Wednesday, August 19, 2015

5 comments MMQB Review: Peter Notices How Lithe and Penetrating a Lions Player Is Edition

Peter King thought a 64.3% completion percentage was less than a 63.1% completion percentage in last week's MMQB. He also described selfie-policeman J.J. Watt as the new star of "Hard Knocks" and has given Marcus Mariota the official "precocious" tag, which has to be a great feat for Mariota to achieve. Any time Peter uses a word in the wrong context to describe an NFL player then it has to be flattering. The world may implode if he ever states as a "factoid" that an NFL player is precocious. This week Peter talks about Tim Tebow because he's only responding to what everyone wants him to write about and obviously everyone wants to hear more about Tebow (Tebow has improved, we've heard this before...Peter only mentions it because "the people" want to hear about Tebow of course), probably pissed off J.J. Watt by taking a selfie, has many thoughts on Geno Smith getting punched in the face and the aftermath, and and now black lives mattering is inconveniencing Peter King on his cab ride home. Okay, Peter doesn't say this but after you hear the story you KNOW Peter was upset by being inconvenienced, but just doesn't mention it in MMQB for obvious reasons.

Prologue to a column, with a point about not taking preseason results seriously:

In the past 11 regular seasons, the Patriots are 136-40.
In the past 11 preseasons, the Patriots are 20-24.
(Iverson voice: “We talkin’ bout practice!”)

This type of thing continuously makes me laugh. Peter does training camp tours, speaks to players, and makes comments based on preseason games...then in MMQB he is basically like, "All of this probably doesn't mean very much." So it's all wasted time then? 

I asked Eagles coach Chip Kelly if he felt frustrated with the perception that he can’t get along with players, and isn’t a good communicator, even though those who’ve been around the Eagles for years will tell you the door to his office is mostly open, while Andy Reid’s office door was mostly closed.

What side of this issue does Peter King fall on? I can't tell by the way this sentence was structured. He's so vague in his description of Kelly's open door policy compared to Andy Reid's closed door policy.

“Yeah,” Kelly said with that smile the other day, after a training-camp practice in south Philly. “But there’s nothing you can do about it. I think we do a really good job with communicating with our players.

I'm shocked, SHOCKED, that Peter King falls on the side of the NFL coach who is a quote machine. I did not see this coming.

Then he quoted two people. He said Phil Jackson once said that if you want to be liked, don’t get into coaching. “Then there’s the Mike Schmidt quote,” Kelly said. 

Which one? 

I wish Chip Kelly had told Peter to do an internet search to find this quote, just like Peter would do to his readers. Alas, he did not.

“He said, ‘Philadelphia is the only town where you can experience the thrill of victory, then the agony of reading about it the next day,’” Kelly said. “It’s part of the territory and rightly so. These people [media people] are awesome. It’s an unbelievably competitive market. New York has two teams so they gotta go to the Giants and the Jets. Here, there’s one team.”

That makes sense. It's why every other city with one NFL team has a competitive market like Philadelphia does. Either that or Chip Kelly doesn't want to tell an entire city's media to "fuck off."

My favorite story here? It’s about badminton—Sam Bradford becoming the first quarterback in NFL to rehab a torn ACL by playing badminton. More about that in a few paragraphs.

I can't even begin to pretend to care enough about this to be sarcastic. "The first quarterback to rehab by playing badminton..."

There’s where I’ll start—in Philadelphia, the last stop on our East/South/Midwest tour. This stuff about Kelly and his relations with players reminds me of a coach who left Cleveland in 1995. Bill Belichick was a bad communicator. Ran Bernie Kosar out of town. Too dictatorial. Players hated him. Had one winning season and won one playoff game in five years. Finished a lousy tenure eight below .500. Left Cleveland and the perception around the league was he’d only be a coordinator the rest of his career. When Robert Kraft hired him in 2000 to coach the Patriots, Kraft got comments like, “Are you nuts? Belichick’s not a head coach.” In 15 seasons with the Patriots, Belichick has averaged 13 wins a year (including postseason wins).

Not saying Kelly will be Belichick.

But Peter is saying that they are somewhat similar and if Chip Kelly ends up being like Bill Belichick then he will mention that he totally called it.

When he traded nickel back Brandon Boykin to Pittsburgh last month (for a fifth-round pick in 2016 that becomes a fourth if Boykin plays 60 percent of the defensive snaps for the Steelers in 2015), Boykin decried the lack of communication with Kelly, later saying he did not mean Kelly was racist.

It’s fairly fruitless to ask a man to defend himself against charges that he is racist. 

It's difficult for me to find something that I agree with that Peter King has said, but I believe I can agree with this statement.

I simply think it’s an unfair question if people might think there’s something to it when there’s no supporting evidence to say there is. Think of it: He traded a white quarterback for a white quarterback in the offseason. He jettisoned two white veteran linemen with big pricetags—Todd Herremans and Evan Mathis. He dealt an African-American running back whose running style he didn’t like and who would soon be due a big contract for a white middle linebacker. He signed two African-American running backs in free -agency. His first five draft choices were black. His top six imports from other teams in veteran free agency were African-Americans (Byron Maxwell, Mathews and Murray were the big ones, with E.J. Biggers, Brad Jones and Walter Thurmond the complementary ones). In other words, next story please.

Those who argue Peter is wrong would state that Kelly HAS to sign an African American running back because there aren't white running backs and would also state just because he signs African American free agent only means he cares to win games, not that he isn't a racist. So he gets criticized for getting rid of African American players, who then call him a racist, but when Kelly chooses to sign African American players it's simply seen as him doing it because there aren't better options. I mean, I guess that makes sense, but it feels a bit like trying to have it both ways.

The next story here is Bradford. Four notable things as he tries to rebound from an ACL tear of the same left knee in 2013 and again in 2014:

He threw the ball well and with accuracy in the two hours I watched him, and those in camp say his arm’s looked very good.

It's not been Bradford's arm that is the question of late is it? So if Bradford had both legs amputated then I don't see (okay, I do see, but you get my exaggerated point) what this has to do with how well he throws the football with his arm. He tore his ACL twice, so the knees are the issue. Yes, the knees have to do with throwing the football, but whether Bradford is accurate throwing or not doesn't really answer questions about his knees' health. 

And the badminton thing. One of Bradford’s big rehab practices was playing badminton without a net, with a doctor and athletic rehab specialist he’d just met, Bill Knowles, from Wayne, Pa.

“There’s standard rehab, where you have a sheet of what you have to accomplish every day in terms of exercise and rehab. Bill Knowles’ deal is, ‘Let’s play games.’ One day he said, ‘Let’s play badminton.’ We warmed up playing badminton. And then every day we were out here playing badminton. No net. He would hit it high and make me change directions and run. He throws all these PE games at you. You don’t think about it being rehab until you look and see the positions your body’s been in, and you think, That’s pretty close to the positions and movements you’ve got to make as a quarterback. I’m sure people up in the offices are looking out and wondering what in the world are they doing playing badminton? But, you know, you spend a year and a half doing the same exercises, and you get so tired of doing the same thing over and over,

Jeff Fisher is totally kicking himself now for trading Bradford. Bradford played badminton during his rehab sessions! Fisher should have counted on Bradford to stay healthy for one more year and then had no real viable backup option if Bradford got injured again. If Fisher had known Bradford playing badminton during his rehab, then it would have changed everything.

Bradford spoke on the field post-practice. He’s always been a sort of flatline optimist, a que sera, sera type. Asked about having any fear of it happening a third time, he said, “None. If it happens again, it’s just meant to be.

Bradford has pocketed a lot of money already playing in the NFL. If he tears an ACL again, then he can just retire, sit on his huge pile of cash from his rookie year and get some sympathy for being too injured in order to continue his career. It almost beats continuing to play and possibly being seen as a disappointment, doesn't it?

“What I’ve seen in Sam is what I thought we were going to get when I traded for him,” Kelly said. “Extremely accurate—he makes really good decisions with the football.  He has as good an arm as there is in this league. He’s everything you want in a quarterback and he was before he was injured. He just has to stay healthy.”

Bradford has been in the NFL for five years now and started 49 games. Staying healthy has been his issue since he got into the NFL and don't forget he missed all of his senior year at Oklahoma with an injury. So that means out of the last six seasons he's played football, he has missed all but 49 games.

We have some really great leaders here—Malcolm Jenkins, DeMeco Ryans and now Byron Maxwell, who came over from Seattle; he’s been outstanding. I think everyone was concerned when you add this many people. But the guys we’ve added have been awesome. I like what I see.”

Clearly, Chip Kelly doesn't know these players are not white or else he wouldn't be saying this about them.

“I’ve got to show you something,” said GM David Caldwell, putting practice tape on the screen in his office. It was from a night practice that would get mostly rained out in Jacksonville. “This is the kind of play that makes us feel pretty good about Blake Bortles.”

So the GM whose tenure with his current team will be judged on whether the quarterback he handpicked will be successful is talking up said quarterback? I can't believe this would occur. Sure, Bortles has improved from his first to his second year, but sometimes I wonder if Peter remembers that GM's have a vested interest in talking up certain players. Picking the wrong quarterback in the first round of the draft is how GM's get fired.

Split right, free-agent wideout Tony Washington lines up head-up on prize free-agent cornerback Davon House. At the snap, Washington burrows into the inside shoulder of House and runs upfield. At about 13 yards, he pivots and cuts to the post. Just as he cuts, and four strides before he turns to look for the ball, Bortles releases the ball. At the split second Washington turns his head to the quarterback, the ball explodes into his hands. He doesn’t have to move his hands. It’s just there.

“The ball just hit my hands,” Washington said. “I didn’t do anything but catch it.”

“That throw reminded me of a throw Aaron would make,” said House, the ex-Packer. “I saw that same throw in Green Bay. No defending it.”

Oh, so the guy who got burnt by the throw states that there was no way to defend this pass? What else is he going to say? "It was a shitty throw, but I'm incompetent and couldn't prevent the completion. By the way, I can't believe how much money I received in free agency from the Jaguars."

I'm just saying that the two people attesting to Bortles' greatness are the GM who drafted him and the cornerback who just got a big free agent contract and got burnt by an undrafted wide receiver. Vested interests in talking Bortles up can be seen everywhere.

I still say Bortles isn't going to be a franchise quarterback. I could be wrong. My opinion is just my opinion, but it's hard to look at the opinion of the Jaguars' GM and the cornerback who got burnt on a good throw in practice and see them as neutral observations of Bortles' ability.

I asked Bortles what he was thinking when he made the throw on the field. Exhilaration, maybe? Satisfaction? Or maybe that he finally was arriving at the place where good quarterbacks were?

“I thought, Good throw. Onto the next one now.”

Good answer.

Remember Blake, Peter is on the lookout for a gritty, white quarterback to fall in love with and endear himself to by using words like "precocious" and other language that indicates you play the quarterback position like a kid would. So this quarterback could be YOU and YOU could find Peter waiting on your porch in the offseason ready to talk about how life is going. Just keeping feeding Peter the answers he wants. That's what you need to do.

Since the two teams met in that memorable 2010 NFC title game at Soldier Field—Packers 21, Bears 14—the Bears have had three coaches (Lovie Smith, Marc Trestman, John Fox) and three general managers (Jerry Angelo, Phil Emery, Ryan Pace). Green Bay has had one coach, Mike McCarthy, and one GM, Ted Thompson.

Since that game, Jay Cutler has been involved in more melodrama than any quarterback in the NFL.

I think that Tim Tebow and Tom Brady would like to have a word with Peter about the accuracy of this statement.

The only drama Aaron Rodger has been involved? I can’t think of it, unless appearing on Page Six of the New York Post because he’s been seen canoodling with Olivia Munn around North America counts as drama.


“We’re going to do things to help the quarterback,” GM Ryan Pace said at Bears camp in Bourbonnais. “We have a major commitment to the run, and that will take pressure off Jay. We have extreme confidence in the coaching staff, and we think Adam Gase can do a lot of things to help Jay.

Look, Pace is doing the right thing for his guy in propping up Cutler when the rest of the city wants him gone. I’d do the exact same thing.

Notice that David Caldwell showing Peter a great pass by Blake Bortles in practice isn't seen as Caldwell "propping up" Bortles after he had a fairly crappy rookie season. Notice that Chip Kelly talking about how Sam Bradford is looking good and is everything he thought he would be after Bradford has played in 49 games over his 5 NFL seasons isn't seen by Peter as "propping up" Bradford. When Ryan Pace talks positively about Jay Cutler, a quarterback who is working with the same offensive coordinator that Peyton Manning gave credit to for helping him in Denver, well this is just Ryan Pace "propping up" Cutler. Forget all that positive shit Peter wrote about Gase when he worked with Manning, forget Bortles hasn't even proven he can be a below-average starter, and forget that Bradford can't even get on the field on a consistent basis, it's Cutler who has positive words directed at him by his GM who is getting "propped up." Got it.

Say what you want, but if you were Pace, would you have fired Cutler and gone out and signed, say, Brian Hoyer? Or Ryan Fitzpatrick? No. You’d stick with Cutler and see if a third Chicago coaching staff could right the ship.

John Fox had success with Jake Delhomme and Tim Tebow, plus Adam Gase has worked with Peyton Manning. Sticking with Cutler and his contract is probably the only option the Bears had.

At Packers camp I became convinced that McCarthy decided to give up play-calling as much because he implicitly trusts Rodgers to be a coach on the field and trusts the knowledge of Tom Clements in the offensive system.

Yes Peter, I'm sure that Mike McCarthy trusts the best quarterback in the NFL to know the offensive system and be a coach on the field. Now he can focus on other issues the Packers team has because he doesn't have to call plays. Very intuitive of you to point this out.

Detroit: Better than I thought.

Pizza: More cheese than I imagined.

Meerkats: More self-sufficient than I believed them to be.

I like how Peter's own incorrect perception of the Lions is supposed to change his reader's perception of the Lions.

"Wait, Peter King thinks the Lions are better than he thought they were? This must be something he thought he thought he knew, but it turns out he didn't know it. I must adjust my expectations for the Lions as well!"

The irony of Suh leaving? And taking his incredible run defense and sacking (a team-high 8.5 sacks) with him to Miami? In the off-season, he tutored Reid, working out with the second-year Princeton kid, and all in Detroit camp say Reid came back this summer a different player.

He started stepping on opposing players and generally acting like an asshole on the field?

More stout. Stronger, with a better interior rushing presence. At 6-2 and 306 pounds, Reid looks more lithe and penetrating than he did last year.

Peter thinks Reid looks more lithe with his luscious rippling muscles glistening in the sun as the sweat pores down from his chin to his stomach, leaving little patches of sweat on the Lions workout gear he has on, his precocious smile providing all the sunlight that's needed on this beautiful day.

You have a few options when you make a mistake in life. You can own up to it and totally admit it and take your medicine; or you can do something less; or you can lie your way through it.

How many people have you killed, Peter? Or is it that mental health issues are a character flaw? Either way, losing your daughter for five minutes in a grocery store is like having your child disappear and presumed dead.

OR you can keep saying stupid and insensitive shit and nobody calls you on it because you apologized and ARE SO DEFINITELY SORRY...until you say the same type of insensitive thing again. At that point, the media guy at your company, the same guy who eviscerates at any opportunity media members for other organizations for the slightest misstep, will just state you have apologized and he no longer sees the big deal in an effort to toe the company line and not make a big deal out of your comments as he normally would do otherwise. That's an option too.

Cleveland GM Ray Farmer wishes he’d never texted an assistant coach in the upstairs coaches' booth with suggestions/prompts/ideas/whatever during games last year. 

But desperate times call for desperate measures, and he just thought he should throw in his thoughts about what the Browns were doing on offense during the games. 

I just want to know what he was texting down that the Browns offense should do. Perhaps the coaching staff should have texted back a suggestion that Farmer find the Browns a good quarterback for the offense.

I expected Farmer to either no-comment this when we spoke at Browns camp last week, or maybe say he stands by whatever vanilla statement he issued when the sanction came down. But he didn’t.

You know, "whatever vanilla statement" that was issued when the sanction came down. Peter doesn't have time to go back and find it, but he's sure the statement was vanilla. That much he doesn't think that he thinks. He thinks he knows what he thinks about Farmer's statement.

“My mom and dad taught me a long time ago to take responsibility for my actions,” Farmer said, a little uneasy talking about it, on the side of the team’s practice field in Berea, Ohio. “That’s what I have done. As the time gets closer, I continue to reflect on what I did, and the cost of it. I made a mistake, and this is my penalty, and I am going to serve it.”

Yeah, but Johnny Manziel is the one who makes mistakes and should know better than to make them. He should be held to a higher standard than the Browns GM.

I’m not sure this is the most noteworthy thing coming out of Browns camp. I’ll be writing some about other things I learned there.

Hopefully Peter is writing about other things he learned at Browns camp. Otherwise, Browns fans could look to Peter for even less information than usual. Usually Browns just look to Peter for information on how their restricted free agents can be signed other NFL teams without the Browns matching the offer.

Last December, Kansas City safety Eric Berry was diagnosed with non-Hodgkins lymphoma, a dangerous but treatable form of cancer.

Peter knows how Eric Berry feels because one time right before Christmas he had a vicious head cold that made it tough to get any work done.

Some words from Berry that you should hear:

Apparently Peter is under the impression that MMQB is an audio column and not a written column. Perhaps Peter has an audio version of MMQB that I'm not aware of where his readers can actually hear, not just read, the words that Eric Berry has to say. Otherwise, it's hard to hear written words.

The words from Berry are nice to hear and inspirational at times, but I can't be snarky about his situation so I will move on to tearing into Peter King. It's why we are all here anyway.

While I watched practice Thursday at the Eagles’ complex, there was this scene: Sam Bradford, his receiver covered in a seven-on-seven drill, tossed a ball harmlessly out of bounds, into the large bushes on the edge of the practice field. A few snaps later, Tim Tebow, the fourth-string quarterback battling Matt Barkley for the number three job, took a shotgun snap, looked at his options, saw none, and threw the ball into the exact same area of bushes.


“There’s Tebow’s intended receiver,” said a fan I was standing next to on the sidelines of practice. “The bushes.” He and his buddies got a good laugh out of that one.

This is a great example of Tebow being bullied by fans. When will the fans stop bullying poor Tim Tebow? When will jokes about his inaccuracy stop being made, despite how funny they are? Hopefully never.

No comment on Bradford’s throwaway, of course. He’s an accurate passer and deserves the benefit of the doubt. But not so Tebow. He has been so inaccurate in his brief career (47.9 percent) that when he makes a throw like that, it’s: same old Tebow.

Let's all not forget that Tim Tebow was a first round pick and should be treated like other first round picks who are quarterbacks. Before feeling sorry for him, remember that this is the fourth team who has given Tebow an opportunity to prove he's worth spending a roster spot on.

In fact, it’s not the same Tebow.

And of course Peter is only bringing up a 3rd/4th string quarterback because that's what the people want to hear about. "The people" need more Tebow, so it's totally not Peter's doing that he keeps talking about him in MMQB.

On Sunday, in his first preseason test, Tebow was marginally good, completing six of 12 passes for 69 yards while being sacked three times. He was hurried on almost every dropback behind a makeshift—and struggling—offensive line.

Peter remembers to bring up that the Eagles' offensive line was struggling, while avoiding the whole part about Tebow being a first round pick going against the 3rd/4th string defenders from the opposing team.

But the bad thing for Tebow was he showed very happy feet at times, probably because of the intense pressure. He won’t make it, though, unless he can set his feet, look over his options and make a good throw. In the off-season, he got Tom House, noted mechanics-fixer, to help him with his footwork and his arm slot, and both looked better Thursday at practice.

Not to come off as anti-Tebow, but this is pressure from 3rd/4th string pass rushers coming at him, which is different when it comes to another NFL team's starting defense rushing him. I think Tebow will work best as a change-of-pace quarterback who can present issues for the defense, but that also entails pulling the regular quarterback in order to have special "Tebow packages" and I don't think any starting quarterback ever really likes this.

“Tim’s sequencing has really improved,” Kelly said. “Not just his throw motion, but how his arm is following his legs in the right order. I’m not too worried about his arm slot; you see a guy like Philip Rivers throw from different angles and be effective. Tim’s better at the overall throw now.”

"Tim's better at the overall throw now." I'm not sure what else needs to be said.

The debut of the new PAT rules—the extra point now is snapped from the 15-yard line, making it a 33-yard attempt; the two-point conversion is attempted from the 2-yard line—has been uneventful. Except for the two-point tries. Last year, 59 two-point conversions were attempted in 256 regular-season games. This preseason, 12 have been attempted in the first 17 games. Too early to sense a trend, but teams have made five of 12 (.417).

Not only is it too early to sense a trend, but teams will more likely go for two in the preseason so they can practice the plays they run in that area during the season. I would look for the percentage of two-point conversions to fall from the 71% of preseason games that have had a two-point conversion attempted.

Checking out the 33-yard PAT after the Hall of Fame game and the full preseason schedule this weekend:

PATs attempted: 57. PATs made: 55. Percentage: .965

So the PAT has been attempted at six times the rate of the two-point conversion, even in the preseason, and almost 97% of them have been made. I wasn't against the extra point being pushed back, but I also didn't think it would make the dramatic difference that Peter seems to believe it will make.

“What is it, a 4 percent less chance you’ll make the extra point?’ Chip Kelly said. “That’s not going to be enough to make a huge change, in my opinion, in what coaches do.” 

We’ll see. A couple of coaches I’ve spoken with for a story I’m working on concerning the PAT shift think there’s going to be more of a change than Kelly thinks.

Chip Kelly isn't such a genius when he disagrees with Peter King on one of Peter's pet project rule changes.

“They’ll have to get a tractor to move me outside to tackle. I’d rather get in a fist fight in a phone booth [at guard] any day. Those guys outside, there’s too much space. Too scary out there.”

—Chicago Pro Bowl guard Kyle Long, on off-season talk that the Bears may move him to tackle eventually because of his strength and athleticism.

Way to be a team player there, Kyle. Not that Long should necessarily be moved to tackle, but it sounds like Long wouldn't even be willing to consider a position change to tackle, even if it helped the team.

“I came home to find out that my boys received two trophies for nothing, participation trophies! While I am very proud of my boys for everything they do and will encourage them till the day I die, these trophies will be given back until they EARN a real trophy. I'm sorry I'm not sorry for believing that everything in life should be earned and I'm not about to raise two boys to be men by making them believe that they are entitled to something just because they tried their best.”

—Steelers linebacker James Harrison, in an Instagram post next to the two athletic trophies his sons received—and that he sent back.

Apparently the act of a parent sending a participation trophy back is enough to cause a several day discussion online about whether Harrison's actions are correct or not. Who cares? If he wants to send his son's trophies back, that's his choice. No need to legislate whether he is a good or bad parent.

Now that San Diego has signed Philip Rivers long-term, two of the three franchise quarterbacks from the 2004 draft class are tied up through the 2019 season—when Ben Roethlisberger will be 37 in Pittsburgh and Rivers 38 with the Chargers. Now it’s Eli Manning’s turn.

Manning wants to be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL. I think every NFL quarterback wants to be the highest-paid quarterback in the NFL, so Eli's wishes are probably not news.

It’s fascinating to look at how similar the three quarterbacks have been, for the most part. Rivers’ numbers are down, slightly, because he didn’t start his first two years in San Diego, sitting behind Drew Brees. Manning has started an eye-popping 178 games in a row. Roethlisberger started early in Pittsburgh. But the fact that all three could have such similar numbers—look at the touchdowns here: all are between 251 and 259 in their regular-season careers—is amazing.

I'll spare you the chart, but the biggest difference is the QB rating and number of interceptions. Roethlisberger's QB rating is 93.9, Rivers 95.7, and Manning 82.4. Eli also has 54 more interceptions than Roethlisberger and 63 more interceptions than Rivers. So, they are similar, except Manning is a bit more of a turnover machine than Rivers and Roesthlisberger.

The guess here: Manning ends up very close to Roethlisberger. Super Bowl wins trump all. I’m sure Jerry Reese and the Giants will try to hold the line on anything north of Roethlisberger, because Aaron Rodgers is the gold standard at $22 million per year. But Tom Condon, Manning’s agent, surely will argue that because the Rodgers deal was signed two-and-a-third years ago, and the cap in 2015 has increased $20.8 million over 2013, the Rodgers deal can’t be held up as unbeatable.

I'm sure the Giants would counter with "Hey, Rodgers is the best quarterback in the NFL and we aren't paying Manning more than him."

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Here is a little factoid that has never interested Peter. A "factoid" isn't a tiny fact, but a short statement with dubious accuracy. Fuck the dictionary though, Peter makes up his own definitions. 

So … our team at The MMQB had a good and informative trip on the road. We also had some fun. See our selfie-stick photo from the last day on the Eagles’ sideline? Videographer John DePetro (white T-shirt) took it, and you can see, from left, Robert Klemko, Kalyn Kahler, Emily Kaplan (front), me, and Jenny Vrentas.

J.J. Watt does not approve of this selfie. None of the THE MMQB team members were posing while showing off their arms in a sleeveless shirt nor were any of them grinding and working hard trying to make themselves better. That's the only time selfies can be taken according to the "J.J. Watt Book of How Everyone Should Act."

Our crack tour manager, Kalyn Kahler, loaded up the van with Chipotle, and we set off around 8:45 for Philly. One problem: Robert Klemko couldn’t handle the sour cream in his Chipotle something-or-other, and so about a half-hour out of town he started looking for food on his RoadAhead app. 

 What a country. Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, the famous Syracuse meathouse, was 15 minutes ahead, and Klemko put in an order.

WHAT A COUNTRY! There are restaurants throughout the United States that sell food to people who are willing to use currency, credit card or check to pay for this food. I mean, these restaurants are everywhere and you can even call ahead to get an order ready for pickup. WHAT A FUCKING COUNTRY!

Then Peter talks about "Super Troopers," naturally being over a decade late to the party. I don't really feel like going through his whole story about this right meow.

Blaine Gabbert's passer rating in Preseason Week 1 last year: 1.7. Blaine Gabbert's passer rating tonight: 125.6
But again, let's not overreact to one preseason game. Here is an implied conclusion on how much Blaine Gabbert has improved though.

This one is a tough pill to swallow. Finally got the opportunity I always wanted since I entered this league. Took me 4 years to get there.
You swallowed a pill? Did this pill violate the drug agreement agreed to by the union and the NFL? Doesn't matter. You are suspended four games for violating the drug agreement, pending a review of this violation by Roger Goodell. If you would like to appeal Goodell's reviewed decision then you can appeal to Roger Goodell. If you would like to appeal this appeal then you can bring the case to the Supreme Court where Roger Goodell will decide whether to hear your appeal. If you would like to appeal this decision, then talk to God, who will then consult with Roger Goodell and Russell Wilson on what the decision should be. There is no appeal after this.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the upshot of the Philip Rivers contract extension—Chris Mortensen reported it as four years and $83.25 million, beginning in 2016; he will play out his final year of the current deal this year at $15 million—is that the Chargers, wherever they play in 2016 and beyond, will be quarterbacked by Rivers. He and his wife, who is pregnant with their eighth child, love San Diego

I read this initially as "He and his wife, who is pregnant with their eighth love child..." Because of course I read it that way.

2. I think Ray Rice will be in some team’s camp by Sept. 15. Just a hunch. The Browns have some interest, and depending on injuries in the preseason, other teams will too. I heard this in three places along my camp tour so far: Teams are concerned about the fallout for picking up a man who decked his fiancée in an elevator, but are as concerned or more concerned with the fact that the last time he was on the field, in 2013, he was a less-than-mediocre back.

So Peter is reporting that NFL teams don't really have a moral compass, they only will choose to sign a player based on how well he can perform on the field? No way. This probably explains why Greg Hardy has a job right now. I'm in shock that NFL teams judge players by how much they can help on the field and not based on what kind of person this player might be. What a twist that I didn't expect.

With thanks to several coaches/GMs on my camp tour, here's my veteran free-agent running back short list in order:

Chris Johnson. Turns 30 in September. Brings baggage. The 2,006-yard season seems 16 years away, not six. But the Cardinals may sign him this week. No one says he can't be a weapon with a good line in front of him.

Nope, I'm saying that Chris Johnson can't be a weapon with a good line in front of him. I don't believe he can be.

Knowshon Moreno will be a good candidate to be signed. The Dolphins still have some scant interest in bringing him back.

Oh man, calm down with the interest you have there Dolphins. "Scant" interest in Moreno. Good thing it's not "miniscule" interest in him. If Moreno came back and played well it would probably help the precocious Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill live up to the potential that I keep hearing he has.

Then Peter updates us on the situation in Los Angeles about which teams could end up relocating.....Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz....

6. I think much has been made of Jet-turned-Bill linebacker IK Enemkpali breaking Geno Smith’s jaw Tuesday, and the subsequent fallout. Several points to make:

a. I was amazed, from the four coaches/players and one highly respected retired player I spoke with in the past few days that the blame for the incident in the eyes of the NFLers should be shared. I mean, almost equally shared. As one active quarterback told me, “You just do not go around owing teammates money—especially a teammate who doesn’t make much money.”

I think that's a good rule in general. You just don't go around owing anybody money. Just anyone. It can be a teammate, a friend, an acquaintance, the IRS, pretty much any/everyone.

c. From the respected retired player (not a Jet): “I can tell you there’d have been a huge problem in the locker rooms I was in if guys thought the quarterback owed money to a guy and didn’t pay—even if it was in dispute whether he owed him money or not. It wouldn’t matter what the reality was. Guys would be pissed.”

You know, if Geno Smith was a better leader then he wouldn't get punched in the face. Why aren't there more hot takes about this position? What are the odds this "respected retired player" is Brett Favre?

e. Has there ever been a more transparent slap at a player than Enemkpali’s apology about the incident when he got to Buffalo, when he apologized to everyone in the Jets’ building except for the one whose jaw he broke in two places? Enemkpali: “I want to apologize to the Jets organization, the fans, my teammates and the coaches. I apologize for what happened. It should have never happened. I should have walked away from the situation. It was never my intentions to hurt anybody.” Then he thanked the Bills for picking him up.

He owed money. You just can't owe people money.

7. I think you shouldn’t blame me for the football locker-room ethos that shifts the blame from the assaulter to the assaultee. I’m the messenger here. I’m just telling you what five people I respect said about the punching in the wake of it. In my opinion, there’s never a good-enough reason for punching another man in the face.

Of course Peter thinks this. I'm not in favor of punching people in the face, but few people have a clue what happened in the locker room and if Geno Smith was being a dipshit about this then he may deserve to be punched in the face. Maybe.

8. I think if you’re wondering about the sanction awaiting Enemkpali by the NFL, well, I wouldn’t count on him being in a Bills uniform for the first couple of weeks. After the punchout, NFL VP Troy Vincent sent a memo to all coaches and general managers reminding them of the prohibition on fighting on the field and off. 

Topics #7 and #8 are part of the same discussion, so they should be with Topic #6. I can't figure out why Peter insists on moving them to a different number of his outline, other than he doesn't really have 10 things he thinks he thinks for the week and needs to stretch it out a bit to cover up for this fact.

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

c. Sign of the 2015 times: My wife and I were in a cab on our way home from dinner Friday night, on 56th Street in Manhattan. Traffic between Park and Lexington stopped dead. We waited a minute. We saw a guy get out of a car a few cars ahead of us and start walking. I figured if was a garbage truck or small accident—some New York thing. So we got out and started walking home. Turns out it was five young people, standing in the street, chanting, “Black lives matter!” In between chants, they were screaming at the frustrated drivers screaming at them to get out of the road.

Two things about this comment:

1. I firmly believe that Peter wanted to put this under his "Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week," but he often complains about traveling in that space and he doesn't want it to seem like he's complaining about people protesting and chanting "Black lives matter" in the street.

2. I think Peter King did complain and really wants to complain about these people holding up traffic, and more importantly, holding him and his wife up from getting to where they needed to go. I know he complained about it. I just know that was his initial reaction.

g. Coffeenerdness: Twenty-three Starbucks stops in 15 days on the road, as calculated by our videographer, John “Venti Iced Coffee With Skim” DePetro. There might be something wrong with us. (Or just me.)

This is just absolutely ridiculous. Just ridiculous. I can't help but wonder what Peter would do if he had to live on a normal person's budget and couldn't spend $5 each time he goes to Starbucks once or twice a day.

h. Beernerdness: Championship beer of the camp trip—Sweetwater Blue (Sweetwater Brewing Company, Atlanta). Heaven in a bottle.

That's not even one of Sweetwater's top-five beers. Peter and I are not alike at all as it pertains to beer. That's probably not a bad thing for me.

j. Thanks, Runners World, for making me seem much more fit than I really am. But I’m trying—which is more than I can say for the vast majority of my adult life.

This is just a little humblebrag by Peter so that his readers know he was in "Runners World" because he is a runner now. He is embarrassed to point it out, but of course he will anyway.

The Adieu Haiku

Tom Brady in court.
Court. Not a training camp field.
Such a dumb August.

But not as dumb as this Adieu Haiku is of course. Nothing can be. 


Chris said...

I am not a Bears fan or a Cutler booster by any stretch of the imagination but has Cutler really been "involved" in melodrama because it usually seems more like the media has invented melodrama around Cutler and then made him the scapegoat. And in the case of Aaron Kromer, the melodrama came from his own coach throwing him under the bus so you can't really say that was Cutler's fault either.

And yea Peter I guess Pace is doing the right thing supporting Cutler but really what the hell else would he say? I have my doubts the GM would really come out and say Cutler is one sack of crap and I hate his guts and I want him run out of Chicago ASAP. He wouldn't exactly be a good GM if he did that now would he?

Looking at how maligned RG3 was for saying he felt like he was the best quarterback in the league I couldn't help but wonder at how the media, Chicago and nationally, would have reacted if Cutler had made that remark. Heaven help us.

Snarf said...

More stout. Stronger, with a better interior rushing presence. At 6-2 and 306 pounds, Reid looks more lithe and penetrating than he did last year.

It's hard to be more stout and more lithe simultaneously (also, I would never describe someone at 6'2" and 300+ lbs as "lithe").

(of a person) somewhat fat or of heavy build.
"stout middle-aged men"
synonyms: fat, plump, portly, rotund, dumpy, chunky, corpulent; More

(of an act, quality, or person) brave and determined.
"he put up a stout defense in court"
synonyms: determined, vigorous, forceful, spirited; More

(especially of a person's body) thin, supple, and graceful.
synonyms: agile, graceful, supple, limber, lithesome, loose-limbed, nimble, deft, flexible, lissome, slender, slim, willowy

Slag-King said...

Chris, the only flap I heard about Cutler that was serious was a few years ago during pro bowl week that some nfl player jerks threw cutler into the pool along with his diabetes medicine dispenser. If I remember correctly, it was Peyton manning that was involved with that brouhaha.

I certainly don't understand the hatred for cutler anymore that peter's hatred for josh freeman.

Peter is a stout, lithe runner now!

I don't understand Peter's fascination for the XP situation. He certainly takes far too much attention for such a minor part of the game. I usually take bathroom breaks during that time.

I also don't understand Peter's fascination with Chip Kelly. His answers and comments are as bland as they come. Kelly doesn't ooze much character from what I've seen of him. Not like John Madden, Jim Mora, Dennis Green, etc. just another corporate talking head.

Frank said...

Those who argue Peter is wrong would state that Kelly HAS to sign an African American running back because there aren't white running backs and would also state just because he signs African American free agent only means he cares to win games, not that he isn't a racist. So he gets criticized for getting rid of African American players, who then call him a racist, but when Kelly chooses to sign African American players it's simply seen as him doing it because there aren't better options. I mean, I guess that makes sense, but it feels a bit like trying to have it both ways.

You're not getting soft on us, are ya Ben? It doesn't make sense in the least! :)

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, Cutler for me is getting into A-Rod territory in that I don't like him that much, but some of the criticism is so off-base I find myself cheering for him in a way. He was bad last year, but not absolutely horrible. He was a turnover machine, which is not good of course. Of a GM is going to stand up for his QB. All GM's "prop up" their QB. It's just how it goes.

Snarf, that is some good research. Damn. I wish I had looked up both definitions.

Slag, Chip Kelly isn't boring, but I feel like the media WANTS him to be more interesting than he probably is. It's not a knock on Kelly, just that he uses a lot of coachspeak like every other coach.

Frank, I am not soft. Don't worry. I'm just saying if Kelly want to coach in the NFL he would have to have African American players at a certain position, so acknowledging this is true doesn't necessarily mean Kelly is/isn't a racist. He can have those players as his only options and this doesn't mean he's racist.