Tuesday, November 5, 2013

3 comments MMQB Review: Peter King Has Some Thoughts on Bullying, the Red Sox, Coffee, Beer...Oh Yeah, and Football Too Edition

Two weeks after furthering the idea in order to create diversity among NFL head coaches there should be blind resumes submitted when a head coaching vacancy occurs, Peter King wondered why white defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer doesn't have a head coaching job yet. I guess once the obvious candidates who "deserve" a head coaching job all get jobs, then the blind resume idea can be put to the test to improve diversity among NFL head coaches. Peter also encouraged his readers to Google or Bing something if they aren't smart enough to understand his pop culture references, in a bid to be as pretentious as possible. This week Peter talks about two AFC coaches who have health issues, finds out that Josh Freeman may not be the answer for the Vikings after having been on the team for three weeks, and reminds us the St. Louis Cardinals have the best fans just in case no one heard this in the past 24 hours. Also, you may not have heard but the Red Sox won the World Series and Peter is very happy about that.

I’m still trying to take it all in. We all are. What a day. What a night.

It wasn’t a heart attack, the club said, but in the wee hours of this morning, doctors examined Kubiak to see exactly what it was—a stroke, exhaustion, something else—as a city on edge with the October deaths of local sports fixtures Bum Phillips and Bud Adams held its breath.

Kubiak is still relatively young, while Bud Adams and Bum Phillips were a lot older. I feel like there is an equivalency being made here that is probably a little bit off. Maybe not, but Kubiak is still in good health while Adams and Phillips were older. Both were 90 years old when they passed away. I would imagine the reaction to the death of Adams/Phillips as compared to the death of Gary Kubiak would be different. Seeing a middle-aged coach collapse on the field is completely different from two older individuals passing away.

In Denver, with 58-year-old coach John Fox lying in a hospital waiting for surgery to replace a defective heart valve, executive vice president John Elway negotiated into the night for an interim coach to fill in for Fox for as long as he needs to convalesce. His target, presumably, was defensive coordinator Jack Del Rio, the former nine-year coach of the Jags.

Bruce Arians says the good news is the Denver Broncos now have something to rally around and maybe they can print some T-shirts and the Broncos team will start playing better and Peter King can attribute the Broncos success to the team rallying around John Fox. Tragedies present narratives and narratives are awesome.

In south Florida, in a matter of six days, the left side of the offensive line vanished. The apparently excessively hazed left tackle Jonathan Martin went AWOL Monday, and Sunday night just before midnight, after a crazy day of charges and angry denials, the Dolphins suspended left guard Richie Incognito (the angry deny-er) for his role in Martin wigging out.

Who would have thought Richie Ingonito could ever bully anyone? It's not like he's considered a dirty player or anything like that.

Kansas City didn’t score an offensive touchdown Sunday at Buffalo. But with the defense outscoring the kicker 12-11, the Chiefs won 23-14, remaining the lone unbeaten team in football. After the bye, 9-0 KC will travel to Denver to play the Broncos, who will be close to perfect (8-1) with a win at San Diego Sunday.

It's the Undefeated Bowl!...that won't be a bowl game nor a game between two undefeated teams. I'm happy for the Chiefs they are playing so well, but their success just can't seem to be sustainable. On a much scarier note, can you imagine the hoopla surrounding the Chiefs if Tim Tebow was their quarterback right now? Every win would be attributed to his leadership, his clutchiness and blah, blah, blah it would probably be unbearable. So I'm glad it's Alex Smith who has the Chiefs 9-0 and I am very, very excited to see the Chiefs play the Broncos. I have a feeling that is going to be the Chiefs first loss of the season.

And though the playoffs don’t start until two months from today, the Panthers and Jets would be postseason teams if the derby started today.

Well, the playoffs don't start today so there is no point in speculating where each team would be in the playoffs since the season is only 50% over at this point. Both the Jets and the Panthers could not win another game this season.

How does this projected Wild Card Weekend of matchups look, based on this morning’s standings (and do not tell me you had Peyton Manning and Geno Smith as your office-pool picks for road AFC wild-card quarterbacks):

BUT I DID PETER! I DID! You told me that the Broncos could be a wild card in the AFC because the Chiefs aren't going to lose a game this season and you will be completely ignoring the fact the Broncos still control their own destiny if they are able to beat the Chiefs in two weeks. So thanks to you, I had Manning as a road AFC wild card quarterback because there's no way the Broncos can win the AFC West this late in the season.
Cleveland, which now has the best division record in the AFC North, continued to play like Believeland. The Browns beat the 3-5 Ravens for the first time since Joe Flacco’s senior season at Delaware (2007), 24-18. That’s right. Flacco and John Harbaugh now know what it feels to lose to the Browns. They’d been 11-0 against Cleveland before Sunday.

If the Ravens only had Anquan Boldin then none of this would have happened. The Ravens would be 8-0 right now. Also, it's completely realistic to expect Joe Flacco and John Harbaugh to play the Browns twice a year for their entire Ravens career and never lose to Cleveland once. That's so realistic.

Seattle (8-1) trailed Tampa Bay (0-8) 21-0 in the second quarter, and Bucs coach Greg Embattled Schiano (check his birth certificate; I believe an official name change has happened) orchestrated the funkiest touchdown play of the season in the process: a jump-pass TD from running back Mike James to tight end Tom Crabtree, the kind Tim Tebow used to throw. Fairy tales happen only in Tebowland.

Must...mention...Tim Tebow.

New England beat Pittsburgh in Foxboro, but the story was more the Steelers’ loss, and the way the Steelers lost. New England scored 55 points, the most ever allowed by Pittsburgh, and the Steelers surrendered 610 yards to a team that, at game time, was searching for an offensive identity.

It's amazing how a team's offensive identity can come back once that team's best offensive players are healthy once again. Shocking how this occurs.

Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson and Colin Kaepernick had byes this week.  Sunday’s 11 games featured exactly none matching teams with winning records. And it’s a weekend we’ll never forget.

The Broncos, Lions and 49ers didn't have a bye this past week, these four players had byes and the rest of the team had to play. Either that or Peter King seems is substituting these players' names for their team's name, which annoys me.

Also, I'm terrible with grammar and run-on sentences, but shouldn't these last two sentences be one compound sentence? I would assume Peter's editor would decide to make this one longer sentence as opposed to a sentence and then a sentence fragment.

As of early this morning, Kubiak was with his family at a hospital eight minutes from Reliant Stadium. The team has announced only that he is in stable condition, is undergoing a battery of tests, has good vital signs, and did not suffer a heart attack. I’m told he left the stadium with a powerful headache, but we’ll have to wait for the diagnosis later today.

Kubiak is going to have an even bigger headache once he learns the Texans allowed the Colts to come back and win the game.

Marc Vandermeer, the Texans’ radio voice, had just finished the first half of the game and hustled out to get a halftime beverage when someone told him one of the coaches was down on the field, and it appeared to be Kubiak. “It was startling,’’ Vandermeer said early this morning. “He’s in such great shape. I have seen him on vacation, floating down a long, lazy river in central Texas, and he’s cut. He’s svelte. He really takes care of himself.

A person can be cut and svelte and still not be in good physical shape. It's not like Reggie Lewis was a fat blob who could barely run down the basketball court. A person who appears to be in great physical shape can also have a heart problem or even a heart attack.

Keenum sprinted to the line, yelling, “SPIKE! SPIKE!’’ and using the well-understood hand motion noting that he was about to spike the ball on first down to stop the clock. With 39 seconds left and everyone anticipating that, Keenum took the ball and threw immediately toward the left side of the end zone for Andre Johnson. The touchdown stunned the Colts and sent a record Reliant Stadium crowd into a frenzy.

If quarterbacks keep doing the "fake spike and then run a play" thing at some point an alert defensive player is going to rush the quarterback at the snap and knock the quarterback on his ass he tries to sneak a pass to a wide receiver. Then some coach is going to get pissy that his quarterback got knocked on his ass.

“People were so euphoric,’’ a glum Vandermeer said of that first half. “We were watching a Texans quarterback do things we hadn’t seen before, and bring such excitement to the stadium.

A Texans quarterback throwing an exciting touchdown pass at the end of the half being something the Texans crowd had not seen before doesn't say a lot about David Carr and Matt Schaub.

There will be cries for relief from the long hours coaches work, and we should listen to those cries in the wake of what befell Fox and Kubiak this weekend

Right, because no other 50-plus year old men have ever had any health issues they experience. It's a shame someone held a gun to Fox and Kubiak's head forcing them to be NFL head coaches.

But let’s also be cognizant of what it would take to, say, put a curfew on coaches’ hours and make them live more normal lives. Many coaches would simply install office facilities at home to get around what strictures the NFL puts in place.

Yep. It's the life these coaches have chosen and worked hard to achieve. Let them police themselves, they are big boys.

But if the debate comes, let’s have it. If the Fox and Kubiak events happened three months apart instead of one day apart, would we be wondering if we should do something about the workaholic nature of coaches?

I think the answer to this question is obvious. These guys are adults and if they want to spend their lives at the office let them do it. I really hope the NFL doesn't decide to put a curfew on coaches' hours.

When something like the Jonathan Martin story happens—a perfectly normal football player cracks under some pressure, walks out on his team, then has his representatives forward charges of what they claim document harassment—the first instinct is to blame someone.

How about we blame some of the players that were harassing Incognito? I bet some of those players are Peter's best sources on the Dolphins team, so he won't blame them. 

“When you play in the trenches,” Jets tackle Willie Colon said Sunday, “you always want to see a younger guy earn his rite of passage. And sometimes, that comes with either playing hard or doing what you’re told, even though you may not want to do it—some people may label it as hazing or whatever. But there is a fair line. And I was always taught, growing up in the league, you respect everybody, because you never know when you are going to need that one guy down the road.

Well, bullying a teammate isn't exactly respecting everybody. 

The MMQB’s Jenny Vrentas asked Colon if “the right way” was a young player paying $15,000 for a linemen trip to Las Vegas. “When I was in Pittsburgh,’’ Colon said, “Mike Tomlin said something great: It’s unfair to make a sixth-round guy pay for a $15,000 trip to Vegas when you have your starting linemen making over two-point-something million [dollars]. [Martin was a second-round pick.] He doesn’t have that money. Guys don’t earn that money until later in their careers. To make a young guy pay, that is very unfair, and it’s selfish because that man has a family and people and other needs.

There's more of this from Colon. It's all meaningless drivel to me since Colon apparently has no idea what happened in the Dolphins locker room and can only make generic statements about what he believes is right and wrong. From what it sounds like it, it doesn't seem like this situation was about hazing or just giving a teammate a hard time. It sounds like Incognito was being an asshole on a consistent basis to Martin.

Incognito has toned down a wild on- and off-field life, and he was one of five players elected by teammates to the Dolphins’ board of player leaders; that board meets to discuss team issues with coach Joe Philbin. But Incognito’s humor can have a very sharp edge. Did it cross the line into hazing, or worse? That is up to the investigation to determine.

Some people are more sensitive than others. It's very possible Incognito was elected to the Dolphins' board of player leaders because no Dolphins player wanted to do it. I've been on a bunch of committees mostly because no one else wants to be on it and that doesn't mean I'm a leader or anything else dramatic like that. I'm sure if Jeff Fisher had chosen to coach the Dolphins as opposed to coaching the Rams then he would never have stood for this bullying to happen.

Adam Schefter reported this is the voicemail that Incognito left Martin in April 2013:

"Hey, wassup, you half n----- piece of s---. I saw you on Twitter, you been training 10 weeks. [I want to] s--- in your f------ mouth. [I'm going to] slap your f------ mouth. [I'm going to] slap your real mother across the face [laughter]. F--- you, you're still a rookie. I'll kill you."

I have a weird sense of humor, but that's some pretty sharp edge humor right there. 

One last point: Philbin has to bear his share of blame here. He’s the head coach. The buck stops with him concerning what happens in the locker room.

While true, these players are still adults, and depending on whether Philbin knew of the issues or not depends on whether he could have done anything. It's very possible Philbin saw nothing wrong with the behavior of Incognito and any other Dolphins players, so because Jonathan Martin never complained then Philbin didn't think he had a problem.

But whatever the understanding is with a coach and his players, the coach is ultimately responsible for player behavior getting out of hand. Philbin is a very good man, but he needs to take firmer control of his locker room. He needs to know when a Jonathan Martin is about to spin over the edge. In this case, he didn’t, and it’s costing his team dearly.

And while I agree, how is Philbin supposed to know that Martin is about to spin over the edge if he isn't informed or doesn't see behavior that would cause Martin to spin over the edge? It's early still, but I haven't heard anything about how Philbin was supposed to know Martin was being bullied.

When Nick Foles was about to take the field Sunday at Oakland, coach Chip Kelly said to him: “Sling it. Rip it. Feel the game.”

Seven words for seven touchdowns.

Ugh. This is not good.

“It’s a great honor to be up there with so many great quarterbacks, like Peyton Manning [who threw seven on Sept. 5],’’ Foles said by phone after the game. “But the most important thing is who I did it with. I am so proud of Riley Cooper. So happy for him. I love Riley to death, and he showed today how important he is to this offense, and how valuable he is as a receiver.”

I thought this quote was really odd. After breaking the record for touchdown passes in a game Foles says he is happy for Riley Cooper? Seemed odd to me. I don't really care about Riley Cooper or what he said at a concert earlier in the year, but is Nick Foles trying to start some sort of redemption story for Cooper or something?

But I’ve maintained all along that Kelly doesn’t need a quick-twitch quarterback with Mike Vick’s running ability to be a good quarterback in this system. It’d be nice to have great athleticism, sure. But the most important thing is a quick-twitch brain, with fast decision-making ability and efficiency.

Plus, it would help if Foles got to play the Raiders secondary every week as well.

But now, to convince the brass, Foles needs consistency. He’s got seven more game to show it—and to try to hold off his friend and competitor, Vick, when he’s healthy enough to play in two or three weeks.

"Decades." I think the word that Peter is looking for her is when Vick is healthy enough to play in two or three decades...you know, because Vick is always injured it seems.

The Vikings are paying Freeman $2 million for 12 weeks of work, he’s able to play, he’s been with the team for 27 days, and your other quarterbacks are Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel. So how exactly is Minnesota anything but a financial way-station on the way to another team in 2014?

It's a little unrealistic to expect Josh Freeman to come in, learn the Vikings offense and then immediately thrive with the same one-dimensional offense that the Viking were expecting Christian Ponder and Matt Cassel to thrive in. I don't think $2 million was a bad investment to see what Freeman could do either. So as much as it pains me, I'm not sure how anyone could be hard on Josh Freeman for not learning the Vikings offense within a week and then immediately playing very well.

I was going to use a stronger word. But the suspension of their best player, wide receiver Justin Blackmon, for the rest of the season is an exclamation point on what a disaster the four-year reign of Gene Smith (2009-12) as general manager was.

Smith made four top-10 picks in his tenure. Tackle Eugene Monroe (ninth overall, 2009) was a marginal starter who was traded to Baltimore last month. Alualu (10th, 2010) would be a backup on many NFL teams. Quarterback Blaine Gabbert (10th, 2011) has been a disaster and may not make the 2014 roster. And Blackmon (fifth, 2012) came into the draft with one DUI charge and has had three more substance-abuse-related occurrences since, the latest of which resulted in his banishment for the rest of the season.

Well, that's not good. I'm going on a limb and saying the reason the Jaguars aren't a very good team right now is they haven't drafted well over the last four years. It's just a guess.

Fine Fifteen

1. Kansas City (9-0). Tweeted this Saturday night and brought out the venom, but hey, facts are facts. When the Chiefs faced opening-day third-string Buffalo quarterback Jeff Tuel Sunday in Orchard Park (Matt Flynn would have been my choice), it was the fifth week in a row that K.C.’s defense went against a quarterback who in training camp was a backup. Ryan Fitzpatrick, Terrelle Pryor, Case Keenum, Jason Campbell and Tuel.

The Chiefs have been very fortunate with the caliber of quarterback they have faced early in the season so far. It takes nothing away from the Chiefs because they can only beat the teams on their schedule, but I find it interesting Peter King seems to sort of know the Chiefs aren't the best team in football, but he puts them at #1 in his Fine Fifteen anyway.

2. Indianapolis (6-2). Any doubt left that the Colts made the right pick in the 2012 first round?

Not at all. Any doubt the Colts shouldn't have given up a first round pick for the #3 overall pick in the 2012 draft? I know, it has nothing to do with this discussion about how good Andrew Luck is, but I like to point out the Colts traded a first round pick for Trent Richardson.

5. New England (7-2). Good news: Four straight games of 27 points or more on offense. Bad news: Three of the last four foes have scored 27 or more on what was supposed to be a much improved defense.

Peter acknowledges the Patriots are missing Mayo, Wilfork and Talib, but how are the Patriots supposed to be a much improved defense without these players? I missed the proclamation the Patriots were improved on defense without these defensive players, especially since the run of allowing 27 points or more on defense coincides with these injuries to important defensive players.

9. Cincinnati (6-3). A leaky line, receiver drops, the loss of Geno Atkins for the year. All in all, Thursday night’s 22-20 overtime loss to Miami was as bad a regular-season loss for all reasons as the Bengals have had in recent years.

But they are my Super Bowl pick from the AFC. What could go wrong?

11. Carolina (5-3). Imagine, six weeks ago, seeing the Panthers handle Atlanta with ease and thinking: That’s absolutely what I expected. Football is a funny game.

But not funny like "The Office." That show was comedy gold every time, except for the times it wasn't.

Panthers are at the Niners and hosting the Patriots in the next two weeks. Now it’s getting serious.

By "serious" does Peter mean "Now the Panthers have to play teams with a winning record and oh shit that's not good because Ron Rivera can't win close games"? If so, then yes, things are about to get "serious."

12. Dallas (5-4). Tony Romo led a winning drive inside of three minutes. I mean, I’m just saying.

Don't ruin the narrative, Peter. Romo is a choker.

15. Philadelphia (4-5). Eagles at home: 0-4. Eagles on road: 4-1. Chip Kelly must be thrilled he’s taking the team to Green Bay next week.

Yes, I'm sure he's thrilled he is taking the Eagles to Green Bay to play Aaron Rodgers (scratch that, he's playing Seneca Wallace...which in reality is much more thrilling). The Eagles have played San Diego, Kansas City, Dallas and New York at home and have played Redskins, Giants, Broncos, Buccaneers and Raiders on the road. I would expect the Eagles to win at least three of those road games and maybe one of the home games. So I think it's a level of competition thing that has the Eagles winning on the road, but not at home.

Defensive Players of the Week

Lawrence Guy, defensive end, San Diego. Normally, if you’ve been waived three times by age 23, you might be thinking, “Time to find another line of work.” Not Guy. Cut once by Green Bay and twice by Indianapolis, all in the last 15 months, Guy was signed by the Chargers 26 days ago to provide roster depth at defensive end. He did more than that on Sunday at Washington. In a scoreless game in the first quarter, he blocked a chip-shot 25-yard field goal attempt. A few minutes later, with Robert Griffin III pinned at his 1-yard line, Guy batted a Griffin pass up in the air, and defensive tackle Sean Lissemore intercepted it for a touchdown. Memo to Guy from Charger brass: You don’t have to worry about being cut this year.

Really, Peter? Guy is fourth on the defensive end depth chart for the Chargers, has six tackles on the season, one pass defensed (the one described here), and zero sacks. I realize in a 3-4 the purpose of a defensive end isn't sacks and passes defensed, but Guy is a rotational defensive lineman and a special teams guy at-best. I can't imagine why he wouldn't have to worry about being cut this year if the Chargers find another defensive lineman they like better.

Coach of the Week
Mike Shula, offensive coordinator, Carolina.

He's put together a cohesive game-plan that takes advantage of his team's strengths for four games now! That's four weeks in a row he has done his job like he gets paid to do against zero teams with a winning record! What an amazing feat.

Shula’s taken his share of shots since walking in the door at Carolina with Cam Newton in 2011. But his teaching and patience have paid off in the past four weeks.

Mike Shula is a really good quarterbacks coach (but I don't think better than the Panthers current QB coach), but I don't think he's an offensive coordinator.

In the 16 quarters of the winning streak, Newton’s thrown two interceptions. Both came Sunday, but the Panthers are good enough to survive a couple of errors now.

But they really aren't. The team's weaknesses are being masked by a weak schedule over the last five of six games. The offensive line is average at-best and the secondary isn't good either. I have very little faith in Mike Shula and I think he looks smarter when going against inferior competition.

Goat of the Week

Sean Payton, coach, New Orleans. Eight minutes to play, Saints down two scores (26-17) to the Jets, 3rd-and-1 at the New York 36-yard line. Third down: incomplete pass to the fullback. Fourth down: an end-around to the third-string tight end, Josh Hill. Loss of eight. Jets take over on downs. There are times to shock the world with cute. This was not one of them.

Gregg Easterbrook is going to have a field day with these two calls. I'm sure Gregg will criticize Payton for calling an end-around to a third-string tight end. This despite the fact Gregg will talk about how an NFL team was smart for using a little-used player in a key situation to surprise the defense. The bottom line is Sean Payton went for it on fourth down and this is supposed to inspire the Saints to play better and it didn't. I'm sure Gregg will also say the Saints should have "done a little dance" to get the first down.

“I’m not surprised. In fact, I’m a little surprised something like this hasn’t happened before. If you’re mentally weak, you’re going to get picked on.”

—Former NFL offensive lineman Ross Tucker, on the Jonathan Martin saga.

I'm not sure how to take this quote. I don't know if Ross Tucker is stating Martin had it coming (which I doubt, but it could read that way) or he is simply commenting on the realities of an NFL locker room. It feels kind of wrong to basically state Jonathan Martin was mentally weak, even if it could be accurate.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

So last Monday I detoured on my way to do some reporting on Kansas City’s fast start this season and went to Game 5 of the World Series, driving an hour west of St. Louis after the game so the morning trip wouldn’t be so onerous. Stopped in Warrenton, Mo., at a Holiday Inn Express, and checked in for six hours of rest. As I got my key, a family of four—a dad, from the looks of it, and his three sons, from the looks of it, about ages 7 to 16—entered the lobby about 90 minutes after Boston’s 3-1 win over the Cards. The four guys looked crushed. All were dressed in Cardinals stuff. The youngest boy was wearing a No. 6 Stan Musial jersey, and he looked like he’d just lost his dog. All of them, really, looked injured.


“Very, very tough,’’ the dad said.

I’ve always thought this, from numerous trips through the Midwest: What great fans the Cardinals have. I really felt for these guys.

Way to be condescending to "feel" for the Cardinals after the Red Sox beat them in the World Series. I'm sure your feeling bad for them has really made Cardinals fans feel better about the World Series loss.

“Not saying it’s the right thing to do, but sounds like Jonathan Martin needs to punch somebody in the face.”

—@RossTuckerNFL, the former NFL offensive lineman, on the Miami tackle who left the team after feeling overly hazed by teammates, according to media reports.

I guess that answers that question about what Ross Tucker thinks. Though I'm not sure punching someone in the face is the right answer. I think there is a response somewhere between taking the abuse and punching someone in the face that would be appropriate.

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 9:

g. The more I see San Diego wideout Keenan Allen—his moves, his presence, his confidence, his hands—the more I think we’re seeing a star in the making. Great touchdown catch.

I would be more impressed with Peter thinking he is seeing a star in the making in Keenan Allen if this thought didn't come after Allen had put up 26 receptions for 417 yards in the last four games.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 9:

a. I spoke too soon last Tuesday in saying what a good and varied receiving corps the Bengals have. Unless you count three straight first-half drops, the dagger of a drop by Mohammed Sanu, as fluky.

2013 has been the season of Peter speaking too soon so far. I think this is mostly due to Peter taking what happens one week during the NFL season and then deciding this one week's occurrence is the beginning of a long-term trend. Right now, Peter has the Broncos as a wild card team in the AFC. I'm thinking that's his next "spoke too soon" thought.

f. Work on your touch, Geno Smith. And when you’re throwing the ball away in the end zone, you’re allowed to run.

Maybe I'm inaccurate, but I feel like every week Peter has some sort of criticism or something he didn't "like" that Geno Smith did in his "things he thinks." Smith is a rookie quarterback whose best offensive weapons are Santonio Holmes, David Nelson, and Jeremy Kerley. Smith is going to make some bad throws, don't get on his ass about every single one. Smith may end up being a terrible quarterback, but nearly every week Peter talks about how Smith needs to get better at something. No shit. He's a rookie.

3. I think I had no clue an excellent writer, Nicholas Dawidoff, shadowed the New York Jets for an entire season, 2011, and was free to write a book about it. That book is due out later this month (odd the book comes out 22-plus months after the season ends), and it’s called, Collision Low Crossers: A Year Inside the Turbulent World of NFL Football

This chunk, about the tension between Brian Schottenheimer’s offense and Mike Pettine’s defense, was interesting:

“On the Jets, where the defense was not only tough but original, there was the growing feeling that Schottenheimer and his offensive players were holding the team back from winning a championship. The previous year, the Jets had begun their season with a game against the Ravens and lost, 10-9. The Jets offense was one for 11 on third down and secured a franchise-low six first downs.

What is this implication that the Mark Sanchez-led offense of the Jets was holding the Jets defense back? I don't believe it and have never heard tell of Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense ever not pulling their weight for the Jets team as a whole.

4. I think I never ask why teams allow writers all the way inside. I’m just grateful some teams do. It can only help us further understand a complicated game.

Well Peter, you got inside access to the Rams during draft time this year because your agent is the agent for Jeff Fisher and the father of Rams COO Kevin Demoff. The odds you would write something unflattering were very close to zero, so the team had nothing to lose by offering you inside access.

5. I think, when watching Robert Griffin III, I’m stuck between thinking he’s not all the way back from 11-month-old knee surgery and thinking he is seriously regressing as a quarterback.

This is why I don't think the read-option will necessarily ever go away, but any quarterback who can run the read-option is going to also have to throw the football successfully in order to be a great NFL quarterback. Griffin isn't 100% yet from his knee surgery and he doesn't quite have the receivers he needs to be the passer I think he could be nor has he been forced to develop the skill set at the NFL level, as of yet, where he is comfortable throwing the football without the threat of the read-option being there for the defense to be concerned about.

6. I think, speaking of alarms sounding over the play of RG3, this from Washington Post columnist Sally Jenkins last week: “He has created fundamental tension on an offense that is disjointed from catering to him and his operatic personal demands about how he wants to play.” Yikes.

In fairness to Griffin, it was really smart for the Redskins to build the offense around him last season. Building the offense around Griffin got the team to the playoffs. I do enjoy the media starting to tear down Griffin a little bit this year after he starts to struggle during his second season in the NFL after coming off major knee surgery. That's always fun to watch. Build them up and then tear them down. The media wasn't so worried about Griffin's operatic personal demands this summer when they reported on his knee surgery rehab as breathlessly as Griffin provided information about his knee surgery rehab.

9. I think it’s amazing, with all the talent at quarterback bursting from college football, that if NFL people could have one quarterback out of college football right now, they might well take Florida State quarterback/closer/outfielder Jameis Winston, who has played eight college games.

This really isn't amazing because scouts like a player whose imperfections they haven't found yet. Give NFL scouts a year and they won't like Winston as much as they did this season. It happened to Matt Barkley, is happening to Jadeveon Clowney, and if Andrew Luck wasn't so damn perfect it would have happened to him too.

Scouts love a player until they can find something wrong with him by micro-critiquing everything he does, at which point they can only see the flaws.

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

Red Sox thoughts of the week basically. Not that there is anything wrong with that. Remember a couple of years ago when Peter said his brother-in-law was thinking of getting rid of his Red Sox season tickets because of how the season ended? How quickly things turn around. 

a. A few notes about the Red Sox winning the World Series—those who are so inclined and who hate when I riff about baseball can skip the next 10 items.

As opposed to putting all of his Red Sox thoughts into one item, Peter has 10 Red Sox thoughts and puts them in 10 separate items. Why? Because.

Boston won 3-1, and I walked out of Busch Stadium thinking: This is the first time in my life the Red Sox are good because of pitching.

During 2013 season the Red Sox were 14th in team ERA, 3rd in quality starts, 10th in batting average against, 15th in OPS against, and 15th in WHIP.

During the 2004 season the Red Sox were 11th in ERA, 5th in quality starts, 4th in batting average against, 3rd in OPS against, and 2nd in WHIP.

During the 2007 season the Red Sox were 2nd in ERA, 9th in quality starts, 2nd in batting average against, 2nd in OPS against, and tied for 1st in WHIP.

This year the Red Sox offense was 1st in runs, 2nd in hits, 6th in home runs, 2nd in batting average, 1st in OBP, 1st in OPS, 3rd in walks, successfully stole 87% of the times they tried to steal a base, and 1st in extra-base hits.

But yeah, not only is this the first time the Red Sox are good because of pitching and it's the pitching that made the Red Sox good. Sure Peter, that's a reality.

d. When did Jon Lester turn into Whitey Ford?

He didn't.

Actually, by asking when Lester turned into Whitey Ford does Peter mean cheat like Whitey Ford cheated or become a great playoff pitcher like Whitey Ford was?

h. If that’s it, Jacoby Ellsbury, and you’re gone, good luck. You deserve success and a pot of gold. (Though I wouldn’t pay ridiculous money for him; too risky an investment with all the games missed.) I’d like to see Ellsbury in Seattle, both for his sake to be close to his home in Oregon and for a starving franchise’s sake. 

Right, because nothing will turn the Mariners around faster than overpaying for an injury-prone outfielder.

The Mets? I guess. But that’s the place too many careers go to die in free agency.

Wow, harsh words from the guy who two years ago was cursing the day the Red Sox signed John Lackey and Carl Crawford.

o. Coffeenerdness: So, in the Starbucks at 55th and Lexington in Manhattan the other day, late afternoon, I’m in line for a coffee, and there are two boys in bright orange hoodies, maybe 13, behind me. 

Here comes the twist: Peter shot both of them to death because he was scared of them wearing hoodies and felt like standing his ground.

One says to the other: “You have not lived until you get a cotton candy here.” I’m wondering what in the world that is. They get to the head of the line and order two grande cotton candies. My curiosity gets the better of me, and I ask the one kid what that is. The effervescent kid says: “It’s a secret drink Starbucks has for kids. A vanilla frap with raspberry syrup.” The barista, making the thing, says to me, “You want to try it?” I say sure, and the kid says, “DON’T GIVE HIM ANY OF MINE!” How cute.

No, not how cute. How fucking precocious of them. This is the perfect time for Peter to use his favorite word "precocious." Maybe Peter only uses the word "precocious" to refer to adults, which ruins the entire purpose of the word as I understand what it is intended to mean.

s. Hope new Celtics coach Brad Stevens has the patience for a four-year rebuild.

If the Celtics have the money, Stevens has the patience.

The Adieu Haiku
Jonathan Martin
raises the hazing issue.
And we must listen.

I'm not sure what's up with this new tiny font for the Adieu Haiku, but I have to think it is the work of Peter's editor who wants to try and hide it as much as possible, fully knowing how annoying the adieu haiku can be to readers. 


Snarf said...

j. He may have had Leukemia rather than ALS, but I bet Chuck Pagano feels like the LUCKiest "man on the Face of the Earth" after watching the Colts win over the Texans.

k. If you didn't get that one, Bing or Ask Jeeves about it.

Anonymous said...

Remember how Peter tore the Lions a new asshole for having drafted Titus Young? Well, where's the criticism for the Dolphins employing such an objectionable human being as Richie Incognito? I can't help but feel this MMQB was a bit light on criticism of Incognito of any sort, and I can't help but feel that's because Incognito was drafted by the Rams, and Peter doesn't want to draw any potentially negative attention to the Rams.

Everyone knows Incognito is a world-class asshole. The Dolphins knew it when they signed him, so why no criticism? And I love how Peter says Incognito might just have a sharp sense of humor. He threatened Martin using a racial epithet; maybe in Peter's world that's funny, but not mine, and I'm a guy who enjoys a good sharp joke.

Also funny to me; Incognito using a racial epithet doesn't seem to get Peter's blood boiling nearly as much as a black coach getting passed over for a head coaching job. Incognito using the n-word is good sharp humor, but there's nothing funny about Bruce Arians getting a job instead of Ray Horton.

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, haha. I would try to do a bad pun also, but I don't want to get something started. Sadly, I can see Peter writing what you just wrote.

Anon, I do remember that. I feel like it was light on criticism of Incognito as well. I didn't think about him being drafted by the Rams and Peter's ties to them. Of course Incognito wasn't drafted when Kevin Demoff was there. I wonder if Peter is looking to wait for facts to come out before condemning Incognito?

I think Incognito is an asshole and a dirty player. I haven't liked him all that much. I guess racial slurs and threatening Martin's family is just a sharp sense of humor. I hate to see what a rude sense of humor would be.

That's a good point about Peter worrying about more minority hires and then not caring Incognito used the n-word.