Tuesday, October 1, 2013

13 comments MMQB Review: Clearly the Broncos Have Won the Super Bowl Edition

Last week in MMQB Peter King commented on how crazy and unexpected this NFL season had been. Of course I feel like he writes this every year, but this year Peter was surprised that the all the teams he thought would be good aren't good and some teams he didn't think would be any good are good. Peter has been suspiciously silent about Tavon Austin and Jared Cook since Week 1 of the NFL season, but I'm sure once those guys have a good week Peter will be sure to remind us of what great players they are. This week Peter talks about Peyton Manning (Peter knows we have had enough of Manning, but he's basically not going to stop writing about him because it's not about what the readers want to read, it's about what Peter wants to write), discusses the Hall of Fame voting process that Peter takes great pains to spell out every...single...year...at least twice a year, and regales us with a story about how he almost got hit by a motorcade. No word on whether the motorcade was aiming for him or not.

On Manning’s final four touchdown drives of the day against Philadelphia, Denver never ran a third-down play.

Denver had 12 second downs on the four drives. Manning converted all of them into first downs.

Eleven plays, 80 yards. Ten plays, 80 yards. Eight plays, 80 yards. Seven plays, 65 yards.

That’s 36 plays, 28 points, 305 yards. And no third downs.

You haven't made it clear yet, Peter. DID THE BRONCOS HAVE A THIRD DOWN ON THESE DRIVES? 

Ninety minutes after the 52-20 victory over Denver, I told one of the four musketeers Manning uses as his weapons, wide receiver Eric Decker, about the no-third-down thing. He paused for three or four seconds, taking it in, then said: “That is crazy. Crazy. But our mentality is to convert everything. First down, second down, first down, touchdown.’’

Another pause. “I have to say, hearing that is really rewarding,’’ Decker said.

These aren't the type of quotes you can get just anywhere. That's why we read MMQB. Eric Decker feels rewarded that the Broncos didn't have to convert a third down. Who would have thunk it? 

I hear this on Twitter and email all the time: Enough of Peyton Manning! Not today.

Or, you know, not enough of Peyton Manning today or any other week also. It's not like Tom Brady went into Atlanta and beat the Falcons with a bunch of no-names receivers or anything like that. Let's talk more about Peyton's loaded offense and what a great job he does of running it. 

Sunday was Manning’s 228th regular season game, and would you believe me if I told you that, at an age two years past when Terry Bradshaw retired, he has in the midst of the best playing stretch of his career?

I would, because Terry Bradshaw's passing statistics are not even close to being on par with the statistics of a modern day quarterback. 

“I’ll tell you what’s scary,’’ said Tony Dungy, Manning’s coach in that 2004 season, in the NBC Football Night in America green room Sunday night. “Peyton will be better in November. He’s still getting used to his receivers, I can tell you, the longer he works with guys, the better they’ll all be.’’

Right, because it's not like opposing defenses study film of the Broncos to find tendencies or anything like that. Statistically, it is hard for Peyton to be better than he is now, but logically, if Peyton got better every season the more he worked with then he may have more than one Super Bowl ring at this point in his career. 

Dungy disagreed with me about this Sunday night, but I think one factor in Manning’s favor is having Thomas, Thomas, Welker and Decker together as his receiving weapons.

In Indianapolis he usually had three big ones together: Marvin Harrison, Reggie Wayne and either Brandon Stokley or Dallas Clark.

I'm not sure what is more shocking to me, that Peter thinks it isn't obvious one really, really big factor in Manning's favor is the amount of offensive weapons he has at his disposal, or that Tony Dungy doesn't believe having four offensive weapons is better than having three offensive weapons. The big factor in Manning's success is how well he works with the offensive players on the Broncos, and yes, having Wes Welker as a slot receiver with a tight end who can catch the ball is much better than having Brandon Stokley/Dallas Clark without a fourth receiving option. 

“I think a big part of it is we all want to win for this guy,’’ said Decker. “The line plays like, ‘Don’t let Peyton get hit.’ The receivers are like, ‘Run that route exactly the way it should be run.’ It goes to defense and special teams too. It’s a sign of unselfishness.

I get what Decker is saying here. I really do. So are there NFL teams that don't want to win games, offensive lines that play like, "Fuck it, let's let the QB get hit"? Are there receivers who intentionally don't run precise routes and defense and special teams that don't care? I'm wondering, because this seems an awful lot like hyperbole and the fact the Broncos are winning makes it seem like their players are being more unselfish and caring more than other NFL teams. 

What’s next? The Cowboys, at Dallas. Manning’s onto the Dallas defense, with Cover 2 coordinator Monte Kiffin this week’s challenge. Cover 2: The Indianapolis defense favored by his old coach. Dungy was smiling Sunday night at the thought of it. “Peyton only practiced against that defense every day with us for years,’’ said Dungy.

And every Cover 2 defense is the exact same and the players in that Cover 2 defense make absolutely no difference, right? 

I don’t care what they say: The Houston Texans have to be having grave doubts about quarterback Matt Schaub’s ability to win a Super Bowl. That’s three straight games with Schaub throwing a pick-6

It would have been nice for the Texans had a chance to know about their future grave doubts prior to giving Schaub a contract extension last season, though the fact the Texans can escape from Schaub's contract after this season probably helps.

In the span of three plays of the second half, the Patriots got key plays from three players not on the team at this time last year—a touchdown catch by Kenbrell Thompkins, an interception by Aqib Talib and a 24-yard catch leading to a field goal by fourth-round rookie receiver Josh Boyce. The longer Tom Brady can work with these guys, the better New England will be

But Peyton Manning will always be better because he's had a chance to work with his receivers the longest. It also would help Brady and New England play better if they weren't fielding almost an entire receiving corps (excluding Julian Edelman) that are rookies or not quite ready to play at the high level that Brady needs them to play at. 

My awards at the quarter pole: MVP and Offensive Player, Peyton Manning (no kidding!); Defensive Player, Ndamukong Suh; Offensive and Defensive Rookies, DeAndre Hopkins and Kiko Alonso; Coach, Bill Belichick …

At least Peter didn't separate the MVP and the Offensive Player of the Year award like he has a tendency to do. 

Looking ahead to the 9-0 Bowl.

It is ridiculously early.

Peter writes, "Looking ahead to the 9-0 Bowl" as a heading and then the first thing he writes after this is "It is ridiculously early." Apparently it isn't ridiculously early to just assume the Broncos and the Chiefs are going to win their next five games in order to look forward to the first matchup this season between these two teams.

But in seven weeks, on Nov. 17, there could be a beautiful game in Denver: The 9-0 Broncos hosting 9-0 Kansas City.

It's fun to look forward to this game, but it has always irritated me a little bit how Peter likes to throw caveats like "It's too early to say..." followed by him speculating as if it weren't too early to say. What about the 16-0 Super Bowl? It's Seattle versus the Broncos. Is it too early to look ahead to that game?

And two weeks after that, a beautiful rematch at Arrowhead Stadum.

I love Arrowhead Stadum. It's almost as nice as Arrowhead Stadium.

I'm just sad we can't call the rematch the "11-0 Bowl."

Postscript: Denver travels to New England in Week 12. Imagine Denver playing a 9-0 bowl against Kansas City one week, then a 10-0 bowl against the Patriots the next.

It's ridiculously early, but I just circled my calendar for the 9-0 and 10-0 bowl, while fully expecting them to occur.

Funny thing. Lots of NFL things that look so intriguing in September usually get blown up in October.

Oh Peter, you are saying it is ridiculously early to look ahead to the first Kansas City-Denver matchup, then looking ahead to this matchup, and then saying the fact this game looks intriguing now doesn't mean it will be intriguing in November. It's very confusing.

It's almost like Peter is reaching for things to discuss in MMQB this week. If Peter cut MMQB down to a two-page column and only discussed important NFL-related matters I probably wouldn't be able to write MMQB Review every week. Peter has gotten MMQB bloated over the years.

I asked Andy Benoit, our Deep Dive maestro, to give me his All-Pro team through four weeks, based on the extensive tape work Benoit does each week. Here are his picks and explanations:

Here is a great example of MMQB being bloated. As opposed to an entirely separate column about Andy Benoit's All-Pro team with full explanations based on his extensive tape work, Peter has Benoit add this information to pad a half-page of MMQB and make this a five page column as opposed to the four page column it probably should be. I would think Benoit's All-Pro team and the results of his extensive tape work deserves more than just a half-page mention in someone else's column.

Though I do question some of Benoit's reasoning since I'm not entirely sure each player's selection to this team was based on extensive tape work.

Forte gets the nod over LeSean McCoy because Forte’s 3-1 Bears would not be transitioning to Marc Trestman’s system so smoothly if not for the stabilizing ground game and potent underneath receiving that the sixth-year veteran provides. If the Eagles didn’t have McCoy they’d still be 1-3.

Oh, so McCoy isn't playing as well because his team isn't playing as well around him? I'm not sure basing an individual award on a team result is the best example of research done by watching film.

Pouncey gets the nod purely on athletic merit.

Okay, I would love to know who the other finalists for the All-Pro center of the 25% mark of the season, since Pouncey gets it because he is the most athletic.

So is Haden; he blanketed Mike Wallace in Week 1, often without true safety help. In Week 3, Haden was airtight on Jerome Simpson.

I don't have a problem with Haden being on this list as an All-Pro of the first 25% of the season, but I think it is great that the fact he shut down Jerome Simpson is a part of his resume. I would expect that from a quality #2 corner and he would have a major problem if one of the two best corners in the NFL couldn't shut Simpson down completely. It's Jerome Simpson, he of the 116 receptions over five seasons and 7 career touchdown catches.

I’ve said for a long time that the wide receiver logjam, particularly with five or six more receivers likely to cross the 1,000-catch plateau in the next five years, is going to be the most vexing problem for the 46 Pro Football Hall of Fame voters in the next few years. Marvin Harrison (1,102 catches) hits the ballot this year. Do voters put him in right away because of his importance to the Colts’ long run of excellence?

I'm not sure Marvin Harrison should be moved ahead of other wide receivers for induction into the Hall of Fame simply because he played on a good team.

Do they stack him behind Andre Reed and Tim Brown, who have been waiting nine and five years respectively?

If excellence of the team around him is a real issue that could get Marvin Harrison into the Hall of Fame, then Andre Reed deserves to be inducted before Harrison.

Do they wait to see if Reggie Wayne, 34, who wants to play multiple more years and is only 117 catches behind Harrison this morning, passes him, and by how much?

Marvin Harrison should be able to make the Hall of Fame on his own merits. I'm not sure if how Reggie Wayne plays over the next couple of years should have anything to do with whether Marvin Harrison makes the Hall of Fame or not.

Then Peter advocates for Tony Dungy to make the Hall of Fame because he is a pioneer and many African-American coaches credit Dungy with their career progression. I think I could be a little more warm towards this idea if I didn't think Peter pushes for Dungy so hard simply because he works with Dungy at NBC. We all know Peter throws out disclaimers about his relationship to certain coaches/teams/players, but this disclaimer is basically Peter warning us that he has no real neutrality when it comes to discussing this coach/team/player more than anything else.

But my interpretation will be that the pioneer aspect of the job should matter. Inspiring, encouraging and being a role model for African-American coaches (and, quite frankly, coaches in general and football coaches in particular) is part of Dungy’s contribution to the game, and I will speak up about that subject in the Hall of Fame selection meeting on Feb. 1 in New York. Being around Dungy quite a bit in recent years, and talking to coaches about him, I’ve always gotten the feeling he’s one of the most important coaches of this era, for many reasons.

He very well may be one of the most important coaches of the era. I'm not sure if bases solely on coaching exploits he should be in the Hall of Fame. I am sure Peter is going to make a very good case for Dungy and I have no doubt Dungy eventually makes it into the Hall of Fame.

A word about one other coaching candidate: Jimmy Johnson. 

Johnson coached nine years, which most people have said is too short a career to merit entry into the Hall. It bothers me, too. But Sayers played just 68 games over seven injury-plagued seasons. He got in because he was a meteor across the NFL sky—a transcendent talent who retired with a 5.0 yards-per-carry average and an NFL-record 30.6-yard career kick-return average, and who once scored six touchdowns in a 1965 game against San Francisco. He had some Adrian Peterson and some Barry Sanders in him.

I don't know about the Gale Sayers-Jimmy Johnson comparison. Johnson was 80-64 during his NFL career and I realize he won two Super Bowls, but I'm not sure that's enough to get him into the Hall of Fame. Wade Phillips is 82-59 for his career, Brian Billick is 80-64, Lovie Smith is 81-63, and George Seifert is 114-62 for his NFL coaching career. My point, is that unless the Super Bowl victories weigh very heavily (and I'm fine with that, while also acknowledging Seifert and Billick have won a Super Bowl) then Jimmy Johnson should not be in the Hall of Fame. Seifert would have to make it, right? He has 32 more victories than Johnson and won one fewer Super Bowl.

Of course Jimmy Johnson did create the draft trade value chart, so maybe he's a coach who had a significant impact on the game like Tony Dungy.

Did any coach have a quicker impact on the game in recent history than Johnson, both in winning and in trends? He came into the league with a bad Dallas team in 1989 and was determined to do it his way—from stocking his defense with smaller, faster players instead of bigger ones, to bringing the Cover 2 from the University of Miami, 

Good thing he never had to play Peyton Manning while running the Cover 2 in Dallas. Manning practiced against that defense everyday in practice while playing with the Colts and very obviously would destroy any Cover 2 defense an opposing team throws at him. 

to working the draft the way he recruited players at Miami—scouting the college teams’ postseason with his coaching staff instead of leaving it all to the scouts. He coached two Super Bowl winners in five seasons, then left a Super Bowl team behind and went on to make three playoff appearances in four seasons in Miami.

I don't think Jimmy Johnson was a bad coach, but I'm just not sure he is a Hall of Fame coach. I realize he had a terrible Cowboys team in the beginning, but his career winning percentage is below Brian Billick, Wade Phillips, Lovie Smith, and Mike Sherman. Obviously his two Super Bowl victories and how he turned the Cowboys around is impressive, but I don't think it is just the length of time he coached that holds him back from making the Super Bowl. He wasn't outstanding as a head coach except for three years in Dallas. That doesn't merit entry into the Hall of Fame in my opinion.

Though I believe Johnson is a strong candidate, he probably will never make the Hall. Most will say he needed to win more than 89 games as an NFL coach, and it’s a valid criticism. I just think there are some coaches, and players, who were so impactful over a short period that they deserve an airing in front of the 46 people who guard the door to the Hall of Fame.

I know Cowboys fans will probably disagree, but while Johnson was impactful over a short period of time, it was a pretty short period of time and I'm not sure that merits Hall of Fame consideration. His record in Miami is simply okay and not especially outstanding (though not really ironically, he had a better winning percentage in Miami than he did in Dallas).

Fine Fifteen

NFL teams placed randomly in supposed order of strength.

5. Indianapolis (3-1). Going West Coast/East Coast (Niners/Jags) was supposed to be harder than this: Colts 64, Foes 10.

It does help that the East Coast team is the Jacksonville Jaguars.

7. San Francisco (2-2). So … the nosetackle (Ian Williams) is lost in Week 2 with a broken ankle, and the best pass rusher (Aldon Smith) and multi-Pro Bowl inside linebacker (Patrick Willis) miss a road game on a short week against a Rams team with a fortified offense, and the Niners hold St. Louis to 188 yards and 11 points in a 35-11 rout. That’s some good depth right there, and some realization of the urgency of the day.

Or this could be a reflection on what kind of team the Rams are. Tavon Austin has 20 receptions for 124 yards by the way. Peter reported earlier this summer that Cortland Finnegan had trouble covering Austin in practice. Maybe the fact Cortland Finnegan couldn't cover Austin in practice is more of a reflection on Finnegan than Austin. Also, since Week 1 Jared Cook has 10 receptions for 99 yards. Not that I'm saying Cook stinks, but Peter had been talking up this Rams team for most of the summer. Reality may have set in.

15. Houston (2-2). Texans-Niners at Candlestick Sunday night. Combined record: 4-4.

I always enjoy how Peter seems surprised that every expected record for each NFL team doesn't turn into reality as the season wears on. If the NFL season played out exactly how it was supposed to play out on paper then it would be pretty boring, no? Who could ever believe the Texans and Niners are 4-4? The season must be over for both teams.

Coach of the Week
Rob Chudzinski, head coach, Cleveland. “You’re 2-0 since you gave up on the season,’’ I told Chudzinski Sunday night. He said: “Good thing nobody told that to our players.” Chudzinski may have some guys on his team looking at the brass cross-eyed for trading Trent Richardson after two weeks, but it’s a tribute to Chudzinski that the players are playing as hard as any group in the league.

Chudzinski has been the head coach for four games. I would be very surprised if the Browns team gave up on him and started tuning him out after four games, even if Trent Richardson got traded. Four games would have to be a record for an NFL team to give up on their coach.

Goat of the Week
Joe Flacco, QB, Baltimore. He threw five interceptions at Buffalo, leading to 13 Buffalo points, and the Ravens lost by three. Not good.

Obviously if Flacco still had Anquan Boldin as one of his wide receivers he never would have thrown five interceptions.

Never has a precocious, well-regarded phenom of a football coach seen his career go up in flames in seven years the way Lane Kiffin has.

This is the first use of "precocious" by Peter King in a few weeks now. It's so precocious of him to use it in reference to Lane Kiffin.

Head-coaching record: 40-35. Career postseason or bowl wins: zero.

Kiffin seems especially good at failing upwards so I have no doubt he will end up with a head coaching job very soon. Most likely he will get the University of Texas job if Mack Brown gets fired after this season. I'm assuming he will bring his "failing upwards" buddy Todd Haley with him to run the offense.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Since moving to the East Side of Manhattan a couple of years ago, United Nations Week (the early-fall week when the General Assembly is in session, and the most famous politicians in the world flood into the east side of the city) has been a revelation.

Peter is shocked that world leaders have tight security with them when traveling abroad.

So: As a two-year resident of Manhattan, I’ve gotten used to walking when the walk signs say walk, and most other times, staying out of the street. It’s for my own good; stories of pedestrians getting plowed over by cabs and cars pop up daily. On Wednesday, I was trying to cross Second Avenue 10 blocks north of the U.N., I saw the white “walk’’ sign lit, and I took a couple of steps into the street.

“SIRSIRSIR!!!!” yelled a cop about 10 feet away from me, and I looked up, and here was a motorcade with a New York City cop car driving maybe 30 miles an hour being waved through the intersection …

I would be willing to bet $100 that Peter was texting or doing something else instead of paying attention while stepping out into the street. Otherwise, doesn't it make sense he would see a freaking motorcade coming? Of course, if Peter was texting he leaves that part out because it makes him look bad. Peter had to have been distracted by something or else I can't imagine he wouldn't have seen the motorcade coming.

So I jumped back onto the sidewalk. It wasn’t that close, really. But as I stood there and the motorcade got waved through, I saw three black Escalades following very, very close to the police car (which didn’t have a siren on). In the third vehicle, the window of the driver’s-side passenger door was down, and a man in what appeared to be brown military fatigues with two hands on some sort of machine gun was inside.

Peter then pulled out his notebook and tried to write down the entire conversation going on in the limo, but unfortunately he was too far away to transcribe the entire conversation. It's a shame, but also very precocious of Peter.

Nice to have the city back this morning.

Yeah, get out of the city you smelly foreigners so that Peter can get back to texting and not paying attention to where he is walking.

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 4:

a. Brian Hoyer. Outplayed Andy Dalton. Nothing fluky about the 17-6 Cleveland win. That job is Hoyer’s until further notice, maybe until draft day.

Apparently "until further notice" means "until we can find a better quarterback."

g. Pat Haden’s decisiveness.

This is a joke, right? USC starts last season off as the #1 overall team in the country, then ended up playing in the Sun Bowl where the team gets into a fight with each other after the game. Kiffin showed (to me at least) he should have been fired PRIOR to this current season, but Peter lauds Haden's decisiveness? Haden could have fired Kiffin last January and not wasted an entire season with an interim head coach, but he waited until five games into the new college football season, wastes a year of his player's eligibility on an interim coach and sets the table for commits to USC to waver since there probably won't be a replacement named for another three months...yet Peter thinks Haden was decisive. Okay.

j. The insight of Austen Lane. In his writing for The MMQB, did you notice his difference in being cut by the Jags and being cut by the Chiefs? in Jacksonville, the coach and GM met with him, then the coach met with him individually. In Kansas City, the pro personnel guy met with him. That’s it.

Peter King really wants to help Austen Lane find a job in the NFL or as a writer. Peter mentioned Lane once before in this MMQB and has mentioned him repeatedly in MMQB's since he got cut by both teams. Watch out Austen, Peter also tried to get Chris Kluwe a job and he's still looking for permanent NFL work.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 4:

a. The games at Wembley have this one TV problem: Not enough lights in the stadium. Every one of those games looks dark.

I didn't really notice it was too dark. It was darker than a usual NFL indoor stadium, but I didn't think the game looked overly dark.

i. When Geno Smith is bad, he’s really bad. Wouldn’t be surprised to see Rex Ryan consider playing Matt Simms.

Because I'm sure Matt Simms will be able to fix everything for the Jets. Geno Smith is bad, but he is also a rookie and probably not ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL. Either way, the fact Geno Smith is playing really bad at times should not be shocking. I was surprised when Smith didn't play terribly over the first couple of games. He's not exactly built to succeed as the quarterback for the Jets.

j. Re the Rashad Johnson lost-fingertip coverage: He lost half an inch of a fingertip. Nobody wants to lose a centimeter of a body part, obviously. But the coverage was a bit over the top. Excessive.

Wow, the coverage of an NFL player losing a finger is a bit over the top to Peter. This is the first MMQB he hasn't mentioned Tim Tebow all season by the way, and Tebow was released by the Patriots a month ago. I think the coverage of Johnson's lost fingertip was over the top for a reason. Who loses part of a finger and then doesn't realize it until he takes his gloves off?

I say this fully believing it...if Brett Favre had lost a fingertip while playing then I feel like I could guarantee Peter King would have pictures of the missing fingertip and an entire section of MMQB devoted to quotes from Favre about losing his finger, while marveling at just how incredibly tough Brett Favre is. I doubt Peter would have felt the coverage of Favre's missing finger was over the top if other sportswriters joined in marveling at Favre's toughness.

k. I’m not saying Tampa Bay is good. But I am saying the Bucs have lost three games in the most ridiculous manner, including blowing a late 10-0 lead to Arizona Sunday.

If almost-wins meant a team was on the right track then the Carolina Panthers should be Super Bowl contenders at this point. Blowing leads in a ridiculous manner sometimes means something is seriously wrong with a team that allows them to grab defeat from the jaws of victory.

5. I think the Bucs need to cut Josh Freeman. Today.

Then point #6 is also about Josh Freeman. I am not sure Peter understands how an outline works. Each number is supposed to represent an individual topic that he will discuss. Making #5 and #6 about the same topic, with #6 being an elaboration on the same topic as #5 goes against the entire objective of an outline. Peter should elaborate about point #5 in point #5 using the information he ended up writing in point #6, yet sometimes Peter doesn't do this. This has always frustrated me a little bit for some reason.

6. I think these things are always tricky.

Point #5 says the Buccaneers need to cut Josh Freeman today and point #6 says it is tricky. Apparently it isn't tricky enough of a situation for Peter to make a definitive statement on what he thinks the Buccaneers should do.

They’re in a poisonous relationship with Freeman. They owe him $6.4 million, guaranteed, for the final three months of a lost season, and every day he spends on campus with the team is an ugly one. It’d be one thing if there were a team out there dying to trade for him. I was in touch with the Jags and Browns on Sunday about their prospective interest...Each team told me the same thing: No interest.

If these two teams did have interest in Freeman, would they say, "Hell yes, we are interested in Josh Freeman! I'm glad you asked Peter, we are desperate to acquire him!"?

I doubt that would happen. So while I believe the Jaguars and Browns aren't interested in Freeman, I also wouldn't expect them to state they are interested because it would reduce some of their bargaining power if the Buccaneers come calling with a trade offer. Peter has to understand this, right? NFL teams will lie and misstate their interest in a player in order to keep their bargaining power when attempting to acquire a player.

The Bucs should give Greg Schiano a chance to save his job and save the 2013 season, and the only way to do that is to cut Freeman loose now.

Or the Buccaneers could stop releasing Freeman's medical information (unless they weren't the ones who released Freeman's medical information, though I'm not sure who could have been responsible in that case) and provide the public with knowledge that Freeman is in Stage 1 of the drug program. I'm not sure why Schiano deserves a chance to save his job personally, especially with the way this Freeman situation has been handled. 

7. I think it’s too late now, but Freeman should have stood his ground, worked his way back to the job and showed future employers he can fight back from adversity. What he looks like now, to the other 31 teams in the league, is a guy who had trouble with a coaching staff, played poorly, overslept for the team photo (if that’s a true story) and started whining when he got yanked. What team is going to pay good money for a 53 percent passer (since the start of 2012) who goes renegade on a team when times are tough?

It seems the smearing of Josh Freeman has worked to convince Peter King that Freeman is the real problem in this situation and not the Buccaneers coaching staff. It's nearly impossible to know who is really the bad guy in this situation, if there is even a bad guy, but Freeman is 25 years old and has 25+ touchdown passes twice. He's been bad lately, but I don't think it isn't anything some good coaching couldn't help turn around.

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

c. Loved The Lyman Bostock Story, about the Angels outfielder shot to death while in the wrong place at the wrong time in Gary, Ind., late in the 1978 season. Congrats on a job well done, Bruce Cornblatt.

It's so exciting when a tragic death is played out in dramatic fashion. Maybe Chuck Pagano can use this tragedy to motivate his Colts players!

d. Kudos, too, to Rory Karpf, for his revealing Book of Manning documentary. Most of us never knew about the tortured life of Archie Manning’s dad, and it was a story artfully told.

Because the one thing I know I want to see more of during football season is attention paid to the Manning family. It's bad enough I can barely get away from them during commercial breaks, but to have to watch an entire documentary on the family (no matter how well done), no thanks.

f. Sorry. I can’t demonize the retiring Andy Pettitte forever for his one detour into PEDs. I can castigate him for it, and I can always think of it when I think of him. (If it was more than that, I will stand corrected.) But I don’t think of him as a consistent PED user.

It's always fun to hear baseball fans try to differentiate between someone who has used PED's and a "consistent PED user" to explain why different players get treated differently for using PED's. The bottom line is that Peter wants to treat different players in a different way, so he differentiates between "consistent" PED user and a one-time PED user as if we know for sure a player fits into one category or another. Pettitte seemed really, really sorry and A-Rod doesn't, plus Peter wants to forgive Pettitte but doesn't want to forgive A-Rod. There's the real difference.

g. Coffeenerdness: Nobody likes a coffee nerd, and so when I started to tell the barista at Starbucks the other day that she was making the macchiato wrong (espresso on the bottom of the cup, with milk on top, which it shouldn’t be), I caught myself and shut up.

Nobody likes it when another person tells them how to do their job, so Peter wouldn't have come off as a coffee nerd, but would have come off as an asshole.

j. My World Series guess: Oakland over St. Louis in seven.

Oh good, then the media can find Tony LaRussa and find out which team he is pulling for to win the series.

The Adieu Haiku
Chip’s balloon has burst.
What a difference a month makes.
DeSean: Play DeD.

"What a difference a month makes"? I guess this is what Peter gets (and myself, since I picked the Eagles to win the NFC East) for assuming that Chip Kelly is going to come into the NFL and immediately revolutionize everything about how NFL teams run their offense. Apparently NFL teams have to play defense too.

I'm probably stupid, but I don't know what "Desean: Play DeD" means. It does feel like a dumb way to end the already dumb use of a haiku.


jacktotherack said...

My awards at the quarter pole: MVP and Offensive Player, Peyton Manning (no kidding!); Defensive Player, Ndamukong Suh; Offensive and Defensive Rookies, DeAndre Hopkins and Kiko Alonso; Coach, Bill Belichick …

I will grant that the Pats have had their fair-share of issues, but how in the fuck could you say anybody in the league has been better a better coach through the first 4 weeks than Andy Reid? He has already doubled their win total from last year, and although their schedule has been mediocre at best, they have one of the most dominant defenses in the league and have Alex Smith at QB, not exactly Tom Brady.

jacktotherack said...

Never has a precocious, well-regarded phenom of a football coach seen his career go up in flames in seven years the way Lane Kiffin has.

Sorry for the double post, but I just couldn't ignore this idiocy. In what fucking way has Lane Kiffin ever been "precocious"? I wasn't aware that precocious also meant "complete and total prick."

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, I think Peter answered this question in his mailbag this week. He stated that Belichick has done more with fewer offensive weapons at this point in the season...or something like that. I think I would agree with you. Both Andy Reid and John Fox are great examples of why coaches generally burn out with a team after 6-8 years with that team and it doesn't mean they are no longer good coaches.

Haha...Kiffin is also completely unaware of how terrible he seems to be at his job. I thought he was a good recruiter and now I'm not even sure that's true.

jacktotherack said...

" I'm not sure why Schiano deserves a chance to save his job personally, especially with the way this Freeman situation has been handled."

To answer your question Ben it's because Schiano is one of PK's coaching buddies and Peter will go to whatever lengths are necessary to paint Schiano in a positive light, even if it is apparent to everyone who follows the league that Schiano is currently presiding over the biggest trainwreck in recent NFL history.

There is literally no reason to give Schiano an opportunity to save his job. He has lost the entire lockerroom and his teams continue to lose close games every week. This isn't exactly the mark of a good coach. The only reason he hasn't been fired is because the entire organization is a complete and total clusterfuck. They almost killed Lawrence Tynes' this off-season when they misdiagnosed his staph infection, they couldn't contain the story on the whole Freeman captaincy rigging issue, and now it appears 99.9% likely that they are leaking confidential information about Freeman in some desperate attempt to paint the organization in a better light. It's a joke, yet Peter, ever the objective voice of reason, continues to be one of Schiano's biggest apologists.

It is insulting to any NFL fan with a brain that PK is paid as handsomely as he is to give such slanted coverage of the league.

/rant over

Snarf said...

So Peter thinks that the loss of part of a finger while playing in an NFL game (and not realizing it until later!) has received far too much coverage, but America and anyone else who reads SI/MMQB needs to know which coffee shops PK prefers, what's going on in Amtrak riders' personal lives, and who PK wants to wish a personal congratulations to via his column? Got it.

Keep in mind this is the guy who has talked about the Rams draft, Favre (who isn't in the league), Anquan Boldin, etc. ad nauseum. The finger story was covered for like a week. I haven't hear much about it at all since that last slate of games.

Snarf said...


Bengoodfella said...

Jack, it definitely isn't good. I thought that could be why PK gave him the benefit of the doubt and said he needed a chance to save his job. What has the past year been, then? Schiano has had a year to save his job by showing the Buccaneers he was ready to run an NFL team and win games. So far, he hasn't done that while dividing the locker room. Brilliant.

Snarf, I didn't really feel there was much coverage of Johnson's injury either. It's not like it had saturated coverage, plus HE LOST PART OF HIS FINGER during a game.

Nothing is as interesting as Peter's thoughts on Starbucks and the conversations of strangers on a train. Nothing.

Chris Carlomastro said...

Jacktotherack: Thank you for your rant. You saved me about twenty minutes of trying to hammer out pretty much the same thing on my shitty phone keyboard.

The problems start at the top, plain and simple. Take a mediocre college coach that has a hard ass, my way or the highway approach and I'm sure he'll succeed... I am literally counting the days until he gets shit canned.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I bet you are. It seems like a lot of NFL head coaches want to emulate Bill Belichick, but then it only comes off as them being unforgiving hard-asses who piss off players and can't coach.

jacktotherack said...

From PK's own MMQB Website, looks like Andrew Brandt might be looking for a job after writing this about Petey's buddy...


In speaking with agents of several Bucs players recently, I have sensed a common theme: There is an atmosphere of fear and distrust under the current regime in Tampa. Players have told their agents about coaches roaming through the locker room (typically the players’ sanctuary away from coaches) and staff videotaping players on the sidelines during losses to single out players laughing or horsing around. The players also speak to the influx of multiple Rutgers players from Schiano’s past and the use of the phrase “Schiano Men,” a term that clearly does not apply to Freeman.

Schiano sounds like the biggest piece of shit in the world to play for. No wonder everyone hates him.

Bengoodfella said...

Jack, I think a few weeks ago I said I would not trade Schiano for Rivera and I still believe that. I guess there is one thing worse than having a coach who can't win close games. Having a coach who the players hate and can't win games.

I still blame this on coaches who want to be secretive like Belichick and think they can run a boot camp like Saban. It doesn't work for everyone.

I think Peter will give Andrew Brandt one reprieve, but if he dares to talk about Jeff Fisher having won one more playoff game than Wade Phillips he probably will fire Brandt.

Chris Carlomastro said...

Jack, the comments under that post on deadspin did make my day.

Ben, you hit it on the head with the Belichick comment. Everything from how he deals with the media to how he treats his players screams Belichick. Unfortunately, he doesn't have the respect earned or even seem capable of putting together a respectable gamelan. Trade for the best cover corner of the past decade? Fuck it, have him run zone coverage! I don't remember if it was in the article Jack linked or in one of the comments, but 10% of the bucs roster are Rutgers players. .. nothing wrong with that I suppose...I mean if a college coach wants to bring in the guys who helped him reach that sparkling 67-66 record, who is going to argue?

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I thought Schiano did a good job at Rutgers comparatively and that's one of the main selling points that Peter King used when Schiano got hired. PK said that it's hard to recruit at Rutgers and Schiano turned the program around. Still, his record wasn't all that great.

He wants to be Belichick or be known as a secretive genius who keeps his plans close to his vest, but seemingly hasn't earned the team's respect to achieve this.