As we near the end of a strange Week 4 in the NFL (margins of victory this weekend: 31, 24, 28, 24, 3, 7, 6, 21, 19, 13, 5, 21), let’s take stock of the race that’s looking very fun, and very different than usual: the NFL MVP race. Different because the usual suspects—Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, who have won five of the past seven MVPs—have company.
Peter was bored by the games this week, so he decides that this year's MVP race is TOTALLY DIFFERENT FROM EVERY OTHER YEAR'S MVP race. Sure, in past years Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, and maybe another player were in the discussion with Manning and Brady, but this year is different because...umm...Peter wants it to be different I guess.
At the four-week mark, here’s how I see it:
If you can't tell, this will be a fluffy MMQB because Peter was bored with the Week 4 games and would prefer to discuss postseason awards in September and recite quotes others have given about Derek Jeter.
1. Philip Rivers, quarterback, San Diego. He just keeps getting better. Building on last year’s 5% improvement in completion percentage—stunning for a 10-year vet—
It's almost like a full season hasn't been played yet and Rivers has time to regress to his career completion percentage.
Rivers came back after a one-point loss to unbeaten Arizona to strafe three straight foes, most impressivly leading the Chargers to 30 points in a Week 2 win over Seattle.
Ys, that was dfinitly most impressiv.
2. DeMarco Murray, running back, Dallas. Jerry Jones might have hated picking Zack Martin over Johnny Manziel in May—you know he did—but he wasn’t hating it Sunday night, basking in the glow of a 38-17 rout of New Orleans. “I don’t recall ever seeing a Cowboy team in my 25 years play better, including the effort and including mistake-free execution, than we played in the first half,” Jones said. It’s ball-control. It’s spending high draft picks smartly and conservatively on offensive linemen.
It's sort of like how protecting your quarterback is a great idea. Why improve your team when you can go sexy and draft Johnny Manziel?
4. Russell Wilson, quarterback, Seattle. At the helm of the best team in football, Wilson has completed 69% of his passes, thrown just one interception and done what he had to do when he had to do it.
DOES THIS GUY EVER SWEAT UNDER PRESSURE? HE'S #4 ON PETER'S LIST OF MVP CANDIDATES AND DOESN'T SEEM NERVOUS ABOUT IT AT ALL!
John Stockton never led the NBA in scoring, and Wilson will never lead the NFL in passing yardage. Wilson is a point guard, an excellent one.
Stop forcing this John Stockton comparison. It wasn't very good a couple of weeks ago and it hasn't improved this week. John Stockton was also not considered to be as great as Larry Bird and Michael Jordan, while Peter has stated that Russell Wilson is up there with Manning and Brady. So even if I used Peter's comparison to Stockton then it still doesn't make sense in the context of how he talks about Wilson.
Now that we’ve gotten the debate going—and I understand that I don’t have a player from the Cards or Bengals, the only unbeatens in football, on the list—I’ll look forward to hearing your arguments for the quarter-season MVP. I’ll use the best arguments you’ve got in my Tuesday Mailbag column.
And honestly, Peter wouldn't put Andy Dalton in the top five of the MVP race even if the Bengals finished the season 16-0. He thinks Andy Dalton is the B.J. Armstrong of the NFL.
Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles are not supposed to be as poised as Andrew Luck and Russell Wilson, but they were in their starting debuts.
Stop writing like you are a 16 year old girl about to gossip, please.
I was sure Smith would launch into orbit two or three times Sunday if he had great success against his former team, Carolina. He had great success. “And I didn’t even spin the ball after I scored, really,” Smith said from Baltimore a half-hour after his seven-catch, 139-yard, two-touchdown day against the reeling Panthers. “It’s not about the old team. It’s about this team.”
It's interesting how the media starts paying attention to Steve Smith and how good of a receiver he is once there is a narrative to write. They have something interesting to write about, so Peter King decides it's a good time to give Steve Smith a call. Peter didn't care about Smith over the past few years, but Smith's words can help Peter write a story, so Peter is all-ears now.
Late in the first half, Smith had a step on Carolina cornerback Melvin White—a 2013 practice foe with the Panthers—and Joe Flacco floated a perfect ball into the end zone for him. As Smith reached for it, White tackled him. The back judge threw a flag on White, but Smith somehow managed to catch the ball. “I can’t let them win,” said Smith, and I wasn’t sure if he meant corners in general, or the Panthers. “I really wasn’t thinking of playing against my old team. I was just thinking, focus on the job so I can help my new team win.”
Steve Smith carries a grudge with everything and everyone, so it shouldn't surprise me he does the same to the Panthers for releasing him this offseason. He's my favorite Panthers player of all-time, if forced to choose, but his grudge holding in this case seems a little bit like an example of a lack of maturity and self-awareness. No one likes to be released, but football is a business.
The Panthers stood beside and supported Smith for 13 years as he violently attacked three teammates, settled out of court with one of those teammates who he violently attacked, demanded a trade no less than twice, was a consistent source of malcontent in the locker room, when given the chance to play with a good second wide receiver (Keyshawn Johnson) Smith decided he would rather engage in a passive-aggressive battle of egos rather than get along, and complained about nearly every quarterback who has ever thrown him the ball. Just this past offseason he asked to be released, refused to take a pay cut and then was released after the Panthers couldn't trade him. This is the third time he has actively requested a trade or release from the team, but it's the Carolina Panthers who are the bad guys for daring to release him. He's my favorite player of all-time and I am happy he is happy in Baltimore, but there is nothing to be bitter about. He was kept around when other NFL teams would have taken the chance to release him and not stand by him. It's how Smith motivates himself, to act like he was wronged in some fashion, but sometimes he convinces himself so hard he was wronged that he starts to believe his own bullshit. As many times as Smith has decided he was done with the Panthers, it's supremely hilarious that he gets angry about the Panthers finally deciding they were done with him.
And now I move on...
Smith walked into the middle of the locker room. “Old man playing a young man’s game,’’ he said. “Gonna have to ice up.”
The man can give a quote though.
Mike Glennon is better than you think.
Don't tell me how good I think Mike Glennon is. I think Glennon should have been the starter this year. Maybe Mike Glennon is better than YOU think, but you insist on everyone being wrong about Glennon because you were wrong. Stop using the word "you" in this context. It's annoying.
Glennon, the former North Carolina State starter (he pushed Russell Wilson out), called it “the most monumental win I’ve been a part of.” And the most unlikely outcome of the year, the 0-3 Bucs beating a team that destroyed Carolina on the road last week.
Glennon didn't push Russell Wilson out. He had two years of eligibility left and the N.C. State head coach (Tom O'Brien) told Russell Wilson if he wanted to be the Wolfpack's starting quarterback then he needed to focus solely on football during the summer, rather than also playing baseball. Russell Wilson decided he didn't want to do that and transferred to Wisconsin. Wilson wasn't "pushed out" by Glennon. His need to play baseball and football forced him out.
Mike Glennon played pretty well in a shitty situation last year. He isn't better than "we" think. Don't tell "us" how good "we" think Mike Glennon is you haughty dipshit.
“I will keep you posted,” a Raiders spokesman texted me early this morning. It’s just a matter of time for Allen, who cannot survive with a porous D plus Matt McGloin becoming the third starting quarterback in the last six weeks now that Derek Carr is out with a sprained knee ligament and sprained ankle. But if Allen is in jeopardy, what of GM Reggie McKenzie, who let a legit left tackle, Jared Veldheer, go; scotch-taped together a defense of veterans who’d seen better days; and paid real money to Matt Flynn and Matt Schaub to play quarterback and got results from neither.
Come on, Peter. Where is the "Matt Schaub is a waste of talent and is a huge asshole for stealing money from the Raiders" talk? Last year Peter railed on Josh Freeman repeatedly for daring to be signed by the Vikings for $2 million. Nearly every week Peter mentioned what a waste Josh Freeman is. This year, Matt Schaub is making $8 million to be the Raiders third-string quarterback and Peter hasn't even really criticized Schaub yet. I guess Schaub gives Peter better quotes than Josh Freeman ever did. Or maybe it is that Josh Freeman contributed to Peter's buddy, Greg Schiano, getting fired in Tampa Bay.
The logical replacement for Allen would be Tony Sparano, who I will guarantee will get his players to play hard for him. I don’t know how well they’ll play, but I know they will play hard.
I see the Bill Parcells Effect still works. This is the same Tony Sparano who went 28-32 with the Dolphins, right? I don't think he's the long-term replacement, though since Peter is among the many sportswriters who worship at the altar of Bill Parcells it wouldn't surprise me if Peter suggested Sparano should be the long-term replacement.
Noting the quarterbacks of the future, and their Sundays:
Teddy Bridgewater (age 21) started his first game. Against Atlanta he led six scoring drives in three quarters, completed 19 of 30 without turning it over, and left a good first impression. But Bridgewater is a smallish guy, and his second-half sprained ankle was a reminder of some of the reservations teams had about him before the draft.
(Straw man rant alert) Keep helping your buddy Mike Mayock out, Peter, by mentioning there were reservations about Bridgewater's ability to stay healthy. Keep working hard to make it seem like he didn't ignore all of Teddy Bridgewater's tape and give Bridgewater a bad evaluation based simply on hand size and his Pro Day. Protecting friends is important to Peter, so even if Teddy Bridgewater becomes a Pro Bowler I am betting Peter won't mention how his buddy Mayock based his evaluation of Bridgewater on a bad Pro Day and small hands. I overly love Bridgewater. He'll be the best quarterback in this draft.
Ryan Tannehill (26) had a day of redemption, completing 74% of his throws in London to beat the moribund Raiders; he had 14 straight completions at one point. So much for the motivational ploy, or whatever that was last week from Joe Philbin, of not naming him the starter during the week.
Andrew Luck (25) was the day’s most productive QB, 29 of 41 for 393 yards and four touchdowns in the 41-17 rout of Tennessee. “I’m embarrassed,” said Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt. Lots of coaches feel that way after facing Luck for three hours.
Colin Kaepernick (26)
Are these three guys the quarterback of the future? It seems like they are the quarterbacks of right now doesn't it?
EJ Manuel (23). Okay, I’ve never been hounded by J.J. Watt for three hours before, so this is easy for me to say: But Manuel looked shaky at times in the loss to Houston—completing just 48% of his throws—and continued a troubling trend: His accuracy has been worse than the previous week in each of his last three games.
Like you said in training camp, Peter. He just needs to throw it deeper and see what happens. Right? That's the solution you proposed?
It’s been three weeks since the damning Ray Rice video unleashed a torrent of criticism directed towards Roger Goodell and the NFL offices, causing the league to uber-focus on domestic violence. Here’s what I know:
Keep working on restoring Goodell's image Peter. Gotta keep carrying that water.
Goodell in Austin over the weekend. On Saturday night he visited a domestic-violence hotline that the league is helping to fund in the wake of the firestorm.
See? The NFL is spending the millions upon millions it earns every year to start a hotline. Who said based on their actions they don't care about women ?
At one point during the meeting with Strong, Vincent said, the coach pointed at a picture in his office of his two daughters. He quoted Strong as saying, “This is a constant reminder to me. I just think about my daughters. No means no. Here, if you put your hands on a woman, you are through.”
Said Vincent: “The man is taking a stand. He made it clear that playing at Texas is a privilege, not a right. Basically, you have to be willing to let your best player go.” That was the message, too, from Hall of Fame linebacker Mike Singletary in the players meeting last week.
So basically it is still up to individual NFL teams to punish players because the NFL cares so much about domestic violence they aren't willing to step in and punish a player before he gets the benefit of due process. I'm not criticizing, simply stating what's going on. Roger Goodell is all about telling NFL teams what to do, except when it comes to punishments for players who still get the benefit of due process, in which case he of course wants individual NFL teams to take the heat so he'll leave those decisions with those teams from now on.
Goodell is safe … for now. In the past several days I’ve spoken to high-ranking officials from eight teams, either the owner or high-ranking club officials with knowledge of the owners’ feelings, about the future of Goodell, with the proviso that they would not be quoted. Several points came through. There’s currently no movement or momentum to remove Goodell as commissioner. But there’s an asterisk there, as two of the owners said. They want to wait for former FBI director Robert Mueller’s report into the NFL’s actions in the Rice case.
The owners want to make sure the investigation they have rigged to go Goodell's way really does go Goodell's way. As long as that happens and they can point to that report from an "independent" investigator as reason to keep Goodell they will. The game is rigged, but the owners don't want to do anything regarding Goodell just in case.
If Goodell is found to have lied about the Rice video or other pertinent facts in the Rice investigation, he’ll be in serious trouble. (Though no one I spoke to feel he has lied.)
Again, this is the problem with the investigation. The two owners responsible for overseeing it, and most other NFL owners as well, are just assuming Goodell hasn't done anything wrong despite any evidence to the contrary. I don't know, it seems to me like Roger Goodell probably did lie, but then again I don't have a stake in him staying on as commissioner.
If he’s found to have been culpable, or not on top of the investigation in a material way, he could be in trouble as well.
He won't be.
There’s more trust inside the ranks of ownership than in the wider population that Mueller’s report will be far-reaching and legitimate, although one owner agreed that it was a mistake for the chief investigator in the case to have ties to the NFL, as Mueller’s Washington firm does.
It's good to know the NFL owners have confidence in the man they chose to lead the investigation into whether Goodell lied or not. I would be surprised if the owners didn't have confidence in the guy their fellow owners chose to use in investigating Goodell's actions.
This surprised me: The owners I spoke with want Goodell to cede authority in discipline cases. They think he spends too much time—and it’s certainly true in this case—going down a rabbit hole of unending controversy on an issue the league should have had buttoned up years ago.
How does that surprise you? What got Goodell in trouble is he has his fingerprints all over punishments handed down to players and he handed down a punishment many considered too light in this circumstance. The owners don't want Goodell being the judge, jury and executioner because it brings criticism his way. It's just another way of protecting the NFL brand to hand authority off in discipline cases.
In general, the sense I got is that when the Mueller report is released, and if Goodell stays on, owners will urge him to concentrate more on league matters and growing and improving the game, and much less on discipline.
That will fix everything. As long as Goodell runs the NFL and isn't allowed to use his judgment in discipline cases then nothing should go wrong. Protect the Shield!
That’s a key point: Owners and team executives know how committed the NFL is to building its presence internationally, and that they’ll play a central role in where it goes from here. The league’s current resolution to play regular-season games in the U.K., as voted on by the owners, runs through the 2016 season, and Waller hopes to have a new resolution in place before that one expires.
I really don't want the NFL to go to London, but nobody asked my opinion. Obviously the NFL owners know better than I do. I will be pissed when my favorite team loses a home game because the NFL wants to convince London to love the sport of American football.
In the short term, Waller says to expect three NFL games played at Wembley Stadium during the 2015 season (England is hosting the 2015 Rugby World Cup, with two matches scheduled at Wembley for Sundays in September, one reason the NFL will stick with three games). Two of those games will be played on consecutive weeks, to test how the stadium’s field holds up to that wear and tear. This is important, because if there were a team in London, its schedule would likely be played in two- to three-game blocks, home and away.
I don't see how it could work. Games would have to be played in London in blocks and I don't think it's fair for a New Orleans Saints team clinging to hope for a playoff spot to have to play in London in Week 16 and then fly back to play a "win-and-in" game in New Orleans the following week. I already hear about West Coast NFL teams who change their schedule while playing on the East Coast, much less playing in England where teams will suffer from jet lag. What happens when the Seahawks play in London and then have a home game the next week?
Bidwill told the panel of fans this weekend that the Cardinals, who played a preseason game in London in 1983, “would love to play another game—as the visiting team.” That’s the challenge for the NFL, finding more volunteers each year to give up a home game. If there were a team based in London (and, yes, the NFL wants that, more than a six- or eight-game collection of games featuring different teams), that question would be answered. But the NFL is not there yet.
I am of the opinion I never want my team to give up a home game so the NFL can convince another country to love American football. It's spitting in the face of that team's fan base to only get 7 home games while being charged for 8 (actually 10 games) and I don't see how the logistics would work out without a lot of work to make it happen.
In tribute to Derek Jeter
Not only is this a football column, but doesn't Peter think there have been enough Jeter tributes of late? Hasn't this been done already?
The paths of the Jeter and Manning families have crossed numerous times. Charles Jeter, Derek’s father, helped the Mannings set up Peyton Manning’s PeyBack Foundation early in his career. Eli Manning sometimes called Derek for Yankee tickets. Peyton and Derek Jeter once had a very private dinner after a Monday night game in Indianapolis. “That night may have been the only night ever that [Indianapolis restaurant] St. Elmo opened for two people to have dinner: Peyton and Derek,” Archie said. And in May, Peyton showed up at Yankee Stadium to see Jeter play. “I wanted to pay my respects and see him play for the last time,” Peyton said that day.
Such a riveting story. I think a story about a baseball player and a quarterback who is on his bye week is perfect for MMQB. I wouldn't expect Peter to NOT mention Peyton Manning a few times during a weekend when Manning's team isn't even playing. I think a whole page on Jeter is a bit much, but Peter has said before he thinks Jeter is the best player of his lifetime, if Peter's lifetime began over the last 30 years.
“I’m so glad what happened the other night,” Archie Manning said Saturday. “It’s justice. It’s God-sent.
God has sent The Jeter down to show the world how to treat the media and bang attractive brunettes at the same time. I wouldn't insinuate that The Jeter is like Jesus or any other Biblical figure, but only because no Biblical figure has more than 3,000 hits like The Jeter does. Either way, The Jeter is from God.
Reactions from around football to Jeter’s end, and what he leaves:
Yes, PLEASE! Because the only thing I care about more than Peter's opinion on Derek Jeter is someone else's opinion on Derek Jeter and be sure to put these reactions in a column about the NFL so they will be totally out-of-place. There are only 22 people who give a memory of Derek Jeter or provides thoughts about The Jeter. Only 22! If Peter put this much effort into MMQB every week it wouldn't be the 40% NFL-related, self-involved shit show the column has become.
Bill Parcells, Hall of Fame coach
"Oh please, Mr. Parcells! Give me a quote about Derek Jeter. Please sir?"
Champ Bailey, free-agent cornerback
“They should retire No. 2 in baseball. Definitely one of the greatest athletes ever.”
Yeah Champ, that's what they should do. The Jeter and the dude who integrated baseball, they are both on the same level. Retire both of those jerseys. Not that the Jeter worship is veering widely into hyperbole or over-praise at this point or anything.
Boomer Esiason, former quarterback, current CBS announcer
“Even as a Mets fan I have to admit Derek Jeter did it the right way.
(Chokes to death on hyperbole)
Justin Tuck, defensive end, Oakland Raiders
“With all the great things he did on the field my favorite with Jeter would be him taking time to have a conversation and take pictures with my dad during batting practice one day at Yankee Stadium. The way he ended it with the walk-off was unbelievable. I thought hitting a home run for his 3,000th hit was crazy but how he ended his Yankee career is fitting for how he played the game. He deserved to go out with a bang like that.”
Hey Justin Tuck, Jeter didn't end his Yankee career with a walk-off, but thanks for paying so much attention.
Mike Mayock, NFL Network analyst
(From 1992 prior to the MLB Draft) "Sure, Derek Jeter had great high school numbers and a history of leadership, but look at how small his hands are and he had a bad workout before the MLB Draft. So let's ignore his entire high school career and focus on those two things. Then if I'm wrong, I'll just pretend I never said anything bad about Jeter."
Wait, wrong quote from Mayock.
John Harbaugh, coach, Baltimore Ravens: “Three or four years ago I threw out a first pitch at an O’s game. Sitting in the stands, there he was in the on-deck circle and I caught his eye and he nodded. Very classy.” …
Wow, real in-depth interesting story there. "ONE TIME, JETER NODDED AT ME!"
Brett Favre, former quarterback: “Awesome, and only fitting he go out that way. Classy player. I’m honored to say I watched him play this year in Seattle.” …
And really, why wouldn't Peter King roll over and ask Brett Favre if he has a quote about Derek Jeter? It's not like Peter is obsessed with Favre and it's not like Favre craves any little mention of his name to get back in the spotlight again for even a brief moment.
Ron Rivera, coach, Carolina Panthers: “I grew up a Yankee fan so I thought it was great the way he finished his career. And I love the Jeter commercial with the Frank Sinatra song.” …
Maybe Jeter can play offensive line or fix whatever the hell is wrong with the Carolina defense? No, that's not his job, it's yours? Great, then do it.
Greg Schiano, former Tampa Bay coach:
And who am I to say that Peter King has favorites and Schiano is one of his favorites? I'm sure there are other fired NFL coaches who gave a quote to Peter about Jeter. (checks list) Well, maybe not. I think I see where much of Peter's anger towards Josh Freeman comes from. Freeman didn't help Peter's buddy Greg Schiano keep his job in Tampa Bay. So Peter, the unbiased reporter that he is, took it upon himself to bash Freeman constantly in retaliation for not playing well in Tampa Bay for Peter's friend, Greg Schiano.
Not him. I was watching the game the other night, and when the O’s hit the two-run homer to go up 5-4, I thought to myself, if this thing gets to the bottom of the ninth, he is going to win it. Sure enough…”
Did you write "Game Over" in your notebook, Greg?
1. Seattle (2-1). Coming off the bye, the Seahawks will put on their traveling pants, with trips that are three, two and three time zones away over the next four games: at Washington (next Monday), Dallas at home, at St. Louis, at Carolina. The last two will be early games in Eastern Time. Tough stretch.
Fortunately they are playing both the Rams and the Panthers, who currently both stink.
3. Denver (2-1). Who’d have thought the game of the week in Week 5, between two teams with a total of one loss, would be Arizona at Denver?
Nobody, that's who! "We" never thought these two teams would be playing each other with a total of one loss. The NFL is so crazy, which comes as a new shock to Peter King every single season.
8. San Francisco (2-2). One thing you learn about the Niners under Jim Harbaugh in his three and a quarter seasons as coach: They don’t stay bad for long.
This is a lesson that Gregg Easterbrook has yet to learn.
9. Philadelphia (3-1). Predictable loss.
But of course it was. "We" didn't know the Eagles would lose, but Peter King totally knew.
Offensive Players of the Week
Steve Smith Sr., wide receiver, Baltimore. The day couldn’t have gone any better for Smith, playing his first game against the team that brought him into the NFL 13 years ago: seven catches, 139 yards, two touchdowns, a 19.9-yards-per-catch average. What’s significant about Smith’s production so far is that he went to a team that didn’t really need him, and he’s played so well that he’s forced balls to come to him and not to Torrey Smith or Jacoby Jones.
Really? The Ravens didn't need Smith? Wasn't it just last year that Peter King was freaking the hell out because the Ravens traded away Anquan Boldin, but now with much of the same receivers coming into this year (Jones, Smith, Pitta, Brown) the Ravens don't need another receiver? Interesting how that works.
Goat of the Week
Brad Wing, punter, Pittsburgh. Wing’s feeble 29-yard punt with 50 seconds left put the ball on the Pittsburgh 46, giving the Bucs, trailing 24-20, a short field to traverse to try to win the game. And win it they did, on a great Vincent Jackson catch in the end zone with seven seconds to play.
It's definitely not the Steelers defense that was at fault here. Always blame the Australian, Peter.
Wing's Wikipedia page was changed to "Wing is a terrible Australian punter" for a period of time. I always enjoy Wikipedia changes. When an athlete screws up like Wing did, he's asking for a Wikipedia page change.
“I’m 35 yards old. I just ran around those guys like they were schoolyard boys.”
—Baltimore wide receiver Steve Smith Sr., after his two-touchdown, 139-yard performance in the Baltimore rout of Smith’s old team, the Carolina Panthers.
I mean, yeah, but take away the lucky 61 yard catch and it was a 6 catch, 78 yard, 1 touchdown performance. Obviously not bad, but not quite running around everyone on the opposing team.
The Colts’ 41-17 victory over Tennessee in their second division game of the season got me thinking about how vital the franchise quarterback is in today’s game.
Really? It took that victory for Peter to start thinking about this?
Meanwhile the Titans have lurched from the final years of Steve McNair to Vince Young to Collins to Matt Hasselbeck, and it’s very much in question whether Jake Locker can be the long-term solution. Houston has gone from Derek Carr to Matt Schaub to Ryan Fitzpatrick, with no indication if current backups Tom Savage or Ryan Mallett could be the future.
It seems Peter's editor has taken a vacation. "Impressively" was misspelled earlier and now he has mistaken Derek Carr for David Carr.
Philadelphia running back LeSean McCoy, one of the game’s best backs, has 39 yards rushing over the past two weeks.
Minnesota rookie back Jerick McKinnon had 55 yards rushing on his first snap of the second quarter Sunday afternoon.
This is a Gregg Easterbrook-type note that essentially means nothing and provides no real statistical or informational purpose.
Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week
On the toughness of Nick Foles, and the quality of toughness in general for a quarterback:
There's no wisdom here. Only quotes like,
I’s a quality in this league that you have to have. Because no matter who you are playing, you’re going to get hit. You’ve got some big, angry people running after you and trying to take you down. To stand in there and not worry about it and know you’re going to get hit but you have to deliver the ball on time is a really underrated quality at that position. Right now he’s really shown what I’ve seen all along from him. It didn’t take the Washington game for them to admire his toughness.”
Chip Kelly admires his starting quarterback's toughness. Alert the presses.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
My dermatologist’s office is in Winchester, Mass., a 20-minute drive from Boston (in moderate traffic). Even though I live in New York, I’ve kept the same dermatologist, because she’s so thorough.
Yes, you mention this every time you go to the dermatologist. It is as interesting and relevant now as it ever has been.
I haven’t followed the taxi-versus-Uber battle in the country, though I’ve heard about it. I also cannot draw definitive conclusions based on one experience.
Anyone who has ever read MMQB knows that Peter will now draw a conclusion based on his one experience.
But I will say this: Based on my Wednesday experience, I will certainly be using Uber again, and probably often.
No definitive conclusion drawn after one experience, but Peter will be using Uber again, and probably very often.
Sad that Derek Jeter's final home game may be rained out, but for $24.99, you can buy a commemorative raindrop.
— Michael Rosenberg (@Rosenberg_Mike) September 25, 2014
My Sports Illustrated colleague, as the rain poured down during the day Thursday. Most everything Jeter-related has been for sale in the past six months. Why not the rain?
Yep Peter, we aren't all as big of a group of idiots as you believe. I'm pretty sure everyone gets it. No need to explain.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this is what I liked about Week 4:
n. Great news tidbit from Albert Breer on NFL Network: E.J. Manuel is working with a “mental conditioning coach” from Florida State. Presumably to feel better about himself.
Peter thinks Manuel needs to work with a "throw it deep no matter the consequences" coach. That would improve Manuel's game tremendously. Maybe Kyle Orton can show Manuel how it is done. Also, how about those Florida State quarterbacks under Jimbo Fisher? Christian Ponder, E.J. Manuel...now Jameis Winston will be coming out of college soon. I know about the history of bust Florida State defensive ends, but Fisher is about to put three quarterbacks in the NFL in five years, one has been a bust, one is getting there and then there is Jameis Winston.
o. Good column by Gary Myers in the New York Daily News on Sunday. How ironic it would be if the Jets had to negotiate with fired GM Mike Tannenbaum if Rex Ryan is dismissed as coach—after this season or any season? Tannenbaum, who now works as an agent, has a hot defensive coordinator, Seattle’s Dan Quinn, in his stable.
Tannebaum should put a clause in Dan Quinn's contract that the Jets would have to hire Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow as co-quarterback coaches if they hire Dan Quinn. That would probably be enough to make sure a deal didn't get done, so maybe a bad idea.
3. I think I’m still trying to figure out what Joe Philbin was trying to do, motivationally, by not announcing who his starting quarterback was last week. I also think I am not alone. Miami’s rout of Oakland doesn’t change that.
It's almost like if you combine Philbin's general cluelessness about Jonathan Martin being bullied by Richie Incognito with his bizarre and ridiculous mind games surrounding whether Ryan Tannehill would start this week, that a person could come to the conclusion he doesn't exactly know what he's doing as an NFL head coach. On the bright side, he is still doing bed checks and talking to players before bed, so I'm sure the Dolphins players love him for that.
6. I think we vastly overestimated the Saints.
(Looks around the room and wonders who "we" are...then realizes while Peter's use of "we" when he is personally wrong and doesn't want to take responsibility for it so he blames "we" for being wrong is still annoying, in this case I personally may have overestimated the Saints. If I were Peter King, I would say "we" were totally wrong about the Saints)
Not only on defense—Rob Ryan’s unit isn’t even mediocre; it’s bad—but the offense is not nearly as reliable as a normal Drew Brees offense.
I'm shocked, shocked I tell you, that a Rob Ryan-led defense is regressing.
The Saints can rebound from 1-3, because there’s not a super team in the NFC South. But the ugliness of the first month won’t be easy to overcome.
"The Saints can rebound because the NFC South sucks, but the Saints may not be able to rebound."
7. I think if I ran the NFL, and I had the kind of image problem (crisis, really) that the NFL has right now, I’d be looking for people who are universally respected to help me dig out of the hole.
I think if I were a sportswriter, and I knew who ran the NFL, then I would act like this image problem isn't a PR issue that needs to be corrected or can be fixed by simply not having the NFL commissioner make discipline decisions anymore. I would be critical of the commissioner since it's pretty obvious he has been lying or being willfully ignorant through this whole image problem crisis. But then again, that would involve me being a sportswriter who isn't an NFL lapdog.
9. I think if Bill Simmons has proof that Roger Goodell lied, then I’ve got no problem with what he said that caused ESPN to suspend him for three weeks. If it’s his opinion that Goodell is lying, then I’ve got a problem with it.
Keep carrying that water, Peter. You can do it. What evidence the public has heard seems to point that way. The alternative is this is one of those convenient situations where the man in charge of disciplining NFL players decides he doesn't want complete information before suspending a player and no one around him advises him to get a copy of the hotel elevator camera footage that would have clarified the situation and justified the suspension given.
How do you publicly say someone is lying and is a liar—adding profanities for emphasis—without knowing for sure?
I won't defend Bill, because this seems like one of his strong opinions intended to push himself into the national conversation to me. It so happens I agree with him, but if Bill Simmons got in trouble for claiming something he couldn't prove as true then he would still be a bartender back in Massachusetts. A lot of his writing career is based on assumptions and theories he hopes are true, but doesn't necessarily have the proof to back up his claims.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. One thing about this baseball season that I loved: the rise of the middle class. Kansas City in the playoffs (the coolest thing about the season), Pittsburgh in the playoffs again, Oakland (barely) in the playoffs, Seattle knocked on the door, Baltimore in the playoffs.
Middle class? Oakland is 25th in payroll and Pittsburgh is 27th.
b. Dustin Pedroia’s Venezuelan twin, Houston second baseman Jose Altuve, finished with 225 hits—25 more than any other player in baseball.
Peter has more in common with Bill Simmons than he cares to admit. He can only view a player through the prism of a Red Sox player. It looks like the American version of Pedro Martinez, Clayton Kershaw, will win the MVP this year. I'm betting the right-handed, younger version of Jacoby Ellsbury, Mike Trout, will have a great playoff performance.
c. Jordan Zimmermann might have thrown the least-celebrated no-hitter in memory Sunday, because of the meaninglessness of the game and it happening on the day of Jeter’s last game and on a big NFL Sunday.
Is it considered ironic that Peter mentions how overshadowed Zimmerman's no-hitter is in a column where Peter talks about the NFL games, but doesn't really seem to have considered them "big," and Peter dedicated an entire page to Derek Jeter in that column?
f. Have you ever seen Being There, the Peter Sellers movie about the simpleton gardener-turned-presidential adviser? What a movie. Watched it again over the weekend. A shame Sellers died too soon. He was brilliant in that film.
It's a shame Peter Sellers is dead. He could dance and entertain Peter more. Peter needs more entertainers alive so they can serve the sole purpose of continuing to amuse him.
i. So long, Paul Konerko. I hope someone notices you’re retiring too.
Again, this from the NFL sportswriter who dedicated 16.667% of this NFL column to Derek Jeter. Yes, it would be nice if someone noticed Konerko was retiring too, but that would take away from the Jeter worship that I'm sure Peter King thinks everyone else is taking part in.
j. Shouldn’t a man with more home runs in his career than Johnny Bench, Andre Dawson, Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Piazza and Jim Rice get a little more fanfare on the way out?
You are the asshole who dedicated an entire page to Derek Jeter in this very column, then mentioned Paul Konerko twice on the last page of the column, using two whole sentences to do so. Pot meet kettle.
l. Wishing Ben Bradlee, one of the true journalism giants, comfort these days. Word comes today that the longtime Washington Post managing editor is in hospice care. I’ve always been a big fan.
You have always been a big fan of hospice care? That seems rather insensitive, Peter.
New England 30, Kansas City 20. Good point from ESPN Stats & Info on the pressure Tom Brady’s facing. He’s under pressure on 25.6% of the snaps through three weeks, triple what it was four years ago. This is a very big week for the Patriots, at least to me. The narrow win over Oakland looks especially weak in the wake of the Raiders’ horrible performance in London against Miami. But I trust Tom Brady to make plays tonight more than Alex Smith.
At no point should the reverse ever be written. Never should someone write, "I trust Alex Smith to make more plays than Tom Brady."
The Adieu Haiku
How ’bout them Cowboys!
Who thought they’d be 3 and 1?
Go figure football.
Quick font change for Peter in the Adieu Haiku. Perhaps Peter's editor is truly on vacation. Enough about the NFL, let's talk more Derek Jeter. Peter hopes at some point Paul Konerko gets his due also. That is someone else's job though. Peter lacks the ability to be self-aware enough to understand that person could have been him.