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

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 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 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.


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.


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 "" 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.


HH said...

Whom do they look up to? The NFL. Whose example do they emulate? The NFL's.
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?

Huh. You read those two sentences together, and it almost seems like high schools don't look up and emulate the NFL at all.

if any pointed out that Smith's helmet was not secured properly, I missed it.

Gregg says this constantly, and I refute it: at some point it's safer for a helmet to come off than to stay on the player's head. It's like a ski binding: they need to stay on TO A POINT. Then it's safer if they release rather than break your bones and tear your ligaments. In simplest terms: I'd rather my helmet came off alone than with my head in it.

Give me an aging gent who gets the job done over a greenhorn any day.

"I'll take a person who can get the job done over a person who can't get the job done any day! What a bold and crazy maverick I am."

The song is known as "99 Red Balloons" in English, though the German translates as "99 Floating Balloons."

Actually, it translates to 99 Air Balloons. The German "Luft" translates to Air.

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 second rounder used for Matt Cassel also got the Chiefs Mike Vrabel, so let's not forget that.

In "Skyfall," the cackling super-villain owns an island and, like the cackling super-villains in the Dark Knight movies, has dozens of highly skilled henchmen who are totally obedient though all his henchmen die.

Yes, eventually. Until then, though, the henchmen are part of a powerful and rich criminal empire that nets them a freaking island. They are probably living very well until Bond comes along.

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?

These items actually exist in real life. A spy agency can't exactly have a list on their HR servers saying THESE AGENTS HAVE INFILTRATED OUR ENEMIES, so lists go on disks. And they exist because people in charge die. If the director of intelligence for a country dies, his successor needs to know where his agents are. Since you can't tell someone BEFORE he is in charge, the information must be compiled somewhere so it can be shared with the next guy who needs to know.
That's even omitting the possibility that some enterprising low-level employee like Snowden compiles the list to expose it to the world or just sell it.

Tom Reed reports the Pro Football Hall of Fame took down a photo of Hernandez "in the spirit of good taste," according to a Canton official. Little shrines remain there to O.J. Simpson, who's in jail for armed robbery and was found by a California civil jury to have committed two "wrongful deaths," and Lawrence Taylor, a registered sex offender. Good taste?

“Accused of murder" is not necessarily less bad than "convicted of misdemeanor.” I won't defend OJ or Taylor, but it makes sense to take down Hernandez until his matter is resolved.

But little was done in the offseason about the [Tennessee] defense.

Two starting safeties.

The Titans could be the train-wreck team of the 2013 season.

As a fan of the Titans, nothing has made me feel better about their prospects than this sentence.

Anonymous said...

"Give me an aging gent who gets the job done over a greenhorn any day."

Yet another saying from Gregg that sounds good on the surface, but doesn't hold up to scrutiny. When Randy Moss entered the league, the Vikings had a thousand-yard receiver in Jake Reed who had to be pushed aside for Moss. Using Gregg's logic, he'd take Reed over Moss as a rookie any day. You've heard of the saying, "better to get rid of a player a year too early than a year too late?" Gregg wouldn't get rid of them until it's 5 years too late. Can't have any greenhorns out there.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, high schools emulate the NFL when necessary, but when Gregg needs the NFL to emulate high schools he feels free to turn it around like that. Like always, he will take whatever position that supports his point regardless of the inconsistency of the opinion.

I don't want this to happen, but I would love to see Gregg's reaction to a player's helmet coming off and the player's head going with it. I'm sure he would say the helmet should have come off. It's the same reason there are cat collars that are breakaway, to prevent the cat from being strangled when getting caught on a branch or a fence.

I missed that point when talking about the disks. This information has to be stored somewhere in case someone dies and needs to know who the double agents are. It's very obvious.

The Titans will win the Super Bowl and somehow Gregg will manage to claim he called it.

Anon, that's a good point. I have found that a lot of Gregg's comments can't handle scrutiny. What does "gets the job done" even really mean? What if the rookie could get the job done better, like Moss did?

Anonymous said...

Ben, it's not just that, but let's take Gregg's point to it's logical conclusion. He wouldn't take Moss as a rookie ("greenhorn"), but he would take Moss in his 3rd year when he's a vet who's "getting the job done." But how is Moss supposed to "get the job done" if Gregg won't let him get on the field and show he can do it? It's like when a company only wants someone with experience to fill a position. Well how is someone supposed to get that experience unless you give them an opportunity?

Anquan Boldin himself wouldn't have become an aging vet who gets the job done unless Arizona had let him play right away as a rookie, when he was rookie of the year. Gregg wouldn't have let him play though. He'd have stuck with an aging Frank Sanders or Rob Moore.

jacktotherack said...

All football players hate the wedge -- being in it or busting it

Typical baseless bullshit from Gregggggg. There are enoough crazy SOB's who play football at all levels who love nothing better than running down the field as fast as they can and knocking the fuck out of someone to bust a wedge. Oh and the NFL and college football have already outlawed 3 man wedges, way to have any fucking clue what your talking about Mr. Easterbrook.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, ah yes, the whole "you need experience for this position" issue where you can't get experience for a position until you actually get the position that requires the experience you don't have. In my job searches I dealt with that for about three years. It's a good point.

Sticking with Rob Moore sounds like a good idea it is NY Jets Rob Moore, but not Arizona Cardinals Rob Moore. The funny part is that many of Gregg's favorite UDFA wouldn't get a chance to play if teams went w/ veterans over a young greenhorn.

I know the NFL is culpable on a lot of concussion-related issues, but it's also impossible to get past the fact that football is a violent sport. Like you said, there are guys who just like hitting another guy.