I’ll also have thoughts on the Adrian Peterson contract set-to with Minnesota (surprisingly, I have a little empathy for Peterson),
It's not surprising. He's probably given you a few good quotes as the years have gone by. Peter, you play favorites, so who you do or don't criticize doesn't surprise me at all. If Kim Jong Un gave Peter a few good quotes and was a white quarterback, then Peter would probably have some empathy for him as well.
the colossal loss of Ryan Clady for Denver in the Peyton Manning-protection business,
It's a tough injury, no doubt. There is a reason Peyton Manning doesn't get sacked a lot and it's also because he's very good at avoiding sacks. I have complete faith Manning will be all right. The only colossal loss for Denver in the Manning-protection business would be if Manning lost the ability to feel the pass rush.
Thanks, first, to Greg Bedard for filling in last week with a memorable column. You got a future in this ridiculously long Monday column, kid.
Meaning, THE MMQB isn't going to let a site staple like MMQB go away once Peter King is done writing it. Meaning, Greg Bedard is (right now) an obvious choice to replace Peter when he retires. That's what I take from this.
Now for a rite of spring. It’s June. (How’d that happen? Where’d the time go?) Time for The MMQB’s 2015 offseason power rankings. The offseason hay is in the barn.
Pointless. It's so pointless, other than to trigger discussion on Twitter and get Peter's opinion out there, to have power rankings in the beginning of June before training camp starts.
Free agency is over, except for the 15-cents-on-the-dollar free agency—which, by the way, is not meaningless;
You are the asshole making 2015 offseason power rankings, not your readers. If anyone doesn't know that cheap free agents signed after June 1 are valuable, it's probably the idiot trying to decide which NFL teams are the strongest on June 1. I'm glad Peter is reminding his readers of a philosophy that he preaches, but of course, doesn't follow himself.
The draft is one month in the rear-view mirror. Though the first practices of training camp are 55 days away, nothing of great substance usually happens between now and the start of official summer practices.
Except for those 15-cents-on-the-dollar free agent signings that Peter claims are not meaningless. Other than those transactions that aren't meaningless, which Peter King forgot about in the span of one sentence, nothing of great substance will happen over the next two months in the NFL.
So let the silly season begin...Let’s see how wrong I can be so long before the NFL’s 96th season. (2014 record in parentheses.)
This is the silly season that Peter King will bitch about and then contribute to by power ranking all of the NFL teams when he admits the rankings will be wrong.
1. Baltimore (10-6). Why? I trust John Harbaugh to find answers in a league devoid of a truly great team.
But don't worry, Peter has a better reason than THAT. After some rambling, this is how Peter sums it up.
I just think the Ravens will find a way.
And this is why it's pointless to do power rankings in June. The Ravens "will find a way." That's what will happen. Somehow.
2. Seattle (12-4). The addition of Jimmy Graham means so much. He could mean a third straight Super Bowl trip.
Peter King when putting the Ravens at #1: "There is no dominant NFL team."
Peter King when putting the Seahawks at #2: "The NFC team that has been in two straight Super Bowls only got stronger."
3. Green Bay (12-4). The secondary worries me, as does the pass rush. The Pack’s a trendy pick to get to the Super Bowl, and it wouldn’t surprise me, but a lot will have to go right on defense for that to happen.
Peter King has almost no trust in the Packers defense, yet he believes they are the second-best team in the NFC. You can't make this shit up. Well, Peter does make this shit up, but you hopefully know what I mean.
8. Pittsburgh (11-5). Like Antonio Brown a lot. Like Ben Roethlisberger a lot. But this faith is subject heavily to the ascension of Keith Butler to defensive coordinator after 16 seasons as a defensive assistant below the coordinator level. Mike Tomlin is putting tremendous faith in Butler, who replaces Hall of Famer Dick LeBeau, to be a breath of fresh and productive air. Risky move, and early returns are good. But early returns come in shorts and T-shirts on the South Side of Pittsburgh, not on a cruel Thursday night in Foxboro.
So basically, Peter is knocking the Steelers for Keith Butler not having proven yet that he can replace Dick LeBeau. So this means Peter's biggest issue with the Steelers is that Peter King is doing power rankings in June before any games are played. Again, Peter's problem with Pittsburgh is that they haven't proven the defense can play well under Butler, mostly because they haven't had a chance yet due to how early Peter is doing these power rankings.
10. Arizona (11-5). Maybe the most intriguing team in football.
Yes, maybe. Or maybe not. Only time will tell which NFL team wins the title as "most intriguing team in football," which is obviously factually-based and not simply an opinion one or more people may hold.
11. Indianapolis (11-5). Best team in the AFC South, which isn’t saying much. Still have no clue how the Colts will stop the best offenses in football. I bet Chuck Pagano doesn’t know either.
Well, fortunately for the Colts they don't play the best offenses in football on a weekly basis and are in a division with Blake Bortles/Brian Hoyer/Ryan Mallett/Marcus Mariota/Zach Mettenberger as the quarterbacks leading the opposing offense. So saying, "How are the Colts going to stop the best offenses in football?" is a question any team that has to play these offenses will ask themselves, but the Colts have six games against just bad or so-so offenses. That's nice. How will any team, not just the Colts, stop the best offenses in the NFL?
12. Cincinnati (10-5-1). The running game, and the offensive line, should be enough to make up for Andy Dalton if he struggles. But I don’t think a team can be great unless its quarterback is close to great.
Peter hates Andy Dalton. Since he has the Eagles at #7 does this mean Peter thinks Sam Bradford can be great? No offense, but based on what? Also, the Chiefs are at #4 in Peter's rankings. The idea Alex Smith can be close to great makes me laugh.
14. New Orleans (7-9). Josh Hill, it’s time for your closeup. Drew Brees needs a power tight end with red-zone chops, and you’re it. Or you’d better be.
Best team in the NFC South, huh?
19. St. Louis (6-10). If Nick Foles is really good, the Rams will win 11. If he’s average, they’ll win eight. You see which way I’m leaning.
Marvin Demoff is going to be pissed about this. Though, what can Jeff Fisher do if his quarterback isn't good enough to help him make the playoffs? Nothing to be done about it and this certainly wouldn't be Fisher's fault. On to Los Angeles then...
20. Carolina (7-8-1). Giant question marks at both tackle spots and an offense that can’t afford to lose its quarterback.
There were giant question marks at the tackle spots last year too. And almost no NFL offense can afford to lose its quarterback, so that really means nothing. If losing Newton is a knock against Carolina, then how will the Colts fare without Luck? Can the Colts afford to lose Luck? Can the Dolphins afford to lose Ryan Tannehill? It's funny Peter says the Panthers offense can't afford to lose Newton, since the Panthers were 2-0 without him last year. Both games were against the Buccaneers, but still.
21. Atlanta (6-10). What does new coach Dan Quinn have in store on defense? The pass rush is a question mark coming into the season. And new offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan needs to find a starting running back and new No. 3 receiver.
This is another reason it is stupid to rank these teams on June 1. Peter says the Falcons need to find a starting running back and No. 3 receiver. Gee, maybe training camp could help this out and it's not a real problem, but there simply hasn't been a chance for Devonta Freeman or Tevin Coleman to show one of them can be that starting running back? I wonder if the search for a new No. 3 receiver will come to a conclusion when Justin Hardy steps on the field in training camp? These power rankings are fun, I get that, but the issues Peter has with these teams can be answered if he would just wait to do a power ranking until later in the summer. Many of these problems aren't problems, but instead are issues whose solution hasn't had a chance to present itself yet.
30. Jacksonville (3-13). This ranking comes from not trusting Blake Bortles—yet—and not trusting a pass rush dealt a horrible blow with the Dante Fowler injury an hour into his NFL career.
Oh my God. Dante Fowler was a rookie who may or may not have been good during his rookie season. It's a bad injury for the Jaguars defense, but stop acting like they lost a proven veteran for the season. Fowler could be Von Miller or he could be Dion Jordan. If Fowler were healthy, how far would Peter have realistically moved them up in the rankings? I'm betting not very far.
32. Tennessee (2-14). I love the Marcus Mariota pick. I don’t love the supporting cast, and he’s not a guy who’s going to be great day one. Or day 24.
How about day 29?
Peter then spends a page discussing his daughter's wedding. I'm going to skip nearly all of this because it's hard to be snarky about a person's wedding without being an asshole. In fact, it's probably hard because it's an asshole thing to do to be snarky about a person's wedding. Here's the twist that isn't really a twist because it's 2015...
For many of you who didn’t like me crossing the line of family life and wanted me to stick with football only, Laura and Mary Beth dropping from sight was just fine. I would urge those to skip to Page 3 of the column right now, because I’m going to spend this page talking about a great event in our lives: the wedding nine days ago of Laura to her girlfriend, Kim Zylker, in California.
Peter King's daughter is not straight. She had, as he termed it on Twitter, "a gay wedding." There's the twist. And we move on...
“Hopefully he can taste some of that meat this year.”
—Philadelphia running back DeMarco Murray, the defending rushing champion, upon hearing that his backup in Dallas last year, Joseph Randle, said Murray didn’t get everything he could have gotten out of his opportunities as a ball-carrier in 2014. Randle’s exact words: “I felt like there was a lot of meat left on the bone.”
Why someone would say that about a rushing champion who carried a team’s running game all season is absolutely bizarre. Or a case of ridiculous envy.
Or the source of this criticism could be considered as coming from someone who shoplifted men's underwear and cologne from a department store and the criticism will be judged accordingly.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
No one in America noticed it, I’m sure. But Aaron Rodgers’ brother Jordan, who had a good chance to win the British Columbia quarterback job in the CFL this season, abruptly quit football last week to pursue a career in television. I don’t blame him, but it was a surprise, especially considering he’s not going to enter TV at a high level.
I'm not entirely sure this is a "fact" more than it is Peter King relaying a story. It's definitely not a "factoid" because factoids are not baby facts, but are trivial bits of information whose accuracy could be questioned.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
I don’t mean to be a baby in this space, which I’ve been before.
By "before" Peter clearly means to type "on a near weekly basis."
Nor do I mean to be an alarmist.
But Peter wants us to know that there are poor people out there who need money. Don't be alarmed by this, because generally they don't mean harm.
But my wife and I spent a couple of post-wedding days in one of our favorite cities, Seattle, last week, and went to see the Mariners on Thursday night. After the game, we walked 1.1 miles from Safeco Field to our hotel in the city. Man, that was one scary walk. To say aggressive panhandling in that city is rampant is an understatement—I guess particularly after night baseball games, when there are folks walking back to their hotels in a good area of the city.
Peter is just trying to walk back to his hotel, which he specifically chose to be in the good part of the city where he wouldn't have to feel uncomfortable, and these people are trying to get money from him. Remember all the times Peter has written "Only in New York" about events that he seems to believe only takes place in New York? Well, I guess there are events and things that happen outside of New York (I know, it's unbelievable) which are not specific only to that city. Peter should have tried walking in downtown Atlanta about a decade ago. Best of luck walking a block without being accosted for money.
We gave three times,
How naive is Peter? Welp, there is his problem. The second he gave money to one panhandler then he's a mark and the others know that Peter has money to give and has given it before. If you give once to a panhandler then expect to be hit up to give up some money again. I even had a panhandler get mad at me one time because I gave his buddy money but not him. You give once, be prepared to give twice. Give twice, be prepared to give thrice.
and after that, we just put our heads down and got back to the hotel.
Which is what you should have done if you had no plans to give money in the first place. I find it very, very difficult to believe that Peter has never experienced aggressive panhandling before. Has he been blessed to only live in areas of Boston and New York where there isn't aggressive panhandling or do those cities just have panhandling under control? I find it hard to believe that Peter has lived in so many big cities and never run into something like this before.
Craziest thing to me: On a brisk 15- to 18-minute walk from a huge sports facility in a major American city to a hotel in a lovely downtown area, we saw zero police officers.
Okay, two things:
1. You said you had your head down for part of the trip, so perhaps there were police officers but you just didn't see them?
2. What would police officers have to do with aggressive panhandling? These panhandlers aren't committing a crime, so what would a police officer do in this situation? These people obviously weren't committing a crime, so does Peter expect a police escort back to his hotel or something? Fine, there should have been police officers around and they weren't around, yet I can't figure out what they would have done in this situation. Advise the panhandlers to leave everyone alone or they will be arrested?
This is not against the Vikings. I am just frustrated that our union did not get guaranteed contracts for its players.— Adrian Peterson (@AdrianPeterson) May 28, 2015
The Minnesota running back stayed away from voluntary offseason workouts for several reasons—one being the fact that he apparently wants more guaranteed money in the three years left on his Vikings deal.
It's Peterson's right to hold out if he feels he wants more money. I can't imagine a scenario where the Vikings would actually have given him more money, especially since Peterson sat out all last year, running backs are being devalued by some teams, he's already expensive enough and he wanted a trade just a few short weeks ago. I wonder if Peterson would have been willing to miss some games (and therefore paychecks) to hold out for more guaranteed money during the last negotiating round between the union and the NFL? I'm betting not.
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think, regarding Adam Schefter’s news break that Tom Brady’s appeal of his four-game suspension will be heard June 23: Why oh why oh why continue to drag this out?
Because Roger Goodell is a demon sent from Hell to annoy NFL fans.
Let’s assume the league announces its decision in July, which is certainly not a lock but likely. That means one of the ugliest stories of the Goodell Era would have been on everyone’s cranium for much of six months. Maybe the league washed its hands of the Wells report and the inordinately long time that took. (I still think 3.5 months for that investigation is too long. Way too long.) But if the league allows final adjudication of the case to drag on two months after the Wells report is issued, that’s on the league. I am all in favor of due process. But the league allowed this story to dominate the offseason, and could have done something about it, and didn’t.
I do wish this story had been resolved more quickly, but I just don't pay attention to it unless I'm covering a column that specifically mentions the Patriots deflating footballs. So the NFL is really only hurting itself by allowing the story to drag out over multiple months. At this point, I don't expect the NFL to have made a decision on Brady's appeal until after he has retired.
2. I think I understand Minnesota coach Mike Zimmer saying about Adrian Peterson: “He can either play for us or he cannot play. He’s not going to play for anyone else.”
Yes, it does seem to be a pretty straightforward statement that is very difficult to not understand.
But there are a couple of obvious things here. One, Peterson really doesn’t want to play for Minnesota. He certainly now has come to the realization that he probably will have to. No team wants to give up a high draft choice for a 30-year-old running back with $44.25 million left on his contract over the next three years—a contract, by the way, that he’s unhappy with.
Yes, but this is not the Vikings problem. What's funny is that Peterson wants MORE guaranteed money when part of the reason he can't be traded is because he makes too much money. He's all, "Oh, you can't trade me because I make too much money? Well, pay me more money then."
Two, Peterson wants more guaranteed money in the back end of the contract. So if you’re the Wilfs, why not end this rancor now and get Peterson back in the good graces of the Vikings (at least by appearances) by guaranteeing a vast portion or all of his 2016 salary?
Because Adrian Peterson might actually accept this and then the Vikings are stuck guaranteeing most of or all of his 2016 salary when they don't want him around either. The Vikings have most of the leverage here. They are already stuck with Adrian Peterson, so why would they have paid him more money just to be stuck with him? This idea doesn't make sense to me.
Then, if Peterson declines to take it, you know you’ve done a more than fair thing to meet Peterson halfway, and it’s on him.
But Peter, the Vikings didn't have to be fair to Peterson. Why in the hell would they be fair to Peterson more than they are already being fair to him? There is no need for the Vikings to potentially take a hit by guaranteeing more money to a player they probably want to get rid of when that player doesn't want to be there either.
5. I think, if I were a guessing man—which I am in this case—I’d guess Dallas defensive end Greg Hardy gets either two or four games reduced from his 10-game domestic-violence suspension.
Though if Peter weren't guessing and he actually had inside information, then this wouldn't be the first time he withheld information he knew until after the fact when he could mention he had heard Hardy's suspension would be reduced by either two or four games. That's one of those things that always amazes me. Something newsworthy happens and NFL sportswriters on Twitter write things like, "That's what I heard too" or "It seemed inevitable" as if they had information they decided not to share until after the fact.
Of course, the question of WHY Hardy's appeal would be reduced doesn't seem to merit a discussion right now. That is information, not just Peter's opinion, that I would find to be interesting.
8. I think the Bears did the right thing, obviously, in letting go Ray McDonald. And the other 31 teams in the league will do the right thing, obviously, in not signing him.
Yes, that seems inevitable at this point. The question when talking about "the right thing" is why didn't teams do "the right thing" prior to the last incident with McDonald? He was involved, but not charged, in an incident in August 2014 and involved with another sexual assault investigation. Just because those two charges didn't stick, it didn't violate this fictional "the right thing" principle for the Bears to sign him?
9. I think when I saw the Patriots and Saints will conduct join practices at the New Orleans camp in mid-August, the first thought that came to my mind was: This is going to be tremendous for Jimmy Garoppolo. Joint practices, particularly with an aggressive defensive coordinator like Rob Ryan on the other side of the line, are good for quarterbacks trying to get a feel for what they’ll see when the real games start.
I'll never understand the respect that Rob Ryan receives from sportswriters. If his name were "Rob Brown" then I can't imagine he would even have a job as a defensive coordinator at this point. He's been a defensive coordinator in the NFL since 2004 and only twice has his defense ranked in the Top 10 of the NFL in yards allowed. His defense has only been in the Top 10 of points allowed once. Ryan should get a job working for Jeff Fisher. Maybe after they both retire they can share their secret for longevity without providing results with the rest of the NFL coaching fraternity.
Yes, Rob Ryan is aggressive, but his defenses have consistently ranked in the lower half of the league during his career. In fact, his defense has only been ranked in the upper half of the NFL in yards allowed three times since 2004.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
e. I’ll take Golden State in the NBA Finals, in six.
BUT PETER, HOW MANY NBA GAMES HAVE YOU WATCHED THIS YEAR? YOU HAVEN'T MADE IT CLEAR YET, BUT ARE YOU A BIG FAN OF THE NBA?
h. Coffeenerdness: Give me Peet’s any day over Starbucks. I don’t dislike Starbucks. I just love Peet’s. I don’t think I’ve ever had a bad espresso shot at Peet’s.
Plus, there are no panhandlers at Peet's who will disrupt Peter's white, upper-class existence. There are always some shady looking Jamaicans hanging outside Starbucks in New York "drinking" coffee, but Peter knows they just want to rob him. Where are the police when you need them? Certainly not prepared to arrest anyone at Starbucks for acting suspiciously, that's where.
j. There are many interesting places to run in San Francisco.
But unfortunately, there aren't quite as many women to stalk while running in San Francisco. There are plenty of women, but they all slow down or speed up as Peter tries to hear their phone conversations.
One I got introduced to while there in the past two weeks: The Presidio, with its challenging hills and arduous hills and did I mention ridiculous hills? Running down into the lovely and picturesque park one morning, I thought it wasn’t so bad. But then, on the 1.2 miles back up toward the neighborhood where I was staying, I’d never been challenged so much in my meager running life. Finishing a 3.9-mile slog was its own reward.
A bigger reward? Peter ran into a pregnant woman talking on her cell phone while walking. Ah yes, fresh prey he could keep up with. Jumping from bush to bush behind her in an attempt to hide so he could listen in to her conversation about the baby shower her friends were throwing for her was it's own reward.
The Adieu Haiku
Make peace, Zygi Wilf.
Yo Adrian, make peace too.
This can’t end ugly.
I'm stupid. I don't get why Wilf would have needed to make peace by guaranteeing more money to Peterson. Greg Bedard didn't do a haiku last week. I miss Greg Bedard already.