Tuesday, July 29, 2014

7 comments MMQB Review: Peter Might Think 21 is Less Than 20 Edition

Peter King made his triumphant post-vacation, post-CFL MMQB return with an eye on the moral problems of our nation as whole, falling off the latte wagon, ready to discuss how Chris Kluwe is on the right side of the gay rights issue, and wondering whether Dustin Pedroia's first seven seasons in the majors were just him overachieving (for seven years...that's a long time to overachieve) and this season shows his real ability. This week Peter visits more NFL training camps, furthers his infatuation with Chip Kelly (every word out of Kelly's mouth is biblical to Peter), sort of defends his weak column from late last week on Ray Rice (because Peter is the real victim in all of this), and marvels at his own training camp visit schedule.

I find it interesting that Peter is so socially aware on so many issues (refusing to call the Redskins by their team name, being anti-gun in his column, and referring to Chris Kluwe as being on the "right" side of a social issue) that he gave Ray Rice such a light-handed slap in a column pertaining to his (Rice's) and the Ravens reaction to a 2-game punishment for striking his fiance. It seems to me Peter would have been more outraged if Rice had called his fiance a Redskin, bought a gun and then called her homosexual slurs instead of hitting her. I tend to hate groupthink, especially on Twitter, but I thought the 2-game punishment was a bit light as well and was surprised that Peter King, who has earned the right (apparently) in MMQB to speak out on issues he believes strongly in, went too easy on Rice.

Now on to a little Rob Ryan and Chip Kelly worship. Screw the Bible, this shit these two coaches are saying is the real gospel.

This is what a real training-camp practice sounds like, via the verbal stylings of New Orleans defensive coordinator Rob Ryan and his defensive coach, Bill Johnson.

“Hit today. Hit. Hit. Be physical. Be physical. Get the ball out! Lotta life. Let’s go. Let’s go D. C’mon now. First practice in pads. F—in’ pads!! Let’s go!”

This is as opposed to the fake training camp practice Peter saw with Buffalo last week where the defensive coaches were encouraging the defensive players to just slightly tap the opposing player and only politely asked if they could have the football.

The linebacker group joined the defensive linemen. One by one, the players lined up and attacked the individual sled. One after one, all of them plowed into it with their hands and upper bodies, lifted it up, and tossed it aside.
“All right!” Ryan said. “Now this is football.”

Just in case anyone on the Saints roster was confused and thought they were playing bocce or lacrosse, this IS football.

A second shot for everyone at the sled ensued. A few minutes later, players lined up on either side of the ball for an inside-running drill. No tackle, but the defense could stand up the ballcarrier with a hard thud and try to strip the ball. Lots of hype and excitement here, followed by a couple of runners shaking loose and getting outside.
Ryan: “F—in’ lettin’ them run through you like paper! Awful!”

Rob Ryan's defenses in Dallas, Cleveland and in Oakland have traditionally let teams run through them like paper. I would think he'd be used to it by now. I have a feeling the media won't quit on the Rob Ryan train until he is handed an NFL head coaching job. I'm sure Peter considers Ryan to be one of those overlooked coaches who unfairly haven't gotten a shot at a head coaching job. I bet Peter thinks Ryan should be added to his list from last winter when Peter was discussing the lack of diversity in NFL head coaching candidates.

Next play: Running back Khiry Robinson got eaten alive inside. Never made it out of the mugging throng.

New Orleans Saints: 2015 Super Bowl Champs.

And so it ebbed and flowed, the first padded practice of a promising season. It was a fun scene, but the most impressive 20 minutes I spent in Week 1 on the Training Camp Tour goes to…

Philadelphia Eagles
Saturday, July 26
Eagles facility, Philadelphia
Chip Kelly, unplugged

Nevermind, change that. Philadelphia Eagles: 2015 Super Bowl Champs.

I’ve had only two extended conversations with Kelly since he was named coach of the Eagles 19 months ago. To say I know him well would be folly. But I’m starting to get a feel for him.

Well, that's good to know Peter. I was concerned that you hadn't gotten to know enough about Chip Kelly. If I remember corrrectly, both times Peter talked to Chip Kelly at length he transcribed large parts of the interview in MMQB because EVERYTHING CHIP KELLY IS BRILLIANT! He's like Buddha, but less Buddha-ish, more Jesus-ish, but without talking about morality. He uses words in sentences that cause Peter to smile happily at just how different and brilliant Chip Kelly truly is. Kelly has an innovative offense so absolutely everything about him must be described in some way as innovative. He plays loud music while the team practices, which we all know immediately leads to a Super Bowl victory, and doesn't say boring things. He's fun, he's a good quote, so the media adores him.

I vividly remember the other two times Peter has spoken at length with Chip Kelly and both times he acted like Kelly was the smartest man he ever met. It's true that Kelly is a smart guy, but enough with the hero worship, just tell us about the Eagles training camp. We don't get that though. Peter only tells us about Chip Kelly. Sorry Eagles fans, you get nothing about your team outside of a review of Chip Kelly quotes.

Totally confident that his style will work in the NFL. Unlike Johnson, Kelly’s not brash on the outside. Like Johnson, he knows deep down his way will win. Johnson brought a small, fast defense into a league that was going bigger and bigger. It worked. Kelly brings a fast-break offense from Oregon, and in the second half of the season, with different personnel groupings and a quarterback who could keep it all straight, the team went 7-1.

And there's no way NFL teams will adjust to his style of play. I don't doubt the Eagles could make the playoffs again this year, but NFL defensive coordinators are very good at adjusting. I know this isn't fun to even think about for Peter because of all the great Chip Kelly quotes.

He also is the kind of guy who … I’ll put it this way. Imagine Ford was getting stale making cars (imagine that!), and execs there pursued a Honda VP to rejuvenate the company, and in the interview the Honda guy said five or six things that made the Ford team think, “Why didn’t we think of that?” That’s Kelly.
The five or six things he said Saturday that made me think:

Every word from Kelly's lips to Peter's ears.

The biggest surprise of his first year and a half on the job. “The hype. [Director of public relations] Derek [Boyko] asked me the question and said I couldn’t say it … What’s the worst thing about the league? I said the draft. I mean, the hype that goes into the draft is insane. Totally insane. The biggest thing for me is that everybody thinks whoever you drafted or whoever you signed is now gonna be a savior.

While I agree with Chip Kelly in part, the NFL Draft is the cheapest and most long-term way to build a successful franchise. So too much pressure can be put on players drafted early in the draft, but it used to be these players drafted in the Top 10 were paid like they were already the best at their position. So that contributed to a lot of the expectations that player would be a savior. Add to that the fact building through the draft is the best way to put together a long-term winning team and I'm sure Chip Kelly can see why there is some hype around the draft. A great draft can put a team in the playoffs. Just ask the Indianapolis Colts or the Seattle Seahawks.

We drafted [pass-rusher] Marcus Smith in the first round, and Jordan Matthews in the second round. Then you listen to people around here that say, ‘Well, we don’t like their draft. If they had taken Matthews first and Smith second, we would give them an A.’ Who cares who went one and who went two? It’s almost like there’s a lot of scrutiny on Marcus Smith because he went one, but Jordan gets a pass because he fell to the second round.

Sometimes I think Chip Kelly has been told frequently how smart he is and it sinks in a little bit so he starts to believe it. It doesn't matter who went one and who went two, it's just there is an opportunity cost of taking a guy like Marcus Smith in the first round. There are (perceived) better players available, so the draft experts thought he was a better fit in the second round, while they felt differently about Jordan Matthews. They thought Matthews could fit well in the first round. It's not about which players get a pass and which don't. It's about the opportunity cost of drafting Marcus Smith in the first round. There is also a cost differential in drafting one player in the first round and the second round, so in that aspect it makes a difference too.

“Jerry Rice dropped a lot of balls when he was a rookie. He was a strong kid. He took it. But now, for some of these guys, it crushes them. It’s no different than bringing a pitcher up before you should and he gets racked. He’s a stiff. Send him back to the minors. There’s a maturation process for everybody. There’s no other profession like it. The hype part is just constant.”

There is also a vast difference in the amount of money a person directly out of college working for a bank will be paid as compared to an NFL rookie. If a bank paid a person straight out of college $800,000 per year then there would be hype and a shorter maturation process. Comparing sports to other professions is a very misleading argument. Naturally, Peter eats it up.

Changing the practice week to a faster pace and heavier work load later in the week. “We’re not walking through. We’re running. Always running.”

Very deep, Peter. Very deep. I'm glad you included this quote. Chip Kelly is installing a high-energy, fast offense and he runs through practice. What an unforeseen circumstance.

Predictions. “No one knows. I don’t know. I don’t know anybody that does know. I was asked after the draft, ‘Give yourself a grade.’ I was like, ‘I have absolutely no idea.’ But it’s the truth! No one knows. I’ve said it all along. Everybody says, ‘What a great job by the Patriots getting Tom Brady in the sixth round.’ If you knew he was gonna be that good, you should have taken him in the first. No one knows. We all kind of luck out.”

Chip Kelly just took multiple sentences to say, "No one knows anything about the NFL Draft and whether the players we chose will end up working out." Those few extra sentences convince Peter that Chip Kelly is SO different from other human beings and is a national treasure. No one knows if they drafted good players, a team that runs a high-paced offense will practice at a high-pace and the draft is too hyped. No one else has ever had these thoughts.

And so it went.

Peter is fascinated by Chip Kelly. It's like Chip Kelly is speaking English, but he's speaking a clear form of English that Peter King has never heard before. Kelly is saying things and they are just more brilliant than what anyone else has ever said, because Peter's angle on Kelly is that he is different from every other NFL coach, so he has to continue to push this narrative past the point he should. 

When we talked about year two, he was very coach-like. No magic pills here. Just progress. Slow and steady progress. “Last year,’’ he said, “we grew as the season went on. We started off at 3-5 in the first eight, then finished 7-1. It was evident to us as coaches that we were growing weekly. It started to show up on the scoreboard.

How different from other NFL head coaches who are always talking about the magic pills their team will take to win more games. I remember Mike McCarthy stating that his team was taking the green pill this offseason so the team is naturally going to play better defense.

On the practice field Saturday, Darren Sproles was running around from three different spots—the backfield, the slot, out wide. Big target Matthews worked with the second unit—maybe not for long. DeSean Jackson will be missed, but as The MMQB’s Greg Bedard said watching the workout: “No one person will replace Jackson. Chip’s scheme will.”

And then Gregg Easterbrook will talk about how highly-paid, glory boy DeSean Jackson was easily replaced and fail to mention a 1st and 2nd round pick (Jeremy Maclin and Jordan Matthews) were the ones replacing Jackson's numbers.

It’s going to be a fascinating year two. If the Eagles continue the fast-track of the last two months of last season, Seattle, San Francisco, Green Bay and New Orleans are going to have competition for late January football in the NFC.

So are those Peter's five of the six representatives in the NFC side of the playoffs? Oh, and I guess the assumption is the Saints will manage to win their division this year? I feel like Peter has already handed the NFC South to the Saints, you know, since they didn't win the division last year that makes sense.

Washington’s a mystery team in a mystery division.

But you...you just said if the Eagles continue the fast-track of the last two months then they are going to be playing late in January? You also said the Eagles offense should be more productive this year than last year and used the 7-1 record and offensive line improving as proof of this. So, you clearly seem to think the Eagles will improve this season and an improvement on the team that won the NFC East would again win the NFC East. How is the NFC East a mystery division if it's obvious who will the division?

The big thing Griffin has going for him is the deepest roster of weapons in the NFC East. Couple DeSean Jackson, Pierre Garcon and Andre Roberts, the former Cardinal (who looked elusive and very quick today), with a tight end with breakout-star potential, Jordan Reed, and a back with 2,888 yards in his first two years, Alfred Morris, and, I mean, who tops that?

Ummm...Darren Sproles, Jeremy Maclin, Jordan Matthews, Riley Cooper, Zach Ertz/James Casey/Brent Celek (who Peter, again, stated would be more productive this year), and LeSean McCoy? It just sort of seemed like that's who Peter thought would top this.

“Physically,” Griffin told me after practice, “I was able to go through a whole off-season without having to worry about injury or rehab. I was able to refine my craft in the off-season. It’s a lot easier to do that when you don’t have six hours of daily rehab to worry about. I am not having to come out to see if I can do anything. I know I can. On the field, two years of playing experience really helps you at any level of football.”

Robert Griffin last year: I'm healthy and have the rehab video to prove it! I can make all the moves I need to make on the field.

Robert Griffin this year: I wasn't that healthy last year and this year I am really totally healthy. I can make all the moves on the field I need to make.

Baltimore Ravens
Thursday, July 24
Ravens facility, Owings Mills, Md.
Ray Rice resumes his career, chastened

He's humbled by his experience of battering his fiance. It's really a great learning experience for him.

1. How will he respond to the suspension, and to the world at-large that thinks commissioner Roger Goodell let him off way too easy? Rice was significantly down, I’m told, when GM Ozzie Newsome told him the news before practice Thursday.

Ray Rice was so sad that he was punished for battering his fiance. I can't believe Roger Goodell made Ray Rice such a sad little man.

Not that the length of suspension was a slap to him—but because of the weight of feeling he let so many people down. He will have to rebuild a shattered reputation brick by brick, and continue to work on his marriage, all while trying to jump-start a career that was blown off course by an awful 2013.

This is the type of language Peter used in his column. He kept calling Rice contrite and discussed how he would work hard to rebuild his reputation. For a writer who loves to stand in judgment at any possible chance he gets, it's amazing to me that a player who commits violence against women would get the "Well, he knows he's let people down and there is a lot of hard work ahead of him, on and off the field" act from Peter.

2. Is he really out of the woods with his wife, and can he be trusted to never hit another woman? Obviously this is the crux of the ongoing story. His wife Janay told Goodell this was a one-time event that would never happen again, and Goodell apparently believed her, though domestic-abuse experts say that as often as not a victim won’t tell the truth, so as to save her partner’s neck.

You mean like the type of person who will choose to marry the person who abused them AFTER he was arrested and charged with the abuse? These are the type of people who would try to mitigate the punishment against their abuser? So basically, Janay fits this profile perfectly. Fantastic. The NFL is giving Ray Rice credit for his wife staying in a potentially abusive relationship.

3. What about Rice the player? Rice was making changes to his physical life before he struck his fiancée, losing about 15 pounds this off-season. He was too heavy last year to be effective, and couldn’t make anyone miss. Now 204, around his rookie-year weight, Rice seems to be ready to be very good again—for 14 games, at least. “I honestly think he’s going to dominate the league the way he did two or three years ago,’’ one Raven said. Rice had 2,068 rushing/receiving yards as recently as 2011. He looks and moves like he can still be an impact player.

Well, I guess that is what is important. So Greg Hardy is only getting a 2-game punishment too, right? I mean, he wasn't even in a relationship with the women he battered. They were on-and-off-again. I'm sure Peter will be harsher on him because Hardy owned guns and didn't work hard enough in the offseason to show himself as contrite. Plus, his accuser may not state that all is well and it was a one-time thing. Hardy wasn't able to keep his accuser in a long-term potentially abusive relationship, so he doesn't get that extra credit mitigation from the NFL. Still, Hardy only has to get two games, right? It's ridiculous if he does, but based on Rice's punishment, two games should be Hardy's punishment.

Rice will leave the team after the fourth preseason game, and he can return after the Ravens’ Sept. 11 Thursday night game against Pittsburgh. You can’t play football with your tail between your legs. So he’s going to find a way to make sure he’s ready when he walks back into football in September, trying to recapture the drive he had three years ago as a player.

Peter's coverage of Ray Rice in this situation has been a minor embarrassment. He's tone-deaf to the criticism on Twitter he has received for what he wrote about Rice's suspension and has of course turned it into an attack on him as a person and not an attack on what he has written. Peter King is the real victim here.

New York Giants
Wednesday, July 23
Giants facility, East Rutherford, N.J.
How do you change everything at age 67?

So, I asked the oldest head coach in the NFL, what does it take to hit restart at age 67?

“I looked at our team and I just felt like what I needed to do from a leadership standpoint was stimulate our veteran players,’’ he said. “Stimulate Eli. Create some energy, some renewed vigor, some enthusiasm for the unknown. Eli had played in this system for 10 years. We won two Super Bowls with it. His numbers from time to time have been out of sight. He’s a leading guy in the two-minute offense for any number of years, when we had great running teams, we had balance, he’d been incredible. He’s been the MVP of two Super Bowls. Eli’s had to do it like a young guy coming in. That’s exactly what he’s done. For me, I have to force myself, just like all the players, to learn a new system. It is stimulating. It does create a little bit of pressure.

If Chip Kelly had said this, then Peter would marvel at the brilliance of it all. He's talking about energy and renewed vigor, while creating an entirely new system. Peter would wonder how a human being could speak such nuggets of genius.

Coughlin knows energy is one thing, wins another. He’s one win away from passing Paul Brown on the all-time NFL wins list (“Wow,’’ he said when he heard this),

Thanks for that "wow" quote, Peter. It really added something to the column. 

Buffalo Bills
Monday, July 21
St. John Fisher College, Pittsford, N.Y.
You want to feel pressure? Be EJ Manuel for a day.

In a recent Bills’ practice, young GM Doug Whaley, who cut his teeth watching some bombs-away quarterbacks win games and titles in Pittsburgh—most recently Ben Roethlisberger—sidled up to EJ Manuel and said, “Don’t be perfect. Be a football player.”

Manuel led all quarterbacks in football last year in percentage of pass attempts to running backs. That usually means a quarterback is checking the ball down, playing it safe.

Two things in defense of Manuel. How many times have we read sportswriters compliment a young quarterback for "taking what the defense is giving him and not trying to do too much when a great play isn't there"? All of a sudden it's a bad thing when success doesn't result, but when a quarterback like Cam Newton, Nick Foles or Russell Wilson makes the smart play to reduce the chance of an interception then he's just being smart out there and taking care of the football. Also, checking down to a running back isn't such a bad thing when the running back catching the pass is C.J. Spiller.

That’s going to be something Whaley and the coaching staff must monitor. You don’t want to browbeat your quarterback, but you don’t want Watkins to be running clear-out routes either.

And then when Manuel throws 25 interceptions this year, Peter King will browbeat Manuel in MMQB (like he did Geno Smith last year when Smith has nearly zero good options in the passing game) for taking too many chances and being careless with the football. Peter thinks Manuel should throw the ball down the field, but it's probably smart to do this only when it's not unnecessarily risky. I have a feeling as soon as the season starts Peter will start to criticize Manuel for throwing too many risky passes down the field if Manuel doesn't check down to the running back as often.

“The really great athletes makes their news on the field, not off the field. We expect better from him.”
—Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam, on his life-of-the-party quarterback, Johnny Manziel.
It’s clear the Browns are chapped by his lifestyle, which I’ll address in Ten Things on Page 4.

Jimmy Haslam is a fucking moron in drafting Johnny Manziel and then getting angry Manziel is making noise off the field. What did he expect? The media covers Manziel as much as possible and it's not like this was just going to stop once Manziel entered the NFL. He hangs out with beautiful women and parties. This wasn't going to just magically change once he had money. It's ridiculous to think it would. Haslam drafted Johnny Manziel for the hype and excitement and now he's getting salty at the fact he's drafted Johnny Manziel because there are other parts of Manziel he doesn't like. Too bad. You wanted him, you got him.

“Don’t sign Dalton. He sucks”
—Banner on a highway overpass near the Cincinnati Bengals practice fields at training camp Friday, referring to contract negotiations with quarterback Andy Dalton, not the biggest fan favorite after three straight Wild Card playoff losses in his three NFL seasons.

Man, how quickly Bengals fans have forgotten how the franchise was so terrible a decade ago. I guess a few years of moderate success and playoff appearances has caused them to forget they would have been thrilled with three straight playoff appearances back in 2003. Now it's just not good enough for them. Andy Dalton may suck, but the other options could suck worse. Of course Peter has to put in MMQB how much Dalton sucks. It's his mission to make sure everyone knows Andy Dalton is just a huge disappointment and should be paid minimum wage to play quarterback in the NFL.

So the Saints’ defensive coaches harped from the start of the first padded practice about taking the ball away. “Get the [explective] ball out!’’ defensive coordinator Rob Ryan screamed as Khiry Robinson tried to power through the line on an inside run drill. And so on.

Apparently the idea of Rob Ryan yelling was so intriguing to Peter King that he had to include two separate instances of Ryan yelling. If Ryan yelled in the voice of Chip Kelly then Peter would just swoon to no end.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

First: thanks to GoRVing.com for the groovy 30-foot RV.

It seems Peter dropped enough hints that he wanted someone else to pay for his RV that a company finally relented and gave him a groovy (Sweet mother-of-all-that-is-holy, "groovy"?) RV. Few sportswriters know how to passively-aggressively beg for free shit like Peter.
  • Sunday July 20: Drive 330 miles from New York City to Pittsford, N.Y., to see the Bills for two days.
  • Monday night, July 21: Drive 330 miles back to New York. 
  • Tuesday, July 22: Off day.
  • Wednesday, July 23: Drive eight miles from New York to the Meadowlands for Giants practice.
  • Thursday, July 24: Drive 199 miles from New York to Owings Mills, Md., for the Ravens, and, after a long day there, drive 163 miles to Richmond in advance of Washington’s practice there Friday.
  • Friday, July 25: Watch Washington practice, work for awhile, then drive 88 miles to Woodbridge, Va., for the Potomac Nationals-Carolina MudCats minor-league ballgame. Then drive 118 miles to Newark, Del., to stay for the night.
  • Saturday, July 26: A bear. Drive 42 miles to Philadelphia for Eagles practice. Late in the afternoon, drive 198 miles to Winchester, Va., eat dinner at Violino Ristorante (thank you, internet), and drive 186 miles to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. A Hampton Inn bed never felt so good.
  • Geographical-interlude highlight: We were in three states—Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia—in the span of one minute Saturday around 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, July 27: Drive 308 miles from White Sulphur Springs to Gaffney, S.C., just shy of Panthers’ camp for their Monday practice.
I wonder how many people during the past week said, "I wonder what Peter King's RV agenda is for this week?" I'm guessing not many. It's a lot of driving, but I'm pretty sure Peter is well-compensated and the key point is that he isn't even driving the bus. He's sitting and writing columns. I would feel much more sympathy if Peter had to drive this whole way, but someone else is driving. Peter is just sitting, writing, eating and drinking.

There’s something slightly creepy about that. Can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s strange.

Well, when the commissioner hasn't taken action regarding your off the field arrest, I guess you have some more money laying around. Nothing like buying people off for good will.

No comment from Peter here. He's submitting this Tweet without comment it seems. For a guy who has strong opinions on a lot of issues and a forum he has used in the past to express those opinions it's a little interesting Peter doesn't take a stronger stand on Rice, that's all. He's not afraid to defy Roger Goodell on occasion. He won't call the Redskins by their name, but it seems he takes the "Some people don't think the 2-game suspension" route instead of taking a stronger stand. Not that Peter has to take a strong stand, again, but it seems to me that violence against women and the NFL's reaction would be an issue Peter got as worked up about as he does the Redskins team name and whether the Marriott had hot coffee at 6am or not.

Not everyone has to agree two games is not enough, but express that opinion in the same forum you express every other opinion that crosses your mind during a given week. It only makes sense for Peter to do so rather than start to act like he's the one being attacked after he writes a not-weighty, somewhat tone-deaf column about Ray Rice. Again, this can only mean Greg Hardy would get two games for his arrest and that's not enough. But now, if Hardy gets more, that's bullshit. What? Because the women agrees she deserved to get beaten or it was a one-time thing that mitigates the action in some way?

I had no expectations for Rice's punishment. I feel two games isn't a sufficient punishment. It also annoys me the NFL seemed to mitigate his punishment because his wife said it was a one-time thing and had never happened before or since. It's like the NFL is giving Rice bonus points for his wife staying in a potentially abusive relationship. It's the act that is supposed to be punished, not whether the victim of the act is willing to forgive that person or not.

Ten Things I Think I Think

2. I think this would worry me—a lot—if I were Cleveland coach Mike Pettine, and Cleveland owner Jimmy Halsam: the photo of first-round rookie quarterback Johnny Manziel tightly rolling a $20 bill in the bathroom of a bar, as reported by Mary Kay Cabot of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. There’s no crime in that, obviously. But it’s certainly suspicious.

Yes, because we all know the NFL punishes consistent failed drug tests with a year-long ban. Wouldn't want that to happen to Manziel. I wonder if the NFL would mitigate Josh Gordon's year-long punishment if the drugs he used swore it was only a three-time thing?

3. I think if you’ve read me since March, you know I’m a champion of Manziel the player. I think he has a chance to be a terrific NFL player and game-changer. I don’t want him to go to a monastery every night. I want him to understand this is the big leagues, not the big party leagues. And image counts. It’s not everything, but it counts.

I think logic would dictate that if a college athlete is partying and enjoying a faster paced lifestyle then he won't suddenly change once he gets more money, becomes a professional athlete and gains more fame. Somehow through this whole process Johnny Manziel convinced writers like Peter King he is a totally different person now. I claimed it was his PR person helping out, but writers like Peter bought in. Now they are totally shocked that Johnny Manziel is still partying. Manziel wasn't going to change once he got paid. He's still going to be great on the field at times, make dumb decisions at times and go out and party for a few more years. It annoys me that writers like Peter King act like Manziel pulled the wool over their eyes when it was them who wanted to believe and buy-in to what Manziel was trying to sell.

7. I think the way the league operates this will not happen, but if I were Roger Goodell, I’d take time this week to explain why I suspended Ray Rice for two games and not more. The reason he won’t do this is because it will extend an ugly story for another couple of news cycles, because whatever he says he’ll get bashed over the head for it by people who think he went far too soft on Rice for domestic violence on his then-fiancée Janay Palmer. 

And of course Goodell doesn't have to explain himself. He probably won't. But I hope the reason he doesn't explain himself isn't because he is afraid of getting more bad press and criticism. That's sort of a weenie way out. 

But this is the one time, even if the criticism continued sharply, I think Goodell needs to come out and explain himself. Too many women, and plenty of men, feel outraged over this.

Meanwhile, Peter King wants us to know that Ray Rice is ready to dominate again this year, has lost weight, and wants to prove he's still a great player. That's his contribution to the discussion.

9. I think that was a touching thing you did, Christian Ponder and Samantha Ponder, naming your daughter Bowden, after Bobby Bowden, and surprising him with the news over the phone.

Almost as touching as congratulating them publicly for their touching action. Almost.

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

c. Carolina had the bases loaded with none out in the top of the first. Next batter walked. Potomac pitcher can’t find the plate. Goes to 2-0 on the next hitter. I announce: “Neil, the batter won’t swing here. Manager will make him take a pitch until this pitcher can throw a strike.” Words are just out of my mouth. Windup. Pitch. CRACK! A Puig-like laser lines into the trees high over the left-field fence. Boy, I know my baseball.

Boy, Peter sure is humble about his lack of knowledge regarding baseball. He's such a dunce! Now he will pretend he never said this and analyze what Jon Lester's new contract would look like. Remember, he's a moron about baseball, but treat this next passage with his opinion as the opinion of someone who is really smart about baseball.

d. Tough call, whether to pay Jon Lester. I have no doubt the Yankees would sign him if he became a free-agent after the season and the Red Sox didn’t come close to the New York offer. The knee-jerk reaction is to say, “You’ve got to pay him! He’s your ace!” I lean toward agreeing—but at what price for a pitcher who’s 31 next opening day? Look at the track record of paying thirty-something players $20-million-plus, and it’s not good at all. I think if Boston offers $105 million over five, or something like that, it almost certainly wouldn’t get the deal done. But $25-million a year, for a 31-year-old pitcher? Count me out.

Wait, so $21 million per year for a 31-year old pitcher is fine. Go for it and get it done. But that extra $20 million or $4 million per year, let's pump the brakes there! Peter thinks the track record of paying pitchers over 30 years of age $20 million or more isn't very good, so his solution is to pay Lester $21 million per year...but just not $25 million per year, because that's going way overboard.

See, Peter pays attention to the data he is throwing out to say the Red Sox shouldn't give Lester $20 million or more per year, then completely ignores the data he threw out and says the Red Sox should give Lester $21 million per year. Apparently Peter doesn't think $21 million is more than $20 million.

e. Coffeenerdness: Thought it was funny to see at the Hampton Inn in Lewisburg, W.Va., a coffee urn put out with breakfast labeled “robust.” It jut might have been robust if they put 8 ounces instead of 64 through the grounds. That coffee was as weak as a two-week-old Calico.

Hey, if only Peter would get this worked up about violence against women.

g. Caught snippets of the Hall of Fame speeches from Cooperstown. Greg Maddux should teach a graduate class in Cool at Harvard.

(Checks Harvard schedule of classes) There is no class in Cool at Harvard. Neither is there a class in "Throwing a baseball well to where the other team can't hit it," which is the real class Maddux should teach, if there was such a class.

The Adieu Haiku
Why I love these camps:
Rob Ryan’s a blast to watch.
And the voice. Priceless.

This is the third separate time Peter has mentioned loving the sound of Rob Ryan's voice. It's starting to get creepy.

I like how Peter put in this MMQB how grueling his travel schedule was, while also mentioning the cool minor league baseball games and other fun events he got to attend during the week. So it's a grind, except not really.


Slag-King said...

Coughlin knows energy is one thing, wins another. He’s one win away from passing Paul Brown on the all-time NFL wins list (“Wow,’’ he said when he heard this),

I cannot tell what kind of "Wow" this is. Impressed wow? Snarky wow? Sarcastic wow? Team makes horrible, lazy mistakes wow? This is such a throwaway line that it feels that it seems that Peter has no respect for Coughlin even though he "praises" Coughlin.

Anonymous said...

"Totally confident that his style will work in the NFL. Unlike Johnson, Kelly’s not brash on the outside. Like Johnson, he knows deep down his way will win."

I've always wondered this when sports talking heads go on and on about a coach who believes his way will win. Doesn't basically every coach in every sport believe his way will win? If I were a GM I would fire a coach immediately if he said to me, well I really don't think my way is gonna win you a lot of games or championships but I'm getting paid so what the hell. I have to think every coach on some level believes their way is the right way.

Except for Jeff Fisher who only knows the right way to 8-8.

Bengoodfella said...

Slag, that is true. Maybe Coughlin was thinking, "I've been coaching way too long and that's proof." I don't think Peter had too much else to talk about with the Giants, which surprises me honestly. I'm sure he'll make up for it. There had to be plenty of time for Chip Kelly quotes you know.

Anon, that's a really good point. You have to figure every coach thinks that his way will win or else he wouldn't use that way, right? NFL coaches probably are mostly all confident their way will win.

Oh, Jeff Fisher. He's going to go 12-4 one season and someone will make me feel stupid. Just wait another year. 8-8 will be coming, I know it.

Ericb said...

Looks like Peter is using Chip Kelly to rebound off his Schiano love affair and is using his Andy Dalton hate-crush to compensate for all the bile he lost now that Josh Freeman is no longer in the NFL.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, pretty soon we are going to hear all about how the Bengals wasted money on Andy Dalton this season. I think Peter will have a heart attack if Dalton re-signs to a $100 million contract.

rich said...

Eli had played in this system for 10 years. We won two Super Bowls with it.

Kevin Gilbride sucked and the reason the Giants won those Super Bowls had to do with a great pass rush and the offense became centered around not making the worst decision possible.

Second and 15? Run up the middle.
Third and 2? Fly route!

Gilbride took the same mindset to offensive playcalling that M Night Shamalyan brings to "plot twists."

Manuel led all quarterbacks in football last year in percentage of pass attempts to running backs. That usually means a quarterback is checking the ball down, playing it safe.

I love how Peter says that this usually means the QB is checking it down. How about doing your god damn job and telling us why this QB was throwing a lot of passes to his RBs.

Lets look shall we?

Buffalo's top receivers:

1) Scott Chandler - TE
2) Stevie Johnson - WR
3) Fred Jackson - RB
4) Robert Woods - WR
5) CJ Spiller - RB

You know why E.J. targeted the RBs? Because his WRs are dogshit. There's a reason this team traded up for Sammy "Basically a #1 overall pick" Watkins.

Seriously, you give Tom Brady this roster and he'd be checking down to Jackson and Spiller too.

Bengoodfella said...

Rich, you know what I just realized? Peter quoted Chip Kelly (and seemed to agree with this point of view) that people expect too much from draft picks early in their career. Yet, Peter spent a good portion of last year telling us how bad Geno Smith was playing and he's being a little hard on E.J. Manuel also.

It seems that Peter thinks the idea young players have a learning curve and shouldn't be judged so harshly so quickly, expect he doesn't care and will do it anyway.

Woods was a rookie, Johnson probably is a #2 and the other three guys are a RB and a TE. I don't understand how checking down is a bad thing necessarily. Yes, a quarterback needs to take risks, but a young quarterback shouldn't force throws. I know that's what Favre would do, but still.