata rushed, and just as Ngata wrapped up Vick, the quarterback threw a pass about five yards, incomplete, as he fell to the ground.

Three minutes and three seconds later, Frazier emerged from under the hood to say the play was reversed, and it was an incomplete pass.
Frazier was staring at Vick as he was contacted by Ngata, began to fall, and clearly threw the ball five yards down the field. Maybe it's intentional grounding. Maybe it's a simple incompletion. But to miss that call, or, worse, to be too indecisive to not make the call and simply hope someone else had a better view of it and could rescue you from making a game-turning call, illustrates how ill-suited this crew was for a game of this intensity, this magnitude.

It's one thing to miss a call or two in a game between the Cardinals and Seahawks. Does it really matter if the officials give Seattle an additional timeout or not at the end of the game and this could affect the outcome of the game? Not really because these are two teams Peter doesn't care as much about? It's a different thing to miss a call during a Philadelphia-Baltimore game or to have poor officiating when Peyton Manning and Matty Iccccccccccce are squaring off. This is a very, very, very, very important game. So despite the fact there was a call last week which gave the Seahawks an additional timeout and a better chance at scoring a touchdown to win the game, the officiating wasn't so bad until this bad officiating made it's way back to a game between two East Coast teams.

At the NBC studios, where I watched the games Sunday, I sat for much of the day with former NFL official Jim Daopoulos, hired by the network as an officiating consultant. Daopoulos thought the replacements did a passable job in Week 1, as most impartial observers would have.

Well of course, those more partial observers who don't enjoy seeing visible mistakes the replacement officials made could disagree. Again, these people who thought the replacements did a passable job during Week 1 aren't impartial because they prefer to see NFL games without visible officiating errors.

Whatever, Joe Flacco said the thing that made the most sense Sunday, and the only thing that's regrettable is he was the losing quarterback in Philadelphia, so what he says can be seen as sour grapes. Flacco said of the NFL: "They talk about the integrity of the game, and I think this is along those lines. The fact that we don't have the normal guys out there is pretty crazy.''

I know. It's crazy like an NFL quarterback who talks about how he is one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL and then tells Peter King he will play great consistently in a hurry-up offense and then he ends up being as inconsistent as he was prior to that team running a hurry-up offense through two games of the season. It's all just so crazy.

For the record, I agree with Peter. I don't know if it is completely the replacement officials fault, but I feel like there are more bad calls or non-calls then with the regular officials. Of course, some of these officiating errors are becoming more noticeable because of the increased focus on the replacement officials.

Five takeaways from Sunday:

Let's review these five takeaways and you tell me what is wrong with his five takeaways:

1. Handshake, shmandshake.
2. Coughlin's right. Schiano's wrong.
3. Kudos, Reggie Bush.
4. And kudos to you, Andrew Luck.
5. Nice run by Tebow.
6. A bad, bad injury for Washington.

Wow, those five takeaways sure are interesting. What is even more interesting is how these five takeaways are really six takeaways. Math be hard peoples, don't get angered up at Peter or his non-existent editor that math be so hard to comprehend. Peter is here to talk about football, not count to six accurately.

2. Coughlin's right. Schiano's wrong. I agree with playing to the final gun. No problem. But when one team is holding up the white flag, with a quarterback in full kneel-down mode, it's a mistake to pig-pile on him.

That's what irritates me the most in this situation, that the Giants were not running a normal play and Schiano started talking bullshit about how his guys "play to the final whistle." Eli gladly would have tried to throw for 550 yards against the Giants, but he was trying to be respectful and run the clock out.

No question in my mind that if Schiano keeps trying to wreck victory formations, his own players will pay for it -- and maybe in the form of retribution from vengeful players in the future.

And remember it is perfectly legal to try to intentionally hurt another player while hitting him hard during the course of the game, but just offer a player $10,000 to do this.

5. Nice run by Tebow. So far the Timmycat has yielded 11 snaps at quarterback and one run -- for 23 yards Sunday at Pittsburgh. We're still waiting for the fun, Rex.

Any self-respecting sportswriter who is discussing the NFL has to shoehorn an ex-backup QB punt protector Jets reference into their column. It's Sports Journalism 101.

And in Atlanta tonight, Dunta Robinson steps in for Brent Grimes, one of the best young corners in the league, and he'll bring experience to the Georgia Dome with him. Grimes is gone for the year with an Achilles tear, and if the Falcons are going to have a chance to be great this year, Robinson will be better than adequate in his place. The fact that Robinson didn't play great over the past two years was one of the reasons Atlanta went out and spent $7 million a year on Asante Samuel.

Yes, it's the old throw more money at a position which already contains a player who is making a lot of money trick. I'm not necessarily criticizing this strategy, but I find it funny the Falcons had to bring in another expensive cornerback to replace the expensive cornerback on the roster who was underachieving.

The NFC West went 4-0 Sunday. The San Francisco win over Detroit was expected, but the other three outcomes -- Arizona 20, New England 18; St. Louis 31, Washington 28; Seattle 27, Dallas 7 -- were not. Add San Diego's 38-10 annihilation of Tennessee and the possible ascension of Denver with Peyton Manning, and you see how the rise of good teams in the two western divisions could turn out to be one of the story lines of the season.

Other than the two main issues I have with this, namely we are still only two games into the season and the "rise" of good teams in the western two divisions is a completely contrived storyline, that's a great point. It's almost like Arizona wasn't in the Super Bowl three years ago, the 49ers weren't in the NFC Championship Game last year, and Denver did win a playoff game last year. This storyline seems pretty contrived to me.

If it's a California Super Bowl rematch from the Niners-Chargers of 18 years ago, I doubt it will be the same kind of game as it was then, when Steve Young set the Super Bowl record with six touchdown passes.

No Peter, this will in fact be the exact same game as 18 years ago. In fact, when (not IF, but WHEN) these two teams meet in the Super Bowl this year, they won't even bother playing the Super Bowl, they will just show a replay of the Super Bowl 18 years ago. It's all the same really.

Playing 96 snaps -- all 82 on defense, 12 on special teams and two on offense -- Peterson and the Cardinals showed remarkable staying power, and obviously got lucky at the end when Stephen Gostkowski shanked what would have been the winning field goal.

Right, and the Patriots were in no way lucky that Ryan Williams fumbled the football with just a little bit over a minute left in the game and the Patriots were out of timeouts. The Patriots shouldn't even had the ball back at that spot on the field.

San Francisco. The 49ers and Houston have distanced themselves from the pack in the first two weeks. They're the best teams in football. Sunday night against Detroit, Alex Smith continued to show he's more than just a complementary piece to the puzzle. He makes winning plays, winning throws,

He's pretty much the Derek Jeter of the NFL. He's a winner who wins games in a winning fashion.

1. San Francisco (2-0). Alex Smith, year eight. And aren't you Niner fans very happy this morning he wasn't thrown out with the trash on any of about 68 autumn Monday mornings in the previous seven years?

Does not throwing Smith out with the trash include this past offseason when the 49ers had interest in Peyton Manning and were considered to be a finalist for his services and weren't going to re-sign Smith because of this? Oh I forgot that the 49ers had no interest in Manning, they were just recruiting him and making him believe they had interest in him.

8. Atlanta (1-0). Brent Grimes missing the final 15 games will ultimately doom this team, unless Matt Ryan channels his inner Peyton. Weekly.

Does Matt Ryan have an inner Peyton Manning? Our maybe Peter just misspelled "Peyton" and he was talking about Sean Payton, saying Matt Ryan needs to pay his defenders to injure the opposing team. I have a ton of respect for Brent Grimes, but I can't buy the excuse the loss of a cornerback will ultimately doom a team. That's why you have backups. Injuries happen and teams bounce back from them...or at least really good teams do. The Falcons were able to bounce from this injury last night. Plus, didn't the Falcons pay Dunta Robinson as their #1 corner?

10. New England (1-1). Waaaaaay too much leakage from the offensive line, and now it looks like half of the tight end luxury package (Aaron Hernandez) is gone for at least a month. I don't know how Tom Brady lasts 16 games if he's under the kind of pressure he was on Sunday, and if he's without Hernandez until Halloween.

Again, that's why the Patriots have backups. Losing Hernandez is not good, but the Patriots collect tight ends like Jon Gruden collects quarterbacks. I have a feeling in a couple of weeks Peter will be talking about how the Patriots and Tom Brady managed to get good play from the tight end position with Hernandez out of the lineup. I know the initial thought is to freak out over some of these injuries, but the Patriots have worked around injuries before and can do so again.

Reggie Bush, RB, Miami. I remember chortling in the preseason when Bush said his goal was to lead the league in rushing.

Chortling? Does anybody truly chortle anymore?

Norv Turner, head coach, San Diego. This is Turner's 15th season as a head coach. It is also his first 2-0 start. Anyone else find that amazing?

Considering Norv Turner's record before coaching the San Diego Chargers was 58-82, I do not find it odd he has never had an 2-0 start. I do find it odd that Turner got another shot at an NFL head coaching job after his first two coaching stints at Washington and Oakland.

"I don't know if that's not something that's done in the National Football League, but what I do with our football team is we fight until they tell us the game is over. There's nothing dirty about it. There's nothing illegal about it. We crowd the ball. It's like a sneak defense and we try to knock it loose. If they watch Rutgers, they would know, that's what we do at the end of the game. We're not going to quit. That's just the way I coach and teach our players. Some people were upset about it. I don't have any hesitation. That's the way we play: clean, hard football until they tell us the game is over."

-- Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano, on coaching his player to smash into the Giants' victory formation at the end of the game Sunday. Giants coach Tom Coughlin was enraged by it.

I'm not entirely sure this qualifies as "clean football." I'm all about a team doing everything within the rules to win a game, but smashing into the victory formation seems like something that shouldn't go on at the end of a game and then have it excused as "clean, hard football" rings false to me. Just as a general note, the victory formation is "them" telling you the game is over.

It's fine to do anything to win a game, but when a team is in the victory formation they are essentially kneeling the ball down to ensure they don't fumble and will run the clock out in lieu of running another play. It is the offense protecting the ball and promising they won't try to score anymore. If the defensive players want to slam into the victory formation, that's fine, but don't try to pass it off as clean football.

Will Brinson shows here what a liar Greg Schiano is with his "play hard" excuse. He was just frustrated he lost this game.

"Namath says that Tebow can't play QB for the Jets. With 220 career picks, and a 65.5 career QB rating, there were times Joe couldn't either."

-- @JetsWhispers, 16-year-vet Jets beat man Dan Leberfeld, on Joe Namath's view that Tim Tebow should not be groomed as the team's quarterback.

For the sake of perspective, Blaine Gabbert's QB rating last year was 65.4. There has been discussions in the comments on this issue in the comments before. Times have changed but Namath's numbers were very pedestrian compared to today's quarterbacks and I feel a little bit like Namath talks a lot for a quarterback who may have been good in his time, but doesn't have statistics that look good compared to modern players. Don't get me wrong, I understand the difference in the NFL in the 60's and the NFL in 2012, but the worst quarterback in 2011 had a passer rating 0.01 less than Namath's career passer rating.

2. I think the Chicago offensive line -- and the Bears trotting out many of the same characters on it week after week, year after year -- defines the great Albert Einstein quote: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." Football fans who watched the Bears the other night had to wonder, "When are these idiots going to do major surgery on that offensive line?"

It's funny because no one was asking this question about the offensive line after the first game of the year when the Bears offense looked unstoppable. The offensive line held up well in that game. I don't excuse Jay Cutler for his hissy fit on J'Marcus Webb, but he needs to have his blockers block for him. There is a right and a wrong way to express this sentiment that the offensive line needs to do a better job of blocking of course.

h. Jacoby Jones, with a perfect move on Nnamdi Asomugha, and a well-lofted throw by Flacco. That's the way to throw a touchdown pass right there.

In two years Asomugha has gone from the best 1-2 corners in the NFL to getting beat by Jacoby Jones and Joe Flacco. I haven't had a chance to watch an Eagles game, but I hope this was an outlying play and not the norm for Asomugha in Philly.

j. Doug Martin is a big-league running back. What a great move on his touchdown end sweep against the Giants.

I know I keep raining on the Doug Martin parade, but so far he reminds me of Eddie George. He is a good running back who gets a lot of carries and accumulates a lot of yards. He doesn't lose a ton of yardage, but so far he has 161 yards on 44 carries. That's a 3.6 per carry average. So while I'm not saying he can't raise that total, I don't know if that is sufficient evidence he is a big-league running back at this point.

o. A good comeback day for Brandon Weeden, the worst of the rookie QB starters last week. In Cincinnati, he was an efficient 26 of 37 for 322 yards, with no turnovers. Pat Shurmur will take that game every week.

Well obviously. If Brandon Weeden could do that every week he would make the Pro Bowl. I think any NFL coach would take a 70% completion percentage and 300+ yards from his quarterback in game.

c. Awful pick by Drew Brees early at Carolina. That's something you never see, a pressured Brees taking way too big of a chance. Whatever he had with Sean Payton, it's missing now.

So does this mean Drew Brees isn't the same quarterback he is without Sean Payton coaching him? If so, what does that say about the greatness of Drew Brees? If Sean Payton can't win games without Drew Brees, wouldn't that make him less of a coach?

d. You're not going to get many more chances to catch touchdown passes when you miss one like that, Will Beatty.

Considering Beatty is an offensive tackle, the Giants probably don't want him to get too many more opportunities to catch touchdown passes.

h. The phantom pass interference call late in Jets-Steelers on Ike Taylor. I mean, there were so many shaky calls Sunday. This one was one of the worst.

There were shaky calls the week before that as well. Peter just chose to ignore those shaky calls last week for some reason. All this complaining about the officials really doesn't matter. The NFL isn't going to budge until they are given an excellent reason to do so. Public perception the officiating sucks is not that excellent reason. As long as people keep watching the games, the NFL doesn't care what the viewers think of the officiating while they watch the games.

g. Derek Jeter, 38, has more hits than Willie Mays, more singles than Honus Wagner, more doubles than Babe Ruth, more triples than Kirby Puckett, more home runs than Joe Torre.

And more leadership, grit and "love of the game to the point he plays the game like a little boy" than any other athlete not named "Brett Favre."

h. Saddest thing about the baseball playoffs, however: Say Oakland wins 95 games and wins the first Wild Card spot in the American League. Say the A's beat out the Angels by six games. So the one-game AL Wild Card playoff would be in Oakland. By my very imprecise calculations, Jered Weaver could be in line to start that one game. This year, Weaver has allowed one run and 14 hits in 29.2 innings against Oakland, probably the best individual performance by a pitcher against one team in three or more starts this year.

I do agree with Peter on this issue. I simply don't like the idea of a one-game playoff because it is too dependent on which team has the better ace pitcher. Of course, the pitching staff has to shake out to where each team can pitch their ace, but if it works out that way a one-game playoff depends too much on one game after 162 games have been played. I like the idea of a three-game playoff between the Wild Card teams much more.

j. Buster Posey, in two months since the All-Star Break, is batting .390 with 50 RBI. How's he not the MVP?

Probably because the MVP is a year-long award and not based solely on which player had the best last two months of the season.

m. Did Erin Andrews really say, at 8:15 Pacific Time on a Saturday night, after Stanford stunned USC at Stanford, that the overjoyed and partying-hard Cardinal students wouldn't be attending classes tomorrow?

Remember back when Erin Andrews was a really good sideline reporter? It is nice when people know they have limits and work within those limits.

Denver 33, Atlanta 24. I think back to the 2008 NFL Scouting Combine, in Indianapolis, on a Saturday night around 11, and Matt Ryan shows up for an interview with me in a gray suit, light blue Oxford shirt and dress shoes, and I think: Never seen anyone who reminded me so much of Peyton Manning.

Other than Peyton's brother, Eli Manning, of course. Perhaps Eli didn't have the "Southern gentleman preppy wear" look down at that point.

That'll help tonight, but unless he can cover too, and defend against Peyton Manning, I don't think he can do enough, even at home, to beat the great Manning.

Yes, the great Manning who played well in one game after coming off major neck surgery and was pronounced back and fully healthy for the upcoming NFL season, then struggled last night. As I said last week in my weekend review of the Week 1 games, I don't doubt Manning can play well, but I wonder how the grind of practice and games is going to affect Manning's arm strength. I don't know if last night was a product of him struggling to recover from playing last week, but I think we will see some decline in arm strength and performance as the season moves along. I know Peter King is very optimistic that Manning can be MVP, but I'm not sure I see it.

The Adieu Haiku

It's gone far enough,
games with replacement zebras.
Please: Don't make us beg.

Oh dear God. Why does Peter King insist on ending MMQB with a haiku? It's bad enough Gregg Easterbrook does haikus, why would Peter write a haiku? When is a haiku in a football column ever a good idea?


Anonymous said...

Reggie Bush, RB, Miami. I remember chortling in the preseason when Bush said his goal was to lead the league in rushing.

Chortling? Does anybody truly chortle anymore?

Apparently it's something that the football gods do on the reg. Just read TMQ. I really think he and Gregg have been hanging out secretly (I mean, who else writes haikus about the NFL?).

rich said...

I haven't had a chance to watch an Eagles game, but I hope this was an outlying play and not the norm for Asomugha in Philly.

I can only speak about last year, but he was very, very pedestrian.

Of course, part of that is the fact that the pass rush was terrible and the LBs looked completely confused every play, so the opposing QB constantly had time to bake a cake and wait for his receivers to get open.

more home runs than Joe Torre.

And that's partially because Derek Jeter, 38. When you play 18 years in the league, you should have a ton of hits, RBIs, etc.

Torre averaged 18 HRs over the course of his career, Jeter 16, so who gives a shit that he has more? He's played 2 more years and has a staggering 3 more HRs.

that the overjoyed and partying-hard Cardinal students wouldn't be attending classes tomorrow?

Says the guy who thinks 6 = five.

And to respond to your question of whether or not Chiefs fans want Cassel gone...

I have never, in my entire sports watching career, seen a fanbase so completely rooting for the QB to get cut.

As a Giants fan, many of us (myself included) were hard on Eli, but holy shit are the KC fans relentless with Cassel. I swear, they boo him even before he does something stupid (which he typically follows by doing something stupid).

No single player has ever been the epitome of depression when it comes to bad teams the way Matt Cassel is... and honestly, I can't disagree with the fans. He's mindblowingly terrible.

Through two games:

He has managed a combined 94 yards in the first quarter.

Second quarters combined: 3 sacks.

Third quarters combined: 10 for 19, 117 yards an interception and FIVE SACKS.

Fourth quarters combined: 10 for 20, 2 interceptions.

Two games - 58.7% completion, 3 INTs, 2 fumbles (both lost) and 8 sacks.

And that's average for his career

To sum up Matt Cassel: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sDTDJ1w_GV8

Eric C said...

Alex Smith, 1980's version:

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I was thinking that too. The last thing we need is some sort of Peter King and Gregg Easterbrook hybrid writing columns chortling at things.

Eric, that's great. I've never seen that commercial. I can't believe that was made as a way of supporting ARC. Alex Smith is sorting the hell out of some glass right now.

jacktotherack said...

1. Handshake, shmandshake.
2. Coughlin's right. Schiano's wrong.
3. Kudos, Reggie Bush.
4. And kudos to you, Andrew Luck.
5. Nice run by Tebow.
6. A bad, bad injury for Washington

Aside from the fact that the stupid bastard can't count, this right here is proof why ESPN is a terrible football analyst. How in the world isn't the Cardinals win over THE FAHKIN GREATRIOTS not one of his takeaways from Sunday? To me it was easily the biggest shocker of the weekend and showed that NE has real, legitimate concerns on their O-Line.

Sorry people who want actual NFL stories. PK says fuck you and wants you to know that Timmy Tebow had a decent run in a game where the Jets got their asses kicked and share kudos with Reggie Bush for running all over the hapless Raiders. This is why he makes the big bucks, people.

Anonymous said...

Re: Jeter's #'s. I'm pretty sure I could quickly do a search using a long-tenured player and find random HOF'ers that he bests in individual categories.

Let's try it...

Rafael Palmeiro, has more hits than Ted Williams, more singles than Babe Ruth, more doubles than Roberto Clemente, more triples than Harmon Killebrew, more home runs than Cal Ripken Jr.

And for good measure...
He's got more stolen bases than Yogi Berra, more walks than Joe DiMaggio, more RBI than Mickey Mantle and more runs scored than Reggie Jackson.

The point is, similar to what Rich said, that it really doesn't matter that much which individual stats one picks from various greats. It doesn't particularly impress me unless you stack him up against other greats, comparing their entire body of work (generally going position-to-position). No doubt that Jeter is a great player who probably deserves to be in the HOF, but the fact that he has to use Joe Torre the player, a corner IF/catcher, who didn't make the HOF is kind of weak. Not that he was bad, just kind of hurts what King is doing here.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, I have a hard time believing the Raiders pass rush made Asomugha look better than he was. Maybe it did.

I sort of wish Peter would stop talking about baseball. Come on, Jeter has been around for a while so it shouldn't come as a shock he has a lot of home runs.

I've sort of ignored Cassel's numbers since he went to KC, other than to look them up for a post here, but that's not very good. It is a good thing Pioli is a self-proclaimed genius or else the Chiefs may be in bad shape. I never hear a/b the Chiefs fans being brutal to Cassel, I wonder why?

Jack, I would think so too. That was a game where the Patriots didn't score 20+ points. How was this less notable than one run by Tebow?

I think each sportswriter is obligated to make one Tebow reference.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, it's always weird to hear Peter talk about baseball since he tends to come off somewhat dense about it. Supposedly it is his favorite sport, but he sounds silly talking about baseball.

He compares a HoF player to a non-HoF player. Would it surprise him that a HoF SS who has been in the league for 18 years has numbers better than a non-Hof player. It shouldn't.

jacktotherack said...

Also my apologizes, I have no idea why I put "ESPN" instead of PK. Losing my mind apparently.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, I didn't even notice it. I saw ESPN and "terrible analyst" and it all made sense to me.