Tuesday, August 5, 2014

4 comments MMQB Review: Chip Kelly Still Hates the Combine, Except When He's Quoting Stats from the Combine Of Course

Peter King breathlessly quoted Chip Kelly last week in MMQB regarding how Kelly thought the NFL Draft had too much hype surrounding it and it unfairly put pressure on these players coming out of college to perform. Peter then went about criticizing E.J. Manuel for checking down too much as a rookie last year and I'm sure Peter will have a few jabs to throw in Geno Smith's direction for his performance as a rookie. As usual, Peter won't take the advice that he seems to agree with. He's not putting too much pressure on Manuel or Smith to perform well immediately, he just expects them to play well immediately. Peter also stated he probably wouldn't sign Jon Lester for a contract over $20 million per year due to the declining performance of pitchers that age, then suggested maybe $21 million per year is the right price for Lester. This week Peter still continues his training camp tour, talks about Cam Newton having matured now that Peter and Newton buried the hatchet, is shocked to see Devin Hester in a Falcons uniform, calls Chip Kelly an "outsider" and starts a new weekly section of MMQB called "Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week" (see, I wasn't exaggerating last week when I said Peter hangs on every word out of Kelly's mouth), and gives us his thoughts on the MLB trading deadline. 

“Can I see you for a couple of minutes before you leave today?” 

(Peter's doctor) "Peter, I don't know of another way to tell you this. You have been infected with loftiness and an extreme case of pretention. There is no cure."

(Peter King) "I noticed a few things you are doing wrong with your medical practice. Despite the fact I have no background in medicine or business, let me tell you everything you are doing wrong and I will criticize you publicly if you chose not to make the improvements I have suggested."

I looked up, and it was Cam Newton speaking. From my seat in the lobby of the Wofford College student union, just outside the cafeteria the Carolina Panthers use at training camp here, I was a bit taken aback.

Here is that moment...that moment when the cool athlete on campus finally comes up to the journalism dork in the cafeteria and wants to talk to him. Peter would be giddy, but it's Cam Newton so he doesn't really care.

It was the first time Newton had spoken to me since Feb. 22, 2011, when he told me in a telephone interview, “I see myself not only as a football player, but an entertainer and icon,” and I reported it. Newton thought it was a cheap shot for me to report it—more about that in a minute—and so we’d gone into radio silence whenever I was around him since, which wasn’t that often.

Before I get accused of homerism by nobody, let me get my feelings on this situation out of the way. I have probably only done this twenty times before. Peter King wasn't completely wrong to only tweet the "entertainer, icon" quote out, but he's a complete moron if he pretends like he didn't know what tweeting that select quote was going to represent to his followers. He took the entirety of an interview and summed it up in a quote that he had to know was going to reflect on Newton in a way that probably wasn't going to be ideal. I don't believe Peter didn't realize this tweet would have the impact it did have. It didn't represent the full conversation or story and I think Peter knew that.

Cam Newton has been a little bit of a baby through all of this. I'm in the minority among my fan base regarding this. I don't think Newton should bow down to Peter, but it was three years ago, it was a quote that didn't end up hurting Newton. He only looks like a small person for not forgiving Peter and at least giving him a few minutes of his time. Part of life is having to deal with people you would rather not deal with. I have people misquote me, ignore what I'm saying and lie about things I have said many times a week and I don't have the option of ignoring these people. It's the real world, deal with it, set the record straight and forgive Peter for this one incident and move on. If Peter does it again, then I see a great reason to choose not to speak with him.

So in terms of blame, I do blame Peter for the situation, but it's a bad look for Cam to simply choose to never forgive Peter and not move on. It looks resentful and small.

This item is about the maturation of a person and a player, and about something I don’t recall ever experiencing covering the league.

Notice how Peter thinks that Cam has matured simply because he has chosen to speak with Peter again. Not that Peter creates narratives based on how stories and events affect him of course. There's no way Cam could be fully mature without talking to Peter again.

In Miami, Joe Philbin’s doing bed check. The players actually like it.

You know, there is a Penn State joke in here that I will not make.

I have an item Rolling Stone will dig. (Does that mean I’m Almost Famous?)

No. It does not.

Last note: When I got to 9,200 words Sunday night, I decided to hold off on including my Tennessee, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville items, all of which I like. But I rarely write 9,000 words during the season, never mind in early August. So you’ll have to read my Tuesday column to learn who the second-best player is who I’ve seen on my camp tour. On with today’s show.

Sorry, Tennessee, Tampa Bay and Jacksonville fans. It's not like there are three pages of filler in this column that Peter could have easily gotten rid of to provide coverage for your team. It's now considered more important that Peter add a part to MMQB about Chip Kelly, provide information on what teams play music at camp and which don't, give quotes/stats/travel/facts of the week and list an entire page of what Peter thinks he thinks than it is to provide information about NFL teams to readers. If you ever wondered how important reporting on the NFL actually is to Peter when writing MMQB, no need to wonder anymore. His personal thoughts and comments are staying in MMQB, even if coverage of NFL teams has to be removed in order to make room for Peter's own personal thoughts and comments. MMQB is about Peter.

Newton finished a press conference with the local media 


15 or 20 minutes after he approached me initially, and when he finished, I was waiting outside the room. Steven Drummond of the Carolina PR staff found us a room, an auditorium the team uses for meetings at Wofford. He closed the door, and Newton and I stood there together. I wasn’t taking notes in our 20 minutes together, but I remember a lot of what he said.

Normally, I would criticize Peter for not taking notes, especially since he transcribes conversations complete strangers have, but it makes sense in this case.

He got right to the point. He said most of the people close to him wanted him to never speak to me again. Ignore me. I was one of the haters, so don’t deal with me; just deal with the media who were either fair—in their minds—or consistently supportive. “But I am my own person,’’ he said. “I think for myself. I make my own decisions. I decided I wanted to talk to you to see if we could work this out. I don’t want to walk the other way every time I see you. That’s not what a man does.”

A man pretends to be Superman when he scores a touchdown. What's more manly than pretending to be a superhero?

And I said I wanted to explain to him exactly what happened that day three-and-a-half years ago, when I quoted him accurately after our telephone interview; that way, he could decide for himself if he wanted to ever speak to me again.

I like how Peter felt the need to include "accurately" as if the accuracy and not the context isn't what matters. Sure, it's an accurate quote if I said,

"At first I wanted to kill him for backstabbing me, but I've gotten over it. He's just a person to me now and I don't think about what he did often. I won't be friends with him and sometimes I think 'I'd like to kill him,' but those feelings aren't really important anymore," 

and the reporter chooses to quote me saying,

"...sometimes I think 'I'd like to kill him,'" 

but it's not entirely accurate with the full conversation or quote. I think this is important for Peter to try and understand.

Of course, I said. I was the first of the four to talk with him that day, and during the interview, he said the icon and entertainer thing. 

I figured there were certain messages about work ethic and image he wanted to get across in the interview, which he did. And I figured I wouldn’t be the only one he said that line to. I just figured if I didn’t use it, and fast, one of the next three interviewers would hear it and use it, somewhere. And so I threw it on Twitter, and said NFL people wouldn’t like to hear it. 

Peter hasn't really said much about this quote from Newton, but what little he has written about it he sort of plays like he didn't know the exact reason it caused the stir that it did or why Newton was so angry. Peter rushed to put this quote on Twitter. Why? Because he knew it was a good quote that didn't reflect well on Newton and NFL teams wouldn't like to hear it. He KNEW the quote taken in that context had a negative impact and he rushed to use it. So I don't believe the facade of innocence that Peter has put up at times. He knew what the quote was going to do.

One quarterback-needy coach high in the draft said the comment totally soured him on Newton, and he caught some crap for it, and I caught some crap for it too, for what some thought was taking a quote out of context.

Which, it was.

“I’ve thought about what I’d have done differently,’’ I told Newton, standing there in the auditorium. But I said we weren’t face-to-face, and maybe if we were I’d have cautioned him about it; I wasn’t sure. But I just figured he’d say it to someone else at some point, and so I used it.

Notice how Peter seems to try to differentiate between using the quote because he believed it to be made to a group of of four journalists and stating he would have cautioned Newton if they were face-to-face and if it was a quote he knew was only given to him. I'm not sure there is a difference. Why is the quote fine to quickly post to Twitter if Peter is in a race to be the first one to use it? It's fine to use a juicy quote if the athlete says it to multiple people, as part of the sportswriter rat race, but if the athlete gives a juicy quote to one journalist then it's okay not use the quote and counsel the athlete on what he said and how it might play? That seems to be what Peter is sort of getting at. If that were the case, then Jeff Pearlman should never have used any of the quotes from John Rocker in his famous "Sports Illustrated" piece on Rocker.

On one hand, Newton said what he said, and I reported it. But in the end, I feel bad that he was branded with those comments because his three years as a player has proven him to be, after some missteps at post-game podiums following losses, a good person and leader.

Newton has shown himself to be a much better person than a quarterback. This has been the case for a couple of years now. He's not where he needs to be or could be yet as a quarterback, so it's always annoyed me a little bit he hasn't ever made peace with Peter because from everything I've seen/heard about Newton he is better than that. Peter "did him wrong" in his point of view, but he has to let that crap go. I'm glad he did, but I also have a hard time buying Peter's excuse that he was just trying to report the quote before others did. It's not the quote, but the context of the quote that always made me irritated with Peter. It didn't have the proper context of the entire 15 minute conversation.

We talked a while longer. We were about to walk out, and he looked at me. “Let’s let bygones be bygones,’’ Newton said, and he stuck out his right hand. We shook.

Fantastic. Now Newton can spend his time worrying about real issues he has, like whether his offensive line will get him murdered this year and whether the receivers will get open for him.

But hey, Cam is mature now that he has let bygones by bygones with Peter King. Not that the world revolves around Peter of course.

“This camp,’’ Philbin said, “I’m doing every bed check. Every night. I knock on every door.’’

How many doors? Sixty. At 10:30 p.m. nightly, Philbin knocks—ranking vets have singles, younger players have roommates—and checks. Some players, like quarterback Ryan Tannehill, are zonked (“I’ve been asleep every time he’s come in the room”),

I can see Joe Philbin walking into the players rooms and just standing there to make sure that player is indeed asleep. In fact, I have an exclusive picture of Joe Philbin in Ryan Tannehill's room.

but some, like defensive end Cameron Wake, engage Philbin in a daily Q&A about practice, or a current event. “You guys okay?’’ Philbin will ask, or “Ready for practice in the morning?” Or “Anything we need to discuss?”

And Joe Philbin is like, "Geez, Cameron. I'm tired and ready for bed. I'm not trying to have a conversation, just trying to make sure you are in your room."

“I think I’ve been more vigilant,’’ Philbin told me in his office Friday before the team’s 8 a.m. practice. “I am trying to do a better job communicating with players and staff.

Philbin’s been called Clueless Joe for not knowing what was going on in his locker room and, in some cases, on the practice field as guard Jonathan Martin was getting hazed into a near-breakdown by a Richie Incognito-led group of tormentors.

I have to believe if Drew Brees didn't know his fellow defensive teammates were participating in a bounty program then there is a chance Joe Philbin didn't know Jonathan Martin was being hazed by Richie Incognito.

(Chokes on sarcasm)

I asked Wake what kind of coach Philbin was to play for and relate to. “He’s probably one of the most interested coaches I’ve had as far as what you think or how you feel about certain things.

"Ryan, how does it feel to be put on your ass a lot because your offensive line doesn't block sufficiently for you?"

Example: The players asked Philbin for music during practices, instead of the old white-noise crowd noise that most teams blast when trying to practice communicating in noise. On Friday, the music—a rap/salsa/pop/oldies mixture—played for maybe 70 percent of practice.

Salsa music? Victor Cruz has demanded an immediate trade to the Miami Dolphins.

On Saturday, the Dolphins picked up their former center, smallish Samson Satele, off the street, trying to find depth for the interior line, which has struggled in even the basics. The centers in camp have been adventurous, let’s just say, with something as simple as the shotgun snap. One flew over Tannehill’s head in practice Friday.

Oh, well Tannehill was a receiver in college so maybe he should just act like he's trying to catch a pass and then these shotgun snaps over his head won't be a problem.

Every year when I go on my training-camp trip, there are things that I see and players in different uniforms and coaches in odd places that I just didn’t expect. In my first 12 stops I was stopped in my tracks only once: when I saw Devin Hester wearing a strange number, 17, and the red jersey of the Atlanta Falcons.

I always figured that Hester, who played eight years for the Chicago Bears, would one day join Butkus, Luckman, Halas, Sayers and so many legendary Monsters of the Midway, guys who played or coached their entire careers in Chicago and went to Canton with the full-throated support of rabid Bears fans. Now, I am not automatically putting Hester in.

Mostly because Hester isn't going to play his entire career in Chicago? I guess since Hester is playing for the Falcons now he can't be automatically put on this list since he no longer fits the criteria required for the list.

He may well end up in Canton as the best kick-and-punt returner in history (he’s not there yet, but he’s close), but now he’ll have to have a second act to ensure that. He’ll have to do it in Atlanta, where the return game has stunk and where he has signed a three-year, $9-million contract contract to rejuvenate Falcons special teams (he had a 14.2-yard punt-return average last year, and a 27.6-yard kick-return average, both very good), and to be a field-stretcher as a fourth or fifth receiver for Matt Ryan.

Yeah, because the Falcons need more offensive weapons at wide receiver and all.

Hester knows that his role primarily is to be the kick- and punt-returner, and whatever happens in the passing game happens. I was more interested in his future.
“If you don’t play another snap, are you a Hall of Famer?” I asked him.

Peter is asking the deep questions with completely non-obvious answers and all. Yeah, I'm sure Hester will say,

"No, I'm not a Hall of Famer because I'm not good enough yet to be considered one." 

What's the point of this question? Did Peter really expect to get an answer where Hester says he isn't a Hall of Famer if he never played another snap?

“Oh yeah,” he said.

(Faints from astonishment)

“I think I am. I think I’ve done enough. I’m satisfied with what I’ve done stat-wise. I think I’ve done things that have never been done. I think I’m the best returner who has ever played the game of football. But if I don’t get [into the Hall of Fame], it wouldn’t be disappointing to me. I know, the guys I played against know. The rest is out of my hands.”

Unlike the football on kickoff and punt returns, this decision on whether he makes the Hall of Fame or not isn't in Hester's hands. Am I right?

I’m a voter.


I think Hester, in this era of football, has been a singular returner. In an era of such great athletes who have played this game, I think Hester has a superb case.

Well, until Peter considers the backlog of receivers who will be entering the Hall of Fame over the next decade and he has to consider whether Hester's return skills make up for his lesser receiving numbers as compared to other wide receivers and leaves Hester off his ballot. It sounds great to say Hester has a superb case for being in the Hall of Fame, but when the time comes and Hester is compared to other eligible players is Peter really going to feel the same?

Then Peter talks about which teams play music during training camp or not. Of course the team he notes has the best playlist is of course the team that plays U2. Peter learned everything he knows about pretention from Bono.

Some music notes: In Buffalo, Doug Marrone started it last year, early in the season. “You have to respect how young people live today,’’ said GM Doug Whaley. “For so many of them, their motto is, ‘Life’s better with a sound track.'” … The big reason for it, basically, is that lots of teams for years have tried to distract players and imitate stadium noise by playing at loud volume a sound track of stadium noise.

Based on how many times he has discussed which teams play music during camp and which do not, Peter must find the use of music during training camp to be one of the most important NFL preseason stories. I'm not sure a MMQB has gone by in the last three that he didn't talk about training camp music at least once.

The way I look at it: If you’ve got to have noise at practice, why not make it noise everyone enjoys, or everyone at least tolerates?

The way I look at it is this isn't that exciting of a story and there's really no need to mention it every week in MMQB.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is changing the bylaws for enshrinement. Starting next year, there will still be a maximum of five modern-era candidate slots for entry each year, but there will be a new category for contributors to the game, and it will impact the senior nominees each year (currently two seniors, or players more than 20 years out of the game, are eligible in each class) of voting. The upshot is there will be a maximum of eight enshrinees each year for the next five years, up from seven.

Does Peter still have a Pro Football Hall of Fame vote? I'm not sure since he hasn't mentioned he has a Hall of Fame vote in the last several paragraphs.

Over the next five years, here is the way the voting will be conducted:

Secretly and without revealing any of the information the public deserves to know about what percentage each player got and which writer voted for which player. After all, the Pro Football Hall of Fame is for the fans, so why should the fans be privy to information on how the candidates were elected or denied entry? That's just silly.

2015—Five modern-era candidates, two contributors, one senior. 2016—Five modern-era candidates, one contributor, two seniors. 2017—Five modern-era candidates, two contributors, one senior. 2018—Five modern-era candidates, one contributor, two seniors. 2019—Five modern-era candidates, two contributors, one senior.

The problem with getting contributors in now is that it’s not a fair process for them. If you favor Ron Wolf, for example (and I do—vociferously), you have to consider him alongside Michael Strahan and Charles Haley and Bill Parcells, and when that happens, history says most of the 46 voters will go the player/coach route. That leaves team-builders like Gil Brandt (who has other important qualities for his candidacy, by the way), Wolf and Bill Polian most often on the outside, in a big backlog, when the voters’ list is pared down to the semifinal list of 25 each winter, then of course off the final list of 15 for debating the enshrinees each year.

I get what Peter is saying, but the coaches and players are also more likely those that the general public are going to attend the Pro Football Hall of Fame to see. I doubt too many people in the public really want to go see Gil Brandt's bust at the Pro Football Hall of Fame. That's where many of these baseball writers get it wrong. Being in a hall of fame is about who deserves it and who doesn't, but it's also about the fans who go visit that hall of fame. Most fans I imagine would like to see Bill Parcells' bust in Canton before stopping by to see Gil Brandt's bust.

Those I feel deserve very strong consideration for the contributor category at the start of the process: Wolf, Brandt,  Polian, Eddie DeBartolo Jr., Paul Tagliabue. I hope the new process lets the sun shine on their candidacies.

If the biggest issue with the Pro Football Hall of Fame is there is a backlog of qualified candidates then I think that's a pretty minor issue honestly.

My only objection to the change is I feel it’s pushing the limits of exclusivity to have, potentially, eight-man classes. Let’s see how this goes, but I like it being hard to get into the Hall. 

Yeah well, any Hall of Fame with Floyd Little in it has probably already pushed the limits of exclusivity. The voters essentially put DeAngelo Williams (with a lower per carry average but the ability to return punts and kicks) into the Hall of Fame when they voted Little in. But it was a different time during the late 1960's and early 1970's, not like in today's game where the run game is the focal point of an offense and running backs don't share carries.

Williams' numbers. 

Little's numbers. 

Let's just say if this were the Baseball Hall of Fame then there would be sportswriters stating if Little can get in the Hall of Fame then DeAngelo Williams should as well. 

It should be hard.

That's what she said. 

Brett Favre is one of Peter's Quotes of the Week because Peter has gone WAY too long without mentioning Favre in MMQB.

“Improbability means nothing, because absolutely anything is possible.”
—Michael Strahan, in his Hall of Fame induction speech Saturday night in Canton, Ohio.

Well Michael..."improbability" does actually mean something because it just means something isn't probable. Improbable does mean something COULD happen, it's just not likely to happen. So improbability does mean something. You know what word might have made more sense in the context of this quote that Peter seems to find so deep, yet isn't actually as deep as Peter thinks once it's thought through? "Impossible." Impossible may mean nothing, because absolutely anything is possible. That would make more sense in the context of this sentence.

“They are cheaters. I give them all the credit in the world,

Yep, that's sort of a contradiction. If you call someone a cheater, then you are essentially taking away credit for an achievement and saying they cheated while achieving a goal. I know, I know, I am Mr. Semantics Guy here of late and probably have no right to be.

but one fact remains: They haven’t won a Super Bowl since they got caught.”

While true, this overlooks the fact the Patriots have been to two Super Bowls since they got caught. So I would say the fact the Patriots have been to quite a few AFC Championship Games and two Super Bowls since they were caught reflects that they didn't need to cheat to win football games, even in the postseason. Who am I to argue with a man like Cary Williams though? I'm sure these comments are well-thought through.

—Philadelphia cornerback Cary Williams, on his feelings about the New England Patriots, who were punished harshly by commissioner Roger Goodell in the “Spygate” case in 2007.

It sounds like Cary Williams has been receiving his daily talking points from Gregg Easterbrook. That's never a good thing.
Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week

He's an NFL head coach. He says things. Peter King thinks these things are super-deep and very interesting. I don't see it that way, but it seems Peter marvels at nearly anything that Chip Kelly says of late.

(Note: I’ve made an editorial decision about the “Monday Morning Quarterback” column in 2014. I’m going to comb the weekly Chip Kelly press conferences and find a quote I like. There might be some weeks when I cannot find one, and in that case, this note will disappear. But most weeks, I feel sure I’ll have a Kellyism for you. The reason I like to listen to him is that he’s the kind of an outsider who says things that make lots of sense. And I’ll try to pass on some of that comment NFL sense to you each Monday.)

Let's be real for a minute here. Chip Kelly is not an outsider. He was the head coach at the University of Oregon before he became the head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles. He's been coaching football since 1990. It's his profession and pretty much all he has ever done. He coached at lower college levels before getting his shot with the Oregon Ducks as the offensive coordinator, but this doesn't make him an outsider any more than Jim Tressel was an outsider while coaching Ohio State. Chip Kelly worked his way up to being the head coach at one of the best football programs in the country and now is the head coach of one of thirty-two NFL teams. I don't get how he's an outsider. Sure, it's fun to pretend he is and follow that narrative, like the narrative that every quote out of Kelly's mouth is pure genius, but it doesn't ring true to me.

“He asked me what was surprising me and I just think the hype that surrounds the draft in general. The fact that people would watch the Scouting Combine … There’s times at the Combine where I fall asleep. So I don’t know why people watch it on television. They are running 40-yard dashes.”

Is this really wisdom? This certainly seems like an opinion to me. So I guess since the 40-yard dashes aren't important then neither Chip Kelly or the Eagles organization will be in attendance at next year's Combine to watch the 40-yard dash?

For a person who doesn't care much about the Combine and the hype around the Combine, Chip Kelly sure likes to mention statistics put up by a prospect at the Combine to defend his draft choices. So the Combine is boring and over-hyped unless Chip Kelly needs to use information learned at the Combine to defend his pick.

Here are Marcus Smith's Combine statistics. 

What Chip Kelly said about Smith, 

He's a very, very good athlete. He's over 6'3", in the 250, 255 pound range, ran 4.68, He's got speed coming off the edge.

All statistics learned at the Combine.

On Smith's long arms (34 inches)

Long levers are strong levers. You know our motto on that. Again, he fits the mold for what we're looking for. I think kind of that ceiling I talked about, because there is such an upside to him. How many guys are that size, 250‑plus pounds, running the 4.6 range, have the long arms.

Where was Smith's arm length measured? The Combine. Oh, and there is that boring 40-yard dash time again. Funny how Chip Kelly likes to quote a number that Smith put up while Kelly was asleep.

So the combine is over-hyped and boring until Chip Kelly has to defend one of his picks using numbers put up by a prospect at the Combine.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

The MMQB Tour pulled into Gaffney, S.C., late last Sunday night. The four of us—driver Andy DeGory, me, PFF’s Neil Hornsby, video man John DePetro—hustled into an Olive Garden for dinner before it closed at 10. “Anything to drink for y’all?’’ the waitress said. I blurted out, “Glass of Chianti, please.” She said she is sorry, but this is a dry county and there is no alcohol served or sold in this county on Sundays. We are crestfallen.

If only there were other counties in the area where alcohol could be purchased at such a late hour. Also, remember the next time you feel bad for Peter that he has to drive all over the country with his training camp tour that he isn't actually doing the driving. Someone gets paid to do that. Otherwise in regard to the alcohol issue, hit up a convenience store or grocery store in the county over. The North Carolina border is right there and it's always smart to have alcohol on the bus anyway. Any smart person knows that.

The MMQB Team had time Sunday to work out at a Planet Fitness in Louisville. I’ve never been to one. A couple of observations: They spell “judgment” wrong. They insert an “e,” and make it “judgement,” as in “No Judgement Here.” They’re trying to say that if you’re overweight, it’s fine—just come in and work out and get started on a healthy path. Cool, other than the spelling.

Actually, I think "judgement" is just a variant spelling of the word "judgment." I've seen it both ways and am not sure there is a real difference to justify one as "wrong" and the other as "right." I guess there is judgment by Peter on how well Planet Fitness can spell.

No scales in the men’s locker room. I went to the front desk and asked the fellow where I might find a scale. “We don’t have scales,’’ he said. “This is a judgment-free zone.” Those were his words: This is a judgment-free zone. Or maybe a “judgement”-free zone.

Or maybe there are two varied spellings.

The esteemed columnist for the Boston Globe

He's not esteemed, he's a highly paid troll who is being a drama queen about the Red Sox coming in last place in the AL East one year after winning the World Series. Kansas City-on-the-Charles? I bet Kansas City would kill to have three World Series titles in the past decade.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think Roger Goodell has had happier anniversaries. Friday is the eight-year anniversary of Goodell’s ascension to the commissioner’s job. I doubt in the wake of the Ray Rice decision he’ll be feted in many corners.

Yeah, but he has the NFL players wear pink in October! He can't be such a bad guy!

2. I think Goodell erred Friday when addressing the Rice suspension to reporters for the first time. He was fairly dispassionate and clinical, giving a Tagliabue-type, stiff, not too intimately-detailed explanation of how the league arrived at the decision that two games and a $530,000 fine for Rice was appropriate.

I'm amused by what Goodell "should" do. He's the NFL commissioner and when he has ever given a shit what anyone thinks about him? He doesn't care what women think, he doesn't care what fans think. He just wants to see games sold out and the NFL making money. That's all he cares about and all the approval he needs. Until fans stop buying tickets or women stop coming to NFL games (which isn't happening soon), Roger Goodell isn't about to give a meaningful speech about why he gave Ray Rice a two-game suspension. Get serious. Goodell isn't about to explain himself to a group of people he doesn't feel are on his level and therefore he doesn't believe he should have to explain himself to anyone.

6. I think I would have felt a lot better about the 2014 fortunes of the Bills had E.J.Manuel been better than two-of-seven, and had connected at least once—particularly on the long throw down the left sideline in the first quarter Sunday night—with star rookie wideout Sammy Watkins. Three targets, zero receptions for Watkins. Nothing huge. Just a bummer for the first outing of what’s supposed to be a beautiful relationship.

It's an exhibition game. Probably not wise to feel good or bad about what happens on the field. The beautiful relationship between Watkins and Manuel can somehow survive a bad first exhibition game since they haven't played together that long.

8. I think, after pondering the prospective 2015 Pro Football Hall of Fame class, I would predict these five modern-era finalists for entry: Marvin Harrison, Will Shields, Junior Seau, Charles Haley and … now this is a tough one, because there are so many close calls in the modern-era class, but I’ll say Orlando Pace, narrowly, over Jerome Bettis. We shall see. Even though I’m one of the voters, I’m always lousy at predicting the outcome of the vote.

Wait, so Peter does have a Pro Football Hall of Fame vote? He hasn't mentioned it in an entire page of MMQB and this is only the third time he's mentioned it in this column. I was wondering if Peter was still a Pro Football Hall of Fame voter.

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

b. I know nothing about basketball, and it is always dangerous to speak of things you know nothing about, certainly.

And of course, Peter will now speak of things he knows nothing about. After all, he's Peter fucking King and even if he doesn't know much about basketball, he has an opinion and it's worth something.

But if I were an NBA general manager, I might draw up in my contracts that a player can play in the Olympics, but not in any of these other international tournaments. There’s just too much at stake, and basketball is too much of a contact sport, to risk getting hurt severely in a scrimmage between national team members preceding an international tournament that no one really cares much about anyway.

Yeah, but for some of these players they won't have a chance to play in the Olympics if they don't show the Team USA coaching staff they are worthy of making the Olympic team through playing in the international tournaments. So draw up the contracts like this, that's fine, but understand if Paul George wants to play in the Olympics then choosing to play in the international tournament may be one of his chances to show he deserves to make the team. Maybe not Paul George, but other players had to play in the international tournaments to show they deserve to be on the 2016 Olympic team.

c. Love the baseball trading deadline. What a fun day Thursday was. Many thoughts.

Please don't. 

The Rays got 18 cents on the dollar for David Price.

I would disagree strongly. The Rays received two really good prospects in Nick Franklin and Willy Adames, along with a pitcher in Drew Smyly who I think was somewhat undervalued behind those other great pitchers in Detroit. Who am I to argue with Peter King though? This is the guy who doesn't even know the best prospects in the farm system of his favorite team.

Eleven of the 24 players on Boston’s World Series roster nine months ago are gone.

What's being ignored is the Red Sox team is being rebuilt to contend again next year. Maybe Peter should call the esteemed Dan Shaughnessy and they could have a nice Chianti together to mourn the Red Sox not contending for two months. I bet Peter's brother-in-law is going to threaten to not renew his season tickets. Two months of non-contention? That's unacceptable!

The Red Sox should have made Jon Lester a better offer last February than four years, $70 million. Say, five years, $105 million. But much beyond that, and I have to say it gets too rich for my blood for a pitcher who will be 31 next year. He could be great for the next five years and I’ll be wrong when someone pays him $25 million a year next winter.

My only problem with the whole thing: The Red Sox got too dug in on a “reasonable” price for Lester last off-season and never got serious about paying market value for a true ace.

Two issues:

1. Who is to say Jon Lester would have accepted this deal giving him $17.5 million per year last offseason?

2. If the Red Sox got serious about paying market value for a true ace then they would pay Lester $20 million or more per year. That's the going market value. So Peter has already stated market value is too rich for his blood, but he wanted the Red Sox to be more serious about paying market value for Lester.

The Adieu Haiku

Jags coach Gus Bradley
Could sub for Tony Robbins.
The man can inspire.

If only Tony Robbins could inspire Peter to never write the Adieu Haiku again. 


Anonymous said...

All you need to know about Peter is that he thinks Dan Shaugnessy is an "esteemed columnist." What lack of awareness Peter has. Shaughnessy is a troll of the highest order, and I'm sure if he'd be offended if I didn't say so.

It really bugs me that he says, "Orlando Pace over Jerome Bettis...barely." I don't mean to put too fine a point on it, but Orlando Pace was a thousand times the football player that Jerome Bettis was. Orlando Pace was so very, very good and Jerome Bettis so very, very overrated. To me, Pace, Walter Jones and Jon Ogden were 1a-1b-1c as the best left tackles of the past twenty years. Slam dunk, no doubt about it Hall of Famers all three of them in my opinion. To Peter? He's just barely above some lumbering fatass who made for good copy but had his belt line soar while his yards per carry crumbled.

I also want someone to make the case that Devin Hester has a better Hall of Fame case than someone like Tim Brown. Are you telling me a kick and punt returner is more valuable than a top-flight everydown receiver? Give me a flipping break. I have a real problem putting in specialists ahead of everydown players. Devin Hester may very well be the greatest returner of all time, but he only affected the game 5 or 6 times. Tim Brown played every down on offense, and caught over 1,000 balls doing so. Charles Haley and Kevin Greene were infinitely more valuable in their ability to rush the passer. Let's pump the brakes on Devin Hester as a Hall of Famer.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, Dan does take great pride in being a troll, that's for sure.

I don't know if Jerome Bettis is a HoF'er for not, but I personally believe the fact he had a good relationship with the media is going to help his case. I also think that's what leads Peter to say something like that. For me personally, in terms of football player I would put Pace in well before Bettis. I do think Bettis will get in because he's nice and he played on a largely successful team for most of his career.

Gregg Easterbrook would hate that the best three LT of the last 20 years were all Top 10 picks.

See, that's sort of what I was getting at with my comment about Peter reconsidering his position. I don't know. It's hard, but Hester did touch the ball less than Tim Brown. How does a HoF voter even compare those two players? I think when the comparison is done, a receiver such as Tim Brown gets in before Devin Hester. Of course, Hester still has time in his career left, so we will see what he does with the rest of his career.

It's hard for me to say Devin Hester is a HoF'er and then have a guy like Tim Brown or one of the other great WR who are eligible 7-8 years from now not get into the HoF. I think Peter is more confident now then he will be when the time comes to vote for Hester as a HoF'er.

Anonymous said...

What exactly is the over/under on how long before one of the Dolphins players rebels against Philbin's new way to watch his players which seems to be overbearing mother? I mean obviously something had to be done to fix how toxic things had become after the Jonathan Martin situation but the coach constantly coming in asking me if I'm ok would wear on me rather quickly.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, my guess would be the players will rebel as soon as the team starts losing. Once the team starts struggling the overbearing mother part of Joe Philbin will go away or become very annoying.

If the Dolphins start winning, it's because of Philbin's new way of showing he cares about the players. Once they start losing, he needs to back off.