Thursday, September 10, 2015

8 comments MMQB Review: Peter's Super Bowl Pick Edition

Peter King made some observations from all 16 of the useless preseason games in last week's MMQB. He also suggested Judge Berman decide to end all of this nonsense about the Patriots deflating footballs in order to kick the can down the road and make this nonsense last longer. Peter wanted the judge to wait until after the 2015 season to rule so that way there would be a whole other five months of measuring the PSI of footballs in cold weather. Fortunately, Judge Berman did not take Peter's advice. This week, Peter talks about Aaron Rodgers and how perfect he is, makes his Super Bowl prediction, and is the 10,000th media member to recommend "Do Your Job." I think Peter wins an award or something for being the 10,000th media member to recommend this documentary, doesn't he?

Factoid I Learned this Summer That I Have Been Dying To Share With You: 

Your daughter is having another big gay wedding and you want everyone to be open-minded about it while specifically referring to it as a "gay wedding" on Twitter and not just a "wedding" thereby showing you subconsciously differentiate between the two type of weddings?

This is the 10th season Mike McCarthy has coached the Packers, and the 10th season Aaron Rodgers has played for Mike McCarthy. In all that time, from January 2006 to this weekend, Rodgers has never been fined by the team. He has never been late to a meeting, a practice, a game, an off-season workout. He has never missed any of those scheduled events without permission. He has never violated curfew either in training camp or the night before any of the 197 preseason, regular-season or postseason games since McCarthy took over. He has never mouthed off to anyone, or violated any team rule to the extent that he had to be fined. 

I find it hard to believe Rodgers has never mouthed off to anyone. I think his mouthing off is simply being forgotten. A lot of people aren't late to work, don't get suspended, and don't violate any rules while at work. Congrats to Aaron Rodgers and this is such a worthy note to lead off the column with. Very important information to know.

And of course other sportswriters on Twitter thought this factoid was brilliant and congratulated Peter as if he had found the Holy Grail and then managed to sell it off to an alien race which allowed him to cure cancer. And yes, a "factoid" is still a statement of questionable factual basis, so maybe Peter is lying, or he still insists on not using a dictionary before using big words.

“That is true,” Rodgers told me. “Now, in my rookie year, 2005, I did get fined once.

So as long as the time Aaron Rodgers DID get fined isn't counted, then this factoid is true. A lot of facts can be true if a person works around all the times that fact wasn't true.

I was five minutes late to a meeting. I was speeding down [Wisconsin route] 41, a little late, and I said, ‘I can either get a ticket here and be late, or I can drive normal and be late.’ I decided to be six minutes late and take the fine.” 

Aaron Rodgers favors taking his medicine and staying within the law over violating the law and doing what's best for him. He's the hero we need.

There’s no really good reason to write that this morning.

Finally, we can agree. Football starts in less than a week and Peter is starting off his column with factoids about Aaron Rodgers.

I’m picking a Green Bay-Baltimore Super Bowl. Two teams that blew golden chances to meet in the Super Bowl last year, finally keeping the appointment a year later. (NFC title game last January, five minutes left: Green Bay 19, Seattle 7. AFC divisional game last January, 23 minutes left: Baltimore 28, New England 14.) 

There's the whole "Well yeah, Dez Bryant caught that pass and so the Packers may not have even advanced to the NFC title game if that rule made any sense and the Cowboys had managed to punch the ball in from the two-yard line with the best running game in the NFL" argument, but I guess that should be ignored in keeping with the storyline that Peter is crafting right now.

To make that pick, I have to get over a lot of things. For Green Bay, the Jordy Nelson injury is the biggest thing—the most dangerous weapon for Rodgers on the team that scored the most points (486) in football last year...But I recall Davante Adams being in the right place at the right time for Green Bay to beat Miami last year.

Peter was worried about losing Nelson, but then he realized one time last year Davante Adams caught an important pass and this helped Peter realize Nelson is probably useless anyway.

I like the defense well enough too, despite the loss to free agency of solid corners Tramon Williams and Davon House. Maybe that’s me trying to talk my way into picking Green Bay, but I remember in the NFC title game last year what I saw in the first 55 minutes: 12 Seattle drives, seven points, 187 yards, four interceptions of Russell Wilson.

Yes, that game was against Seattle, the renowned offensively explosive team who can attack you from anywhere in their high octane passing game. Peter is worried about the Packers losing two solid corners, but points out the Packers did well against a team that isn't known for having a great passing attack (WITH those two corners on the roster at the time) and it made him feel better about the Packers secondary. Ignore the last five minutes of the game because the first part of MMQB is all about making statements and leaving information out that disputes those statements.

Baltimore? You’ll be surprised at the Ravens’ biggest challenge.

Let me guess, you think they are going to trade Joe Flacco midseason because Ozzie Newsome said, "I can see a trade or two happening this year" as an offhand comment to a reporter?

So what is the Ravens' biggest challenge? Their ONE biggest challenge?

Two, actually: 

YOU GOT ME AGAIN, PETER! YOU SAID "CHALLENGE" LIKE THERE WAS ONE, THEN SURPRISED ME WITH TWO! TWO SURPRISES AROUND YOUR PICK OF THE RAVENS? I'M STANDING UP APPLAUDING YOU RIGHT NOW, BUT IF I WEREN'T, I WOULD BE ON THE EDGE OF MY SEAT WANTING TO KNOW WHAT THE SURPRISE IS!

1. The Bengals. You’d think the Ravens are significantly better over the past few years, right? Well, in the post-season, yes. But Cincinnati and Baltimore have 40 regular-season wins apiece in the past four years. The Bengals beat the Ravens in the AFC North standings in 2013 and ’14. In their past five meetings, the Bengals are 4-1 against the Ravens and have allowed Baltimore just 18.8 points a game. 

And so because the Bengals have been good over the past four years and the Ravens have to play the Bengals two total times this year, this means that the Bengals will be good this year as well?

But no, Peter King is doing the whole "Two topics that are really one topic but inexplicably separated" thing he does in the "Things I Think I Think" section. Really, there is one challenge for the Ravens.

2. Baltimore has to earn home-field in the playoffs. I know: Every team wants to be at home in the playoffs, but for the Ravens the home-field edge has been huge in the John Harbaugh era. Since Harbaugh took over in 2008, Baltimore is 45-11 at home and 27-29 on the road in the regular season.

So the challenge for the Ravens isn't the Bengals, but to win their division and get homefield advantage. Let's not overcomplicate it. Also, home-field edge has been huge for the Ravens during the John Harbaugh era as long as the fact the Ravens won a Super Bowl by winning two road games or that the Ravens are 7-5 on the road in the playoffs under Harbaugh gets ignored.

The Ravens have played 15 postseason games since 2008 … only two at home. Twelve on the road, and one (the Super Bowl, against San Francisco) at a neutral site. 

But it’s worn on Baltimore. Like last year. Even with a World League secondary, the Ravens held two 14-point leads at New England in the divisional round and couldn’t hang on. Imagine if the game had been in Baltimore, where the Ravens have won a Patriot-like 81 percent of their home games since 2008. 

Imagine if that game had been played on an aircraft carrier in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. How would that have affected the outcome? What about if this game was played on a field made of pillows, how could that have had an effect on the score? 

I see the Ravens winning the North

Kings of the North! Flying their family banner! Fuck the Starks!

If they win the North, that’s one home playoff game at least. If they win 12 games, that should be enough for two. What they really need, though, is for the rest of the conference to get as good as the North has been in recent years, so the road to Santa Clara won’t be all on the road.

All teams want home playoff games, but I don't see why the need for the Ravens to have one is so great. They have proven they can win games on the road in the playoffs.

Regarding the other contenders:
 
New England. No repeat champions in the past 10 Super Bowls; I’m not big at all on picking repeat champs. Then there’s the weak secondary (minus Darrelle Revis and Super Bowl unsung hero Brandon Browner), and the Ravens-like lack of depth at receiver.

If only the Patriots had a dynamic tight end who is essentially uncoverable. Alas, they do not and we must all move on.

Seattle. I checked in with a Seahawk source Sunday night, and there’s scant optimism that strong safety Kam Chancellor—vital on the field, of course, but in the locker room too—will be in St. Louis for the opener in six days. Plus, free safety Earl Thomas, rehabbing from a torn labrum in his left shoulder, is likely to play next week but not certain. So, Seattle could face a matchup nightmare in St. Louis (last three years: Rams two wins, Seattle one in St. Louis)

A matchup nightmare! A total nightmare facing that up-and-coming Los Angeles Rams team! They are so formidable and scary. The Rams have won two games at home against the Seahawks over the last three years. If that's not having a team's number then I don't know what a small sample size is.

The Seahawks should score more,

Except for Russell Wilson, who isn't scoring at all apparently.

Indianapolis. When we last left the Colts, they were getting steamrolled on the ground for the third time in their past 20 games by the Patriots. Arthur Jones, key run-stopper up front, has been lost for the year, and they haven’t made any significant adds to the defensive front, save Kandall Langford, who’s no Haloti Ngata. If Andrew Luck can score 40 points a Sunday, I like the Colts to go far. If not, they’ll win the AFC South and be frustrated again in late January.

The Colts drafted Phillip Dorsett. Imagine how awesome Andrew Luck's MVP numbers are going to look after the season is over. Sure, Ryan Grigson could have improved the defense and just didn't like the guys available in the first round, but he's also not one to trade a first round pick for an active player in an effort to improve his team. Not at all.

Philadelphia/Dallas. Flip a coin.

You go flip a coin.

I like the Eagles better, by a bit, mostly because the Cowboys lost their best defensive back (Orlando Scandrick) for the year this preseason, and because Philadelphia scored faster this preseason than the Kardashians printed money. But there’s no insurance for Sam Bradford staying upright for the season; if he does, the Eagles are as good as anyone in the NFC, and maybe better.

It's always dumb to assume Sam Bradford is going to be healthy all year long. It's always dumb, but Peter and I do agree what could happen IF Bradford is healthy all year. And yes, I really regret counting on Bradford to be healthy in my predictions because I know it's not happening.

My playoff jumpers? (The rising teams in each conference, I mean).

Thanks for explaining, Peter. Your readers are mental midgets who didn't understand what you were saying and desperately needed you to clarify. Playoff jumpers? How can a franchise literally jump the playoffs? Without the explanation, that's how I would feel.

I think Peter lacks a certain amount of intellectual respect for his readers at times. His need to explain things can be a bit condescending. This from a guy who can't use the definition of "precocious" and "factoid" correctly, but it doesn't stop him from using those words as much as possible.

Minnesota (7-9 last year) and Miami (8-8 last year).

(throws up) It appears I agree with Peter on something else.

Regarding Miami: I haven’t seen a team in recent years with the schedule advantage the Dolphins have in the first two months. Their opening seven weeks: at Kirk Cousins (Washington), at Blake Bortles (Jacksonville), versus Tyrod Taylor (Buffalo) at home, versus Ryan Fitzpatrick (Jets) in London, bye, at Marcus Mariota (Tennessee), versus Brian Hoyer (Houston) at home.

And since when have any NFL teams been bad one season and then improved the very next season? Never, so obviously the Dolphins schedule is very easy and the great Ryan Tannehill certainly won't have to play against any good defenses like the Bills, Jets and Texans have over this span. Remember, football is only a game of matchups between each team's quarterback.

Of course, they’ve got the Patriots twice, the Eagles, Cowboys and Chargers in the last 10 games, 

So it leads to something like 8-8, assuming the Dolphins lose to a team they should not lose to and then beat a team they should beat? Great, glad we talked about this.

My picks, division by division:

AFC: New England, Baltimore, Indianapolis, Kansas City.

Wild Cards: Denver, Miami.

NFC: Philadelphia, Green Bay, Atlanta, Seattle.

Wild Cards: Arizona, Dallas.

Not criticizing, just pointing out this is basically the same teams that made the playoffs last year except Atlanta will win the NFC South, Peter thinks the team that stands in the way of the Ravens making the playoffs don't even make the postseason (the Bengals), and he believes in Andy Reid so much he thinks the Chiefs win the AFC West. So there is 25% turnover among the 12 playoff teams. 

Lots of leftovers after the embarrassing but not shocking (except to the NFL) total defeat in U.S. District Court on Thursday:

Clearly, some around the league don’t think Ted Wells, Jeff Pash and Goodell have the goods on Brady. They are right: The league doesn’t have the goods. There’s no proof that Brady told anyone to take air out of the footballs.

I'm just glad we got to the bottom of whether air in the amount of a few tenths of a PSI were taken out of the football or not and who knew what and when they knew it. With offensive line coaches hitting their loved ones and all that boring football stuff to focus on, I like to see important things like whether footballs used in a game back in January where the outcome wasn't in doubt had reduced air pressure in them.

There are between two and four owners, a very small cabal, down on Goodell right now to the point that they would consider joining a movement to replace him. That’s not many, especially when you consider that Goodell is on the losing streak of all commissioner losing streaks, and when you consider that 24 votes would be required to replace Goodell. Understand that many of the leading owners in the league consider that Goodell is doing their bidding, fighting for what he believes is the right thing, and also that he’s taking hits for them on fronts like domestic violence.

I always laugh when the idea of the owners replacing Goodell comes up. I think they probably should, but why do that when he's taking all the heat and making them look good? Who hates Jerry Richardson because Greg Hardy hit a woman? Nobody. Who got mad at Steve Bisciotti because the Ravens handled the Ray Rice situation poorly? A few people did and then forgot about it once Roger Goodell started fumbling around when attempting to punish Rice. Goodell is paid to be the bad guy so the owners don't have to be.

It could be that the union, smelling blood in the water, will stand firm and not give up anything in bargaining with the NFL, because the players know how weakened the NFL is right now. I doubt that will be enough for the league to just say, We’ll hand you neutral arbitration. But both sides know Goodell needs to fork over the appeal process for Brady-type cases. This solution seems logical:

Almost as logical as Peter's solution to punish Tom Brady, which was to make this whole drama get drawn out longer? 

The league and players agree to a panel of three arbitrators; the arbitrators would be mutually agreed upon by the league and the union. Each time there’s an appeal of a commissioner discipline case, one of the three arbitrators would be picked randomly to hear the appeal.

So all the league and players would have to do is agree on three arbitrators? Wow, that seems easy enough considering the union doesn't trust the league and the league has no respect for the union. 

In exchange, the CBA, set to expire following the 2020 season, will be extended one season, and would expire after the 2021 season. Now, the league will howl at this, saying that’s not enough of a trade with the players to give up such a valuable chip. But I would maintain this: The chip has become a poisonous one. The chip is not nearly as valuable as it once was. It’s now worth 20 cents on the dollar. Goodell has to make a save-face deal with the players, or risk the waterfall of negative press and public opinion washing over him and the league.

He doesn't care, Peter. Roger Goodell doesn't care about saving face with the players. He doesn't care about the waterfall of negative press and public opinion because everybody still watches the NFL games, buys the merchandise and the stadiums will undoubtedly be full on Thursday nights, all day Sunday and Monday nights. This makes the owners money, they are happy, which means they are happy with Goodell, so Goodell is happy and has done his job. Roger Goodell only cares about saving face or public opinion when it comes to hurting the NFL's bottom line. Otherwise, it's all noise to him as long as the money keeps rolling in.

I’ve screened NFL Network’s “Do Your Job: Bill Belichick and the 2014 New England Patriots,” an hour-long documentary that airs Wednesday on NFL Network at 8 p.m. ET. It might be the best example I’ve ever watched of how Belichick works—how he prepares players, how he prepares coaches, how he gets coaches ready to impart what players need to know to win, how he motivates players (thought there’s not a lot of that here), how he uses mysterious director of football research Ernie Adams (who is interviewed for the documentary), and how he uses so much minutiae of football knowledge to prepare for games.

I find it interesting how there is a constant presumption of secretiveness surrounding Belichick and the Patriots. To an extent that is true on the day-to-day aspects of knowing what goes in with the Patriots, but this is the second documentary in the last couple of years about the Patriots and/or Belichick where the inner workings of his team and decision-making process are examined on camera. For a guy who is really secretive and there isn't much known about how the Patriots go about their business, the public sure knows a hell of a lot more about how he runs his team than they know about how Pete Carroll runs the inner workings of his team. So they are secretive, but I think it's at the point we know more about the Patriots than many other NFL teams. 

It’ll be easy for non-Patriot fans to sneer at it and say, Enough of the bleepin’ Patriots overload! But this is such a good show about football, and about the inner game of football, that if you’re a football fan you’ll be doing yourself a disservice by not at least setting the DVR to record this show.

It's still about the Patriots though. I would watch it, but if someone is tired of the Patriots, then an entire show about the team and how they just won the Super Bowl probably isn't something that sounds enticing to watch.

“Maybe the one word that isn’t in that sentence,” said Belichick in the doc, “that’s implied but not stated, is ‘Do your job well.’ Take care of the one or two three things that we’ve emphasized all week, and we’ll be okay.”

I recognize that no other NFL head coaches have had the success that Bill Belichick has had, but what is Mike McCarthy's mantra? What do we know about McCarthy and how he runs his Packers team? Not that Belichick isn't secretive, but it's growing harder for me to see this types of documentaries being introduced as if they are a brief glimpse into the world of Belichick that few others will ever see. These documentaries are a glimpse few others will see into every head coach's team, so while Belichick is secretive, there is a lot more that is known about his overall philosophies then there is known about the overall philosophies of pretty much any other NFL head coach.

Offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels confirmed the coaches showed the offense a clip of Alabama throwing the unbalanced offensive-line formation against LSU before the divisional game against Baltimore, and then explained why the play was used when it was—in the third quarter, down 14, with the season on the line. New England ran it twice and Tom Brady completed both passes on a scoring drive. ”We waited 'til the second half, purposefully so they didn’t have an opportunity at halftime to talk about it,” said McDaniels.

That is cheating to run a play that defense doesn't have to time to adjust to after they have seen it. Pure cheating. It's classless to fool the opposing team this way. 

Belichick explains why he didn’t call a timeout on the Seahawks’ fateful last drive, which would have opened him to ridicule had Seattle scored and left New England to go the length of the field in 17 or 20 seconds to have a chance had Seattle scored on the play. Basically, it’s like what we all thought: Belichick saw confusion and players hurrying around on the Seattle sideline, so he wanted to take advantage of the confusion (or so it seemed) and make them snap without being fully prepared for the play.

Little did Belichick know that Russell Wilson didn't need to be prepared for the play and the confusion didn't hurt, because God was speaking to him right at that moment. Probably talking to Wilson about the benefits of Recovery Water. 

Really good show.

I'm shocked Peter liked it. Shocked. 

“Brady’s free!”

—A passenger in the back of a Boston-to-Denver Southwest Airline flight on Thursday, shortly after the plane landed late in the morning and when passengers switched on the phones, got wifi, and learned the news of Judge Richard Berman vacating the suspension of Tom Brady, according to passenger Abby Chin of Comcast Sports Net-New England

I didn't have a dog in this fight, but the whole "Brady is free" exclamations were a little annoying to me. He's not in jail. He was initially suspended from playing a sporting event, a game, for four games. It was probably an overreach by the commissioner, but Brady wasn't jailed while on a humanitarian mission in a foreign country. He was accused of conspiring to deflate footballs. He wasn't ever not free. If he wasn't playing football for four games, then he would have been chilling at home with his kids and wife. Let's get a little perspective. 

“Now we don’t have to play what’s-his-name.”

—A kid on the Boston-to-Denver flight, once he learned Brady, and not Jimmy Garappolo, would be playing quarterback for the Patriots early in the season.

Ten years from now this kid will be in a bar talking about how he knew Jimmy G. was the right QB for the Patriots even at the age of 13 when the Pats drafted him.

Snaps played in 13 combined preseason games by three 2015 Most Valuable Player candidates:

Adrian Peterson (five games): 0.

J.J. Watt (four games): 0.

Rob Gronkowski (four games): 0.

Can we at some point, please, have a discussion about cutting the preseason from four to two games?

Hold on for a second. You made the NFL owners lose count again.  

Sure, we can have the discussion about cutting down the preseason. Don't you think a conversation about gun control is probably more important though? So the owners will let Congress figure that one out and then we can talk about cutting the preseason from four to two games. The owners want to have the gun control conversation first. 

The final weekend of the regular season includes New England playing at Miami on Jan. 3, 2016, at 1 p.m. In the last two New England games at Miami, it has been 84 degrees at kickoff (in December 2013) and 89 degrees at kickoff (in September 2014). The Patriots have lost both games—24-20 two years ago, 33-20 last year.

Might be a good idea for the Patriots to pray for a New Year’s cold snap in south Florida, or to think about practicing in steamy conditions, somewhere, before the game this year.

If really cold conditions make the PSI in a ball decrease, then does playing in a hot climate cause the PSI in the football to increase? If so, tell Ted Wells! Here is further proof of the Patriots cheating. They can't win football games in hot climates. 

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Another reason Amtrak should be the mode of transportation for more people: timeliness.

I boarded Amtrak 2158, an Acela train from New York to Boston, at about 11:55 a.m. Wednesday. Train slated to depart at 12:03 p.m. I had my laptop open, with the digital clock up. At 12:03:10, the doors to the train closed. At 12:03:33, the train started moving. We were due at Boston’s Back Bay station at 3:36 p.m. Arrival time: 3:29. My experience is that’s pretty common on the Acela (not so much on the regional trains).

Two weeks from now:

"Here is my major complaint about the Acela. It's normally on time, but there were two kids on the train who insisted on playing games on their phone. At least I assume they were games and they had the volume up at a high level where I could barely hear the important conversation I was having on my phone, so I of course had to talk louder. Everyone was annoyed at the amount of noise those two kids were making playing their game, though I honestly couldn't hear what they were saying because I was having to talk so loud to hear my conversation. Also, if a train is supposed to be in Boston at 2:30pm..."

Ten Things I Think I Think

2. I think these were the stories of cutdown weekend in the NFL:

a. Tim Tebow is not one of 1,696 active players in the National Football League. The four NFL people to get rid of Tebow—John Elway, Rex Ryan (and, in part, Mike Tannenbaum), Bill Belichick, Chip Kelly—should give you an idea of the odds he faces in returning to the NFL.

This doesn't include a successful head coach like John Fox who was part of getting rid of Tebow too. At a certain point, that's a lot of smart people who seem to agree. 

He’s just not an accurate-enough thrower right now, but as Kelly told him, he needs to play the position in games, and the only place for him to do that now is in the Canadian Football League. If Tebow is serious about continuing his career in the NFL, he should be all about seeking a job in the CFL.

Real question: If Tebow is so dedicated to becoming an NFL quarterback, which isn't something I would normally doubt, then is it overly-prideful of him to not seek a job with the CFL in an effort to get back to the NFL eventually? Doesn't this show he isn't quite as dedicated to becoming an NFL quarterback as he claims to be? He wants to be an NFL quarterback and will work for it, but yeah, he's not going to do something like play in the CFL because that's below him, even if it is a way to where he could eventually get back in the NFL. We have heard all about how dedicated Tebow is, but is he dedicated when he's been told, "Here's the path you need to take" and refuses to take that path? Tebow is serious about playing quarterback in the NFL. He's not serious about playing quarterback in any other league that isn't the NFL to get there. That's a bit diva-like, isn't it? Especially when really good college quarterbacks are currently in the CFL. Somehow other quarterbacks swallow their pride and accept a job playing quarterback in the CFL, because they love to play quarterback and love to play football. Does Tebow like playing football or does he just like playing football in the NFL?

c. Tyrod Taylor is the quarterback of the Bills, and Matt Cassel is on the street. When the offseason began, Vegas odds (just kidding) had Cassel winning the starting job, E.J. Manuel the likely number two, and Tyrod Taylor fighting to fend off the rest of all available quarterbacks for number three. Taylor’s versatility and pleasantly surprising arm strength in camp won him the job. Now Cassel is hoping for a backup job somewhere else, and Houston (as Mike Florio reported Saturday) is a logical landing spot.

Houston is the landing spot for ex-Patriots backup quarterbacks who fooled other NFL teams into thinking they were real starting quarterbacks. Somebody has to make it stop. 

d. The trade for Kelcie McCray shows how serious the Kam Chancellor/AWOL situation is in Seattle. Clearly, the Seahawks are planning to play without Chancellor. That’s a serious situation. Read Greg Bishop’s enlightening story in this week’s Sports Illustrated to see for yourself how much of a leader and locker-room and on-field factor Chancellor is. But he wants to re-do his contract with three years left, and GM John Schneider isn’t willing to budge, for now, on at least making Chancellor’s contract increasingly guaranteed. 

While Peter was gnashing his teeth and worrying about Russell Wilson not being a Seahawk after this season, which again at the time was a ridiculous thought on par with "Are the Ravens going to let Joe Flacco go in free agency?," Kam Chancellor is the real Seahawks player who has the contractual issues. 

g. Andy Levitre, two years after being the highest-paid guard ever by Tennessee, got flipped to Atlanta for a sixth-round pick next year, plus a little more. Levitre should start for the Falcons, after costing Tennessee $1,015,625 per start in the past two years. (Do the division: $32.5 million, 32 starts.)

So Peter is going to eviscerate Levitre on a weekly basis now, right? He was stealing money from the Titans without contributing and ended up on the bench for the 2015 season. Levitre signed with the Titans and then completely didn't come through as he was supposed to, so much so that the Titans traded him. Under the Josh Freeman rule, it's time to eviscerate Levitre, especially if he doesn't start for the Falcons. I guess there is a difference in a guy getting paid $32.5 million to start over two seasons and a guy getting paid $2 million for one season that I'm just not aware of.

I'll never totally understand Peter's hatred for Josh Freeman.

i. One of the game’s best guards, Kyle Long, moves outside to tackle...A month ago, though, in Bears’ camp, Long told me he didn’t want to move, saying:“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.” Well now.

These are the guys who are blocking for Jay Cutler and he's the one with the bad attitude all the time. His tackle doesn't want to protect him at that spot on the offensive line because it's "too scary." I can't imagine why Cutler is in a foul mood all the time. 

5. I think this was the headline of the week in the NFL, from the New York Post, on Sunday, after the Eagles cut Tim Tebow: “GOD MAN OUT.”

Peter expected something better than this? Why would he? 

8. I think Carson Palmer has some interesting comments about football preparation.

On the air pressure he prefers in footballs: “The air is … we never mess with the air. Whatever is legal, he’s by the book. I never notice [if it’s 12.5 or 13.5 psi], I don’t know the difference but if it was low it would be great, obviously. The softer the ball, the easier it is to grip and throw a tighter spiral, especially if it’s wet, especially if it’s windy. If it's windy that throws a whole new angle at it. I’ll play in snow and rain but when it gets to 40- and 50-mph winds, if you can grab the ball a little bit better, it cuts the air better. If it’s rainy you can grip it a little better but between 12.5 and 13.5, I wouldn’t know.”

So what I'm hearing is that Carson Palmer likes a softer ball and has no idea whether the ball he throws has too much or too little air in it, but he definitely prefers a softer ball if possible. I think Roger Goodell should begin an investigation immediately into whether Carson Palmer has knowledge of football deflating. Turn over your phone, Carson!

On Brady: “It’s been so media-overload, when stuff like that starts happening, I just can’t even turn on ESPN. Rules are the rules. If the balls were below, the balls were below. There’s a reason.

Right, but Carson Palmer, who throws footballs for a living, just claimed he has no idea if a ball is over or under-inflated according to the NFL rules. He states he has no idea what the PSI of the ball is, so rules are rules, but if the balls were below, then the balls were below. He's missing the basic question of whether the balls were below. Tom Brady is expected to know the exact PSI of a ball even though Carson Palmer admits he wouldn't know the exact PSI of a ball unless he was told.

9. I think if you have a spare $18.88, a good investment that might yield a pretty great weekend is available at Weekend With The 88s. Carolina tight end Greg Olsen wears 88, and NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives the number 88 car and is based in nearby Concord, N.C. If you win, you get a tour of Earnhardt’s garage and Bank of America Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 31; a helicopter ride to Earnhardt’s race on Sunday, and sideline passes and game tickets to the Panthers-Colts game in Charlotte on Monday night, Nov. 2. The fund-raiser benefits Levine Children’s Hospital in Charlotte, with is near to Olsen’s heart.

I see what you did there, Peter. Very tasteful. Did all of the kind words about Dr. Z and how much he is missed by his colleagues make his wife speechless? A fund raiser at Levine is close to Olsen's heart. This isn't egregious or anything, but considering what Olsen's son went through it's just another example of Peter writing something that isn't in the best of taste. Who cares though? How many people has Greg Olsen killed?

In 2012, Olsen’s son T.J. was born with a non-functioning left side of his heart, which required surgery, and he spent 40 days getting treatment there.

See, it's close to Olsen's heart because his son's heart didn't work! Get it? His son spent 40 days in the hospital getting his heart repaired and fundraisers at Levine Children's Hospital are close to Olsen's heart. Oh no! Another unintentional mini-gaffe from Peter. He doesn't intend to write these things, but they just happen. 

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

c. Jayson Stark with the MLB Factoid of the Year: Bryce Harper scored four runs Thursday for the Nationals without swinging at a pitch.

d. You can look it up. Four at-bats against Atlanta. Sixteen balls, four called strikes, four walks. Four runs and one RBI, and he never swung in 20 pitches.

This was against the Braves. The fact Bryce Harper had to actually step in the batter's box means this was unimpressive. I could score four runs against the Braves' pitching without even leaving the dugout.

e. Great read by ESPN.com’s Israel Gutierrez on a current event in his life.

Peter thinks Gutierrez is having a "gay wedding." 

h. A bad day, by the way, for the Christian Hackenberg-as-top-overall-2016-pick crowd.

Christian Hackenberg will be the top pick in 2016 in the same way that Jake Locker was going to be the top pick in 2010 or 2011. Just ignore his progression as a quarterback in college and convince yourself to see those things that you want to see. 

i. Regarding Matt Harvey and the Mets and James Andrews and the innings limit they’re fussing about: Why doesn’t Harvey have an MRI done right now, to see if his Tommy John-repaired elbow is in perfect condition? If it isn’t, then the innings limit seems wise. If the elbow looks fine, why not have a reasonable discussion about whether he should pitch as he’s normally pitching now?

j. I’m interested in hearing from an orthopedist, particularly one who has worked on pitching elbows, to see if that idea is reasonable, or malarkey.

I'm not an orthopedist, but I don't know if a doctor can look at an MRI and start to see a potential tear or problem in Harvey's elbow that he hasn't started to feel as of yet. I don't think elbows are like tread on tires where you can see how much it has been used and how much more it has left in it. I could be wrong about what an MRI shows regarding wear on an elbow, but this MRI idea sounds like a bad precedent as well. A precedent I probably wouldn't want to set if I were Matt Harvey. 

l. Beernerdness: So how was the MMQB Saison? Really, really good. Harpoon brewer Steve Theoharides took great care to brew a classic Saison—yellow, cloudy, flavorful, with a hint of banana and clove (don’t laugh; those are great hints of tastes in a beer).

Basically it takes like a fruity beer. Peter loves himself some beer that just doesn't taste like beer, but tastes like a cocktail mixed with beer. I don't mind a few occasionally, but Peter doesn't seem to drink anything but beer that has hints of fruit in it. 

The Adieu Haiku

My picks stink. So don’t
get ticked if it’s Bills-Niners.
Berman Super Bowl.


I'm not sure I understand this reference to Chris Berman or want to understand the reference. I do understand the Adieu Haiku stinks worse than Peter's Super Bowl pick. 

8 comments:

Chris said...

This is admittedly an incredibly minor nitpick but if Peter wanted to show why the Ravens need home field advantage in the playoffs why did he only offer their home and away record from the regular season? I would think telling us their record in home and road playoff games would be a better stat to try and prove Peter's point.

Speaking of minor nitpicks it's Kendall Langford not Kandall. You write a weekly NFL column Peter. The least you can do is spell the players names correctly.

Is Do your job well really that shocking of a mantra for a coach to have for his team? Is there actually a coach whose mantra is Don't do you job well. You won't get upset with yourself if you have no goals? That is except for good ole Jeff "Mediocore is ok" Fisher.

I'm a big beer drinker and I know it's probably down to personal tastes but a beer with banana and clove sounds disgusting to me. At that point it doesn't even sound like a beer.

Oldcat said...

Assuming that when Peter King says a beer tastes like banana and clove that it actually has banana and clove flavors in it seems a risky assumption.

Its the old wine tasting yammering translated to beer. "Hints of pine and musk oxen" makes you sound like a epicure. "At least 5 percent alcohol" or "has a kick like a mule" aren't nearly so good.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I don't think it's a minor nitpick at all. If he's trying to prove how the Ravens need to have homefield in the playoffs, while mentioning they lost on the road last year, then their playoff home record seems relevant to me.

I missed his misspelling Langford's name correctly.

I think Belichick does it as a "Do your job and only your job and don't worry about all the other things and don't say anything to the media either" sort of mantra. All coaches do want their players to do their jobs though. "SI" has the Rams at 11-5, which of course their defense could do, but they start it off with how the Rams have ignored offense in the draft at the expense. The extent to which Fisher's mediocrity is covered for shocks me. It does. Their first round pick the last three years have all been offensive players. They haven't ignored the offense. I give up. I hope Fisher wins the Super Bowl this year so everyone can point and laugh at me. It won't change my mind that Jeff Fisher is a good coach who is widely overpaid and absurdly covered for by the media.

I tend to not like beer with fruit-y stuff in it. I drink pumpkin and could handle some light hints, but Peter basically seems to want a beer that is also milkshake.

Oldcat, that's a good point. He was probably really drinking a double IPA aged in bourbon barrels or something.

Anonymous said...

Is Peter's column just about the Patriots now? Why is he discussing weather conditions for the Dolphins Patriots game weeks before it takes place? No one outside of Boston and Miami could possibly care.

Bengoodfella said...

Peter knows you are tired of hearing about the Deflategate (Ugh, I just wrote it...) and the Patriots, so he figures he'll write about it all as much as he can.

Anonymous said...

I admire the fact that you always got an original dig against the haiku. But in case you weren't joking, it's a Berman pick because Berman went through a stretch when he always chose those two teams to make the Super Bowl It quickly got old and then many many years after it got old he stopped doing it.

Bengoodfella said...

Anon, it's funny that I didn't even know I had a dig every week until I was reviewing old MMQB's. I realized I criticize the Adieu Haiku every week based on something Peter wrote in the haiku.

I wasn't joking. I didn't get it. I haven't watched Chris Berman in so many years! So I kind of like the dig against Berman there.

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