Wednesday, September 10, 2014

16 comments MMQB Review: All of "Our" Assumptions Were Wrong Edition

In last week's MMQB, Peter King discussed how he didn't understand how NFL front offices could perceive there would be increased attention around Michael Sam signing with their team. Peter then broke down the four factors that led to Michael Sam being released by the Rams. Sam is a 7th round draft pick and Peter has talked about him nearly every week in MMQB, but yeah, where could teams get the idea there will be increased attention and possibly a distraction with Sam joining their team? The media is the one causing the increased attention, even as they wonder how in the world there is increased attention around Sam. Peter also talked about the NFL's new domestic violence policy and how Goodell brought six experts on domestic violence together to discussing the severity of domestic violence and the appropriate punishment for a player accused of domestic violence. Apparently one of the mitigating circumstances is don't get caught committing domestic violence on tape. As long as it's not on tape for everyone to see, the NFL doesn't care as much. Commit domestic violence on tape and the NFL will ban you for the season. 

This week Peter talks about how THE NARRATIVES HAVE TOTALLY SHIFTED (EVERYTHING "WE" THOUGHT WAS WRONG!), marvels at the unpredictability of the NFL like he does every single season after Week 1, says the Rams real problem is the schedule, and reveals an underrated Bruce Springsteen album even though there is no such thing. 

Who would have ever thought the NFL would be unpredictable? Certainly not Peter King!

For seven months, through the scouting combine and free agency and the draft and offseason practice and training camp, the story lines of the new NFL season get birthed. Then, in one day, they get blown up.

I hate it when "we" are wrong! I hate it when "we" get married to storylines and then just assume the entire NFL season will go the way this storyline will go, even though it doesn't happen this way ever.

It serves us right, really. Because if you learn anything watching this game, you learn nothing is guaranteed.

I would think that Peter has learned this from covering the NFL for two decades, but I guess not. So now what happens? Now Peter will take what happened in Week 1 and completely overreact to that. So in five weeks "we" were wrong again!

Ten things we think we thought about the 2014 season before this weekend:

What's this "we" shit? Seriously, "we" didn't think all of these things. Simply because you thought these things and wrote them down, doesn't mean your readers thought them as true also. Let's see what "we" (meaning "I" referring to Peter King) thought was true out of these ten things.

The Patriots would have their usual AFC East stroll to a playoff bye, and the other three division stumblebums would fight for second place.

I did and still do think this.

The Saints finally had the defense to make another serious Super Bowl run.

I have the Saints in the Super Bowl, but I did question whether the secondary could hold up in Year 2 of Rob Ryan's defense.

The Bills were imploding from within.

I did and probably still do.

Tampa Bay was everyone’s darling, everyone’s pick to rise from the Schianoian ashes to playoff contender.

Had them 8-8 and they lost to a team that Peter will put at #4 in his power rankings.

Carolina was due for a fall. New offensive line, all new receivers, and Cam Newton entering the season with a fractured rib.

Still do believe this after one whole game has been played.

The Packers were ready for prime time.

Eh, not entirely. I didn't exactly think this.

Philadelphia and coaching savant Chip Kelly were ready to run away with the NFC East.

I still think this and I don't think Chip Kelly is a coaching savant.

Brian Hoyer was nothing but a placeholder for Johnny Football. (Or, as my buddy Don Banks calls him, “Johnny Bench.”)

Not at all. That was you.

Alex Smith, model of efficiency.

Actually, "we" (meaning "I" referring to me) mocked the idea of Alex Smith being great while Peter defended it in MMQB last week. So he is wrong, but unable to accept this, so he says "we" were wrong.

San Francisco’s defense was in big, big trouble.

I didn't really think this. The 49ers have a tough schedule and that influenced what I felt about them.

I like how Peter is like "Everything we thought was wrong! Now here is really what is right after one week of football." Peter points out how his (sorry, "our") assumptions prior to the season were wrong and then makes wholly new assumptions for the rest of the season that will probably end up being wrong also. Brilliant.

So then Peter tells us the reality of these situations, as if this one week of NFL games will set the tone for how the rest of the season is going to go. Then "we" will be wrong when we made so many assumptions after one week of NFL action. Peter seems to have Bill Simmons Disease where he thinks because he wrote something in MMQB, this means his readers share his opinion 100%.

The Bucs looked jittery and ultra-conservative, punting on fourth-and-1 in the fourth quarter, down 17. Carolina rode the right arm of backup Derek Anderson (kept clean by the 80% new offensive line), with Newton coaching/cheerleading from the sidelines. The final: Carolina 20, Tampa Bay 14.

To be fair, only 40% of the offensive line is "new." Byron Bell was the starting RT and moved to LT. Amini Silatolu was the starting LG last year until he suffered an injury and Nate Chandler was the starting RG last year. They just moved around or got healthy, plus they still aren't very good.

The Eagles’ turnover-proof quarterback, Nick Foles, coughed it up three times in the first half and the Jaguars raced to a 17-0 lead. Form prevailed, but not before leaving Eagledom with some questions about their team’s goodness. The final: Philadelphia 34, Jacksonville 17.

The Jaguars are improving and the Eagles scored 34 straight points on the road. I still have no questions about their ability to win the NFC East. Did Peter see the Cowboys and Redskins play?

Smith threw three interceptions. The Chiefs looked awful. The final: Tennessee 26, Kansas City 10.

Surprise motherfucker! Alex Smith isn't very good. He's not a Top 12 quarterback, despite getting paid like one, and if he doesn't take care of the ball then he has almost zero redeeming qualities an NFL team would want in a starter.

Rivera handed the ball to Anderson, one of the nicest guys in football but not one whose past engendered much confidence: He hadn’t started a game in 45 months, and the last time he was a starter, in Arizona, in 2010, he lost his last six games. This wasn’t the safest of game plans, either—the Panthers had Anderson take some shots downfield for rookie receiver Kelvin Benjamin.

Oh please, it was a pretty safe game plan. Anderson went deep a few times, but it involved a lot of short-to-intermediate passes off play-action. Not a bad game plan, but Anderson missed a few throws he should have made as well. It wasn't exactly a risky offensive plan of action though.

“I’ve been through a lot,” Anderson said. “I haven’t been out there for four years, so to play a solid football game and get a win was big for me.” And for his team.

Yes Derek, you mean "your team" not "you." Right?

New GM Dennis Hickey spent $3 million in a devalued running-back market to get Knowshon Moreno in the house for one year. That looks like the best money he’s spent since taking the job. Moreno, who ran for 224 yards for the Broncos at New England last year, pulverized the Pats again, rushing for 134 yards and taking pressure off Ryan Tannehill.

And the pendulum swings the other way. Running backs are now starting to become devalued on the free agent market and in the draft.

And Cam Wake is one of the best pass-rushers in the game. He showed it again with two sacks of Tom Brady and two forced fumbles. “I don’t know if the win means more than any other win,” he said from Florida after the game. “But I do know when we saw the schedule, we liked it. It was like, Hey, great! They’ve been winning the division. So we can measure ourselves right away. And, you know, the game could have implications later on.”

And the Dolphins won this game totally because Joe Philbin comes in before bed time every night and checks on the players. HE CARES NOW!

The latest TMZ video on Ray Rice’s physical abuse of his then-fiancée, which was released this morning, will open up more debate about Rice’s two-game suspension—and be part of the discussion when he returns from his two-game ban after Thursday night’s Ravens game. The video, though grainy, clearly shows Rice hitting Janay Palmer with a hard left hook, and she hits her head on the side of the elevator before falling to the floor.

Who cares what the video says? Janay Palmer said it didn't happen before and probably won't happen again. It's cool. Just be easy, man. Why bring it up again? It's over now. Ray Rice just happened to hit his girlfriend/wife for the first time in front of a camera. It's like someone who has NEVER done drugs before getting popped for possession or a person who drove drunk for the first time EVER getting hit with a DUI. It always happens that way.

If league officials saw this video before issuing the two-game ban for Rice, all the scorn that’s been heaped on Roger Goodell and his colleagues will be deserved.

Wait, IF Goodell saw this video? I found this guy who reported that the NFL had seen it. Peter may know him. His name is "Peter King" and he also writes for THE MMQB. In fact, this other Peter King wrote, 

There is one other thing I did not write or refer to, and that is the other videotape the NFL and some Ravens officials have seen, from the security camera inside the elevator at the time of the physical altercation between Rice and his fiancée.

Maybe Peter King who works for THE MMQB should talk to the other Peter King who works for THE MMQB and get to the bottom of what video the NFL has and has not seen. 

There will be intense pressure on the league, as today goes on, for a harsher sanction for Rice. I don’t think Goodell will change his mind. I think he keeps Rice’s ban at two games.

And of course Goodell changed his mind. I'm not sure there's much surrounding this Ray Rice situation that Peter has been correct about. I would hope Goodell saw that tape before suspending Rice too. If he suspended Rice without seeing the tape, then he deserves even more scorn than he has already received.

Tomorrow at The MMQB, you’ll love my One Question Interview with Watt. Remember to go find it during the day

Crap, I forgot to write that down. I guess I'll miss it. Oh no.

J.J. Watt on playing so well (blocked PAT, recovered fumble, sack) in the first game after his $100 million contract with the Texans was signed: “I wanted to go out and show I’m worth it. But this is somewhat cliché—I want to show that every game.”

"Hustling White Player Receives Large Contract Extension, Doesn't Stop Trying Hard; Media Fawns."

You can look at the penalty story in two ways through 14 games of Week 1—which, obviously, is not long enough to draw any conclusions about what the points of emphasis will do to the overall flags thrown this year.

But one week is the perfect amount of time to come to substantive judgments on how the NFL season is going to go. The Patriots are 0-1, that AFC East is guaranteed to be a dogfight! The Eagles only won by 17 points on the road. Watch out NFC East the Jaguar---the Reds---the Cowbo---the Giants or somebody else is going to give the Eagles a run for their money in the NFC East.

One way: Overall, there was a slight uptick in the number of flags compared to last year but nothing incendiary. NFL games averaged 12.2 accepted penalties per game in 2013 (below average for recent seasons). Through 14 games this weekend, teams combined for 14.2 accepted penalties per game. Nothing like a couple of the preseason weeks (21.0 flags per game in preseason Week 2), to be sure.

There won't be an issue with excessive flags being thrown if the officials don't throw an excessive amount of flags. This seems rather obvious. So the stories about the officiating playing a bigger role didn't come into play during Week 1 because the officials didn't seem to officiate the games as tightly as they did in the preseason.

Blandino said he gave his officials no special messages before the Week 1 games, and certainly no message to let up.

Blandino did tell the officials they had to try the Cowboys party bus at least one time. The amount of ass you could get on that bus is ridiculous.

“I’m very happy with how we managed the amount of reviews from an efficiency standpoint,” Blandino said. “By the time the ref went over to the sideline, we usually had the right review cued up for him to watch, where he’d be able to get the best angle on the play in question.”

What a shock. And here I thought Blandino would be displeased with the job that he and the rest of the officials who helped out with the new replay system did. Because so often people are willing to criticize their own original ideas and performance when executing these ideas.

Of the 28 teams that have played so far this weekend, the Rams had the worst day. A disaster at quarterback—and whether Shaun Hill (a calf injury, no, a thigh injury) really was hurt enough to leave the game at halftime—was weird enough.

And to think, Jeff Fisher was stated as being as safe in his head coaching job as Bill Belichick in "Sports Illustrated" a couple of weeks ago. I harp too much, but this is the sort of things that happen when a head coach and GM puts all of his eggs in the basket of an oft-injured quarterback who they aren't even sure is good enough to be the team's long-term starter. A lot of times mismanagement of the roster like this will lead to speculation the coach/GM are on the hot seat. So far, Jeff Fisher is as untouchable as he always has been.

They play at Tampa Bay, which had a bad home loss to a backup quarterback Sunday, and then come home to face Dallas, which looked terrible Sunday. Then there’s a bye. Then there’s the toughest eight-game stretch any team has this year—or at least it looks the toughest. Seven 2013 playoff teams, and Arizona, which won 10 games. The roll call starting in Week 5: at Philadelphia, San Francisco, Seattle, at Kansas City, at San Francisco, at Arizona, Denver, at San Diego.

Please, please, please read this. Read how Peter King is making excuses for Jeff Fisher and the Rams. It's been one week and he is already setting up a narrative for why Fisher failed during the 2014 season. This is the benefit of having the media on your side as a head coach. Your failures are excused with explanations for why you failed. Explanations and reasons other head coaches aren't allowed to use are used as excuses by the media. Other NFL head coaches have to put up or shut up. Win or find a new job. They don't get the benefit of excuses like, "The schedule is so hard," "Look at the division they play in!," or "They lost their quarterback for the season though." If I were a Rams fan, I would be absolutely livid. For how much the Rams are paying Fisher, THIS is what they get in return? Nothing but promises about a "Team on the rise" and hopes that one day Fisher will find a quarterback and the NFC West won't be such a tough division? The media has Fisher's back though. They ignore his failures and focus on his successes. Hey, he had Kerry Collins take the Titans to the playoffs, so there is hope. Right?

Jeff Fisher certainly will stress to his team this week that it’s only one loss. His team is young and impressionable, and maybe they’ll buy the optimism. But St. Louis is a show-me NFL market anyway. The locals have bought into winning through the draft, and not even the loss of Sam Bradford for the second straight year with a knee injury should have made the team bottom out like this.

Roster malpractice is what this is. I understand the Rams are young and I know if Jeff Fisher stays around in St. Louis for 14 years like he did Tennessee that he will have a few successes. But while every other team gives their head coach a 3-4 year window to show progress, Fisher is at Year 3 and doesn't have a quarterback and it appears he'll be starting over again soon because he went all-in on Sam Bradford. Fisher gets paid $8 million per year for this. Winning through the draft is a very real thing. The good drafts have happened, so when does the whole "winning" part come in? Next year? In two years? Three years? Why does Fisher get that long when no other NFL coach gets 4-5 years to turn a team around? It shouldn't take that long if the GM and head coach know what they are doing. I'm thankful I'm not a Rams fan, because I would be having a heart attack right now.

I really hate harping on Fisher. I do. It blows my mind the pass he receives from the media. At no point does Peter say, "Hey, maybe it was really fucking stupid to count on Sam Bradford and rely on a guy who hasn't thrown a pass in a few years to win games as Bradford's backup." Fisher is comfortable where he is at with a long-term view because he knows the media loves him and will have his back. They won't put him on the hot seat like they do other coaches.

I feel like Fisher lacks the urgency he needs to improve the Rams and ensure he keeps his job. It feels like Fisher knows he can fuck up the Rams' quarterback situation because he's not going to get fired. Who cares if Shaun Hill is the backup? Fisher will get a chance to draft a new quarterback if the season is lost. I don't feel that is fair to Rams fans.

Fine Fifteen

Again, a power poll shouldn't be posted until a few weeks into the season. Of course, Peter put up his "Fine Fifteen" over the summer before any games were played, so I clearly have too high of expectations.

1. Seattle (1-0). Offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell on Russell Wilson: “He’s a point guard.” I do see the John Stockton comparison.

I have nothing to say here. Russell Wilson is a point guard and he is like John Stockton. Okay, he's the guy who starts and runs the offense. That's as far as I can get.

2. Denver (1-0). Was anyone even remotely surprised by the win over the Colts, when Indy had no one to pressure Peyton Manning?

But the offense. But Andrew Luck. But the Colts got more offensive weapons. It's the Peyton Manning Era Part 2, which isn't at all a bad thing, but it would be nice if the Colts could find themselves a defense if they want to compete with other AFC teams for a Super Bowl spot.

3. San Francisco (1-0). So much for the meaning of preseason. (And thank goodness for the Dallas Cowboys as an opening opponent.)

It's almost like preseason means very little.

9. Philadelphia (1-0). Thirty-four unanswered points solves a lot of worries.

Which is why the conclusion the Eagles will win the NFC East isn't that far-fetched.

10. New England (0-1). Cause for concern, sure. But I still think New England wins 11 and takes the AFC East.

Peter King earlier in this MMQB regarding what "we" thought that is wrong:

The Patriots would have their usual AFC East stroll to a playoff bye, and the other three division stumblebums would fight for second place.

After telling his readers this is wrong, Peter then picks the Patriots to win the AFC East and leaves the other three division stumblebums to fight for second place.

11. New Orleans (0-1). It’s like the 2013 defensive effort for the Saints never happened. Rob Ryan led the league in only one category Sunday: Rolaids consumed.

So you mean a Rob Ryan offense (as pointed out in the comments, this should be "defense"...I hate errors like this and I made a few in this post) looks good in the first season under him and then either regresses or doesn't improve? Hasn't this happened at most of his stops as the defensive coordinator?

15. Tennessee (1-0). Titans edge Buffalo for the last spot … because they beat a 2013 playoff team, Kansas City, on the road by 16, and played a fairly dominant game. Good for Jake Locker, completing 67% of his passes. If he’s accurate, he’s going to have a chance to keep the job long-term.

Yeah, maybe Jake Locker just learned to be accurate all of a sudden, just like Derek Anderson has learned to play quarterback and not become a turnover machine.

Then Peter names three offensive players of the week, three defensive players of the week, four special teams players of the week and two coaches of the week. At a certain point, he will just list any coach/player in this category who made a good play during the weekend of NFL football. If you don't pick one player, pick two. Choosing three players (or four) for an award starts to make the award become meaningless.

Darrell Bevell, offensive coordinator, Seattle. What I liked the most about the Seahawks’ performance Thursday night was Bevell’s approach: a smart combination of playing smashmouth with Marshawn Lynch and derring-do with plays like Russell Wilson stopping short on the read-option and firing a touchdown pass to Ricardo Lockette. Bevell has a John Stockton-type quarterback,

Oh, so this John Stockton comparison isn't going away and will be used by Peter every time he is discussing Russell Wilson? That won't get annoying at all.

Goat of the Week
Tony Romo, quarterback, Dallas. Stats lie. Romo was 23 of 37 Sunday against the Niners, but it was one of the worst games of his career. Three picks, two of the dumb variety, will renew the doubts every Cowboy fan has about Romo’s ability to ever lead the team deep into the playoffs.

Every Cowboys fan has doubts about Romo's ability to ever lead the team deep into the playoffs. "We" all have these doubts. The biggest issue with Tony Romo right now is he plays for a team that can't support his strengths enough to make up for his weaknesses. He doesn't take care of the football and he plays for a Cowboys team that doesn't have a good enough defense to make up for Romo's turnovers. The Cowboys need a quarterback who takes care of the football, doesn't take risks, doesn't take chances, but also doesn't have upside that Romo has. They just can't afford to have Romo turning the ball over right now. So it is Romo's fault, but his strengths and weaknesses don't match the Cowboys team very well.

No team can afford to have a quarterback that turns the ball over, but teams without a great defense that can stop the opposing team from scoring can less afford to have their quarterback turn the ball over. It's obvious, I know.

Quotes of the Week

“I was booing myself.”
—Philadelphia coach Chip Kelly, on the fans who let his team have it when the Eagles were down 17-0 to Jacksonville in the first half at home.

This is a Quote of the Week from Chip Kelly, not to be confused with the Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week. They are two completely different things, but either way, Chip Kelly is the smartest, most quotable head coach in the NFL right now and Peter would love to do a MMQB of just Chip Kelly quotes.

“They could have just washed their hands completely of it. But they thought about my personal issues and allowed me to come back on the practice squad so I still have insurance.”
—Cincinnati defensive lineman Devon Still, after the Bengals kept him on the practice squad so he could have the resources to deal with his 4-year-old daughter Leah’s battle with cancer.

Devon Still was a "wasted pick" though, right Peter? Just like Sean Taylor was a bust because he has the audacity to be drafted in the Top 10 and then be murdered.

“I wanted to do something to get our bodies right for the East Coast time. In my mind, the definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.”
—Oakland coach Dennis Allen, on flying his team from Oakland to Newark on Thursday for a Sunday game this week.

The best idea for playing well in Eastern Time for a western team (other than actually having good players) is what Seattle does: practice early. Get your players ready to play a 10 a.m. body clock game by actually practicing in the mornings and meeting in the afternoons. Not very complicated.

And that, of course, is the ONLY way to get players ready to play a 10 a.m. game. There are no other ways except the one invented by the Seahawks.

Sunday brought more of the same at the Meadowlands: Jets 19, Raiders 14. And it would have been much worse if the Jets hadn’t given away some points.

And naturally the Raiders' talent level or the fact they started a rookie quarterback had little to do with this result. They lost because Dennis Allen flew his team from Oakland to Newark on Thursday. There's only one way to get a West Coast team ready for the time change. Only one.

I’m not much of an oddsmaker, but think back to the day the schedule came out last spring, when Carolina was slated to open the season at Tampa Bay. Carolina ended last season on an 11-1 tear. Tampa Bay ended last season 4-12 and fired half the building. I know Cam Newton was questionable entering Sunday, but for Tampa Bay to be favored by a field goal … that blows my mind. It’s the power of the NFL standing for Not For Long.

It's also about that Derek Anderson was starting for Carolina and he was 8-17 as a starter and last started a game in late 2010.

Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week

This is wisdom of Chip Kelly while explaining how his team is ready for an up-tempo offense. It's not really "wisdom" any more than it is just an explanation, but this type of thing passes for wisdom in MMQB.

The game I think for our guys really slowed down in college on Saturdays and in the pros on Sunday because of the pace and tempo we practice on the practice field. People break in the huddle, you’re looking for, ‘All right, what are they in? What’s the personnel?’ You already know the personnel coming out of the huddle, and you’re ready and equipped with the calls you’re going to make depending on where the tight ends play and all that. I think it’s one of the unintended consequences, but it really helps that people do try to tempo us. But I also think because the players have been trained in it—so when you’re teaching people in the NFL now, tempo, well, [wide receiver] Brad Smith was an up‑tempo quarterback at Missouri so he understands that. [Quarterback] G.J. Kinne did that at Tulsa, and he understands that some of the receivers we have ran it in their system. [Wide receiver Jeremy] Maclin ran it when he was at Missouri. So it’s not like when you start to introduce a concept to some people, they don’t understand it. We started to use it back when we were at New Hampshire, when I became a coordinator, and when things were difficult on a defense to defend. Why wouldn’t we do something that was hard for defenses to handle to try to get them out of their comfort zone?”

So the wisdom here is to do things the defense can't handle. Why didn't other offensive-minded NFL coaches think of this prior to Kelly's arrival?

I’ve heard quite a bit from readers and Tweeters who object to the NFL singling out any player for special treatment, which the NFL certainly did here. I would make these points:

I don't object, I just think this goes against the idea of the NFL treating Michael Sam like any other player and singles him out for scorn and jealousy. It's just not a good way to encourage Sam's teammates to like him, whether he is gay or straight. It's hard to make it in the NFL and I would bet every NFL player has a friend who got cut a few weeks ago and is looking for an NFL job. To have the NFL call around and try to find a job for one specific player is a great way to create jealously and dislike for that one player. It's sort of the opposite reaction Michael Sam needs from his future, current and past teammates.

Universally, everyone thinks the NFL shouldn’t be in the business of advocating for any player. I understand. And I agree—mostly. But some teams believe he brings too much non-football attention for a marginal player. The NFL’s effort has a tinge of affirmative-action to it: There was a time when minorities struggled to get equal-access to college admission. The story here is much different, but the concept is the same.

Yes, the concept would be the same if affirmative action helped only one student get equal-access to college admission. It's affirmative action for one person, which is generally called "playing favorites" and isn't viewed kindly in the arena of sports.

The NFL should have done one thing that truly could have helped Sam get a job on a practice squad—let Jeff Fisher explain, maybe in a statement the league could have made available to the 31 other front offices, about how having Sam on the team for 16 weeks (from draft day to the day he was cut) was not a distraction.

Then Fisher could have explained how he relied entirely on Sam Bradford this year and his sub-par record in the two-plus years he's spent in St. Louis won't put him on the hot seat unlike other head coaches in the NFL who are considered on the hot seat and earn 300% times less money.

I think even this statement would not be viewed in a positive light because it is still treating Sam differently. That is unless Jeff Fisher is willing to explain in a statement about how all the other players the Rams released worked really hard and are worthy of another NFL team picking them up.

The media kills me, especially writers like Peter King. Peter covers Michael Sam extensively, then wonders how this could create a distraction. Then Peter thinks the NFL should make an exception for Sam and have his coach vouch for the person and player he is, but still doesn't get how this could be taken the wrong way by other NFL players. The people creating the distraction and the story are not Michael Sam, it is those people who want Sam to be treated like every other NFL player, the same people who insist on not treating him like every other NFL player.

Ten Things I Think I Think

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

a. Seattle’s roster formation. Who keeps eight wide receivers on the final 53? GM John Schneider did. He cut rookie wideout Phil Bates on Saturday to make room for needed offensive line depth, signing offensive tackle Andrew McDonald off the Carolina practice squad. In Seattle it’s about finding and developing the best 53 plus 10, even when they overload at one position. All teams say that. Seattle does it.

While I agree, a team has to have depth at other positions on the roster to compensate for injuries. So it makes complete sense to have the best 53 plus 10, but a team can't keep eight wide receivers and only have six or seven offensive linemen on the active roster and practice squad. Not every team has the luxury of choosing the best players to keep and have to play towards their need a little bit.

f. Andrea Kremer’s interview with Tom Brady on NFL Network. Asked good questions, such as whether he thinks he’ll get cut some day. “It’s happened to everybody, so why would I not think it would happen to me?” he said.

Pretty much. But I'm sure the day Brady gets cut there will be dozens of stories about how this is part of how cold Bill Belichick can be and other crap like that. Players get cut when they aren't useful anymore. Bottom line.

j. Allen Hurns, undrafted from the University of Miami, with a 110-yard receiving day in his first NFL game, and two touchdowns for the Jaguars in the first 10 minutes.

I can't wait for Gregg Easterbrook to laud Hurns' performance, while not acknowledging that Hurns comes from one of the football factories Gregg criticizes on a nearly weekly basis.

l. Frank Caliendo doing Bill Belichick. There are not many funnier things in the world.

Oh yes, comedians on NFL pregame shows. For when the general public doesn't find you to be especially hilarious anymore.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 1:

a. Earl Thomas’ punt-return judgment. And if that’s the only thing I didn’t like about Seattle from a 60-minute game, it must have been a pretty good night.

I don't like Pete Carroll's judgment in allowing Earl Thomas to return punts. It's a great way to get one of your best defensive players injured. Isn't there someone else to return punts? How about one of the 7-8 wide receivers on the roster?

c. The ridiculous, meaningless, massive over-coverage of whether the Jets’ backup quarterback is going to have a radio show in New York. If this is what covering football is coming to, please deport me to Auckland.

Sounds good. Let's hope this is what covering football is coming to.

e. Eagles cornerback Cary Williams getting beat for a touchdown by undrafted rookie Allen Hurns early in Jags-Eagles.

Well, Williams was a 7th round pick himself. He makes a lot of money now, but it's not like there is a huge difference in an undrafted free agent and a 7th round pick.

Under "What Peter liked about Week 1":

n. The line by Dan Patrick on NBC Sunday night, referring to Antonio Brown’s ridiculous flying kick of Cleveland punter Spencer Lanning: “Everybody was Kung Fu fighting!”

Kicking other players in the head is hilarious!

Under "What Peter didn't like about Week 1:

h. Are you kidding, Antonio Brown? Kicking the punter in the head with a Bruce Lee move? Where in the world did that come from?


i. Josh McCown, who too often looked unsure and shaky. Last thing I thought I’d see out of him after last year’s success in Chicago.

Who on Earth would have expected a career backup to not suddenly start playing at a high level at the age of 34? I thought McCown was just starting to hit his groove and it turns out his half-season of success wasn't a long-term thing. "We" are all shocked that McCown's career performance is more representative of his talent than his performance over half a season.

4. I think if you thought the new points of emphasis would somehow take the edge off Seattle’s secondary, you were wrong.

No Peter, "we" were wrong. Remember, we all hold the same opinion. When "you" think 10 things about the NFL season that end up being wrong, then "we" all thought those things. When your readers think the new points of emphasis will take the edge off the Seattle secondary than "we" were wrong because your opinion is the opinion of your readers, right?

Isn't it funny how "we" becomes "you" when Peter is right about something and how "I" becomes "we" when Peter is wrong about something? Bill Simmons would be impressed with how Peter makes his lack of knowledge and foresight his readers' lack of knowledge and foresight.

6. I think the swirling mayhem around Jim Harbaugh seems to suit him fine. After the first game of his fourth coaching season, Harbaugh is 28 games over .500. That’s better than Jeff Fisher, John Fox and Pete Carroll.

Better than Jeff Fisher, now that's impressive. Jim Harbaugh already has as many playoff wins as Jeff Fisher does and he's only been coaching for 15 fewer full seasons. Pete Carroll has one more playoff victory than Fisher in 10 fewer full seasons and John Fox has three more playoff victories than Fisher in 6 fewer full seasons.

7. I think I would not be remotely surprised if, sometime in the second half of the Dallas-San Francisco game Sunday, Jerry Jones turned to son Stephen and said, “You happy about passing on Manziel now?”

Then Stephen Brown (I'm not sure who Stephen Brown is, but I'm assuming he is either a figment of Jones' imagination, as suggested in the comments, or it's Stephen Jones, Jerry Jones' son) should respond one of two ways:

1. "Was it your idea to give Tony Romo that contract extension?"

2. "The same Johnny Manziel that can't beat out Brian Hoyer for the starting quarterback job?"

8. I think, not meaning to say your season is over or anything, fans of the Rams, but it’s only 240 days till the 2015 draft. Hope springs eternal!

And no matter what, Jeff Fisher will be there because the Rams are a team on the rise! Fisher needs a few more years to find a quarterback, even though that probably should have been his #1 priority over the past two offseasons. Besides, what are the Rams going to do? Fire him? HAHAHA!

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

b. Very smart, thoughtful column by Rick Gosselin of The Dallas Morning News on the redeeming values of football, told from the perspective of the mayor of Dallas.

But these are non-football related thoughts aren't they?

d. Underrated album of the week: “Wrecking Ball,’’ by Bruce Springsteen. Good cross-country music. “This Depression” is addicting.

After Robin Williams' suicide and Peter's warning to us that depression is really super-serious (because Peter's readers didn't realize this) you would think he wouldn't talk about this depression being addicting. So insensitive.

Also, there is nothing underrated about any Bruce Springsteen album. Maybe there is a Bruce Springsteen album underrated relative to Bruce's catalog, but no Bruce Springsteen album is underrated overall. They are all properly rated and discussed widely.

e. So glad to have given a few of my NBC friends some great pizza advice. They went to Serious Pie in Seattle, and their pizza taste will be forever spoiled.

Important information to know.

g. Coffeenerdness: I know you get tired of me and my coffee thing. But the care some of these coffee shops in Seattle (and elsewhere) take with their coffee borders on artistry. Some barista at Fonte Coffee in downtown Seattle made me a latte Thursday with a perfect palm tree etched in the foam. How do those guys do that?

Steroids, Peter. They take PED's. Now how do you feel about the perfect palm tree etched in the foam? Not so good, huh?

h. Beernerdness: Is there a rival for Allagash White?

Yes, there may be a hundred. Possibly more than a hundred.

I mean, could there be a beer as good in the United States?

Yes, there very much is.

I may have found it: Avery White Rascal, from Avery Brewing Company in Boulder, Colo. A gem. Light but very flavorful.

Peter loves himself some white beers. I think it's the hidden racist in him that only prefers white beers the most.

Detroit 30, New York Giants 20. The only way you like the Giants tonight is if you think preseason football is an absolute mirage. I don’t see New York flipping the switch quickly after an awful August.

I don't know if the preseason is a mirage, but I'm not sure I would be making a pick based on a team's performance in the preseason.

The Adieu Haiku

Such great plays Sunday.
A couple by a tall Vike.
Pronounced “Cor-DARE-ul.”

Cordarrelle Patterson is 6'2". That's tall, but not exactly really tall in terms of him being an NFL player. So basically, this haiku is an abomination and has questionable accuracy to boot.


HH said...

Ray Rice just happened to hit his girlfriend/wife for the first time in front of a camera. It's like someone who has NEVER done drugs before getting popped for possession or a person who drove drunk for the first time EVER getting hit with a DUI. It always happens that way.

Definitely true. Every girl I've ever picked up had NEVER had a one-night stand before. I must be the luckiest guy in the world.

HH said...

Frank Caliendo doing Bill Belichick.


Snarf said...

The Patriots would have their usual AFC East stroll to a playoff bye, and the other three division stumblebums would fight for second place.

I did and still do think this.

This is probably the double-move by Peter. IF/when the Pats comfortably march to the AFCE title, he will remind us of how "WE" wrote them off too early.

moedrabowsky said...

I haven't finished your latest column (which I sometimes love and read ASAP--keep fighting the good fight), but as a Rams fan, I need you to understand something about this organization and why harping about Fisher is futile. It's also why my loyalties will not be theirs much longer:

1)After the amateurish reigns of Linehan and Spags, any semi-competent head coach was going to look like Lombardi and be hailed by the incredibly soft STL media as the perfect hire;

2)Fisher was the perfect hire, but for different reasons than the media portrays. He can maintain a level of hope through two or four seasons of perpetual mediocrity followed by a weird 12-4 year. That gives fans of a crummy team like the Rams hope -- especially after 10 years of abject failure. Thus, Fisher can maintain interest (re:revenue) while the team plots its move to another city;

3) Jeff Fisher already has done this: Maintained a semblance of competency through his early tenure in Houston while rumors that the team would relocate spread like wildfire; coached an average team during a transition year; and helped same team move into a new stadium and new identity. He is also from SoCal, ergo;

4) The Rams are gone and Jeff Fisher is the perfect coach for this organization at this time.

Good riddance and go fuck yourself, Stan WalMart.

Slag-King said...

Alex Smith isn't very good. He's not a Top 12 quarterback, despite getting paid like one, and if he doesn't take care of the ball then he has almost zero redeeming qualities an NFL team would want in a starter.

Well, to be semi-fair to Alex Smith, Reid did call more than double the amount of pass plays. Jamaal Charles only rushed 7 times and thrown to 4 times. Donnie Avery on the other hand was targeted 13 times (7 receptions). This is typical Reid allergy to the running game, even though he has one of the best players in the NFL in Charles!

So you mean a Rob Ryan offense looks good in the first season under him and then either regresses or doesn't improve? Hasn't this happened at most of his stops as the defensive coordinator?

If Rob Ryan is also calling plays for the offense, then no wonder his defense suffers the next year! That guy is overworked!

Not very complicated.

This is sheer arrogance coming from Peter.

Then Stephen Brown should respond one of two ways:

Who? A figment of Jerry's imagination?

Keep up the good work, Ben (despite some of the oversights) it was a great read.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, you are the luckiest! She doesn't usually do this and neither do you. Two hearts and souls have found each other for one night for one time only. That's always how it works.

That Caliendo thing gave me an image. Not good.

Snarf, it probably is a double move. I still think the Patriots win the East. A road loss against a good Dolphins defense won't convince me otherwise. But yes, "we" will have written them off.

Moe, you are a Rams fan. That's two who read here. I haven't alienated all of you yet, that makes me feel good because that's not my intention to bash the Rams.

Interesting way of looking at it. So your basic point is Fisher is around long enough to give the organization hope while the Rams plot a move out of St. Louis? He did help the team transition from Houston to Tennessee. Very interesting.

I don't know if I could be loyal to them much longer as it is. It's easy for me to say and I've had a few chances to give up on the Panthers and just can't do it.

I think what frustrates me the most about Fisher is I am very sensitive to a fan base getting screwed by their owner/coach. Not exactly in the same way Bill Simmons is. I understand the business aspect of it, which Bill doesn't always seem to get. I don't like when fans get feed a line and strung out on promises based on a "name" coach who really doesn't earn his salary. I feel like Fisher is wasting the fan's money and time with his promises of turning the team around and basically lacking of sense of urgency. It's like he knows he'll be around, so why not see what Bradford can do and draft a new QB next year?

But your reasons make sense. I've always felt Fisher was a little overrated and propped up by the media. He has successes, and I think he's a good coach, but he's always too safe and too honored for my taste. He's good, but not great. Still, he can provide stability, that's for sure. In that way, your theory makes good sense.

Slag, I refuse to be fair! But yes, that is a fair point. I reacted strongly to Alex Smith because of how Peter was defending Smith's contract last week. Overall, I don't hate the contract, but I reacted strongly based on the idea the contract was a "See I told you he was good" moment for Smith. I still think he's very competent, but he's just not a guy who can have double the pass plays called for him as compared to running plays.

I'm a terrible proofreader. I'm the worst. I can't believe I did those things.

Thanks and thanks for pointing them out. In my defense, and there is no defense or errors like that really they annoy the shit out of me, I started writing this and then started working feverishly on the Ray Rice apology Peter gave. So my focus probably wasn't the best b/c then TMQ down the pipe. I have a process and threw myself off it.

HH said...

Regarding the Patriots: they're 7-8 at Miami during their recent run of dominance. It hasn't stopped them from dominating the division.

moedrabowsky said...

>>So your basic point is Fisher is around long enough to give the organization hope while the Rams plot a move out of St. Louis?<<

Precisely. And I don't know of any rational Rams fan who believes they will stay in St. Louis.

Ownership says that there is a lack of support, but a losing record for 10 consecutive years tends to foster fan apathy, so it's a Catch-22.

If they leave, at least I won't have to support a shoddy, incompetent and prevaricating organization.

Bengoodfella said...

HH, yeah but they lost at Miami THIS YEAR! It means something because it happened this year. It's important overreact to what happened in the NFL over the past week.

Anonymous said...

The Eagles-Jax game was in Philadelphia, not Jax.

Bengoodfella said...

My fault. That would explain the booing of Chip Kelly I guess, right?

Chris said...

They booed Chip Kelly? But how could they? He's the Da Vinci of coaching!! Everything he says is so deep and profound our minds cannot comprehend it. Chip Kelly isn't even human because he has ascended to a higher plain of existence than our own.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't think the Eagles being home changes your argument that the comeback makes the Eagles still look like the team standing far ahead of the other three in the division. It makes the initial stumble more surprising, tho.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, they wouldn't have booed Kelly if he had been speaking. Instead of coaching the Eagles perhaps at halftime he should have given a speech with words of wisdom. The crowd would have been so impressed they wouldn't have cared if the Eagles even returned for the second half.

Three, it does make it more surprising. I don't know why I thought they were in Jacksonville. Given how the other three teams in the division performed, it's not hard to see why the Eagles are the favorite.

moedrabowsky said...

Oh, and Ben, I hope I didn't leave the impression that Fisher is a good coach.
He is the definition of mediocrity. I knew that going in, and yet after the chaos of the three previous regimes -- coodinators in their first head coaching gigs -- he was the best available option of what the fans base begged for: A Real Life NFL Coach.
Outside of the Warner era, it has really, really sucked to root for this club.
Happy Saturday!

Bengoodfella said...

Moe, I think he's a little better than mediocre, but I also think he's gotten a lot more rope to run the Rams than I would give him. Through all of my dislike for Jeff "8-8" Fisher I don't want it to get lost I don't like him. He's just not a guy who I would want running my team. I can see why he would work for the Rams though. He does provide some sort of stability.