Tuesday, October 29, 2013

8 comments MMQB Review: Matthew Stafford is So Different Now, Except for He Probably Isn't

Peter King told us last week the Colts had a little Luck (DO YOU STILL GET IT?) in beating the Broncos during Week 7. Peter also was concerned the Rams would not get enough attention because the Cardinals had a home game in the World Series, as well as continued his trend towards overreacting to what happened the weekend before by handing the AFC West to the Kansas City Chiefs and giving the Broncos an AFC Wild Card spot. Peter can hear us scoffing at him now, but less than 50% of the season had been played at that point, so the playoff seeding is nearly set. This week Peter talks about Matthew Stafford "coming of age" (which means, "Calvin Johnson had a great receiving day"...sort of), goes through the comments section of MMQB for responses to the MMQB (not the MMQB, but THE MMQB) articles about concussions, and relays a story from Robert Klemko about really weird Japanese people. Peter also continues his trend of seeing what happened over the past weekend and then reacting as if this event from the past weekend is a definite long-term trend.

Two months down, two to go. Time flies when you’re having fun. The Lions had some fun Sunday, and the resurgent Staffords will lead the column …

So I guess since the Lions won a game this past weekend over Dallas this means the Bears and Packers going to be fighting for a Wild Card spot after the Lions win the NFC North division.

but some headlines first:

Absolutely not. Let's talk about how Stafford is a great quarterback now based on the fact he made a really heads-up play at the end of the game on Sunday, had as many turnovers as touchdowns and threw for 488 yards with 329 of those yards going to one receiver.

Mike Pouncey might want to get lawyered up. As Pete Thamel and Greg A. Bedard reported Sunday night, the Massachusetts state police served the Miami Dolphins center with a Grand Jury subpoena after his game in Foxboro Sunday. “What’s this about?’’ Pouncey said when a gray-suited officer handed him the papers. It created a strange scene outside the Dolphins’ locker room at Gillette Stadium, with stunned team officials totally blindsided. Pouncey, too, evidently had no idea what was coming.

I think it would be fair to say the officer "pounced" on him, no?

Just like Clark Griswold’s Jelly of the Month Club present, the Kansas City quarterback brought more joy to two fan bases Sunday. In lifting the Chiefs to a 23-17 victory over Cleveland at home, Smith continued KC’s perfect (8-0) season.

Alex Smith continued the Chiefs perfect season by holding the Browns to 340 total yards and accumulating a massive 331 yards for the Chiefs offense. He's a winning winner who only wins. He's an efficient quarterback, as seen by his completion percentage of 59.1% which is good for 24th in the NFL, his yards per attempt of 6.28 which is good for 29th in the NFL, his quarterback rating of 82.1 which is good for 18th in the NFL, and his yards per game passing of 224 which is good for 23rd in the NFL. Smith has done all of this against such difficult teams like the Jags, Texans, Eagles, Giants, Titans, Raiders and Browns. Smith has been his usual average self against some really below-average competition, so kudos to him.

If you can't see through all that sarcasm, I think the Chiefs are a paper tiger. I had them at 9 wins before the season began and I think I was wrong about that number, but playing Denver and San Diego twice, along with a game against the Colts is going to tell me how good the Chiefs really are. Hey, I could be wrong and the Chiefs are one of the two best teams in the AFC, but I think the second half of the season isn't going to be as kind to Alex Smith and the Chiefs.

The original trade was Smith for a second-round pick in 2013 and a third-rounder in 2014 … but the third- in ’14 would become a second- if the Chiefs won eight games or more this season. That happened by mid-afternoon Sunday, as the Niners were trudging off the field at Wembley Stadium in London after whipping Jacksonville 42-10. As if San Francisco draft guru Trent Baalke needed more ammo, he now could be looking at six picks in the first three rounds next May:

Take that, Gregg Easterbrook, Mr. "The 49ers should have kept Alex Smith." As Alex Smith wins game for the Chiefs he helps the 49ers get a higher draft pick.

This just in: Calvin Johnson’s good. He had a nice month in three hours Sunday at Ford Field in Detroit’s 31-30 shocker of Dallas: 14 catches, 329 yards (seven short of the all-time single-game record), one touchdown.

I would love to know what kind of quarterback Matthew Stafford would be if he didn't have Calvin Johnson out there catching the ball for him. I know it's not fair to wonder that since Stafford does have Johnson and if you took any quarterback's best receiver away he wouldn't play as well, but so much of Stafford's success lies in having Johnson out there. Stafford's worst games of the season were when Johnson wasn't healthy. I probably have no point.

Remember the good ol’ days? Way back in the first half of the first game of the season, when the Chip Kelly offense was all the rage?

No Peter, but I remember all summer when you were up Chip Kelly's ass about how he ran his practices and talked about how the Eagles are doing things SO MUCH differently than every other NFL coach does things. I remember when you said the Chip Kelly hiring was the biggest hiring from the college ranks since Jimmy Johnson. I also remember when I stupidly bought into the crap you and your fellow sportswriters were peddling and predicted the Eagles would win the NFC East.

There’s some thought that because there is no “home” team in England, and selling a bad Jacksonville team (the Jags will play a game there in 2014, ’15 and ’16 at least) will be problematic right now, a good option is every team alternating. Of course, that won’t be a good option the minute you tell a Packers, Steelers, Broncos or Seahawks fan he  or she has to lose a home game for the sake of expansionism.

Actually that won't be a good option for the fans of any NFL team who loses a home game for the sake of expansionism. I'll be damned if I want my favorite team to have seven home games because Roger Goodell insists on expanding to London.

But as one league operative told me recently: “If you guys [NBC, where I also work] can get 850,000 viewers for a Manchester United game on NBC Sports Network, why can’t we build a block of fans like that for football over there?”

Fine, build a block of fans in England, but don't take away home games to build that block. That's like if Manchester United lost a home soccer match and played here in the United States every year. Fuck that. The NFL can do whatever it wants to build a fan base in England, that's great, but NFL fans are already getting ripped off for two shitty preseason games, so they don't deserve to lose another home game for the sake of the NFL trying to expand. Show the games in England to build a fan base, don't take away home games from NFL teams. I know my opinion is probably in the minority.

Greg Jennings in the Revenge Game: One catch, nine yards, left the locker room before the media arrived following Green Bay’s 44-31 win at Minnesota last night. That’s 264 yards fewer than teammate Cordarrelle Patterson put on the board.

Poor Greg Jennings. It's so hard to be a great receiver when your quarterbacks all suck. Perhaps next time before Jennings runs his mouth about Aaron Rodgers he should find out if any of the quarterbacks on his Vikings team are any good or not.

I wrote last year about the possibility of a quarterback, in the not-too-distant future, throwing for 6,000 yards in a season. Aaron Rodgers, I theorized, would have the best shot. I’m not saying Peyton Manning’s going to do it this year, but let’s acknowledge the greatness of the first-half MVP here. In Denver’s 7-1 start,

It's a shame the Broncos are going to be getting a wild card in the AFC after starting out 7-1. At least Peter had the Broncos getting a wild card and the Chiefs winning the AFC West last week, perhaps Peter seen something shiny this week and has changed his opinion on this in the seven whole days since he last wrote MMQB. I'm sure as soon as the Chiefs lose, Peter will put the Broncos right back on top of the AFC West. 

But let’s say he adds one medium-range skinny post per game in the final eight games. Say, an extra gain of 20 per game. If Manning averages 385 yards per game in his final eight, he’ll hit 6,000.

Of course Peter is ignoring the fact Manning could already be throwing for his peak amount of yardage right now. In other words, his current passing yards per game may be Manning's ceiling for yardage in a game, but that doesn't stop Peter from theorizing how Manning could break 6,000 yards...but who’d have ever thought throwing for 6,000 would be remotely possible so soon after 5,000 started getting hit?

(Peter King in early May) "Right now, Chris Davis is averaging a home run every third game. But let's say Chris Davis starts hitting a home run every game. That's almost 100 home runs for the season. Who would have thought a player could hit 100 home runs in a season?"

Matthew Stafford’s coming-of-age moment.

“SPIKE! SPIKE! SPIKE!”

We’ll get to that.

This is the second time Peter has said he would get to this. How about he just gets to it and stops the long preamble?

Certainly, this was not Stafford’s first big comeback. This was his 10th fourth-quarter comeback. But this one just felt different to me. Something about the high-tension accuracy and the big-boy decision he made with the game ticking away.

What felt different to Peter is this comeback happened just this past weekend and Peter has started to overreact to the NFL games that just occurred, so the immediacy of the comeback makes it feel different to Peter. Sure, Stafford came back from more points down on the road against the Cowboys a few years ago, but this comeback just happened! It's just so different!

Now :21, :20 … Stafford motioning to the offense to hustle up the field. “I was looking back, yelling for [left tackle] Riley Reiff to hurry up,’’ Stafford said … :19, :18 … Now motioning madly for Reiff to get in place, while also yelling “SPIKE” and giving the universal “spike’’ signal, the hand gesturing hard to the ground, over and over … Reiff in place, at :16.

“So I’m on the line, and everyone in the stadium thinks I’m spiking it, and that was the plan,’’ Stafford said. “The other 10 guys [on offense] thought I was too. I thought I was—but then I saw a couple of their guys, almost standing up, and I just had this thought: Maybe I could make it by sneaking, or just putting the ball over the line. Maybe that was our best chance.’’

Plus, Stafford didn't have enough room to just throw the ball up in the air to Calvin Johnson as he prefers to do, so he had to try something different.

But no timeouts left. Clock running. If Stafford failed, there was a chance he wouldn’t get another play off.

I believe Peter is being overdramatic here. If Stafford failed then he and his linemen could have gotten up and possibly spiked the football. It's not like they had run anywhere, they just had to get up, get the ball re-placed and then spike it. Maybe not, but "there was a chance" Stafford wouldn't get another play off. There's also a chance the Lions could have gotten another play off. Naturally, Peter chooses the more dramatic of the options.

So why? Why do it? Why not the fade to Johnson, who could win a jump ball against most of the Dallas defenders—shoot, against all of them? If it’s incomplete, another fade, or a rollout pass.

Because Stafford has matured, Peter. He's like completely mature now.

“You just feel it,’’ he said. “Hard to explain. You just go to the line and you feel it sometimes, and I just felt: Our best chance is me taking to the ball and diving it over. I mean, all we were was three inches from the end zone.”

Snap … :14 … Stafford takes the ball, grips it as tight as he can, and with much of the defensive line looking on impassively, he thrusts the ball clearly over the line and brings it back. Touchdown.

This was a great play, but the Lions had just run a play that ended near the goal line with 26 seconds left in the game. The Lions offensive linemen ran 22 yards in that time, got the ball set, and ran a play in 12 seconds. It's completely possible, and probably very likely, if Stafford's attempt to score failed the Lions would get another play off in the approximate 10 seconds left in the game. So Stafford's play was very smart, but also not quite the risk that Peter is so much wanting to make it out to be. Peter loves a little drama though.

I know how sportswriters love their narratives and love to see a group of events turn into a story, so "Matthew Stafford has matured" is the likely narrative to come out of this game. More likely nothing has changed and Stafford had a big game because Calvin Johnson had a fantastic game, while Stafford happened to also make a smart play to win the game for the Lions. I still think the comeback against the Cowboys on the road a couple of years ago was the better Stafford comeback. Of course, immediacy usually wins, so this Cowboys-Lions game had to have been a turning point for Stafford in his career.

In the past week, we at The MMQB have tried to take the head-trauma debate deeper, with 19 stories exploring ideas about a safer game, the realities of playing a violent game, and the complicated issues facing youth and high-school football today.

My takeaways from the series: It surprises me that parents—and we interviewed 23 of them who spoke this way—cede the decision to play or not play high-school football to their sons.

That has changed in the time since I was a (quite marginal) high-school athlete in Enfield, Conn. If my father and mother thought the sport I was playing was excessively dangerous, they’d have interceded and recommended and/or demanded I not play.

PETER'S PARENTS CARED ABOUT HIM MORE THAN PARENTS TODAY CARE ABOUT THEIR CHILDREN!

I understand wanting to empower your children, but I’m not sure empowering 15- and 16-year-olds who make decisions based very often on emotion is a smart call …

Because it appears the alternative is to intercede and run the risk of your child growing up to be a oft-pretentious sportswriter who expects no human being at any point to interfere with his perfect existence on the planet and feels the need to comment when he perceives someone isn't acting in the proper fashion while on a plane, train, or automobile.

Now for some reactions to the writing we did.

From the comments sections...

Getting reactions from people in the comment section from a widely read sports article is perhaps one of the most useless and futile exercises to get constructive feedback that a sportswriter could participate in, but here we go anyway...

From “branlishan:” “There is a non-stop assault on football by SI and its writers. We get it now. Football is dangerous. If football is such a barbaric sport then why do you cover the games and bring attention to the glory of it all? SI should stop with the hypocritical garbage. Either line up behind the ‘ban football’ crowd and stop covering a sport that is so dangerous, or shut up. Because this non-stop assault never ends.’’

I hate it when sportswriters provide a non-stop assault of facts they have discovered when investigating a topic. Stop with the facts and give me more filler!

From “decredico,” to me: “You sat on this story for years and under reported it and you are part of the package that kept this off the radar for many years. You are a disingenuous hypocrite that should be excoriated and excommunicated and banished to writing for the local garden section of a small town newspaper.’’

This is why you ignore the comments section. I write about Peter King every week, but come on, it's not his job nor is he qualified to do research on concussions and then report on it in-depth. Peter could do the reporting, but the story hasn't been researched for years, so there is no way Peter "sat" on the story. People are idiots.

From “hlmencken56:” “We’re just a country full of cowards now. Everyone is a victim, and nobody should ever get hurt, or the risks always must be lowered.”

This isn't constructive nor instructive. Clearly, this idiot has never played football nor dealt with a loved one that has a traumatic brain injury.

Now for emails THE MMQB received on the topic of concussions...

“I have been a fan of you and your MMQB column for seven or eight years now and never miss one. I was really looking forward to your new MMQB page and for the most part I have really enjoyed it. However lately I have not nearly enjoyed MMQB as much. I feel like I have been given a concussion by being beaten over the head with your concussion reports. Please go back to the reporting of fun football.

Yes, don't let reality infringe on the fun part of watching football. Ignore the negative, report the positive. Stick your head in the sand and ignore the problems. Brilliant, brilliant line of thought.

You don’t have to ignore concussions completely, but man I feel like you guys are trying to ruin something that I enjoy so very much.

It sounds like someone doesn't enjoy hearing about the physical problems his "fun" sport causes on the NFL players that makes the sport not-so-much fun after a player has retired.

It’s like if every time I eat something bad for me, my wife is standing behind me telling me that it’s going to kill me.”

 —Brock

Well maybe it will kill you and you shouldn't eat it then. Why do I have the feeling Brock weighs about 400 pounds or has had multiple heart attacks, but refuses to change his eating habits? Clearly, he wants to stay in denial until he needs help, in which case he obviously wants someone to help him so he can get back to having "fun."

I'm getting way off topic, but Brock either needs to read and learn from the MMQB reports about concussions or ignore them entirely if he doesn't like the reality of what these reports say to him.

“As a parent with a 9-year old and 14-year old playing football, and as a coach and huge football fan, I think the real problem here is all the negative publicity that is causing unnecessary concern and alarm. I do believe that efforts must continue to be made through better equipment, medical supervision and education. However the media needs to stop talking about it. Parents should be talking about it, players should be talking about it, coaches should be talking about it, medical professionals need to be talking about it but the media needs to leave it alone!! If that happens, both the safety and future of the game will be protected!’’
—Kris, Abbotsford, British Columbia

So the media needs to quit talking about concussions and let parents, coaches, medical professionals, and players talk about concussions using the information provided by...who? Generally, if the media doesn't disseminate information about a topic it's not that easy to be provided information on that topic. If I'm a parent who wants to get information on concussions to decide whether to allow my child to play football or not, should I just starting calling medical professionals or go to youth league games to talk to random parents about concussions? This just seems nonsensical to say, "Hey, we should be talking about concussions, but not the sports media. The sports media should ignore concussions."

Fine Fifteen

Yep, still in seemingly random order and still too reliant upon what happened just this past week. 

1. Kansas City (8-0). I debated putting the Chiefs here, after they struggled to beat Houston and Cleveland at home in the last eight days while others up top—the Niners in particular—have been strafing the league mercilessly.

But the Chiefs are undefeated. How can you pull an undefeated team from the top spot? Were the Chiefs impressive in not having lost any games just a week ago, but now they are unimpressive in winning games and that all of a sudden matters?

There are no style points in football, though, and the Chiefs are undefeated halfway through the season.

There are no style points?

3. San Francisco (6-2). Five straight wins by an average of 22.6 points. This team’s getting scary. 

Peter says there are no style points, yet he places the 49ers above three one-win teams and quotes by how many points the 49ers have won their last five games. There are no style points, unless there are style points.

4. Denver (7-1). Why San Francisco over the Broncos? Because I trust the Niners defense right now. I don’t trust Denver’s nearly as much.

Plus, style points. Of course Denver's only loss came to the team that is #2 in Peter's Fine Fifteen, while the 49ers have lost to the #2 and #5 teams in Peter's Fine Fifteen. But of course, there's no style points yet Peter puts the 49ers above a team that has one fewer loss and beat the 49ers head-to-head.

9. New England (6-2). So flawed. So hard to read. So hard to think this is an impact team in January—but the defense, even without Wilfork/Mayo/Talib, is a competitive group with players like Logan Ryan who don’t know they’re not supposed to be making game-deciding plays.

When a sportswriter lacks the ability to quantify why a team is playing well, he/she just writes crap like saying a team has players "who don't know they aren't supposed to be making game-deciding plays," as if this really means anything.

10. Detroit (5-3). One premier team with one premier quarterback (Green Bay, Aaron Rodgers) left in the final eight games—unless you count Baltimore, which, right now, you can’t call a premier team. That’s why I like the Lions’ chances to be the NFC North champ or the sixth seed in the NFC tournament.

See? The Lions win an exciting game against a 4-4 team and all of a sudden Peter King thinks the Lions could win the NFC North. I'm guessing if the Lions won another exciting game then Peter will have the Lions in the Super Bowl, as long as another new, shiny team doesn't win an exciting game during Week 9 of course.

11. Carolina (4-3). You can talk about the maturation and improvement of Cam Newton, which is good and true. But this is a pretty stingy team. Panthers have allowed 12 per game in the last five.

They have beaten the Giants, Vikings, Buccaneers, and Rams. What do they all have in common? They are all not very good teams. A 4-3 record against crappy opponents sure must be impressive to Peter for Carolina to be #11 in his "Fine Fifteen."

15. Houston (2-5).

Call me crazy as I rank the Texans over Arizona, Tennessee and Baltimore (which owns a 21-point win over Houston). I say Case Keenum and that defense constitute a playoff threat still … even though Indy (twice) and Denver (once) remain to be played.

Peter thinks the Texans are a playoff threat, but as the seventh best team in the AFC at this current time he doesn't think the Texans will actually make the playoffs of course. Also, I'm not calling him crazy, but merely saying Peter is probably overly-excited about the Texans winning more games so Peter can write about J.J. Watt more.

Special Teams Player of the Week

Josh Brown, kicker, New York Giants. Not a great fan of the field goal per se (see Stat of the Week), but in the first 55 minutes at Philadelphia, these were the only points: Brown, 40-yard field goal; Brown, 44-yard field goal; Brown, 33-yard field goal; Brown, 46-yard field goal; Brown, 27-yard field goal.

Only Peter King would name a kicker the special teams player of the week in the same MMQB where he essentially says that field goals are becoming too easy for kickers to make. I guess he believes field goals are too easy to make, but not too easy for a field goal kicker who makes five field goals to impress Peter.

Goat of the Week

Shaun Suisham, kicker, Pittsburgh. Kickers this season are making 94 percent of their kicks from inside the 40-yard line. Suisham missed 34- and 32-yard field goals, veritable extra points in today’s games. The Steelers lost by three. Pretty easy call.

Because field goals are so easy to convert and kickers never have a bad day.

“You have to understand the beast that’s playing quarterback. Once a guy like that gets in front of the whole defense, he’s a legit 4.4. It’s real.”

—Pittsburgh safety Ryan Clark, after Oakland quarterback Terrelle Pryor ran for the longest touchdown in Oakland franchise history, 93 yards, in a 21-18 Raiders victory Sunday.

So now the Raiders just have to figure out a way to get Terrelle Pryor in front of the whole opposing defense and the Raiders offense will be unstoppable.

At some point, the NFL’s going to have to acknowledge the efficiency of field-goal kickers is just too good. And the league is either going to have to narrow the goalposts or put a different point value on field goals from different distances.

Don't you hate it when NFL kickers become too good at their jobs? Once a player gets too good, it's time to move the goal posts (literally and figuratively it seems).

This easy, as the season nears the midpoint:

From inside the 40-yard line: 230 of 245, 93.9%. From between the 40- and 49-yard line: 126 of 153, 82.4%.

Do we want the game to be so boring, to lack any suspense, when a kicker steps up to make a field goal?

Maybe Graham Gano just sucks, but I don't really think a field goal is a given when a kicker steps back to attempt one. I guess the percentages say a field goal is a pretty good bet when a kicker lines up for one, but I still don't feel like it is a given personally.

I can tell you the founding fathers

Yeah, George Washington and Benjamin Franklin would be pissed about the current state of field goal kicking in the NFL.

of this game never dreamed the kickers would be so great that they would be good on 87 percent of their field goals through nearly half a season.

Oh nevermind, the founding fathers of "this game" not of "this country."

I would imagine the founding fathers of football also didn't dream of a forward pass and quarterbacks putting up 500 yards passing in a game. I'm not disagreeing with Peter, just saying any change to the vision of the founding fathers isn't necessarily a bad change for the game of football.

Then Peter King remarks at how young Marcus Mariota is and says he wouldn't be able to legally drink a beer if he won an NFL game next year. Peter previously provided data showing how young Mariota is compared to other 2014 draft-eligible quarterbacks.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

The MMQB’s Robert Klemko had to fly from Chicago to Detroit Sunday morning to cover Lions-Cowboys, and he reported this to me when he landed:

Apparently there is an edict sent out by Peter King that all THE MMQB staff members must report annoying travel-related details to him immediately.

“I get on this plane from Chicago to Detroit, and these Japanese people, five of them, boarded the plane all carrying different stuffed animals. A teddy bear in an Army uniform, another teddy bear in a pilot uniform. I’d say they were in their late 20s, early 30s. One of them was a guy, and his bear was dressed in an American desert camo uniform.

“They were clutching these animals as if they were children. So I am sitting amidst them. The flight is taking off, and they’re not panicked or anything—but they’re whispering things in Japanese to the bears as if they were children. Then they just held them for the rest of the flight.

Wait, so these five Japanese people held on the teddy bears and whispered things in Japanese ALL WHILE MINDING THEIR OWN FUCKING BUSINESS? It doesn't get much worse than that. How can anyone be expected to stare at random strangers and micro-criticize their behavior when there is such an obvious distraction right there in front of his/her face? I'm sure there was a man on the plane who blatantly chose to watch the same television show on repeat for the entire flight and Robert Klemko didn't get to comment on this guy's behavior because these five Japanese people were minding their own business and doing something Klemko considers to be weird.

“I mean, they were holding them like they were breathing, like they were babies. Maybe they want kids and they are practicing for it. I don’t know. But there is something strange going on there.”

Perhaps THE MMQB should do a full investigation and report back in MMQB next week. I would imagine if these Japanese people wanted children they wouldn't have teddy bears as replacement children, but I know it merits a mention in MMQB as opposed to any sort of in-depth research on this topic that could be done online.

“I miss holding a baby – all my little guys are old.”
—@BarrySanders.

Yes, that Barry Sanders.

I guess Peter looked to find the most bland Tweet of the Week to include in MMQB. I would hope it is "that" Barry Sanders, because otherwise I could care even less that some random dude named Barry Sanders misses holding a child.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 8:

d. Take those trade rumors and stuff ‘em, Josh Gordon says with his play every week.

Actually every week Josh Gordon probably says, "I'm a very good wide receiver and a contending NFL team should definitely trade for me immediately" with his excellent play.

f. Thad Lewis, who is very tough.

Thad Lewis is tough. This is #analysis.

g. Look at that lunging touchdown catch by Dexter McCluster. What a talent he is, and he’s being used perfectly as an everything back by Andy Reid.

Dexter McCluster has been targeted in the passing game 40 times over 8 games and has caught 23 passes. McCluster has 5 rushing attempts for 10 yards. If Peter King says McCluster is being used perfectly, meaning a little over six times per game, then that's not exactly a compliment to McCluster's ability.

Come on, Peter says "what a talent McCluster is" and then says he is being used perfectly. The guy barely catches 50% of the passes thrown to him and has 263 offensive yards on the year. If I'm being generous and including his punt and kickoff returns McCluster has 653 total yards and two touchdowns on the season. He's a good punt returner, but he's not exactly the offensive talent that Peter King seems to think he is.

h. Kevin Ogletree, who ran 70 yards to chase down Sean Lee on the Cowboys.

Or as Gregg Easterbrook will say, "the undrafted, unwanted hard-working Kevin Ogletree chased down the highly-drafted glory boy second-round pick Sean Lee."

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 8:

d. Garrett Hartley, doinking a makeable field goal on the Saints’ first drive.

I guess from now on anytime a field goal kicker misses a field goal from 40 yards or less then Peter King will call that field goal "makeable" and criticize the kicker for missing it. Great, there's no way I could be less enthused about this new development.

e. The normally accurate Alex Smith, overthrowing a wide-open Anthony Fasano in the end zone, forcing Kansas City to settle for a field goal in the first quarter against Cleveland.

24th in the NFL in completion percentage. I guess that's "normally accurate."

a. Tom Brady, throwing behind Rob Gronkowski and getting picked by cornerback Dimitri Patterson (a very good Jeff Ireland offseason pickup), leading to Miami’s first touchdown. 

f. Geez, Tom Brady: It’s so bad you’re throwing to Rob Gronkowski in triple coverage? The good side: Officials gave the Patriots a gift defensive pass interference call on the play.

Peter King does not like it when Tom Brady passes the football to Rob Gronkowski.

j. Why, oh why, Chip Kelly, when you’re one score behind with four minutes to go, your defense playing well and three timeouts left do you onside kick?

Because fortune favors the bold! Because Chip Kelly was inspiring the Eagles to win by saying he was trying to win the game with an onside kick. You know Gregg Easterbrook is going to leave out Chip Kelly's bold move to go for an onside kick from his TMQ, even though Gregg has said a surprise onside kick is a good idea and plays like this tell a team the coach is playing to win the game. If Gregg does mention that Kelly went for an onside kick, I'm sure he'll suggest the kicker should have done a little dance before kicking the ball to throw the defense off.

6. I think for a fully healthy Peterson to have 36 carries in the last three weeks, with Minnesota struggling so much at quarterback, is absurd.

Yeah, but Josh Freeman and Christian Ponder need to be able to sling the ball around the field a little don't you know?

7. I think there are so many teams that could use Cleveland wideout Josh Gordon, so many receiver-needy contenders,

BREAKING NEWS: Many NFL teams could use a talented wide receiver on their roster.

I realize Gordon could be a positive substance test away from a lengthy suspension, but if I’m the Patriots, and I still have my full load of 2014 picks, I’d offer Cleveland a fourth-round pick that could conditionally upgrade to a third- depending on performance and try to get Gordon.

Josh Gordon is signed through 2014 and is very cheap. I'm sure the Browns would be more than willing to trade Josh Gordon for a 3rd/4th round draft pick. It's not like the Browns got a 1st round pick for Trent Richardson or anything, so I'm sure they would accept a lesser pick for a more talented player who is cheaper.

8. I think the Eagles have to be the disappointment of the season. The offense in particular.

I guess the Eagles are a disappointment depending on how much exactly was expected of them based entirely on Chip Kelly being the head coach.

A Chip Kelly team first and foremost has to have consistency and efficiency at quarterback, and Philadelphia hasn’t had that all season.

Nearly every NFL team needs consistency and efficiency at the quarterback position to succeed. The Eagles and Chip Kelly's offense aren't the only ones who need this.

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

b. Memo to Darren Rovell (said with slight annoyance): The Riddell helmet/NFL divorce you wrote about, a story that was written by Jenny Vrentas of The MMQB on TheMMQB.com last Tuesday, was not written on SI.com, as you reported. It’s The MMQB.

Memo to Peter King (with a know-it-all attitude): This is what happens when you name your site THE MMQB and write a column called MMQB that used to appear on CNNSI.com. If you wanted to brand your new website in the best possible way, brand it to avoid confusion and not in a way that reminds the uninformed that there used to be a column posted on CNNSI.com that is called the exact same thing as your new website. Sure, I don't like Darren Rovell and he should have known this, but these are the things that happen when you confuse readers with the name of your new website that also happens to be the same name of a column you write for the new website that also appears on CNNSI.com.

c. Nothing against SI.com; I love SI.com. This column runs on SI.com at well as The MMQB. But the story was not written on SI.com.

And oh yeah, don't be upset when a person doesn't know exactly which site something posted on THE MMQB comes from when it is posted on CNNSI.com also. As I write this, the front page of CNNSI.com shows this very MMQB column and the link for THE MMQB has SI.com in the url. So, it's not hard to see where confusion can happen.

d. Thanks, Florence and the Machine, for “Shake It Out.” That’s my song of the week.

I'm sure they wrote the song just for you.

h. The obstruction call (he said through gritted teeth), though a stupid rule because umpires cannot use interpretation, was called correctly to end Game 3.

I know Red Sox fans will kill me for saying this, but even if the umpires could use interpretation I could see an argument that Middlebrooks meant to trip Allen Craig. If you watch the replay then you notice as he falls to the ground trying to catch the errant throw Middlebrooks' legs go up in the air. Then he lowers his legs and raises them again as Craig tries to run over him. Since Middlebrooks legs actually came back in the air after they were on the ground and just happened to be raised again as Allen Craig tried to run in the baseline, I could see where umpires could interpret intent to trip Allen Craig. Upon seeing the replay a few times, it seemed odd to me that Middlebrooks' legs went down on the ground and then happened to raise back up when Craig tried to run in the baseline over him.

j. Quote of the Series, from Jonny Gomes to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, concerning the fact that he was only in the lineup Sunday night because Shane Victorino’s back tightened up and forced him to the bench, giving Gomes the chance to hit the game-winning three-run home run: “I had to ‘Tonya Harding’ Victorino.”

k. Google or Bing “Tonya Harding” if that one slips past you.

Sure, just as soon as you Google or Bing "Wally Pipp." 

n. Beernerdness: Also had the good fortune to be at Game 2 of the Series on Thursday, and was nearly as lucky to be back in my favorite old neighborhood restaurant Picco, in Boston’s South End. Very good beer menu. Tried the Star Island Single, a Belgian ale from Smuttynose in New Hampshire, and it was almost like a light ale. Okay, and eminently drinkable, but not memorable.

This wasn't a memorable beer, yet Peter remembers the name of the beer, who made the beer, what kind of beer it tasted like and also remembers enough of the taste to give a review on whether he liked the beer or not.

Who I Like Tonight
 
Seattle 33, St. Louis 10. Bet you thought I’d say, “Boston 4, St. Louis 3,” didn’t you?

Nope, I didn't.

I'm not including the Adieu Haiku, because it is a haiku and a bad joke. It's a reference to the "illegal bat" call in the Patriots-Dolphins game. Fine, here it is.

I have always thought
the home for illegal bats
was in the belfry.


I bet you feel dumber having read that.

8 comments:

Slag-King said...

"Any owner out there listening? It’s long overdue that Zimmer get a legitimate interview for a head-coaching job."

Uh, Peter, Mike Zimmer is white. Peter's been harping on this minority issue in the NFL office and coaching for a long time and demands to see changes, yet he promotes a white man as a head coach candidate, while never mentioning a minority coaching prospect! Peter has a very short memory in what he has written a couple weeks before.

He should have said that Mike Zimmer should type up a nameless resume and submit it to the appropriate channels. Zimmer could use Peter as a reference.

Snarf said...

In the past week, we at The MMQB have tried to take the head-trauma debate deeper, with 19 stories exploring ideas about a safer game, the realities of playing a violent game, and the complicated issues facing youth and high-school football today.

My takeaways from the series: It surprises me that parents—and we interviewed 23 of them who spoke this way—cede the decision to play or not play high-school football to their sons.

That has changed in the time since I was a (quite marginal) high-school athlete in Enfield, Conn. If my father and mother thought the sport I was playing was excessively dangerous, they’d have interceded and recommended and/or demanded I not play.

I understand wanting to empower your children, but I’m not sure empowering 15- and 16-year-olds who make decisions based very often on emotion is a smart call …


Saw this brought up elsewhere and thought it was a really good point... In all of these cases, it sort of sounds like the parents did already make a decision. I doubt this is parents throwing their hands up and saying "Junior does what he wants, who am I to stop him?!" Rather, I think this is parents saying they are comfortable with the idea and their children can play (or not play) if they so choose.

Regarding concussions, I think you raise some valid points about the reporting of concussions, etc. The thing that bothers me about Peter's reporting (and it's not just Peter) is the seeming rush to literally attribute everything to CTE. From the following response he chose to include:

“As a young reporter in high school, one of my teachers who played football through college (Division III) and was only in his early 30s let me do a story on how concussions were already affecting him. The memory loss was already bad enough that he had forgotten to pick his kids up from school several times and told me depressing thoughts came often. It’s important for people to know concussions in football affect not only famous NFL players but every citizen who steps on a field.”

I forgot yesterday morning that my girlfriend had my keys because I gave them to her the day before. Tons of people have depressing thoughts at times. Maybe this guy has a diagnosis from a medical health professional, maybe not. I just feel like there is this weird habit developing of seeing something happen to a former athlete and reflexively saying "welp, must be the CTE..."

Snarf said...

“I miss holding a baby – all my little guys are old.”
—@BarrySanders.

Yes, that Barry Sanders.


I guess Peter looked to find the most bland Tweet of the Week to include in MMQB. I would hope it is "that" Barry Sanders, because otherwise I could care even less that some random dude named Barry Sanders misses holding a child.

Retired NFL players have children, get sentimental when they grow up. Just like normal people!

What is this? People magazine?

Anonymous said...

"Google or Bing “Tonya Harding” if that one slips past you."

What an asshole this guy is. "Google it if my references are TOTALLY OVER YOUR HEAD." Gee Peter, I have no idea who Tonya Harding is. You're TOTALLY smarter than me. I'm Nancy-Kerriganing right now, I'm so distraught over you being so much smarter than me. GOOGLE OR BING NANCY KERRIGAN IF I'M SMARTER THAN YOU. What an asshole.

Bengoodfella said...

Slag-King, I missed making that point. That's a good one. I guess Peter thinks there should be a call for diversity...after Mike Zimmer gets hired as a head coach of course.

Snarf, that is an interesting way to look at it. So the decision by the parents is to leave it up to the parents and not dictate what the child would do? Peter is not alright with this it seems.

That's a valid point about forgetting. There may be an attribution issue where a person who played football is attributing forgetting to CTE rather than simply forgetting to do something. My wife forgets to turn lights off and do other things all the time and she's never played football. It's happened more recently, so if she had played football perhaps it would be falsely attributed to CTE. It's a bad example, but I get what you are saying.

I think the media should report on CTE and concussions overall, but provide facts and not scare tactics. I didn't find what Peter and THE MMQB presented to be scare tactics, though there is honestly more chances of hits and pageviews if the stories they presented were compelling.

I like that point you make though about attribution.

Snarf, wait...is that Barry Sanders who played football getting sentimental and sad? Could he be depressed because of CTE? And Peter is just quoting Sanders and not getting him any help. Shame on him.

Anon, he's so pretentious at times. We are all much dumber than him and are lucky he is around to educate us.

Slag-King said...

Quote of the Series, from Jonny Gomes to Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times, concerning the fact that he was only in the lineup Sunday night because Shane Victorino’s back tightened up and forced him to the bench, giving Gomes the chance to hit the game-winning three-run home run: “I had to ‘Tonya Harding’ Victorino.”

I do not think that phrase means what he thinks it means. So Jonny hired some men to break Victorino's back? Maybe it's just me, but that quote just doesn't resonate. I understand he was saying it tongue in cheek, but Peter going bonkers over this quote seems odd. Is he desperate to become another Bill Simmons by throwing in a snide "look how smart I am" "cultural" joke?

Anonymous said...

Two things:

1) I hate - HATE - that Greg A. Bedard is known with that middle initial. Like the name Greg Bedard is so household, he had to use the "A" to distinguish himself. Unless...Greg A. Bedard is using the "A" to establish himself, as in Courtney B. Vance or Craig T. Nelson. If this is the case, I hate Greg A. Bedard even more.

2) Not only does PK think we don't get the Tonya Harding reference, he doesn't even think we know what action to take to find out. Oh, do I Google it? Do I Bing it? You mean I don't open Microsoft Excel and look there?? Fuck him in his stupid, stupid head.

Bengoodfella said...

Slag, it's a quote about the Red Sox, so I think Peter wanted to get it into MMQB somehow and didn't care about the context. That is a scary thought that Peter would want to drop pop culture references like Bill Simmons.

Anon, maybe he is looking to get an acting gig and wants to brand himself as THE Greg A. Bedard before someone else is better known for that name. There has to be a reason behind it, right?

I personally opened up a Minesweeper to find out who Tonya Harding was, but couldn't find out how to do a search on Minesweeper.