Tuesday, April 2, 2013

7 comments MMQB Review: Fun with NCAA Tournament Facts Edition

Peter King detailed last week how the Baltimore Ravens were finally getting revenge on John Elway and the Denver Broncos for Elway demanding he be traded or he would choose to play baseball and never play for the Baltimore Colts. So the Ravens got revenge on the Broncos for what the Broncos did to the Colts by signing Elvis Dumervil. As pointed out in the comments, it probably makes more sense for the Ravens to have gotten the Broncos back when they beat the Broncos in the playoffs last year on their way to winning the Super Bowl. This week Peter talks ever-so-briefly about Tony Romo's new deal, some potential quarterback trades (Carson Palmer is again going to be the savior of another team...until he demands a trade), and upon no one asking him for this, he tells us his favorite pizza town. The idea of quarterbacks moving from team-to-team seems to be the most exciting story this time of year or at least this is the story Peter enjoys talking about the most. I didn't know Matt Flynn and Kevin Kolb could move the interest meter so much.

Two deals felt inevitable this morning: Carson Palmer to Arizona, Matt Flynn to Oakland. With the Flynn deal going down Monday morning, Palmer to the Cardinals should be next. 

Carson Palmer may be traded into the NFC West? I'm guessing the Cardinals won't be giving a 1st and 2nd round pick for Palmer, but I think it's a four-way race in the NFC West now. Carson Palmer on the Cardinals. Move over Peyton Manning, there's a new sheriff on a new team on the other side of the Mississippi River now.

They moves made too much sense not to happen. Sense, yes. 

But...but...Bruce Arians said Drew Stanton was his guy. I'm vexed and my world is spinning. Drew Stanton isn't going to be the starter in Arizona next year? Bruce Arians said he was comfortable with Stanton as his starter. Could he have lied?

Palmer to the Cardinals. It's likely Oakland gets a fourth- or fifth-round pick in return, and Palmer, 33, signs a deal commensurate with his recent performance but recognizing his chance for a revival playing for Bruce Arians and playing with Larry Fitzgerald.

The good news is Oakland would now have a fourth or fifth round pick to trade for their next quarterback of the future, Matt Flynn, then they could even draft another quarterback in the upcoming draft too. You can never spend enough draft picks on quarterbacks, or current quarterbacks who should be converted to tight end, in the case of Terrelle Pryor.

I understand why Palmer wouldn't take a financial haircut in Oakland: I wouldn't have either, knowing the Raiders were a short-term place and understanding if he held his ground, the Raiders might enable him to go to a place that fit him better.

Right, we definitely want Carson Palmer to be comfortable with the next team he forces his current team to trade him to. His comfort is all that matters. Who could ever have known Oakland wasn't the mecca he thought it would end up being? There's certainly no history that says the Raiders wouldn't be the next dynasty.

I believe Arians is the best coach in the league for Palmer. I also believe Palmer wouild buy in totally to Arians' plan, and I hear he's excited about a chance in Arizona. A move would allow him to stay close to his southern California home, and to play in a system that wouldn't be a reach for his game. And Palmer would have the kind of reliable deep-threat receiver in Larry Fitzgerald that few quarterbacks have at their disposal.

Who would have ever thought Peter King would totally buy-in to the idea Carson Palmer will be successful in Arizona? It's completely unforeseen.

Does that mean Arizona will contend? I doubt it sincerely. The leaky offensive line must be significantly better to give the immobile Palmer a chance to play well. But of all the quarterbacks on the market or in the 2013 draft, Palmer gives the Cardinals the best chance to be competitive as the fourth-best team in a suddenly very good NFC West.

And as the old adage goes, "if you can trade draft picks to acquire an aging quarterback who won't help your team win the division or make the playoffs, that's a trade you immediately make without hesitation."

Flynn to the Raiders. It appears this deal got done without Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie touching his 2013 draft, and that's good (the Raiders will send 2014 and '15 picks to Seattle for Flynn). The Raiders have only three picks in the top five rounds -- third, 66th and 100th overall. Then they have a 71-pick drought before choosing again, in the sixth round. According to Jay Glazer, both picks the Seahawks are getting come from the later rounds.

The picks don't even come from this year's draft, so that's great news, but there go the Raiders trading those draft picks again. It's a good deal for Flynn, don't get me wrong, but this is still a case of the Raiders trading draft picks for a quarterback. It's like the entire franchise is on "repeat" sometimes.

Put yourself in McKenzie's shoes. You can pay a quarterback you're not sold on, Palmer, $13 million this year, another year the cap is so tight it's squeezing every position group on the roster. Or you can pay Matt Flynn $5.25 million in salary, not knowing if he's going to be your quarterback of the future but knowing he's got a better chance than anyone on your current roster.

It is a great move, but the move isn't any smarter just because compared to the expensive quarterback the Raiders had on the roster Flynn is a better option. It's a good move, let's leave it at that without comparing Flynn to Palmer.

Finally, what are the chances Flynn becomes Oakland's answer at quarterback? Thirty percent, maybe?

Depending on who he is competing with and how Flynn performs in training camp, the odds have to be higher than 30% in my opinion.

Arizona with Palmer. Oakland with Flynn. And, on Friday, Buffalo with the signing of Kevin Kolb to a two-year contract. Teams with major quarterback needs are making moves.

But these teams with major quarterback needs are making moves to get quarterbacks who aren't necessarily major fixes. Flynn is a career backup, Kolb flamed out in Arizona, and Carson Palmer has been regressing since the 2006 season. So these moves may not help these teams with major quarterback needs.

I believe the Cardinals are now out of the first-round quarterback market.

As they say, "once you go Palmer, your GM will never be less calmer." Or they could also say, "If you have Drew Stanton, there's no way you can't win." Either way, the Cardinals are set for the next 1-2 years.

I believe the Cardinals are now out of the first-round quarterback market. I think Oakland could still take one, with only three potential impact picks in this draft, but I think it's likely Oakland looks elsewhere at No. 3 overall.

No, no, please. Let Oakland draft another quarterback with one of their three picks. Make this happen.

The tackle market at the top of the first round is going to be on fire. I will be surprised if Joeckel, Fisher and Johnson aren't taken in the first 11 picks. San Diego is 11th.

The idea of protecting the quarterback, what a revolutionary idea it is.

And so what has all this information mining told Brandt about the 2013 draft?

"A totally unique draft,'' he said. "I don't think when we look at this draft five years from now that we'll have as many Pro Bowlers in the top 10 than you had in either of the last two drafts. Like, I think if Ryan Tannehill were in this draft, he'd be the top pick -- and he was [eighth] last year. Here's how I'd put it: Between 11 and 50, there's a lot of good players. But they're very close between 11 and 50. And I'd say if you took the 45th player in 2013, he'd be slightly better than the 45th player in 2012. That's the strength of this draft -- the depth.''

Nothing against Gil Brandt but we have been hearing for a few months now this is a deep draft and every year we learn what a unique draft this next one will be. It's nothing new to anyone has paid attention to college football and the upcoming NFL Draft. I don't know about Tannehill going first overall in this draft. If I were the Chiefs I would still possibly take a left tackle, but that's just me.

Now Peter updates us on the Jets-Revis trade rumors because we all know we need to be updated as often as possible on this situation. Once a week isn't nearly enough.

The Jets are in deep think mode over the possible trade of the rehabbing Darrelle Revis. And though it's certainly tough to consider trading the best player on your team -- and it's a deal I wouldn't do; I would pay the man -- 

And Peter, there is a reason you don't run an NFL team. You would take a non-playoff team and give a cornerback on that team an expensive, new contract despite the fact he is coming back from a major leg injury. This is as opposed to using this cornerback's value to gain more picks and (gasp) make the overall team better. Really, why give a shit if you make the playoffs as long as you have the best cornerback in the NFL? 

I think at the end of the day the Jets will do it at least two days before the start of the April 25 first round. (Can't be on draft day, obviously, because the Bucs will need to do a thorough physical exam before agreeing to the deal, which is likely to contain one 2013 draft choice.)

And why would a team want to do a thorough physical on Revis? To ensure he is completely healthy? Remember the guy who needs a thorough physical is the guy Peter wants the Jets to hand a new contract to. There is a chance Revis won't report to camp until he gets a new contract, but Peter thinks the Jets should just give Revis that new contract before making sure he doesn't have lingering effects from his injury. This is Peter's plan.

The Jets could do the right thing and satisfy Revis' long-term contract demands and have the best corner in the league (at least the best one east of Seattle, if Richard Sherman is to be believed) on their team through the rest of his prime.

I keep harping on this because Peter keeps harping on this. Three issues with this point of view:

1. The Jets just gave Revis a new contract less than three years ago. Why continually show the organization will allow players to hold the team hostage?

2. Is Revis healthy? Do the Jets know this for sure?

3. Why not use Revis to make the entire team better? The Jets aren't a few pieces away from contending, they need a few pieces on top of a few other pieces. Trade from strength to improve the team as a whole. Why not?

The Bucs, assuming Revis passes the physical, are willing to surrender a first-round pick and either a second- or a third- to acquire Revis. Those picks would either come both in 2013 or 2014, or one in each draft.

If Revis leaves in free-agency -- the Jets cannot franchise him after the 2013 season, by contract agreement -- the most the Jets would get is a likely third-round compensatory draft pick.

You can probably guess as much, but I would trade Revis for a first and second round pick. That would give the Jets two first and two second round picks, plus free up salary cap room. I feel like I am taking crazy pills right now. What does Peter have against the Jets adding draft picks and losing Revis? There's no point in having Revis Island if you can't build trees, amusement parks and hotels on Revis Island for the tourists to enjoy. Giving Revis $15 million per year would help strap the Jets from building a team around Revis. I need a beer.

• Revis on your team for one rebuilding season, getting the 97th overall pick in 2015, or ...

• Revis dumped for, say, Tampa Bay's first-round pick this month -- the 13th pick in 2013 -- and Tampa's second-rounder in 2014. If it's mid-round, that'd be the 48th overall pick in 2014.
One pick, 25 months from now, between the third and fourth rounds? Or two picks in the next 13 months, both likely in the top 50?

An elite corner is great. An elite or very competent quarterback and defensive is even greater. I would make the deal if I am the Jets. Revis has had two injuries in the last two years, who is to say he is even worth $15 million per year?

"More than anything, it was just the opportunity to spend the rest of my career with a team you know is going to win and win big and win pretty soon. And that to me was exciting.''

-- Tony Romo, to DallasCowboys.com, after signing a contract extension Friday that will average $17 million a year over six years. 

Peter doesn't tell us what he thinks of the Romo deal, but please remember the Cowboys just gave (on average) $17 million per year to a quarterback who has shown he is at the very least the quarterback for a playoff team. People (rightfully or not) question this deal. Giving Revis, a cornerback who doesn't play a position as vital as quarterback, $15 million per year...does that really make a hell of a lot more sense? Yes, I know this is a straw man argument of sorts.

"I lived a lifestyle like 90 percent of ballplayers. You sat around and had six beers after a game, went to dinner and had another six, and then guys are calling you to a bar where you're drinking more.''

-- San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Scott Proctor, talking about the change in baseball clubhouse drinking from ample to nearly nonexistent, to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.

But remember everyone, it was Joe Torre's overuse of Scott Proctor that killed his career. None of it was Scott Proctor's fault. Blame Joe Torre. 

For his 14 starts, 17 touchdown throws and 83.2 passer rating in two Arizona seasons, Kevin Kolb made $20.5 million.

He went to a team that had major quarterback issues. Maybe joining a team that actually has some semblance of an offensive line in place will help Kolb?

Final Four contestant Wichita State is 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament, including a six-point win over the No. 1 team in the country, Gonzaga. Wichita State was 0-2 versus Evansville this year.
Syracuse, also in the Final Four, went 4-5 in the last three weeks before the tournament.

I received an email about this as well as noticed it in this column. Is it really notable that Wichita State is 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament? That's sort of how they became a Final Four contestant, no? Wichita State lost twice to Evansville, partly because for one reason or another certain teams aren't good matchups for other teams, but the idea the Shockers are 4-0 in the NCAA Tournament this year isn't notable at all. It's obvious given the fact they are in the Final Four. Wichita State had to win four games to get to the Final Four.

La Salle, of Philadelphia, flew from Philadelphia to Dayton, then from Dayton to Kansas City, then from Kansas City to Los Angeles, playing four games in three time zones in nine days.

Louisville, of Louisville, bused 77 miles to Lexington for the first two games of the tournament, bused home, then bused 112 miles to Indianapolis to the next two games of the tournament.

This is "Factoid of the Week That May Only Interest Me II." This comments shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the pod system for the NCAA Tournament. Louisville is rightly the #1 overall seed, so of course they are going to get to play closer to home. La Salle had to play in the play-in games on Wednesday before the tournament actually began. They were a 13 seed and four years ago possibly would not have even made the tournament. So of course they aren't going to be allowed to play close to Philadelphia. This is just basic knowledge of the pod system, so it really can't be that interesting. It may just be easier for Peter to say, "I know nothing about NCAA Tournament basketball" and make no further comments.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Food in Seattle. Underrated, and it has been for the last few years. 

I didn't even know the food in Seattle was rated, much less underrated.

Serious Pie believes the more olive oil the better, and I'm on board with that. I just had a great evening at Elemental Pizza in University Village last Wednesday (see "Beernerdness'' below), with a terrific thin crust pie. And a year or so ago, I sampled Ballard Pizza; a little thick for my taste, but good crust nonetheless, and terrific tomato sauce.

It's not just coffee anymore. Seattle's my favorite pizza town.

And we all know pizza is really the only food available, so because the pizza in Seattle is the best, the entire city of Seattle has underrated food. Another city with underrated food? New York City. No one ever thinks of New York City as a place to find good food, and by food Peter means "pizza." What a gem of an underrated town.

"What else were cowboys going to do than work out a deal w qb Tony Romo? Tell me 3 other VIABLE alternatives better than Romo.''

-- @alex_flanagan of NFL Network and NBC Sports.

What she said.

Obviously Carson Palmer and Darrelle Revis are much better alternatives than working out a deal with Romo. The Cowboys could have traded Romo for Revis and watched a new dynasty bloom in Dallas.

3. I think, for those of you who, like me, can't get through a draft season without Mel Kiper's blue soft-cover book scouting the college prospects, enjoy this year's. It might be the last, as much as it pains me to say it. ESPN may have Kiper in Bristol more next year, and he may not be able to spend as much time as he needs to publish the book.

Maybe I am simply an idiot, but I didn't even know Mel Kiper put together a soft-cover book scouting the college prospects. I guess I could say I learned something in this week's MMQB, though I learned it about Mel Kiper, so does that really count as "learning" something? It's more like having knowledge forced upon me against my will.

4. I think Mike Shanahan would agree with you, President Obama, when it comes to Robert Griffin III. Seems when the president and the quarterback met at the regional final in Washington Saturday, Obama told Griffin to protect himself. Good thought.

Yes, Mike Shanahan would definitely agree with Obama that needs Robert Griffin needs to protect himself. Of course Shanahan has shown he would put Griffin on the field as long as Griffin is capable of walking/limping at all, so maybe Shanahan wouldn't agree with President Obama.

6. I think the agents for Andre Smith are making it very clear to the Bengals, and to the rest of the league: The offer Cincinnati has on the table for Smith stinks (in the mind of agent and player), and the door is open for some team to come in and steal him. Listening, Arizona?

Sure, they are listening. It's not like Andre Smith has a history of letting himself get out of shape or anything like that.

8. I think I'm one who thinks Hue Jackson, one day, should get another chance to be a head coach. But it's tough to forget his big decision in Oakland, which will haunt his resume forever, trading first- and second-round draft choices to Cincinnati for a "retired" quarterback, Carson Palmer. Making the Raiders competitive should certainly be a factor in the plus column for Jackson. The Palmer trade, which he engineered, is a killer.

That was a terrible trade. There's no doubt about that, but Jackson isn't going to be brought in to make personnel moves and if a team has a strong GM then Jackson won't have to worry about making personnel moves. He will coach and someone else will pick the players.

10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:

a. "Shame on us if we've forgotten [Newtown],'' the president said the other day, talking about stalled legislation on tougher background checks for gun buyers. Shame on all of us.

Oh yes, I forgot that I am a member of Congress and it is my job to push this legislation through. Shame on me for not being a member of Congress and having nothing to do with whether tougher background checks for gun buyers passes or not. Shame on me millions of times over.

g. I'm a firm believer that the only people who care about your fantasy team is the owner of said fantasy team.

This is a typical Peter King comment. "I'm not an expert on this topic and don't really have enough knowledge to given an opinion...but here is my opinion on said topic."

Basically, you know Peter is about to tell us about his fantasy baseball team.

But this is the baseball team I drafted the other night (and I've had better): Buster Posey catcher, Mike Napoli first, Dustin Pedroia second, Acides Escobar short, Kevin Youkilis third, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury and Mark Trumbo in the outfield, Lance Berkman the DH (with David Ortiz on the bench. Rotation: Jordan Zimmerman, Matt Moore, Jarrod Parker and Johnny Cueto. 'Pen: Jonathan Papelbon, Rafael Soriano, Phil Coke (Jason Motte on the DL). Hope springs eternal, but Trumbo and Bruce had better combine for 75 jacks or I'm in trouble.

It seems Peter plays in a home runs-only scoring fantasy league if all he is worried about is Trumbo and Bruce combining for 75 home runs. Also, that's a lot of Red Sox, though in Peter's defense he seemingly knows nothing about any other MLB team outside of his Red Sox. He probably chose Matt Moore because he thought it was the Dolphins backup quarterback and chose Soriano because "he's going to get so many save chances with Mariano Rivera out for the year."

n. As you know, I'm no NBA guy. 

And what will always follow is a comment/opinion on the NBA from Peter King. It never fails.

But when Kobe Bryant passes Wilt Chamberlain on the NBA's all-time scoring list, well, that's worth an MMQB shout-out. I really admire Bryant, playing through injury and showing such a great will to win. He's like Derek Jeter.

Yes, Kobe Bryant is just like Derek Jeter. They are essentially the exact same player, minus all of the differences that completely set them apart from each other, beginning with the fact they play two completely different sports.

o. Well, Louisville eliminating Baylor shows there's more balance in the women's game than I thought. I owe the women's game a slight mea culpa, though it's still nowhere near the level playing field of the men's game. Great coaching plan by Louisville, limiting Brittney Griner's touches all night.

It was the brilliant game plan, not the execution of the brilliant game plan that was great. Who would have ever thought that keeping the ball away from the most dominant women's college basketball player could be a strategy to beat her team? I bet all the other women's college basketball teams are kicking themselves saying, "Why didn't WE think of not letting Brittney Griner touch the basketball."

It wasn't the game plan that was great, but the execution of this game plan.

s. Now, many of you on Twitter said Alford just did what you do in America when you have leverage. You use it. Scores of you said, in effect, writers jump to different papers and magazines and TV places all the time. True. We do. But most writers work for papers and magazines without contracts. I never had a contract at my two newspapers jobs, nor for the first several years I worked at SI. With no contract, you're free to go at a moment's notice. And the college coaching contracts are so weak and one-sided that they mock the word "contract."

I'm kind of torn because New Mexico could fire Steve Alford at any point they like, so why shouldn't he be allowed to take a job at any point he likes? On the other hand, he should keep his word and have integrity, and so on...

y. Hope you all had a happy Easter. Now if we can just do something about getting spring to start.

Peter must have learned, much to this disappointment, he is in fact not God and doesn't control the weather. I think all those criticisms of hotel coffee and service has given Peter the impression he has more pull than he truly has.

The Adieu Haiku

Trade Flynn to Oak-town!
That's right: All we are saying
is give Matt a chance.

Maybe Spring isn't starting because the weather is boycotting Spring until Peter quits writing these haikus? 


Last Place Already said...

Peter seems like a good-natured, well-meaning oaf and general dumb ass. Much harder to truly dislike like say a Simmons or a Bayless.

JBsptfn said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
JBsptfn said...

I agree with you about Tannehill. The Dolphins shouldn't have drafted him in the first round.

They should have drafted Luke Kuechly or traded down. Then, they should have drafted Brock Osweiler in Round 2, and let him develop behind Matt Moore for a year or two.

If Tannehill was in this draft, and if someone would have taken him #1 overall, they would be the biggest idiots of all-time in my mind.

As for this year, I don't know if any of those QB's this year are worthy of being picked in Round 1, even Geno Smith..

It makes me sick when some people think of Barkley as a first-rounder. He isn't even a second-rounder in my mind. This class isn't that good overall. Next year's QB class is supposed to be awesome.

I also don't get how teams over-draft QB's in Round 1 just because they need one, like the Titans did with Locker, or the Vikings did with Ponder. You need a good QB, not just a QB. Locker should have went in Round 2, and Ponder in Round 3-4.

Bengoodfella said...

Last place, I don't hate Peter King. He can be annoying and sometimes his blind belief in what people are telling him annoys me, but I don't generally think of him in the same breath as Gregg Easterbrook or Bill Simmons. Peter is different. He comes off well-meaning, but he often comes off as aloof or kind of a dumbass, yes.

JB, I am the worst at evaluating QB's. The absolute worst, but I don't see any QB I would take in the first round. I wasn't a fan of Tannehill last year and I think Barkley is in the same boat for me. I liked Landry Jones going into this college football season if that tells you anything.

Geno Smith seems to me like a QB I would take early, simply because I think he has the highest ceiling. Maybe the Dolphins did it right by getting Tannehill, but I like Matt Moore and thought the Dolphins could have hit on a QB a little later and spent their first pick on another position. I, of course, love Luke Kuechly and think he would have made a great pick for the Dolphins. I'm very happy he didn't go there though.

JBsptfn said...

Yeah, and as a Denver fan, I am hoping to be glad that Osweiler didn't go to Miami. We'll see, though.

waffleboy said...

For the most part I'd agree Peter King is pretty harmless, and then I remember him going after Cam Newton this season, because Peter's buddy who was the GM of the Panthers got let go. Wasn't there a newspaper editor who was known for when telling his reporters that they shouldn't sleep with the subjects of their stories by telling them "if you want to cover the circus, you can't fuck the elephants"? If you can think of the entire NFL as an elephant, Peter's been getting way too friendly with the pachyderms for a long time now.
Also, isn't the Cardinals trading for Carson Palmer a very subtle way of telling their fans that "yeah, we're probably going to lose at least 10 games this season"? As a Raiders fan I like the idea of getting rid of Carson Palmer and pretending the last couple of years never happened, because a big part of being a successful Raider fan is being a world class pretender, but what are the Cardinals thinking?

Bengoodfella said...

JB, I wasn't a huge Osweiler fan coming out of ASU, but again, I am terrible at evaluating quarterbacks.

Waffle, see you are right about that too. Peter is harmless but he has these biases and also managed to have certain players/teams/coaches that he likes and will defend to the end. Once you end up on his bad side though, I notice his coverage changes a little bit and you start to do things wrong. Just because I am so close to it, I notice his criticism of Cam a lot more than I probably should. So I would include that as an example.

Peter is WAY too close to the people he covers and I think that shades his coverage for sure. I think it shades his coverage. I don't think he is willfully dishonest writer like Easterbrook or others, but he does have certain traits where he isn't consistent in his criticism and has favorite teams to write about. He's well-meaning, but I don't think that excuses some of his complaining about hotels, rental cars, etc.

I like Matt Flynn for the Raiders. It's a good trade and they gave up very little for him. I'm probably overly hard on Palmer, but I just don't see what others see in him. He's pretty good, but he's not great. Plus, the Raiders are the second team he has forced his way out of in three years. I just imagine if another QB did that then Peter would have some criticism, but he has stayed incredibly silent on Palmer's consistent unhappiness. Why is that? Perhaps because he likes Palmer and doesn't want to criticize him.