Wednesday, July 22, 2015

8 comments MMQB Review: The Zone Blitz Had Many Fathers Edition

Peter King made his return to writing MMQB last week by noting how nothing exciting had happened since he took a month off, but THINGS WILL BE HAPPENING SOON! JUST WAIT! Peter wrote last week about Ken Stabler's Hall of Fame chances and changing the Redskins name. Peter didn't get why the Redskins just don't change the name since it obviously will be changed at some point. I don't think it's that obvious to the Redskins they will have to change their name though. This week Peter previews the best storylines of 2015 (yes, "previews" storylines, as if the NFL season is a television show), lists 32 players who are "feeling the heat" in training camp, and admits he was wrong that Ace Sanders was not a poor man's Tavon Austin. Wait, so if Sanders isn't even a poor man's Tavon Austin, then what is Tavon Austin (71 catches 660 yards over two seasons after being the #8 overall pick)? Is he a poor man's Danny Amendola, who was a poor man's Wes Welker?

Time for the 2015 Training Camp Primer. Everything you need to know about the NFL’s 32 training camps, with some fun on the side.

This is literally not everything I need to know about training camp. It doesn't even cover what I need to know for just one NFL team.

First things first, though. It was a notable Saturday evening for the Favre family. Not only did the famous Favre, Brett, have his number retired and get enshrined in the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame in an emotional ceremony witnessed by most of Wisconsin.

I'm so tired of Brett Favre. For someone who is retired and supposedly staying out of the spotlight, he manages to find his way into the spotlight a lot.

But a few hours to the southeast, in Canton, Ohio, quarterbacking nephew Dylan Favre had a perfect night in the International Federation of American Football championship game—12 of 12 for 124 yards and a touchdown—in the United States’ 59-12 rout of Japan.

When I've written "I don't care" in the past, it truly pales in comparison to how much I don't care about how Brett Favre's nephew played in a football game. I know Peter is obsessed with Brett Favre, but I would still hope the obsession wouldn't continually be so obvious after Favre's retirement.

Now for your 2015 camp preview.

Ten Best Camp Stories

1. The fate of Tom Brady. Will he get his four-game suspension reduced? Even if he does, he’ll probably still go to court to overturn what his side believes is a patently unfair ban. Then it’s let the best lawyers win. It’s Jeff Pash (NFL) versus the man the NFL office loves to hate, Jeffrey Kessler (Brady). Either way, second-year man Jimmy Garoppolo is probably going to have to play some for the Patriots (Week 1: versus Big Ben; Week 2: at Rex Ryan),

"At Rex Ryan," apparently Peter thinks the Bills don't have an actual team name. And Peter refers to Garoppolo playing "Big Ben" like it's a tennis match or something. Actually, Garoppolo plays a fairly young Steelers defense with most of the offense that won the Super Bowl behind him.

4. Winston and Mariota careen toward a Week 1 showdown. Unlike one or both stinks in training camp,

I think Peter means "unless," though so much time was probably spent feeling good for Brett Favre this past weekend that Peter had to hustle this MMQB out and didn't have time for an editor to look at it. So maybe this error can be forgiven. It's not like I would expect an editor to catch something I caught first time reading through this column.

All we’ve heard from off-season work so far is how marvelous each has played, and without question how both are headed for Hall of Fame careers. We shall see.

Perhaps I haven't been paying enough attention, but I have not heard anything about how Winston and Mariota are headed for Hall of Fame careers. All of the talk has been pretty standard, "His teammates like him and he looks ready to compete" type of stuff. I don't find there has been excessive hype for either quarterback.

Biggest dates for them this summer: Aug. 28 for Mariota (Week 3 preseason game at Kansas City), Aug. 29 for Winston (Week 3 preseason game versus Cleveland). Logic says each should play into the third quarter of those games, and we’ll get an indication how ready they are for prime time in Week 1.

Because nothing says "This guy is ready for Week 1" like a preseason game where every sportswriters will say, "DON'T DRAW TOO MANY CONCLUSIONS, BUT HERE'S WHAT WE KNOW FOR CERTAIN!"

6. The Saints, changing on the fly. With ungodly talent on offense, New Orleans has gone 26-24 in the past three seasons. So the Saints jettisoned soft tight end Jimmy Graham to Seattle, 

Shots fired. I love when Peter throws these random shots at a player into MMQB. He goes out of his way not to offend, then calls a player "soft." Where the hell does this even come from? Peter has never in the past even hinted that he thinks Graham is soft.

8. The adaptation of a Dolphin named Suh. 

What the fuck does this even mean? Sometimes I think Peter writes inside jokes to himself in MMQB.

Ndamukong Suh will impact two franchises this summer. The Lions, who now have a huge hole with the losses of Suh and Nick Fairley in the interior of the defense, had better hope Haloti Ngata can be his classic run-stuffing and penetrating self. And the Dolphins, of course, need to see production and leadership befitting the highest paid defensive player in NFL history.

I love Ndamukong Suh. He's been overpaid. He would have to have an impact on the Dolphins in the same way a franchise quarterback would impact them to earn his contract. I don't see that happening.

10. Jay Cutler trying to prove to yet another regime he’s worth the trouble. Now coach John Fox and GM Ryan Pace climb aboard the Cutler roller coaster.

Nine seasons, one playoff win.

I thought we were talking about Jay Cutler, not Jeff Fisher? 

I was going to have a segment about franchise relocation. But it’s not a training camp story. Plus, we’re all bored by franchise relocation now.

This is as opposed to the Adieu Haiku, which still tickles the world's fancy every time Peter includes one in MMQB.

Play-by-play of franchise shifts: necessary (I suppose), but really boring.

Yes, really boring. Now let's get to Peter's riveting list of 32 players who are feeling the heat this summer (get it?).

Thirty-two teams, 32 folks in the spotlight during training camp and beyond:

(Bengoodfella moves to the very edge of his seat)

New England: Logan Ryan, cornerback. All the third-year man from Rutgers has to do is replace Darrelle Revis. He’s not alone in corners under pressure in New England. Brandon Browner’s gone too, and a cast of thousands has lined up (Malcolm Butler, perhaps?) to take his job.

So Logan Ryan is under pressure to replace Darrelle Revis, except there are other corners on the roster who are under pressure to replace Brandon Browner? Why does Ryan have to replace Revis? Can't he be under pressure to replace Brandon Browner, and if he succeeds that, then he is a success? After all, it's nearly impossible to replace Darrelle Revis.

By the way, Peter throws quite a few rookies on this list, which is somewhat unfair. Sure, these rookies may be under pressure, but they are rookies being expected to replace veterans (in many of these situations), so it seems a bit much to expect them to come in and produce at the level the veteran did.

Indianapolis: Phillip Dorsett, wide receiver. With the Colts allowing 4.5 yards per rush in 2013, and 4.3 yards per rush last year, and with the Patriots rolling over the Colts for 177 rushing yards in the AFC title game, you’d have thought they’d have gone defensive tackle early in the draft. But no. The speedy Dorsett, who has Mike Mayock in his corner,

As Teddy Bridgewater can attest, having Mike Mayock in your corner doesn't mean a hell of a lot sometimes. On occasion he will be in your corner or not depending on whether your last throw sailed a bit high or you dropped a catchable ball. Also, if Mayock likes you or not can depend on which way the wind is blowing at that very moment.

Carolina: Devin Funchess, wide receiver. Up to him to show in Spartanburg this summer that GM Dave Gettlemen didn’t draft him a round early. Oh, and Cam Newton needs him desperately.

This is why putting rookies on this list is unfair. Phillip Dorsett is expected to come in and take Reggie Wayne's place? Devin Funchess has to prove before actual games even start that he is worth a second round pick? What, his career will be over if he isn't productive as a rookie? The assumption is no other receiver on the roster could step up and replace Wayne or be a weapon for Newton?

Remember when rookies receivers weren't expected to produce much in their first year? And no, if Funchess sucks in training camp then this is not proof he was drafted a round early. It's proof he isn't ready to be the #2 receiver on an NFL team prior to even playing one regular season game.

Detroit: Haloti Ngata, defensive tackle. No Suh. No Fairley. It’s Ngata, and a cast of several. I hope Haloti knows what’s he’s gotten himself into.

Ngata has to be the one to singlehandedly get pressure on the quarterback up the middle. And no, Ngata didn't "get himself into" the situation in Detroit. He was traded, so he had no real say in where he ended up. 

Arizona: James Bettcher, defensive coordinator. He might be the least-known coordinator in recent NFL history. 

What does this even mean? Bettcher might be the least-known coordinator in recent NFL history. According to who? I couldn't name the special teams coordinator for 90% of NFL teams, so this is just very confusing. Rather than just say that Bettcher isn't well-known, Peter has to go and exaggerate as if it makes the point he wants to make more understandable.

Chicago: Jay Cutler, quarterback. Sorry. With Chicago, I could throw in some fancy analysis and talk about rookie wideout Kevin White or the impact of John Fox or precocious pass-rusher Pernell McPhee.

McPhee is 26 years old. He is a grown man. What about how he rushes the passer makes him act as if he is older than 26 years old? 26 year olds are supposed to be able to rush the passer like McPhee does. Peter has to stop using precocious in sentences. Along with "factoid," it's a word he clearly doesn't understand the definition of.

Cleveland: Danny Shelton, nose tackle. Amazing, considering the strong defensive pedigree of head coach Mike Pettine: Cleveland had the worst run defense in the league (141.6 rush yards per game surrendered) last year, and Shelton is going to have to show from the first practice that the porousness stops now.

It is up to Danny Shelton, and only Danny Shelton, to make sure the Browns have a good run defense.

Jacksonville: Blake Bortles, quarterback. Trying not to be cliché here.

Peter will now be cliche.

But the Jags’ defense is going to be good enough to be competitive.

This is an exercise of almost Bleacher Report-type futility. The starting quarterback for the Jaguars is under the gun to play well in training camp. No shit. This is after Peter has listed four of the last five teams as having their quarterback be the player in the spotlight in training camp. In obvious news, a competent quarterback is very important in the NFL.

Miami: Ndamukong Suh, defensive tackle. Miami’s paying $2.3 million a year more than J.J. Watt. Not much to live up to there.

I don't know why Suh keeps getting compared to J.J. Watt, other than the fact they both play defense. Suh's contract alone means there is a lot to live up to. Suh is being paid like a franchise quarterback. The impact a franchise quarterback has on a team is the impact the Dolphins want from Suh. Of course, they would take the impact Watt has on the Texans defense too, but good luck with that.

New Orleans: Anthony Spencer, outside linebacker. He showed flashes of greatness in Dallas. Rob Ryan needs a rusher other than Cam Jordan to scare offensive coordinators.

Spencer showed flashes of greatness in Dallas. By the way, Spencer is 31 years old and has been in the NFL since 2007. At a certain point, probably eight years into an NFL career a player has become what he will always be. There's no need to discuss Spencer like he's in his mid-20's or just got done playing off his rookie contract and just needed a chance to show what he can do. He's 31.

Oakland: Amari Cooper, wide receiver.

St. Louis: Todd Gurley, running back.

San Diego: Melvin Gordon, running back.

This is a very "Bleacher Report-ish" list. Why didn't Peter just save time and list each team's first or second round pick?

And now, for the last four teams, I hate going all cliché, but let’s be honest …

In being honest, this means you will be cliche even though you hate being cliche?

San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick, quarterback.

Tampa Bay: Jameis Winston, quarterback.

Tennessee: Marcus Mariota, quarterback.

Washington: Robert Griffin III, quarterback.

It's funny how Peter is concerned about being cliche here in listing each team's quarterback as the player under the gun, but earlier when he listed Tyrod Taylor, Jay Cutler, Ryan Mallett, and Blake Bortles in a matter of five teams, he had no such concerns it seems. Only 11 of these players "feeling the heat" weren't first/second round picks or a quarterback. Peter King has a future making lists for Bleacher Report.

But these still are the days. I love my trips around the league to as many camps as I can reach each year. This year, weather and The MMQB van permitting, I’ll visit 20 training camps and touch between 21 and 26 teams.

The other 6 to 11 NFL teams will simply have Peter follow them around Central Park while he writes down their phone conversations. There will be no touching.

Times have changed, but this is still the time when I can get Ben Roethlisberger for a few minutes under a shade tree in Latrobe,

That's every boy's dream. Getting Ben Roethlisberger under a shade tree in Latrobe. There's rarely a better place to be.

Arthur Blank over a mesclun salad in the Falcons cafeteria, Blake Bortles in the Jags’ luxurious digs (seriously) in the bowels of their stadium, Marcus Mariota on a steaming day in Nashville, Mike McCarthy on a bench next to the Don Hutson Center practice field, Doug Whaley for coffee at the Starbucks in Pittsford, Chip Kelly somewhere in Eagledom, Russell Wilson for a few pensive minutes coming off the practice field in Renton, Tony Romo at the Cowboys’ hotel in temperate Oxnard, Peyton Manning and a succession of Broncos (I somehow manage to get eight or 10 of them on a profitable day in Denver).

Somehow Peter manages to be somewhat grating simply making a list like this one. His readers don't need this much detail about everyone Peter talks to and where. I mean, he writes that Russell Wilson is "pensive" coming off the practice field, he's in "temperate" Oxnard with Romo. Peter is not writing a novel here, so these descriptions are just a little odd to me.

As for the places I will not touch … you’ll read dispatches by the rest of our staff. In brief:

Andy Benoit, who is in the midst of doing 32 team previews at his home base in Boise, will break away to do a short West Coast swing at San Francisco, Oakland and San Diego.

Hopefully there will be no icky women's sports going on during Andy's West Coast swing. I wouldn't want him to be bored while watching women futilely play sports and fall asleep when he has somewhere to be. 

It’s impossible for me to hit every camp, of course, and to see every team live. There’s a lot to write, and a lot of ground to cover. Plus, I want our staff to be able to get to know as many people on as many teams as possible.

Absolutely. It's important to Peter's readers that his THE MMQB employees are able to network as much as possible on this trip. I understand.

So, we’re going to try a little experiment this year. We’re going to run a fan blog intermittently during the season, and we’re looking for some fans to help us run it. The idea is to have a fan of all 32 teams writing occasionally during the season—maybe when your team is playing a rival, or when your team has just won or lost a huge game, or when there’s something big affecting your team. We’re not sure now how much we’re going to use it, or when exactly we will use it. 

Great, sounds like a plan! I'm definitely interested in writing something and then maybe never seeing it published or just having it used in a way that I never anticipated it being used. This sounds like a very well-thought out experiment.

When the Ravens play the Steelers, for instance, we may ask our Pittsburgh and Baltimore bloggers to write short pieces on what it means to hate the opposing team—and why the feelings are so strident.

Oh man, I definitely want to read more about why the Ravens and Steelers hate each other. This would be completely new information to me that I haven't read anywhere else. Can we get someone from Seattle to write about why their fans are the best in sports? I've never heard that explained either. How about a Packers fan writing about the experience of seeing a game at Lambeau Field? I'm not sure that's ever been covered either. How about a Browns fan talking about the disappointment that team has been through over the past few years? I'm not educated on that either.

If you’re interested in helping us out—for a small fee—please send us a 200-word essay on the reason why you love the team you love. Send it to, and we’ll pore over them and contact you if we’re interested in your help.

But what if I'm a Rams fan and I want to talk about Jeff Fisher and how his presence affects the team? What if I'm a Buccaneers fan who wants to write about how Lavonte David is underrated? So this blog is just going to be fans of a team talking about how much they love that team? Sounds...interesting.

“You have to know my daughter, Breleigh. She just turned 16. She’s timid. But she comes home from school one day, and uncharacteristically, she says, ‘Did you hear they sold 67,000 tickets to your ceremony in an hour and a half?’ I said yeah. She said, ‘They must really like you.’ That says a lot about the situation. What a way to show you they welcome you back in the family. What an honor. That’s why Green Bay is Green Bay.”

—Brett Favre, on Saturday in Green Bay, as he returned for the Packers to honor him by placing him in the Packers Hall of Fame and also by retiring his number.

I mean, Favre can't even accept an honor like his number being retired without pointing out how quickly the tickets sold out and how much he is loved. It's like he has to constantly remind everyone of his relevance when it's not necessary. I really thought it was hilarious that "SI" did a "Where Are They Now?" on Favre recently. Google "Brett Favre coaching high school." Where he is now has been very, very, very well-documented. There's even video if you want to see Favre getting in the spotlight by pointing out how he is avoiding the spotlight since he retired.

“The All-Star Game was just the other night. When you think of Hall of Fame, you think of Mickey Mantle and Frank Gifford and Chuck Bednarik and people like that, not people like me. So it’s almost difficult to get your head around it.”

—Former Bills, Panthers and Colts GM Bill Polian, on his election to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Polian will be enshrined Aug. 8 with seven others.

Or as Brett Favre would have said, "Breleigh, who you may not know since I haven't mentioned her in the past 10 minutes, is my daughter. She came home and told me, 'Did you know that you are considered one of the greatest quarterbacks in the history of the NFL?' I said yeah, I knew that. That says a lot about the Hall of Fame and the voters. They recognize greatness when they see it."

“I knew that time would be a determining factor in how all this would play out. I wasn’t waiting by the phone. In the back of my mind, I knew this was going to happen. Whether it was 30 years or five years, I knew it was going to happen. Even if I didn’t want it to. And I just remember thinking, ‘Boy, things have to get better in a hurry.’ Well, it was amazing how quickly things went back to normal.”

—Brett Favre, to Greg Bishop in a story for The MMQB, on the speed in which Favre and the Packers kissed and made up after their ugly 2008 divorce. Favre was enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame and had his number retired Saturday night in Green Bay.

Did he, Peter? I wasn't sure because it had only been mentioned a few times on THE MMQB, "SI," and every other football outlet, as well as mentioned in this MMQB a few times. It requires no explanation that Favre was enshrined in the Packers Hall of Fame at this point. It was an ugly divorce because Favre could never make up his mind on whether he wanted to retire or not, then kept holding out hope that the Packers would trade him to a division rival so he could tear the Packers apart for the offense of daring to move on without his written permission while he was still taking 3-6 months thinking about whether he would retire or not.

“Let me tell you something about Las Vegas. A million and a half people live in Las Vegas, and Las Vegas is the only town in the world where my gig works … Every three or four days half a million people leave, and half a million people come in. Last year 40 million people visitded Las Vegas. And what do most of them have in common? They have money to spend—and they want to see a celebrity.”

—Pete Rose in Tom Verducci’s excellent profile of the 74-year-old Rose in this week’s Sports Illustrated.

This has nothing to do with whether Rose should be in the Hall of Fame or not, but I find him to be insufferable. I have no issue with him wanting to get paid for signing autographs, but it annoys me how much money he makes off the fact he isn't in the Hall of Fame and seems so money driven.

Pete Rose Stat of the Week, via Verducci: Rose signed autographs for money on 113 of the first 181 days of 2015. What a country.

Yes Peter, what a country. It annoys me when Peter writes those three words, as if Pete Rose making money for his autograph is the most America-only thing that could ever happen.

A kicker’s deal got lost in the wake of the Justin Houston/Dez Bryant/Demaryius Thomas contracts totaling $241 million. It has to be a sign of great progress for special-teams respect in the NFL that Gostkowski, 31, is going to make $10.3 million in the next year and a half. Kickers’ lives might be getting more lucrative.

It could also be a sign that Gostkowski is a reliable and really good kicker, while most field goal kickers aren't worth this type of money.

If Gostkowski plays out his new contract with New England, that would mean the Patriots would have started 23 consecutive seasons with two kickers—Adam Vinatieri and Gostkowski—from 1996 to 2018.
There’s only one asterisk on the stat. Shayne Graham kicked in eight regular-season games and one playoff game when Gostkowski was hurt in 2010.

Why would there be an asterisk? Gostkowski started the year off starting for the Patriots, so it fits in with the stat, regardless of when he got injured.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Since I didn’t go anywhere this week, I thought I’d give you a taste of a cool event in New York: Boomer Esiason’s Cystic Fibrosis Run to Breathe, a four-mile run through Central Park on Saturday morning to raise money for Esiason’s lifelong passion—eradicating cystic fibrosis, which son Gunnar is battling. I ran it along with about 5,000 others at 8 a.m., trying to beat the rain and a potentially violent storm coming in as we ran through the park. These races are so well-run by the New York Road Runners (and Esiason’s foundation), with water stations every mile and even one misting station, even though it wasn’t an oppressive morning. The main thing is benefiting Esiason’s search for a cure for CF, of course. But for so many who don’t get to run through the park, running through this peerless city oasis is such a great treat, and one I would recommend for anyone who ever visits New York.

Peter is starting to be like Gregg Easterbrook in that he can just copy and paste one part of MMQB and put this portion into the next MMQB. He has extolled the virtues of running in New York City quite frequently of late.

Oh, and one of the "Tweets of the Week" is a picture of Brett Favre. Too much is not enough. I bet Peter would like to get under a shade tree in Latrobe with Favre.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the football world lost a valuable person Friday with the death of Bill Arnsparger at 88. Arnsparger was the defensive mastermind of the unbeaten Dolphins team in 1972, and the father of the Zone Blitz. (Heck of a résumé, even if those are the only two things he ever did. And they’re not.)

Does Bill Arnsparger go by the name Dick LeBeau from time to time? Here is what Peter wrote about LeBeau in 2012:

"It's called 'establishing credibility,' " LeBeau said. He moved on to a coaching career, and is considered the father of the Zone Blitz, the offense-confounding blitz package that has defensive linemen dropping into coverage and corners and linebackers rushing the passer.

So Bill Arnsparger or Dick LeBeau, which one is the father of the Zone Blitz? Or does the answer depend entirely on which person Peter is talking about at that present moment?

But I’ve always been fascinated by Arnsparger’s role with the Zone Blitz. In 1984, the Bengals had an imaginative rookie head coach, Sam Wyche, and an imaginative first-year defensive coordinator, Dick LeBeau...So LeBeau journeyed to LSU to scout a meager crop of Tigers that spring, and spent an afternoon with LSU defensive boss Arnsparger...That day in Baton Rouge, LeBeau looked at lots of things LSU was doing that the NFL wasn’t. Namely, dropping defensive linemen and linebackers into shallow zones, covering mostly backs and tight ends on wheel routes and shallow crosses, while unexpectedly blitzing corners or safeties off the edges. When LeBeau left campus and flew on to his next stop, he took a napkin on his Delta flight and began doodling X’s and O’s, imagining dropping traditional but athletic defensive ends Eddie Edwards and Ross Browner into coverage, while letting his defensive backs apply pressure. A few years ago, talking to LeBeau about it, I recall him telling me, “I owe a lot of credit to Bill Arnsparger. He really taught me a lot about the scheme.” Think of the Zone Blitz’s effect on football, and you’ve got to think of Arnsparger’s last effect too. He’ll be missed.

It sounds like Bill Arnsparger was the father of the Zone Blitz, so why is it prior to the week that Arnsbarger died it was Dick LeBeau who Peter gave credit to as the father of the Zone Blitz? I guess it doesn't really matter, but it seems like Arnsbarger is the father of the Zone Blitz, yet it takes his death for Peter to actually give him credit. This is the sort of thing that annoys me (and probably only me). It takes a person's death for writers to be like, "Oh, listen to how important this person was..." all while not giving them credit while they were alive.

Again, it doesn't matter, but Peter refers to both LeBeau and Arnsbarger as the father of the Zone Blitz and I can't recall a time Peter has given credit to Arnsbarger for the defensive scheme until the week that Arnsparger died.

2. I think this is what I’d do on the Tom Brady sanction if I were Roger Goodell: I’d announce I’m deferring all punishment until the end of the 2015 season while the air pressure in footballs pre-game, at halftime and post-game is studied in 267 regular- and post-season games.

Yes, that's a great idea. Goodell wants the chance to seem more indecisive in handing out Brady's punishment after coming down hard on Brady and the Patriots initially. So after coming down hard on the Patriots, Peter thinks it's a good idea for Goodell to be like, "You know that 3-4 month study on the pressure of footballs we did and then I suspended Brady and docked the Patriots money/draft picks based upon it? Well, it was shit, so I'm going to get more data and then decide how to punish Brady from there."

This suggestion by Peter would allow Goodell to be seen both as knee-jerk in coming to a conclusion AND indecisive after handing down a punishment. That's a tough combo to beat. Oh, and deferring punishment would also totally ignore anything Ted Wells did. Goodell made this bed and now he has to sleep in it. Deferring punishment until after the 2015 season when more information could be found about air pressure is a great way for Goodell to continue to lose credibility.

3. I think that has as much chance of happening as me beating out Peyton Manning for the Denver quarterback job this year. Or any year. Till he’s 94.

Right, it won't happen because it's something Goodell should do, but it won't happen because it's a bad idea. Goodell has already punished the Patriots and Brady, right or wrong, he can't just decide now that his punishments were based on bad information and defer these punishments. He COULD do that, but he will come off as indecisive and like he initially punished both Brady and the Patriots based on information that he has come to believe is faulty. Goodell has an image and believability problem now, imagine if he deferred punishment because he didn't find the Wells Report persuasive enough AFTER he punished the Patriots and Brady based on this report.

4. I think, though, the only downside on that for Goodell is to be ripped for ruling precipitously on Brady in the first place, after Ted Wells’ report had much circumstantial but no damning provable evidence. But I think it takes a leader to stand up and say, “We’re going to be measuring the air pressure in football for the first time ever this season, before and during and after games. And this is too important an issue to not have all the evidence in-house before we make a ruling.”

No, a leader would have gotten all the information and made a smart decision prior to making any type of ruling. A leader who makes a decision based on information, waits a couple months and then decides he doesn't like that information because it's been ripped apart, seems like his only leadership comes in following public opinion to where he lacks a backbone to stand by his decisions.

5. I think I really had Ace Sanders pegged wrong. I was sure after a trip to Jaguars camp in 2013 that he’d be the poor man’s Tavon Austin.

So Sanders would have like 300 yards receiving after being in the NFL for two years? That's what a poor man's Tavon Austin would be. Also, I wonder at what point while ripping Jadeveon Clowney for having a poor rookie season Peter would acknowledge his good friend through Marvin Demoff, Jeff Fisher, basically drafted a kick/punt returner #8 overall?

Similar size, similar quickness … just not the same college production and versatility.

Sanders as a rookie only had 190 fewer yards receiving than Austin last year though...

7. I think I’ve always wondered—and my wonderment didn’t ebb last week, seeing Dez Bryant and Demaryius Thomas sign five-year, $70-million contracts on the same day, after much saber-rattling by agents and players, and charges of collusion against the Cowboys and Broncos—this about the NFL negotiating process: Why can’t owners collude but agents can?

The same reason employees can collude but corporations can not? Price-fixing, it has the potential to keep wages low, it's an asshole thing to do. 

I get it, sort of. Owners colluding is price-fixing, and that’s certainly wrong.

(Peter King): "I have a question with an easy answer, yet I still wonder about the question because I'm lofty that way." 

Now, I have no idea what the representatives for Thomas and Bryant said to each other during the process. But what if—if—an agent for one said to an agent for the other, Our floor is five years and $70 million, We’re not signing for a dime less. So stick to your guns. If we stick to that number, you’ll end up getting that too.

There would not be anything wrong with this. It's different when the employee colludes and the employers collude. One is a restraint of trade and the other is a refusal to sign a contract unless the employee gets (what they see as) a fair amount of money. If Thomas or Bryant didn't sign the contracts, and colluded to get $70 million that their employer won't give them, this doesn't affect the salaries of other wide receivers. When NFL teams get together and say they will not pay a wide receiver more than $70 million this does have an effect on salaries.

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

c. Memo to NASA: Thanks for finding Pluto, and showing it to us. That is a great example of human ingenuity.

Yes, thank you NASA. Peter would love to see Uranus now. 

e. I went to a reading of “Go Set a Watchman,” the new Harper Lee book, in Manhattan the other night. Mary Badham, who played Scout in “To Kill a Mockingbird,’’ read, then answered some questions for the crowd at the 92nd Street Y. Disappointed in a few things. One: I don’t know if Lee really wanted this book published; all her life, she said, essentially, she had one book, and now, as she sits in an Alabama nursing home, infirm, a book just appears.

Wait, you mean the author who claimed she wouldn't write another book and then "wrote" another book after she has lost capacity to make decisions for herself may NOT have wanted this book published? This was all a money grab by Lee's relatives? Whaaaaaaaaaaat? I said when this book was announced it was a money grab and Harper Lee had nothing to do with it. I'm glad it took six months for Peter to realize an old lady in a nursing home didn't suddenly decide she wanted another book published. Very naive of him.

After reading several reports in the New York Times about differing explanations about how the manuscript surfaced, I don’t feel good about supporting the book, and I won’t be buying it or reading it.

Way to have a backbone, Peter. You certainly showed them...after showing up to a reading of the book and then realizing an 89 year old woman isn't pumping out manuscripts from a nursing home.

Two: I’d have liked to have heard something from Badham, who is in touch with Lee, about whether she thought Lee wanted the book published. But she wasn’t asked. Rather, she may have been asked, but the host of the program didn’t ask her the question.

I'm sure Badham would say, "OF COURSE, Lee wanted this book published, it just so happens no one is available to answer this question and Lee isn't available to answer it." Reluctantly, those affiliated with Harper agreed to it.  

I can't wait for the stories about how those around Harper Lee used her in order to make a profit for themselves. I'm assuming these stories are at least a year away once the media stops ogling the idea of a new Harper Lee book and asks themselves how shady this all seems. You know how the media can be. Gotta give them a year or so to catch on.

n. Really enjoyed this piece on Russell Wilson’s agent, Mark Rodgers, by Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. Enlightening, and a good example of what I’ve thought all along: Rodgers’ experience doing hardball baseball negotiations is not going to make him afraid to take the heat on Wilson and could—could, not will—drive him to either free agency or a record contract in Seattle.

Baseball and football negotiations are totally different animals. There is a salary cap in football and football players have a shorter shelf life, plus non-guaranteed contracts. I hope for Wilson's sake his agent knows what he is doing and isn't making a simple negotiation much more difficult in an effort to squeeze a few more million out of the Seahawks.

p. My gosh. How tragic, those five service members murdered in Chattanooga—and the wounded Chattanooga police officer. Terror on our soil. The world is changing before our eyes.

Yes Peter, welcome to 1995 or 2001, whenever you consider terror on American soil to have begun.

The Adieu Haiku

Bryant, Thomas pacts.  
Five years, seventy million.
Same day too. How odd!

Include the MMQB fan blog if it gets rid of the Adieu Haiku. Include "The Wisdom of Chip Kelly" section again if it means no more Adieu Haiku. Do not defer this decision.


Slag-King said...

What the fuck does this even mean? Sometimes I think Peter writes inside jokes to himself in MMQB.

Hate to defend Peter here but I believe he is referring to the song by Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue."

If you’re interested in helping us out—for a small fee—please send us a 200-word essay on the reason why you love the team you love.

Wait, does this mean I have to pay a fee to get my blog published?

On Goddell's deferment on Brady's punishment--that is actually Peter King's MO. I've noticed he likes to defer everything until someone dies or retires and then recognize them for their accomplishments (or lack of).

Thanks for finding Pluto,

Wow! I'm at a loss of words at how Peter can write this!

My gosh. How tragic,

His words and tone remind me of a British comedy where two guys were sipping tea while their building was burning down, and they had a very nice polite conversation before they died. One chap said, "Do you notice that our building is burning?" The other chap says, "Yes, how horrible," while sipping tea, "Do you want more tea?"

Chris said...

I'm so glad the only real experience Peter gets out of a charity run is the ability to run through Central Park, which he could do literally anytime he wants since he lives in New York. It makes Peter unintentionally seem like a gigantic asshole since he is basically like oh yea good cause to help Boomer's kid but screw that I get to go for a run in the park!

And my wife wonders why I've begun to hate New York City. It's Peter, and others, superiority complex about living there. I can go for a run in a park in my neighborhood in Virgina and probably feel just as content as I would running through Central Park. It is not the be all and end all of parks in cities in the world.

Snarf said...

Nine seasons, one playoff win.

I thought we were talking about Jay Cutler, not Jeff Fisher?

I know you were making a joke, but I think the correct info makes it all the more clear how much of a pass Jeff Fisher gets. He hasn't had a playoff win in his last 10 seasons. You have to go back 11 Jeff Fisher seasons (to 2003) to see the last time a Jeff Fisher team won a playoff game.

Snarf said...

Nine seasons, one playoff win.

I thought we were talking about Jay Cutler, not Jeff Fisher?

I know you were making a joke, but I think the correct info makes it all the more clear how much of a pass Jeff Fisher gets. He hasn't had a playoff win in his last 10 seasons. You have to go back 11 Jeff Fisher seasons (to 2003) to see the last time a Jeff Fisher team won a playoff game.

Bengoodfella said...

Slag, I know the song but didn't really get it. The song is called "A Boy Named Sue" not "The X of a Boy Named Sue" so I sort of missed the comedy there. Don't worry, you aren't defending him. It's just Peter didn't do a great job of linking the song to what he was saying. If he wrote "A Dolphin named Suh" then I would have found it to be more interesting and gotten it and not thought it was some strange language. I'm being very picky.

It does sound you would have to pay to get your blog published by MMQB. Peter would defer everything if he could. I don't really care what the NFL does with Brady's punishment, but deferring it is going to make Goodell look really, really weak.

Haha...except in that example it is Peter drinking coffee, then goes on complaining about the service or line at the coffee shop.

Chris, yeah but Peter wrote "The main thing is benefiting Esiason's search for a cure for CF, of course..." so he is off the hook. He then can go about how great it was to run in the park and no one can allege his big takeaway was getting to run in the park. Sure, they were there for a cure for CF, but here's what Peter really liked...

There is a certain superiority complex about living in New York and Peter is very bad about this. New York is a cool city and it is probably fun to run in Central Park. That said, there are lots of other really cool places to run as well, but Peter won't stop talking about NYC specifically.

Snarf, I thought about adding that it had been over a decade, but figured I'd let the inaccurate joke stand. That's not good though is it? 11 years since he last won a playoff game. I do feel bad for Rams fans. Though watch the Rams win the Super Bowl now that I've ragged on Fisher so much.

Ericb said...

Prospect Park in Brooklyn is much nicer than Central Park. I wouldn't be surprised if Peter didn't even know there was a park in Brooklyn.

Snarf said...

Ben, it's funny isn't it? Cutler is a bum and a terrible burden on his team based on this record, but Fisher is apparently a great coach who just needs a bit more time (according to the media). It's insane.

Bengoodfella said...

Eric, why does Prospect Park sound familiar. I think it was in a song or something...

Snarf, I'm really interested to see how Fox handles Cutler this year. Cutler is not his type of QB, though he did turn Delhomme into a quality starter by trimming off his gambling tendencies and got him to play within the offense. I won't be surprised if Cutler isn't starting Week 4 or he makes the Pro Bowl. I have no idea what will happen.

But yeah, that Jeff Fisher guy...