Tuesday, March 25, 2014

5 comments MMQB Review: Everything Is the Fault of Josh Freeman and JaMarcus Russell Edition

Peter King talked about how free agency has finally worked like it should have in 1993 in last week's MMQB. He also talked about the Raiders difficulties in free agency and threw a few shots at Josh Freeman into the column, mostly because he hasn't done that in a month or so and he irrationally hates Josh Freeman for some reason. This week Peter essentially repeats some topics from the past couple of weeks including discussing Johnny Manziel's NFL future, the officiating in the NFL, how terrible Josh Freeman is (yes, he will not let this drop...it's vitally important everyone know how terrible Freeman is), while Peter also gives Starbucks some advice, and updates us on his fantasy baseball team.

The news here this week at the annual NFL meetings at a ritzy Ritz in central Florida? Officiating and an effort to create a more virtuous culture.

 "Go run over those assholes and prove you are better than them by beating them into submission...but do it kindly and with grace!"

I love the idea of making football more virtuous. It's fun pretending that it's not an inherently dangerous game.

So that means officiating czar Dean Blandino is going to be the star of these meetings, not Roger Goodell or the rulesmeisters, Rich McKay or Jeff Fisher.

Peter will report on new proposed rules and how they are such a great idea, until these ideas aren't implemented at which point Peter will state these rules weren't going to work anyway.

At the risk of writing too much about officiating, I’m going to do it again this week.

Yes, because if there is one thing wrong with MMQB it's all this talk about the NFL and proposed rule changes. Peter is afraid he's going to write too much about the officiating, but he doesn't mind spending 40%-50% of the column on his own personal thoughts, favorite beers/coffees, congratulations/shoutouts/condolences/random correspondence to people to whom he could easily text these messages, and that damn "Adieu Haiku." Why take up valuable space commenting on the officiating when that MMQB space could be used describing how a guy on a plane took his socks off?

In a 30-minute conversation with Blandino on Sunday night, he told me that members of the league’s 17 officiating crews will be able to talk to each other on the field during games. 

“We’re going to implement an official-to-official communications system, so all seven officials can communicate wirelessly,” Blandino said. “Each official will have an earpiece, a microphone, and just a little radio pack where they can communicate in a closed system, encrypted.

Oooooooo...it's encrypted. So now some hacker can't come in and hear the audio of just how confused the officiating crew is on what the correct call should be. That should save face. This is as opposed to the outdated system the officials now use called "talking to each other face-to-face" which wastes valuable time talking face-to-face as opposed to the new, improved system which will allow the officials to say, "I have no fucking clue what the right call is" without actually talking directly to each other face-to-face.

Who’s covering what receiver? Now they read the formation, they decide which receiver they’re going to cover, but there’s no check and balance. They’re 30, 40 yards away from the other officials they might need to talk to. Now they can communicate. I’ve got the widest guy, I’ve got the second guy inside.”

Snark aside, that does sound useful. Wait, why hasn't this been done before the 2014 season?

The benefit after the play, Blandino said, is that a back judge who see pass interference from behind the line of scrimmage will no longer have to run 25 or 30 yards to tell the referee whom the flag is on.

That's a good plan. Because I know personally I am afraid that middle-aged men who are having to keep up with world-class athletes on the field might have to run too much. Also, when officials are conferring on a call, this mike system provides the added benefit of seeing the officials just stand there talking while no one has a clue whether the officials have becoming permanently frozen or whether they are discussing what the correct call should be using their state of the art walkie-talkie system. It's good to hear the NFL has the same cutting-edge technology for officials that my friends and I used 20 years ago when playing in the woods.

The system is not an open mike [that proved chaotic during preseason trials] but rather a push-to-talk system. In my example, the back judge would push his button and say to the ref, “I’ve got a DPI [defensive pass interference] on 24 Baltimore,” and save a few seconds. Said Blandino, “It’s just a natural progression in communications improvement.”

Yes, the use of walkie-talkies is the natural progression in communications improvement. If they want, I think I still have my G.I. Joe walkie-talkies and they are free to use those if they want.

The replay proposal would work this way: Once the game referee announces on the field that he will be reviewing a play, a communications line from the league office will go live in the ref’s ear. On the other end he’ll have either Blandino or the NFL’s senior director of officiating, Alberto Riveron, a former ref.

“Between me and Al Riveron,” Blandino said, “we feel we can adjudicate multiple reviews going on at once. Over 65 percent of our reviews go to TV break anyway, so we have a built-in two-minute window [to help us].”

Oh good, so now the television timeouts are guaranteed so the officials can talk to the league office while reviewing a play. I'm just happy the NFL hasn't mandated commercial breaks between plays on any drive that lasts longer than five plays.

While a coach throws a challenge flag, and while the referee goes over to hear what the coach wants to challenge—and while the ref gets into position and announces the challenge—Blandino might have already had the chance to see three or four replays. So as the ref jogs over to the monitor to see the replays for himself and judge the call, he can have two men who sit in judgment of all refs, Blandino and Riveron, scout the play to advise him on the best angles to watch.

Terence Moore would not stand for this. This is NOT how things are traditionally done.

Once the ref is done talking to the coach and making the announcement, now the ref can be a part of that conversation. We feel a lot of times we can have it set up and a direction for the referee before he even gets [under the hood].”

It's almost like the official doesn't have to do anything and now the coaches and fans can get mad at two dudes sitting in an office in New York and not the actual officials. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Now for the logical question: When will the league go to centralized officiating review out of New York, with all replay reviews being handled in-house by Blandino’s staff? Hockey does it that way. Baseball will start doing it that way this year.

(Terence Moore kicks the dirt angrily)

The NHL has shown that the disconnect between the ice and Toronto is unimportant; all that matters is getting the play right. Eventually, I think the NFL moves replay review to New York, run by Blandino. The first step is making sure Blandino and Riveron don’t exacerbate the inconsistency of replay reviews by making a Triplette-like error.

If the two heads of officiating for the NFL can't get calls on instant replay correct then I'm not sure how they would expect the officials to get the calls correct? If Blandino and Riveron make the situation worse then they would end up being the laughingstock of the officials. They would be the typical boss that can't meet the standard they hold their subordinates to.

The worst-kept secret around the NFL is no long under wraps:

Mark Sanchez is a homosexual and his agent set up for him to date Hayden Panettiere to cover up for his relationship with Scotty McKnight? Then when that relationship fell apart Panettiere started dating McKnight to further keep Sanchez's sexuality under wraps?

If he passes his physical and his background check, Shawn Hochuli, son of Ed “Biceps of Stone” Hochuli, will make his NFL officiating debut this fall.

Oh, I was way off.

“Will he be on his dad’s crew?” I asked.
“That remains to be seen,” Blandino said. “I’m leaning in one direction, but we’ll see.”

Wait, so Blandino is leaning towards making Shawn Hochuli a member of One Direction? Now I'm really confused. I know the NFL is trying to expand to London, but I don't see how making an NFL official a member of One Direction expands the NFL's brand.

No word if he’s as verbose (hey, I like the verbosity!) as his dad. And though he looks to be in good shape, Shawn’s no match for the pumped-up Ed Hochuli.

But Peter is eager to see both Shawn and Ed in wet t-shirts in order to determine which one of them is in better shape. Peter has a call in to both Hochuli's to make this happen. You know what? Let's just make both of them shirtless so it leaves no doubt as to which one of them is in better shape and Peter would prefer it be a blind test so if he could be hiding behind a wall with just a peep-hole when making his determination, that would be great.

“Command and control as a way of running a business is gone,” said one league veteran who heard Seidman on Sunday night. “Collaboration is in now … Pete Carroll’s way, we’re all in this together. I think it was a good message on building values and a workplace culture on doing what’s right.”

Expect to hear that as a refrain when owners and club officials talk about the lessons of the week. There’s no doubt the league will soon hand down whatever discipline is coming from the Miami bullying case, and I’m told it’s going to be instructive and treatment-based rather than simply punitive.

I think that's a really good move, because I'm sure if NFL players are lectured about the importance of being nice to each other and caring then they will simply start being as sweet as candy to each other. No punitive action required. If the NFL had just nicely asked the Saints to stop placing bounties on opposing teams' players then I'm sure the Saints would have just stopped and a fine lecture Danny Tanner-style would allowed the Saints to see the error of their ways more than any year-long suspension ever could. 

So the long awaited pro day workout for Johnny Manziel will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. in College Station, on the Texas A&M campus. It will be a scripted 50- to 60-pass workout designed and run by Manziel’s personal quarterback coach, George Whitfield. Manziel will have four familiar receivers: college mates Mike Evans (himself a likely first-round pick), Travis Labhart, Ben Malena and Derel Walker.

A completely scripted workout with receivers Manziel is used to throwing to sounds like the perfect way to determine if Manziel is going to be a quality NFL quarterback or not. Just as long as every NFL snap he takes during an actual game is perfectly scripted and there are no defenders on the field then I see no reason Manziel isn't the next Brett Favre. 

Manziel returned to Texas on Thursday. He’ll gather with Whitfield and the receivers and go through two or three dry runs of the script between now and late Wednesday, so when Thursday comes Manziel will know exactly what’s coming—as if he doesn’t already.
“It’s going to come down a cold, isolated execution of a workout the NFL wants to see,” said Whitfield.

I can't fathom how NFL teams miss on quarterbacks in the draft with such a thorough and non-spontaneous workout that doesn't at all simulate game-action.

Two years ago, Andrew Luck went to great pains to show teams at his pro day that he was more mobile than he was perceived to be. Similarly, Manziel will throw more than half of his attempts from the pocket, because anyone who’s watched tape of him understands how good he is at improvising and throwing on the run.

He is great at improvising and throwing on the run, but he's also good at improvising and throwing ill-advised passes into traffic. I look no further than his Hail Mary pass in the Alabama game this year where he threw it up for grabs into the middle of the field, where fortunately one of his receivers came down with the ball.

“For better or worse,” said the NFL Network’s Mike Mayock on Friday, “what he needs to show the NFL, he can’t show in shorts and a T-shirt, and he won’t be able to show until training camp. I’m guessing the throws he needs to make from the pocket he’ll make on Thursday. People will want to see his arm strength and his accuracy from the pocket.”

I'm not completely downplaying an individual workout, but there are no defenders on the field. How Manziel throws the ball (and any quarterback for that matter) changes depending on if there are defenders in his face or defenders on his receiver or not. Maybe I do tend to be dubious of these individual workouts and what they can really tell an NFL team about a quarterback. They are so scripted and yet the media makes so much of them.

Bridgewater’s workout was surprising last week because the ball didn’t come out of his hand with the kind of velocity NFL teams hoped to see.

And we all know a quarterback can't succeed in the NFL if he doesn't throw the ball fast. The faster a quarterback throws the football, the better quarterback he will be. Right, Peyton Manning?

Bortles did well in his workout, but his deep balls weren’t accurate.

Plus, he sucks and his college coach isn't even sure he's a franchise quarterback.

So now it’s up to Manziel to see where he fits in this draft, with so many teams at the top of the draft needing a passer, and so many that are unsure if they can trust the confident 5-11 7/8 kid with the keys to their franchise. And it’s up to Whitfield to orchestrate the show on Thursday.

I just hope that George Whitfield doesn't teach Manziel to be an entertainer and an icon like he taught Cam Newton when working with him. That really draws Peter's ire and he will turn cold to Manziel and schedule no more lunch dates in the future.

Someone Smarter Than Me Must Explain This

Well, at least there are a lot of options available as to who can explain this.

Blaine Gabbert was traded on March 11 from the Jags to the 49ers for a sixth-round pick.
Matt Schaub was traded on Friday from Houston to Oakland for a sixth-round pick.

I can already explain it. Schaub is more expensive and older, while Gabbert is still young and is a pretty small risk for the 49ers to take on. There, it's been explained.

I’d be worried about Schaub, a lot, because last season it looked like he had Steve Sax disease—it appeared he was aiming many of his throws, and his decision-making was way off compared to his history. But the stunner in this comparison is not really the sixth-round pick the Texans got for a quarterback who hit a wall so smashingly in 2013. It’s that Jacksonville GM David Caldwell got anything at all for Gabbert. Lucky for him, San Francisco sees something in Gabbert that GM Trent Baalke thinks his coaching staff can salvage.

I'm surprised the Jaguars got anything for Gabbert too, but he's 8 years younger than Schaub and he's also cheaper. I think Peter should look at this way, can the 49ers find a better quarterback in the sixth round than Blaine Gabbert? I would argue they could not, so that somewhat explains the 6th round pick the 49ers gave up for Gabbert. Schaub can earn between $13-$21 million over the next two years, so this is taken into account when determining how high of a draft pick the Raiders would offer for him. It's not that difficult to see how these two quarterbacks were traded for the same sixth round pick compensation.

“His skill set does not transition to the National Football League, and it is a big, big risk. In fact, I see bust written all over him, especially if he’s drafted in the first round.”
— ESPN NFL analyst Merril Hoge on Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel.

What a surprise! An ESPN NFL analyst is saying controversial things and gaining attention for doing so. I never thought this would happen. I would never expect an ESPN analyst to say something so extreme about a popular player that could help to start the ESPN machine up in discussing this hot take on sports.

“Narrowing the goal post: We have talked about that a lot this year. We are at a place where field goals are made 86.6 percent of the time, which is really an amazing thing because in 1970 that number was around 59 percent. We have really moved up. We have had some really good discussions about that. I do not think there is enough momentum to do it this year, but I think there will be discussions with the goal post going forward.”
— Competition Committee co-chair Rich McKay of the Falcons, on the possibility of future NFL meetings taking up the debate of narrowing the width of the goal posts to make field goals and extra points more challenging.

I'm not sure having a discussion with the goal post will be very productive. I have found goal posts to be as smart as a goal post, but who knows, maybe with the mighty Jeff "8-8" Fisher on the Competition Committee he can sway the goal posts' representatives to be open to the goal posts being narrowed. I think in return the goal posts are going to request they all get a new paint job and a better health insurance plan, but I guess the discussions with the goal post will reveal the extent of the goal posts' demands.

“I’m a servant leader. I’m someone who wants to make everyone else around me better people, better players, with nothing in return. I’m not looking for any recognition or anything like that. I’m a team player, someone that’s willing to go the extra mile, willing to come in early and go the opposite way. Not go in that locker room and try to win guys over, but win guys over by going in that film room and that offensive room and learning the playbook right away, breaking down film, showing the guys that I understand what’s going on.

— Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater, to the NFL Network on Friday, about why he thinks he should be the first pick in the May 8 draft.

Yeah, but Bridgewater isn't a playmaker and fun to watch like Johnny Manziel. Not to mention, the football doesn't seem like it's being thrown very fast by Bridgewater. Everyone knows to succeed in the NFL as a quarterback you must be fun to watch and throw the ball very, very fast. Really, these are the only two attributes a quarterback needs. Well, it also helps if a quarterback is tall and "looks" like a quarterback. That seems to bump guys like Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Blake Bortles up draft boards.

As the month wound down and the Jets started running out of time to cut Mark Sanchez and save $8.3 million on their salary cap, somehow Rex Ryan equivocated about Sanchez’s chance of remaining with the team.
Right down to the very end.

Ryan did this for two reasons. First, he didn't want to tell other NFL teams the Jets were releasing Sanchez just in case a team wanted to give a 6th round pick (which would naturally cause Peter to flip out at the idea of Sanchez AND Matt Schaub fetching 6th round picks in a trade) up for Sanchez, and second, Rex Ryan "equivocated" (what an edumencated person Peter shows himself to be in using such big words!) to the end because he was never sure Sanchez would be a part of the team. Well, there is a third reason. The Jets weren't going to release Sanchez until they had signed Vick.

Friday, 3:27 p.m.
“That could happen. That’s still a possibility.”
— Ryan, on the chances of Sanchez remaining a Jet, to ESPN Radio in New York.

Again, Ryan equivocated because there was still a chance the Jets wouldn't sign Vick or in the next few hours get a taker for Sanchez through trade. What else would Peter expect Rex Ryan to say? 

Friday, 6:32 p.m.

“It’s official. We’ve signed QB Michael Vick.”
— @nyjets, the team’s official Twitter feed.

Friday, 6:48 p.m.

“I’d like to thank Mark for everything he’s done for this team and me personally.”
— Ryan, in a team-issued statement announcing the release of Sanchez.

It would have been presumptuous and stupid for Ryan to announce the Jets were releasing Sanchez prior to Sanchez actually having been released. What if the Jets don't sign Vick and decide to then keep Sanchez? I don't understand Peter's amazement at Ryan not committing to releasing Sanchez up until the very end.

Denver signed four marquee free agents—safety T.J Ward, cornerback Aqib Talib, pass rusher DeMarcus Ware and wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders—to deals worth, on paper, $125 million. But let’s say the four players last only two seasons each. It’s reasonable to expect the team wouldn’t give up on any of them after one year (except maybe Ware, who declined for Dallas last season and will be 32 on opening day this fall).

The two-year commitment for the four players: $61.5 million
The dead money if all are cut after two years: $10 million

I understand what point Peter is getting at here, but what if these players stay on the roster after three years? That's also a part of the analysis on whether the Broncos have helped their team now and in the future. I don't know the answer to this, I'm just asking, but what is the Broncos cap situation in 2016 of they have all three of these players on their roster? Would it handicap them in the post-Peyton era (assuming Peyton plays two more years)? That's what I would think is the real determination on whether these contracts were smart long-term and short-term deals. I don't know if investigating the Broncos cap situation two years in when the Broncos probably aren't going to release any of these four players is necessarily the best way of saying the team has set itself up in the short and long-term. That's the point Peter is trying to prove here.

So if the sky falls, and all four players bomb and are cut after two seasons, it will cost the Broncos about 6% of their 2016 cap dollars, seeing that the cap is projected to be somewhere in the $160 million area in 2016.

I wouldn't consider the dead money after two years to be too far in the future, especially since these players were all signed to contracts that go longer than two years. During the 2016 season the combined cap hits (according to Spotrac) would be about $33 million. Obviously, I'm not a salary cap genius, but I don't think the Broncos signed these four guys with intentions on cutting them after two years, so in the long-term I would look at the cost to the Broncos to keep these four guys on the roster after two years to see how they have set themselves up long-term during what could be the first year of the post-Manning era.

In other words, Denver GM John Elway and his cap lieutenant, Broncos director of football administration Mike Sullivan, have done a good job of spending today and not crippling the team tomorrow.

I'm not disagreeing, but a lot of contracts look good in the short-term, but the problems start to develop when the players are on the roster 3-4 years in the future and the cap number increases.

In the wake of the Matt Schaub trade from Houston to Oakland on Friday, and assuming Schaub starts at least one game for the Raiders in 2014, this will be the sixth consecutive year a non-homegrown quarterback will start for the Raiders.

Football people sometimes say if you take a quarterback very high in round one and he bombs, it could set the franchise back five years. Well, Russell was the first pick of the 2007 draft, and that colossal mistake has set the Raiders back seven years—and we may not be done counting yet.

I understand it's fun to blame everything on JaMarcus Russell, but the Raiders haven't been set back over the past seven years because of Russell. They have been set back because they missed the Russell pick and then have compounded this mistake by trading draft picks for quarterbacks who didn't work out in the long run, as well as made other bad personnel moves.

Oakland’s records since the day Al Davis drafted Russell: 4-12, 5-11, 5-11, 8-8, 8-8, 4-12, 4-12.

Oakland's record the four years prior to drafting Russell: 2-14, 4-12, 5-11, 4-12. So it wasn't like drafting Russell explains the Raiders problems over the past decade. There's more to it than that.

“@DHoyt77 if mercer beats duke I will give you season tickets 50 yard line first row.”
— @roddywhiteTV, the Atlanta wide receiver, to football fan Dylan Hoyt, after Hoyt proclaimed on Twitter that Mercer would beat Duke in the NCAA Tournament on Friday.

Well, Mercer beat Duke. And White didn’t keep his word. When the upset was official, Hoyt tweeted at White that he owed him some tickets. And White tweeted back: “I lost a bet and I will give him tickets to the bears game since he is a bears fan done with this bet.”

White has some explaining to do.

Of course he does, Peter. White made a bet on Twitter with some random guy, so this obviously means White has to give this guy season tickets on the 50-yard line first row. This was an official bet and all.

On Sunday, he claimed he would not pay up, saying, “Y’all people are crazy” for thinking he’s going to honor his words against a Twitter follower who had nothing to lose in the bet. If you’re going to break a promise, you should explain why instead of blaming the guy you made a deal with.

Without Peter King around to officiate bets, where would the world be?

“We can land a man on the moon but can’t find this plane on earth… smh”
— @DougBaldwinJr, the Seattle wide receiver on the Malaysian jet that has been missing for 17 days and is presumed lost in the Indian Ocean.

Yeah, because those are two comparable things and all. Searching for a plane in an area the size of the United States and sending a man to the moon, they are no different. I feel like Baldwin's Stanford education has let him down a little bit here.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Tweeted from the Orlando International Airport on Sunday afternoon by free agent safety Ryan Clark: “Why do people who are in Zone 4 line up in front the gate when they announce they are getting ready to start the boarding process?”

Peter is vindicated! Other people find these common annoyances to be the worst too.

That, friends, is not the travel question of the week. It is the travel question of the millennium.

Can't those in Zone 1 make it to the line without the common folk getting in their way and messing up Peter's expensive clothes with their middle-class smell?

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think I would have the same dilemma right now that Bengals owner Mike Brown verbalized at the league meetings on Sunday: Do you step out on a ledge now and pay Andy Dalton the going rate for a good quarterback—say, $15 million a year—with a year left on his rookie contract, or do you let the deal run out and risk losing him in 2015?

Dalton has been a good and durable player in the regular season: 48 games, 48 starts, 30-18 record, 85.7 rating and a plus-31 TD-to-interception rate. And he is the only quarterback in Cincinnati history to lead his team to the playoffs in three straight years. But he’s been awful in the playoffs (0-3, 56.2 rating, minus-5 TD-to-pick rate), losing his three playoff games by an average of 14.7 points.

Since the Bengals are the only team from the 2011 draft facing this dilemma with one of their players this is a good point. Gosh, it must be tough for the Bengals to figure this one out. Dalton has led the Bengals to the playoffs three straight seasons, but hasn't been very good in those games. Is he not super-clutchy or is there another reason why he can't win a playoff game?

I know these same questions popped up when the Falcons were thinking offering an extension to Matt Ryan after he has been 1-4 in the playoffs with three of those games being at home. Wait no, those questions didn't pop up at all about Ryan and the Falcons handed him a $103 million contract as writers like Peter King smiled knowing this was the right move. Granted, Andy Dalton and Matt Ryan are two different quarterbacks. For instance, Dalton doesn't have the receiving corps that Ryan has, and Ryan is most definitely the superior quarterback, but I think it's funny Peter presents the dilemma purely in the realm of Dalton not being good in the playoffs. While this is true, this hasn't presented a dilemma for other franchises to award their quarterback a large contract extension.

To say he’s looked rattled in the postseason would be an understatement, as his meltdown against San Diego in January illustrated.

To be fair, the Chargers were one of the few defenses to give Peyton Manning trouble during the regular season and Dalton played the Texans (another team with a good defense) on the road in his other two playoff games. 

Do you show faith in Dalton, or do you collect more evidence?

This is a decision that other NFL teams are going to have to make in the near future as well when their young quarterbacks want huge contract extensions. More often than not, the decision will be to give these quarterbacks the money of course. I just think it is interesting Peter couches the Dalton decision with the postseason results as the focal point.

2. I think I know which way I’d vote.

We know, Peter. We know.

I’d want to see one more season of proof out of Dalton before paying him close to Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler money. If he leads Cincinnati deep into the playoffs this year and it costs me a few million extra, so be it. But what I’ve seen so far doesn’t convince me he should be paid $15 million a year. If you’re going to cast your lot with a young quarterback, he has to be the man you believe will lead you to a Super Bowl.

Which is why Jay Cutler and Matt Ryan earn those big bucks, right Peter? Because they have led their team to a Super Bowl or there is evidence these two quarterbacks can lead their team to a Super Bowl? It's not like Cutler and Ryan have proven they can get their team to the Super Bowl, so it's not fair to say Dalton doesn't deserve Cutler/Ryan money as if those two quarterbacks have proven something in terms of getting their team to a Super Bowl that Dalton hasn't.

Watching Dalton, I like what I see, and I’ve liked his toughness in winning some big games. But he hasn’t shown me yet that he’s a January quarterback.

Again, Matt Ryan is 1-4 in the postseason. I guess Peter has seen all needs to know that Matt Ryan is worth the money? I'm just asking because Peter seems very focused with Dalton's January performance. Personally, I don't know if I give Dalton $15 million per year mostly because I'm not sure his performance can't be replicated by a quarterback making half of that amount. Of course the Bengals have to find a quarterback who can perform at Dalton's level for half the money. It's always easier said than done.

I also find it interesting that Peter says to wait another year to give Andy Dalton a contract extension (which again, I do agree with) since if the Ravens had extended Flacco prior to their Super Bowl run then they may have had the cap room to keep (Peter's boy) Anquan Boldin. Maybe. Possibly the Ravens could have kept Boldin and Peter wouldn't have ended up writing crazy shit like he could see the Ravens not re-signing Flacco to allow themselves to keep other players like Boldin. It's interesting to me that Peter doesn't think the Bengals may learn their lesson from seeing how Flacco's value dramatically increased after a Super Bowl run.

7. I think Jameis Winston’s pitching line as Florida State’s closer this spring—0.69 ERA, 4 for 4 in save opportunities, 13 strikeouts in 13 innings, .133 batting average against—shows he might have some pretty good leverage in his future.

So Peter is saying that Jameis Winston could pretend he wants to play baseball and then decide not to play for a team who may draft him that Winston doesn't want to draft him? Seems pretty early for the media to start the "Will Jameis Winston threaten to play baseball" train.

8. I think this is a pretty good postscript to the short piece I wrote on the incredible fall of Josh Freeman last week.

My God. Peter King has an absolute obsession with Josh Freeman. Peter wants everyone and anyone who is literate or read his MMQB over the past couple of months to know that Josh Freeman is a bust who has stolen money from multiple teams and most likely deserves to burn in Hell.

He’s gone, in six months, from a solid starting quarterback to a man who, at best, will struggle to be a backup or even a third quarterback this year.

As Peter has detailed for what seems like every week for the past six months. We get it. Josh Freeman isn't an NFL quarterback anymore. Where is Matt Flynn again? I forgot which team signed him this past offseason after he was the hot free agent quarterback two winters ago. Anyway, back to what a loser Josh Freeman is.

Gil Brandt of NFL.com checked in with his opinion the other day: “When Freeman was jettisoned by the Bucs, ending a rocky relationship, I thought he still had a chance to do something in the NFL, because he did have some talent. But I think I was wrong about him. I’m not sure if he has the desire to get better. At this point, I think Vince Young, who is out of football altogether, is better than him. I’m not sure if Freeman will get another chance in the league, though I could see someone bringing him into camp on a minimum salary.” 

I feel like Peter goes online and searches for negative quotes about Josh Freeman or intentionally interviews his contacts on Josh Freeman's future prospects simply so he can point out how Freeman isn't signed in MMQB.

Consider that a good season last year in Freeman’s walk year could have netted him a $15 million-a-year deal this offseason, and you see what a crazy story this is.

Peter is also obsessed with this exact $15 million per year deal that quarterbacks can get. Not a penny more, not a penny less. Also, how could Freeman have gotten $15 million per year when he hasn't even taken his team to a Super Bowl yet? Quarterbacks can only get Matt Ryan or Jay Cutler money if they can take their team to the Super Bowl.

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

e. Is it a rule that every athletic event played by a University of Oregon sports team must feature the Ducks wearing new uniforms?

It's not a rule, but the fact Peter notices the uniforms and notices they are different from game-to-game is the point of the Ducks wearing new uniforms.

h. I love North Dakota State’s coach, Saul Phillips. Talk about a guy who loves his players and whose players look like they love playing for him. Cool stuff.

Just super-groovy.

i. Nice hospitality by the city of Holyoke, Mass., for Saturday’s 39th annual 10K St. Patrick’s Day Road Race. (I had to drop out after a mile with a bum hamstring.)

"A bum hamstring" better known as "Peter saw a Starbucks and wanted to have one of the seven cups of coffee he has in a day."

j. Coffeenerdness: Sorry, Starbucks. The vanilla macchiato doesn’t make it. Too sugary. My tip for your R&D people: When in doubt, give it more of an intense espresso flavor and less a sweet one.

And of course Peter's opinion reflects the opinion of everyone who visits Starbucks and orders this drink. Because after all, Peter's opinion is the only one that counts. Because when making a vanilla drink with a spot of espresso there needs to be less sweetness and more flavor of that one shot of espresso in your vanilla drink.

k. Beernerdness: Thanks to the Broad Brook Brewing Company for the cool experience at your brewpub in East Windsor, Conn., on Saturday. I vote yes on Chet’s Pale Ale (bold, hoppy) and no on your new Pink Dragon Wit Belgian white ale (a little too sweetish).

So basically don't ever give Peter anything that is sweet. I wonder if Peter thinks the Pink Dragon Wit Belgian could have used a little more intense espresso flavor. 

l. Tragically, Mick Jagger’s longtime girlfriend, L’Wren Scott, committed suicide a week ago. The New York Post quoted a “source” as saying, “The strange thing is that she had a small dinner party at her home Sunday night with a few friends, but nobody knew that she planned to take her own life the next day.” Strange. I thought it was customary for a person planning to kill herself to tell all of her friends the night before she did it.

Because being snide about a person having committed suicide is absolutely hilarious. What this "source" is saying is that L'Wren Scott appeared to be in good spirits and not depressed to the point she would kill herself. The sentence is structured and worded oddly, but it's clear "nobody knew" is referring to Scott's state of mind or spirits at the dinner party.

m. Can’t wait to see The Grand Budapest Hotel. Anyone seen it yet? Thoughts?

It's too sweet. Could have used a little less "Budapest" and more "hotel."

p. Starting Rotisserie lineup in my 12-team Jersey league: Evan Gattis (catcher), Victor Martinez (1B), Dustin Pedroia (2B), Ian Desmond (SS), Josh Donaldson (3B), Jay Bruce, Billy Hamilton and Brandon Moss (OF), Xander Bogaerts or Will Middlebrooks (DH). Starters: Michael Wacha, Alex Wood, Bartolo Colon, Jon Lester. Relievers: Kenley Jansen, Koji Uehara, Glen Perkins. Hopeful. Need one more bat and a starter, but I’ll let ’em play for a month or so and see where we are.

You need only one more starter, huh? Not too strong with Gattis as the starting catcher there. But yes, everyone cares about your fantasy team. Tell us more.

The Adieu Haiku

DeSean on market.
Something’s rotten in Denmark.
Chip weary of him?

And of course with the urgent discussion of Johnny Manziel's pro day and the Tweets/Quotes of the Week there was no time to discuss DeSean Jackson and what Peter had heard about him being back/not being back with the Eagles. Real NFL news can wait, because Ed Hochuli's son got hired by the NFL!


Slag-King said...

Who’s covering what receiver? Now they read the formation, they decide which receiver they’re going to cover, but there’s no check and balance.

Is this why Irvin gets away with so many offensive pass interference because the officials are so befuddled that they only focused on Harper? (90s Cowboys)

I dunno, Ben, my thoughts were the same as yours. How in the world did they even officiate the game without the mikes?

Bridgewater’s workout was surprising last week because the ball didn’t come out of his hand with the kind of velocity NFL teams hoped to see.

Jeff George is the yardstick for the success of all high-velocity cannon arm qb.

Not sure what a “servant leader” is, but it sounds pretty unselfish.

Does this sound like Peter is already hating Bridgewater? I wouldn't be surprised to see Peter reacting to Teddy the same way he has written off Cam and Josh Freeman. "It sounds pretty unselfish." What a condescending attitude! Teddy pretty much explains how he approaches the game, and Peter just picks up two words and threw at his readers and said, "Blech!" Ugh, this article is definitely one of the worst articles in a while in terms of a sneering tone.

Anonymous said...

"It will be a scripted 50- to 60-pass workout designed and run by Manziel’s personal quarterback coach, George Whitfield."

You know, I'd be a helluva Trivial Pursuit player if you only ask me the questions I know. This is so ridiculous, I can't believe NFL teams take it seriously. You can find a lot of guys who can look good throwing a scripted workout to their favorite receivers against air; what separates NFL QBs from the rest of the population is that they do it against a live pass rush and complex coverages.

"It’s that Jacksonville GM David Caldwell got anything at all for Gabbert."

Peter, of course, has his amazement backwards of what's logical. Blaine Gabbert is a cheap gamble; he's still young and talented, and a 6th round pick is going to have trouble making the 49ers' roster anyways. The Texans getting something in return for Schaub is the amazing part. Schaub is a lot more accomplished, but he's also a lot older, declining and quite expensive.

"Narrowing the goal post: We have talked about that a lot this year."

Where the hell did this idea come from that because kickers are so good, we have to make things more challenging for them? No one ever says this about any other position. Peyton Manning throws 55 TDs with half of a functioning neck, and the league can't wait to make it more restrictive to hit QBs. But if Jay Feely dares to make 85% of his kicks, you'd better believe there will be hell to pay. 5,000 yard passing season are handed out like candy now, but no one wants to make the passing game more challenging. It's those damn extra points that are making a mockery of the game. Are there really people out there hoping for more missed field goals? I applaud kickers for being as good as they are. Despite what haughty dipshits like Peter think, what they do isn't easy and shouldn't be punished.

Bengoodfella said...

Slag, I've never thought about it, but I just assumed they had some mike system. In retrospect I never saw one, but I figured they had a way of communicating that didn't involve just talking to each other.

There are plenty of QB's that don't throw rockets. Brees doesn't have a fantastic arm either. It's all about getting the football where it needs to be and not necessarily having a rocket arm. I'm of the opinion there's no way Teddy Bridgewater isn't the best QB in this class, but I realize I am becoming part of the minority.

I really hope he isn't already hating on Bridgewater. What's funny is that Peter tells his readers in MMQB to look things up when he (Peter) makes a reference he isn't sure they would understand, but he is too lazy to look up what a servant leader is. You would think before saying "it sounds pretty unselfish" he would look up the term to see what it meant.

Anon, these personal workouts have their place, but I don't get excited about them. It's all scripted. Like you said, Manziel is throwing to receivers he knows in a place he is comfortable against no defense. If he looks great, fantastic, it's different with defenders out there.

If my favorite team had picks to give, I wouldn't mind giving up a sixth for Gabbert. Really, are they going to find a better QB than Gabbert in the sixth round? I don't think they can, especially since Harbaugh is very good at working with QB's.

I haven't even thought about field goals that way, as compared to quarterbacks throwing TD passes. I'm sure the NFL would argue they aren't trying to make it more restrictive to hit the QB, they just want to make the game safer. I have to think on that comparison you made though. I wouldn't be upset with something being done to make the extra point more difficult, but I'm not sure about narrowing the goal posts.

Snarf said...

"Servant leadership is both a leadership philosophy and set of leadership practices. Traditional leadership generally involves the accumulation and exercise of power by one at the “top of the pyramid.” By comparison, the servant-leader shares power, puts the needs of others first and helps people develop and perform as highly as possible."


Doesn't seem like some silly thing Mr. Bridgewater just made up...

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, it's not and it seems like a somewhat intelligent statement. I'm glad Peter just sort of brushed it off as sounding unselfish rather than searching for the meaning of the phrase.