Thursday, December 15, 2016

1 comments The Rams Have Been Saved! Jeff "8-8" Fisher is Gone!

I figure I may as well acknowledge that Jeff "8-8" Fisher has been fired by the Rams. It's well over due and I don't know, other than Fisher's relationship with Kevin Demoff based on his father being Fisher's agent, how he lasted this long. Even by Jeff Fisher's mediocre standards, the Rams have been bad this year on offense. He's had nearly five seasons to fix it and has pumped out more excuses than wins. The most shocking part is the Rams had just given Fisher an extension a week before they fired him. I'm a jaded human being, so I can't help but wonder if the extension wasn't a way for Kevin Demoff to do his father a solid and allow him to churn some more commissions off a coach that was a dead man walking. A son would never help his father out though, would he? The excuses Fisher had were hilarious.

"We had a lot going on this offseason, a lot of stuff going on."


But sure, you also had a month head start on some teams to sort through this stuff because your team didn't make the playoffs. Moving is a big deal, especially when Jeff Fisher is the one driving the truck from St. Louis to Los Angeles. He was the guy driving the truck, right? That's how it sort of seems. Expecting his team to tune out distractions and win games, while using those distractions as an excuse for his failures is peak Jeff Fisher.

We’ve been through a lot. It’s not an excuse, but we’ve been through more than any other team in the National Football League this offseason and the moves and the travel and all those things. We’re dealing with those as best we can.”

Yes, that is an excuse. The Rams have not been through as much as Fisher wants to believe. Essentially, the entire team got traded and had to move. This happens all the time in the NFL, players and coaches moving teams. It's never an acceptable excuse. I can see a player telling Fisher,

"Well, I just can't focus because I'm looking for an apartment and I still have some stuff back in St. Louis. It's a lot right now."

How do you think that would go over?

“There was constant pressure. The coverage didn’t allow it. We had some shots. He (Goff) made a good throw to (WR) Kenny (Britt), and we didn’t come up with the ball. We would’ve liked to have seen pass interference called on that play, which is a field position change.” 

“Yeah, statistically, we had 10, I would acknowledge maybe six of them,” the coach said

Jeff Fisher is basically a comment section 10 minutes after the game is over, bitching about the officiating while trying to make it sound like's not blaming the officiating for his team losing.

Traveling to London is no quick hop. Fisher brought out his standard chestnut to excuse his team’s play after a trans-Atlantic flight.

Jet lag, travel, adjusting to the time change. “That’s the hard part of international games.” Fisher had that one in the bag

Did the Rams scrimmage themselves in London? If not, there was another team that had to adjust to jet lag and the time change. Also, HE IS BLAMING JET LAG AND THE TIME CHANGE! IF ONLY THERE WERE A WAY TO PLAN FOR THESE THINGS BEFORE THE TRIP OVERSEAS!

Why did no one tell Jeff Fisher about world time zones? He was so busy personally moving the entire Rams team from St. Louis to Los Angeles he didn't have time to research and understand basic World Geography. 

There are plenty of other excuses, especially based on the Rams roster, a roster he specifically had a hand in choosing of course. But nevermind that, it's not relevant. The key point is the Rams and their fans don't have to hear Fisher's bullshit excuses again. He was disengaged as a coach for the past year if you ask me and the fans deserve better. I would give the Rams front office credit for firing Fisher, but they gave him an extension a week earlier, so the broken clock principle applies here. 

Before I go any further, I wanted to highlight one of the paradoxes of this blog. I don't have a hand in getting any of these coaches or sportswriters fired of course. But when they are relieved of their duties, it gives me less to write about here. Gregg Easterbrook has been through three sites with his awful TMQ column, Jay Mariotti has shit all over nearly the entire online and print media industry during the time I have written here and Joe Morgan was relieved of his duties as the Sunday Night Baseball analyst for ESPN. This meant no more JoeChats, which really stunk. I don't think he deserved the Sunday Night Baseball gig based on his JoeChats, but they sure made for good material. 

I think the JoeChats are my favorite running item I had (have) on this blog. They were so awful and I was so underpaid, underworked, undervalued and any other "under" you can use in the realm of a job that I was able to get very inspired and focused writing them. Then Joe's contact wasn't renewed, I found a different job, and then found a different, different job and it's hard to find time to identify an analyst so bad at his job at the same moment I have time to write about how bad he (or she, women can suck at being an analyst too) is at his job. 

And yes, I know "Fire Joe Morgan" did JoeChats before I did. I don't think I've ever indicated I'm breaking new ground here. I was still inspired writing them, but then Joe abandoned us for a radio show and hating inconsistency on a different medium. Losing punching bags on this blog is not easy. Dylan always wanted to do podcasts, and I enjoyed doing them, but I think I would enjoy doing them more now than I did then. I'd love to do podcasts and post them here, but don't for several reasons: 

1. I have no idea how to set up a podcast to record, etc. 

2. I don't know if anyone cares at this point, mostly because I don't listen to podcasts myself. 

3. Time. I want to do them, but when would I REALLY do podcasts and who would I do them with? 

On that last note, before I continue bashing Jeff Fisher, I will share a regret I have. I had a couple "real" writers propose to do a podcast with me so we could discuss what I had written on this blog about what they wrote (after an email discussion about what I wrote about what he/she wrote) and I think I could have had some writers (featured here and not featured here) on a podcast to discuss sports issues, bad journalism, etc. if I cared enough to ask them. Okay, I would have mostly talked about the bad journalism. I didn't pursue it when I corresponded with these sportswriters for a couple of reasons: 

1. Again, I had no idea how to set up a podcast and was too lazy to figure it out. 

2. I felt it would be a betrayal of this blog's purpose. 

I had no urge to talk to sportswriters about their jobs, sports, etc because I felt speaking with them was selling out and not critiquing them like I wanted to do. It's a double-edged sword. To get a guy I bashed on the podcast and allow him to explain his reasoning for a column could be seen as me being soft. I've written what I thought already and then if we come to an understanding about what was written then I'm just Bill Simmons, a person who backs down when the person hits back against my critique. Still, at times it seemed fair to do the podcast, but I never did.

BUT, to invite a sportswriter I like on the podcast then I would see myself as a kiss-ass who simply writes on this blog because I secretly want a career in journalism and critiquing sportswriters is my bizarre way of getting attention for myself. This is, of course, not true at all.

Hey, I'm not saying it makes sense. I never cared to be a sportswriter and I saw interacting on this blog with sportswriters or journalists as a compromise against what I wanted to write. I write all of this while doing a cameo on my own blog to say I think I disagree with my line of thinking at the time and wish I had engaged more sportswriters when I had the opportunity, simply because it would have been fairly interesting content to post here. My wish to simply write and then be done with it, along with the concern that any interaction or feature from a "real" sportswriter" would diminish the intentions of past, present and future posts, prevented me from posting interesting content. I regret that to an extent. 

I bring this all up as a way of reinforcing the point that the content I post (posted/will post) here is reliant on the very people that I write about. Jeff Fisher gets fired, well there goes the Jeff "8-8" Fisher jokes. Joe Morgan is finally seen as the incompetent I viewed him as, well there goes a weekly post about his chats. I never wanted this to be about more than me writing on a blog about sports with no real long-term intentions, so I guess I succeeded in that goal. This all sounds like a eulogy, but it is not. 

Soooooooooooooooooooo...back to Jeff Fisher. There is a picture of me on my mom's fridge at home at a Charlotte Knights game in 1993. I had no NFL team at the time and didn't really watch football. I did love playing Super Tecmo Bowl and the Houston Oilers were my team on the game. So one day I saw a Houston Oilers shirt at the mall and had to have it. I bought the shirt and was wearing it to this Charlotte Knights game where the picture was taken. Maybe the reason I dislike Jeff Fisher so much is because there is an alternate universe where the Carolina Panthers never exist and I become a Tennessee Titans fan once I fell in love with football. In that alternate universe, Jeff Fisher is my head coach. Maybe that's why I don't like him and mocked his mediocrity. It could also be that Jeff Fisher has an extremely powerful agent who (I believe) encourages his sportswriter clients to only write positive things about Fisher in return for access to Demoff's other clients and Fisher's team. I tend to not like these types of things.

So here are some of the things I've written about Jeff Fisher through the years. Interestingly (okay, it's not interesting), there is no "Jeff Fisher" tag on this blog. I have 146 posts that mention him though, so it seems like I should have added a tag at some point. My comments at the time are in bold red italics and new comments are in non-bold normal font. I was probably harder on Fisher on Twitter than I was on this blog, but a lot of what was covered on this blog shows why Fisher was allowed to last as long as he did.

December 2008:

TMQ likes Jeff Fisher not only because he's the NFL's longest-serving coach, he is among the few who consistently gives straightforward answers to media questions. Against the Texans, the deciding down came when Tennessee, trailing 13-12, faced fourth-and-3 at the Houston 32 at the two-minute warning. Rather than let Rob Bironas attempt a 49-yard field goal, Fisher went for it and the Titans failed. The Reliant Stadium roof was open, and Bironas would have kicked into a swirling wind; he'd failed on long kicks in that direction during warm-ups. After the game, Fisher, who at halftime had the choice of the wind in the third quarter or fourth quarter, explained that he'd chosen the wind in the third quarter "because I thought by then we'd have the game locked up," and should have made the conventional choice of saving the wind for the fourth quarter.
Few coaches would be honest enough to admit they underestimated their opponent --

Notice how Easterbrook does not mention THAT is what happens when you go for it on fourth down all the time, you end up screwing the pooch a few times a year. I like how Jeff Fisher is complimented here for admitting he underestimated his opponent and making a bad decision that cost his team the game,

Even back in 2008, Jeff Fisher was not properly preparing to face his opponents. He's literally not changed. He does not plan before, during or after a game. It's inexplicable the amount of job security he had.

January 2012:

Simply put, Fisher wanted to avoid another situation like he had in Tennessee, where owner Bud Adams, if he chose, could tell him what to do on personnel. Adams told him in 2006 to take Vince Young in the first round. Fisher didn't want to do that, but it was Adams' call.

I think I would not give Jeff Fisher power over personnel. Ever. I am not normally a fan of coaches having power over personnel, except in specific cases and Fisher isn't one of those cases. So Fisher is bitter that Adams told the Titans to take Vince Young? Fisher does realize Young won a bunch of games for the Titans, right? It isn't like Young was a complete failure on the field. If "I didn't want Vince Young" is the main criteria for why Jeff Fisher should have the ability to get some control over personnel then I'm not sure I like his odds as a player evaluator.

Oh yeah, Jeff Fisher also blamed his failures with the Rams on the personnel he was given. Except, he took the Rams job because he wanted some control over personnel decisions. I can't make this stuff up. It's right here, as explained by Peter King, who as I have described repeatedly has the inside track on the Rams and Jeff Fisher. Jeff Fisher didn't want to draft Vince Young. Young burned out of the NFL, but I think this goes to Fisher's inability (along with his entire head coaching history) to effectively evaluate quarterbacks.

January 2012:

After spending five hours at the Rams' practice facility in suburban Earth City, Mo., Sunday, the former Titans coach returned to Nashville to consider his options. By Tuesday, I expect he'll have figured out whether St. Louis or Miami is the best place for him; and his agent, Marvin Demoff, will begin negotiating with one team, or both if it's every close. Expect a resolution by Thursday.

I always love it when coaches "retire" or leave a team before they have gotten fired. It feels like many of these coaches end up wanting to coach somewhere else. Teams are always after these coaches because they did the unthinkable and didn't leave their last team because they got fired. Jeff Fisher has a lifetime record of 142-120 and a career playoff record of 5-6. He coached for 16 years and made two AFC Championship Games and made the playoffs six times. He's not a bad coach, but is this the kind of coach a team should pay $8 million per year and also hand over personnel decisions to? I just don't think so. He's available though and since Cowher isn't coming back anytime soon, the fact Fisher has had more .500 or below .500 seasons than above .500 seasons doesn't seem to scare teams off that much.

Three things:

1. Peter King wrote the first part and the fact his agent, Marvin Demoff, was feeding him this information is so crystal clear. Demoff used Peter King (and others) to drive up the competition for Fisher.

2. I said Fisher was "not a bad coach" which is accurate...I guess.

3. I thought Fisher's record was bad back then. Little did I know how his mediocrity would continue and he would somehow manage to never have another winning record.

November 2012:

"It was two-fold,'' said Rams coach Jeff Fisher, who suspended Jenkins and Givens for an unspecified violation of team rules Saturday. "They weren't going to play, so they needed a workout. And I guess you can say it was part punitive. We still have to sort some things out about what happened, but hopefully this helps them get the message.''

"I didn't even know that happened,'' said St. Louis receiver Danny Amendola.

Well then, message received loud and clear.  

Jeff Fisher sent a message through actions his team didn't know occurred. He's the best. This is leadership.

March 2013:

Miami was in on Long aggressively, and one Dolphins official Sunday seemed confident Long would return for a sixth year. But no. And the Rams Sunday night were giving the credit for the migration to coach Jeff Fisher. "One of our players texted Jake and told him he'd retire if he had to play for any other coach besides Jeff,'' Rams GM Les Snead texted me late Sunday night. "Jeff gets veterans to Sunday ready to play ... Gets them to December ready to play ... So yes, he knows how to keep vets fresh physically, mentally and spiritually as good as anyone in the NFL."

The Rams are the only team with three picks in the top 50 of the draft (16, 22, 46), and they'll need a receiver upgrade after losing two in the first five days of free agency. Tight end signee Jared Cook is an expensive question mark, though Fisher had him in Tennessee and loves him.

Stop it Peter! Is Jared Cook's agent paying you to say nice things about him? If not, focus more on Jeff Fisher.

I am making this more about what I've said about Peter King than what I've said about Jeff Fisher, but they kind of go hand-in-hand. Jeff Fisher gets players ready to play in December, not January, because Fisher's teams don't often play in January.

April 2013:

I was here to write a story on the Rams for this week's issue of Sports Illustrated (shameless plug -- on iPads Wednesday and newsstands Thursday!).

So we get a preview of the article on the Rams in MMQB AND we get an entire full article in "Sports Illustrated" this week? It's going to be interesting to read about the Rams war room, but it is such a coincidence that Peter was embedded with Jeff Fisher's team. I'm interested to learn more about Jeff Fisher's plan to go 8-8 this upcoming year. I am kidding of course, the Rams seemingly did a great job in the draft and it is just a coincidence Peter breathlessly reported on Fisher's decision between the Dolphins and the Rams over a year ago. It was just a coincidence and had nothing to do with Peter throwing his agent a solid by driving up the interest in his client.

Well, I lucked out, as you'll read in the story this week, because GM Les Snead, coach Jeff Fisher and COO Kevin Demoff made stuff happen.

Wait, wait...Kevin Demoff? That must be a misspelling because there is a Marvin Demoff that represents Fisher and Peter King. It turns out this is not a misspelling and Kevin Demoff his Marvin Demoff's son.

So for those of you keeping track, Jeff Fisher was hired by his agent's son and now that same agent has another of his clients who is a respected reporter in the Rams war room reporting on the Rams draft day dealings and selections. A more jaded person would say Marvin Demoff worked this all out so his client, who is a reporter, could report positive things about another one of his clients, Jeff Fisher, so that his son who happens to be the COO of the Rams would look good. I am not jaded and would never suggest anything like this was ever thought nor happened. It was all just a coincidence.

You saw the Rams trade twice -- from 16 up to eight, to take wideout/returner Tavon Austin, and from 22 down to 30, to take versatile linebacker Alec Ogletree -- but what you didn't see was the glee in the room when both picks were made.

You also won't hear from Peter about the red flags that came along with Alec Ogletree and how Austin is a bit of a risk because he put up his fantastic numbers in a very wide receiver-friendly college system and is not built like the typical #1 wide receiver.

Of all the shady situations Peter King has been in over the years I wrote on this blog, his being embedded with the Rams for the 2013 NFL Draft is a close second to the time he wrote an article explaining exactly how opposing teams could match any offer the Browns made to Alex Mack (who was a restricted free agent at the time) when it comes to "conflicts of interest caused by Peter sharing an agent with the person he is writing about."

May 2013: 

Time will tell if they're right on the Jenkinses and the Alec Ogletrees, and I could be throwing stones at them in coming years. The Cardinals don't have a track record for taking questionable character guys. They thought the talent of Mathieu was worth the risk. That's one I think the team will end up regretting.

Jenkins has already missed a game for violating team rules, so we have evidence he hasn't stayed on the straight and narrow, but Peter thinks Mathieu was the bad risk. It's his opinion and he is entitled to it of course. I think Jeff Fisher could draft Jodi Arias and Peter wouldn't criticize the selection.

I cringe at the Jodi Arias reference, but I don't cringe at Peter saying the Cardinals would regret drafting Mathieu. This shows just how much deference Jeff Fisher was given over the years by sportswriters and why his firing was a year or two too late. And it's not a coincidence to me that most of the Jeff Fisher references can be found in MMQB, which is written by Peter King.

August 2013:

8. I think I keep hearing great things about two offensive weapons: St. Louis utility star Tavon Austin 

I've never heard of this Tavon Austin fellow. Why hasn't Peter mentioned Austin or what a great offensive weapon he could be before this very MMQB?

and the guy who, to me, is a sort of Tavon Austin Jr., Jacksonville wideout/multipurpose player Ace Sanders.

He's like Austin, but nowhere near as good as Austin is, right? How could he be?

The Rams practiced in the Edward Jones Dome Saturday and gave local fans a whiff of what to expect from Austin, playing him at several spots. “You’re going to have to come out, watch and see what we do with him,’’ said coach Jeff Fisher. “Obviously, there’s things everybody does across the league in camp that they don’t show until the regular season.” During draft prep in St. Louis, the Rams privately knew if they somehow weren’t able to get Austin, they’d have gone after Sanders, who is emerging in camp as the kind of versatile weapon Jacksonville hoped it was drafting last April.

So if Jeff Fisher had not drafted and then misused Tavon Austin, he would have drafted a guy who made little impact in the NFL and was out of the league in two years. But again, Jeff Fisher had no control over the personnel issues he insisted he have when signing a contract with the Rams.

August 2013:

Then there is this column. Just, pretty much any part that dealt with Jeff Fisher is what should be read. Peter calls out Bernie Kosar for being a drunk and marvels at the weapons that Jared Cook and Tavon Austin are. It's inexplicable how anyone can't see Peter is propping up Jeff Fisher.

November 2013:

o. Zac Stacy, proving the Rams were lucky Steven Jackson walked. Hope he’s okay after leaving with a head injury.

Zac Stacy was drafted by the Rams and the Rams are really good at drafting! You should read this article Peter wrote in May about how good the Rams are at drafting. They are on the right track to becoming a really successful team under Jeff Fisher. It's a rebuilding process though, so give Fisher another year or two after this year once he decides Sam Bradford isn't his quarterback of the future, at which point Fisher will be buying himself more time by pointing out Rams fans shouldn't expect immediate success with a new quarterback at the helm.

This is EXACTLY what happened! The Rams traded Sam Bradford to the Eagles and then Jeff Fisher started talking about how many young players the Rams had, while also holding back Jared Goff in order to fake there was some hope with him (Fisher) at the helm.

By the way, the amount of times I have gone out of my way on this blog to bash Jeff Fisher or call him Jeff "8-8" Fisher is tremendous. I would be embarrassed, but I'm not.

July 2014: 

It’s hard to find anyone to knock Fisher’s coaching ability, some of the great teams he put together in Tennessee, the identity they forged, or even the early results of the current reclamation project in St. Louis. It’s harder to explain how he only made the playoffs six times, and had six winning seasons, in 17 years with the Oilers/Titans. The record needs to catch up with the reputation at some point.


This is the world we lived in. The jury is still out for Fisher's success to catch up with his reputation, but children are being born and getting ready to go to college while the jury on Fisher's coaching ability is deliberating. It's hard to knock Jeff Fisher's coaching ability, despite the fact his teams on average were not successful. And "the early results" of the reclamation project in St. Louis resulted in ZERO winning seasons. But still, it's hard to knock a record like that.

July 2014:

Might not show up in the record, but the Rams are going to be hell to play, and they’ll be a playoff team if Sam Bradford plays the way he was drafted to play.

Read that sentence and try to tell me Peter's relationship with Marvin Demoff doesn't come into play when he discusses the Rams. "It may not show in the record." He's already making excuses even if Fisher doesn't make the playoffs this year. For what Jeff "8-8" Fisher gets paid to coach the Rams, the team's talent sure as shit better show up in the record. Fisher gets paid enough for that to happen.

Almost three years later and I'm still stuck on this "might not show up in the record" comment. On what, pray tell, should Jeff Fisher be judged? He isn't judged on his win-loss record, so how should he be judged? By the manliness of his mustache? By how many excuses he could put forth before he got called on his bullshit? For a guy who worships the ground Bill Parcells walks on, Peter sure forgets the "You are what your record says you are" mantra Parcells preached...but only when it is convenient to forget it.

August 2014: 

“We don’t have any glaring holes. We do have a glaring lack of experience.”

—Les Snead, the general manager of the Rams, to me. St. Louis had the youngest roster in the NFL last season, and likely will again this year.

This is just a reminder Snead and the Rams have been using the same excuses for multiple years as to why the team couldn't succeed. Apparently the Rams organization believes the players on the team would never age, so this excuse could always be used to explain away the team's mediocrity under Jeff Fisher.

August 2014: 

“We’ve got to go on,” Fisher said, “and that’s basically what I told [backup] Shaun Hill. Shaun shifts gears, and we go. I told him, ‘This is why you’re here. Let’s go.’

Hill is 34. He’s started 26 games (13-13) with San Francisco and Detroit—but his last start was four seasons ago.

This is part of my issue too. Hill isn't the present or the future. The future at the quarterback position isn't on the Rams roster most likely. Jeff Fisher just bought himself three more years. He's a "name" coach who has suffered some bad luck and honestly hasn't done much to help his luck at the quarterback position, but that doesn't matter. The Rams are probably going to draft a quarterback in the upcoming draft, which they probably should have done this year, and Fisher will start over. I don't hate Jeff Fisher or the Rams, but Rams fans deserve better than this. Fisher is incredibly overrated as a coach. He's not a bad coach, but he and Snead have made crucial personnel mistakes at the most important spot on the roster. They've built a really good team around a quarterback who can't stay on the field. Logic would dictate the best backup plan isn't Shaun Hill. Hill is an okay backup and he very well may succeed this season. I feel like Fisher and Snead are getting a pass for completely counting on a injury-prone quarterback who may not even be very good when healthy. I'm not sure I could even tell you what kind of quarterback Bradford is because he can't stay on the field. That's the point. I would feel better about this situation if the Rams had a younger guy they wanted to see play (I don't think Austin Davis counts as that guy) if/when Bradford got hurt. It would give that younger guy a chance for some snaps to see if he can stick with the team.

The Rams are in the toughest division in the NFL. Don't they realize if they really want to compete they can't rely on Bradford so much? Why does this frustrate me so? It's just proof to me of how untouchable Jeff Fisher and Les Snead are. It's the third year of the Jeff Fisher era, where he is 14-17-1, is he really that cocky or unconcerned about his job security that he felt comfortable relying on Shaun Hill as the backup if/when Bradford gets injured? I guess he knows his buddies in the media will go to bat for him. Can't be on the hot seat if no one reports that he is on the hot seat.

October 2014:

q. Tre Mason. Not a lot to like about how the Rams are playing as we approach midseason, but the rookie has a burst and some power to him, as shown against Seattle.

Team...on...the...rise. See, no one should accuse Jeff "8-8" Fisher of not knowing what he's doing. The Rams drafted Isaiah Pead in the second round, then drafted Zac Stacy in the fifth round and pretended to want to play him, but Fisher really was sandbagging and wanted to have Tre Mason be the starter. It's just like how Fisher made idiots like me think he had built his team around Sam Bradford when that wasn't AT ALL his plan. He was really getting ready to build the team around the Rams' third-string quarterback, Austin Davis, and wanted to mask his plan by starting Sam Bradford and signing Shaun Hill to be Bradford's backup.

Another running back that Peter describes as having "speed/burst and power" because that's what Jeff Fisher wants in a running back. Of course, we will later learn Peter doesn't believe the Rams ever found the right running back until Todd Gurley came along. Despite the fact his words (at the time) said differently about Mason and Zac Stacy.

November 2014: 

b. Austin Davis continues to show he belongs, and not just as roster filler.

Look Jeff, Peter tried to hype these guys up. It's not for lack of trying.

November 2014: 

For the record, with all of the mayhem around Robert Griffin III and his fate in Washington, here is what the St. Louis Rams received in return for trading the second overall pick to Washington so Washington could select Griffin in 2012. Turns out to be an 8-for-1 trade, with five starting players (as of today) but no superstars harvested by Rams GM Les Snead. But any team that thought it had its long-term starting quarterback (as St. Louis did with Sam Bradford in the spring of 2012, pre-double-knee-injury) in the house would absolutely have made the trade if told this: Trading the number two overall pick will yield five starting players three seasons down the line. Amazing, to me, that as it turns out, St. Louis traded the number two overall pick in 2012, and got the number two overall pick in 2014—and seven more choices:

Again Jeff, Peter tried to hype your team up as if you were geniuses robbing other NFL teams for draft picks to build up a soon-to-be-great team. Jeff, you blew it.

And just because the Rams got "starters" out of the draft picks doesn't mean those "starters" would start for a team that could actually make the playoffs.

December 2014:

9. I think Rams owner Stan Kroenke must be thinking (though how would we know what he thinks—the man never speaks) this after the team’s 11th straight non-winning season:

Why am I paying Jeff Fisher $8 million per year and not getting good results?

Of course not! It's not Fisher's fault and isn't Les Snead's fault and certainly isn't Kevin Demoff's fault. Nothing is.

I empathize with Jeff Fisher never having a good quarterback situation to deal with.

Really? You empathize with Fisher that he and Les Snead have chosen to do nothing with the quarterback position and continue to rely on Sam Bradford, a guy the Rams aren't even certain should be the quarterback of the future, to be the starter going into the season with little competition for his job? The conscious choice to waste the time and money of Rams fans by relying on a player who consistently can't stay healthy, you empathize with Jeff Fisher about that? I personally think decisions like that are why coaches and GM's get fired. There would be a good quarterback situation to deal with if Fisher and Snead had not relied on Austin Davis and Shaun Hill to be the options at quarterback if Bradford got injured.

April 2015: 

One big problem: coach Jeff Fisher was against drafting Young.

Jeff Fisher is never wrong and you take it back right now.

Still, Young often made me look pretty good. He was offensive rookie of the year. He made two Pro Bowls. He went 30-17 as Tennessee's starter.

And that's really what this is all about isn't it? Which quarterbacks made Skip look good and which quarterbacks didn't make Skip look good. Vince Young did have success for a while, but this doesn't mean Skip was right about him. I think Mario Williams was the right pick for the Texans. 

But predictably, he often clashed with Fisher. It appeared Fisher helped turn some in the local and national media against Young. His skin grew thin.

This is a reminder that Jeff Fisher didn't want to draft one of the two quarterbacks he actually had some semblance of success with as a head coach. This feels important to me.

June 2015:

St. Louis has been dying for a franchise running back. Since Steven Jackson left for Atlanta two years ago—and even before, actually; the Rams thought Jackson was declining in 2012—coach Jeff Fisher has wanted a back like Gurley.

It sounds like the Rams are a team on the rise. Next stop, Jeff Fisher's first playoff win in a decade. You can feel the tension in excitement in Los Angeles St. Louis as the team is ready to finally be the team on the rise that Jeff Fisher has always promised they would be. Jeff Fisher has always wanted a running back like Todd Gurley and he finally has him.

Fisher is a throwback coach.

"Throwback" meaning "Go back in the past to find where he has been successful, but only pay attention to the seasons where his team made the playoffs and ignore the vast majority of the seasons where his team had a .500 or losing record."

Most of the league craves an offense with a 60-40 pass-run split. Fisher would love it to be 50-50, or even 55-45 run. He likes to play offense with a back capable of wearing down defenses with long drives early in games and eating the clock in the fourth quarter.

And yet, it's taken Fisher four years to get to that point with the Rams. It must be nice to have such job security to know as a head coach you have four years to get the team you are coaching to resemble the team you would like it to resemble. I'm hard on Jeff Fisher, but at no point does Peter King acknowledge that Fisher has had three full seasons to get the Rams team how he wants it and has so far seemingly failed to do so? Why is this not a relevant point? Peter presents it as Fisher accomplishing the equivalent of a coup to get Todd Gurley so the Rams team can run it's offense how he wants it to. IT TOOK THREE FUCKING YEARS THOUGH! Why? Is this not a question that should be asked while up the organization's butt hole for drafting Gurley? What took so fucking long? It's the same thing as the quarterback position for the Rams. I feel miserable for Rams fans to have a coaching staff that seems happy to dick around for a few seasons knowing there is job security.

There are quite a few times I noticed in MMQB (as I was reviewing them for this post) that Peter referred to Zac Stacy as "the type of running back Jeff Fisher loves." So as I said earlier, it seems Peter will just forget he said that and keep moving the goalposts for Fisher, as if he had no control over which players the Rams drafted.

October 2015:

Now we know why Gurley went 10th

I'm not smart at all, but I knew why already. He's a stud. You know what I'm going to say about the Rams. Team on the rise! Give Jeff Fisher that contract extension and it's all downhill from there. I mean, uphill, it's all uphill. Wait, if it is "downhill" then that means things are bad, right? But going "uphill" means things are more difficult. Now I'm confused. Just give Jeff Fisher a contract extension.

“I got one game ball!” St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said in the Rams’ locker room. “Where’s 30? Thirty! Come up!”

Fisher handed Gurley, No. 30, the football.

“This is just the beginning,” Fisher said.


(The Rams pack up their bags and leave for Los Angeles)

(Shrugs) It happened, right?

Now the reign of Jeff Fisher as an NFL head coach is least until a team like the Jacksonville Jaguars wants a head coach with experience and inexplicably hires him at a salary of $7 million per season. Let's hope this doesn't happen. Actually, maybe I should hope for it to happen, as it is good for the jokes.

I'll try to make the gap between posts shorter in the future.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

0 comments Ian O'Connor Spills Some Nonsense about Brock Osweiler

Of all the things to bring me back to post something, it's an article by Ian O'Connor about Brock Osweiler. I don't have a strong opinion on O'Connor and really have no strong opinion on Osweiler either. Yet, here I am. Ian O'Connor thinks Osweiler made a mistake by leaving the Broncos. I think this is a ridiculous opinion knowing the facts as they happened.

1. Gary Kubiak only played Osweiler during the 2015 season when the Broncos' original starting quarterback, Peyton Manning, could not play due to injury.

2. As soon as Manning could play and Osweiler struggled, and remember Manning was a 39 year old noodle-armed quarterback at the time, Kubiak played Manning over Osweiler.

3. The Broncos didn't give Osweiler much consideration when he was a free agent, until the rumors he might leave started up and then they offered him $45 million over 3 years or 4 years at $64 million, depending on what you believe.

4. All indications are that Osweiler was "wanted" by the Broncos, but not really wanted. NFL teams are desperate for quarterbacks and so a young quarterback isn't treated like this if the organization REALLY thinks he's the long-term guy.

5. So Osweiler got $8 to $27 million and one more year (depending on what you believe) in a contract from the Texans, while the Broncos got to start Trevor Siemian over the guy they drafted in the first round, Paxton Lynch.

6. Indications {based on (a) how the Broncos kept Siemian around last year when they already had Manning and Osweiler and (b) this year started Siemian based solely on performance} are that if Osweiler came back to Denver, there is a chance he may not have even started. Clearly, Gary Kubiak likes Trevor Siemian.

But anyway, dumb move by Osweiler to get paid a lot of money and become a starter...or so says O'Connor. It's not like NFL players want to make as much money as possible and get playing time or anything. It's not like the NFL has non-guaranteed contracts either.

If success is determined only by the size of your bank account, then Brock Osweiler is your man. 

Success for an NFL quarterback is determined (partially) by three things:

1. Size of your bank account.

2. How many Super Bowl trophies you have.

3. Individual awards you have received.

Though it's fun to ignore, Osweiler now has success with two of these three things. I would bet Ian O'Connor might get pissed off if ESPN decides they want to cut his pay. Or would he? Because he wouldn't want to be one of those people who thinks success is determined by the size of his bank account. We know O'Connor would never leave ESPN if another company offered him more money. He's too principled for that.

He was offered an $18 million wage to work for the Houston Texans and a $16 million wage to work for the Denver Broncos, and he took the extra loot.

What O'Connor neglects is Osweiler was offered $2 million less (I thought it was $3 million less) over a period of several years to work for the Broncos. Also, the guarantees in the Broncos contract could have been different because NFL contracts aren't 100% guaranteed. But let's pretend O'Connor is simply ignoring this in a desperate attempt to help prove his point and not because he doesn't understand how NFL contracts work. He works for ESPN, so there is no way he is simplifying a complex issue. 

But we all know that happiness and prosperity in life, even in pro football, are often defined by things that have nothing to do with dollars and cents. Take championship rings, for instance. How much money do you think Dan Marino would give back if it meant adding a Super Bowl title to his otherwise staggering legacy?

Honestly, I think Dan Marino is perfectly fine with his legacy that doesn't include a Super Bowl ring. More importantly, Brock Osweiler HAS a Super Bowl ring. He won a Super Bowl ring last year, so it's staggering to me that Ian O'Connor ignores Osweiler has a Super Bowl ring and doesn't have to go chase one. He's won his Super Bowl and now wants to be a starter. Comparing Brock Osweiler to Dan Marino is stupid anyway.

More importantly, I think the issue is being confused here. The issue, as I see it and how everyone else should see it, isn't that Osweiler chose to be the starter in Houston over being the starter in Denver. Osweiler chose to take more money to be the starter in Houston as opposed to taking less money in Denver and compete for the starting job. What, O'Connor really thinks the Broncos and Kubiak had no clue what they had in Trevor Siemian? They just kept him as a 7th round pick on the roster when there were other more experienced quarterbacks out there and got lucky he has ended up being a capable starter (so far)? There is a reason, and Osweiler also knew the reason, the Broncos weren't tripping over themselves to outbid other teams for Osweiler. It's because they liked Siemian and they thought he could be the starter for them this year or in the future.

So Osweiler took more money to be a guaranteed starter after sitting behind another quarterback for four seasons. O'Connor wants the reader to believe the Broncos saw Osweiler as a starter, yet immediately benched him when a slightly better, older, less permanent quarterback option was presented? The Broncos then waited around to see if the better, older, less permanent quarterback would retire or not, while knowing it could affect their ability to re-sign Osweiler. Then when that better, older, less permanent option retired they saw Osweiler as a starter so much that they didn't really exert themselves to re-sign him. Don't be thick for the purpose of a column. Osweiler isn't very good, but he's not very good while being the starter for the Texans and making more money. The Broncos just didn't value Osweiler as much as he thought they should.

Osweiler sure had to be thinking that way Monday night, when the Broncos made the NBA-sized quarterback look smaller than the fine ink in his $72 million deal. ''

Maybe he was. Maybe he was upset that he didn't get to play with such a great defense. Maybe he was mad at himself for blowing a chance to be a starter on a playoff team. Or maybe he was mad he didn't play well, but understood that he probably wasn't going to be the starter in Denver long-term anyway so he's glad he got paid.

Osweiler was all over the place with his passes, and the Broncos hit him hard on or after delivery every chance they got. Osweiler yelled at wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, a much better football player than the quarterback, after one throw to nowhere.

The fact Hopkins is a better football player than Osweiler is very irrelevant. It's not a criticism of Osweiler necessarily. The list of players on the Broncos roster who are better than Trevor Siemian goes at least 10 players deep. If Siemian yells at one of them, then it doesn't mean much. Osweiler was awful against the Broncos, but pointing out a hierarchy of vocal criticism is silly. 

Talib was asked at his locker if the Broncos were motivated not only to end their surprising, two-game losing streak but also by a desire to prove to Osweiler that he shouldn't have left.

"Definitely, definitely," the cornerback said. "We know he looked up at those passing yards in the fourth quarter. And maybe it wouldn't have looked like that if he had stayed."

I mean, it wouldn't have happened if he had stayed because he wouldn't have had to play such a great defense. Unless the Broncos defense started playing defense for the Texans the lack of passing yards by Osweiler against the Broncos definitely would not have happened if he played for the Broncos. There is a chance Osweiler would be on the bench and have less money if he had stayed with the Broncos too. Let's just keep ignoring that though. 

"We knew that he struggles with disguises," Ward said. "We'd seen that from playing here and the film, so we tried to do that. We started kind of slow in the beginning, but we got better as the game went on, and it affected him."

And if Osweiler played for any other NFL team, outside of the Broncos, opposing defenses would never have studied film and seen he struggles with disguises. The Broncos have the only competent defense and defensive coordinator in the NFL and Osweiler would have thrived if he played for the Broncos. I guess this is the assumption to be made. 

Not much didn't affect Osweiler in this game, and that might've had the Broncos wondering if they should've tried to re-sign him after all. But Elway did want him, and he drafted him in the second round to someday lead the franchise the same year he signed Peyton Manning.

Elway wanted Osweiler, but it's almost like the Broncos didn't want Osweiler as much as O'Connor portrays here. 

Osweiler slammed that door in his former boss' famous face, and that was a worse decision than any he made Monday.

This is overstating what Osweiler did by choosing to sign with a different team after the Broncos didn't offer him a contract he felt reflected his talent. Osweiler sat behind Peyton Manning for 3.5 years and then was pulled in the third quarter of a Week 17 game once Manning was healthy, after having gone 6-2 as the starter. The writing was on the wall, especially combined with the fact the Broncos didn't rush to lock Osweiler up when he could be a free agent, that the Broncos were pretty "blah" on him. The Broncos correctly evaluated Osweiler, that he wasn't going to be a quality NFL starter. But yeah, Osweiler "slammed that door" in Elway's face, right? How dare he attempt to improve his career and bank account.

O'Brien and Smith definitely know what they are doing, and they definitely understood that they were taking a big, fat gamble on an athletic, 6-foot-8 kid with seven career starts to his name.

Actually, if O'Connor did any research at all before regurgitating this column then he would know O'Brien didn't even meet Osweiler prior to the Texans signing him. So they "definitely knew what they are doing" and "they definitely understood" the "big, fat gamble" they were taking? I'm not entirely convinced. 

But what in the world was Osweiler thinking when he left this near-perfect situation in Denver? For that matter, what in the world was his super-agent, Jimmy Sexton, thinking?

"I want to earn a large commission and get my client set for life." --- exactly what Jimmy Sexton was thinking.

"Denver may not want me as their starter judging by their actions since Week 17 and I can be the starter in Houston." --- exactly what Brock Osweiler was thinking.

Osweiler walked out on that program because he said he fit better in O'Brien's system.

How did that fit work out Monday?

Two issues I see here:

1. It can't be ignored that the Broncos have a really, really good defense. They make good quarterbacks look not-so-good. Osweiler isn't a good quarterback, but when seeing how the "fit" of the Texans offense worked out on Monday, the quality of the Broncos' defense must be acknowledged as well.

2. Osweiler said he fit O'Brien's system because he isn't going to say, "Man, I don't think this system is going to work for me" after getting paid $72 million to run the offensive system.

This may come as a shock to Ian O'Connor, but athletes (falls into his fainting chair) don't always tell the truth and/or their deepest thoughts to the media.

Even so, Osweiler should still be the Broncos' starter -- not the less talented Trevor Siemian --

You can tell I take exception to this contention. Isn't it possible Osweiler wouldn't be successful in Denver and eventually be replaced by Trevor Siemian? It's not like Gary Kubiak didn't see both quarterbacks in practice every day or anything. So if/when Osweiler struggles, O'Connor doesn't think Osweiler would be benched (again, by the way) and replaced by Siemian? At that point, Osweiler certainly isn't getting a good deal on the free agent market IF the Broncos even decided to release him. He was the backup for 3.5 years in Denver. That's a long time for a competitive athlete to sit.

Osweiler isn't Derek Anderson, Matt Moore, Mark Sanchez or any of the other backup quarterbacks who got a chance to start and realize that's not where their value to an NFL team may lie. Osweiler hasn't gotten a chance to start and he wanted that I presume. I can't figure out why it's assumed Osweiler would (a) not be a bad starter in Denver and (b) would be the starter in Denver no matter what.

and the quarterback's representative, Sexton, has to take a hit for that. Too often, agents confuse the richest deal with the best deal.

I can't imagine a scenario where Osweiler getting the most money and being the definitive starter wasn't the best deal for Osweiler. I also can't imagine a scenario where Osweiler would play worlds better for the Broncos than he has with the Texans. 

If Sexton's client is telling the truth when he says his benching late last season for a returning Manning didn't drive him out, then what was the deal?

Again, this may come as a shock to Ian O'Connor, but athletes (falls into his fainting chair yet again) don't always tell the truth and/or their deepest thoughts to the media. So Osweiler is being diplomatic and not burning bridges by stating it wasn't the late season benching that drove him away. In truth, it doesn't matter. The deal probably was that he wanted to be a starter. Now he is.

This isn't to say Osweiler won't develop into a pretty good player in this league. He beat the unbeaten Patriots last season, and he delivered a thrilling comeback against the Colts last week, and he made a sweet, third-and-8 run against Denver in the third quarter.

He's been a backup for 3.5 years. If he's going to develop into a pretty good player, then it has to start happening fairly soon. Osweiler understands this, which is why he went out and got paid when he had the chance to go out and get paid. This is as opposed to being a member of the Broncos, a successful team, yes, but also a team that committed to him in the same way I commit to writing regularly on this blog. Sure, that is what they would like to have happen in theory...unless something else comes along of course.

As he headed for his car after this sweetest of October victories, a smiling Elway stopped near a stadium barrier to mingle with players' family members and others looking for photos. He always walks -- or hobbles -- with his shoulders pinned back and his barrel chest puffed out. It seemed on this night that his chest was puffed out an extra inch or two.

It feels good to win a game and show a decision Elway made was the right decision. Couldn't Elway feel good that he chose to not fully commit to Osweiler and instead give Trevor Siemian a shot? Isn't it possible Elway's chest-puffing is not from getting back at a quarterback who spurned him, but showing his evaluation of that quarterback as not being the future starter of the Broncos was the correct evaluation? In this scenario, isn't it possible Osweiler would have ruined his chance to be a starter had he re-signed with the Broncos? 

Why not? It was painfully clear that Brock Osweiler, former Bronco, had put his money on the wrong horse.

Ignoring this painfully bad last sentence, this is also a horribly confused sentence. Osweiler didn't put any money on the wrong horse because he received the money. If anything, the Texans put money on the wrong horse, though their alternative may not have been any better. So it's clear the Broncos put money on the correct horse, at least in the short-term. See, the Texans HAVE the money to put on a quarterback, while Osweiler is the guy who received the money from the Texans.

The correct sentence here should be written as, "Why not? It was painfully clear the Broncos put their money on the correct horse."

Osweiler has a Super Bowl ring and wanted to be a starter. It's not a mistake that he made, but an attempt to be a definite NFL starter and make the most money possible. End of story.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

0 comments MMQB Review: It's Passe Edition

What do you know? I read MMQB again, so here I am writing. Funny how that works. Peter was up to Peter King-esque types of things the last time I covered MMQB. You can probably guess what those sorts of things were. He lost his phone after putting it down in a crowded airport bathroom, wrote a haiku, and congratulated a horse on his accomplishments. This week Peter reveals Mr. Ed's real name was not Mr. Ed. And yeah, there is still an awful haiku.

So the news of the NFL week starts in Charlotte, where owners begin gathering tonight for the annual quickie spring meeting

For God's sake, use the correct gender-assigned bathroom. We don't need no trouble these days.

(24 hours for these impatient billionaires), and by sundown Tuesday we’ll have three new Super Bowl cities. 

The owners are building three new cities to host the Super Bowl? Who the hell says "Rome wasn't built in a day," because the NFL owners are building three cities in one day.

Super Bowl 54, February 2020: South Florida over Los Angeles and Tampa Bay. The truth is the NFL would love to give the Super Bowl capping the league’s first century to the city where the first Super Bowl was played, Los Angeles. It could happen. But the Rams would really prefer to not be preparing for a Super Bowl in the first season the new stadium in Inglewood is operational.

This is Peter's prediction of who gets the Super Bowl. The Rams agreed to do "Hard Knocks" and kept who the #1 overall pick was under wraps to keep the drama going, so of course it makes sense for them to be able to dictate WHEN they host the Super Bowl over the other cities that just want to host the Super Bowl at any point it is convenient for the NFL to allow that city to do so.

Rules the owners will consider in Charlotte

Video study on sidelines during games. Currently, teams can look at still images on their Microsoft Surfaces on sidelines during games, or on images faxed from the press box the old-fashioned way. Last year, during a few preseason games and the Pro Bowls, coaches and quarterbacks could watch video on the Surfaces, and the players and coaches loved it.

Sam Bradford LOVED being able to watch "Dexter" on the sidelines while the Eagles defense was on the field. He just wished the defense could have done more to stay on the field longer so he wouldn't have gotten constantly interrupted and ended up having to go back on the field. But hey, he's a competitor, so he cherished the chance to be paid. Plus, play quarterback. That was important too.

One hour has been set aside at the meetings so the league can discuss the next wave of research and funding for player health and safety …

One whole hour! These owners have employees who are suffering from early dementia and dying from playing football, but they are kind enough to dedicate an hour to seeing if any of this stuff can be further prevented. I imagine this hour is really like the last session prior to lunch at most conferences. The presenter flies through the slides and gets the attendees out to lunch early, so most of the time dedicated to discussing player health is spent eating cubes of cheese and bitching about there being too much sugar in the tea.

Now this is downright strange. The NFL is investigating the by-the-book Ravens for violating one of the simplest and clearest rules in the collective bargaining agreement: practicing in pads during their rookie minicamp.

It's so strange the public perception of an NFL team doesn't quite match reality 100% of the time. HOW COULD THIS BE?

I would be surprised if the Ravens get docked one of their precious mid-round draft picks; the team has had the most compensatory picks in the league since the system was instituted in 1994. Usually the punishment for such violations is a diminution of spring practice time and a fine for the offending parties—either the team or the coach or both.

Now if the NFL had heard the Ravens were using slightly deflated footballs AND practicing with pads on? That's a heavy fine and loss of a first round draft pick. Or possibly Joe Flacco would be executed in the town square. It's totally up to the Ravens. The NFL doesn't want to appear heavy-handed.

The Washington Post last week published results of a poll of 504 of the country’s 5.4 million Native Americans—in all 50 states and the District of Columbia—that found:

Ninety percent of those polled said the nickname of Washington’s NFL franchise does not bother them. Only 9 percent said the nickname bothered them, with 1 percent undecided or with no opinion.

Seventy-three percent said the word Redskin is not disrespectful.

Okay … but what of the 21 percent, the 106 (approximately) of the 504 Native Americans polled who do find the name disrespectful?

These 21% of people are in what's known as "the minority," which means "not the majority" and we live in a country where, in general, "majority rules." You can always find something that a few people consider disrespectful, which doesn't mean their feelings should be ignored, but it also doesn't mean this minority should be catered to. If the Redskins changed their name, what about the 79% who don't find the name disrespectful. They no longer count? 

I personally don't give a crap if the Redskins change their name or not. I'm not Native American and have no real feelings one way or another. I try not to tell others how they should/should not feel. I'm offended by things people say or do, but it doesn't mean my minority opinion should be the majority or catered to. More importantly, and I think this is important, many of the same people writing about the Redskins team name change are more prone to favoring the name change given their political affiliation.

The media is more liberal, so it makes sense that a more liberal point of view (changing the Redskins name) would be over-represented when talking about the potential name change. But I can't emphasize enough how little of an opinion I have about this issue. If Native Americans really find it offensive, change it. If Native Americans don't care and the Washington Redskins organization doesn't want to change it, leave it as it is.

The NFL’s Incredible Shrinking Stat: touchdown numbers for running backs.

Adrian Peterson has 97, and there’s little doubt he’ll become the 10th back in history to rush for at least 100 touchdowns; in fact, this year, he could catch Jim Brown, number five on the list with 105.

But after that, there’s a long fall to the number two active touchdown runner: The Colts’ Frank Gore, 33 years old, enters the season with 70 career rushing touchdowns. Number three on the active list is DeAngelo Williams, with 57.

Hmmmm...I am proposing there is a causation issue here.

The decline in emphasis on the running game is making the touchdown run passé. Find an offensive category in NFL history with only two of the top 50 players of all-time being active today.

I won't argue the emphasis on the running game has declined, but couldn't this statistic be the result of teams going away from a one running back system, more quarterbacks being considered "running" quarterbacks and the evolution of players who are considered goal line backs?

Here is an example and it may be a bad one. You can judge. Jonathan Stewart has 36 career rushing touchdowns. Cam Newton has 43 career rushing touchdowns. Mike Tolbert has 33 career rushing touchdowns. Maybe this is a special case, but does Stewart's 36 career touchdowns mean the touchdown run is becoming passe or when it gets to "1st/2nd/3rd-and-goal" short situations there are a variety of players in the Carolina offense that could get the carry? There isn't just one running back that gets the ball on the goal line. This is true for several NFL teams that don't have Adrian Peterson or another stud running back.

BenJarvus Green-Ellis has 42 career rushing touchdowns. That's more than Brian Westbrook, Christian Okoye,and Gale Sayers. He has often been used as the goal line back for the Patriots/Bengals. Brandon Jacobs is 47th all-time on the rushing touchdown list with 60 rushing touchdowns. Mike Alstott is 50th with 58 career rushing touchdowns, while Warrick Dunn is 73rd with 49 career rushing touchdowns. It's possible use of the running game is declining, but rushing touchdowns are often shared by multiple running backs. So I don't think a decline in the emphasis on the running game can be the only cause here.

Jon Runyan, appointed the NFL’s vice president of policy and rules administration (head of on-field discipline) last week, has had an interesting life. Fourth-round pick of the Houston Oilers, 1996. Many battles royale with Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan. Voted the No. 2 dirtiest player in the NFL by Sports Illustrated, 2006. Voted to two terms in U.S. Congress out of south Jersey starting in 2011.

My favorite factoid about him: During one phase of his career, Runyan would stop at a Starbucks drive-through on the way to games and order nine shots of espresso in a venti cup. And, of course, he’d sip it in the hours before a game. I bet he was a rip-snorter in first halfs.

Yes, Runyan probably did fart really loud all through the first half.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Two notes about air travel:

• Been stuck in a couple of long TSA lines (58 minutes at LaGuardia in April, but nothing approaching two hours) at American airports this spring, and I don’t have a lot of sympathy for the complaints about the inconvenience. That’s modern travel today. We live in a dangerous world, and you’re just going to have to accept getting to the airport two hours before your flight as a rule now. The alternative to significant inconvenience, I’m afraid, is much worse.

Given the fact Peter has a weekly section of MMQB dedicated to complaining about travel inconveniences, his condescension towards those who complain about waiting in line to get through security at an airport probably says more about him than any comment I could make would. It's nice how Peter understands know that even small inconveniences at the airport are worth the trade-off of ensuring each person flying through that airport stays safe. I wonder how long this message sticks with Peter?

• I was on an American Airlines flight from Kansas City to O’Hare the other day. A man walked down the aisle and into the row of his seat, and he bumped his head hard on the area right below the overhead bin, causing the underside of the bin to fly open. The guy was okay, looked at the yawning under-bin with wires hanging out, and figured he should probably just leave it alone. The flight attendant came by and said she’d alert maintenance. I’m thinking, Why don’t they just try to close the hatch themselves, before calling maintenance? But, you know, everything in the world can’t be left up to me. So we waited, and all the passengers boarded, and it was maybe 15 minutes before a maintenance fellow showed up. He took one look at it, carefully moved the under-bin piece back into place, made sure none of the wires would be pinched, and then closed it with a click. Took him seven seconds, max. But then, of course, “the proper paperwork” had to be filled out and signed off. Yes, the paperwork. The captain came on and said we’d be underway as soon as “the paperwork” was complete. Five minutes. Ten minutes. Fourteen minutes. “We’re just getting the paperwork completed, and we’ll be underway.” All in all, it was a 31-minute delay, to snap a bin shut and dutifully record it in some logbook.

One paragraph. It took one paragraph for Peter to go from "A little inconvenience is worth knowing you are a safe" to "I have no patience for any type of the delay that prevents me from getting to where I want to go in the fastest manner possible." I know Peter is railing against the paperwork involved, but just like TSA agents being present at security, this is about addressing and documenting a potential threat to the plane's security. It took one paragraph for Peter to turn away from his thought that the alternative to a significant inconvenience is much worse than that inconvenience.

It does sound ridiculous to have such a delay for a small issue. Peter misses the key issue here. The issue isn't whether the flight attendant can close the bin or not. Of course she could. Does Peter know where these wires attached to? Perhaps these were wires for the air that passengers can turn on during a flight, were part of the plane's lighting system or even were just wires that are required for some of the emergency buttons to light up. That's the point, that Peter has no clue what these wires do. One minute he's preaching patience through security, the next he just assumes wires hanging down from the under-bin can just be fixed by a flight attendant. It's just another day in the life of Peter King. He doesn't need to follow his own rules.

Ten Things I Think I Think

2. I think the four strangest things about the win-total over-unders for the 2016 season are:

c. Only five teams with a double-digit projection: Pats, Pack, Panthers, Steelers, Seahawks, all at 10.5.

Gregg Easterbrook would be PISSED if he saw these projections. I'm sure he would write, "How can a team win 0.5 of a game?" and then continue his ridiculous criticisms of these over-unders for the next two years until he mysteriously stops mentioning them like he never even brought it up after a reader points out why these over-unders do in fact make sense. 

d. Bovada likes Jameis and the Bucs, and the re-made Jags: 7.5 wins each … which is more than the over/under for the Eagles, Saints, Dolphins and Lions (7 apiece).


5. I think I did note that Brock Osweiler told our Jenny Vrentas he holds “no grudge” with the Denver Broncos, and while I’m not accusing him of not telling the truth, I retain the same feeling I’ve had since he left the Super Bowl champs for a lesser team: Something happened in Denver that Osweiler didn’t like and that led him to leave—the late-season benching perhaps. But something.

I would think the Brinks truck of money that the Texans backed up to Osweiler's door would make him feel better, but I guess not. Perhaps Osweiler is upset he spent four seasons on the bench, played fairly well when he got a chance, and then got benched for a noodle-armed quarterback who managed to throw for 539 yards over three full playoff games, while riding his defense to a Super Bowl victory and leading his offense to the worst performance by a winning team ever? Nope, I'm really not bitter, these are just the facts. I guess the fact the Broncos were historically bad offensively in the Super Bowl, then the team waited around for the well-past-his-prime quarterback who led the team to that historically bad performance to make a decision about retirement rather than give a "fair" contract offer to his backup who had waited four years for the opportunity and feels like he had proven he could do the job had something to do with the decision by Osweiler.

Maybe. That could be it. 

9. I think this will show my age. But no matter how quiet the Giants are about what Janoris Jenkins said to Paul Schwartz of the New York Post last week, about having five children with four women, none of whom is his wife, they cannot be happy with it. Said Jenkins: “When they were going with me, they understand, ‘OK, he’s a football player. He’s gonna have multiple women.’ That just comes with dating a football player.”

The Giants knew about Jenkins' children long before they signed him to a free agent contract this offseason. Isn't it weird how the Rams drafted Jenkins and Peter didn't really have much to say about the Rams drafting him when he has five children with four women? So the Rams, a team which Peter has significant ties, draft Jenkins and Peter goes out of his way to show the support system the Rams have in place for Jenkins to meet his parental obligations. The Giants sign Jenkins as a free agent and now all of a sudden Peter "shows his age" and thinks the Giants can't be happy about all these children he has. The Rams draft Jenkins, Peter shows how they have the support system for him, the Giants sign Jenkins and now all these kids are an issue. Weird how that works isn't it?

So, monogamy is either highly unusual or just wrong for a football player? 

Come on Peter. Jenkins' comments are dumb, but we all know how much ass professional athletes get. They travel all the time, they have's not the high point of morality, but after covering sports for this long you have to ask this question?

The establishment Giants owners, the Maras and Tisches, have to be gagging at the thought that for their football-playing employees, it’s expected that traditional families are passe.

I'm sure Steve Tisch, a man who has been married then divorced twice and has children with both of his ex-wives, is really up in arms about how traditional families are now passe. And who can forget this little fucking nugget from THIS VERY MMQB?:

u. To Laura King and Kim Zylker King: Happy First Anniversary! I hope the next 74 years together are as great as the first was.


Whatever will Peter's overlords at NBC think about him showing off how a traditional family is now passe? I'm sure whoever employs Peter's daughter is gagging at the thought of their employee giving the middle finger to the idea of a traditional family. Peter is just a clusterfuck of contradictions and lack of thought sometimes.

And what the hell is up with Peter using "passe" several times in this MMQB? Is this his word of the day or something?

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

c. Chris Sale is 9-0, and he’ll have two more starts before June 1. Imagine being 11-0 through a third of the season. Dare we mention Denny McLain?

You just did. Also, Peter will write "dare we mention Denny McLain" and then point out exactly why his own thought about mentioning Denny McLain in relation to Sale winning 30 games is probably not necessary. 

d. Denny McLain’s the last pitcher to win 30 games in a year (31-6, in 1968), and he won his 11th game on June 16, 1968. So there’s that. Not saying it’s anything but a remote possibility for Sale, because McLain started every fourth day. Generally, Sale starts every fifth or sixth day.

Also, the most games Sale has started in a season is 31. So he would have to essentially win every start while also getting a decision in every start he makes to win 30 games. It's hard enough to get a decision in every start, much less win every start. So yeah, 30 games isn't happening. Dare you mention Denny McLain though? 

j. Mr. Ed died in 1970. I have a quiz for you: Do you know Mr. Ed’s real name? I mean, it wasn’t “Mr. Ed.” Mr. Ed was Mr. Ed’s stage name.

Plus, and this is a very important point, it's a horse. So the horse didn't even know it had a stage name. Why would anyone assume "Mr. Ed" was the horse's name simply because it appeared on a show called "Mr. Ed"? I don't assume Hugh Laurie's name is "Gregory House" because he appears on a show called "House."

(Peter King) "Here is a nugget of trivia for you: The direwolf on 'Game of Thrones' is not named 'Ghost.' In fact, that direwolf's name is 'I'm a Special Effect.' I bet you didn't know that."

k. Real name:

“Bamboo Harvester.”

Though a horse named "Mr. Ed" did publicity shots after Bamboo Harvester's death in 1970. So Mr. Ed's real name actually was "Mr. Ed" for a period of time. 

l. Not much of an NBA guy, as you all know.

And, as you all know, this means an observation about the NBA will immediately follow this comment. Peter can't not make an observation about the NBA without first distancing himself from the sport completely so his readers know just how stupid his following observation truly will be. 

But has any team ever been set up for a draft the way the Celtics are? They pick 3, 16, 23, 31, 35, 45, 51, 58. There are 60 picks in the draft.

The odds of the Celtics ever using all of those picks is very, very, very low. Not to mention, the best two players in the draft also happen to be positions of need for the Celtics, so they are stuck with a perceived fall-off in talent after the first two picks, as well as a group of guards to choose from that doesn't appear to be an immediate need for them. Plus, the Celtics don't have depth issues. They have a very deep team, but they need a player they can build the team around and don't necessarily need more players. 

n. The Knicks once owned the seventh, ninth and 37th overall picks in the draft. Traded them all away.

Eh, not really. The Knicks never owned these specific picks in the 2016 draft. They owned two first round picks and a second round pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but it's not like they traded away the 7th, 9th, and 37th pick in the draft knowing those were the picks they had. The Knicks traded the 7th pick in 2011 in the Carmelo Anthony trade by allowing the Nuggets the option to switch 2016 first round picks. The Knicks traded the 9th pick in 2013 to the Raptors and the 37th pick has been through three teams and now I have a headache. My point is the Knicks didn't think they would be picking so high (low?) in the draft, so they didn't exactly trade these picks knowing where they would be picking in the 2016 NBA Draft. Still, it's awful team planning. No doubt. 

The Adieu Haiku

Ed, Wilbur: both dead.
Werder, don’t you dare change that
Twitter avatar

King, please for all that is wonderful and great in this life, in the name of the traditional family that you believe others want so badly even though they don't live the life of a traditional family and neither do you, stop writing haikus.

Dare to change that haiku.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

0 comments MMQB Review: Just a Mini-Review Edition

I truly have not read a full MMQB in a few months until I read the one for this week. If I read MMQB then I make time to write about it and that leaves less time for other shit. Besides, this is more of a mini-review really. It's probably for the best because it cuts out all the boring commentary I tend to add. See? I'm not gone. I'm still here. Now if I can just remember how I do the whole fisking thing...

Peter starts off with a story about Adrian Peterson helping Palenstine, Texas. They have been hit with severe flooding and so Peter asks about that, and of course he asks about football too. Despite the fact Peterson just wants to win a championship, (It's what he thinks of everyday!)

Everything in me is championship, championship and then breaking records. It’s a part of me. I am pushing myself to the max to win a Super Bowl, and then to break Emmitt’s record and Eric Dickerson’s [single-season rushing] record. It is my everyday life, what I think of every day. Mostly it’s that Super Bowl. Then the whole world will remember you.”

It seems Peterson likes to talk and think of person records every day as well, just more than he thinks about winning the Super Bowl. I give you these quotes.

At 31, he’s trying to stave off what time does to all running backs. Peterson said: “I honestly think I can do this, and do it at a high level, until I’m 40.”

They ask how he got into football, and my name came up. I watched Adrian Peterson, and I was a Vikings fan. The things I’ve been through and what I’ve overcome, it’s good to know I can inspire people and change people’s lives. Here I am, a kid who grew up in Palestine, Texas, and now lives in Minnesota, and there’s a guy in Germany who flips on YouTube one day and gets inspired by me, and now he gets to play alongside the individual that inspired him to get into football.

Peterson: “Not to be cocky or anything, but I know, at 31, my end is going to be better than my beginning. One thing I know, and will remain true: These young guys will never outwork me. I put my body through the grind. Just knowing how my body remains healthy, age is not really affecting me. It’s my mindset. I don’t get into the 30-year-old running-back thing, that you’re done at 30. I am getting stronger with age.

Peterson: “I can, but will I? Honestly, I don’t think I will. Mentally, I don’t know. Once I get to 38, I don’t think I’ll have the same love of the game. Sometimes I get tired of training camp. I think I can endure five more [camps], but after that, I don’t know.”

But really, he's focused on the Super Bowl right now. And no, he isn't helping Palenstine, Texas through the flooding because they supported him through his legal troubles over the past few years. It doesn't work that way. Peterson says it was "a given" that Palenstine would support him through his legal troubles. He doesn't need to pay the city back because their support for him was a given. I mean, they better support him after all he's done for them. Wait, that came out wrong.

Hey look, a Sam Bradford picture where it seems like he's not looking at where he's throwing the football while making a ridiculous face!

Sam Bradford has been locked in a dispute with the Eagles since the team traded up to draft a quarterback with the No. 2 pick.

(Sam Bradford): "No-look pass! Did you see that coach?"

(Doug Pederson) "You are benched Sam. There wasn't even a receiver on that side of the field."

(Sam Bradford pulls a money roll out of his uniform sleeve) "That's bullshit. When am I going to get a chance to prove what I can do? I'm holding out and not playing anymore until you make me the starter."

(Doug Pederson) "Okay, that's fine. You have been benched, so I don't care if you play during the games. Actually, I do not want you to play. That is why I just benched you. You will get fined for not showing up to pract---"

(Sam Bradford pulls a money roll out of his cleats and looks up in disbelief as Pederson talks to him) "Why would I not show up to practice? I love this team and I am dedicated to helping this team win games. I just want a chance for you to pay me a lot of money and then I get to show what I can do. If you don't pay me, how can I be expected to show you what I can do?"

(Doug Pederson) "You are still benched though."

(Sam Bradford) "But...I do still get all of my money, right? Plus, I mean, at some point...I get a shot to show what I can do, but my money will be there no matter what, right? I'm a competitor. I need my money."

“Riders up!”

—Saints coach Sean Payton, giving the traditional instructions to jockeys before Saturday’s Kentucky Derby.

Then Sean Payton pulled out a baseball bat and bashed in the leg of every horse except the one he bet on, while Drew Brees claimed to know absolutely nothing about this. It's a shock to him!

In his hometown of Palestine, Texas, Adrian Peterson sponsors and funds three select youth football teams. The youngest, the bantam team, wears uniforms with the maroon and white of Palestine High. The next, the junior team, wears the red and white of Peterson’s Oklahoma Sooners. The oldest team, the senior squad, wears the purple and white of his Minnesota Vikings.

Maybe if there ends up being a fourth team that Peterson sponsors then that team could wear black and blue uniforms, the same color that Peterson's children end up being when they misbehave.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Notes of the Week

So I was in Portland, Ore., for a couple of days last week. On my way out of town Thursday night, at the Portland airport (a fantastic, clean place with good food and drink),

I'm glad that's cleared up. I thought the Portland airport was a filthy, whorish place where there is a trough of human waste for passengers at the airport to drink from while they eat the remains of the dead birds found on planes that have landed. It's important when telling the story about losing a cell phone that Peter is clear he doesn't hate the airport. This isn't a "Marriott doesn't serve coffee until 6am" situation, but a "Peter is an idiot and set his phone down" situation. So there is no culpability on the part of the Portland airport. He won't call out the airport in his MMQB like he did to the Marriott. I'm not sure the Marriott has fully recovered from the vengeance Peter exacted upon it. 

I lost my cell phone. I was in a men’s room and put my phone down while washing my hands (it was sort of crowded in there),

So, because it was crowded in the restroom, Peter put his cell phone down. Is this what he means? If it weren't busy, he just would have held on to the phone?

"Boy, it's really busy in this airport. Maybe I'll set down my incredibly valuable list of contacts and phone numbers on this counter near water. That'll be real safe-like."

and I then used the air dryer on my hands for 15 to 20 seconds, and turned around and the phone was gone. Stupid me.

Okay, now I have several questions.

1. Why was the phone not in Peter's pocket?

2. If the phone was not in Peter's pocket, does this mean he was using the phone while taking a piss/shit? If so, whoever stole Peter's cell phone better sanitize the shit out of that thing.

3. Again, he put his phone down in a crowded bathroom and then TURNED HIS BACK TO THE PHONE? This was an intentional decision and not a desperate ploy to get his phone stolen?

4. I like how Peter clarified he was in "a" men's room, not "the" men's room. I enjoyed this. Don't ask why. As if maybe this wasn't a bathroom at all, but just a room for only men.

I looked in my backpack,

Fanny pack. Don't lie, Peter.

thinking maybe I’d put it there before going through security, though I was a pretty sure I hadn’t. Nothing. I looked on the floor and the counters and the tops of the air dryers. Nothing. If someone walked off with it, they were gone; the option was to either go out and yell in the terminal, “HEY! WHO STOLE MY PHONE?,” or to ask the nearest official-looking person about it. 

For someone who laid his phone down in a crowded bathroom and then turned his back on the phone, Peter recovered well.

"I know my options. Yell loudly at an airport terminal, which would gain the attention of passengers, employees and possibly the TSA agents or I can just ask someone if someone turned in a phone less than 30 seconds ago. You know what I'm going to do? I'll just follow this woman around the terminal and record her personal phone conversation in my notebook."

I said my cell phone had disappeared in the men’s room, and if someone turned it in, where would they turn it in? (Fruitless. Totally fruitless. But you want to try something, anything, when 1,433 phone numbers, luckily password-protected and saved in the cloud, get picked up by a stranger.)

I thought lost my phone in Vegas during a convention, so I can sympathize with Peter here. I was in a panic. Still, you can't just put your phone down in a bathroom.

LaGuardia to Minneapolis. Deep in coach.

Machine-gun laugher across the aisle, in the aisle seat.

Window-seat guy shows up. “Excuse me. I got the window seat.”

Machine-gun laugher: "Sure!”

Window-seat guy: “Thanks, buddy.”

 Machine-gun laugher: “Okay, bahahahahahahahahaha.”

Later, flight attendant comes by and asks choice of drink. He says seltzer. She asks if club soda is okay. He says, “Perfect.” With a soft, “Bahahahahahahaha!”

Machine-gun laugher: comfortable in his own laughter.

Peter King: comfortable in his own haughtiness.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the NFL-as-family thing, which has gotten badly beaten up in recent years, needs some resuscitation. So Roger Goodell sending brownies to Eli Apple’s mother and then the league leaking it and Tweeting about it … smart move. A bit over the top, but not bad.

I didn't hear about this story until now. So...this means to me Peter King is the leaker who is helping the NFL get good publicity. 

2. I think that’s a good extension by the Dolphins, signing pass-rusher Cam Wake through the end of the 2017 season. This is a player who’s overachieved for much of his career, averaging 10.8 sacks a year over the past six seasons—while missing 10 games over that period due to injury.

Has Wake overachieved if he has consistently played well over a six season period? Is that overachieving or simply just being a good football player?

This is why I can't read MMQB anymore. I semantics-to-death what Peter writes because sometimes he gets lazy mid-sentence.

3. I think Sam Bradford did the smart thing by reporting to the Eagles on Monday. He had zero support in any corner, and he was going to take a pasting for as long as he stayed away. Good move.

Great move by Bradford to stop being a baby and report to camp.

This is the life of Sam Bradford. He's made short of $90 million in his career while really not achieving too much, then he threatens to hold out of training camp and he gets complimented for not making a bad decision. It's like he can't go wrong.

Bradford could take hostages after he's robbed a bank. If he eventually let the hostages go without hurting them, he would be praised for the care he shows for his fellow man and allowed to keep the money he stole.

4. I think if I may leave a postscript on the inner workings of the Dallas draft room last week … So there’s been some stuff out there in the past few days that really doesn’t represent what happened in the draft room accurately.

Meaning: Jerry Jones called/emailed me and bitched about this, so I need to clear it up on his behalf.

6. I think grading a draft a day or two after it ends is asinine.

But making a power ranking of the best teams in the NFL during the upcoming season on June 1 is a stroke of writing genius. 

The two teams in the Super Bowl were #9 and #20 on the list.

7. I think I categorically agree with Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk: Any legitimacy of the NFL Network’s top 100 players is tarnished badly when Andrew Luck is “voted” number 92. How is Luck seven in 2015 and 92 in 2016? Because he got hurt last year? I pay scant attention to this thing anyway, but the Luck thing makes it certain I will pay it zero attention this year.

Yes, this completely and utterly opinion-based ranking that is made purely to get television ratings and to get people talking doesn't have legitimacy. Who would have thought it?

I'm glad Peter is standing up so strongly to the opinion-based sports industry. I presume this means he will be taking on the often-wrong opinion of Rodney Harrison while they work together on the NBC Sunday night football set? Or is that totally different?

8. I think this is one reason why Neil Hornsby and Pro Football Focus are pretty darned good: Last September, this is what Hornsby wrote about Jordan Reed, the up-and-coming tight end for Washington, for The MMQB: “It always surprises me no one seems to talk about Washington’s Jordan Reed. Drafted 22 places after [Kansas City’s Travis] Kelce, it often feels like Reed is an afterthought … Keep an eye on him because once Washington realizes what it has, he may not stay hidden much longer.”

Considering Jordan Reed has consistently been considered an outstanding talent that just can't seem to stay healthy, it's odd to me that Peter gives PFF credit for being all over Jordan Reed as a stroke of brilliance. Reed was not an afterthought, he was just injured a lot. His talent wasn't an issue ever. His health was always the question.

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

h. Seriously? May 9 and the Phillies four games over .500? How’d that happen?

They won enough games to where they were four games over .500.

The only thing predictable about sports is the expectation from sportswriters that sports will be predictable, followed by their disbelief when unpredictability ensues.

n. Beernerdness: In Oregon, tried the Crux Saison (Crux Fermentation Project, Bend, Ore.) on tap and wasn’t blown away, but liked it. The best thing was how incredibly fresh it tasted. Lighter than most Saisons I’ve had.

It was so incredibly fresh and lighter than most other Saisons that Peter put his phone on top of bar to run to the restroom, then he went across the street for a sandwich, and came back to find his phone gone.

p. Saw “Trainwreck.” I guess I’m about two years too late, or whatever. First reaction: LeBron James was really good, really natural, really clever.

LeBron was so clever it was almost like he didn't come up with the words he was saying during the movie. LeBron was so clever it almost seemed like there was a person who specifically told him what words to say and when to say them. Almost.

v. Congrats to Nyquist.

Yes, that cannot read nor has a clue it is being congratulated because it's an animal.

The Adieu Haiku

Justin Tuck is done.
Top player. Champ. Better guy.
Hire the man, Rog.

This was supposed to be a direct message to Roger Goodell on Twitter. Peter did the Commish a favor by not spoiling that the Rams were taking Jared Goff, so Goodell needs to hire Justin Tuck as a favor to Peter.

I wish this haiku was done. I think Peter only keeps them in MMQB out of spite at this point.