Saturday, August 31, 2013

0 comments Scott Miller Says the Dodgers Need to Control Their Crazy Mexican Outfielder

Yasiel Puig has become a somewhat polarizing figure among sportswriters because he has a tendency to do some really great things on the baseball field and then also some really stupid things on the baseball field. Lately, it seems sportswriters have been very concerned that Yasiel Puig is going to do something stupid to hurt the Dodgers in the postseason. It's very nice these sportswriters are so worried about Puig hurting the Dodgers chances of winning a playoff game, but it's just an example of a baseball player who needs to mature a little bit because he hasn't even played a full season in the majors. Scott Miller doesn't see it that way and thinks Puig will never be like Kirk Gibson. 

You can see it coming from here to the autumn leaves.

Crowd screaming. National television cameras blazing. Game 4 … or 5 … or 6 of the playoffs.

But definitely not Game 3 or Game 7 of the playoffs. This hypothetical situation would never happen in Game 3 or Game 7.

And Yasiel Puig runs into an out, overthrows a cutoff man, commits some egregious mistake that costs the Dodgers the game.

ALL ON ONE PLAY! Puig is such a danger to the Dodgers, the Dodgers organization, and children in general that he can run into an out, overthrow the cutoff man, and commit another egregious mistake all on one play. After the game, Puig will try to save a six-year old boy from choking on a hot dog and somehow manage to kill the six-year old boy AND his nine-year old brother. Puig is a dangerous man. 

Maybe even costs them the playoffs.

As well as America's claim to sovereignty from a foreign nation's rule. Once Puig is done screwing up in the playoffs, America will be run by the Canadians.

The Dodgers go home for the winter. Their fans are left hugging only their chipped and faded 1988 World Series champions coffee mugs.

Actually they will probably begin to prepare for the upcoming Lakers season and enjoy the California sunshine.

And Puig jets off to join a South Beach conga line for the winter. Party on!

Hoo, boy.

See, Puig joins a conga line because he is Cuban! Cuban people join conga lines.

I like to play a game called "Is this statement a little racist?" Let's play that game substituting people of a different nationality or race into this sentence to see if this statement by Scott Miller could be a little racist.

"And B.J. Upton jets off to join an Alabama gospel choir for the winter."

"And Shawn Green jets off to start his tour of kosher delis for the winter."

"And Shin-Soo Choo jets off to run over innocent pedestrians with his car."

Eh, maybe Miller's sentence isn't necessarily racist, but it's pretty ridiculous writing to indicate that Puig doesn't care about winning games and only wants to join a conga line. Sportswriters complain from time-to-time that pro athletes don't have fun while playing on the field, but then when a pro athlete does have fun while playing on the field a writer like Scott Miller claims the player only cares about joining a conga line.

Puig clearly has the talent to lead the Dodgers to an October title. And he clearly contains the recklessness to push the team bus straight over a cliff. Self-made man meets self-destruction, head on.

The Dodgers need to learn to control their pets better. Baseball isn't entertainment and Puig certainly isn't 22 years playing in his first season in the majors. Is it possible that Puig could do something stupid in the playoffs? Of course, but this concern isn't worth discussing in an entire column.

Do you think they haven't tried? School is in session every day with Puig. Manager Don Mattingly talks with him. Coaches lecture him. General manager Ned Colletti schools him. Teammates from Juan Uribe to Adrian Gonzalez try to teach him.

And Puig won't listen? The Dodgers must bench him or release him immediately.

So what do you do if you're the Dodgers?

Wine and dine him even more?

Sit him down indefinitely?

I say execute him or just, again, immediately release Puig so he can join that conga line that he so desperately wants to be a part of.

Sit him down for six innings, then insert him into the game in a sixth-inning double-switch?

Wait. They did that last one Tuesday. And Puig emerged from his time out to immediately stroke a game-winning home run.

The Dodgers certainly aren't going to be able to teach Puig a lesson if he insists on making the Dodgers a better team by performing well. There has to be another way to teach Puig a lesson at the expense of Puig's Dodger teammates and the team's goal of winning...

He showed up 35 minutes late Tuesday. He was in the worst slump of his career, only 2 for 17 in the first four games in Philadelphia and Miami, striking out in four of his previous 11 at-bats.

Puig was in a slump? This is clearly a fatal personality flaw that only a lecture from Don Mattingly could correct. You know, you sign these players from overseas thinking they will never go into a slump like every other MLB player never goes into a slump...then it turns out this player from overseas loves playing baseball AND he makes mistakes on the field? It's just not worth it when you can sign an American-born player who never goes in a slump, never makes a mistake and is very, very serious about the sport of baseball.

The weekend Phillies series was a kaleidoscope of errors and misjudgments: Puig missed two cutoff men, was picked off a base and was thrown out attempting to advance on a shallow pop fly.

Full disclosure: Puig-mania annoys the hell out of me. Not sure why, but it does. Still, Puig is a 22 year old player coming from Cuba to play in America. He's entitled to a few mistakes and I have faith he will mature.

Yet with each home run and highlight-reel moment, the monster grows.

All of Puig's success on-the-field is really starting to make him think he is good at baseball. He needs to be knocked down a peg or two for some reason.

Biggest question this season now is this: Can the Dodgers eke a Kirk Gibson moment out of Puig this October before they get a Frankenstein moment?

YASIEL PUIG WILL NEVER BE KIRK GIBSON!

This is an interesting Frankenstein reference. Frankenstein was essentially created by Victor Frankenstein, so is Scott Miller suggesting the Dodgers have created Yasiel Puig? I think that's kind of a backwards way to look at Puig's talent since it seems completely obvious Puig has a lot of raw natural talent that needs some sort of molding and shaping. It seems Puig isn't a Frankenstein and Scott Miller wants the Dodgers to turn him into their very own creation like Frankenstein.

Yet this late-night carousing, cutoff-man missing, curfew busting phenom borders on going berserk-o out of control. Did you see the tantrum he directed at plate ump John Hirschbeck after striking out Monday in Miami?

Miller conveniently leaves out that Hirschbeck tried to pick a fight with Puig.

The fact Hirschbeck picked a fight with Puig is irrelevant. Look at that wild and crazy Puig pissing off umpires! No other MLB batter has ever gotten angry with an umpire before!

"All the things that we see are part of the maturity of a guy coming from a different country who is in the major leagues all of a sudden and having huge success," Mattingly told reporters in Miami. "And part of our job is to help him mature and handle all that.

"And I don't know if we can do that overnight."

I think we know that answer to that one.

Probably "no" because people very rarely will just magically mature overnight. It takes time.

Scouts last year watched minor-league games in which Puig opted to chill in the bullpen, rather than run all the way to the dugout from right field, during half-innings in which he wasn't going to bat. Playing for Double-A Chattanooga in April, Puig was arrested for reckless driving, speeding and driving without proof of insurance. The police report said he was driving 97 mph in a 50 mph zone.

Clearly, the Dodgers need to find a way to go back in time to April so they can ensure Puig doesn't get arrested for speeding. Has anyone said Puig is completely matured? He needs to mature, but I don't understand the sudden need for the Dodgers to stage an intervention with Puig as if he were an alcoholic on the brink of destroying his life.

The Dodgers' task is to keep him playing at close to 100 mph while preventing him from driving 100 mph.

Which so far they have managed to do while Puig plays in the majors. Also, I get what you did there Scott Miller. Great use of italics and a clever way of writing. Kudos.

Last thing they want to do is break his spirit on the field, or go all Larry David and curb his enthusiasm.

I think someone needs to rein in Scott Miller's use of pop culture references such as this one.

Best -- and most realistic hope -- simply is that they can smooth out the rough edges. 

Well I don't know, Puig is 22 years old. There's not much maturing and smoothing of the rough edges that happens when a person is so old and still immature.

They are not going to completely remake him. You wouldn't want to completely remake him.

No, the Dodgers wouldn't want to completely remake Yasiel Puig. Of course they aren't the ones writing an entire column declaring the Puig needs to change his ways immediately or else he will singlehandedly cause the Dodgers to lose a playoff game. If anyone wants Puig to be remade it seems to be Scott Miller.

Talent like this is rare, and it doesn't play at half-speed.

Problem is, neither do the mistakes.

Great point. If Puig can't play the game of baseball without making any mistakes is it even worth having him on the roster? We wouldn't want Puig to be the first MLB player to ever cost his team a playoff game. **

**As long as you ignore other MLB players like Lonnie Smith who arguably cost his team a playoff team...except that playoff game was a World Series game.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

12 comments Gregg Easterbrook (Not Really) Previews the NFC

Gregg Easterbrook didn't really preview the AFC last week in TMQ, as well as did his 100th column about concussions. Gregg believes that high schools and youth leagues follow the lead of the NFL, unless the NFL needs to follow the lead of high schools and youth leagues of course. It really works whichever way Gregg needs it to work at that very moment to prove a point. This week Gregg asks if the zone-read is a fad, discusses the plot issues with "Star Trek" and continues to not really each NFL conference by not really previewing the NFC.

Is the zone-read option the flavor of the month, or is it the new vanilla? The first few weeks of the NFL season might tell.

Or the first few weeks of the season might not tell. Either way, stay tuned to TMQ where Gregg will tell us the Packers lost the first game of the season because their cornerbacks got caught looking in the backfield while playing zone coverage and the receiver ran right past one of these Packer corners. This would never have happened if the Packers cornerbacks would ignore the defense called and play man coverage all the time like Gregg seems to believe an defensive player has the option to do.

Last season, the Forty Niners, Seahawks and Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons (see below)

A. Nobody cares.

B. Everyone knows you are referring to the Redskins. You aren't as clever as you think yourself to be.

There are likely to be numerous all-zone confrontations. San Francisco and Seattle play each other twice, plus each line up against Carolina. Washington faces the Eagles twice and also the Niners.

The question is whether the zone-read is a fad or a fixture...or will the zone-read be a part of some teams' playbook and they will continue to use it as long as they have a quarterback who can execute the zone-read well, but possibly not use it to the extent it is currently being used? I vote C.

Considering the zone-read was a surprise tactic last season, who will surprise with it this season?

Oh Gregg, always misunderstanding offensive and defensive strategies. The zone-read doesn't serve solely as a surprise tactic, but relies on the quarterback's ability to run with the football and make a great decision as to when to pitch the football to the running back. What makes it work isn't necessarily the surprise, but the skill at which the play is blocked and the decision-making ability of the quarterback. It's like any other running play, where it is generally successful if blocked correctly and executed well.

Green Bay didn't sign Vince Young, or the New England Patriots sign Tim Tebow, because they need someone to fill the Gatorade bucket. 

No, really, the Patriots did sign Tebow because they needed someone to fill the Gatorade bucket and also for the purpose of seeing if there were ways to use Tebow successfully outside of the quarterback position. At this point, Tebow seems to be better at refilling the Gatorade bucket.

Imagine having to prepare for the disciplined traditional passing of Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady and also for zone-read chaos when a guy who can run or throw takes a few snaps.

Or imagine having to play against Russell Wilson, Robert Griffin, or Colin Kaepernick. Not that preparing for Rodgers or Brady is easy, but the defense generally knows if either Brady or Rodgers are in the game then the Packers/Patriots aren't going run the read-option. So the real confusion comes in when a quarterback can run the read-option and also pass the football successfully. It's kind of a tip-off about the play the offense is running when Tebow is back in the shotgun, but the defense has to respect Kaepernick's legs and arm when he is back in the shotgun.

In college, the quarterback is assumed to be a rushing threat, if only because his economic value is so low: He works for free, and an injury does not cost the school anything.

Well, plus college defenses don't have the caliber of athlete that an NFL defense has, which generally makes defending the quarterback when he runs more difficult at the college level.

An NFL team might have $20-$50 million invested in its starting quarterback and thus wants to protect him from harm.

I can't make a blanket, generalized statement, but I'm guessing an NFL team would decide to use the read-option with their quarterback if they thought it could help them win games and the quarterback would be smart in trying to be smart while carrying the ball. Obviously an NFL team doesn't want their starting quarterback injured, but I don't know if a team would go away from the read-option (or zone read) if they think this could help them win games. Will teams run the read-option with Tom Brady? No, but the new type of quarterback that is athletic and can throw the football well makes the read-option a more viable strategy.

A zone-read rushing play is 11-on-11, and, as the Niners showed the Packers, you'd better be ready to account for that extra man.

Gregg specializes in summarizing information that the reader probably already knows.

TMQ noted in January that having the edge rusher force the action back inside is "the adjustment the whole league will make next season".

As usual, Gregg makes something black and white when it isn't really that simple. That's great if the whole league will have the edge rusher force the action back inside, but what will happen if the edge rusher gets blocked or the opposing team is running up the middle instead of the quarterback keeping the football and running outside? Things aren't always just as simple as Gregg wants to make them.

Adjusting for sacks and scrambles, only three NFL teams -- San Francisco, Seattle and Washington -- ran more often than they passed in 2012. All three made the playoffs; two won a playoff game, and the only reason it wasn't three was that Washington and Seattle faced each other.

What Gregg neglects to mention is that he has been telling us for the past couple of years that the NFL is a pass-wacky league and it will continue to trend that way. This is all forgotten of course when he finds data that comes close to contradicting this point of view.

In 2012, the top four rushing teams -- Washington, the Minnesota Vikings, Seattle and San Francisco -- reached the playoffs. The top three passing teams -- the New Orleans Saints, Detroit Lions and Dallas -- did not. Last season's stats show that, just like in college, a team can win by featuring the rush. For 2013 at least, expect an uptick in rushing plays.

Remember these statistics in mid-November when Gregg starts talking about pass-wacky offenses around the league and how the NFL is now a passing league where good defensive teams don't matter and the team that outscores the other team makes the playoffs. In fact, Gregg sort of talks about this very subject in this TMQ. 

Now, Tuesday Morning Quarterback's NFC preview.

Again, Gregg is using the term "preview" very lightly since he only seems to talk about what happened last year as it pertains to each team.

The Oakland Raiders gave the sun, moon and stars for Carson Palmer, kept him just two seasons, then shipped him to the Arizona Cardinals for a late draft pick. Arizona gave the sun and moon, though not the stars, for Kevin Kolb, kept him just two seasons, then waived him. Now, Arizona has Palmer, while Oakland is left holding a pair of late-round draft picks. Had Arizona simply acquired Palmer two years ago for what it spent on Kolb, this would have been praised as a brilliant move.

So it would have been smart for the Cardinals to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Carson Palmer two years ago, but it wasn't smart for the Raiders to do the same thing? The going price for Palmer at the time was a 1st and 2nd round pick, so the Cardinals would have had to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Palmer and there's no guarantee that he would have been successful in Arizona. So I'm not sure I am able to see why it wasn't smart for the Raiders to trade for Palmer, but the Cardinals should have traded for Palmer. They got him for a late-round pick this past offseason. That seems like a better deal, even in retrospect, then giving up a 1st and 2nd round pick for Palmer (which would have resulted in them giving up the chance to draft Michael Floyd and Kevin Minter---or Jonathan Cooper instead of Minter if the Cardinals made the playoffs with Palmer starting for them). The Cardinals have been terrible at quarterback, but a 1st and 2nd round pick for Carson Palmer is a steep price to pay. Of course the Cardinals did give up a 2nd round pick for Kolb, plus gave him a extension. So maybe Gregg has a point, but I'm always inclined just to think he doesn't have a point.

Arizona had an above-average defense in 2012 but the league's worst offense. Considering the offense could not stay on the field, the stout performance by the defense was impressive. The Cardinals' big problem on offense was an abysmal average of 5.6 yards per pass attempt. Palmer can only improve that number.

Right, which is why it was such a good deal to get him for a late-round draft pick. I'm not sure it was worth trading for Palmer if the Cardinals had to give up a 1st and 2nd round pick. Palmer just isn't worth that to me and I'm guessing he isn't worth it to the Cardinals either if they could go back in time and make this deal.

Arizona held a 10-point lead over the Atlanta Falcons, who would go on to host the NFC title game. Whisenhunt pulled starter John Skelton and sent in the never-used Ryan Lindley, who immediately lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

This is a fantastic example of how Gregg lies and misleads his readers. The Cardinals held a 10-point lead and were even in this game because the Falcons turned the ball over seven times. Ken Whisenhunt pulled John Skelton because Skelton was 2-7 for six passing yards at that point in the game. He had six passing yards, so you can see why Whisenhunt chose a different quarterback at this point in the game. Gregg of course doesn't tell us this, but just tells us that Ryan Lindley was never-used and the immediately lost a fumble that was returned for a touchdown.

Whisenhunt replaced Skelton when there was 9:39 left in the second quarter of the game. Lindley was an improvement over Skelton and he only committed one turnover, that is one turnover, during the game. The Cardinals did not lose this game because Whisenhunt pulled Skelton for Ryan Lindley. They lost the game because both quarterbacks were bad.

Arizona was not only defeated in that game but was 1-6 for the remainder of the season.

ALL BECAUSE THE CARDINALS REPLACED A SHITTY QUARTERBACK WITH ANOTHER SHITTY QUARTERBACK! IT RUINED THE CARDINALS ENTIRE SEASON!

Atlanta: The easiest thing to forget about the 2012 NFL season was that the Falcons went 14-4 and came without a couple snaps of the Super Bowl.

This is one of easiest things to forget about the 2012 NFL season? The NFC Championship Game is probably of one of the three most high-profile games of the NFL season and the Falcons blew a lead at home. This is quite easy to remember.

It was as if in last season's playoffs the Falcons suddenly forgot how to play football.

They made the NFC Championship Game. How is making it to the NFC Championship Game and coming close to making the Super Bowl "forgetting how to play football"?

The Atlanta defense finished 24th statistically, and often -- at inopportune moments -- forgot how to play football.

My God, somebody please tell Gregg that the other team practices too. It's not like the Falcons just magically forget to play football, they get beaten by a team that showed themselves to be the better team. The 49ers came close to winning the Super Bowl two weeks after beating the Falcons. In fact there's a trend here:

The season before, the Falcons went to Jersey/A in the postseason and seemed to forget how to play football, losing 24-2.

The Giants went on to win the Super Bowl. 

The season before that, the Falcons had the table set, opening at home after a bye, then seemed to forget how to play football, losing 48-21 to the Packers.

Green Bay went on to win the Super Bowl.

In 2008 the Falcons lost to the Arizona Cardinals, who went on to make it to the Super Bowl. So it isn't like the Falcons are losing to shitty teams in the playoffs.

When Newton arrived in the league, defensive coordinators assumed he'd be mainly a running quarterback and kept their safeties near the line of scrimmage. Newton responded by throwing for a record-smashing average of 427 yards in his first two contests. Defensive coordinators then told their secondaries to drop into a regular shell; since then, Newton has averaged 248 yards passing per game.

Which is about average for an NFL quarterback. Newton also led the Panthers in rushing last year, which apparently Gregg doesn't count as deserving to be a part of this discussion.

Now there are 24 seconds in regulation, Buccaneers ball on the Cats' 24. Vincent Jackson, the opponent's best receiver, was able to run into the end zone covered only by a linebacker -- touchdown.

To be really fair to Ron Rivera, which I am not inclined to be, Jackson was covered by the defensive rookie of the year on this play (Luke Kuechly) and Josh Freeman made an absolutely perfect throw to get the ball into Jackson. It was a gorgeous throw and Kuechly had pretty good coverage on the play.

Otherwise, Gregg has a point when discussing Ron Rivera.

During the offseason, the Bears used first- and fifth-round draft choices on offensive linemen, then traded offensive tackle Gabe Carimi, their first-round choice just two years ago, to the Buccaneers at the fire-sale price of a sixth-round draft choice.

Gregg wants to know why the Buccaneers didn't just draft Carimi when they had the chance two years ago rather than give up a sixth round choice for him in 2013.

Why discard Carimi, a great college player and a major investment for the Bears, even if his NFL career started slowly?

Because he wasn't playing well in comparison to the salary that he was getting paid?

Front-office politics are the likely answer. New general manager Phil Emery needs to shift blame, so he gave the heave-ho to Smith, a hire of former general manager Jerry Angelo. Now he tells the world that Angelo's final first-round draft choice was a blown pick. Emery also waived Chris Williams, an offensive lineman chosen in the first round in 2008 by Angelo. This allows Emery to enter the 2013 season with excuses lined up.

It also allows the Bears to rid themselves of underachieving offensive linemen on the roster, regardless of where these offensive linemen were chosen. A General Manager's job is to make a team better and getting rid of two underachieving picks isn't front office politics, but an attempt to make the Bears better. I would think if anyone could understand getting rid of an underachieving player it would be Gregg Easterbrook. He is the one who constantly harps on first round picks being overpaid glory boys. Yet, the Bears get rid of a couple of these underachieving guys and Gregg doesn't like it.

If the Bears win, fine; if they lose, Emery can blame Angelo's bad draft picks.

Which is valid to do as it pertains to Chris Williams and Gabe Carimi. Neither player produced what was expected of them for the Bears. They weren't very good picks.

In the Dallas-San Francisco draft trade, the Boys gained only a third-round choice to allow the Niners to swap up 13 spots to the middle of the first round. In other trades involving the first round, to swap up eight spots, the St. Louis Rams gave the Bills a second-round choice. To swap up from the second round to the late first,

Perhaps Jones paid so much to Romo that he needed to move down in the first round to lower his rookie bonus costs and was so focused on moving down he allowed himself to be fleeced.

Actually if Gregg took the time to do any type of research he could see that the contract extension to Tony Romo actually opened up cap room so the Cowboys could sign free agents and their draft picks. It's irritating how Gregg makes these types of comments without doing any research. Maybe the 3rd round pick wasn't enough compensation for moving up 13 spots and maybe the Romo extension wasn't a great idea, but signing Romo to the contract extension freed up cap space rather than cost the Cowboys cap space.

In my draft column, yours truly observed that Mel Kiper and his kith get a hard time because their predictions are public, while we never know what mistakes NFL scouts make in private. 

Sort of like when Gregg states he wrote "Game over" in his Selena Gomez Trapper Keeper notebook and Gregg's readers have no way of verifying whether this is true or Gregg is just stating this using hindsight to make himself look smarter? Gregg's readers also have no idea of when Gregg has written "Game over" in his notebook and this hasn't been true.

Reader John Martin in Washington, D.C., reports that because Jones allowed himself to be filmed -- looking manly, of course -- in the Boys draft room, it was possible to freeze-frame and zoom in on the Dallas board. The Boys slotted DJ Hayden, taken by Oakland with the 12th selection, as a second-round choice. The Boys' board reflects guesses about value specifically to the Cowboys, not necessarily a Kiper-style overall ranking.

Yeah Gregg, pretty much every team's NFL draft board consists of that team's guesses about a player's value. That's what a draft board is.

Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal calls the new palace at the University of Oregon "the physical embodiment of this gilded age of college football." In the most recent academic year, Oregon cleared a $31 million profit on football, according to Department of Education data, while graduating just 49 percent of its African-American players.

How many of these players would have gone to college, much less graduated, without having played football or received a football scholarship? Not excusing the profit Oregon cleared, but I think looking at whether these African-American players would have been able to attend college without football is important.

Exploiting young black males without conferring education ought to shame Chip Kelly, the University of Oregon alumni and trustees and the NCAA.

Again, we have to also focus on two other factors:

1. How many of the 49% who graduated would have gotten a college degree without a sports scholarship? This is a difficult question to answer for sure, but I think it is an important question.

2. It takes two to tango. Chip Kelly has a responsibility to make sure his players go to class and graduate, but you can't make a person graduate college and attend class during college if that person doesn't want to. I guess Kelly could kick players off the team who don't go to class and aren't on-track to graduate.

Assuming Knight is in the top bracket, donating $68 million to the University of Oregon football program would cost him about $43 million. Taxpayers would be hit for the other $25 million. To cover Knight's deduction, average people must be taxed more or the national debt must increase.

The theory of tax deductibility for donations to colleges and universities is sound: Higher education benefits society as a whole. But when the tax expenditures go to football programs, society does not benefit.

Tell that to the Oregon football players and boosters who can proudly show off the new facility.

And if the money given to football might have instead been donated to the university's endowment or core academic mission, society is actively harmed.

Society is harmed under the assumption that Phil Knight would have donated this money to the university's endowment or core academic mission. I'm not sure Phil Knight would have donated $68 million to the university's endowment or not, so the only way to conclude society is harmed is if assumptions are made. And we all know what happens when you assume? That's right, Gregg makes shit up in order to better prove a point he wants to make.

That athletics diverts money from college education, and does so at taxpayer expense, is a broad problem. 

Again, we are working under the assumption that the money given to athletics would otherwise be given to an education fund. This isn't an assumption I am willing to make, mostly because I don't want to make an assumption to try and prove my point correct like Gregg does.

The University of Maryland just reported a $21 million athletic department deficit despite all UMD undergrads being charged $398 annually to subsidize athletics. That's about $11 million taken annually from regular students who are struggling to pay tuition and diverted to sports.

That's not what I'm seeing. I'm actually seeing $406.38 to pay for athletics. Of course students are also being charged the following fees annually as well:

Stamp Union Fee: $308.24
Recreation Building: $362
Technology Fee: $264

In fact, out of the $1,771.82 in fees charged to a full-time student during the 13/14 year, athletics is responsible for 22.9% of the cost of these fees. I'm betting in terms of students getting use out of these fees, that athletics is a much better deal than paying $362 for a recreation building. Maybe not, but in terms of the fees it costs a student to attend the University of Maryland athletic fees don't make up the majority of the cost.

Detroit: Stacked with high first-round draft picks and mega-contract players, no NFL team underperforms like the Lions. The talent-stacked defense, which allowed 49 touchdowns in 2012, has given up more total points than any other NFL team over the past four seasons.

I'm not sure you can call the Lions defense "talent-stacked" if the defense doesn't play well. Maybe the defense should have talent, but they clearly lack some sort of talent somewhere.

In a pass-wacky league, the Lions are wackiest. Adjusting for sacks and scrambles, Detroit coaches radioed in 378 more passes than rushes last season -- 24 more called passes than rushes per contest. While Seattle rushed 57 percent of the time (see below), the Lions threw just shy of twice as much as they ran. Because the NFL has become a passing league, even Bill Belichick is now pass-wacky. But Detroit takes pass-wacky too far.

It also doesn't help the Lions offensive line and running backs haven't helped the run game flourish even when a running play is called. You may ask in Gregg's opinion how we know when a team takes pass-wacky too far. That's an easy answer. A team has taken pass-wacky too far if they don't win games. If that team is pass-wacky and wins games then that is the right amount of pass-wacky. It all depends on the result, because otherwise Gregg has no suitable advice on what a team should do (or should have done) without knowing the result.

This column is a longtime fan of Vince Young. It might be chaotic when he's on the field, but at the double whistle, his team has more points than the other team. So it's nice to see Young get another chance with the Packers.

Vince Young just wins games. Lazy analysis will always survive no matter what.

Considering Green Bay's passing system relies on precise execution -- the Packers throw deep sideline routes, a favorite pattern of the Manning brothers -- it's hard to see Young running the same offense Rodgers runs.

So the Packers will just completely change their offense if Vince Young ends up having to start for the Packers. I can't see how anything could go wrong in this situation.

Mike McCarthy's charges were eaten alive by the zone-read in the playoffs and now open against the Niners. Young can impersonate Kaepernick when the Packers run the scout team. And if Young comes in a few times a game for zone-read plays, this will force Green Bay opponents to prepare on defense for two entirely different philosophies of offense.

The initial problem I see with the Packers running the read-option successfully is that at this point they don't have a running back that really scares NFL defenses. It's much different to run the read-option with Robert Griffin and Alfred Morris or Colin Kaepernick and Frank Gore than it is to run the read-option with Vince Young and (the unproven) Eddie Lacy. Before Gregg starts getting excited about the Packers running two entirely different offensive philosophies he needs to think whether the offensive line that can't block for Aaron Rodgers can block for Young when running the read-option.

Then Gregg publicizes a book he wrote about youth football that goes on sale in September. I'm not linking it right now and no one can make me.

Tuesday Morning Quarterback has long felt the Giants are a better reflection of the New York City milieu than the Jets, setting aside that both neither practice nor performs in the Empire State. The Giants bicker openly about money and ego, seem constantly on the verge of collapse, then rally and do something special. That's New York!

What? The Giants do not openly bicker about money and ego and seem on the verge of collapse. If anything, the Jets are the team that openly bicker about money and ego. Of course the Jets don't always follow it up with something special, but like always, we can't have reality infringe on Gregg's comparison. Gregg prefers to create his own reality that fits the point he wants to prove. He wants the Giants and Jets to reflect their respect states and so that's how he will frame his comparison, reality be damned.

The Jets seem constantly depressed and fouled up. That s New Jersey.

Okay...this is a really bad analogy. It seems there is more bickering about money and ego in the Jets part as compared to the Giants.

There's no sane reason to expect the Giants to be good this season -- but touts felt that way going into 2011, which ended with Eli Manning hoisting the Lombardi.

Why is there no reason to expect the Giants to be good this season? Gregg constantly makes statements like this with little to no factual backing. Why couldn't we expect the Giants to be good? They still have a really defensive line, great receivers, and Eli Manning as their quarterback with David Wilson just waiting to breakout. I hate it when Gregg makes a statement without explaining what the hell he is talking about. This is an opinion being framed as a statement of fact.

The Vikings' last season came down to this: In the playoffs, trailing Green Bay 24-3 with 11 minutes remaining, facing fourth-and-2, Leslie Frazier sent in the punting unit.

Since he did the "safe" thing and punted, he wasn't criticized. But down by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter of a playoff contest, punting on fourth-and-2 is like running up the white flag. Needless to say, the day ended with Minnesota decisively defeated.

I am willing to bet the Vikings still would have been decisively defeated even if the Vikings had converted this fourth down instead of punting the football. Gregg's point stands that the Vikings probably should have gone for it, but he is trying to tie the result of the game to this decision by Leslie Frazier when there seems to be a very tenuous connection.

And, as usual, led by Jared Allen, the Vikes did well for sacks. But the team finished just 20th overall on defense -- Allen and other Vikings defenders gambled for sacks at the expense of gap discipline.

On every play the Vikings defenders gambled for sacks at the expense of gap control. Gregg has no specific play that shows this to be true, mostly because he really, really enjoys just making shit up that he believes makes sense in his head.

In a third scene, New Improved Kirk and New Improved Scotty dangle together from a great height. New Improved Chekov comes along and hauls the pair up, using one arm to raise the weight of two men -- something not even an Olympic power lifter could accomplish. Perhaps by 2255, fitness DVDs are more effective at building muscle mass.

Or maybe, just maybe, this is a movie and the fact it involves time travel and aliens from other planets that happen to also speak English means Chekov lifting more than an Olympic power lifter could lift is not the most unrealistic part of the film. It's science-FICTION. The key word being "FICTION" which means "not real." So the movie is not intended to be realistic and I don't get why Gregg wants a science-fiction movie to be realistic.

In the flick, Starfleet is run by a neo-Nazi megalomaniac intent on galactic domination. He is able to build a secret starbase, there to manufacture the ultra-gigantic space dreadnaught, without anyone noticing. Wouldn't building a starbase in orbit around Jupiter require a fantastic investment of material and labor? Wouldn't an auditor have spotted trillions of quatloos missing from the Starfleet budget?

1. It is a movie and Gregg is stupid for asking this question. I can't comprehend why he takes movies seriously enough to ask these types of questions.

2. Gregg has described quite a few times how the United States government and other entities have lost millions of dollars they can't find. So let's pretend that happened here. Starfleet misplaced $500 million and can't find what happened to it.

said to be impossible in all previous "Trek" iterations, including the movies and TV shows set a century after 2255. Attacking a ship in a warp field was previously said impossible, even for Species 8472, the most advanced civilization the Federation has ever encountered. Suddenly, doing this is a snap.

I can't imagine how irritating it would be to watch a movie with Gregg Easterbrook. I would probably get so irritated by his comments about a movie that I would try to force feed him popcorn in the hopes he chokes to death or at least loses enough oxygen to forget what he was commenting about.

Everyone's waiting to see if Kelly implements his Blur Offense with the Eagles. Michael Vick, named the starter, would seem the perfect quarterback for the Blur; Nick Foles and Matt Barkley are pocket passers.

Never underestimate how uneducated Gregg Easterbrook can be. A pocket passer can thrive in Chip Kelly's offense as well and Nick Foles seemed to run the Eagles offense pretty well in the preseason. It's not like Kelly's offense always requires the quarterback to scramble and run option plays.

Regardless, TMQ is putting his chips on this wager -- not only will Barkley win the Eagles' starting job sooner rather than later, he will be the top quarterback of the 2013 draft class.

I am more than willing to wager on this. Also, Gregg doesn't count as being correct if Vick and Foles get injured this year because Gregg said Barkley will "win" the starting job. That's not winning the job he gets it because the other two quarterbacks were injured. Also, I don't know what the hell "sooner rather than later" really means so it's obvious TMQ is putting his chips on the wager, but not feeling confident enough to set out a timeline for when "sooner rather than later" might be.

But it's hard to see Barkley operating a zone-read action. The compromise might be Barkley running a quick-snap spread. 

It's not really a compromise since elements of this are currently present in Chip Kelly's offense.

What was this year's Song of the Summer? "See You in September", by the Tempos, was the No. 1 single of Summer 1959, then the top summer hit again in 1966 when rebooted by the Happenings. Summer of 2008, Coldplay's "Viva la Vida" was pounding out of every beach boom box and the speaker towers of every lakeside watering hole.

I don't know if "Viva la Vida" is the Song of the Summer for 2008. I can't really imagine that song pounding out of a beach boom box or at a watering hole. Maybe it's just me since it is an opinion. I would say "I Kissed a Girl" by Katy Perry was the 2008 Song of the Summer. You couldn't avoid it.

Perhaps the Song of the Summer 2013 is "Get Lucky" by Daft Punk. It's nice to see an act that has been around for a long time reach No. 1 in middle age -- 

The two members of Daft Punk are 39 and 38 years old. They have put four albums out and the first album came out in 1997. I don't know, again, it is a matter of opinion, but I'm not sure Daft Punk is in middle age for a band. They made their first album only 16 years ago.

The 2012 Niners were both impressive statistically and fun to watch, owing to the midseason switch from conventional passing to Kaepernick. Lots of things went very well. San Francisco finished second in total defense; the offensive line was stable for the entire season; 14 players scored touchdowns (lots of guys handling the ball is usually a positive sign);

Or a really bad sign because it means the team has suffered a lot of injuries during the season. I know, I hate to ruin Gregg's assumptions like I tend to do.

A mild question is why San Francisco used its three seventh-round choices rather than banking some of them, too. Considering the Niners have the league's strongest roster, can three late picks make this team?

Well of course they can Gregg. Aren't you the one who constantly tells us how great late-round and undrafted players are? I always love to notice how Gregg backs away from his insistence that late-round and undrafted players are often better than first or second round draft picks when it fits the point he wants to prove. When an undrafted player does well in the NFL, all of a sudden Gregg is back talking about highly-paid glory boys and how these first and second round players are lazy unlike those hard-working undrafted free agents.

In this TMQ, Gregg also suggests that undrafted players should make more money in bonuses, which could have the side effect of fewer undrafted players being signed by teams in order to save money. Obviously Gregg didn't think about this when making the suggestion to up the bonus of undrafted free agents. He's hurting the players he claims to want to help.

The Bluish Men Group attempted 405 forward passes and 536 rushes, the kind of ratio that was common half a century ago. With most NFL defenses geared to stop the pass, Seattle's run-first offense seemed to baffle opponents, allowing the Seahawks to average 4.8 yards per rush and 8 yards per pass attempt, both healthy numbers.

Yes, I'm sure every NFL team that played the Seahawks last year were baffled on how to stop the run. They had completely forgotten how to stop the run. Because NFL teams are only able to stop an opposing team from passing the football or running the football and can't simply do both. It always has to be one or the other. God, I hate Gregg's type of reasoning.

Carroll's defense played a power style, holding opponents to 6.2 yards per pass and 4.5 yards per rush -- both nice margins compared to Seattle's own numbers. The Hawks defense finished fourth against yards and first against points.

This really good defense was led by Defensive Coordinator Gus Bradley, who Gregg called "a weak, insecure coach" last week in TMQ.

Since the arrival of Jeff Fisher as Rams coach, the team has been active in draft-choice trades. Notably, the Rams dealt away the chance to select RG III;

Yep. I'm not big on what-if situations, but without using a "what-if" scenario one has to wonder how choosing to keep Sam Bradford around rather than draft Robert Griffin will look for the Rams in the coming years. Was three picks and keeping Bradford worth passing up the chance to draft Griffin? As Joe Morgan says, it's too early to tell. Granted, the Rams did get some draft picks out of the deal, which is always helpful to build a good team around Bradford.

Summing Fisher's trades, St. Louis swapped Griffin and two first-round picks, plus second-, sixth- and seventh-round selections for Tavon Austin, Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree, Isaiah Pead, Stedman Bailey, Rokevious Watkins, Zac Stacy and Washington's 2014 first-round pick.

I realize I harp on this, and for fear of agreeing with Gregg, but when Peter King is praising the Rams organization's genius during the 2013 draft I wonder if he imagines Tavon Austin playing with Robert Griffin instead of Sam Bradford?

First in run defense, last in pass defense -- sounds like Buccaneers coaches were not employing balanced tactics. 

This could be why the Buccaneers signed Dashon Goldson, drafted Johnthan Banks, and traded for Darrelle Revis. It's hard to be a balanced defense when Eric Wright is one of your starting corners and a converted corner (Ronde Barber) is playing safety alongside a rookie (Mark Barron).

In March, the American Astronomical Society "expressed deep concern about the U.S. government's new restrictions on travel and conference attendance for federally funded scientists." Attending conferences is useful for many professions, but why should average people be taxed to fund science junkets? I write novels and benefit from attending literary conferences. If I demanded that scientists be taxed to fund my travel, scientists would be outraged.

The difference that Gregg is too blind to see is the term "federally funded scientists." Regardless of which side of this matter I agree with, these scientists are federally funded and believe their knowledge base can be improved and expanded by attending conferences which would help society as a whole. Gregg Easterbrook is not a federally funded author so an increase in his knowledge base theoretically would only help him sell books and the idea is this wouldn't help society as a whole. 

TMQ banged the drum for years about eliminating the Redskins name. Then, when the world seemed to lose interest, I returned to using the name in the column. Now that interest is rising anew -- two lawsuits are in progress -- this column will go back to calling the franchise in question the Potomac Drainage Basin Indigenous Persons.

What a sellout. Always following what's popular to do.

Next Week: Still America's original all-haiku NFL season predictions!

I most likely say this every week when reading the one sentence preview of next week's TMQ, but this is my least favorite TMQ of the year.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

14 comments MMQB Review: Rex Ryan Ruins the Jets Season Even Though It Was Already Ruined Edition

Peter King tried to help Chuck Pagano search for motivation through tragedy in last week's MMQB. Peter also slightly bemoaned the Ravens trading Anquan Boldin, yet again, and told us what a productive awesome offense the Rams will have this season. Unfortunately, the running back and offensive line positions aren't exactly a sure-thing to be even above average, but---

(Peter King breaks in yelling) "Look! Something shiny!" 

What was I writing about again? I can't remember. Anyway, Peter gave us a rundown of the NFL camps he visited and talked about how Jon Gruden (gasps in surprise) still wants to be an NFL head coach. This week Peter asks if Arian Foster's (I always accidentally spell it "Fister" everytime I write his name...what's wrong with me? Don't answer that) workload is catching up to him, talks about ESPN and Frontline (isn't Frontline a type of anti-tick cream-ish thing for cats?), and offers us an exclusive chance to be in his daughter's Fantasy Football league, which sounds like a weird prize to me.

Battle of the heavyweights here Sunday. When it was mostly first-teamers versus first-teamers through the first half, the score was the rejuvenated Saints (with some frisky new pups on defense) 17, Texans (minus J.J. Watt and Arian Foster) 16. If the Saints can play defense, they have a chance to play deep into January.

Fortunately the Saints have Rob Ryan as their defensive coordinator. He has turned so many defenses around, but only in his head, I can't see how the Saints aren't a top-5 defense this year.

If the Texans can get 16 games out of the idled Foster, they can win the Super Bowl.

The Texans have gotten 16 games out of Foster twice in his career and neither time did they win the Super Bowl. The Texans "could" win the Super Bowl if they get 16 games out of him, so I guess this statement isn't exactly Peter going too far out on a limb.

The bizarrely undrafted Foster, of course, has been an incredibly productive back over the past three years,

It's been discussed widely why Arian Foster wasn't drafted of course, so I'm not sure why Peter is still confused. Very few people immediately after the 2009 draft were saying it is odd Foster wasn't drafted, but now it is "bizarre" Foster wasn't drafted...or at least is bizarre to those like Peter who won't do any research as to why Foster wasn't drafted. Here are the reasons why Foster wasn't drafted:

1. Running backs are being devalued. It's just the simple fact of the matter the NFL is a passing league now. Foster was around the 20th rated running back in the 2009 NFL Draft. 22 running backs were chosen in the draft.

2. Foster was a part of a running back by committee in his senior year at Tennessee which resulted in him only putting up 570 yards on 131 carries with one touchdown. Those aren't numbers that really entices the NFL to draft you.

3. To add into Foster's sub-par senior year, there were also issues with Foster fumbling (but only in key times, which makes the fumbles stick out more) and pass-protecting. Add into the fact the Phillip Fulmer Tennessee coaching staff did not give rave reviews about Foster to NFL scouts and it made it hard for the NFL to justify drafting him.

4. When it came time for the Combine, Foster had a pulled hamstring so he couldn't run. That's not enticing for NFL scouts either. If you are a running back who had a sub-par senior year performing well at the Combine is a good way to catch an NFL scout's eye.

5. Then at Foster's Pro Day he ran a 4.71 40-yard dash. That's not exactly fast for a running back.

So Foster was a non-productive running back who had a college coaching staff that clearly didn't believe in him and found him hard to coach. To make matters worse, Foster was injured at the Combine and didn't put up good numbers on his Pro Day. The only thing "bizarre" in this situation is that Peter King thinks it was bizarre for Foster to go undrafted. It doesn't make sense in retrospect, but it made sense at the time.

He returned to practice last week amid concern he might be ready for the start of the season but not ready for a 325-carry grind. (Plus, of course, however many times he’d have to carry the ball in the playoffs.)

Foster had 650 carries in college. He's a workhorse when healthy.

“I’m fine,’” said Foster. “My body feels great. I actually think all this time [off] might help.”
 
“Why?” I said.

Why would time off from playing football help a football player's body feel better? Really, Peter? You don't understand why rest might make a person's body feel better?

Foster was treated with injections to relieve pain in his back, and he said he’s pain-free now. His doctors cleared him to resume all football activity, and he said, “They think it’s over, but you never know.”

If Arian Foster was Robert Griffin he would call a weekly press conference to update everyone on how his back is feeling and then do as many interviews as possible updating us on how his back is feeling. Foster would also make sure there was a camera on him at all times in order to let everyone know exactly how his rehab is going in order to make sure his name stays in the news.

“My body feels great,” he said. “It’s because I haven’t had the grind of camp. 

Think about it: During the season, you never play football six days in a row. You get your body tired and worn down during training camp. When you don’t have that on you, you feel fresh.

I think this is basic common sense, but what do I know? I'm not sure why Peter's reaction to learning Foster feels fresher was "why?"

Let the debate between old and new school begin. Don’t tell Mike Tomlin this; he thinks you have to toughen up your players in camp in order to play tough during the season. But all of you out there prepping for your drafts—you’ll have to ask yourself if you’ve got the third or fourth pick and are thinking seriously of Foster, “Do I feel lucky?”

Great fantasy football advice from Peter. When I join his daughter's fantasy football league I will consider this advice very seriously.

The Eagles could run 1,200 plays.

If Andy Reid were still the head coach of the Eagles, then 200 of these would be screen passes.

Now, Vick threw two brainlock passes during the game—one an interception, one while he was going down for a sack that was the classic careless Vick we’ve seen at times in his star-crossed career. And this was probably his worst offensive performance of the three preseason games, though his numbers were good. “The thing I’m most proud of is I didn’t approach this preseason the way I approached the last three or four years. I came to play,” Vick said.

I'm not a big Mike Vick fan. I have never have been and probably never will be, but the current Eagles offense seems perfect for him. Still, didn't we hear that Vick didn't always practice hard while he was with the Falcons, he was the last person there and the first to leave and that sometimes he didn't seem motivated to improve? Then when he re-joined the NFL after doing his stint in jail I remember him stating that was going to change and he was a new type of player with a new work ethic. Now it appears over the past couple of seasons Vick really hasn't had anyone pushing him for the starting job that hard and he apparently wasn't "coming to play" during the preseason. Once Foles pushed him for the job, he started "coming to play" and working hard again. I guess my question is what will happen once Vick has locked up the starting quarterback job again? Will he again not entirely be dedicated to improving himself as the Eagles starting quarterback? 

Two impressive things about the Saints. One: their rookie class. Kenny Stills, the fifth-round receiver from Oklahoma, made a great catch against the Texans down the left sideline on a bomb, 

A Saints receiver caught a really long pass in a preseason game! Clearly this is proof the team is going places. Peter thinks this Saints offense is going to be one to watch.

Two: defensive end Cameron Jordan, who had a sack and was buzzing around Matt Schaub for much of the first quarter.

Jordan wasn't actually trying to sack Schaub, but as he was buzzing around Schaub he accidentally tripped him and got rewarded with a sack. Otherwise, Jordan prefers to just run around the quarterback creating a sort of invisible barrier to where the quarterback knows there is pressure around him, but Jordan prefers not to sack the quarterback. He prefers just buzzing around the quarterback in circles.

Jordan and J.J. Watt were the best big ends in the 2011 draft, and he looked to have some of Watt’s quickness, spin moves and strength Sunday.

Because it seems all defensive line comparisons automatically go back to J.J. Watt. Is the defensive lineman like J.J. Watt or not? That's all that Peter cares about.

Defensive coordinator Rob Ryan plans to move Jordan—son of former NFL tight end Steve Jordan—around on the defense.

How can you not trust Rob Ryan's decision-making give his record as a defensive coordinator? So clearly this is a brilliant decision.

“I was a Swiss Army knife last year,” he said after the game.

I think it's fair to say Cameron Jordan buzzed around many spots on the Saints defense last year.

The head coach of the Jets, Rex Ryan, committed career suicide Saturday night in New Jersey. On the 52nd play of a preseason game, with 11:21 left in the fourth quarter (a point of the game when no starting player plays in August), behind an offensive line full of backups, when his opening-day quarterback appeared to have no idea he was going to play, with undrafted free agents Joseph Collins from Weber State and Ryan Spadola from Lehigh running down passes, Ryan inserted Mark Sanchez into the game.

I think it's obvious why Rex Ryan did this. He hates Mark Sanchez and wanted to watch Sanchez get hurt. Maybe he wanted to pay back Sanchez for playing so poorly last year. His plan worked. But...the Jets are Ryan's team and as the head coach he can insert whichever players into the game that he wants to. Of course there are ramifications and repercussions for injuring Sanchez, but Ryan was going to be fired after this season anyway if the Jets failed to play well, so he probably just expedited the process.

“Why compete, period?” Ryan explained after Sanchez, leveled by Giants defensive tackle Marvin Austin on his ninth play in the game, went out with a shoulder injury. “We put him out there with guys. We’re there to win.”

You play to win the game! Though I guess if Rex Ryan was trying to win the game that still doesn't explain why he put Mark Sanchez in the game. Because see, Sanchez isn't very good and the best way to win is to not have Sanchez on the field. Well, that is unless the backup quarterback for your team is a rookie who isn't ready to start in the NFL.

The fourth quarter of a preseason game is no place to strut his manly stuff and repeat the silly mantra, “We’re there to win.”

I am sure Peter thinks if the Jets had just kept Darrelle Revis this never would have happened. You trade Revis, you invite franchise destruction.

Next year, Ryan’s either going to be on a network set doing some pregame show, or coordinating some defense somewhere. The Adam Sandler movie star-turn? A souvenir of a time long past.

Just like Adam Sandler is a souvenir of the past! In fact, the only way Adam Sandler could further ruin his movie career is if he cast Mark Sanchez in his next painfully unfunny film. So I would say Rex Ryan appearing in an Adam Sandler movie sounds about right.

Can the Jets do some ticket deal like six-for-the-price-of-one? Six: in honor of their needlessly fallen quarterback’s number, of course.

I realize this is a big story because it deals with the Jets, but is Sanchez being injured really that big of a deal to the Jets chances this season? It's not like he is even an average quarterback. It's not like he was even a slightly below average quarterback last season. He was awful. So Peter trying to squeeze some more mileage out of this story by acting as if the Jets are going 4-12 because of their fallen quarterback's injury is silly. Sanchez was going to win the starting quarterback job backing into it. He didn't suck as badly as Geno Smith sucked, so that's how he was going to get the starting quarterback job. Let's not act like this injury took the Jets out of playoff contention. This took them from a 5-11 team to a 3-13 team.

Observations from a third preseason game in Jacksonville:

1. There is a team in Jacksonville? Peter didn't know that.

2. Why didn't the Jets sign Tim Tebow? Didn't Tebow go to Florida State? It makes sense for Tebow to play in Jacksonville in that case.

3. Brett Favre always liked Jacksonville.

4. The Jaguars should have drafted Tavon Austin.

1. Jacksonville’s optimistic about Blaine Gabbert being ready to play against Kansas City in the season opener, and maybe he can play 22 days after cracking a bone at the base of his thumb against the Jets last week. But I shook hands with Gabbert on the field before the game, and his right thumb is casted, with the cast due off, tentatively, four days before the opener.

Imagine being a Jaguars season ticket seller or ticket holder. Can they offer some kind of six-for-the-price-of-one deal? Six of course in honor of Gabbert's yards per attempt in 2012. This injury takes the Jaguars from having a 4-12 season to probably not changing that record at all.

2. The Jags are serious about wedging Denard Robinson into the game in as many as five spots—wide receiver, slot receiver, running back, quarterback and kick returner.

Gregg Easterbrook is still confused as to why the Jaguars just didn't sign Tim Tebow. After all, Tebow can play zero positions as effectively as Denard Robinson plays five positions.

On Caldwell’s magnetic team depth chart board, right next to the quarterbacks and running backs, was a category labeled “OW.” For “offensive weapon.” That’s the label Robinson gave himself after Jacksonville picked him in the fifth round last April.

But Gregg Easterbrook wants to know why you would spend a fifth round choice on Robinson when you have Tebow's ability to play zero positions available to you? He's vexed.

I wouldn’t trust Blackmon after his track record of alcohol abuse.

Peter doesn't trust anyone who has a history of alcohol abuse since he heard Bernie Kosar make negative comments about the Rams. That was a betrayal that cut very deep.

And to hear the Jaguars insiders talk glowingly about opening-day starters Cecil Shorts III and Ace Sanders—the Pedroia-sized Jag version of Tavon Austin

Who had $500 in the "Peter King will make a Dustin Pedroia comparison in the same sentence where he mentions Tavon Austin" pool? No one? There should have been a pool for this.

5. I have no idea who’s going to rush the passer.

Denard Robinson?

I have no idea who’s going to cover Andre Johnson, Reggie Wayne or Kenny Britt.

Denard Robinson?

Gus Bradley’s always been good at figuring ways to invent pressure, and he’d better be this year. This sets up to be one of the worst pass defenses in football this year.

I hate to break it to Peter, but there are limits to inventing pressure. A coach can't invent defensive pressure if there aren't guys on the team who can pressure the other team. Bradley had two really good corners to play with in Seattle so that made things a little easier for him in inventing pressure.

Bray learned a hard lesson in the realities of the relationship between the NFL and Big TV on Thursday, a few days after commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Network president Steve Bornstein and two ESPN executives clashed over the reporting of the issue by ESPN and Frontline. The league believes the reporting of the story has been one-sided, showing team doctors often ignoring players’ best interests to return them to games when they weren’t physically fit to do so.

It's almost like the NFL has a vested interest in these types of reports and won't allow their partners to participate if they don't like the type of reporting that will be shown on the program.

The project both sides were working on, a two-part documentary called “League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis,” will still air on Oct. 8 and 15, just not without the ESPN imprimatur. But much of the reporting on the show was done by ESPN reporters Mark Fainaru-Wada and Steve Fainaru, who have a book coming out about the league’s failings as a watchdog for scores of former players suffering from head trauma.

This is sort of like how ESPN all of a sudden decided they didn't want Bruce Feldman to publish a book even though they knew what the book was about beforehand.

Did ESPN have to do anything? No. The network holds rights to NFL games through 2021, and the NFL had no leverage here. The only thing the NFL might have been able to do here is fudge with future ESPN schedules, though that’s not in anyone’s best interests, because the NFL wants the TV ratings to be as good as the networks want them to be.

So basically ESPN just pulled out because they wanted to support the NFL, fully knowing if they didn't support the NFL there wasn't a ton of leverage to where the NFL could punish ESPN for not complying with their wishes. This almost makes it worse that ESPN pulled out since they didn't have to be afraid of what the NFL could do to them.

But look what’s happened here. Now that the story has broken that the league leaned hard on ESPN, the public has lashed back hard at the NFL for trying to curtail the network’s reporting—whether that’s exactly what happened or not. (And surely the league wanted the ESPN reporting to take a different tack.) So the result is going to be that the two Frontline stories will have far bigger ratings now. Think about it. You’re a football fan. You see the headlines about the NFL reportedly pressuring ESPN to report the concussions story differently, or not at all. You had no idea before this happened that any such documentary was even in the works. But now, admit it: You’re now might actually watch this two-part show. I would have anyway, but now it’s an urgent watch.

I hate to agree with Peter on this, but I tend to 100% agree. I didn't even know there was a documentary that would have been shown on this issue and there was no chance I was watching it. Now, I may DVR it just to see what is reported and what the NFL had such an issue with being reported.

It’s unrealistic to think that if the NFL was so strident about its objections to the reporting, ESPN at a corporate level wasn’t going to do something to smooth things over.

It's not unrealistic, especially given the fact ESPN is in the business of entertainment and hard-hitting journalism when possible, but they are certainly aren't going to risk billion dollar relationships for the sake of hard-hitting reporting.

“You listen to our strength and conditioning guys. I asked them the other day from top to bottom if you can rank our guys, and Michael was our number one in terms of his attitude, work ethic, helping other players, everything in terms of weight room, off‑the‑field things.

 —Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Michael Vick, two days after naming him the Eagles’ starting quarterback.

Again, being jaded like I am, I can't help but believe Vick is great off-the-field, but on-the-field is my issue with him. It's Vick's motivation in terms of work ethic that seems to show up only when he is competing for a spot, but his motivation seems to wane as he gets closer to being named the starting quarterback or already knows the position is his for the taking. Good for Chip Kelly to motivate Vick this offseason. It was a smart move to force Vick to compete for the starting quarterback position.

“You know what the greatest honor I’ve ever received as a player is? In my fourth year and my fifth year, I was named team captain. That is to this day the single greatest achievement of my career as a football player, because the men in this room chose me to lead them.” 

—New England quarterback Tom Brady, speaking to the Michigan football team in Ann Arbor Thursday morning at the invitation of coach Brady Hoke.

Just as a side note, one of the criticisms heard from Panthers fans in regard to Cam Newton is that the team hasn't elected him a team captain yet and that's why he isn't a leader. It took Tom Brady until he had won a Super Bowl to be named a team captain, so it doesn't always happen overnight. This is important to know when judging any player who hasn't been named team captain yet. Sometimes it takes time.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Delta to Jacksonville, Saturday morning. Front door closes. You know the drill. Cell phones off. Female flight attendant to me, firmly: “Sir, please power down your cell phone.” Which I did. Flight attendant to white-haired man in the seat behind me, “Sir, please power down your cell phone.”

Notice how Peter says "You know the drill," yet HE HAD NOT TURNED OFF HIS CELL PHONE YET EITHER. He had to be told by the flight attendant to turn off his phone. So yes, we know the drill, but do you know the drill Peter? This story isn't about Peter, but I can't help but laugh at how he had to be firmly asked by the flight attendant to power down his phone.

The man, maybe 67, says, “I have it in airplane mode. It’s okay.”
Flight attendant: “Sir, it has to be powered off for takeoff. Completely off.”

The man turns into Dr. Evil,

He started telling a long story about his odd upbringing and then began rapping "It's a Hard Knock Life" with his midget sidekick?

spewing about his dog dying of cirrhosis of the liver, and how can she do this to him, and the phone takes a long time to power off, and, well, he was spewing so fast I missed some of it. But lots of verbal bile spews.

This guy was basically doing the same thing Peter does to a cab driver who doesn't know his way around the city or when the coffee at the hotel isn't ready at 6am.

Also, I can't believe that Peter really missed part of the verbal bile spews. He writes down the conversation of complete strangers who are across the room on the phone but he couldn't get the transcript of an argument on a plane? Peter must be out of practice in writing down people's conversations. Look for a long, transcribed conversation in next week's MMQB.

2. I think, after this weekend, the Jadaveon Clowney Draft Sweepstakes has three leading contenders: the Raiders, the Jets, the Jaguars.

What's going to be hilarious is that all three of these teams could need quarterbacks after this season as well. So when a college quarterback blows up this year I think it will be hilarious if one of these teams overthinks the draft and takes one of the quarterbacks over Clowney. Obviously a lot can change in the next eight months, but at this point Clowney looks like the #1 overall pick. Defensive end isn't as sexy of a position to draft #1 overall as quarterback would be though.

3. I think if E.J. Manuel can’t play in Week 1 against New England, I vote for Matt Leinart. Always thought he deserved one more shot.

I did too and then I stopped thinking he deserved one more shot because Peter King thought Leinart deserved one more shot.

4. I think the toughest thing about making my picks this yearyou’ll see them in Sports Illustrated this weekis how I simply couldn’t find that worst-to-first team that happens every year. I just couldn’t find one. I hate the fact that my picks are mostly predictable, but this was just one of those preseasons.

It's a good thing the point of preseason predictions isn't to be shocking, but to attempt to correctly pick the records of each NFL team.

6. I think I’m just not feeling Hard Knocks: Return to Bengaldom this year. No buzz. No real excitement. I do like the inside stuff, and the control I see Marvin Lewis showing over his team, but there’s not a story that tugs at me.

What "Hard Knocks" needs in Peter's opinion is more Meryl Streep. She is such a gem.

8. I think the best play I saw all weekend was Ben Tate’s terrific block on the onrushing Will Smith, taking him out before he could clobber Matt Schaub. That’s the kind of play coaches notice more than great runs.

Great play by the Texans backup running back here. This coming from Peter in the same MMQB where he basically said the Texans Super Bowl hopes ride on Arian Foster being healthy for 16 games. Maybe if Ben Tate can block and run with the football the Texans won't be in such bad shape for a few games without Foster. Either way, Peter is wrong. The Texans Super Bowl hopes ride on Matt Schaub more than anyone else on the Texans roster.

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

c. Larry David, for once, did a clunker with Clear History. To me, it plodded. Got through about 50 minutes and said, “Enough.”

It definitely could have used some more Meryl Streep. What a gem. She is a national treasure who deserves to be in an Adam Sandler movie at least once.

f. Happy 30th birthday, Laura King! Many more! Like, 70 of them!

I'm sure Peter's daughter will be thrilled this takes the place of a card for her birthday.

g. All I know is, after the Jake Peavy performance Sunday night at Dodger Stadiumhe threw a complete game against a good lineupI want him to be on my team in pickup anything.

Peter had never heard of this Jake Peavy fellow before he joined the Red Sox. It's amazing to Peter how many good baseball players are out there that he just hasn't heard of before.

h. Hey! pay attention to my Twitter feed this week. You’ll have a chance to win a spot in my daughter Mary Beth’s fantasy football league up in Seattle. I’m in it. So there’s ninth place to battle forwith me.

This probably has to be the weirdest award that could be given out by Peter. A spot in his daughter's fantasy league? I know people play public leagues all the time with strangers, but for Peter to be giving away a spot in his daughter's league is a little weird. Maybe a spot in one of Peter's fantasy leagues, but why would I want to be in a league with his daughter?

The Adieu Haiku
Rex Ryan. Hot seat.
Jon Gruden studies Geno
down there in Tampa.


Because sportswriters are contractually obligated to tie Jon Gruden's name to any potential head coaching job in the NFL. I'm starting to believe part of the reason Gruden will be so highly sought after is because sportswriters keep telling us that he is going to be highly sought after by constantly mentioning his name for open (or not open) head coaching vacancies. 

Monday, August 26, 2013

3 comments Bill Belichick and Tom Brady Give Howard Bryant a Sad Face

We have already been told by Jarrett Bell that the Patriot Way is over and done. No more. This is all because the Patriots dared to employ Aaron Hernandez, an athlete that every member of the Patriots organization should have seen was a murderer prior to drafting him. Now Howard Bryant is equally disappointed in the Patriots, well actually just Tom Brady and Bill Belichick. He didn't feel neither Belichick or Brady acted appropriately when they found out Aaron Hernandez had been charged with murder. Please remember the Patriots cut Hernandez 30 minutes after he was arrested. The Patriots decided to take on dead cap space and release one of the better tight ends in the NFL in less time than it takes to order a pizza, but that's not enough for Howard Bryant. Bill Belichick was on vacation and didn't rush home to give a statement to the press. Very sad this makes Howard Bryant.

Most days, the sports industrial complex is merely nauseating, with its overheated cliches of leadership and adversity, respect and disrespect; with its inappropriate war analogies routinely transforming both the English language and any sense of perspective into self-indulgent mush.

But not when Howard Bryant has a pedestal to step up on and announce that these cliches of leadership and adversity are now not cliches, but an important part of the foundation of what makes sports and a team so great. These buzz words are cliches sometimes and then not cliches at other times. It depends entirely on the point Bryant wants to prove.

When Aaron Hernandez was charged with murder in June, Bill Belichick and Tom Brady, the public faces of the New England Patriots, initially said nothing.

NOTHING! They said nothing and completely ignored the press's absolute right for an athlete to immediately make a statement and appear before the cameras whenever the press feels this athlete should appear before the cameras and make a statement.

Belichick was on vacation. 

And of course Belichick must immediately stop going on the only vacation he will probably get all year so he can make a statement to the media about how he doesn't want his players to be arrested for murder. That's leadership, people

Here was the player he scouted, drafted and rewarded with a $40 million contract being connected to two shootings and three murders, and apparently the coach didn't think it was important enough to return home.

Probably because it wasn't important enough to return home. Robert Kraft, the guy who happens to own the Patriots and therefore is Belichick's boss and the guy who is also responsible for giving Hernandez a paycheck and signing off on a contract extension, made a statement for the team. There was no need for Belchick to come scurrying home from his vacation to appease the media with a statement. If Belichick had come back from vacation in a timely fashion this entire Hernandez ordeal could have been avoided and Odin Lloyd would be alive.

When Brady, general of the red zone, father of three,

No matter how relevant you want to make how many children Tom Brady has, it will continue to be irrelevant.

finally did speak about Hernandez nearly a month later, Bela Lugosi couldn't have made his first public comments sound more inhuman: "I've seen a lot of things over 13 years," the quarterback told Peter King of Sports Illustrated, "and what I have learned is that mental toughness and putting aside personal agendas for what's in the best interest of the team matters most … I have moved on. I'm focusing on the great teammates I have who are committed to helping us win games. The only thing I care about is winning. Nothing is going to ever get in the way of that goal."

What would Howard Bryant have preferred Brady say? I'm not being hypothetical, I want to know what he really would want Brady to say. Howard Bryant never reveals what he would prefer Brady say or how he prefers Brady would act. Does he want Brady to fall down in a mass of tears, cuss out Hernandez for committing murder or start talking about he teaches his three children not to commit murder?

Brady is basically saying "Aaron Hernandez is dead to me and we were told not to comment on his situation. I don't care about him because he isn't on the Patriots team anymore. I only care about the players who are currently on the team."

This is his statement and his teammates aren't going to think he isn't showing leadership because he chooses to not hold a 30 minute press conference on the topic of Aaron Hernandez. The only ones who will judge Brady for not making further comments is the media, and they will judge simply because they want something to talk and write about.

Subsequent Brady comments, after the organization got its story straight, at least allowed that the situation was a "terrible thing," but his first, unscripted words spoke loudest.

And these words said that Tom Brady doesn't care about NFL players who aren't on his team, and because Aaron Hernandez is no longer on the Patriots team, Tom Brady doesn't care about Aaron Hernandez anymore.

In other words, tough break, Odin Whatever-your-name-was, but Tom has game film to watch. He's moved on.

What the hell do you want Tom Brady to do? He didn't kill Odin Whatever-your-name-was. It's not solely up to Tom Brady to show sympathy to Odin Lloyd and Brady's affiliation with Hernandez ends when Hernandez was released as a member of the Patriots. Again, maybe Howard Bryant feels disappointed, but I think he's expecting Tom Brady to be more than he is required to be.

Brady made a teammate's being charged with a murder while also being linked to a drive-by double murder a year earlier sound no different from overcoming Richard Seymour's being traded to the Raiders.

Not to be snide, though this probably will come off snide, but both Hernandez and Seymour are no longer on the Patriots team. It's sort of consistent to treat them the same way if you know the history of how the Patriots operate. They limit outside distractions as much as possible. I am a little confused as to what Howard Bryant wants. He wants Brady and Belichick to be more human, but I'm not sure exactly what that means. Does the fact none of Hernandez's teammates at the University of Florida seemed to come out and show sympathy to the Lloyd family mean they didn't act human? I realize Hernandez last played for the Patriots, but if there is an onus on the Patriots to go above and beyond in indicting Hernandez then there must be some sort of need for every coach or team leader Hernandez has played on a team with to say something. What about Reverend Tebow? Should he have been more vocal considering he not only played with Hernandez (briefly) in New England, but also played with him not-so-briefly at Florida?

On July 24, with Odin Lloyd long buried, Belichick spoke for the first time, and the media, defeated and supplicant, all but tripped over themselves in lauding him for being "forthcoming," "candid" and "heartfelt."

He was relatively candid given how candid Belichick usually is. Everything is relative after all. 

Had it not been so disgusting, it might have been funny. 

I'm not sure "disgusting" is how Belichick's comments should be described given the fact Belichick was commenting on a murder that was committed by Aaron Hernandez. I think "disgusting" is how Hernandez should be described, not how Belichick should be described. 

All the great coach -- this molder of men -- did was finally take a few minutes out of his busy schedule, a month after Lloyd's last breath, to say he felt terrible that a 27-year-old was lowered into the ground too soon, murdered, allegedly, by one of his players. Belichick was praised for acting like a human being.

Belichick doesn't really pride himself on being a "molder of men" and any more than he prides himself on being a molder of a really good gameplan using men he has chosen who thinks can best execute the gameplan. By the time these men hit Belichick's locker room in New England they are already men and much of the molding should have taken place already. 

When the media were done applauding Belichick for doing the least amount possible, it was suggested that the Patriots did not owe the public a response, because it would give the impression that the organization was somehow responsible for Hernandez's alleged crimes.

I don't think the suggestion is that the Patriots didn't owe the public a response, but the suggestion was that the Patriots didn't need to get on their hands and knees while gnashing their teeth at what a grown man has chosen to do to another human being. The Patriots didn't exactly have culpability for Hernandez's actions and they owed the public a statement, much like the one given by Robert Kraft, in response to Hernandez's actions.

Here's the truth: The Patriots do owe the public, because they and every other sports team in America take from the public, profit from the public, sell their name to the public. The Patriots sell their players not just as athletes but as people whose names fans should wear proudly on their backs,

While this is all true, I'm still not sure what kind of apology or statement Howard Bryant was expecting. Robert Kraft had already made a statement and the Patriots made a statement by immediately releasing Hernandez when he was arrested, so I'm not sure a heartfelt plea for the world to forgive the Patriots organization, Brady and Belichick for employing Hernandez would have felt like it had a place in this given situation. It would have seemed odd. 

Teams bathe in the fiction that they value character, can spot it and develop it; yet here, when character actually mattered, the great coach and his legendary quarterback looked as small as a hash mark.

Putting the actions of Hernandez on the Patriots in any way is a major fallacy in logic me thinks. NFL teams do want their players to be virtuous and be good citizens in the community, but when an NFL player screws up and doesn't meet the standards for what his team wants him to be I'm not sure it is a reflection on the team. I think I've written this four times already in this short post, but I would love to know exactly what Howard Bryant wanted Tom Brady and Bill Belichick to say. What would they say to seem more human? I would bet Bryant has no clue what he wanted Brady and Belichick to say, other than not make the statement they ended up making.

Had Hernandez saved a toddler from drowning instead of allegedly putting a bullet into a friend, the Patriots would have claimed him.

Probably. It's not like the Patriots didn't claim Hernandez in this specific situation. They made a statement by immediately releasing Hernandez and Robert Kraft made a statement saying the Patriots were "duped" by Hernandez. If they were asked about Hernandez saving a toddler from drowning I imagine Belichick and Brady would have made a statement about how Hernandez is a great guy and then try to focus on football again. 

But since Brady, who has "moved on," values only victory, then maybe the public should not care about his golf tournaments, charity events and foundations, the image scrubbings that are part of the hero game.

Yes, absolutely. Because Tom Brady didn't give Howard Bryant and the general public the type of response they wanted then anything good for the community that Tom Brady does should be ignored. Look, Brady was being asked questions about Hernandez while at football practice and preparing for the season. Brady cares about moving on in the context of playing football, not in every aspect of his off-the-field life. Don't be willfully ignorant and pretend Brady is talking about moving on in every aspect of his life and throw a temper tantrum about ignoring Brady's charities. 

Here was a coach who talked community while disappearing from it. 

Belichick made a statement and he didn't even really have to do that. The fact Belichick didn't come back from vacation should not be significant. Robert Kraft made a statement as the Patriots owner and that is how it should be. 

And if anyone was surprised that a murder could actually get his attention, maybe Belichick was never a leader in the first place.

I don't think anyone is surprised that a murder got Belichick's attention, so this comment about Belichick possibly not being a leader in the first place doesn't make a lot of sense. Nice concise way to end the column though. Next time something monumental and controversial happens at ESPN I will look to Howard Bryant to provide leadership and provide a statement apologizing or commenting on the topic. If he cared about the ESPN community he would do that.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

6 comments Gregg Easterbrook (Not Really) Previews the AFC

Gregg Easterbrook made his return to writing TMQ last week and it was as well-received as I expected it to be. Gregg gave us a lecture on how the NCAA is screwing over student-athletes, but he believes allowing student-athletes to make money off their likeness would cause mayhem. After all, who is going to protect the student-athletes who are going to college and get a degree instead of going to play professional football, you know, the ones who the NCAA isn't making money off? Someone has to protect the players the NCAA isn't exploiting. Gregg believed it is the average college football players who should get paid, though in typical Easterbrookian fashion he doesn't suggest a way to actually do this. This week Gregg talks yet again about the NFL's concussion problem and how the league could set a better example. He also attempts to preview the AFC, but ends up just reviewing what happened last year instead.

At this point, Gregg probably cuts and pastes his old TMQ articles about concussions into new TMQ articles about concussions. It seems this way since Gregg seems to write 1-2 of these every single season. I get the NFL has a concussion problem, but Gregg doesn't have to write about it twice a year. Of course if Gregg couldn't talk about topics tangential to football then he would have to talk about football and that's not his strong suit, despite the fact he writes a weekly NFL column for ESPN.com.

The NFL claims to have seen the light on safety. The unnecessary roughness rule has become stricter. Contact in practice has been reduced. Players are admonished for vicious hits. Money is being donated to brain research. The league is saying all the right things.

BUT THE NFL REFUSES TO CHANGE THE BASIC VIOLENT WAY THAT FOOTBALL IS PLAYED, WHICH IS UNACCEPTABLE!

But as Ralph Waldo Emerson observed, "What you do speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you say."

And making the unnecessary roughness rule stricter, reducing contact in practice, and donating money to brain research are all actions, not words, so...............what's the point of this quote relative to the NFL's mission to reduce concussions?

Just a few minutes into one of the first preseason games, Bernard Pollard of the Tennessee Titans delivered an inexcusable hit, launching himself into the back of a player who was out of bounds. Commissioner Roger Goodell has been throwin' seven different kinds of smoke about cracking down on such behavior. Yet Pollard was only flagged -- penalties mean little to players -- not ejected. If launching into a defenseless player who's out of bounds doesn't lead to disqualification, what hit will?

Come on, Gregg. Robinson was standing beside the sideline still in-bounds and Pollard actually led with his shoulder. This is a penalty, but not worth a disqualification. Stop trying to mislead your readers who are too lazy to click on the video.

Pollard was fined $10,000 -- but do care about suspensions, which threaten their jobs. One single-game suspension per season just isn't enough to change the culture of a sport.

Pollard was fined $10,000 for a hit during a preseason game, which is a game that doesn't count in the standings. You can't tell me Pollard isn't a little bit upset about this.

Stop right there, you might be thinking. NFL players are highly paid adults: If they choose to submit to violent contact, why should anyone in the audience care? Isn't bone-crunching part of the entertainment?

On the surface, that's a fair point.

No, it is a fair point even under the surface. These players agree to play the game knowing the potential results of playing the game. Still, this doesn't mean the sport should not be as safe as possible, but it also doesn't mean one violent hit merits a disqualification.

But NFL players are the wrong focal point for football safety. There are about 2,000 players in the NFL -- versus about three million youth players and about 1.1 million in high school. 

Ah yes, it's always about "the kids." What about "THE KIDS?!" What will they think?

Factoring for college as well, 98 percent of organized tackle football is played by boys (and a few girls) who are, legally, children. They don't receive pay, and only a very small fraction attain athletic scholarships. All risk injuries that may interfere with their education or cause lifelong health problems.

So the theory is that "the kids" will see Bernard Pollard get kicked out of a preseason game for a violent hit and say,

"I need to think more about my safety when playing football because there are repercussions for violent play, including being thrown out of a preseason game that doesn't count. Next time I'm on the football field, I'll try to tackle someone in a softer manner. My life is now changed."

Whom do they look up to?

Their coaches, their siblings, their parents?

The NFL. Whose example do they emulate? The NFL's. What do they see in NFL games? Players laying vicious hits and facing no consequences.

And we all know that junior high and high school children always pay attention to the potential consequences of their actions before taking any action.

My point is that, yet again, Gregg is being supremely vague about exactly what he wants done to NFL players for violent hits. He thinks the NFL needs to do more, but what "more" is he won't say. I thought Pollard's hit wasn't overly-violent, but Gregg thinks that kind of hit would merit a suspension and being thrown out of the game? The NFL would need to expand rosters beyond 53 players if they start suspending players for hits like Pollard's. The problem is that I don't think Gregg has fucking clue what he wants done so "the kids" don't emulate these NFL players. I'm not sure kids would see Bernard Pollard thrown out of an NFL game and think they certainly don't want to ever get thrown out of an NFL game. The bottom line is that football is a violent sport and Gregg's argument that vicious hits have no consequences is a lie. There are consequences, just not severe consequences that Gregg likes.

But the NFL sets the tone for some four million impressionable young people.

This is true, but this is also why the NFL is cracking down on vicious hits. I would love to know more specifics about what Gregg wants the NFL to do, other than do what Gregg does which is take a reactive look at a game played two weeks ago and write, "That player should have been kicked out" without guidance on how to apply this to similar situations as they happen on the field. I'm not sure we are getting that from Gregg. Is changing the type of helmet the NFL uses and forcing players to use a mouthguard the cure-all for concussions? Is that what Gregg believes? I think Gregg wants the NFL to have real reform, but doesn't do a sufficient job of explaining what he means by that.

The big worry about the NFL is that its new safety focus is more public relations than real reform. Consider:

• The $90 million the NFL pledged to concussion and neurology research over the next four years is an impressive number but represents less than one-fifth of one percent of the revenue the league expects in that period. The money should help but is far from a crash program.

So if Gregg makes $100,000 per year and chooses to contribute $200 to a charity this makes him a cheap asshole who doesn't really care about the cause? That's one-fifth of 1% of Gregg's income. If Tom Brady has a guaranteed salary of $33 million over the next five years, so if he contributes $66,000 to a charity then he is a jerk for being so stingy? It's fun to use numbers that are real rather than quoting percentages without giving your readers an idea of what those numbers really add up to.

Youth and high school players see the pros ignoring basic safety by not having mouth guards or four-point chinstraps, then emulate this behavior.

And of course there are no high school or youth coaches who are around to enforce this type of basic safety? Isn't there some culpability on the part of these coaches? That's right, it is easier to blame the NFL for setting a bad example than it is to look at the culpability of high school and youth coaches who choose to coach these players and could potentially force these safety measures to be required.

"SportsCenter" and similar shows aired the Jadeveon Clowney-Vincent Smith hit many times; if any pointed out that Smith's helmet was not secured properly, I missed it.

Again, the people who run those highlight shows are responsible for showing highlights, not giving a lecture on helmet safety.

When high school football kicks off soon, "prohibition of contact to and with the helmet" will be the officiating point of emphasis. Why hasn't the NFL already matched?

Because the NFL wants to do something to reduce concussions, but also don't want to impact the product on the field. That's the cold hard truth and I can't blame them. The NFL makes a shit-ton of money and they don't want to change the product that the consumer clearly likes. So the NFL is giving money for concussion research and doing some things to reduce the impact of violent hits that could cause a concussion, but they don't want to overly change the product and the players probably don't want the product changed dramatically either.

Next winter, the Pro Bowl will eliminate kickoffs to reduce head injuries. All football players hate the wedge -- being in it or busting it -- and kickoffs cause more head injuries than any other type of play. Why doesn't the NFL eliminate kickoffs in the regular season and postseason, too?

Because kickoffs can be fun to watch and the NFL wants the sport to be fun to watch.

High school and youth leagues would follow suit, making football safer for young players who get no sports paycheck and probably never will.

Gregg does realize high school and youth leagues can go ahead and eliminate the kickoff without the NFL doing it first, right? It's not like high school and youth leagues have to obey all current NFL rules and regulations. So while I understand what Gregg is getting at, high school and youth leagues can take the initiative and stop waiting for the NFL to act first.

The nation's most popular and most watched sports league is making some progress on safety, but not enough. And it's large numbers of children, not the small number of pros, who are at risk as a result.

As I wrote last week, I get it, but the leagues these children play in can change the rules so that their sport is safer regardless of what the NFL does. The NFL sets an example, it doesn't set the strict guidelines high school and youth leagues MUST follow.

Now, Tuesday Morning Quarterback's AFC preview:

Again, it's more of a review and there is very little previewing taking place.

The Ravens lost eight starters from their title team, mostly to free agency. In salary-cap terms, Baltimore had to choose between an exodus of veterans or re-signing Joe Flacco. Since quarterback is the most valuable position, the Ravens did what they had to do, keeping the player who would have been hardest to replace.

Trading Anquan Boldin for just a sixth-round draft choice was the odd move. Boldin led the Ravens in receiving the past three seasons, did the hard work over the middle, had several vital plays in their Super Bowl run. Sure he's old (32) by the standards of athletics. Give me an aging gent who gets the job done over a greenhorn any day.

But Gregg...you just said the Ravens had to choose between an exodus of veterans or re-signing Flacco and the Ravens "did what they had to do" and re-signed Flacco. Then you state it was odd for the Ravens to have traded Anquan Boldin. The Ravens had to trade Boldin to free up more cap room to sign Flacco and try to replace the veterans who left in the exodus. You just stated why the Ravens got rid of the veteran players, then you question why the Ravens got rid of the veteran players? But...why?

Gregg claims to know why the Ravens cut rid of the veterans players on their roster and then questions why the Ravens got rid of a veteran player on their roster. This is typical Gregg. 

Until January 2013, the rap on Flacco and John Harbaugh was that together they were 35-7 in Baltimore but 23-23 on the road. Then the Ravens went on a 3-0 playoff road tear, culminating in a Super Bowl victory. This season the Ravens open on the road and have three of their first five contests away. Presumably playing away now favors the Ravens.

Well naturally, the only conclusion that can be drawn is the Ravens will have a better road record than home record during this upcoming season. Count this as a future fact.

Flacco seems to be handicapped in that he lacks Q, the ineffable quotient of personal appeal. Could you imagine Flacco in the DirecTV football-on-my-phone spoof? In contemporary athletic culture, endorsements are the test of graduating from star to superstar status. The Mannings roll in endorsements -- Gatorade, Sony, DirecTV, Nabisco, Samsung, Buick. Flacco endorses gummy bears.

Flacco will never be a great quarterback because he doesn't get enough high-profile endorsements, which is one of the most important factors when it comes to grading a quarterback's on-field performance in the opinion of Gregg Easterbrook.

The Bills have suffered under a succession of bland head coaches and time-server front-office types such as Bumbling Buddy Nix, who seemed perfectly content to lose. Bumbling Buddy squandered the third overall choice of the 2011 draft on Marcell Dareus, a journeyman;

How the fuck can Marcell Dareus be a "journeyman" when he has played in the NFL for three seasons all for the exact same team that drafted him? Look up "journeyman" in the dictionary as it pertains to athletics, Gregg, I don't think it means what you think it means.

Not to mention, Dareus has had 5.5 sacks in each of his first two seasons in the NFL. He's a defensive tackle, by the way, which is a position not well-known for accumulating sacks. So basically Gregg Easterbrook is full of shit and Marcell Dareus is not a journeyman and has played pretty well so far in his NFL career. I can't wait to read how Gregg backtracks on his Marcell Dareus comment when the Bills defensive line blows up this year.

Nix wasted the second choice of the 2011 second round on Aaron Williams, a journeyman;

Again, Williams has played for one team over his entire NFL career. That's not a "journeyman" as the definition goes in sports.

the next two players selected were Pro Bowler Andy Dalton and Super Bowl star Colin Kaepernick.

THE BILLS SHOULD HAVE DRAFTED BOTH DALTON AND KAEPERNICK WITH ONE SELECTION!

Nix threw a second-round choice out the window on Torell Troup, who has two career starts; the next person selected was Pro Bowler Rob Gronkowski, who's even from Buffalo.

Every General Manager can look bad if you go back to a certain draft and say who he should have drafted using hindsight. Also, Gronkowski is from Amherst, which is a suburb of Buffalo, but not Buffalo.

Cincinnati: Tuesday Morning Quarterback contends Marvin Lewis lacks chutzpah as a coach, and lack of chutzpah results in annual fade-outs, the Bengals being 0-4 in the postseason during Lewis' tenure.

I'm sure that's the exact reason the Bengals haven't won a playoff game during Marvin Lewis' tenure with the Bengals.

Game tied in the third quarter, Cincinnati faced fourth-and-inches on the Steelers' 30, and in trotted the kicking unit. Victories don't come in the mail, go win the game! When the field goal boomed, TMQ wrote the words "game over" in his notebook. Needless to say, Pittsburgh won. 

It's needless to say, because otherwise Gregg won't reveal the times he has written "game over" in his notebook and the game wasn't indeed over.

But through no effort of its own: The glamour, money and position of the Windsor crowd is inherited, not earned. Society's admiration should go to those who attain their positions via merit.

I agree completely. If Society's admiration went to those who attain their positions via merit then Gregg Easterbrook wouldn't write TMQ every week.

Fantasies about sports, sex or money help men and women get through their day, and getting through the day is important.

My God, who gave this man permission to write a weekly NFL column? I'm not sure how many people have time to fantasize throughout the day or are so depressed with their life they have to fantasize just to get through the day.

Cleveland: The Browns' draft performance was puzzling. The new management team of Rob Chudzinski at coach and Michael Lombardi at general manager traded away fourth- and fifth-round picks to bank extra selections for 2014. Strong teams bank draft choices, since a rookie might not make the roster anyway; for a weak team to bank draft choices is a head-scratcher.

Unless that team has a long-range plan and they know they can't turn their team around in one year. The 49ers banked an extra first round draft choice in 2010 after an 8-8 season. That helped the 49ers draft another offensive lineman during the 2010 draft. The 49ers had gone 8-8 in 2009, 7-9 in 2008, 5-11 in 2007, 7-9 in 2006, 4-12 in 2005, and 2-14 in 2004.

So the 49ers were a losing team and chose to trade a 1st round pick in 2009. It worked out for them and helped them become a better team.

Norv Turner has a career losing record as a head coach -- 118-126-1 -- but has done well as an offensive coordinator, and is now the Browns' man in this role. Turner calls a California-style passing game: lots of flies and deep posts, actions NFL teams should employ more often.

I'm not sure California-style passing game is a real type of a passing offense. I think Gregg made this up.

Before camp opened left tackle Ryan Clady, an outstanding player, signed a contract that offers several million dollars in incentives for making the Pro Bowl twice in next five years. Clady stands a good chance of attaining those incentives, since he is an offensive lineman who has already made the Pro Bowl more than once.

Clady is also a first round pick which is the type of player Gregg often refers to as a highly-paid glory boy.

The reason for that mention is to create an excuse for the nearby Broncos cheerleader picture of Michelle, an office manager who attended the University Colorado at Boulder.

Gregg writes "nearby" here because the picture of the Broncos cheerleader is not only not directly beside this paragraph, but isn't even the next picture in TMQ. The cheerleader's picture is beside the section "previewing" the Jacksonville Jaguars. Peter is very desperate to show a picture of a cheerleader.

In 2012, Houston opened 11-1 then closed 2-4. Spanning two seasons that's a 21-4 start followed by a 3-8 stumble. Until Thanksgiving, the Moo Cows are to be feared; afterward, are milquetoast. Injuries struck in both seasons, but every NFL team has to deal with injuries. The Ravens sure didn't fold just because Ray Lewis and Ladarius Webb were hurt.

The Ravens did go 5-5 without Ray Lewis in 2012 and were 5-1 with him on the roster. So the Ravens didn't fold, but they also didn't have a winning record without Ray Lewis. Lewis returned to the lineup in the postseason and the Ravens went 4-0.

In personnel terms the Texans seem strong -- they'd be stronger had they not waived Jacoby Jones, eventual Super Bowl hero for the Ravens, before the 2012 season. 

Right, because having Jones on the team from 2007-2011 was such good luck for the Texans. Jones returned one kickoff for a touchdown during this time and returned three punts for a touchdown. Last season he returned two kickoffs for a touchdown and one punt for a touchdown, while still being the #3 receiver at-best that the Texans knew he was. So Jones' performance on special teams last year exceeded how well he had played over the last five seasons for the Texans.

The Texans declared themes for 2013 home dates, and inexplicably are calling their December date with New England the Homecoming game. Given colleges schedule a cupcake for homecoming, this seems a calculated insult to a team that beat the Texans badly twice the year before. Perhaps there will be a pep rally and bonfire on Friday night before the game. Then Houston players and cheerleaders will go to a dance.

See, because that's what people do at Homecoming. They go to a dance with a member of the opposite sex! This is comedy!

The Colts' second and third choices in 2012 were tight ends -- if they emerge in 2013, the Indianapolis passing game could become potent. The offensive line boasts several recent high draft choices -- and its lightest member is center Samson Satele, at 300 pounds.

But if the Colts offensive line boasts several recent high draft choices, then using Gregg's logic that highly-drafted players are lazy and underperform, doesn't that mean the Colts are going to struggle on the offensive line? Because high draft choices are always busts whose performance never exceeds that of hard-working undrafted free agents. 

Jacksonville: The Jaguars were 0-3 in overtime in 2013, but even if they'd had better luck in the fifth quarter, they still would have been a lower-echelon team.

This is some in-depth analysis, people. Stand back so you don't get hurt.

The strident insistence of the Jacksonville front office that this perennially dull losing team will have nothing to do with Tim Tebow, Florida's most popular football player, has gone from odd to downright weird. If Tebow becomes a success at New England -- as a "slash" or perhaps as an H-back or F-style tight end -- Jacksonville's refusal to sign him will look even worse.

Or if Tebow continues to suck at quarterback then Jacksonville's reluctance to sign Tebow will look smart considering they would not waste a roster spot on a useless quarterback who creates more unnecessary media attention anywhere he goes than nearly every other NFL player.

Plus the Jaguars spent a draft choice on Denard Robinson: If he ends up playing the "slash" role that might have gone to Tebow, Jacksonville management will have blundered anew.

This is ridiculous. If Robinson ends up playing the "slash" role for Jacksonville that Tebow could have played then there is nothing lost for the Jaguars. So they spent a draft pick on Robinson rather than sign Tebow, what they lose in the draft pick they gain in athleticism, speed, and less media attention surrounding the team that takes away from the goal of winning.

Tebow does have a traveling-circus problem. A strong, secure coach like Bill Belichick can handle that; a weak, insecure coach like Gus Bradley doesn't want to. 

Clearly Gregg has done his research on Gus Bradley from Bradley's time in Seattle. Gus Bradley wasn't energetic nor a strong defensive coordinator, but he was weak and insecure, which is why the Seattle defense never thrived under him. Great job doing research Gregg!

Many readers including Martha David of Highland Park, Ill., reported receiving the L.L. Bean "First Signs of Fall" catalog on Aug.12.

The catalog isn't called "Hey, Fall is Fucking Here Already" or "It is Officially the Season of Fall So Don't Bother Looking at Your Calendar to Confirm This." It was called "First Signs of Fall" meaning Fall isn't here yet, but the catalog is about the first initial signs of Fall. For God's sake, just use your head.

New offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg says he's not worried about Mark Sanchez's 54 percent accuracy last season, that Brett Favre wasn't famous for accuracy. Actually, Favre completed 59 or 60 percent in his three MVP seasons;

I think using Favre's three MVP seasons as a comparison to Mark Sanchez is a little bit unfair. Gregg is choosing three of Favre's best seasons as proof Favre was an accurate quarterback. Favre did have a completion percentage above 60% for the majority of his seasons in the NFL, so in principle Gregg has a point, but using Favre's MVP seasons as the frame of reference seems a bit unfair.

In football, a quarterback must be at or near 60 percent. Had Sanchez in 2012 thrown for the average of the other quarterbacks in his division, he would have completed 23 more passes.

Again, the comparison that Gregg is using for Mark Sanchez is a rookie quarterback, a Hall of Fame quarterback and Ryan Fitzpatrick. Sanchez was terrible last year, but I'm not sure comparing him only to the quarterbacks in the AFC East is a great way to make a comparison.

Now Andy Reid is running the Chiefs' show, backed by a mere 22 assistant coaches, including one with the title "statistical analysis coordinator" and one tasked with "spread game analysis/special projects." Reid seemed burned out at the end of his Philadelphia tenure -- why didn't he take a year off? His predecessor, Romeo Crennel, barely lasted a year; the headmaster before Crennel, Todd Haley, took the Chiefs to a division win in 2010, then didn't even last the entire 2011 season. This job may be a perilous one for a head coach who arrives in low spirits.

I think it was pretty obvious that Andy Reid was burned out by the end of his tenure in Philadelphia and that doesn't necessarily mean Reid was burned out overall. Reid didn't see eye-to-eye with Eagles management over his last year(s) and it took a toll on him. So I think it is a little presumptuous to just say Reid was burned out and is in low spirits. Of course, everything is black-and-white with no gray when it comes to Gregg Easterbrook.

Kansas City gave a high second draft choice to obtain Alex Smith, who, replacing Matt Cassel, becomes the second consecutive Kansas City quarterback obtained for a second-round pick from a team that no longer wanted him.

The 49ers had Colin Kaepernick as the starter and he according to Ron Jaworski he could be the greatest quarterback in NFL history, while the Patriots had Tom Brady coming back from injury. So while accurate, it is a bit misleading to say the 49ers and Patriots "no longer wanted" these two quarterbacks. They were expendable because they had better quarterbacks already on the roster.

TMQ thinks Smith is the real deal.

Alex Smith was the #1 overall pick in 2005, he has underachieved during his career, and has made a lot of money relative to his performance. Usually, this is the type of player that Gregg hates, so naturally he loves Alex Smith. Once Smith starts struggling look for Gregg to call him a "highly-paid glory boy" sometime in mid-October.

Should Smith play well in Reid's pass-wacky system, this trade will be viewed as the year's steal.

And if Smith struggles in Kansas City like Matt Cassel with the Chiefs did then the trade will look terrible.

In "Skyfall," James Bond is shot twice in the chest, falls off a bridge, goes over a waterfall -- then recovers without medical treatment. And not just any bridge: He is depicted as falling off the 564-foot-high Varda Viaduct in Turkey. The world record for a high dive is 177 feet; Bond falls three times as far with bullets in his chest, and is fine. Later in the flick, he crashes through the ice on a frozen lake and fights a bad guy under freezing water -- it's 1 minute, 24 seconds before he breathes again.

It's a James Bond film. If you are watching a James Bond film look for accuracy (earmuffs little children) then you are a fucking moron who should never watch a movie ever again. If you have never watched a Bond film before and you expect realism, then I will give you a one Bond movie reprieve, but after watching that first film you should never question the realism of a Bond film again. They are not realistic and probably never will be.

As Bond chases the cackling super-villain through a subway tunnel, he detonates explosives that cause a Tube train to fall through the ceiling. But tons of explosives would be required for this in the real world. How did the bad guy put the explosives in position without attracting attention? 

He did it by realizing this is a movie and the script calls for explosives to be placed under the subway tunnel. Then he laughed at moviegoers who were more eager to see realism in a James Bond film as compared to just being entertained for a little over two hours.

Near the climax, when the wizened Scottish gamekeeper runs into the woods with M to hide her from the bad guy, why does the wizened gamekeeper have his flashlight on? Without the flashlight, the bad guy never could have found them.

He has a flashlight on for the same reason any person running into the woods in the pitch dark would have a flashlight on, to see where the hell they are going. If the gamekeeper had run in the woods with M without the benefit of a flashlight Gregg would have questioned how it was so light out since woods don't have any streetlights and questioned the realism of this scene. But because the movie went for realism and tried to prevent M and the gamekeeper from running into trees in the pitch black woods Gregg has to question that.

I hope Gregg runs away from someone into the woods one day and doesn't have a flashlight. The person chasing Gregg would easily catch up after Gregg knocks himself the hell out by running into a tree.

Yet the most ridiculous scene of "Skyfall" was the film's first. Bond goes to an MI6 safe house in Istanbul to pick up an agency computer disc bearing the names of all Western double agents working for foreign powers. Set aside why the disc would be in Istanbul -- why would it exist?

Because the plot requires it to be so.

Miami:

The franchise remains weighed down by the NFL's worst front-office screw-up of the past decade, the 2006 decision to tell Drew Brees he wasn't wanted, then let Nick Saban make a major trade for Daunte Culpepper.

For the one-millionth time, the Dolphins didn't tell Drew Brees he wasn't wanted. They didn't offer him the guaranteed money and length of the contract that he was offered by the Saints. Drew Brees was coming off major shoulder surgery and the Dolphins didn't want to offer him a lot of money when it is possible that Brees' shoulder would not hold up. Blame the Dolphins' doctors if you want, blame the Dolphins inability to take a chance, but just don't say Brees wasn't wanted by the Dolphins. They were eager to gain his services (just like the Chargers wanted to, but they also had Phillip Rivers), but the Saints offered more guaranteed money than Miami.

Instead in two weeks, yours truly will forecast them to win the division. (Bear in mind, I also think ObamaCare will be a success.) The Dolphins will win the division because … because … I have no logical explanation. Once in a while, you go with your feelings.

Along the defensive front, the Dolphins have the third choice of the 2013 draft (Dion Jordan), another recent first-round selection (Jared Odrick), two 2012 Pro Bowl players (Cameron Wake and Randy Starks), a 2011 Pro Bowl player (Paul Soliai), a nice free-agent acquisition (Vaughn Martin) and a young undrafted player to keep an eye on (Olivier Vernon). No front seven is loaded like Miami's.

Hmm...I think San Francisco 49ers fans may argue with Gregg on this one. Gregg is also incorrect that Olivier Vernon is undrafted. He was drafted in the third round of the 2012 draft, but research is just so hard to do, plus Gregg is trying to lie to his audience, so that's why Gregg got this wrong.

Brady never shows wasted motion, while New England blocking schemes support Brady's throwing lanes. If, for instance, the primary receiver is running a short curl right, the right guard and right tackle will ensure there's a clear lane in the pocket for Brady to see that pattern.

I've never heard of anything like this. Perhaps I'm stupid. Either way, it doesn't make sense because what if the primary receiver is covered and the offensive linemen have blocked to where the secondary receiver is open, but Brady doesn't have a clear throwing lane? I'm sure offensive linemen try to block to give the quarterback an open throwing lane, but if Brady is trying throw a short curl right and the defensive lineman moves to Brady's right then the offensive linemen can't always give Brady a clear throwing lane. I tend to think the NFL offensive linemen try to ensure an open passing lane, but not just for the quarterback's primary receiver. I don't know, I feel like this is a great example of Gregg's typical over-simplified understanding of NFL offenses and defenses.

Rhythm-based quick-snap passing tends to succeed in the regular season, when defenders are holding a little something back for the next game, and sputter in the postseason, when there's no tomorrow and defensive backs get into receivers' faces. 

As usual, Gregg claims to somehow know what every NFL player on the field is currently thinking. It just so happens what the NFL players are thinking coincides with helping to prove Gregg's point as being true. Funny how that works. Apparently NFL defenders don't try very hard during the regular season and save their energy for the postseason...well, at least Gregg believes this to be true.

Hall of Fame Tosses the Accused, Keeps the Guilty: When Hernandez was arrested on a homicide charge, his former coaches Belichick and Urban Meyer seemed immediately to assume the worst. Belichick said, "Having someone in your organization that's involved in a murder investigation is a terrible thing." Meyer said "it was a sick feeling" to see media reports linking his name with the jailed tight end.

Writers like Jarrett Bell and Howard Bryant bemoan the Patriots didn't say more to condemn Aaron Hernandez while writers like Gregg Easterbrook are upset the Patriots condemned Hernandez as quickly as they did. You can't ever win with the sports media.

Police leaks to the media often turn out wrong; it could be months or years before the player's guilt or innocence is known. Yet the Patriots immediately waived Hernandez, as if assuming guilt; the NFL immediately yanked his jersey from sale.

Examples please, Gregg. When has an NFL player been accused of first-degree murder and then it turned out he wasn't guilty at all? Ray Lewis wasn't ever actually accused of murder (if I remember correctly) and cut a plea deal. But please name another couple instances where a police leak about an NFL player committing murder was wrong.

But at Denver, Woodson would have played second fiddle to Champ Bailey, while at Oakland, Woodson will be Da Man. Had Woodson gone to the Broncos, and he and Bailey found themselves doubling the same receiver, their ego fields would have interacted,

I really don't believe Gregg understands how NFL defenses work. Champ Bailey and Charles Woodson may have their egos interact, but they would not have doubled the same receiver because, contrary to what Gregg seems to truly believe, NFL players just don't fucking freelance all over the field and do whatever the hell they want. Defensive players, especially those in the secondary, have assignments and if they blow their assignment then the defense could give up a big play. So Bailey and Woodson would not just do whatever the hell they want and cover whoever the hell they want in the Broncos secondary because they have defensive assignments they have to follow. Son of a bitch, Gregg really thinks defensive players just do whatever the hell they want to do.

The Raiders play man coverage more than any other NFL team, so corners mean a lot in their scheme. In addition to signing Woodson, Oakland spent its No. 1 choice on cornerback D.J. Hayden, who suffered a rare and quite serious heart injury at a college practice last November.

We all know Gregg doesn't do research prior to writing TMQ, but here is another mistake that took 10 seconds to correct. Charles Woodson does not play cornerback for the Raiders. He is the Raiders free safety. But the Raiders play man coverage and corners mean a lot, even though this has very little to do with Charles Woodson relative to what his current position is.

Googling "O.co" takes you to the Overstock website. Why a corporation uses a name that looks like a misprint is anyone's guess.

Because "TMQ" is such a catchy name for a football column and all.

The University of Texas at San Antonio, which is Division I-AA and moves up to Division I in 2014, last season played Northwestern Oklahoma State. This fall the Roadrunners face Oklahoma State. As with other universities that shift funds to football, the likely result is a higher public profile for UTSA, followed by academic budget cuts.

Examples, please. Otherwise I will assume you are just lying like you normally do.

While the coaching carousel revolves across most of the league, the Steelers have had three head coaches in the past 44 years. Could lack of turmoil maybe just possibly have something to do with the Steelers also recording the most Super Bowl victories in that period?

Maybe the fact the Steelers have had such few head coaches means these head coaches have been successful enough to not be fired, which means the Steelers could have won a lot of games and Super Bowls with these coaches? It's not like teams that win games on a consistent basis rarely fire their coach or anything. Great insight by Gregg. Could the Packers lack of turnover at the quarterback position have something to do with the Packers winning a couple of Super Bowls over the last 20 years? Probably not.

This year's draft offered bargains at quarterback. Because 10 quarterbacks were taken in the first round during the previous three drafts, few teams were looking for a highly chosen signal-caller, allowing Geno Smith to slip to the second round while Matt Barkley, Ryan Nassib and Landry Jones slipped to the fourth. The same effect applied to running backs. Seven went in the first rounds of the three prior drafts, so few teams were looking for a highly chosen tailback. This dynamic allowed Le'veon Bell, Montee Ball and Eddie Lacy to slip to the late second round.

I think the fact the running back position is being devalued in the NFL due to the proliferation of teams passing the ball had more to do with Lacy, Ball, and Bell falling to the late second round, but I'm sure it has more to do with NFL teams having already drafted a running back recently. Because we all know NFL teams never need more than one good running back.

The play of Philip Rivers has declined, but football is a team sport -- everyone on the San Diego offense went downhill last season. In the San Diego organization, only the cheerleaders could be counted on to bring it.

Gregg's infatuation with cheerleaders is never not creepy.

Tennessee will be goin' nowhere in 2013 if it once again allows 29 points per game.

This is some great analysis.

"If the Titans give up 29 points per game I don't think they can win the Super Bowl!"

Several Titans losses were embarrassing -- a 51-20 defeat at home by the Bears had patrons streaming to the exits early, a 55-7 defeat at Green Bay was an embarrassment. The Titans could be the train-wreck team of the 2013 season.

Or they may not be, who really knows, and Gregg doesn't know and Gregg doesn't want to be wrong so he says the Bills "could" be the train-wreck team of the 2013 season. Any NFL team "could" be the worst team in the NFL, and the reason I nitpick this is because if Gregg is wrong about this he will immediately forget he made this statement. On the other hand, if Gregg is right he will link this comment for the next two years as an example of how he is often correct.

Next Week: TMQ's NFC preview.

Much like this column, it's not really a "preview" by any stretch of the imagination.