Wednesday, October 21, 2015

4 comments MMQB Review: Peter King Still Doesn't Know What a Factoid Is Edition

Peter King again confirmed last week that Andy Dalton and the Bengals look like a totally different team now. He's all along stated the real test for the Bengals will be during the postseason, but I guess he can't ignore how well the Bengals are playing, yet it seems like he's judging the Bengals before he states they should be judged. Peter also advocated for Leonard Fournette to stay in college, because it's not so hard to come back from a torn ACL or anything. Todd Gurley did it after all. This week talks about the Colts (or the "Dolts" as he called them), Dan Campbell's coming out (not like that, he's just a bro who likes to chill with other bros, not that there is anything wrong with liking other bros in that way, but he just doesn't) party, and bids US Airways a non-fond adieu. Not to be confused with his Adieu Haiku, which is still awful.

Week 6, NFL, 2015. Memorable for the worst coaching decision since Grady Little left Pedro Martinez in the American League Championship Series about 16 batters too long in 2003.

It always comes back to the Red Sox in some way. Peter takes his writing cues from Bill Simmons. 

And for two drives that will change the narrative on Cam Newton. Or should. 

It won't, because the NFL is a week-to-week league. If Cam looks horrible next week then the narrative will then change back to what it was previously.

The Jets are 4-1, all the wins by double digits, and are better than anyone but Todd Bowles’ mother thought. Seattle is 2-4, can’t block anybody, and had another of its weekly late-game defensive meltdowns. Pittsburgh’s third-string quarterback, Landry Jones, beat a terrific defense, Arizona’s. The Broncos limped out of Cleveland, bordering on apologizing for an overtime win and being 6-0. In Green Bay, Philip Rivers threw for 503 yards and the Chargers lost; Eddie Lacy ran for three yards and the Packers won. 


Soon, an unsatisfying explanation for the coaching play-call that took all the air out of Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday night, ruining the drama in the Revenge Bowl. And break up the Dolphins, give the Coach of the Year award to Dan Campbell, and take Miami’s defensive roster off the side of a milk carton. 

Peter hates it when the drama is ruined. He loves drama! Drama makes writing MMQB so much easier. 

First, though, the Panthers had never won in Seattle, and Cam Newton had never beaten Seattle, and it sure didn’t look like that was going to change with eight minutes left in the Pacific Northwest and Seattle up by nine Sunday. But Seattle’s not Seattle anymore.

Maybe Seattle is still Seattle, but it's just that they are the type of team who uses defense and timely offense to get victories. They keep the games closer (not intentionally of course), so there are times when they will end up on the losing side of close games. Ron Rivera was 2-14 in games decided by a touchdown or less at one point, but now that's starting to even out more. These things tend to even out over time.

And Cam Newton’s better than you think. 

I'm not sure he's better than I think. I think he is exactly what I think he is.

Also, there are very few quotes from Newton in this MMQB. Nearly all the quotes come from Greg Olsen. I'm thinking the King-Newton beef hasn't been entirely squashed. Somebody may still be a bit immature about the whole "entertainer/icon" thing. Or maybe Peter didn't want quotes from Newton. 

For quarterbacks, the important time of games is always late. Bill Walsh once said he wanted a quarterback whose heart rate would measure late in the fourth quarter what it measured in a Wednesday afternoon practice. That’s the way Cam Newton played Sunday, when it got very late in the funhouse of CenturyLink Field, and the locals thought their recent bad fortune was about to turn,

I have to snicker at the "bad fortune" comment since the NFL officials seemed to almost hand the Seahawks a victory (again) against the Lions a few weeks ago. I guess my definition of bad fortune is different from Peter's definition.

Drawing a line of demarcation at the 52-minute mark of the game shows what happened with Newton’s play at Seattle.

Situation Comp-Att Yards TD-INT Rating Led Panthers to...
First 52 minutes 9-23 112 0-2 18.8 14 points
Last 8 minutes 11-13 157 1-0 142.6 13 points

Newton was awful in the beginning of the game. If you switch these numbers around then he would be bashed for struggling in the fourth quarter while his first three quarters were stellar. The narrative would then change.

Down 23-14 midway through the fourth quarter, Newton looked at his receiver group. Six pass-catchers would rotate in and out of the lineup on the last two drives, including three who had a total of 14 catches all seasons—

"All seasons..." Winter, Summer, Fall, and Spring. All seasons they only caught 14 passes.

Catches by Dickson and Funchess on the first drive put the ball at the Seattle 33, and then Newton hit Olsen, his favorite target, with a seam rout about 20 yards downfield, and it took two Seahawks to drag him down at the 1. Jonathan Stewart bulled in from a yard out, and Carolina was a touchdown away. 

I'm shocked that Peter didn't mention the missed extra point by Graham Gano. The new extra point rule played a part in the outcome of the game and Peter didn't mention it. If Gano had hit the extra point, then the Panthers only would have had to hit a field goal, not score a touchdown, to win the game.

Now it was Carolina’s ball at the Seattle 26 with 37 seconds left. Down three. No timeouts left. Logic said take a shot or two downfield, then settle for the equalizing field goal and overtime.

Logic is stupid. Playing for overtime in Seattle is stupid. Win on this drive or go home.

First shot: sending Olsen up the seam, similar to what Newton had done on the previous drive. 

Mike Shula running a similar play two drives in a row? I don't believe it.

And that was the call—though it almost cost Carolina five yards. “We were running out of time in the huddle because there was so much noise, and it was late coming in,” said Olsen. “Cam called it really fast,

Of course Cam can call it fast. He wants to be an entertainer and icon, so he's probably also good at rapping. That comes in handy in this situation.

An incredibly fortunate thing happened: Seattle’s secondary was playing two different coverages on the play because the call from the sidelines hadn’t reached all 11 players, and the noise was deafening; this is the one time when the crowd noise actually hurt the Seahawks.

The ball was perfectly thrown, hitting Olsen midway through the end zone. Accusatory fingers flew in the Seattle secondary, players pointing at each other. Like: I thought he was YOUR man!

Notice how it's usually coaching that causes the Seahawks to lose? The Panthers got a call in late through the noise, but the Seahawks (seemingly) got the call in on time and the defensive players didn't all have the same play call. Gregg Easterbrook is sure to mention this play this week, but along with the "run or pass?" call in the Super Bowl, the Seahawks seem to only lose because their coaches screw up.

Carolina took control of the NFC South with the win. The Panthers have a defense that makes it hard for foes to breathe. And they’ve got a quarterback who knows how to put some ugly series behind him, and play his best when the best is essential. The Carolina team that overcame Seattle in the fourth quarter is going to be a tough team to beat down the stretch. 

That is, until the Panthers lose to the Eagles and Colts at home, at which point the narrative will be, "Can the Panthers score enough points to beat decent football teams?"

Observations after Patriots 34, Colts 27:

• It wasn’t that close.

• Reasonable people can disagree, but the fake-punt attempt by the Colts is the dumbest play-call I’ve seen in 31 years covering the NFL.

I don't understand it at all. I've seen some dumb play calls, but that was just a bizarre fake punt. It was like on Super Tecmo Bowl for SNES where if you move the nose tackle just enough up or down at the snap then you could dive and sack the quarterback before he drops back to pass. The alignment of the Colts players just seemed like the play was doomed to fail immediately.

When New England tries a zany-formation play, it works to perfection. When Indianapolis does, it looks like the team is coached by Jim Carrey.

Well, this is an interesting reference for the year 2015. Though, at least Jim Carrey knows "laces out" on a field goal attempt, so that has to mean something.

Sunday night, the Colts were down 27-21 with 16 minutes left, with a fourth-and-3 at their 37-yard line. 

16 minutes left? Why not just write "1 minute from the end of the third quarter"?

Before the snap, nine Colts shifted wide right in a scrum, with safety Colt Anderson, for some reason, lining up under center. (The center, by the way, was wide receiver Griff Whalen. Whatever could go wrong? A wideout snapping to a safety, on the biggest play of the game?) The Patriots, confused initially, ended up with two players lining up over center, and three more nearby. At the snap, Anderson got plowed under, first by rushing/running back Brandon Bolden, as he tried to sneak, feebly, for the first down. Loss of one. Loss of hope.

I've defended Pagano and I would probably still take him over Ryan Grigson, if it came down to that, but this all comes down to coaching for me. One team was prepared and the other didn't seem to be.

Second disturbing thing: The decision by coach Chuck Pagano to install the play and to run it says to me that the Colts think they have only a ghost of a chance to win the game playing it straight. Maybe there’s good reason for that. After the Colts led 21-20 at the half, Indy opened the second half with these six possessions: punt, punt, fake-punt debacle, punt, punt, turnover on downs. The only way we’ve got a chance is to draw up lottery-ticket plays. Is that what the Colts think?

The Seahawks ran a flea-flicker against the Panthers that scored a touchdown. It doesn't mean they installed the play because they didn't believe they could beat the Panthers playing the game straight, they just thought it would be a play that worked. The same goes for the Colts. They drew up a fake-punt because they thought it would work and it doesn't reflect on them as desperate necessarily.

It’s one thing to try some pie-in-the-sky play like that with a minute left, a desperate play for desperate times. But with 16 minutes left? With one of the best punters in the league, Pat McAfee, having a chance to pin New England inside its 20? With the Patriots having punted on two previous series? Just not smart.

Contrarily, if the Colts were punting in this situation with 8 minutes left in the game then maybe the Patriots would look for a fake-punt. There's no reason to try a fake-punt here, so perhaps the element of surprise would help the play work. I'm sure that was some of the thinking behind the play call.

Pagano: “I take responsibility there. The whole idea there was, on a fourth-and-3 or less, shift to an alignment where you either catch them misaligned, they try to sub some people in, catch them with 12 men on the field. If you get a certain look, 3 yards, 2 yards, you can make a play. But again, we shifted over, and I didn't do a good enough job coaching it during the week. ... That's all on me.

Yeah, I still don't understand. So the play wasn't a fake-punt, but an elaborate attempt to get the Patriots to jump offsides?

There’s a third disturbing thing, as it turns out, about the fake punt: Punter Pat McAfee said they’d been working on the play since last year. Interesting: You’ve worked on a fake punt play since last year, and it’s an illegal formation, and there’s miscommunication, and it fails embarrassingly.

Is Peter using the right word when he says, "disturbing?" Are any of these things really "disturbing" in any way? It doesn't seem that way to me. Why is Peter constantly using the word "disturbing" in regards to a play call that didn't work? There are things that are disturbing and I don't think a bad play call in a football game is one of them.

If you’re owner Jim Irsay, and you already were reticent to give Pagano a lucrative extension last off-season, and you see your franchise look like the Keystone Cops in the game of the year, what kind of chance is there you’ll give the coach a bigger extension post-season?

What's the chance they can hire a better coach than Pagano? I'm just asking because I don't know.

Andrew Luck has to do more. He has to play better against the Patriots. If he’s a franchise quarterback, and I believe he surely is, franchise quarterbacks can’t go 0-5 against their biggest nemeses, completing 52.6 percent of one’s passes with more interceptions (10) than touchdowns (nine).

While I agree, Andrew Luck has done a lot to cover up many of the issues the Colts team has. Over four seasons he has covered up for a mediocre offensive line, running game and (I think) for a defense that probably isn't good enough. It's okay to go hard on Luck, but he's covered up for the Colts' weaknesses to even put them in a situation to play the Patriots in the playoffs.

Colts in the Pagano/Luck Era versus the AFC South: 19-2.

Colts in the Pagano/Luck Era versus all other teams: 20-19.

Meanwhile, the critics of the Patriots say they beat up on a crappy division and teams that play in a tough division (like the Bengals...traditionally at least) have to play a road playoff game because they lose games in their tough division. It's been this way for the Colts a lot over the years. It feels like quite a few years they had the division wrapped up with a couple games to go, followed by questions like, "Should the Colts rest Manning and their starters in the last couple of games?"

The Patriots had to walk out of Lucas Oil Stadium early this morning thinking: Not bad. We put up 34 points on a team with a better defense than we’ve seen in Indy in years, we didn’t even get Rob Gronkowski involved in the first half, we punted five times, we handed them seven points on an interception that bounced out of Julian Edelman’s hands into Mike Adams’ for a touchdown, and we couldn’t hear ourselves think for three quarters because the place sounded like Seattle.

But Seattle isn't Seattle anymore, remember?

Now it could get interesting for New England: In five days starting Sunday, the 5-1 Jets and possibly resurgent Dolphins come to Foxboro. A sweep of those games and the AFC East could be wrapped up by Halloween.

Not that Peter is reactionary, but the Dolphins win one game and they are "possibly resurgent."

John Elway played 256 games in his NFL career, and he threw 7,901 passes. He never was concerned about the inflation level of the football he threw. But after the Tom Brady scandal erupted earlier this year, he was curious. He went to his equipment staff, and had footballs inflated to 13 psi, and 12 psi, and 11 psi, and he felt them and tested them himself.

“I mean, it’s not that big a difference,” said Elway. “It’s hard to tell the difference. Not a big-enough difference to have the attention on this that it’s gotten.

Roger Goodell will suspend John Elway for four games because he's criticizing the attention the PSI of the Patriots footballs has gotten. It makes Goodell look bad, like this isn't a fight the league should be having, which is totally not true. This is a worthy fight for the NFL to be having and Elway's suspension is now a lifetime ban.

Of course, Elway isn’t alone in thinking the balls should be, within reason, left without regulation. But the fact is there are rules in the NFL, and the balls must be inflated between 11.5 psi and 12.5 psi when measured on gauges in the officials’ locker room two hours before the start of games. Until the rules are changed, if they ever are, quarterbacks will have to use footballs at that pressure.

And that is very, very true. Thems the rules, though I wonder if Goodell has heard the old adage "Pick your fights wisely." Is ball inflation really a big battle Goodell wants to have? Apparently so. The need to make it seem like he wasn't going easy on the Patriots was that great.

Remember last week in this space, when I asked interim Miami coach Dan Campbell if he had a message he wanted to deliver to Miami fans?

No Peter, no one but you can remember this. Thank God you are here to remind us of things our feeble minds can't wrap themselves around. Also, you are a shitty speller. Learn to use a search engine like Google so that you spell words like Krueger correctly.

We’re about to wake the sleeping giant,” Campbell said, with more than a touch of Vincent Price in his voice. (Or Freddy Kruger, for you youngsters.)

Yes, Freddy Kruger (it's actually "Krueger") for you "youngsters" that are 31 years old since "Nightmare on Elm Street" came out in 1984. 1984. That was three decades ago. I don't know if I would consider a 31 year old to be a youngster or not, but Freddy Krueger isn't exactly a current pop culture reference.

Owner Stephen Ross handed Campbell the game ball and said, “The sleeping giants have awoken.”

Then Stephen Ross called up Jim Harbaugh and offered him the head coaching job with the Dolphins.

Campbell—39, younger than Peyton Manning—accepted the game ball and said, with a touch of warning about keeping the pressure on foes for the next 11 games: “The sleeping giant is awake. But he can’t take a nap!”

Okay bro, even your bro Jay Glazer thinks this metaphor is played out now (much like me writing "bro" in relation to Dan Campbell). Let's throw some "Entourage" on and get ready to hit this new nightclub where the mixed drinks are especially flavorful and the straws are super-small for the maximum amount of bro-ness as we hit the dance floor when we hear some Pitbull come on.

Miami had six sacks (six times as many as they had in the previous four games combined), ran the ball better than it had all season, swarmed around Marcus Mariota menacingly and got a verbal salvo from Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt for—his feeling about defensive end Olivier Vernon—purposely trying to hurt Mariota.

Dan Campbell wants Ken Whisenhunt to just be cool. (Campbell holds his arms out like, "Come at me") If the Wiz wants to question how Campbell runs his team, that's cool, but just don't actually do it and call the Dolphins out. That's where trouble still starts, bro. (Dan Campbell starts removing his wife beater in preparation to fight)

When I thought was great about Campbell’s post-game talk to his team was that he recognized the practice-squad players and the backups whose job he has made it to give the starters a very tough week of practice. Campbell is like one of his longtime mentors, Bill Parcells:

I'm so tired of Peter King talking about Bill Parcells as the epitome of a coach who is hard on his players. Please stop. He was great, but please stop referencing him in this way. There are other NFL coaches who have been hard on his players.

You’d better practice, and practice hard and well, or you won’t be playing on Sunday.

This is as opposed to other NFL coaches who don't care if their players practice hard and well. 

Miami played with such fervor Sunday, unlike they did for much of the season’s first four games under Joe Philbin. If you don’t play with consistent abandon under Campbell, he’s likely to yank you.

This is just like Bill Parcells used to coach. Is Dan Campbell as good of a coach as Bill Parcells was? It's too early to say, but it's no coincidence that Campbell hasn't lost an NFL game as a head coach yet. He's on his way to being better than Bill Parcells. He's a coach on the rise!

“We’re five or six games into the season,” said Wake. (They’re 2-3, actually.)

Math be hard.

Tennessee is not a good team right now, to be sure. So Miami might have won this game with anyone coaching. But Campbell’s influence showed up in the intensity of the play. Few teams will be more intriguing than Miami for the next couple of months.

I would venture to say there are only going to be about 31 other teams that are as intriguing as the Dolphins over the next couple of months. 

Presented without comment.

Which means Peter will provide comment. 

Well, with a little comment.

Obviously it would happen this way. 

I thought: I bet I could make a pretty good team, maybe even a Pro Bowl team, of guys who’ve missed time due to injury in the first six weeks of the season. Then I thought: I bet I could make one of those teams in the NFC East alone.

And so I did. 

And Peter King said, "Let's make it so." 

What follows is a starting lineup of players in the NFC East who have missed time with injuries, or are on injured reserve or the physically-unable-to-perform list, with number of games missed in parentheses following the name.

WR Dez Bryant, DAL (4) DE Robert Ayers, NYG (4)
T Trent Williams, WAS (1) DT Stephen Paea, WAS (1)
G Ronald Leary, DAL (2) DT Markus Kuhn, NYG (3)
C Kory Lichtensteiger, WAS (1) DE Randy Gregory, DAL (4)
G Shawn Lauvao, WAS (3) LB Junior Galette, WAS (6, IR)
T Will Beatty, NYG (6, PUP) LB Kiko Alonso, PHI (4)
TE Niles Paul, WAS (6, IR) LB Mychal Kendricks, PHI (3)
WR Victor Cruz, NYG (6) CB DeAngelo Hall, WAS (3)
WR DeSean Jackson, WAS (5) SS Duke Ihenacho, WAS (5, IR)
QB Tony Romo, DAL (3) FS Mykkele Thompson, NYG (6, IR)
RB DeMarco Murray, PHI (1) CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, NYG (2)
Nickel Orlando Scandrick, DAL (5, IR)

Except for Thompson, who was fighting for a job in training camp when he tore his Achilles, every one of the 22 other players is a solid starter, or, in the event of Scandrick, one of the best nickel corners in football.

Ronald Leary just got benched and a few of these guys only missed 1-2 football games. It's early in the season and that may be the sum total of what these guys miss. Not to mention, no one has a clue if Randy Gregory is a solid starter or not. He's a rookie, so how the hell does Peter know Gregory is a solid starter? Or is Peter just writing this in the hopes that his readers will just read what he's written and not question it? 

“I think it was done with the idea of trying to hurt our quarterback and that’s bull---- football. I thought it was BS.”

—Tennessee coach Ken Whisenhunt, angry at Miami DE Olivier Vernon’s low hit on rookie Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, which left the quarterback with a slight limp the rest of the day.

Hey, be cool bro. Don't wake the sleeping giant when that sleeping giant wants to tear someone's ACL all up. 

“Let’s go Mets! … I cannot believe I uttered those words.”

—Former Atlanta slugger Chipper Jones, a career nemesis to the Mets, on the Mets pre-game radio show on WOR Radio in New York on Thursday night.

This is an abomination and Chipper Jones should be embarrassed for himself. 


Chris Boswell, kicker, Pittsburgh. Kicking in what has been the most difficult stadium in the league to make long field goals, Boswell continued to show the Steelers made the right decision in cutting the experienced Josh Scobee and signing the green Boswell last month. He was four-for-four in field goals Sunday—from 47, 48, 51 and 28 yards—as the Steelers surprised Arizona at Heinz Field.

The Cardinals didn't even know they were playing the Steelers on Sunday. The Steelers surprised Arizona at Heinz Field by showing up and requesting a football game be played. The fans were already there and the entire Cardinals team had shown up for a Sunday practice, so they figured they may as well play. I like to think the Steelers team popped up out of the middle of the field to dramatic music as a way of making their grand entrance and surprise the Cardinals.


Joe Marciano, special teams coach, Detroit. This is a team award, really, after a superbly executed fake punt with the Lions down seven with 5:38 left in the fourth quarter of a tight game against Chicago. Credit to long-snapper Don Muhlbach for making an odd snap in punt formation; instead of snapping all the way back to punter Sam Martin, Muhlbach snapped it six yards back at an angle to upback Isa Abdul-Quddus. Perfect snap. Abdul-Quddus sprinted around left end, got two good seal blocks, and ran 30 yards downfield, the key play on a field-goal drive. Perfect design and execution.

Is this what the Lions think? They can only beat the Bears by drawing up lottery ticket plays? This is very disturbing that the Lions think they have to make a desperate play at at desperate time to beat one of their NFC North rivals. Peter King thinks this is all very disturbing.

Six-game stats for the former and current New Orleans Saints starting tight ends:

Player, Team Targets Rec. Yards Avg. TD 2015 Compensation
Jimmy Graham, Seattle 40 29 344 11.8 2 $8 million
Ben Watson, New Orleans 33 25 266 10.6 2 $1.5 million

Except Graham has played about as badly as he ever has his career and he's still a better tight end than Ben Watson is right now. So if Peter's point is that Ben Watson isn't as good as Jimmy Graham, even when Graham is at his worst, then this is a job well done. 

Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

Two things that probably shouldn't annoy me, but do:

1. Peter really, really, really needs to find a dictionary. A "factoid" is not "a small fact," it is a fact of questionable accuracy. So either Peter is writing, "Hey guys, I may be lying to you right now" or he just doesn't know the definition of a factoid.

2. There are two factoids here. So "Factoid" in the title needs to be plural. There are two factoids, not just one.

When NBC went to commercial break after the Colts’ bizarre fake-punt play that turned into a monumental failure Sunday night, the bumper music was “There Must Be Some Misunderstanding,” by Genesis.

The backstory: NBC’s lead audio technician, Wendel Stevens, makes a playlist for the Sunday night games. “There Must Be Some Misunderstanding” was not on the original playlist. After the botched fake punt, Stevens quickly found it and put it on the air. 

This was a heads-up move by Stevens, but as the lead audio technician isn't this his job to call an audible and put music on that might better fit the situation during the game? I don't want to take away from the job he did, but I would imagine the audio technicians call an audible often during a game to different music being played than what was scheduled. 

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

On the last two days of US Airways’ existence—I have made it a point to only fly US Airways if every other airline is absolutely unavailable, because it has been a Double-A carrier, at best—I was scheduled to fly it on four segments, back and forth to Roanoke, as I was going to visit the Arizona Cardinals as they practiced last week at The Greenbrier Resort, which is in the middle of nowhere in southeastern West Virginia, about 105 miles from Roanoke.

It's West Virginia. Pretty much everything is in the middle of nowhere, unless you are located in the center of Charleston or Morgantown. Even once you leave those cities, then you are back in the middle of nowhere. If you don't feel a slight twinge of nerves about driving in West Virginia, while hoping your car doesn't break down as yet another mud-covered truck passes you, then you aren't doing West Virginia right. 

The first segment was LaGuardia in New York to Philadelphia, Thursday at 6 a.m., connecting with a flight to Roanoke at 8:25. At about 5:40, there was an announcement that departure would be delayed by a mechanical issue. Delay. Delay. More delay. At 6:35, this announcement: “If you have a connection in Philadelphia, we’re not sure when this flight will leave, so you might want to visit our service desk and change your flight.” Went to service desk. Only option on US Air to get me to the Cardinals so I could see the coaches and players post-practice: fly to National Airport in northern Virginia at 7 a.m., rent a car, drive 246 miles to White Sulphur Springs, W.Va. And so I did it.

Pain in the neck, but I did it.

I don't use the word "hero" very often and never take my use of it lightly. I have to think that Peter King driving 246 miles instead of flying that distance is being a true hero. Sometimes I think we lose sight as a society of what's important. Peter had a story to write and he was going to write that story, even if it meant not laying back on an airplane and catching some sleep. I bet Peter even took the time to fill the car up with gas so he wouldn't be charged an exorbitant amount of money for gas. 

Next morning: Roanoke to Charlotte, Charlotte to LaGuardia. The tiny Charlotte puddle-jumper smelled like my late grandmother’s cedar closet, without the cedar.

What's Peter been doing in his late grandmother's cedar closet? Did he hang out there when he was younger? Was he banished there when he was bad or used the word "factoid" correctly? I'm very interested in Peter's late grandmother's cedar closet and why Peter was spending time in a stinky closet.

The Charlotte-to-Laguardia leg was only 65 minutes late.

I’m sure US Airways has some quality employees and good people. But I won’t miss it a bit.

And now that US Airways is gone, I am sure all air travel for Peter will be stress and hassle free. All flights will land on time and he'll never sit beside someone who takes their shoes off on a long flight. 

I get the snark here, but this is how baseball players decide if one of the unwritten rules has been broken or not. If a player on the opposing team does something to piss off a group of players on one team, then an unwritten rule has been broken at that point. The Braves did not like how long Carlos Gomez circled the bases and yelled at one of the Braves players, so it's time for Brian McCann to stand up and not take it anymore. The Rangers don't like how long Jose Bautista admired one of his home runs, so it is time to hit him with a baseball the next time he is up to bat. It's snark, but it's true snark.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 6:

a. The return of Luke Kuechly. Led all tacklers with 13 at Seattle in a game that might be a change agent for the Carolina franchise.

Or it might not be a change agent. We'll see how things change when Carolina loses a few games. Narratives and stories change so much in the NFL, it's hard to just pronounce a franchise changed after a regular season victory. 

d. Pierre Garcon undressing the best corner in football, Darrelle Revis, on a first-quarter touchdown pass. Revis, it appeared, feared Garcon on the fade and so let him come inside,

Did Revis let Garcon come inside to grandma's cedar closet? God knows what happens in there, but it smells very bad apparently. 

i. Andy Dalton’s high-arcing rainbow deep downfield that Marvin Jones wrestled from two Bills. Just a beautiful throw, and a physically impressive catch by Jones.

This is what I mean about Andy Dalton and the story around him changing. If Marvin Jones doesn't come down with this catch, then it's same old Andy Dalton throwing a ball up for grabs and committing a turnover. Jones had to wrestle the ball from two Bills, so you can see how this would go badly for Dalton had Jones not come down with the ball. 

q. The Ravens extending the contract of Marshal Yanda. Despite the debacle of the team's season, Yanda is the Ravens’ number two (behind Joe Flacco) cornerstone player.

All respect to Marshal Yanda, but when a football team's number two cornerstone player is a guard then I do have to wonder if that team has drafted well enough of late. I don't think Yanda is the number two cornerstone player for the Ravens anyway, but I don't think it's good news for an NFL team if their second cornerstone player is an offensive guard. 

 t. And Jerricho Cotchery’s invaluable third-down conversion catch, after a wrestling match with Seahawn corner DeShawn Shead, just before the TD catch heard ‘round the Carolinas.

Don't include South Carolina. They have been piggybacking on North Carolina for too long now and I'm tired of it. We give them Panthers training camp and call them the "Carolina" Panthers but we all know which state the team really belongs to. 

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 6:

f. Know where you are near the sideline, Dexter McCluster. Having a foot out of bounds late in the first half probably cost the Titans a field-goal try before halftime in a game in which points were scarce for Tennessee.

McCluster was probably scared of waking the sleeping giant or something if he got both feed in bounds on this catch. Dan Campbell would be pretty pissed if McCluster came down with this catch and the sleeping giant would get woken up even more. 

j. Well, the Jarryd Hayne story was fun while it lasted. For the second time in the first six weeks of the season, Hayne fumbled a punt, and the 49ers are not good enough to hand away potential possessions once every three games because they like the former Australian Rugby League player’s potential. It’ll be interesting to see how coach Jim Tomsula handles the punt-return job going forward; Hayne stayed in the role after fumbling early against the Ravens. He also missed a blitz pick-up in the backfield.

It's almost like an athlete who hasn't played football at a high level for a very long time simply can't just walk on the field and have his talents in another sport translate to the NFL. It was a fun story for the NFL media to blow up as much as they could, but once Jarryd Hayne starts boring them by playing like someone who hasn't played much NFL football over his lifetime, they will get bored and move on to another story. 

3. I think you’re blowing it, Johnny Manziel.

4. I think I’m empathetic with anyone who has a substance-abuse problem. But Manziel spent 87 days in a treatment center in the off-season.

This should all be under #3 in Peter's MMQB outline. It's the same topic, so why is he separating out the same discussion of Johnny Manziel and how he's ruining his football career into two different numbers on his outline?

5. I think if I were Jim Irsay, and I had become convinced I wasn’t going to sign Chuck Pagano long-term, I’d set up a very private meeting—maybe at a private home somewhere, or maybe at the Westin Detroit Airport,

Not to be too specific or anything like that of course. I'm surprised Peter didn't list the floor number and exact room that they should meet in.

somewhere both men could go without anyone thinking it odd—with Jim Harbaugh after the season. At the very least I’d use an intermediary to find out what Harbaugh’s price was, if he had one. Not that I’d expect Harbaugh to take the job.

Yes, one couldn't expect Jim Harbaugh to take the Indianapolis Colts job since he's shown through his career that he is so dedicated to staying with one team and it's not like he was run out of San Francisco or anything. So Harbaugh probably wouldn't want the head coach job with an NFL team he used to play for, with the quarterback who he coached in college, with the offensive coordinator who worked for him at Stanford or anything like that, especially since he probably would still be coaching in the NFL right now if it wasn't for the 49ers running him off.

I would assume that Jim Harbaugh is willing to go to any NFL or college team that is willing to pay him a lot of money and would give him an opportunity to win a title of some sort.

7. I think Steve Smith is this generation’s Michael Irvin. Smith, like Irvin, knows exactly how much hand-fighting contact with the corner he can get away with. That showed on Smith’s 34-yard touchdown catch against the Niners down the left sideline Sunday.

I think Steve Smith would not like being compared to anyone else besides Steve Smith. I also think Smith has been doing this for a while now and it's nice that once he's announced his retirement that it's finally getting noticed. 

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

a. Story of the week: William Powell of St. Louis magazine on the life and heartbreaking loss of new St. Louis Post-Dispatch columnist Benjamin Hochman. Such a heart-tugging story about what happens to a good person when the love of his life dies unexpectedly.

Peter knows how Benjamin Hochman must feel. One time Peter's wife had a really bad cold for a week or so. The doctor didn't know when it was going to get better, but eventually it did. It was very concerning, so Peter knows how Hochman feels when telling his heartbreaking story. 

c. RIP, Dean Chance, who died of a heart attack in his Ohio hometown last week. He was one of baseball’s truly feared pitchers of my youth.

Chance was the greatest pitcher of Peter's lifetime. And by "lifetime" Peter means "a two week period during the 1967 season." 

g. Wow, Christian McCaffrey. Save some of that for the NFL, or for The Big Game.

Yeah, save some of that for the NFL when you are eligible to go to the NFL in a few years. Wouldn't waste all that great running on pointless college football games. Of course, if you blow your knee out before you get to the NFL then it's no big deal. Coming back from an ACL tear is really not that hard to do these days. 

l. Michigan color man Dan Dierdorf (yes, that Dan Dierdorf)

I'm pretty sure even the most casual football fan could assume it was "that" Dan Dierdorf. Also, really do learn how to spell "Freddy Krueger" because that's still bothering me. Don't drop knowledge on your readers and ignore the knowledge you should be dropping on yourself. 

o. Good camera work by NBC catching USC AD Pat Haden brought to a knee by illness on the sidelines at Notre Dame before the game.

Great camera work showing Pat Haden in the middle of a health scare. He probably realized he was going to have to hire another USC head football coach and he's lucky to still have a job at this point.

But really, maybe I'm being too sensitive to this, but Pat Haden collapses to the field and all Peter King has to say about it is to remark on the great camera work? No regard for Haden and the fact he just fucking collapsed?

q. It doesn’t bother me, but I know why it bothers the casual fan baseball is trying to lure. 

Lure into grandma's cedar closet?

Time between pitches, seventh inning, Jays-Royals, Saturday, David Price pitching, 3-2 count on Salvador Perez: 93 seconds.

Much like there being a rule about taking out the shortstop or second baseman that MLB just doesn't care to enforce, this can be easily corrected by the umpires taking a break from believing they are the reason fans show up to the ballpark and deciding to enforce the current rules. 

v. I would be in quicksand, communications-wise, without the Mophie.

w. That’s a phone-charger, for those unaware. Fantastic product.

In case you were wondering, this is Peter King saying something nice about a product in an effort to get free shit from the manufacturer of said product. Next week in MMQB Peter will be like, "I can't believe it, but the entire THE MMQB staff got a whole box of free Mophie's sent to us this past week. Thanks so much for this fantastic product!" 

The Adieu Haiku

Panthers felt dissed. So
they went west. Spanked Seattle.
Much respect to Cam.

Here's something that isn't a haiku, but rhymes with Peter's.

Get rid of the Adieu Haiku and it won't be missed.
Stop writing it. Stop the battle.
Because really none of your readers give a damn.

I'm fucking poet. Make the Adieu Haiku go. Even Gregg Easterbrook, the king of pretentious shit, has stopped doing NFL season previews in haiku form. 


Chris said...

I'll add a third thing to your list of things that shouldn't annoy you but do. If Peter's factoids are only interesting to him, why bother telling us about it if he assumes us naive simpletons won't care?

I don't wanna be too harsh but in my mind if Peter says he empathizes with those with a substance abuse problem then he should also be able to understand that if someone has a deep seated substance abuse issue than 87 days in a facility may not always be enough. Most struggle for years with trying to kick an addiction and it may take several visits before someone is completely addiction free. This may be a bit of apples and oranges in terms of comparisons but take for example the actor from Glee(unfortunately I can't remember his name), who died a few years ago. He had struggled with a hard drug addiction for years and had been multiple times to a treatment facility and it still wasn't enough for him to overcome. Just because someone goes to a treatment facility one time doesn't mean when it's over they are magically cured.

Oldcat said...

Now that is just crazy talk, Chris. All sportswriters know that 87 days is quite enough to turn one from an insufferable punk no-talent bust into the comeback player of the year if we can bully the Browns coach into ditching the QB he signed just this year to be the starter.

After all, he managed to complete 8 passes in a win, while only fumbling six times or so.

I'm not sure where Manziel will end up, but giving the dude a break from the Factory of Sadness is doing him a favor, and the press is not doing him any favors this year or the last.

Bengoodfella said...

Chris, I guess because Peter feels like sharing these little factoids with everyone. Maybe he is hoping we care about the factoids. I don't really know. To analyze "why?" would be a fool's errand.

My understanding is there are several parts of beating addiction and moving back into your old life is one of those. That's where so many people struggle. They struggle get back into the routines and seeing the same people they saw before. Dealing with them and trying not to fall back into old habits.

Oldcat, I'm not ready to give up on Manziel either. I have to say I wasn't totally convinced by him coming out of college, so his struggles aren't a huge shock to me though.

Ricardo said...

I tried to find the commercial on YouTube, but alas. You'll just have to take my word that this existed. In 1993, SI was selling subscriptions on a TV ad interspersed with highlights, magazine covers, interviews snippets, etc. In one snippet, Peter King opined solemnly, "...I see the 49ers beating the Cowboys in one of the greatest championship games..."

This was just months after the Cowboys had gone 13-3, gone to Candlestick and beaten the 49ers by ten in the NFC championship, then routed the then-three times repeat AFC champion Buffalo Bills by 35 points in the Super Bowl. All of the Cowboys stars were young, the offensive line was monstrous, and they were deep. The Niners were already leaning on older talent then - what kind of "NFL Analyst" would have predicted a 49ers win the next season? Predictably, the Cowboys won the 1994 NFC Championship game over the 49ers by an even greater margin than they had in 1993.

If you could watch that commercial, the reverence and self-assuredness with which King says this makes clear that he is predicting a win based on their run of dominance during the 1980s. There's nothing in that breathless, awestruck quote that suggests an objective, sober-minded football analyst.

Is it possible there were some good arguments King made that didn't make the commercial soundbite? Possible, yes. And the BOLD STATEMENT makes for a better commercial bite than anything else one could throw into a 30-second spot. Is it likely Peter King had an argument better than, "Come on, this is the San Francisco 49ers we're talking about!"? Hell no.