Wednesday, May 29, 2013

5 comments MMQB Review: Peter Struggles with the Definition of a "Fact" Edition

Peter King described the joy he feels when walking in New York City last week in MMQB. Well, he likes to walk, but only when he can't catch a cab. Catching a cab is always preferable to walking, but walking is great too, as long as Peter doesn't have to walk too much. That's just annoying. Peter also described Tom Brady's offseason workout and asked Brady to state SPECIFICALLY what he has done to improve himself in the offseason. Peter also seemed confused as to how the Charlotte Hornets got their nickname, but thought the "Pelicans" is a great name for an NBA team. When I think of pelicans, fear strikes my heart. This week Peter talks about how great Brian Urlacher is (but leaves out how he didn't like Urlacher coming out of college and thought the Bears didn't make a good move when they drafted him...can't make himself look bad can we?), re-prints some commencement addresses given this year, and can't figure out why Jesus Montero isn't the starting catcher for the American League in the All-Star Game. Apparently in the past two weeks Peter has gone from not knowing exactly where Manny Machado came from, to now he is the lead scout for the Seattle Mariners. Why do prospects not work out? WHY? ANSWER ME UNIVERSE!

I'm going to write about Brian Urlacher today, but before I do, a note about the day. It's Memorial Day, and that's not just the first day of the beach season.

Never underestimate how stupid Peter King believes his MMQB audience truly is. What? Memorial Day isn't just about remembering those days when we couldn't go to the beach? Give us some perspective on this day Peter, as you only you can.

It's a day we remember all those who have served in the military, and those who continue to serve today. It's also my annual survey of some of the best commencement speeches to the Class of 2013.

Read that sentence again. Memorial Day isn't only remembering those who have served in the military, but also is the day Peter reveals his annual survey of the best commencement speeches to the Class of 2013. So we remember military members who have served, but at the same time look forward to Peter's annual survey of commencement address. Memorial Day is about honoring the military AND honoring Peter's annual commencement survey being released. Memorial Day is an important day to remember the troops while reading Peter's annual commencement survey on the beach while drinking an Allagash White. That way all three major reasons for Memorial Day to be remembered can be enjoyed while drinking the greatest beer ever made.

The explosion killed McGinnis instantly; the other soldiers in the vehicle got, at worst, shrapnel wounds they all recovered from. One of the men, Army Staff Sgt. Ian Newland, told USA Today: "Why he did it? Because we were his brothers. Everyone always tells their friends, 'I'd take a bullet for you.' I've read books and seen plenty of movies about it. But to actually live through a situation like that, have someone do that, is just -- there's nothing else more courageous that a person can do in their entire life. So basically, I try not to live my life in vain for what he's done."

Good advice on a day we should never take for granted.

We shouldn't take Memorial Day for granted. The beaches aren't open forever and Peter's annual survey only can be read in one MMQB per year.

First, some football. Then, Oklahoma. Then, some more wisdom from commencements.

I believe I said it last year (and possibly the year before that), but couldn't Peter simply link these commencement addresses in MMQB rather than write them (almost) verbatim in MMQB? I think it would be easier to link the commencement addresses, as well this would prevent MMQB readers from having to go through walls of text. I get that some of MMQB isn't football-related, but when Peter does the commencement address survey probably 50% or more of MMQB becomes non-football related. Are there really people who read MMQB and want to read more commencement addresses and other non-football related news? It's supposed to be a football column.

In retirement, remember Urlacher's best game.

While remembering the troops and the fact Memorial Day is the first day of beach season. More importantly, name three SPECIFIC THINGS that you remember about Brian Urlacher's game!

The defensive stat line for Chicago linebacker Brian Urlacher from Week 6 of 2006 in a Monday night game at Arizona:

Solo Tackles-Assists Total Tackles  Sacks  QB Hits  Passes Defensed  Forced Fumbles
11-8   19   0   3   2   1

He is who we said he was! Well, Urlacher isn't who Peter said he was. Peter used to grade NFL Drafts (which a post about that is to come...don't pretend you aren't excited) and he didn't give the Bears a good grade for drafting Urlacher. Again, let's gloss over this to talk glowingly about Urlacher's career. In reality, we SHOULD gloss over Peter's evaluation of Urlacher coming out of college to review Urlacher's NFL career, but I wish Peter would mention the draft grade he gave the Bears upon drafting Urlacher. I just want to read him saying he was wrong. Of course we don't have room for Peter to admit he was wrong about Urlacher because there are Tweets of the Week and some non-football related notes that Peter has to fit into this MMQB. There's only so much room for football-related stuff in this column. Peter HAS to fit in a Quote of the Week and his own personal thoughts on the movie he watched this past weekend.

"That game,'' said then-Bears defensive coordinator Ron Rivera, "epitomized Brian as a football player. If anything, the numbers don't do justice to what Brian did on the field that night, especially in the second half."

I imagine Ron Rivera was so motivated by Urlacher's play in this game he stared even harder at the football field with a blank look on his face while coaching the Bears defense.

There was a subplot to the Bears-Cards game on the night of Oct. 16, 2006. Arizona coach Dennis Green provided it. The Bears, 5-0, were already being compared to the '85 Bears around Chicagoland, and Green, in his pre-game production meeting with the ESPN Monday night crew, was incredulous. "Denny couldn't believe it,'' play-by-play man Mike Tirico told me Friday. "The Cards were 1-4, and they'd played Chicago tough in the third preseason game that year. Denny was coaching at Northwestern at the time of the '85 Bears, and he didn't think this current team compared to the '85 team. At our meeting, he said, 'People are trying to crown their ass.' He couldn't believe it."

This really wasn't a subplot to the game since the viewing public didn't know about Dennis Green's disbelief at the Bears being crowned as great so early in the 2006 season. The general public found out after the game, but Green's feelings prior to the game weren't a subplot since few people were aware of Green's feelings. Maybe it was an unknown subplot, but the general viewing public wouldn't have known about this prior to watching the game.

Then the Cards, who started neophyte quarterback Matt Leinart and whose defense abused Chicago quarterback Rex Grossman, bolted to a 20-0 halftime lead. When I think of that Chicago team, I think how amazing it is that it made the Super Bowl that season with such a poor offense. That offense was in full bloom by halftime, with two Bears first downs, two Grossman interceptions and two Grossman fumbles lost. That's where I'll let Rivera take over.

As a Panthers fan, let me warn you, it isn't smart to let Rivera take over. Fourth quarter disasters will occur.

"I went to Brian and told him, 'Brian, you've got to take this game over. We've got no choice. Just go do it.'

Life as a Bears fan with Rex Grossman as the quarterback. It had to be super fun.

Rivera was in his coaches' office in Charlotte when we spoke, and he pressed a few buttons on his computer and called up the coaches' video from that night.

Well I'm glad he has that video ready at the touch of a button. If only Rivera had the video of the Panthers' poor safety play ready to view at the touch of a button then he may not have chosen to reinforce that position with Mike Mitchell and not much else.

And you remember Green going off after the game, reprising the crown-their-ass rant for future generations to chuckle over. He was in such a state because in the last 16 minutes, Urlacher choreographed the Bears D into a scheme that led to one touchdown, had 10 tackles and two passes defensed and a forced fumble. He had five tackles of James after a one-yard gain or less.

And of course part of the reason Brian Urlacher was free to tackle James so close to the line of scrimmage is because Tank Johnson and Tommie Harris did their job keeping the Cardinals' offensive linemen from blocking Urlacher and gave him freedom to run around. This needs to be acknowledged. You can't tackle a ball carrier if you are being blocked.

Rivera sent Urlacher a text message when he heard about his retirement.

"Heard the news,'' he texted. "Sad for football. But honored to be able to be your coach."

Urlacher texted back: "I'm proud I got to play for you."

Maybe next year if Urlacher comes out of retirement he can find out which team Rivera is working for as a defensive coordinator and play for Rivera once again.

Tomorrow, I'll check in with some thoughts on the Charles Woodson signing.

We wouldn't to spend precious time in MMQB discussing an actual NFL signing when this space is better used for transcripts of commencement addresses, transcribing and explaining other people's Tweets, and complaining about cab drivers. Football-related thoughts are found outside of MMQB.

Now for those commencement addresses.

I've picked a few that I thought had some good messages. Hope you enjoy them.

11 commencement addresses. Peter transcribes all of or part of 11 commencement addresses. I'm not a brain scientist (I heard a girl use this phrase in one of my college classes and sort of adopted it. She mixed up metaphors saying "I'm not a brain surgeon" and "It's not rocket science."), but I don't know if "a few" of anything could be classified as 11 of those things. If I have "a few" drinks then I am probably not drinking 11 beers. Not unless I am lying about how many drinks I have had, of course.

Ben Bernanke, Federal Reserve System chairman, Bard College

"Innovation, almost by definition, involves ideas that no one has yet had, which means that forecasts of future technological change can be, and often are, wildly wrong. A safe prediction, I think, is that human innovation and creativity will continue; it is part of our very nature. Another prediction, just as safe, is that people will nevertheless continue to forecast the end of innovation. The history of technological innovation and economic development teaches us that change is the only constant. During your working lives, you will have to reinvent yourselves many times.

Very true. Sometimes you have to be the mild-mannered Federal Reserve Chairman and other times you have to (allegedly) threaten the CEO of Bank of America as it pertains to a potential merger.

Michelle Obama, First Lady, Bowie State (Md.) University

"When it comes to your own kids, if you don't like what they're watching on TV, turn it off. If you don't like the video games they're playing, take them away. Take a stand against the media that elevates today's celebrity gossip instead of the serious issues of our time. Take a stand against the culture that glorifies instant gratification instead of hard work and lasting success.

Take this advice from the person who presented the Best Picture award at the Oscar ceremony this past year. I like Michelle Obama and appreciate the work she does to combat childhood obesity, but her telling an audience of students to ignore celebrity gossip and focus on the issues of our time is interesting to me. She has quite the reach and following in Hollywood and hasn't seemed afraid to embrace her (and President Obama's) connections to celebrities.

"I love the head coach. I mean, I love the head coach. He already has this team wrapped around his finger."

-- Arizona quarterback Carson Palmer, to Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports, on new coach Bruce Arians.

I wonder how long it will be before Carson Palmer realizes opposing defensive linemen are going to have him wrapped around their arms and he demands another trade without the media calling him out for being selfish? Actually, the Cardinals offensive line has improved, but the Cardinals are Palmer's third team in three years and he basically demanded a trade out of his previous two situations. He's not a malcontent though, because the media likes him, so they don't call him a malcontent despite any evidence that he may be.

"It's going to be interesting to see if this style of offense projects to the NFL. I'm going to say no. I just don't see NFL passing concepts in this offense. It's a movement offense by the quarterback, off the run-action, off the read-action. A lot of short, quick passes, dart routes, bubble screens. Very few plays down the field with NFL passing concepts."

-- Ron Jaworski, on coach Chip Kelly's new offense with the Eagles, to radio station 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.

But, but, but...Chip Kelly is an offensive mastermind who is going to turn Mike Vick into an accurate passer and his offense is going to revolutionize the NFL as we know it. Haven't all of these national NFL writers told us how great Kelly's offense is going to be? It can't be true his offense may not work in the NFL because that's contrary to the line the public is being fed.

Snark aside, I have no idea if Chip Kelly is going to work out in the NFL or not. What I do know is that Chip Kelly seems to be a very smart man who wouldn't run the exact same offense he ran in college because he doesn't have college-level talent anymore. Kelly is going to adapt his system to the NFL and to the players in the NFL, which (at least in my mind) would feature more down the field NFL passing concepts. After all, he has Jeremy Maclin and DeSean Jackson at wide receiver, so it only makes sense. So I don't think looking at tape of his college offense is going to entirely show what his NFL offense will look like. I find Ron Jaworksi's criticisms and comments to be premature and not relevant to what Kelly's Eagles offense may look like.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me I

In the wake of the Achilles tear to wide receiver Michael Crabtree (he had surgery last week; rehab is expected to put him back on the field in six to eight months, meaning he could play the last six or seven weeks of the regular season -- emphasis on could), I ask this question: Is it now possible that Anquan Boldin could contribute more to the 49ers' offense in 2013 than Percy Harvin will contribute to Seattle's?

So how is this hypothetical a "factoid?" I realize Peter has a lot of respect for his own opinion, but since when does a hypothetical question become any sort of fact?

Unlikely, certainly. With the compensation paid for both in 2013 offseason trades, it'll be amazing if Boldin's production is competitive with Harvin's.

So Peter has just posed a "factoid" in the disguise of a question, then answered his own question in a definitive manner. At this point, he is not only confusing facts and questions but he is essentially posing questions to himself that he himself answers. It's the journalistic equivalent of a six year old girl having a tea party with her stuffed animals.

The 49ers traded the 199th pick in the 2013 draft (a late sixth-round pick) to Baltimore to acquire Boldin. He'll make $6 million this year, the last year of his Ravens contract.

But Boldin is coming off an ironman season for Baltimore (19 games, 58 snaps a game), while Harvin missed eight games due to injury last year, including the Vikings' wild-card round loss to the Packers.

Harvin turns 25 tomorrow. Boldin is 32.

"Here's another factoid...what are the odds both Boldin and Harvin play 16 games this entire season? Not good. It won't happen. That's a stupid question I just asked myself."

They are different receivers, Harvin a smurfy, make-'em-miss, speed type, and Boldin a physical possession guy with deceiving downfield ability.

Take a step back, this is analysis from a professional! We don't want anyone to get hurt while chewing on these factoids.

There's no doubt anyone would want Harvin for the long haul. But with Crabtree likely out for much of the season (and who knows how healthy he'll be, trying to return from an Achilles injury in midseason), it's going to be very interesting to see which receiver shines brightest for the full season this year.

Here's a factoid for everyone to enjoy...with David Garrard now retired, which quarterback is going to have a better year? Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? Brady plays for the Patriots and throws the football with his arm, while Peyton Manning plays for the Broncos and also throws the ball with his arm, but can't throw it quite as far as Brady. It's going to be an interesting year to find out which quarterback shines brightest.

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me II

Another non-factoid coming right up!

I wrote on last Tuesday about my feeling that the league was making a mistake in moving the draft back three weeks, into mid-May, next year. More chance for the hype machine to pump out more coverage of what is already the most over-covered event on the football calendar, the draft, I contend, and less time for the scouts, coaches and football people to live normal offseason lives.

I wrote: "How much hype is enough? How big does the league need the golden goose to get? Silly question. We see it answered every day by an insatiable league.''

Beneath that was a link to's Chris Burke's 2014 mock draft.

I guess the fact Chris Burke's 2014 mock draft existing on the site is a fact, but this is pretty tenuous. Peter could say any link exists on the site, and if it does indeed exist call this a "factoid." It seems Peter has once again put down his opinion that scouts will have less time to live normal offseason lives with the NFL Draft being pushed back as a factoid. It's very possible teams could give scouts some time off early in February or in March (maybe a week) that the scouts would normally get in May or June. Maybe not, but the proposing of scouts having less time for normal lives isn't exactly a factoid quite yet. I think Peter is still giving only giving an opinion or making an observation more than relating a fact.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

In northern California for a few days. Family vaca of sorts. In a Starbucks an hour north of San Francisco Sunday, I was amazed at Giants fever. Woman with a Brian Wilson jersey walked in. Guy with a Giants hoodie looked up and said: "How 'bout that game! What a finish!'' Talking about the walkoff, inside-the-park home run by Angel Pagan that won the game Saturday.

BREAKING NEWS: Local fans enjoy talking about a professional team that has been successful recently.

Another woman, not in Giants gear, walked out of the store a few minutes later and said to a guy with a Giants World Series t-shirt reading the San Francisco Chronicle at a table near the door: "Think Cain can win it today?'' Matt Cain, she meant.

Thanks for clearing that up, Peter. I thought she was talking about the no-holds barred steel cage match between Biblical brothers Cain and Abel. It turns out it was Matt Cain she was referring to. Without Peter's baseball knowledge, we would all be lost and think Cain and Abel had risen from the dead to have a death match.

Driving through the Giants-garbed city Saturday and listening to the chatter an hour away on Sunday, I thought: Hard to imagine a region in the country right now more excited about its baseball team.

Quite possibly. Would Giants fans be as excited if their team had not been successful lately? We should file this under: "Fans get excited when their team wins the World Series and the team continues to be successful."

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I like the NFL continuing to press the issue of no HGH testing. As reported, the league sent a new proposal to the union April 24 to adopt a testing plan. As any dimwit can see, it's patently absurd that professional football does not test for human growth hormone. It's obviously an unfair advantage to use it. Even baseball and basketball, with testing programs part of their protocols, see the importance of it. There's no excuse, none whatsoever, for the 2013 season to be played without players being tested for HGH.

Another factoid from Peter.

2. I think I would ask the Jets this question after reading ESPN New York's excellent summary of the incredibly troubled adult (that may be using the adjective loosely) life and times of free agent running back Mike Goodson, who, according to a police affidavit, was found on May 17 "incoherent, slobbering and vomited all over himself" in a car stopped in the middle lane of a New Jersey interstate with a bag of marijuana in his pocket and a handgun with hollow-point bullets found in the glove compartment:

Take it easy on him. Hasn't everyone been found in a car incoherent, slobbering, vomiting with illegal drugs and a gun in the car with them?

Did you know all of what ESPN uncovered? And if so, how can you defend hiring Goodson at all, never mind handing him a $1 million signing bonus?

I'm pretty sure the Jets gave him that signing bonus before he was arrested with the gun in his car and before he was found in a state of inebriation. As far as the past stuff that Goodson has been dealing with, it was past rent due and past child support due. The Jets signed him because he has talent and teams take a chance on players who have outstanding child support if that player has talent. Those were the only issues Goodson had at the time the Jets signed him to the $1 million signing bonus. Goodson isn't the first player to have a chance taken on him when he has child support or legal issues. Just last year Peter was complimentary of the Rams basically taking the payment of Janoris Jenkins' child support out of his hands. Peter never questioned the draft pick by the Rams when he had some child support and legal issues. I guess not every player is lucky enough to have a team willing to set up a system to remove the burden of life so that player can focus on football.

3. I think the Cardinals were probably fair to both sides -- themselves and highly risky third-round defensive back Tyrann Mathieu -- by tying 60 percent of his signing bonus to roster bonuses over the life of his four-year contract. This way, if Mathieu has a rerun of his myriad off-field problems at LSU, the Cardinals will be protected in not having to pay the pro-rated portion of his bonus in the final three years of the deal.

I'm not sure that's exactly being "fair" to Mathieu to not compensate him in the same way other third round picks are going to be compensated, but it is fair to the Cardinals and probably a smart move. I guess whether this deal is fair to Mathieu depends on your definition of "fair."

5. I think the best thing on TV last week had to be Mark Mulder of ESPN's Baseball Tonight breaking down the mechanics of Seattleite John Clayton throwing out the first pitch Friday night at Safeco Field. 

This was the best thing on television last week? Were all other channels besides ESPN just showing static for the entire week?

6. I think quite a few of you (who can research, apparently) got the answer to my Twitter quiz pretty quickly on Saturday. I asked: Who threw the first NFL pass that was intercepted by Charles Woodson?'' Answer: Dallas coach Jason Garrett (no -- he wasn't the Dallas coach then!),

Well, thanks for clearing that up. I was confused because I thought Jason Garrett had gotten fed up with Tony Romo throwing interceptions and just put himself in as the Cowboys starting quarterback.

Does Peter really feel the need to clarify that Jason Garrett was not the coach of the Cowboys when he was intercepted by Charles Woodson? Does he believe his readers are THAT stupid?

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

a. Man, if you can figure out the story behind Jesus Montero's failure, please illuminate me.

Prospects don't always pan out and Montero was more of a risk to fail anyway because he isn't really a very good defensive catcher, so that leaves much of his value to the Mariners as a DH. So if Montero can't hit the ball then he has very little value to the Mariners and since Montero is young, he hasn't figured out how to hit MLB pitching consistently yet. There, I just figured it out.

It's the mystery of sport why he isn't the starting American League All-Star catcher, but rather the starter for the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

It's not a huge mystery. He can't hit MLB pitching. This happens quite frequently with highly touted prospects. Besides, when did Peter become an MLB scout? Just a few weeks ago he didn't know where the hell Manny Machado came from, but now he knows enough about Jesus Montero to be confused as to why he isn't the best catcher in the American League.

g. Coffeenerdness: I urge you, Peet's -- move east. Rapidly. Great, great coffee.

The coffee still smells like ass...but still, move east so Peter can spend $4.00 on a cup of coffee everyday. That should be enough daily revenue to justify putting a store in New York, right? 

i. I think Julia Louis-Dreyfus is better in Veep than she was in Seinfeld.


j. How do you not admire the Pacers? What a game Friday night. What an incredible game.

You can not admire the Pacers if you aren't a Indiana Pacers fan or are a Miami Heat fan. How do you not watch the NBA all year, admit you know nothing about the sport, and then make statements based on one game as if they are supposed to be facts?

k. If you'd have told me on April Fools' Day that the Red Sox would have been 30-20 after 50 games, with more wins than all but three teams in baseball, well, I'd have signed for that right there.

Sounds like Peter is back on the Red Sox bandwagon. I'm sure he'll jump back off and swear his brother-in-law isn't renewing his season tickets once the Red Sox get caught drinking beer in the clubhouse or don't make the playoffs.

The Adieu Haiku

No Crabtree 'til Nov.?
Huge injury, we all think.
Jim Harbaugh shruggeth.

What's Harbaugh going to do in front of his team? Start panicking? The 49ers signed Randy Moss and Mario Manningham last offseason, as well as drafted a wide receiver in the first round of the 2012 NFL Draft, so they at least have some depth to combat the injury to Crabtree. Any smart NFL coach would acknowledge the injury and then try to motivate his team to play past these injuries, as opposed to making the team feel like the season is over before it even began. 


Anonymous said...

Was in Perth, WA for a month and definitely missed your stuff. Had internet but only to check the wind and the waves . . .
I imagine Ron Rivera was so motivated by Urlacher's play in this game he stared even harder at the football field with a blank look on his face while coaching the Bears defense.
Classic! I can't believe this guy is coaching Cam Newton again. I know you have to stay positive but imagine that kid with Marrone or Trestman? Just guessing that those guys will be successful but any coach or OC besides the blank stare is all I mean. I feel for you because Rivera can't win games. I watched with you and followed your tweets. He sucks pretty much.
King is such a nightmare with his Newtown garbage and Tom Brady nut-love. I cannot believe how atrocious he is as a "writer". Never mind that he is a complete joke of a human. I've stepped in puddles deeper than that clown. Keep up the good work and destroy Simmons about Dwight and his usual horrible TV persona . . .@BigCityJob

Bengoodfella said...

I didn't even know there was a Perth, WA. I thought Perth was only in Australia.

I'm not optimistic about Rivera as a head coach. I obviously want him to prove me wrong, but he's just mediocre at the game strategy aspect of coaching.

I'm working on the Simmons post now. It's going to be long, so I am going to try and shorten it.

Anonymous said...

WA stands for Western Australia my man. My bad but give me a break I still have water on the brain. Great stuff on King. I was blown away by his absolutely horrific "factoids" and his arbitrary use of proper grammar, sentence formation, etc. . .I'll be positive about Rivera because I like that team and I feel like Newton is the victim of some serious jealousy. Dude can play . . . looking forward to the Simmons destruction as his hubris has somehow grown. Amazing. Have a good one BG @BigCityJob

Ericb said...

"I didn't even know there was a Perth, WA. I thought Perth was only in Australia."

The original Perth is in Scotland.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, that's what I get for answering comments while I'm in a meeting. I'm an idiot.

Simmons' hubris is increasing. I have very tempered expectations for Carolina this year. I'm expecting 7-9.

Eric, I didn't know that either. I need to know more geography, clearly.