Tuesday, November 25, 2014

4 comments MMQB Review: Peter Loves It When Jay Gruden Throws Robert Griffin III Under the Bus Edition

Peter King wasn't sure if Giancarlo Stanton could earn his new contract in last week's MMQB. He also referred to Giancarlo Stanton (and I missed calling him on this) as the only marquee player on the Marlins' roster. Jose Fernandez may have something to say about that. Peter was shocked to hear that the Patriots had become a running team, even though I feel like at least once a year Peter is shocked when the Patriots come out and run the ball down a team's throat. This week Peter talks about "Odell of a catch" (by the way, the Giants lost to the Cowboys...not that it matters because SPORTSCENTER HIGHLIGHT!), gets to the bottom of the riveting discussion on where the Jets-Bills game would be played, has Jeff Fisher and the Rams' back regarding the RG3 trade (as I've detailed often, Peter has to protect his guys), and because this is a football column, honors the Meryl Streep and Philip Seymour Hoffman of directing, Mike Nichols. These baby boomers with their nostalgia.

LSU football coach Les Miles was in his office Sunday night in Baton Rouge, watching video, preparing for a Thursday night game against Texas A&M, when he was told there was something he had to see. It was video of one of his former players/acrobats, Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., making one of the best catches in NFL history Sunday night against Dallas.

Look, I like Odell Beckham Jr. It was an unbelievable catch, but Peter dedicates the first two pages of MMQB to the Jets-Bills game relocation and a great catch. There has to be some more information to be conveyed in MMQB other than two stories that combined deal with one play from the past weekend's NFL games. There has to be.

By the way, a shout out to those members of the New York media who were wondering if Odell Beckham was a bust because he started off the season injured. Way to knee-jerk react and then back-track quickly. This is just one of quite a few NY sportswriters who threw out the "bust" word and now has a "nothing to see here" attitude about it all.

“I’m not one for social media,” Miles told me on the phone just after 11 Eastern on Sunday night, “but I’m told a lot of our players were on there tonight after the catch saying, ‘That’s nothing compared to what he did in practice.’ You have to understand: We have seen this before. I just want you to know that.”

Oh, well touch you. You were paying Odell Beckham to make catches like that long before the Giants were paying him to make catches like that.

It was an eventful Week 12,

Yet not eventful enough to lead the column off with any information about the games that were played this past weekend, nor eventful enough to push off the discussion of where the Jets-Bills game should be played into a smaller part of MMQB. Eventful, but Peter's readers don't get to hear about it.

The Lions are showing the early signs of a Schwartzian late-season collapse;

Just a few weeks after Peter talked about how THIS Lions team is totally different because Jim Caldwell eats dinner with his players. It's almost like that's not how football games are won.

Arizona’s lead in the NFC West was cut from three games to two with five to play.

Two weeks after Peter told us that Bruce Arians thinks he can win the Super Bowl with Drew Stanton as his quarterback.

The Patriots beat a division leader handily for the third straight game; they lead the division they own by three games, and if New England doesn’t win its sixth straight AFC East title, my name’s Joe Don Looney.

Just a few months after "Is the Patriot Way over?" columns were written.

I’ve got some logistical details as to how the NFL picked Detroit over 11 other venues (including Yankee Stadium and Penn State’s Beaver Stadium), simply because I’m a detail nerd.

I realize some people find details like this fascinating. I do not. Peter refers to his column as a buffet (of course he does) where you can pick and choose what to read. If MMQB is a buffet then it's often a buffet stocked with food that only Peter likes to eat and I think it would be a better buffet if he focused on the food his readers like to eat.

But now, let’s focus on the play of the day, and of the year, though it came in a losing cause Sunday night. How did Odell Beckham last until the 12th pick of the first round last May?

He doesn't have ideal height for a wide receiver, it was thought he was more quick than fast, there was doubt he could compete against taller cornerbacks and HE WAS DRAFTED 12TH IN THE DRAFT SO IT'S NOT LIKE HE FELL VERY FAR!

The LSU receivers would have ball drills at practice, and for Landry and Beckham, those drills would include a session of one-handed catches. They’d do it before and after practice, too, at times, the way NBC got video of Beckham before the game making one-handed catches from equipment man Joe Skiba.

Meanwhile, the Panthers drafted the LSU receiver who can't catch the ball with two hands. Moving on...

“Some receivers you say have rare ball skills,” said Miles. “But anyone who has coached Odell, played against Odell, worked out Odell will tell you his ball skills are exceptional and rare. We saw in practice. We would stop and watch these one-handed catches Odell and Jarvis would make in practice. Let me tell you, it was nothing you have ever seen in other players. That’s why their old teammates would say today, ‘We have seen this before.’ ”

Then their teammates would say, "How come we have a run-based offense when we have two NFL receivers who can make incredible catches? Oh, that's right. Cam Cameron is the offensive coordinator and he's the guy who had to get fired a few years ago in order for the Ravens offense to improve."

Amazingly, only three fingers actually connected with the ball—the thumb, index finger and middle finger—and they combined to claw the ball, and as Beckham fell to earth, he clutched it to his chest. It moved slightly, as if he might fumble it. But it stayed secure, and he landed two feet inside the pylon and a yard deep in the end zone. Touchdown.

“I saw a picture of it,” Beckham said about an hour after the game, “and it kind of felt like just my fingertips had it. I felt it on those three fingers. But I never felt like the ball wasn’t secure. I knew I had it.’’

Just another one of Jerry Reese's draft busts.

I reached out to a few people in the game Sunday to ask if it was the best catch they’ve seen.

Because it's reached the point that it seems Peter goes out of his way to NOT talk about the NFL games from the past weekend and instead chooses to focus on interesting quotes, Tweets, traveling notes, factoids, and things he thinks. Okay, maybe this catch is somewhat related to the games on Sunday, but hopefully you get my point.

My take: The Tyree catch is the most significant, great, unique and improbable catch I’ve ever seen. The theater of it is absurd—the catch was the most important single play in the Giants’ shocking win over the previously 18-0 Patriots, and David Tyree never caught another pass in the NFL after that one. So how does a catch top that?

By it being one-handed, three-fingered, in the air on his back while scoring a touchdown.

What’s it like to know the sports world is blowing up out there, with LeBron tweeting and a ton of players reacting, saying it’s the best catch they’ve ever seen?, I asked Beckham.

Easy on the tough questions there, Peter. I recognize Beckham made a great play, but when is the last time Peter has asked a question of a coach or player that didn't come across as semi-fawning?

“It’s a huge compliment,’’ he said. “And it’s motivation for me. All that is fine and good. But I have to keep going. At the end of the day, I have to get better every day. I have to come out tomorrow and get better. I have to come out Tuesday and get better. And we lost tonight, so that is a sick feeling. This means nothing. Winning in this game is everything.”

"Gibberish," says Peter King. Giving him something to write about in MMQB is everything.

NFL game at Penn State? How Jets-Bills in Detroit came to be

(Bengoodfella moves to the edge of his seat)

Yankee Stadium wanted the Jets-Bills game. Penn State was interested if it made sense for the NFL, which would have made Nittany Lions-loving Bills owner Terry Pegula very pleased.

I don’t sense the Bills are that pleased to be playing in climate-controlled Ford Field; facing the Jets in some weather would have negated the Michael Vick/Percy Harvin speed game. But in the end this was a league call, and when all the options were presented to commissioner Roger Goodell on a conference call Thursday evening, and Detroit was being painted as the best option, Goodell said, “I agree.” And so it happened.

It's funny how Roger Goodell has the final call, all the options are presented to him, and it's his decision what rules when it comes to a decision like this one. When it comes to suspending players and videotapes that Goodell may or may not have seen, all of a sudden he doesn't have enough information and there are just SO MANY things he didn't know. It's always fun to see how absolute rule becomes a democracy once something goes wrong.

Let’s begin at the beginning, when Buffalo was ruled out. Grubman, just before a noon logistics meeting with the NFL staff on Thursday, got a text message from Erie County executive Mark Poloncarz, saying a snow-laden roof at a nursing home in Buffalo had just collapsed. Grubman said, “That’s it. We’re not playing in Buffalo.” The fact-finding with other stadia

"Stadia"? I don't care if this is correct English, it just sounds haughty when being used in MMQB.

had already begun.

Twelve venues, whittled to one. Some were easy outs.

You know someone at the league office was like, "Can we just play the game in London?"

“When we consider non-traditional sites,” said Grubman, sitting with Gardi and Jones in an office inside the NFL headquarters Friday, “we spend at least a week building out infrastructure in the stadium to get it NFL-ready and turn it into an NFL facility. When we went to the University of Minnesota four years ago [for a Vikings game, after the Metrodome roof collapsed], that was a week build-out. It wasn’t just snow removal and field preparation, it was setting up NFL instant replay, coaches communication, coach-to-player—all that.

“When you go into a stadium on short notice,” Grubman said, “you never know, but all of the sudden you lose coach-to-player because there’s something in the area that’s suddenly stepping on that frequency. You see what happens, potentially, is this cascade—it cannot be perfectly replicated as to NFL capability. We could still stage a game. It could still be a good NFL game, but you’d rather play under standard conditions if you can.”

Of course, the NFL has no issue going overseas to London to stage games in a venue that isn't under standard conditions while ripping a home game away from fans of one of the NFL teams participating, but that's totally different. That is about "the NFL brand," which is way more important than making sure NFL fans in the United States get to see one of the eight regular season homes games their team plays every year. Plus, NFL fans get the privilege of paying full price for two preseason games. So fans of one of the teams that has a home game ripped away are essentially losing a home game and paying full price for nine home games, while actually getting to view seven home games.

So, barring seven bad NFL fits, the league was out of the non-NFL venues.
“In this case,” said Jones, “these guys hadn’t practiced, and they needed to have some time. And we have no idea when Buffalo was going to get restored, so the objective was—as soon as there’s a window to get them out, get them to a place where they can start working. And that’s what cascaded us from Sunday into Monday, to give Buffalo a chance to prepare, where they otherwise might not have had any chance to prepare.”
“Why not Tuesday?” I asked.

“The Tuesday thing we debated,” said Grubman. “We talked about it, and it was an option. If Buffalo had felt strongly about wanting to play on Tuesday, that would have ticked up. The Jets play Monday night the following week, so they have a full week. Buffalo plays Sunday, so they had a short week this week, and next week is Thanksgiving, so I think that their strong preference was to balance some preparation time.

Of course a better reporter who is less interested in "getting the story" and sniffing asses would ask a question like, "You don't give a shit if NFL teams play a late game on Sunday night and then have to go play on the road Thursday evening, so why do you give a shit if the Bills only have Wednesday to Saturday to prepare for their next game?"

Peter is not a better reporter though. That's a logical question in my opinion. Why does the NFL care about preparation time in this case, but they don't give a shit if an NFL team only has Monday to Wednesday to prepare for a Thursday night game?

Washington. Rain in the forecast for Sunday, and when the league looked on Thursday, there was a chance for rain Monday. The field at FedEx is problematic, but Grubman and crew said nothing about that.

Plus, neither team wanted the stink of the Redskins on them after the game.

Detroit had done this before—four years ago, hosting Giants-Vikings after the Metrodome roof collapsed—and the TV and staffing infrastructure was in place. “We had the confidence we could execute this game in Detroit on a quick turn,” said Grubman. “That just won the day. Roger made the decision on that basis.”

Oh, so Roger made that decision? Hope it all goes well, because otherwise Roger Goodell will state he was never given all of the options and someone else made the decision. It's always nice to have complete control over NFL decisions, until it becomes convenient to state otherwise or claim you didn't have all the information when shit goes wrong. 

1. The Cleveland Browns might be the best team in the AFC North and might be the worst team in the AFC North.

How can you know?

I don't know. HOW CAN YOU KNOW? If only there were more NFL games being played this season that would help Peter figure out the answer to this question. One thing is for sure, if the Browns aren't the best team in the AFC North then "we" will be totally wrong.

2. I can’t see how Mike Smith survives.

As I posted on Twitter,  Mike Smith is 64-43 with 4 playoff appearances in 6.5 years and is on hot seat. Jeff Fisher is 18-24 with the Rams & has 6 playoff appearances in 18.5 years. He does not appear to be on the hot seat. Falcons fans may deserve better, but Rams fans definitely deserve better. Still, in this MMQB you won't find Peter saying Jeff Fisher can't survive, not at all. He will marvel at the return the Rams got in the RG3 trade. Always with the motives...

The Falcons have gone from hosting the NFC Championship Game 22 months ago to losing 20 of their last 28. Who knows? If Baltimore beats New Orleans tonight, the 4-7 Falcons remain tied for first place in the NFC South, one of the worst divisions in NFL history. It wouldn’t be stunning if the division winner is below .500. In fact, it might be more surprising if the division champ is .500 or better. But Smith’s clock management was poor again Sunday (he made strategic mistakes in the bizarre last-second loss to the Lions in London a month ago), which I’ll detail in Goat of the Week below (hint, hint).

Now you have gone and spoiled it, Peter! Apparently it is better for an NFL head coach to have moderate to little success and be consistent in doing so, than it is to raise expectations through success and then go through a rough patch where the team can't win games. "Don't raise expectations!" That seems to be the lesson here.

Look at the playoff standings this morning. Here’s your primo NFC Wild Card matchup as of now: Dallas (8-3) at New Orleans (4-6). Why set up a system that, once every two or three years, is going to reward abject mediocrity and penalize an 11- or 12-win team that has to go on the road to play a team that won two or three (or four, or five) fewer games? Makes no sense whatsoever. I always hear about the reward for winning the division; the owners don’t want to take that away. So good. Let’s make this season as embarrassing as possible. Let’s have the Saints win the South at 6-10, and let’s have Dallas as the first Wild Card team at 12-4. Would that be embarrassing enough for the owners to come to their senses?

I'm sorry, did you say something Peter? Tom Benson just gave a ton of money to revamp the Pro Football Hall of Fame and now you think the NFL is going to react to his team getting a home playoff game by using his team as an example of why division winners shouldn't get a home playoff game? I get it and I don't really care if a division winner gets a home playoff game, but it's done this way in other sports as well. Is it possible that the AFC North, which is a division that Peter is touting as so strong, is benefiting from getting to play the NFC South this year? Can't have it both ways, Peter. Can't point out the strength of the AFC North and then point out how weak the NFC South is. Peter CAN do that, but he also needs to understand there could be a correlation between the AFC North being strong and each team in that division getting to play eight games against the AFC South and NFC South.

The Lions’ offense is a shell of what it once was in the prime of Stafford-to-Johnson. In the last two weeks Detroit lost decisively at Arizona and at New England. The Lions have had 22 possessions and scored zero touchdowns. They faced two good defenses, of course, but that hasn’t stopped Stafford in the past.

It hasn't?

Detroit isn't a bad team, but they have been beating up on some bad teams so far this season. They've played the Jets, Giants, Panthers, Bills, Vikings, Falcons, and Saints so far. Fortunately, they have games against Tampa Bay and the Vikings left, so they can look good again in a few more weeks.

5. I feel for San Francisco and Seattle on Thursday. And for the other four short-week teams playing on Thanksgiving. But particularly the Niners and Seahawks. Both were involved in very physical games Sunday, San Francisco against Washington and Seattle against tough-as-nails Arizona. Russell Wilson and the Seattle skill players were bruised and battered by the Cardinals’ defense. I can’t imagine how they’re going to prepare, and feel close to normal, for such a playoff-significant game by late Thursday afternoon in Santa Clara.

Imagine being the Cowboys, Peter. They played a late game on Sunday evening and now will be playing at 12:30 EST on Thursday. I guess the Cowboys aren't known for playing physical games, so that should be a piece of cake for them?

Peyton Manning, the first overall pick in 1998, finished second in the 1997 Heisman balloting. He is 38. Charles Woodson, the fourth overall pick in 1998, finished first in the 1997 Heisman balloting. He is 38.

A key sack of Alex Smith made Woodson the first player in history with at least 50 interceptions and 20 sacks. (I hate invented stats, but this one is pretty informative.)

Peter hates invented stats, except for the ones he chooses to use in order to illustrate a point he wants to make. Invented stats aren't informative unless a person uses these invented stats to prove something that person wants to prove...which is pretty much the point of invented stats.

The Pro Football Hall of Fame will announce an $11 million gift from Saints owner Tom Benson today, the biggest gift the Hall has ever received. Some $10 million will be used for needed renovations of the 76-year-old Fawcett Stadium adjacent to the Hall of Fame—it will be renamed “Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium”—

And the other $1 million will be used as payments to NFL players for the purpose of injuring every the starting quarterback of every NFL team the Saints play for the rest of the season? Or is this money going to pay the power bill at the Superdome so the lights don't go out mid-game again?

and the other $1 million will be seed money for a project Benson considers vital to the future of the game. It’s called “Legends Landing,” designed to help needy and elderly former players who have health and housing needs.

Oh, well that is a good cause then. Of course 22% of these former players have health needs because Saints player intentionally injured them during a football game, but still, this is a really nice gesture.

The concept is one that’s been floating around with some league leaders for some time: a central place for medical and physical assistance for needy players, and housing for former players who need a hand.

I’m told that the type of facility the Hall wants would cost around $75 million and serve upwards of 500 players a year. With brain trauma and other long-term health issues so prevalent, it’s past time the league’s owners follow Benson’s lead and help fund a facility where, as Benson says, the legends can land.

Snark aside, this is a nice move for Tom Benson. Now if he could just work on helping fans of the New Orleans Saints not have to pay full price for two preseason games, that would be even nicer.

As I wrote last Tuesday, when Gruden elucidated Griffin’s “fundamental flaws” in a “performance not nearly good enough” in a 20-point home loss to previously 1-8 Tampa Bay, basically he was saying that the house is on fire in Washington.
Let’s make this very clear: Three years into what was supposed to be a franchise-player career, Griffin is on the precipice. Either he’s going to solidify his hold on the job in the final five games of another lost Washington season, or he’s going to give the organization no choice but to consider a future without him. The team has until May to decide whether to exercise his 2016 contract option.

While I do think it is important to understand the Redskins haven't had a first round pick since they drafted Griffin, it's also important to understand two other things. (1) It's hard to win with Daniel Snyder as the owner. I feel like he's terrible at being an NFL owner. (2) Griffin has been terrible of late. The Redskins brought Jay Gruden in to "fix" Griffin and so far he has only made Griffin worse while undermining him publicly.

The most eyebrow-raising of Gruden’s comments to Breer about Griffin:

“He’s auditioned long enough. Clock’s ticking.”

“Since the preseason, in the games that he’s played, our production from an offensive standpoint has been awful. I think five touchdowns in all the drives he’s played, for whatever reason, and that’s not good. We’re still trying to figure that out.”

“We have a guy behind him [Colt McCoy] that played pretty well, and people are looking, ‘OK, he’s 2-0.’ There’s always pressure on the quarterback to perform. And if you don’t perform, like any other position, somebody’s behind you pushing you.”

Does that sound like somone who wants his chance at NFL head-coaching success dependent on the right arm of Robert Griffin III?

No, it sounds like someone who isn't ready for a leadership position on the level of being a head coach. As badly as Griffin has performed, it does no one any good to push Griffin under the bus publicly like this. It shows me that Jay Gruden cares more about scapegoating his players than he cares about being the leader that the Redskins need. Anyone can see that Griffin isn't playing well, the head coach acknowledging it publicly isn't going to do anything but hurt the situation.

Fine Fifteen

3. Arizona (9-2). I suppose alarm bells are ringing. But Arizona had a six-game winning streak going into Seattle and got swamped 19-3 against the defending Super Bowl champion. It’ll take more than one loss to convince me the Cards are fatally flawed. Fairly big game Sunday at Atlanta.

Drew Stanton is the quarterback for the Cardinals. For the Cardinals' sake, I hope I'm wrong, but I think that's the fatal flaw. The Cardinals are 31st in the NFL in rushing yards per game and have a quarterback who has a 53% completion rate and a 79.0 QB rating on the year. That's a lot of pressure on the Cardinals' defense.

5. Philadelphia (8-3). Three games that will try green men’s souls on the docket: at Dallas on a short Thanksgiving week, Seattle at home, Dallas at home.

Yeah, but the Eagles have Chip Kelly and his wisdom. That should be enough to get through this tough stretch.

7. Indianapolis (7-4). The Colts essentially clinched the AFC South on Sunday. With a two-game lead over 5-6 Houston (plus the tiebreaker edge), and a quite favorable schedule in the last five weeks, starting with Washington at home Sunday, the Colts will have at least one home playoff game in January.

And of course they would deserve this home game because they won their division, right? Who cares about the competition in the AFC South, that doesn't matter. It's not a travesty for the winner of a division to get a home playoff game against a team with an equal record who played in a tougher division. Because that team has "earned" the home playoff game by having a good record, while a team that ends the season 7-9 hasn't "earned" this home playoff game by winning their division. My point? Maybe the Saints don't deserve a home playoff game for having a losing record, but why do the Colts (or any other team in a weak division) deserve a home playoff game because they played in a weak division? If the Chiefs finish second in the AFC West with a 11-5 record, while the Colts finish first in the AFC South with a 11-5 record, couldn't it be shown that the Chiefs "earned" the home playoff game by being in a tougher division?

I'm simply playing devil's advocate. I wouldn't mind if division winners didn't get a home playoff game, but I think it's a slippery slope when comparing divisions and determining which teams have "earned" a home playoff game. Give the home playoff game to the team with the better record regardless of division, that's fine by me. I don't think that's going to necessarily be indicative of which team earned the home playoff game. Admittedly, it may determine this better than the current playoff system.

11. Cincinnati (7-3-1). I need to figure out Andy Dalton. Help. After the Cleveland debacle of debacles, he goes and completes 70 percent in his next two games, both road games, with only one bad mistake—a pick-six by Johnathan Joseph at Houston.

He's inconsistent. How is this hard to figure out? Don't make it harder than it really is.

13. Detroit (7-4). Should be time for a rebound in the next three games, all at home: Bears (Thanksgiving afternoon), Bucs, Vikings.

Once the Lions start winning again, it will be those dinners with the players that paid off for Jim Caldwell.

T-15. Baltimore (6-4). Ravens have to hope the bye rejuvenated 35-year-old Steve Smith (last four games: 14 catches, zero TDs).

It's almost like he has to get motivated to play well sometimes.

T-15. Cleveland (7-4). “I’m not sure exactly how it’s going to end,” I said to Mike Pettine late Sunday afternoon, “but I am starting to believe Steven Spielberg is going to make a movie about the Browns’ season you’re in the middle of.” He chortled.

Nobody fucking "chortles," Peter. This isn't 1958 anymore. I just hate the word.

“Special,” Pettine said. “Getting very special.”

If Steven Spielberg did make a movie about the Browns' season then it would be about 30 minutes too long, drag in the middle and critics will pretend it is a much better and exciting film than it really is.

One last thing...is Peter King the least threatening NFL insider? There are certainly people who don't like him, but it seems every question of late has been a softball even Barbara Walters would be embarrassed about asking.

Defensive Players of the Week

Calais Campbell, defensive end, Arizona. In a losing cause, the Cardinals’ pass-rush did its part to bury Russell Wilson, sacking him seven times and hitting him significantly eight more times behind the line. Campbell, one of the best 3-4 ends in the game, was all over Wilson, sacking him three times. As long as the Cardinals get Campbell’s power-rushing—and get pressure from a solid group of versatile safeties—they’ll be a very tough out in January.

And as long as the Cardinals' offense can't run the football and scores three points, then the Cardinals' defense will be under pressure to keep opposing teams from scoring any points.

Goats of the Week

Shaun Hill, quarterback, St. Louis. Rams down three, 63 seconds to go, St. Louis ball at the Chargers’ four-yard line. Field goal likely sends it to overtime. Hill fades back, throws into double coverage, and it lands in the hands of San Diego safety Marcus Gilchrist. What was Hill thinking?

This is another situation where it's not fair to call Shaun Hill the "Goat of the Week." It's Shaun Hill. He's doing things that Shaun Hill does. Why beat him down for being the backup-worthy quarterback that he has shown throughout his career he is? That is, unless I am planning on espousing some conspiracy where Peter is blaming Shaun Hill and his performance for the Rams' loss in an effort to push the focus off Jeff Fisher and Kevin Demoff for relying on Shaun Hill as the backup to Sam Bradford. I wouldn't do that though. Hill made a terrible throw. Best to focus on that.

“What a great player. I don’t know why everybody doesn’t see it. Great with a capital ‘G.’ ”

—San Francisco coach Jim Harbaugh, on quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

Maybe it’s because the Niners have exceeded 17 points once in the last five games. The MMQB’s Greg Bedard will have more on Harbaugh and Kaepernick on the site later today.

You know what I love most about Peter King? Other than "everything" of course. He loves to call coaches and players on their bullshit, but he also plays favorites. Jim Harbaugh is defending his starting quarterback here and Peter seems to want to call Harbaugh out on his comment that Kaepernick is great with a capital "G." Sure, it's probably not right, but Harbaugh is defending his quarterback and using hyperbole in doing so. Meanwhile, Peter doesn't question Bruce Arians' quote that the Cardinals can win a Super Bowl with Drew Stanton as the team's starting quarterback. In the games where Stanton has been the leading passer for the Cardinals, guess how many points they are averaging? 17 points.

I simply find it interesting that Peter chooses to call out Jim Harbaugh for using hyperbole in protecting his quarterback for criticism, while he has nothing to say negative about Bruce Arians' statement that the Cardinals can win a Super Bowl with Drew Stanton as his quarterback, and doesn't mind that Jay Gruden is basically throwing his quarterback under the bus. Consistency, thy name is not "Peter King." Head coaches are supposed to protect their players, not sell them out.

“Benjamin … I just want to say one word to you. Just one word … Plastics.”

—Actor Walter Brooke, playing Mr. McGuire, a friend of the Braddock family in The Graduate, the 1967 film directed by Mike Nichols, to Dustin Hoffman (Benjamin) at a dinner party celebrating his graduation from college. 

Nichols died Wednesday at 83 after a phenomenal career in which he won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards. He directed The Odd Couple on Broadway in the mid-’60s, then turned to movies. The Graduate is my favorite of his, and the “plastics” line one of the most memorable, ever. Nichols did so many seminal things in his career, but he made lots of interesting decisions in making this movie—and won the Oscar for Best Director in 1967 for the film.

Two: When choosing songs for the movie, Nichols heard one by Paul Simon called “Mrs. Roosevelt.” He suggested that Simon change the name to another three-syllable R-word, and thus “Mrs. Robinson” the song was born. The song won the “Record of the Year” Grammy in 1969.

Eh, not exactly Peter. Art Garfunkel (from Wikipedia) on how the song came to be known as "Mrs. Robinson,"

Paul had been working on what is now 'Mrs. Robinson,' but there was no name in it and we’d just fill in with any three-syllable name. And because of the character in the picture we just began using the name 'Mrs. Robinson' to fit [...] and one day we were sitting around with Mike talking abut ideas for another song. And I said ‘What about Mrs. Robinson."' Mike shot to his feet. 'You have a song called "Mrs. Robinson" and you haven’t even shown it to me?' So we explained the working title and sang it for him. And then Mike froze it for the picture as 'Mrs. Robinson.'

Nichols asked if the duo had any more songs to offer, and after a break from the meeting, they returned with an early version of "Mrs. Robinson". They had been working on a track titled "Mrs. Roosevelt", and returned to perform it for Nichols. He was ecstatic about the song, later commenting, "They filled in with dee de dee dee de dee dee dee because there was no verse yet, but I liked even that."

So it happened in a similar way to how Peter describes it, but it wasn't really Mike Nichols who pushed to have it named "Mrs. Robinson." It sort of happened by accident and Nichols loved the song even as "Mrs. Roosevelt." Mike Nichols had a more passive role in the song naming than Peter portrays.

Condolences to CNN ace Rachel Nichols. Mike Nichols was her father-in-law.

Mind blown. So this means ESPN had Diane Sawyer's daughter-in-law running around following Brett Favre, waiting for him to make a decision on whether he was going to unretire or not several years ago? That doesn't seem right.

Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me

For the record, with all of the mayhem around Robert Griffin III and his fate in Washington, here is what the St. Louis Rams received in return for trading the second overall pick to Washington so Washington could select Griffin in 2012. Turns out to be an 8-for-1 trade, with five starting players (as of today) but no superstars harvested by Rams GM Les Snead. But any team that thought it had its long-term starting quarterback (as St. Louis did with Sam Bradford in the spring of 2012, pre-double-knee-injury) in the house would absolutely have made the trade if told this: Trading the number two overall pick will yield five starting players three seasons down the line. Amazing, to me, that as it turns out, St. Louis traded the number two overall pick in 2012, and got the number two overall pick in 2014—and seven more choices:

I know I beat on Jeff Fisher and call out Peter's various connections to the Rams. I will continue to do so for a minute. While this was a great trade for the Rams, where exactly has it gotten them? I wrote on Twitter (sorry, I know that's twice I have repeated something here I wrote somewhere else...last time, I promise) that the RG3 trade for the Rams is the equivalent of selling a car for $50,000, buying Armani shoes & nice clothes but walking to work because your current car won't start. That's sort of how I feel. The Rams made a great trade to get a bunch of picks, but where exactly has it gotten them? So far, the Rams have the exact same issue that the Redskins have. They have built a good team, but Peter is so interested in pointing out all the picks the Rams received in return for trading the #2 pick in 2012, he fails to point out it hasn't gotten the Rams very far. They have built a better team than they otherwise would have been able to had the trade not occurred, but have the same quarterback issues as the Redskins three years later. I won't say the Rams would be better off having drafted Griffin, but it's not like this was a trade that turned the franchise around as Peter is so obviously trying to show.

Yes, anyone would have made this trade. It doesn't make Jeff Fisher and the Rams smarter, it just means they made a great trade which still resulted in them being in the same boat as the team they traded with. Peter works really hard to protect the Fisher, Les Snead and Kevin Demoff from criticism it seems. He's blaming the quarterback of the Rams, pointing out how the Rams received a bunch of players in return for the rights to draft Robert Griffin, and never once points out who chose Shaun Hill as the backup to Sam Bradford nor does he point out the Rams won a trade which so far hasn't turned the fortunes of the franchise around. I simply feel like the Rams fans deserve better than they are getting.

In their rookie seasons, 2012, the top two picks in the NFL Draft, Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, had different views on national endorsements. As rookies, Luck had zero national endorsements, and Griffin had six.

Endorsements mean absolutely nothing. Peyton Manning has a ton of endorsements. Eli Manning has a ton of endorsements. It simply speaks to marketing opportunities a player has. Andrew Luck doesn't exactly look marketable. He's a really great quarterback though. I don't understand the point that Peter wants to prove here.

A point guard on Michigan State’s basketball team is named Lourawls Nairn.

Lourawls Nairn’s father is named Lourawls Nairn Sr.

Lourawls Nairn’s grandparents loved Lou Rawls.
Well, I guess so.

This is one of those instances where Peter comes off as condescending.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 12:

e. Denver going for two with 14 minutes left, down five. The only play to make. It’s ludicrous to suggest it’s too early. You want to be down four with the chance to have the ball only once the rest of the game? Makes no sense.

Plus, they have Peyton Manning as their quarterback. The decision was right, but it's an easy decision with a Hall of Fame quarterback pulling the trigger on the two-point conversion.

h. Jim Caldwell keeping Reggie Bush (ankle) out one more game for Detroit. I like how Caldwell (see also Calvin Johnson) would rather have his player as healthy as he can be, rather than putting in an 80-percent player because he is so desperate to have his impact in the lineup.

Not to keep picking on Jim Caldwell, well not really even picking on him, but it's easy to make this decision when the Lions have a winning record. If the Lions had a 4-7 record then sitting Bush and Johnson when they are only 80% would look like Caldwell is saving them at the expense of winning games. 80% of Calvin Johnson is better than 100% of most NFL wide receivers. Again, the decision works because the Lions have a winning record.

k. How did no one draft Isaiah Crowell out of Alabama State last year? Six touchdowns already for the Browns this fall, including a one-cut, smart darter upfield to score in Atlanta.

It could have been his felony arrest on weapons charges while he was at the University of Georgia. Of course, if Crowell ends up getting in trouble with the law while in the NFL, then Peter will write a MMQB about how the Browns failed so badly in doing insufficient background on Crowell (like he did regarding the Lions and Titus Young). Crowell will probably not get in trouble with the law, but Peter's opinion on why no one drafted him would probably change if he knew Crowell was arrested for felony weapons charges while in college. Peter's attitude about Crowell would definitely change if he got to be on his high horse after Crowell got arrested and he could criticize the Browns for not doing sufficient background information prior to signing him.

q. Tom Brady, with a dart to Tim Wright. Never know where it’s coming from with the Patriots.

It's almost like that's the Patriots' plan.

s. Never seen a coach with game plans week to week as diverse as Bill Belichick’s.

Said someone watching the Patriots play 4-5 years ago.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 12:

c. The Niners on offense. This is state of the art? When you struggle to beat Washington at home?

If Peter King were the 49ers coach he totally would have admitted that his starting quarterback sucks and isn't great.

m. Kansas City’s downfield passing game. Eleven games without a touchdown pass to a wide receiver—ridiculous.

Alex Smith everyone!

o. Teddy, Teddy, Teddy. Bridgewater’s bad pass in his own territory down the left sideline, easily picked by Micah Hyde of the Packers.

Mike Mayock was right about Teddy Bridgewater. This proves it.

q. How do you throw the ball in the end zone in the middle of five Bears, Josh McCown?

Because he is Josh McCown? He's not a bad quarterback, but certainly didn't must magically become a great NFL quarterback last year in his mid-30's. 

4. I think the vegans of the world are in mourning this morning. The Colts cut receiver/returner Griff Whalen, a vegan, on Saturday.

Yes, I am sure that vegans are devastated today. There are so few of them and all.

6. I think that means the Raiders should consider keeping Reggie McKenzie and letting him make the decision on the next coach. Not saying it’s a sure thing—let’s see how the next five games go. But he drafted all seven of those players. Mark Davis needs to make a judgment based on three full seasons.

I'm sure Mark Davis will wait three full seasons. When has Raiders upper management done anything impulsive and ill-advised before?

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

a. Magazine Cover of the Week.

b. That there is one of the stranger covers I have ever seen.

A magazine cover story featuring an NFL team is a non-NFL thought? Okay then. If you say so.

f. Enjoy Green Bay on Thanksgiving, Olivia Munn.

I'm sure your wishes mean the world to her.

n. How does Jameis Winston not get flagged for forcibly moving the ref out of the way in Boston College-Florida State? You can’t armbar-and-shoulder a man in stripes out of the way on the football field.

Apparently Jameis Winston CAN armbar-and-shoulder a ref on the football field. He did it.

p. Beernerdness: I’ve had so many good beers from Maine Beer Company of Freeport, Maine. That must be a terrific brewery. Maine is a great beer state.

The depth of thought in these three sentences can not be overstated.

"I like many beers made by this certain brewery. They must make good beer. The beer in the state where the brewery is located makes lot of good beer."

q. Wait, what? Hanley Ramirez for five years, $90 million? The same Hanley Ramirez who has missed 46 games a year, on average, over the past four seasons? Hurt guys don’t get health vaccines at the Massachusetts state line, Sox. I am not on board.

Peter King is not on board with this signing. Time to tear up the contract. Besides, it wasn't five years and $90 million, but four years at $88 million with a $22 million vesting option for the 5th year. I'm sure that makes Peter feel much better. I'm sure once Ramirez stays healthy and is a Top 10 outfielder (where he is going to be playing, maybe?) Peter will forget all about his problems with the contract. As far as giving Pablo Sandoval $100 million, I would probably worry about that too. 

s. Rediscovered “The Rising,’’ Springsteen’s 12-year-old emotional missive to 9/11 survivors, while writing over the weekend. He’s had so many incredible songs that it’s easy to lose track of some. “The Rising’’ is great enough, one of the best songs he has ever done. But “You’re Missing” is enough to give me chills and stop me in my tracks.

Unfortunately, it didn't stop Peter in his tracks long enough to where forgot to include the larger amount of non-NFL related filler that can be found in MMQB.  

Who I Like Tonight

New Orleans 23, Baltimore 20. Not saying I think the Saints are better than the Ravens.

This makes me confused. Peter isn't saying he thinks the Saints are better than the Ravens, it's just if these two teams met head-to-head, he thinks the Saints would beat the Ravens. This makes not of sense.

In fact, I don’t think that. But I can’t see the Saints losing three in a row at home, especially with what’s at stake—three of the last five on the road after this, and Drew Brees, even without the injured Brandin Cooks, having a fairly healthy crew led by Jimmy Graham and Kenny Stills to make plays down the field against a suspect Baltimore back end.

So it's not that Peter thinks the Saints are better than the Ravens, it's just if they meet in New Orleans the Saints will win because they will be able to throw the football against the Ravens secondary. So basically, the Saints are better than the Ravens right now?

The Adieu Haiku

Bend it like Beckham.

Now, you might not mean “David”

when you say that phrase.
Fortunately, I never do say that phrase. So I feel pretty covered in regard to this. 


Anonymous said...

"The theater of it is absurd—the catch was the most important single play in the Giants’ shocking win over the previously 18-0 Patriots"

I'm calling bullshit on this right here, right now. The most important single play in that Super Bowl was Plaxico Burress' game winning TD catch. Tyree's catch was important, of course, but what sort of maniac thinks that was more important than the catch that actually won the game?

"facing the Jets in some weather would have negated the Michael Vick/Percy Harvin speed game."

Puh-leaze. Who in the hell is threatened by Michael Vick and Percy Harvin? Judging by the results of the game, not the Bills. This sounds like something an uneducated casual fan would say. OOH MICHAEL VICK AND PERCY HARVIN THEY'RE SO FAST. Meanwhile, one of them can't throw and the other catches nothing more than 5 yards past the line of scrimmage.

If the Rams made such a fantastic trade for Griffin, and the Rams still aren't a winning football team, isn't the only logical conclusion to draw that Jeff Fisher isn't getting the most of his team? I mean, they made out like bandits and have tons of players to show for it. Shouldn't that result in more winning? I also love Peter's defensiveness about Sam Bradford circa 2012. IT WAS BEFORE HE WAS INJURED, NO REASON TO CRITICIZE ANYONE. Sam Bradford has never played well enough to justify the job security he's had in St. Louis. If he hadn't been the #1 overall pick, they would have made a change at QB years ago, or at least drafted someone to challenge him.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, I can agree with that. Plus, it was a beautiful route that Plaxico ran. The corner had no shot and Eli threw a good pass too. Pretty important throw and catch.

Apparently the Bills were NOT afraid of either player.

Bradford was injured coming out of college, so his injuries aren't news. I feel miserable for Rams fans, I really do. There is talent on that team and Jeff Fisher's job security is holding that team back. It's not like Bradford has shown himself to be a Top 10 QB when he's healthy, so why rely so heavily on him? It makes no sense to me and I hope Fisher gets his shit together or goes away. Rams fans deserve better than a coach who continues to get the benefit of the doubt.

Snarf said...

m. Kansas City’s downfield passing game. Eleven games without a touchdown pass to a wide receiver—ridiculous.

Alex Smith everyone!

The playoff Mensch!

"I like many beers made by this certain brewery. They must make good beer. The beer in the state where the brewery is located makes lot of good beer."

I kid you not, this is nearly identical to the stories/writing that my girlfriend brings home from school. She teaches first grade.

Regarding preseason tickets, I understand why the team wants to foist them on season ticket holders. What I don't understand is why they charge full price on them. Well, I do understand, but from an optics perspective, why not do the following:

Annually, teams send letters to PY season ticket holders with the rates for the next season. If the current rate is 100, why not say, we're raising prices to $110, but we understand your thoughts on the preseason and are going to cut those prices significantly, to like $55. That heads off the whole notion of making ticket holders pay full price and gets roughly the same amount of $$ in the door anyway. Maybe people would be more inclined to buy preseason tix then as well on a single game basis as a more affordable way of going to the stadium with kids/family/whatever.

Bengoodfella said...

Snarf, poor Alex Smith. I blame his receivers, but I wonder if he can go the whole season without throwing a TD to a receiver? Not with Jason Avant on the roster he can't!

Haha...it was a pretty basic sentence wasn't it? It made me laugh.

My main issue with the preseason tix is how much they cost. They should not be as much as a regular season game. It's robbery in my opinion.

That's not a bad idea, but I know fans also do not want their regular season games to be more expensive. Though it would be a win for the owners. I think preseason games shouldn't be a part of the season ticket package. If fans don't buy them, that shows they have no interest in preseason games.