Wednesday, January 2, 2013

10 comments It's a New Year, But The Same Deceptive and Annoying Gregg Easterbrook

Now that the season is over, Gregg Easterbrook can point out exactly what every single NFL team did wrong this year and why they in certain situations they used the wrong strategy. Of course, Gregg only knows what these teams should have done after the play on the field occurred. This week talks about NFL coaches being fired and how they deserve what they are getting. Gregg also discusses his annoying "Creep" theory, continues hyping up what he called "Arkansas football" which doesn't actually mean being ranked highly in preseason college football polls only to be a terrible team once the college football season starts, and consistently reminds us all that he seems to know very little about the sport he writes a weekly column about.

Off with their heads! The season has ended, and NFL coaches, assistants and general managers are being fired left and right. 

To a certain extent this is poetic justice.

Why? Because these coaches at some point in their lives decided to take a better, higher-paying job like every other working human being would like to do?

If the football part of the franchise doesn't win, by definition the coaches and front-office types have done a poor job. 

Or there could be extenuating circumstances like injuries that caused a team to not win as many games as expected. But since Gregg lives in a black and white world with no shades of gray involved, let's just say if a team doesn't win then it is only because the coaches and front-office types have done a poor job.

So if the team does badly, the buck should stop for coaches, assistants and general managers.

The situation is different in college football, at least in theory. For a college football coach, victory is only one of several objectives.

No, the situation isn't really different college football. Yes, in theory it is different, but a head coach will nearly always be judged on whether he is winning games or not. It's fun and sweet to pretend otherwise.

One of the things wrong with NCAA football is that increasingly it is treated, including by ESPN, like pro football -- as if all that mattered was wins. But at least in theory, a college football coach can do a good job even if his team loses.

Yes, I would agree this is one of the things wrong with college football. The problem is a football coach is hired to coach player and win football games. Just like the Dean of the College of Business may not be evaluated based on how college athletes perform in their business classes, the head coach of the football team is responsible for his players graduating, but he is hired to win football games. The Dean of the College of Business is responsible for college athletes showing up to class and getting good grades in some way, but he shouldn't be fired because college athletes aren't getting good grades in their business classes. He will be judged on the overall merits of how he performs in his job, much like how a college football coach is judged by how many games he wins.

An NFL coach whose team loses by definition has not done a good job. NFL coaches don't have any educational responsibilities.

College coaches have a responsibility to make sure athletes attend class and try their hardest to graduate and make good grades. I wouldn't say college coaches really have any "educational" responsibilities outside of their responsibility to make sure their players attend class.

On a practical basis, the owner can't fire the entire team. But he can fire the head coach. It's a prompt, decisive action. Nearly all NFL tickets are sold in the offseason.

It's NFL Ticket Creep!

Gregg has a way of saying really, really obvious things and trying to make them seem deep or non-obvious. It makes complete sense that most NFL tickets are sold in the offseason before the NFL games actually begin. That's the nature of PSL's and season tickets, they are sold before the games actually begin so there fans in the seats and the games don't get blacked out. After all, it wouldn't make sense for 40,000 tickets to go on sale a week before the first game of the season. That seems like it would be a clusterfuck of epic proportions.

They need that reason fast, for sales purposes. Firing the head coach creates hope for next year. 

I know Gregg Easterbrook thinks that no one is as smart as he is, but NFL fans are sophisticated. Owners can create hope by firing the head coach, but fans can see when a franchise is spinning its wheels and the owner is just trying to churn head coaches and trick the fan base into having hope. Yes, a new head coach gives hope, but fans can see through some of this false hope if the franchise has a history of choosing bad coaches.

In the Jets' case, firing Tannenbaum may mean he will be blamed for trading up to draft Mark Sanchez in 2009. That will allow Ryan to claim he was just humoring the general manager by starting Sanchez. It may be nonsense, but will create hope among ticket customers.

It really isn't nonsense though. Rex Ryan can only play the players that Tannenbaum drafts and provides for Ryan to play. So Tannenbaum should be to blame for trading up to draft Mark Sanchez because that was his decision to make and he made it. The Jets don't have a coaching problem, they have a personnel problem. There is a lack of talent at key positions on the roster and no matter how Gregg Easterbrook tries to ignorantly shift it around, that blame falls on Mike Tannenbaum. I don't think Gregg understands the responsibilities of a General Manager if he believes it is nonsense that Rex Ryan started Mark Sanchez to humor Tannenbaum. Sadly, Sanchez was probably the best quarterback on the Jets roster. Whose fault is that?

Which leads to an obvious question -- will firing the head coach do any good? 

Depending on who a team hires as their next head coach then it may do some good. Gregg can't ask a general question like this and expect an easy answer to appear immediately. Like anything else in life, some changes are good, some changes are bad, and other changes don't make any difference.

Everybody wants Chip Kelly, who would seem ill-advised to leave his dreamlike situation at Oregon for the backstabbing environment of the NFL.

Because we all know that college football boosters would never backstab Chip Kelly if Oregon's football team started losing more games than they "should" be losing.

Many teams want Bill O'Brien, who would seem a weasel if he walked out on his promises to Penn State after a single year. 

Of course O'Brien has a longer history of coaching in the NFL than in college football, but that doesn't matter to Gregg. O'Brien is still a weasel if he leaves Penn State for an NFL head coaching job.

pro football teams invariably look to the ranks of current NFL assistants, and end up with head coaches who have never been head coaches before, making their potential hard to gauge. And who, a few years later, will be blamed and fired. 

You can't win with Gregg. He says NFL assistants' potential as NFL head coaches can be hard to gauge, which would make it seem more logical to hire someone with head coaching experience as a head coach. Yet, if a college head coach takes a job with an NFL team as their head coach then Gregg accuses that person of walking out on promises he made to the university. He admits it makes more sense to hire someone with head coaching experience as a head coach, but then calls someone a weasel for daring to move to the NFL from college football.

What else besides Manning is happening in Denver?

First, balance. Denver was the sole club to finish in the top five on both offense and defense. If New Orleans had a defense this season, or Pittsburgh had an offense, either would have been formidable. Denver had an offense and a defense.

Again, Gregg says something obvious and tries to make it seem deep and non-obvious. The better NFL teams are the ones that have a good defense and a good offense? No way!

When Manning was surveying the NFL, wanted by almost every team, he looked at blockers. The Broncos have one of the league's best in left tackle Ryan Clady. They used their second-round picks of 2010 and 2011 on talented, hustling offensive linemen Zane Beadles and Orlando Franklin.

But doesn't Gregg tell us that first and second round picks are lazy, money-grubbing assholes? Then how could Beadles and Franklin hustle like they do? Wouldn't the Broncos have been better off using undrafted free agents on their offensive line since these are the type of players who try hard and don't care about money?

So Seattle, which won the game with the botched call on the final play, ultimately did not benefit. Green Bay lost a bye, and the bye is essential to reaching the Super Bowl

Not necessarily Gregg. The Giants, Packers, and Cardinals have all reached the Super Bowl in the last five years without having a first round bye.

Chicago leading 26-24, the Bears faced third-and-3 at midfield with 3:28 remaining. Jay Cutler play-faked and dropped into the pocket; right defensive end Lawrence Jackson abandoned contain, running way up the field to try for a sack; the slow-footed Cutler saw no contain and jogged for 19 yards, then slid inbounds to keep the clock moving. Soon the Bears would be in victory formation. Detroit has had issues with football IQ all season.

Gregg constantly bitches about defensive ends abandoning contain. He doesn't think when he writes though and believes a defensive end should try to contain the quarterback and not go for the sack. Why the hell would Lawrence Jackson try to keep contain on Jay Cutler, especially since Gregg admits Cutler is slow? The odds of Cutler scrambling out of the pocket for a first down is much lower than the odds of Jackson being able to sack Cutler. It's important to keep contain against good scrambling quarterbacks and Cutler isn't a good scrambling quarterback. This is one of those situations where Gregg has a point, but then tries to make this point constantly, which eventually ruins the relevance of his point. Defensive ends need to keep contain, but not necessarily worry too much about this as it pertains to Jay Cutler.

DeAngelo Williams carried 54 yards for an untouched touchdown, setting in motion a Panthers comeback victory and a strong finish -- four wins in the final five contests -- that gives Carolina ticket customers reason to be optimistic about 2013. Sweet.

Under Gregg's theory that NFL teams fire their head coach to create hope for their fans, does this mean if Carolina fires Ron Rivera then they are giving Carolina ticket customers a reason to be optimistic? There is already optimism among Carolina fans according to Gregg, but would changing head coaches give more optimism or ruin the optimism? After all, Carolina ended the season well but Rivera was responsible for 1-2 losses this year with bad coaching and game-managing. In Gregg's opinion if Rivera is fired, is this false optimism or not?

The Times isn't crazy -- print edition subscriptions are good for its advertising bases, as a reader who both receives the paper at home or the office and also views it online is someone advertisers want to reach. And the printed papers the subscriber doesn't want are not actually thrown away, they are left in the office for anyone who wishes to pick them up. Printed editions read by someone other than the subscriber expand the impact of newspapers and magazines in a way digital subscriptions do not.

Yes, the printed paper isn't thrown away EVER. A person takes the time to put the newspaper in the car with him/her rather than just doing the easy thing and throwing the newspaper away at home.

Minnesota leading 27-17, Green Bay faced third-and-4. The Packers lined up trips right: Vikes nickel back Marcus Sherels was confused pre-snap and made the "who do I cover?" gesture. 

A little fact that Gregg leaves out is that Marcus Sherels is an undrafted free agent. If Gregg mentioned this then it would ruin the narrative he furthers that undrafted free agents are better than highly drafted players.

Aaron Rodgers noticed and went to a fly pattern to Jordy Nelson against Sherels, who just let him run past for a 73-yard gain. Note to future Packers opponents -- if you are confused about whom to cover, do not make an obvious gesture to ensure Aaron Rodgers knows this.

Ok asshole, Sherels wasn't telling Rodgers he didn't know who to cover. He was doing the right thing and communicating to his teammates that he didn't know who to cover in order to allow them to help him out. He was doing the right thing to communicate to his teammates he was confused.

Minnesota would be a dangerous postseason team if it had a play-action passing game. Considering how good Peterson is, play-fake passes ought to be a gold mine for the Vikes. But Christian Ponder averages just 6 yards per pass attempt, worse than all other NFL starters save the hapless Blaine Gabbert.

BREAKING: The Vikings would be a better team if they had a better quarterback. You can get such great football-related insight reading TMQ.

That RG III seems pretty good. But so is the Redskins' zone-read option offense. When the Dolphins rolled out Wildcat plays five seasons ago, initially this worked,

Not to be a homer, but Carolina rolled out the Wildcat with Dan Henning as the Offensive Coordinator of the Panthers before Henning rolled it out as the Offensive Coordinator of the Dolphins. DeAngelo Williams ran the Wildcat against the Falcons when Chris Weinke had to be the starter in place of an injured Jake Delhomme.

TMQ rails against mega-blitzing, and Washington won the NFC East partly by mega-blitzing the Cowboys. 

Is this Gregg Easterbrook saying he was wrong? Probably not.

The Redskins' season is already a huge success compared to expectations, which may mean a letdown in the postseason.

What? I don't understand the logic behind this statement. Why would exceeding expectations in the regular season mean a letdown in the postseason?

In high school football, on Senior Night anyone who has never played is supposed to get on the field for at least one down. High school head coaches who don't follow this tradition should burn in hell for eternity.

Well okay then. At least Gregg isn't emotional about this issue.

If there really are millions of Earthlike worlds in this galaxy alone, there may be many societies with intelligent life. There may be means of faster-than-light travel, so far unknown to us. And in the one place we know to host intelligent life, there has been both constant war and use of technology to build ever-more-deadly weapons.

So why is it assumed that belligerent intelligent aliens are unlikely? Sadly, it may be that other advanced beings are likely to be very dangerous.

So the guy who questions the truth contained in science-fiction television shows thinks there are alien forms of life that are belligerent and dangerously fighting intergalactic wars that can be seen in space. Don't try to convince him to watch a television show that isn't 100% scientifically accurate though.

The Colts had been using high draft choices on offensive linemen, hoping to protect Manning and prolong his career: that meant Luck stepped into a situation with a stout pass-blocking unit.

I see Gregg is outright lying again. The Colts have one offensive lineman on their roster who they drafted in the first round. In fact, most of the linemen on the roster were drafted by another NFL team and one first round draft choice. So Gregg is lying when he says the Colts used high draft choices on offensive linemen and that is the situation Andrew Luck stepped into. I'm not shocked, but saddened and irritated, that Gregg doesn't do the research or care enough about his audience to not outright lie in TMQ. Gregg just made an absolutely false statement and neither ESPN or Gregg himself give enough of a shit to care whether this statement is true or not. It's an embarrassment to ESPN, but as we have seen every week, Gregg Easterbrook has no shame.

Improved medical care, the proliferation of hospital trauma centers and more helicopter ambulances are among factors improving the odds that a gunshot victim will live. Unlike on TV shows, where a bad guy who is shot expires instantaneously, an adult gunshot victim may survive the initial trauma.

So television shows should show more people being shot and easily recovering from the gunshot? Doesn't Gregg complain constantly about television shows being unrealistic when a person gets shot repeatedly and then is healthy enough to move around or fight back against his assailant? It's like Gregg is incapable of any consistency in his bitching. He complains movies and television shows don't show the real nature of a gunshot wound and how a person can't quickly and easily recover, but then also complains television and movies show too many people dying after being shot.

Unlike some head coaches fired this week who've had shining moments (Andy Reid, Lovie Smith), everything about Gailey at Buffalo was a downer. So was everything about his predecessors, Dick Jauron, Mike Mularkey and Gregg Williams. The Bills need a young, ambitious head coach who wants to make his mark in the sport, not a time-server. 

You mean like Mike Mularkey, who was 43 years old when he got the Bills head coaching job? How about Gregg Williams who was 44 years old when he got the Bills job? Or were they not ambitious enough? So Gregg is saying the Bills should hire a coach younger than 43 years old? Seriously, Gregg needs to do some fucking research before typing some of the things he does. The Bills have hired young, ambitious head coaches and they didn't work out for Buffalo.

When Les Mouflons traded the chance to choose RG III for the Skins' first draft choices in 2012, 2013 and 2014, Rams management assumed the Redskins would stay terrible, which would make the 2013 No. 1 among the top selections in the draft. Instead the Skins finished the regular season 10-6, dropping their first draft choice back into the pack. 

I am sure the Rams are upset the Redskins pick isn't a lottery pick, but it is still a first round draft choice. So while the Rams are upset they passed up on Robert Griffin, they still have two first round draft choices this year, which no matter where this Redskins draft pick is located in the first round isn't something to be terribly upset about.

Next Week: Vegas books issue odds on which NFL coaches will be fired in 2013.

This is entirely possible to do based on which teams had coaches on the hot seat for underperformance after the 2012 season. More importantly, what are the odds Gregg gets fired for deceiving his audience? Probably not good. Of course ESPN seems to encourage this type of behavior.


rich said...

On a practical basis, the owner can't fire the entire team. But he can fire the head coach. It's a prompt, decisive action.

This coming from the same man who complains when coaches are fired mid-season...

Depending on who a team hires as their next head coach then it may do some good.

The fact that Gregg honestly had to ask if firing a head coach would help is amazing. If the guy sucks at his job and you find someone better - then yes, it absolutely will.

I can see Gregg owning a high end restaurant:

Gregg: So John dropped 12 meals on the ground, served them anyway and now we're getting complaints. Cost me $3,000 worth of comped meals.

Manager: Ya, he's been pretty bad since we hired him. I'll let him know he's been fired.

Gregg: Will firing him do any good?

Manager: Yes, he's a bad employee and just cost you $3,000.

Gregg: You didn't truly answer my question, will firing him do any good?

Manager: Yes?

Gregg slaps the manager: No!

Manager: Okay, we won't fire him.

::two days later::

Gregg: God damnit, John dropped more meals and cost me another $4,000! Who is responsible for this!

And who, a few years later, will be blamed and fired.

Coughlin, Belicheck, Reid, McCarthy, Payton, Tomlin, Fisher, Shanahan and (Mike) Smith were all NFL assistant coaches before becoming NFL head coaches.

That's 11 Super Bowls and 15 Super Bowl appearances, never mind, each one has been with their respective teams for quite a while (sans Reid, but he was with the Eagles for a decade).

But Greg is right, they're usually fired after a few years and blamed.

So why is it assumed that belligerent intelligent aliens are unlikely? Sadly, it may be that other advanced beings are likely to be very dangerous.

I honestly don't think this douchebag knows what the word "likely" means. That and has this asshole also not read books, watched the History Channel (your source for all of your alien news) or watched a fucking movie in the past 20 years? For every friendly alien book/movie there's 50 "holy shit they're here to kill us all."

The reason most people don't discuss this epiphany of Gregg's is very simple: if there's an alien race capable of reaching us with advanced technology that wants us dead, we're fucked.

That and given the sheer number of planets in the galaxy, the odds of hostile aliens deciding to wage war on an already occupied planet when there are already unoccupied ones is batshit stupid. If they can travel anywhere in the galaxy, they'd go after the uninhabited ones first.

Fucking moron.

Anonymous said...

As soon as I saw that "off with their heads" idiocy I knew you'd get after Easterbrook. And it is much deserved of course. However, please don't forget to destroy Simmons regularly. He, along with TMZDISNESPN, has brought the mentality of sports fans down and will continue to do so. Never mind that he represents the absolute worst of Boston sports fans. As for Easty what can you say that you haven't eloquently stated before? He is definitely awful, but Simmons purports himself to be far greater than what he is (a guy who caught it just at the right time and used to have a somewhat palatabe schtick). As I tweeted, I couldn't even make it past the first Dooze reference of his latest joke of a piece. I hate that guy and his idiotic shit. Not all of us are driven by sling boxes and tv's Bill. Some of us climb mountains, swim rivers, play music, and donate time to charities. I have never heard Simmons pimp for anything but himself. Noble huh? Also, what adult males that you hang with know as much about MTV shows as this clown? I wish he shows up in Sullivan's Tap when my boy is there becaue dude will immediately drop him and happily pay the fines. THAT'S Boston Simmons. Not that Holy Cross internet freak crowd you rolled with you pussy. Sorry, I know this is an Easty rip but I am all fired up about Simmons and DISNESPN in general today. Listening to Golic and Greenberg (not by choice) whine all morning ruined my morning. Anyway Ben, all your stuff is great, please keep up the good work! @BigCityJob

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, firing head coaches midseason isn't decisive, but firing a coach after the entire season is played and there isn't anything that can be done about a team's record is "decisive."

What's so funny about Gregg, and I really wish I pointed this out, is that he spends all of TMQ complaining and talking about how these NFL coaches are terrible at their jobs and only do what they can not to be fired and pass the blame...but then he asks if it does any good to fire the head coach. How can a guy who spends large portions of TMQ questioning the competence of a head coach ask if firing this head coach will do any good? It's like everything else. He wants it both ways. He wants to complain the head coaches in the NFL are incompetent and use the wrong game strategy, but also complain owners rush to judgment in firing these head coaches.

Let's also not forget coaches who were head coaches before are usually either more expensive or also can fail. Take a look at Steve Spurrier, George Seifert, Dom Capers, Romeo Crennel...and the list can go on.

I've never thought about it, but aliens probably would try to get an uninhabited planet first, as long as there is oxygen there. What are the odds the aliens require oxygen for survival? So for aliens to attack Earth they would need oxygen and have no uninhabited planet to attack...unless they want to use our structures for their own purposes, but then there wouldn't be much use in destroying Earth if they want the structures on Earth...unless they want our resources, which as I have been told constantly seem to be running out.

Big City, I try not to forget about Simmons. It's hard with him posting on Friday. I will pay special attention to him though, I promise. I tend to forget about him. I don't know anyone who knows as much about MTV as he does. Most of their programming is boring and repetitive to me, but he seems to still enjoy it.

I'm not sure Bill would show up at any Boston bars for fear he would have to hear from the very fans who he won't allow to comment on his columns and makes it a point to not respond to on Twitter.

I can see how listening to the Mike's would ruin your morning. I will focus on Bill more. I need to make a better effort.

jacktotherack said...

I lost it when this dumb asshole called Cutler slow. He isn't RG3 but Cutler sure as shit is an above average runner. That's the only reason he is still alive playing behind the Bears offensive line. How can this piece of shit get paid to write about football?

Ericb said...

"So why is it assumed that belligerent intelligent aliens are unlikely? Sadly, it may be that other advanced beings are likely to be very dangerous."

Well Gregggggg the thinking is that if an alien civilization is belligerent then it will most likely destroy itself before it could develop the technology to make it to the Earth. They actually have an equation for such things:

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, maybe Cutler is fast since he has had to run away from the defensive line of opposing teams. I think Gregg doesn't know what he is talking about. You still don't try to contain Cutler and you go for the sack.

As a Bears fan, what do you think about the Lovie Smith firing? Deserved?

Eric, I guess that makes sense. Much like we would probably destroy ourselves before we could make it to another planet?

jacktotherack said...

Ben, I'm fairly indifferent to the Lovie firing to be honest. I didn't have the pitchforks out but I'm not sad to see him go either. Knew we would always be competitive with him but I fully understand why he was fired. I am excited the organization has the opportunity to go out and find someone who can come in and help fix this offense. Lovie gave us 9 solid years, but it does feel like its time for a change.

So I guess I am cautiosly optimistic.

Snarf said...

Still not sure why Easterbrook continues to harp about the Cam Cameron firing. I would think that someone would have pointed out to him by now that he was Harbaugh's "guy" and in no way was this Harbaugh throwing him under the bus. Harbaugh had actually stuck his neck out for Cameron two offseasons in a row, despite him not being popular and the owner supposedly growing tired of him. I guess it really just belies Gregggggg's lack of knowledge about a subject he is paid to cover.

I proposed that making donations to charities or philanthropies during the holidays, then giving the receipt wrapped in a box, is a better way to exchange gifts than giving junk the recipient will just regift in order to get rid of. I noted this is not only good for the world but prevents economic loss in gifting. If you give someone a gift that costs $100 but she values it at only $50, half your expense has been lost. If you donate $100 to a university and give the receipt, all $100 is put to good use.

I could be mistaken (but inconsistency IS Gregg's calling card), but wasn't Gregg just harping about what poor value universities are? I realize that Gregg knows little about football, but he is an economist. He should make a little more sense here. Donating $100 does not create more value for the economy than spending it on crap. actually probably less. Although the money is "wasted" in the sense that the gift recipient in this situation doesn't "value" his gift at $100, the money doesn't just disappear. Considering velocity of Money: I buy a $100 back massager as a gift at Brookstone, they use that money to pay their employees, who uses that money to buy groceries, who uses that money to pay a supplier, who uses that money to pay an employee, who uses that money to pay rent to his landlord, who uses that money to pay the mortgage on the property to the bank, who lends that money to a start-up business, etc. Conversely, the money donated to a university probably sits for quite a while longer, particularly if it's designated for a specific purpose (and there is no evidence that universities use money any "better"). Not a football-related beef, just something that he seems to keep harping on.

As for the Colts, Andrew Luck has not only played well, he has played exactly the same style that Peyton Manning played in his best seasons at Indianapolis.

No he didn't. Unless by same style he means "well," then sure, but to compare Luck to Manning at his best is ridiculous right now. Or maybe he meant "highly-drafted asshole" as the style, in which case that's just par for the course with Gregg.

Orrrrr, perhaps this positive, somewhat hyperbolic, discussion of Luck is due to the precocious factor, which we all know that Peterr Easterbrook cannot resist.

Snarf said...

Ben, I think that BotB should award its own Gregg Easterbrook Player of the Year award. The winner must have been drafted in one of the top two rounds of the draft, earn a salary within the top-20% of the league, and play a position other than offensive-line or interior defensive line.

I guarentee this player will be considered to be 2 or 3x the player that any of Gregg's man-crushes have been (to any objective observer, that is).

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, I think Harbaugh may have stuck with Cameron longer than he should have. It was obvious (at least from an outsider's perspective) that Harbaugh liked Cameron more than others. Really, the firing of Cameron put more pressure on Harbaugh because he can't blame Cameron for the issues on the offense.

Gregg was talking about how some universities are bad investments. You are right in that the person receiving the gift does get something tangible out of it.

The problem is that Gregg doesn't know what style Manning played. He only knows both guys are white and played quarterback. Other than that, he is clueless. He just assumes the offensive systems and "styles" are the same.

That's not a bad award idea. I would have to probably take nominations from commenters for that award. I think my first choice would probably be Peyton Manning. That's probably pretty obvious!

Jack, that's how I felt about John Fox leaving. It felt like it was just time. I was surprised the Bears fired Smith, but they haven't had a ton of offensive success either. I'm interested to see who they hire.