Thursday, August 28, 2014

11 comments Gregg Easterbrook Is Never Actually Wrong, He Just Doesn't Understand His Own Argument

Gregg Easterbrook helped ESPN introduce ESPN Grade last week in TMQ. It was the disaster that I was anticipating it would be. ESPN Grade only took the academic and football rankings of teams ranked in the Top 25, then ranked these teams against each other in order to see which college programs took academics seriously. I find it to be a useless metric. Gregg also "previewed" the AFC, while not really providing a preview of any kind, and more was reviewing what happened last year. This week Gregg "previews" the NFC, finds out he was wrong about Jacksonville giving money to build a new scoreboard instead of giving the money to the Jacksonville public schools and talks yet again about "creep." It's the topic some idiot readers write into Gregg claiming to notice and then this gives Gregg cause to continue writing about it. Make it stop.

The 2013 NFL season ended with the Seattle Seahawks crushing Denver in the Super Bowl. But will they even reach the playoffs this season?

No, because they have too many undrafted, hard-working players who have become highly-drafted glory boys who only care about themselves and look into the backfield while trying to cover a receiver. It's been decided.

The two prior Super Bowl victors, the Ravens and Giants, failed to reach the postseason the following year. Those two clubs were a combined 17-15 in the seasons following their confetti shower after the final contest. Fifteen of the 48 Super Bowl winners -- nearly a third of those to hoist the Lombardi Trophy -- didn't make the playoffs the next year.

I can't speak for other NFL teams who have won the Super Bowl, but as I explained in MMQB on Tuesday, the Seahawks may be different because they were a dominant team over the entire season who is bringing back the core of their team. Both the Giants and Ravens weren't dominant over the course of the entire season they won the Super Bowl and also lost key players from that Super Bowl-winning team. The Seahawks lost players like Golden Tate, but a healthy Percy Harvin more than makes up for that loss. So I would think the Seahawks have a better chance than recent Super Bowl winners of repeating as champs.

More than that, the 16-game season means a break here or a bounce there can be the difference between a playoff run and January on the couch. MLB teams play 162 regular-season contests, and NBA teams play 82; in that many the impact of luck washes out, and the best teams earn the postseason invites. Just one of the NBA's 68 title teams, the 1998 Chicago Bulls, failed to reach the next postseason. Then baseball and basketball play five- or seven-game postseason series. Luck might determine the victor in any one game; after seven games, the best team almost always wins.

Which explains perfectly why five Wild Card teams have won the World Series since it was instituted in 1995 and five other Wild Card teams made the World Series, but lost. You know, the better team in MLB almost always wins because the season is so long and a seven game series takes removes the variable of luck. Maybe Gregg thinks the better baseball team just isn't the team that won it's division.

Since football's relatively small number of regular-season contests are followed by a postseason knockout round, practically anything can happen.

Baseball also has a one-game knockout Wild Card round. Gregg does have a point about the small number of regular season contests and how that impacts which teams make the playoffs, but baseball does now have the one-game Wild Card game where anything can happen. 

For the Ravens in their Super Bowl year, two long, fluky, last-second gains at San Diego and Denver were the difference between a magnificent season and also-ran status. For the Giants in their Super Bowl year, every bounce of the ball went their way in the NFC title contest at San Francisco, and then again in the Super Bowl versus New England.

Lady Luck smiled on the Seahawks in 2013 and perhaps will again this year -- but don't count on it.

I don't recall the Seahawks having luck like the Ravens had with Rahim Moore allowing the long pass to Jacoby Jones two seasons ago and the fumble by Kyle Williams of the 49ers three seasons ago that benefited the Giants (was that really luck?). I know, facts are malleable things Gregg enjoys bending to his will.

Conventional wisdom holds that first- and second-round draft selections are the essence of football success. Yet the Seahawks won the Super Bowl the past season with the league's second-lowest total of games played by first- and second-round selections;

So this must mean that first round draft choices are useless because the Seahawks didn't have many players who were first or second round picks. That's the only logical conclusion here.

Seattle got fine performances from mid-round and late-round selections, while seven of the top 10 teams for games by high draft picks failed to make the playoffs.

A little-known guy who goes all-out can be a better NFL performer than a highly drafted star, and Seattle had little-known guys going all out in 2013. This was best exemplified by seventh-round draft selection Malcolm Smith's winning the Super Bowl's MVP trophy, while Peyton Manning (No. 1 overall pick in 1998) and Champ Bailey (seventh overall in 1999) had their heads in their hands.

If anyone should have their head in their hands, it is Gregg Easterbrook for intentionally misleading and lying to his audience. He picks two high draft choices from the Broncos when he wants to prove the Broncos have highly-paid glory boys, but he'll also be sure to talk later this season about little known Julius Thomas and undrafted Wes Welker when it's convenient for him to do so. The Seahawks had first round pick Marshawn Lynch running the football and first round pick (and highly-paid glory boy) Percy Harvin return a kickoff for a touchdown in the Super Bowl.

Here are the most games played by first- and second-round choices in the 2013 season:

Cincinnati 263
Kansas City 255
Jersey/B 254
Jersey/A 253
San Francisco 243
Detroit 224
Baltimore 223
Tennessee 222
Minnesota 220
Atlanta 219

Over the last three years, eight of these ten teams have made the playoffs.

Buffalo 217
Indianapolis 216
Pittsburgh 214
Arizona 214
St. Louis 210
Carolina 208
Denver 204
Cleveland 204
Washington 203
Houston 198
Chicago 193
Philadelphia 192
New England 190
San Diego 188
City of Tampa 175
New Orleans 173
Jacksonville 163
Green Bay 160
Oakland 158
Dallas 146
Seattle 141
Miami 124

Over the last three years, 12 of these 22 teams have made the playoffs. the results change a bit when you extrapolate the data past one season.

Now, onto TMQ's NFC preview

It's a review, not a preview. Nothing is being previewed.

Atlanta: Was it really just a year and a half ago that the Falcons, hosting the NFC title contest, came within a couple snaps of the Super Bowl? It seems so much longer, especially to those who endured the team's 2013 tailspin.

Gregg Easterbrook earlier in this column: "NFL teams may not make the playoffs one year and then make the playoffs the next year because of the 16 game schedule This is normal."

Gregg Easterbrook here: "I can't believe it's been one season since the Falcons have made the playoffs! It seems so long ago! Who would have thought the Falcons would miss the playoffs the year after almost making the Super Bowl?"

Since they took their home field for the NFC title game, the Falcons are 4-13. General manager Thomas Dimitroff gambled the club's future on the 2011 kings' ransom trade for Julio Jones, and the gamble failed. Not only did Atlanta fail to reach the Super Bowl, but Jones also has failed to justify the trade.

The Falcons are 27-21 since acquiring Julio Jones. Jones has 174 receptions in 34 games played, with 2,737 yards and 20 touchdowns. Gregg is absolutely lying that Julio Jones hasn't justified the trade. Any team in the NFL would trade for a player who averages 5 catches, 80 yards and 0.58 touchdowns per game. Any team. That is 80 catches for 1280 yards and 9 touchdown catches in a 16 game season. Gregg is annoying as hell when he downplays a first round pick's performance simply because he wants it to fit his narrative.

Now the Falcons are on the downward side of a talent cycle. The defense was among the league's worst in 2013 and offered a raft of has-beens.

Gregg linked the Falcons defense for the 2014 season, but he wouldn't know that because he doesn't read the links he posts. The Top 15 defensive players (in terms of tackles) on the Falcons 2013 team had an average of 4.8 years in the NFL (which puts them at the age of 26-28 years of age) and started three rookies on defense. ESPN has to do better than give Gregg Easterbrook a forum for his lies.

The Falcons' running game is expected to make another try at featuring Steven Jackson. But with the most carries in the league in the past decade -- 2,553 -- it's hard to believe Jackson's body can withstand much more.

Which is probably why they drafted Devonta Freeman to back up Jackson. I can't wait until Freeman has a great year and Gregg talks about how Freeman wasn't picked until the fourth round behind glory boys like Bishop Sankey and Carlos Hyde, yet on August 26 Gregg Easterbrook had no idea Freeman even existed on the Falcons roster. He's such a fraud.

Network politics note: Atlanta finished 4-12 the past season and gets a Monday Night Football appearance in 2014; Washington finished 3-13 and gets two MNF dates; Buffalo had a better record than either and will not appear on Monday Night Football.

It's almost like nationally televised games are based on ratings and not a team's record the previous season.

Arizona: The past season, the Cardinals finished 10-6, then stayed home as 8-7-1 Green Bay and 9-7 San Diego advanced to the postseason -- yet another point in favor of TMQ's contention that the NFL postseason should be a seeded tournament, a la March Madness. Because west-of-the-Rockies NFL teams don't seem to impact the national sports consciousness during the regular season, Arizona's 2013 performance is a blank spot in the minds of all but the team's fan base and the most ardent football enthusiasts.

Just last year Gregg Easterbrook wrote a TMQ about how West Coast football was in style and now he's claiming no one pays attention to the West Coast NFL teams, despite the fact two of the four teams in the AFC and NFC Championship Games played west of the Rockies and the Broncos are just east of the Rockies. Consistency is not Gregg's thing.

The Cactus Wrens played stout defense in 2013 and finished sixth overall. Three of the league's top six defenses of 2013 were west-of-the-Rockies, which leads to TMQ's theory that the West Coast Offense has given way to the West Coast Defense. The West Coast Defense is back to basics -- few gimmick fronts, little blitzing, disciplined linebackers.

Yeah, but the 49ers run that 3-4 defense that Gregg referred to as a "fad" a few years ago. I guess that's a fad defense, but not a gimmicky one?

Carson Palmer revived his fading career with Arizona in 2013 but threw 22 interceptions. 

Julio Jones is one of the best receivers in the NFL and he hasn't justified the picks given up to acquire him, meanwhile Carson Palmer threw two more touchdowns than interceptions, had the 20th best QB rating, and 19th best QBR rating and Gregg thinks he revived his fading career. There's no logical reason for his points of view.

All coaches claim to face killer schedules -- this helps set expectations low -- but Arizona has an actual killer schedule: eight contests versus playoff teams from the past season, including four games versus Seattle and San Francisco, last year's two strongest teams, and a date at Denver.

Yeah, but since some NFL teams have a hard time making it back to the playoffs in back-to-back years this killer schedule may not mean much due to these playoffs teams from 2013 possibly taking a step back during the 2014 season and not making the playoffs.

Unified Field Theory of Creep: Reader Randall Pierce of Fredericksburg, Virginia: "On August 15th, my wife received an email from Pottery Barn urging her 'not to miss out' on 'spooktacular Halloween costumes.'" Get your Halloween shopping done before Labor Day!

I feel like I need to find a shorthand for, "Retail stores try to create urgency in consumers in order to get them to purchase items as early as possible in order to make as much money as possible." As I've said a thousand times, the fact Gregg Easterbrook and Randall from Virginia don't understand how retail works is more of a reflection on them than it is an example of "creep."

Carolina's defense plays a Tampa 2 with press corners, deep safeties and little blitzing. As in the original Tampa 2, Carolina's fast linebackers are the key.

Carolina does play a Tampa 2, but they really don't. Sean McDermott's defense is inspired by Jim Johnson's attacking defense, so there are definite differences. Still, when the front four can get pressure and the corners are horrendous, that team plays a lot of Cover 2 or Cover 3.

He will be protected by left tackle Byron Bell, an undrafted free agent from a University of New Mexico team that went 1-11. A classic late bloomer, Bell is outperforming several highly touted tackles from his draft year, including first-round selections Gabe Carimi and Derek Sherrod.

Is Bell outperforming these guys? Bell has a -2.8 rating at right tackle last year and he is now protecting Cam Newton's blind side (in related news, Newton is going to be murdered this year by a pass rusher). The only ones who are really confident Byron Bell can play left tackle is the Panthers coaching staff and I bet most of their confidence is because there are few other options. Just because he's undrafted and starts doesn't mean Bell is a good football player. His performance last year and against Chandler Jones in the preseason says differently.

Half the plots on the many "Star Trek" serials boiled down to this formula:

1. Crew notices something interesting.
2. Captain leads away team that investigates.
3. The thing is not what it seemed! Captain is in grave peril.
4. Remainder of the episode is a rescue mission.

Then stop watching "Star Trek." It's that easy.

Female personnel have served on United States surface combatant vessels for about 20 years and on submarines for about two years, so the show's depiction of a casually mixed-gender complement is accurate. But the women of the James, on active duty aboard a warship during the apocalypse, wear eye makeup and lipstick. Don't they know loose lips sink ships?

That's a great point, Gregg. All women in the military are ugly and never wear any type of makeup. If "The Last Ship" was realistic it would not have the women wearing any makeup and they would spend most of their time on the ship being sexually harassed. Gregg had to admit the show had a realistic battleship depiction, so he was stretching to try and find something to criticize about the show.

New head coach Lovie Smith cut Pro Bowl tackle Donald Penn without even discussing the situation with him.

No way! This must be the first time a person was fired without a three hour long conversation about why he's being fired.

Going into the past season, a scout might have said Tampa's best players were Darrelle Revis, Josh Freeman, Carl Nicks, Mike Williams and Penn. When Smith arrived, all were unceremoniously shown the door -- four waived, one traded for a late-round draft choice.

A scout might have also said different players were the Buccaneers best players. Josh Freeman was traded before Lovie Smith showed up, but again, I wouldn't want facts to get in the way of the narrative that Gregg is pushing. God knows he doesn't give a shit about facts. Carl Nicks was perpetually injured, Darrelle Revis was expensive (highly-paid glory boy who only cares about himself alert!), Josh Freeman had conflict with Greg Schiano and Mike Williams seemed to have some troubles that led to his being traded. It's not like these players were released or traded for no reason.

City of Tampa enters the new season on its third head coach-general manager combination in six seasons. By unloading high-profile players from the previous regime, Smith and new general manager Jason Licht set the bar low: If the team wins, all is well; if it loses, they can't possibly be expected to win now, considering the mess they inherited!

Or they are trying to clean up the mess they inherited, but that couldn't possibly be the case could it?

The Windy City is known for its sports curses -- the Billy Goat Curse on the Cubs (no pennant since tossing the owner of the Billy Goat Tavern and his pet goat from a game in 1945), the Shoeless Joe Curse on the White Sox (no World Series win for most of a century because Shoeless Joe could not say it ain't so) and the Honey Bears Curse on the Bears (no Super Bowl victory since abolishing their cheerleader squad in 1985 for the crime of "being too sexy"). Soon the Devin Hester Curse might be added.

Great, so if the Bears don't win the Super Bowl this year then Gregg will blame it on a fake curse and only on a fake curse.

This offseason, Jerry Jones agreed to $110 million ($40 guaranteed) for Tyron Smith. Last offseason, Jones agreed to $108 million ($55 million guaranteed) for Tony Romo. Thus, in about 12 months, Jones promised $218 million ($95 million guaranteed) to two players who have combined for a career total of one postseason victory.

When Gregg hands out facts like this, it makes me want to punch something. He's now blaming an offensive lineman for the Cowboys not winning but one playoff game. I almost don't even know what to say. I can't fathom how Gregg combines the career total of playoff wins of an offensive lineman and a quarterback and then thinks he has a point.

Romo is 1-3 in the playoffs; Smith has never made a playoffs appearance. So let's break the bank to make sure we keep these guys together!

Tyron Smith is 23 years old, has been in the NFL for only three years and was named to the Pro Bowl, as well as was named second team All-Pro. It's fun to bash Jerry Jones, but he paid for a left tackle who isn't even close to being in his prime. Playoff victories have nothing to do with it.

The Lions have spent lavishly on their defensive line -- three recent high No. 1 picks -- and don't have much to show for it, having finished 28th in sacks in 2013. Even this modest performance might decline; high No. 1 draft choice defensive tackle Nick Fairley showed up for camp overweight and out of shape and was introduced to the bench. Last season Detroit was sixth on offense and 16th on defense --

Green Bay has used its last three first-round choices on defenders Nick Perry, Datone Jones and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix. Clinton-Dix has not had a chance to play, but Perry and Jones have -- and combined for just 11 of a possible 51 starts. The past season the Packers were third in offense and 25th in defense. Green Bay was the sole playoff team that allowed at least 30 touchdown passes. It does not matter how flashy Aaron Rodgers is if the defense can't stop a stiff breeze. And think about this: in 2013, in the traditionally bruising NFC North, Chicago, Green Bay and Minnesota all had bottom-quintile defenses.

Remember, Gregg calls this a "preview" and he just can't stop only talking about what happened last season.

The summer's chart-topper was Iggy Azalea's "Fancy," but this song is like gulping an icy drink -- nice for a moment, but soon you wish you hadn't.

Great analogy, Gregg. Reading TMQ is like eating a shit sandwich. There's no reason to do it other than to prove you hate yourself.

If "Fancy" were the song of summer 2014, what would that say about the human condition?

It would say that humans like catchy songs.

But today's short-passing tactics and strict enforcement of the chuck rule -- which TMQ continues to think should be called the Charles rule -- 

Gregg gets paid to write this shit. Paid. To write the "chuck rule" should be called "the Charles rule."

Manning has two Super Bowl rings and is 8-3 in the postseason; Tony Romo is 1-3 in the postseason and has becoming really proficient at watching the Super Bowl on television. Guess who has the bigger contract.

Guess who signed their contract five years ago and the amount a good quarterback receives per season in a contract has increased since then?

Gregg is great at comparing apples and oranges, as long as the apple has been sitting out on the counter for two months, while the orange was just picked, and then he will marvel this orange tastes better than the apple so all oranges must taste better than apples.

Last season, Minnesota finished 31st in defense and 23rd in passing offense. Despite a huge investment of draft picks in their secondary, the Vikings allowed a league-worst 37 touchdown passes and were second worst in passing yards surrendered.

The Vikings started a 3rd round pick, 7th round pick, 1st round pick, and 2nd round pick last year. They were backed up by a 5th round pick, 1st round pick, and two undrafted players. I'm not sure I would consider that a huge investment of draft picks.

Now the Vikings might start a rookie quarterback along with a rookie coach, Mike Zimmer, who has never been a head coach at any level, not even in high school. What could go wrong?

If Gregg had been paying attention, he would know the Vikings named Matt Cassel the starter prior to TMQ being posted. I recognize it's not Gregg's job to actually know what he is talking about, rather it is his job to react to what just happened and then criticize the parties involved. Also, Mike Tomlin was not a head coach at any level before he coached the Steelers, John Fox had never been a head coach prior to coaching the Panthers, and Tony Dungy wasn't a head coach before coaching the Buccaneers. So not having been a head coach at any level doesn't mean anything in regard to whether a rookie NFL head coach will have success in that position.

Unified Field Theory of Creep #2: Reader Tony Manganello of Upland, Indiana, writes, "I teach as an adjunct at a small Midwestern liberal arts university and on March 12, 2014, received an exam copy of a textbook called Cases in International Relations: Pathways to Conflict and Cooperation. It's copyrighted 2015."

I hope this guy doesn't teach copyright law, because this isn't "creep." My understanding from researching copyrights is this just means the publisher mis-marked the date of production and this could be a defense against infringement on this copyright. But what a cutesy little mention of "creep." Very fanciful.

From earlier in this TMQ:

Boys PR watch: New Dallas defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli is likely to be praised this season for doing a great job. Why? Last season the Cowboys had the league's worst defense, so the numbers can only improve.

In 2012 the Boy Scouts' defense was egregious and allowed the most yards in NFL annals. In 2013, that defense was excellent and finished fourth against yards. This one-season jump from 32nd to fourth, moving up 28 places, is the second-best defensive improvement ever by rank; 2001 to 2002, the Panthers improved from 32nd to second against yards. That team allowed 81 fewer yards per game in its improved 2002 season; the Saints of 2013 allowed 135 fewer yards per contest than the previous year. In essence, the 2013 Saints gave up three fewer drives per game -- spectacular improvement.

The early 2013 arrival of defensive coordinator Rob Ryan was the most obvious change, because Ryan is such a visible presence on the New Orleans sideline.

While there is reason to compliment Ryan's improvement with the Saints defense, I just thought this was funny. The ranking can only improve so that's true, but it's fine for Gregg to praise a defensive coordinator when he improves the defense from worst to 4th in the NFL, but silly and egregiously dumb when someone else praises for a defensive coordinator increasing his defense's ranking from worst in the league the season before.

And now the party is joined by Jairus Byrd, one of the league's top defenders. He and last year's first-round choice, Kenny Vaccaro, should give the Saints an outstanding pair of safeties.

Outstanding safeties drafted in the first and second round. Very interesting.

Unwanted by San Diego and Miami, Drew Brees continues to spin the scoreboard at New Orleans and at this point is a slam-dunk for Canton.

I've debunked this myth so many times, I'm not going to do it again. Okay, I will. Both San Diego and Miami made contract offers to Brees and he chose to go to New Orleans, where in no coincidence, he was being offered the most guaranteed money. Gregg has pushed this narrative for a while now, but Brees chose the team that offered him the most money. He wasn't unwanted by Miami and San Diego, New Orleans was just willing to offer him more money to show they wanted him more.

Not bad for a guy who's too short to play QB!

He was the first pick of the second round in 2001. He was considered too short, but it didn't hurt his draft stock too dramatically.

Brees squats in the huddle, gazing up at his teammates then leaping to his feet at the break. This extra exertion -- not many quarterbacks would want to get down then get up before every play -- seems a byproduct of Brees's cross-fit-style offseason conditioning program, which emphasizes core strength rather than bicep and quad strength.

Oh yeah, anecdotal evidence proves this as true.

Jax Tax: Last week I excoriated Jacksonville for spending $43 million in taxpayers' money on Jaguars scoreboard upgrades rather than on improving the city's sketchy public schools. Many Jax fans countered that I did not understand local law. For example, JD tweeted: "The $43 million comes from a hotel tax that is specifically obligated for sports facilities and promoting tourism."

That's true, but what difference does it make?

It makes a difference because you stated this money went to the Jaguars instead of going to the public school system, when this money would NEVER have gone to the public school system because it was earmarked for tourism. Quite frankly, if you don't know the difference then you are being willfully stupid or are just actually stupid. Money earmarked for sports facilities and promoting tourism won't ever go to the schools. So the idea this money could have gone to the public schools was wrong. That's the difference. Just say you were wrong.

If local law taxes hotels to support professional sports, it's still public money underwriting NFL profit.

But that wasn't your argument. Your argument was this money should be going to the schools, not to the NFL. You can't change your argument now that you have been proven wrong. It is public money underwriting NFL profit, but that's not the argument you were making. You made the argument it was NFL money underwriting profit at the expense of the public schools, when this was proven to be incorrect.

Gregg doesn't even understand his own argument he was making. Either that or (surprise!) he's lying and misleading his readers as he is prone to do.

Plus, bear in mind that market theory says whatever you tax, you get less of. Taxing hotel use discourages hotel use, which is bad for tourism. If Jacksonville politicians insist on discouraging tourism by taxing hotel beds, the proceeds should serve a public purpose, not private profit for the one percent.

Gregg is wrong because he didn't do sufficient research on this topic, so he changes the subject to make himself look right and talk about a subject he knows more about. I don't see how someone can read TMQ and not see the fraud that is Gregg Easterbrook. He's a phony. When he's wrong about criticism he makes, he changes the subject. He can't just say he was wrong or say, "You know I didn't even read the article I linked or do any research prior to making the criticism."

Football columns are unlikely to be your best source of information on social trends.

Or in the case of TMQ, football columns aren't likely to be the best source of information about football.

St. Louis: Like the Vikings, the Rams are swimming in high draft selections -- nine first- or second-round choices over the past three drafts. And like the Vikings, Les Mouflons don't have much to show for it, having gone 14-17-1 since the mega-trade that sent Robert Griffin III to Washington for a draft bounty.

It hurts the Rams that their starting quarterback has gotten injured and they had to try and win games with their backup quarterback. Yes, that is Les Snead and Jeff Fisher's fault, but the Rams lack of success isn't tied to their ability to draft well. Also, Gregg is including three picks that haven't played a game yet this year, which not only is nonsensical, but a little unfair. As always, Gregg wants to lie and mislead his readers in order to prove his point and push his narrative. He's a liar and misleader. ESPN loves it.

So not counting the three 1st/2nd round picks the Rams had this year, they have drafted the following players in the 1st/2nd round over the previous two years:

Tavon Austin
Alec Ogletree
Michael Brockers
Brian Quick
Janoris Jenkins
Isaiah Pead

Four of these six guys are projected starters for the 2014 season. Poor drafting hasn't led the Rams to a 14-17-1 record over the last two seasons. Their inability to make the right personnel moves at the quarterback position has done that.

Is all that new talent about to bust out? Stats from the past season don't suggest that. The Rams finished 15th on defense and 30th on offense.

How about a 1/3 of these players get a chance to take at least one snap in the NFL before saying they won't "bust out"? Gregg is throwing out numbers from the previous season when five of these nine players either were rookies or had not taken an NFL snap yet as reason these players won't "bust out." It's very misleading. Of course, Gregg's lazy readers will think he makes a good point. That's what he is counting on.

The torn ACL of quarterback Sam Bradford might mean another forgettable season is in store. Bradford has now torn his left knee twice in less than a year; athletes who experience the same knee injury twice might not come back the second time.

Or they might come back! Aliens might not take over the Earth in the next 100 years...or they might.

The hopes of Les Mouflons' faithful ride on the fact that, according to, St. Louis has the youngest roster in the league and the fewest players who will be 30 by season's end.

Doesn't matter because stats from the past season show these young players won't improve from season-to-season. That's a logical train of thought.

Florida and Texas are football hotbed states, little known for basketball. Yet with this year's Spurs-Heat NBA Finals collision there have now been five Texas-versus-Florida NBA finals, while there's been only one Texas-versus-Florida Super Bowl, the 1972 game between the Cowboys and the Dolphins.

I'll just allow the stupidity of this statement to go understated. Is this statement more stupid or more pointless?

San Francisco: TMQ warned of the Crabtree Curse when San Francisco drafted this gentleman. Consecutive San Francisco seasons have ended on failed throws to Michael Crabtree -- three straight incompletions targeted him at the Baltimore goal line in the Super Bowl, then an interception on a pass aimed at him at the Seattle goal line in the NFC title contest.

Except the 49ers made the NFC Championship three years in a row and made the Super Bowl one year over that span. So if being the best or second-best team in the NFC or AFC is a curse, then it is a curse most NFL teams would like to have on their organization.

Playing a conventional, position-oriented defense in 2013, rarely blitzing -- in the Super Bowl, Seattle blitzed six times on 64 Denver snaps, well below the league average of 20 percent blitz -- the Seahawks not only allowed the fewest points in the league, but they also allowed just 131 second half points in 19 games.

But to be clear, not blitzing isn't a strategy every NFL team should adopt. It only would work well for teams who have a great secondary and/or a strong defensive line that can put pressure on the quarterback. This is very important to know.

Next Week: The crystal anniversary (15th year) of America's original all-haiku NFL season predictions.

Do I usually say the next week's TMQ is my least favorite TMQ of the week? If so, I really mean it this week. Also, these are season predictions that Gregg will in no way stand by, while he mocks others for making bad predictions in his yearly "Bad Predictions" TMQ. 


Chris said...

Man Gregg really has some sort of vendetta against Julio Jones doesn't he? I'm surprised he didn't blame him for the crisis in the Jacksonville school system. I don't remember where I saw it but I read that when Gregg first commented on the money issue he linked to an article that was about the school system in Jacksonville, Illinois not Florida.

In regards to his comment about Jerry Jones high spending he is also blaming Tyron Smith for having only one playoff win despite the fact that win occured in the 2009 playoffs and Tyron Smith wasn't drafted until two years later. But of course he was drafted in the first round so in Gregg's words what difference does it make cuz he's still a highly paid piece of crap.

Eric C said...

I see the publication dates being all screwy all the time. My personal theory is the publishers do that on purpose so the book doesn't seem as old in two years.

Keep up the good work, always get a smile out of reading your work!

Anonymous said...

"Going into the past season, a scout might have said Tampa's best players were Darrelle Revis, Josh Freeman, Carl Nicks, Mike Williams and Penn."

Remember, this is a PREVIEW. Who cares what a scout might have said in the past? Tampa Bay's current best players are Gerald McCoy, Lavonte David and Vincent Jackson, and that ain't not bad.

"Despite a huge investment of draft picks in their secondary, the Vikings allowed a league-worst 37 touchdown passes and were second worst in passing yards surrendered."

By the end of last season, Minnesota was prominently playing undrafted free agents Shaun Prater and Marcus Sherels in their secondary, not to mention 7th round pick Jamarca Sanford has started for years. But whatever, yeah that was a huge investment in the secondary they were throwing out there.

"the Rams are swimming in high draft selections -- nine first- or second-round choices over the past three drafts. And like the Vikings, Les Mouflons don't have much to show for it"

The Vikings have drafted Matt Kalil, Harrison Smith, Shariff Floyd, Xavier Rhodes, Cordarrelle Patterson, Anthony Barr and Teddy Bridgewater in the first round in the past three drafts. I'm going to go out on a limb and say 32 out of 32 franchises would take that. But no, I'm sure the Vikings have little to show for it. Except a bunch of really good young players.

"Florida and Texas are football hotbed states, little known for basketball."

Gregg does know that professional sports teams don't have territorial rights, doesn't he? I don't think he does, because I've seen him make this point before. Texas high school football is a big deal, sure, and they have a lot of big colleges as well. This affects the Cowboys and Texans not an iota.

Anonymous said...

"The West Coast Defense is back to basics -- few gimmick fronts, little blitzing, disciplined linebackers."

I forgot to mention this one, which was included in his Arizona writeup. Daryl Washington, as an inside linebacker, had 9 sacks two seasons ago and 18 for his career. Someone tell him he plays a West Coast Defense and he's not supposed to be blitzing! I understand Gregg has no idea who Daryl Washington is, but saying Arizona uses little blitzing is an outright lie. Karlos Dansby had 6.5 sacks last season, so between their two inside linebackers Arizona got almost 10 sacks. How else did they do that except by blitzing? Someone tell these guys they're playing a West Coast Defense and not supposed to blitz like that! Disciplined linebackers, I say!

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, he does not like Julio Jones at all. The first thing he said about Jones during his rookie year is that Jones won't run block, but I believe I linked an article where Mike Smith says he drafted Jones because he is a good run blocker. Plus, he want to Alabama, so he had to do some run blocking. He simply hates Julio Jone for some reason and blames for a lot of the Falcons inability to win a Super Bowl.

Eric, I'm not sure the reason either. I did research on it and it just seems like a wrong publication date is due to a mistake or the publisher not caring. Glad you enjoy reading what I write. At least some enjoyment comes out of TMQ.

Anon, it's never a preview with Gregg it seems. Also, those people would have added Doug Martin and Vincent Jackson into that, like you said.

Gregg seems to think if a rookie doesn't come in and make a Pro Bowl then it was a wasted pick. He does the same crap with the Rams. He throws rookies who haven't even played a game yet in the NFL as being part of a group who hasn't helped the Rams have a good record of the past two season. Three of those draft picks were in college, how they can they help the Rams? Gregg is ridiculous. The Vikings has spent picks on a couple guys in the secondary, but it's not been a huge investment.

His comment about Texas basketball was so stupid. He has no business writing about sports if he thinks a professional teams have territorial rights. It's beyond stupid.

Notice how Gregg left out that Arizona was 3rd (I think) in the NFL in defense last year and did it with blitzing, wacky defensive tactics. It doesn't fit his narrative. He's trying to push that rushing four and dropping the reset of the defenders back in coverage is the best way to play defense. It is, but only if you have a front four that can get pressure on the QB. Plus, there's nothing wrong with blitzing anyway.

Chris said...

I've always wondered how exactly ESPN came around to hiring Gregg. His background doesn't seem to really be in sports it seems to be more political given that I've heard a great deal about a book he wrote years ago on climate change, which surprise surprise garnered some controversy for inaccuracies.

Anonymous said...

This is anon from earlier in the comments. Does anyone remember when Gregg got fired by ESPN because he made some sort of anti-semitic remarks, was hired by for a year or two, then went back to ESPN?

I actually feel embarrassed to say I used to enjoy TMQ. Did he get worse, or did I get smarter? Or was I just that stupid ten years ago?

Eric C said...

Anon, I remember when he got fired, and I too used to enjoy his writing many moons ago. I am not sure if he's gotten worse or if I've gotten smarter.

I wonder if the fact that there are so many other columnists out there today, and that Gregg has not evolved in the many years that he has written has led to it being stale. I just don't get the sense that he has the passion for it that he used to.

Snarf said...

So this may be one of the worst examples of Gregg misleading his readers/not reading what is in an article he links to date. He writes...

Virginia's Thomas Jefferson, who despised aristocracy, would roll over in his grave to learn, via the corruption trial in progress, that former Virginia governor Bob McDonnell expected people to stand when he entered a room and to refer to him as His Excellency.

I live in the DMV, so this piqued my interest. I followed the link. Surprise surprise, the article doesn't support what Gregg is saying it does.

"McDonnell’s appearance on the stand was historic: He is the first Virginia governor ever to be charged with or tried for a crime. It also underscored a spectacular fall for a man who, less than a year ago, governed Virginia from his perch on Capitol Square, just a few blocks down Broad Street from the federal courthouse.

Back then, McDonnell (R) was introduced as “his excellency” and people stood when he entered the room. Now defendant McDonnell, 60 years old, stands for the judge and jury."

Seems like this is an illustrative statement about Bob McDonnell in the vein of "then and now." What adds a bit more clarity is some knowledge about the VA governorship:

"Unlike some other states where governors are referred to as "The Honorable", the Governor of Virginia is referred to as "His Excellency".[citation needed] Despite the use of "Excellency" in spoken conversation, when addressing written correspondence to the Governor, the Governor's name should be preceded by "Honorable.""

Long-story-short, Gregg is a liar and should really have his journalistic credentials stripped.

Come to think of it, that one is nearly on the level of forwardable to the ombudsman. It is blatantly dishonest about current events. He's on the verge of libeling McDonnell.

Snarf said...

Also, seems a bit silly too count this year's high draft selections for the Vikings/Rams in a narrative about how all of these high picks haven't produced on the football field, considering that they haven't had a chance to impact a single game.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I enjoyed Bill Simmons at one time, so don't feel bad. I tend to think I've gotten smarter or more picky about what I read.

Snarf, I should have clicked on that link. I know better than to believe Gregg's link will support what he is writing.

Gregg is the worst. I can't fathom how a rational person would include players who haven't taken a snap in the NFL on a list of high draft choices who haven't helped the Rams win games.