Showing posts with label Seattle Seahawks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Seattle Seahawks. Show all posts

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2 comments MMQB Review: Peyton Manning Breaking Records, Taking Pictures, Getting Asked Leading Questions by Peter Edition

Peter King marveled at the greatness of Aaron Rodgers in last week's MMQB, as well as complimented the Starbucks corporation for making great coffee. Peter discussed the Cowboys and how Jerry Jones thought he had put a good team together, but not good enough of a team that he didn't want to draft Johnny Manziel of course. This week Peter talks about Peyton Manning breaking the NFL touchdown pass record, discusses the Percy Harvin trade and how the Seahawks suck now (but doesn't brag about the Rams as much as I thought he might), why Drew Bledsoe leads the league in cuteness (but is still second to Russell Wilson in precociousness), and puts Drew Brees as his "Goat of the Week," for struggling on two drives when the blame could also be put on the Saints defense for giving up 14 points to the Lions in the fourth quarter. That's not how Peter works though. He mentions how the Carolina offense didn't do much in the first quarter against Green Bay, while failing to mention the Panthers were down 21-0 after the first quarter with zero turnovers committed. He's gotta put the blame where it really goes, which is always on a team's quarterback unless he wants the blame to go somewhere else.

In the Denver locker room Sunday night after his 246th NFL regular-season game, Peyton Manning asked, “Where’s Demaryius?”
 
Wide receiver Demaryius Thomas, someone said, was on his way out to the field to do an interview with NBC.
 
“We gotta get him back,” Manning said. “Get him back in here for a second.”

Thomas is doing an interview? Only Peyton Manning is allowed to be in front of a camera at all times! Peyton swears to God, if Demaryius starts doing commercials then he's not going to be re-signed after this season. He can go play with Eric Decker in New York. Why is Demaryius so vain that he has to constantly be on television, in commercials and doing interviews?

Someone went to intercept Thomas, and while he was being summoned, Manning found a blank piece of white paper in a notebook, wrote “509” on it with a black Sharpie and ripped the page out. He had a plan to commemorate setting the all-time touchdown-pass record with the 509th of his career, thrown in the second quarter to Thomas; Manning usually does have a plan. 

Now Thomas was back, and Manning posed with the ball, the piece of paper and the pass-catcher for the record-breaking touchdown pass. You know, like the old days. When Wilt Chamberlain scored 100 points in an NBA game in 1962, he wrote “100” on a piece of white paper and held it up for the cameras.

See, that's a common misconception. Wilt Chamberlain was actually holding up the number of women that he had slept with in the past week, not how many points he scored in the game where he scored 100 points.

We’ll have time for the rest of the news of Week 7—the Detroit Lions winning with defense, Seattle continuing its puzzling slide,

When you run into the buzz saw that is a Jeff Fisher-led team then an embarrassing loss should be expected.

but we open in the car with Peyton Manning, as he drove home after one of the great nights of his football life … and that is saying something.

That is saying something. It's bittersweet for Peter. He likes Peyton Manning a lot, like more than one human should like another human, but he loves Brett Favre a lot more. It's like watching one child beat another child in a tennis match. Peter now knows how Richard Williams feels watching his daughters battle it out in the finals of Wimbledon.

There is no logic for what we’re seeing now: Peyton Manning, 38, veteran of four neck surgeries just three years ago, breaking a hallowed NFL record for career touchdown passes, and doing it at the top of his game. How is that possible? I don’t know—it just is. We’re seeing it. Manning is playing better in Denver at 36, 37 and 38 than he did when he was supposed to be in his prime.

I know, it's crazy. Remember back in the late 90's and early 2000's when baseball players were doing absurd things and older baseball players seemed to only get better as they got older? Man, that was crazy! It's almost like those baseball players defied the odds and all sense of reason as to why they were getting better as they got older.

Peyton Manning obviously isn't using some sort of PED to become a better football player, but I like the dichotomy of a baseball player who gets better as he gets older probably being accused of using PED's, but it's just accepted that Manning is getting better as he gets older. I know Manning isn't using PED's, but the point is if you switch what Peter is saying about Manning and pretend he is saying it about a baseball player during the Steroid Era, it sounds familiar and omnious.

Then Peter compares Manning's numbers with the Colts and Broncos, which show that Manning is better with the Broncos in terms of the numbers he puts up per game.

It is obviously a much smaller sample, but the numbers are stark. He has a deeper roster of wideouts to work with (four first-rate ones in Denver versus two in Indianapolis) and, though he loved and trusted Dallas Clark, there’s no question a superstar tight end is growing in Denver in Julius Thomas. One thing Indy had over Denver, though—running back Edgerrin James. He was better than the cast Manning has had to work with on the Broncos.

Let's also admit the rule changes that have further protected the quarterback from injury and changes to the rules that have opened up the NFL to becoming more of a passing league. Defenders are barely allowed to fight for a pass or pass interference is called now and that wasn't true for the majority of the time Manning played with the Colts.

“I can’t … I don’t know, really,’’ he said. “But I will say, possibly, that when I started back after my neck surgeries, I started back with the basics. The absolute fundamentals. I worked with [Duke coach and former Manning college coach] David Cutcliffe, and we went back to ground zero with everything I did. So I think my fundamentals all got sharper, and that could be a reason why this is happening now. But I don’t know.”

Wow, you mean sort of like a baseball player who has a new swing and that's why he is hitting all of those home runs now? He broke down his swing in the offseason, made a few adjustments and now he is on pace to hit 40+ home runs when his previous career-high was 23.

It's a fun game! Manning isn't a cheater, he's a great quarterback, but there are so many fun parallels to what baseball players said during the Steroid Era when discussing Manning playing at a high level in his late 30's.

Did you see Colin Kaepernick, who was 10 when Manning was drafted, smile broadly when Manning passed Brett Favre for the record in the second quarter? And did you see Niners rookie pass-rusher Aaron Lynch, who was 5 when Manning was drafted, smile and tap Manning on the helmet with a way-to-go when he broke it?

No, I did not. I had seen enough blowouts for one day. There was no need to watch one team I don't care about blow out another team I don't care about.

Okay, I did see Manning break the record, but then turned the channel back to "The Walking Dead."

507: A three-yard pass to Emmanuel Sanders, running a shallow cross just past the goal line, midway through the first quarter. Sanders used umpire Mark Pellis for a screen; the Niners cover guy, Dontae Johnson, ran into Pellis, fell down, and there was Sanders, wide open. “I didn’t know about that till I was looking at the pictures of the play back on the bench,” Manning said. “That’s not what the design was. We weren’t using the ref for a screen.”

Of course not, Peyton. You would never intentionally use the umpire as a screen. Ever. It just so happened a play was called where Sanders ran a shallow cross right across the area where the umpire was standing and the umpire was kind enough to help out Manning in a situation where he didn't need help.

Not to make another baseball parallel, but imagine the outrage if an umpire got in the way of a fielder during a rundown on the basepaths or prevented the catcher from making a tag because he was in the field of play and the catcher had to go around the umpire to get the baseball? The outrage would be insane. In football, it's just accepted the officials get in the way sometimes.

Thomas and the boys played keepaway with the ball, which looked so cute on TV—

Oh my God, I know! It was SO cute! It was precocious, cute, infantile but in a good way, and just showed how much fun these Broncos like to have! It was a super-dreamy and fun way to celebrate Manning's victory.

“Well, sort of,” said Manning. “We were playing around on Saturday, and they were doing it to me then, and of course I am the stiff and I can’t keep up, but I didn’t think in the game they would actually do it.

But did they do it? DID THEY PETER?
 
They did it.

Then Peter was all like, "So CUTE!"

“You haven’t wanted to talk about the individual part of this,” I said. “But you’re at the top of the mountain now. You’re such a student of history, that’s got to mean something to you, to have more touchdown passes than anyone else who’s ever played pro football. Right?”

Great question, Peter. And by "great question" I mean "that's not even close to a question and more is like an example of a question asked by Chris Farley on 'The Chris Farley Show' which should probably ashame you a little bit."

"So Peyton, we have talked about your football record you just set, but we haven't talked about YOU (twirls his hair). So this has to mean something to you because you are one of the greatest quarterbacks ever and no one else can claim they have the record because you worked so hard for it and I know it meant just SO MUCH to you to break this record. I mean, you are better than anyone else in NFL history at throwing touchdowns and that means a lot and is an example of what a great quarterback you are and probably one of the best quarterbacks in the world (twirls hair again). I mean, right?"

“This is the kind of record I’m only going to have temporarily,” he said, but I got the feeling he was trying to be a bit self-deprecating here.

Not sure this is self-deprecating there, Peter. Peyton isn't undervaluing his abilities, just acknowledging the changes in the game of football that would lead to another quarterback soon breaking the record like he broke the record soon after Favre held it. Dictionary fail.

“I just hope whoever breaks it years from now has an appreciation for history, and for quarterbacks.”

He probably won't have an appreciation for history and quarterbacks. Most likely it will be some asshole who doesn't even like quarterbacks.

The Lions are not held hostage by Calvin Johnson anymore.

That’s not a slap at Johnson, obviously one of the best players in football. But over the years, quarterback Matthew Stafford has become so dependent on Johnson, and the rest of the team so sure that Johnson would bail the Lions out of trouble, that the crutch has hurt the development of the franchise.

It helps that the Lions have invested in wide receivers alongside Johnson, and I say negative things about Jim Caldwell, but he's pretty good at coordinating an offense.

This year Johnson has been out for two games, and he has barely played in two others, because of a sprained ankle. Detroit is 3-1 in those four games, for three reasons: Stafford has found other weapons to use, the defense is really good, and the new coach, Jim Caldwell, doesn’t stand for any excuses.

Well that, and again, the Lions have invested heavily in giving Stafford offensive weapons. But like the Cowboys are better because it's a new Tony Romo, I'm sure the offense of the Lions plays well without Johnson simply because Caldwell doesn't like excuses.

The Lions have had a good front seven for the last couple of years. But a leaky secondary has killed them—

I know that feeling.

The Lions finished last season on a 1-6 run that cost Jim Schwartz his coaching job. In all six of those losses Detroit gave up the tying or winning points after the start of the fourth quarter. That has turned around this year. Detroit has the stingiest defense in football through seven weeks, the only team allowing less than 300 yards per game. On Sunday, Quin told his defensive mates down the stretch: “We’re the No. 1 defense. Play like it.” And they did, limiting Drew Brees to a stunning 2-for-10 on the last two fruitless Saint drives.

I'm not trying to take anything away from the Lions, but the teams they have played so far are ranked 15th, 11th, 17th, 19th, 6th, 14th, and 22nd. It's not like they have played offensive juggernauts quite yet. They have played nearly every middle-of-the-pack offensive team, so I still question whether they are a good defense or not.

But there’s a lot of respect for Caldwell in the building, from the people executive offices to the guys who clean the floors. And last week he took the beat writers out for a three-hour dinner, and non-football topics were not only suggested but encouraged. A three-hour dinner, in the middle of a game week, with the media. Land sakes alive, coach! Stop being so human!

There you go. Jim Caldwell knows how to play the game. Get in good with the media and they won't write bad things about you. They'll remember that steak dinner you purchased them and maybe ease off you a little bit. Also, this whole "He took beat writers out for dinner" story takes on a whole new meaning if the Lions are 2-5 and not 5-2. When/If things go bad, people are going to say, "Why is Caldwell wasting time going to dinner when he should be fixing his team?" Winning fixes everything.

Three thoughts about the Percy Harvin deal.

Only three thoughts? 

And I won't get started again (okay, I will) about these stories of Harvin misbehaving and acting like an ass in Seattle. Where are these stories that NFL sportswriters were fond of relaying Friday night earlier in the year? These sportswriters sit on so much information, then proudly puff their chest out when the story breaks by saying, "This is what I heard six months ago happened." Good for you. Report on it at the time or you don't get credit for knowing this information.

2. The coaches are happy. First: Harvin should have produced better than he did. And who knows? Maybe he would have over time. But Seattle won last year with a strong running game and a regular NFL passing game out of multiple sets and with a quarterback in the pocket and on the move. With Harvin in the game, the Seahawks were getting too cute, playing too horizontally—because they viewed him as a Jet Sweep, bubble screen, get-the-ball-in-space-and-make-something-happen player, not a regular wide receiver. If you’ve got a Lamborghini, you don’t keep it in the garage; you drive it.

Great analogy, Peter. If you have a Lamborghini like Percy Harvin, you make sure it's not broken before driving it.

If you’re offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell, you don’t want to produce a game plan every week thinking, “Well, I’ve got to make sure I don’t tick off Harvin this week, so I have to account for that when I’m making decisions.”

Sure, I agree. But if you are Darrell Bevell then you also realize your team is in the lower third of the NFL in offense and it makes sense to get the football to your best, most explosive players when given the chance. Why wouldn't part of the game plan be to get the ball to Percy Harvin? This wouldn't be the first time an offensive coordinator has ensured part of his game plan is to get the ball to his best player early in the game. It's part of the deal. Just because a team has a receiver who wants the ball early and wants to be a part of the game plan doesn't mean that player should be traded. The issue becomes when that player's need for the football overrides his utility to the team.

3. The Jets did the right thing; this is a good experiment for them. For the last nine games of the season New York owes Harvin $6.47 million. That’s the last bit of money in this contract the Jets are obligated to pay him. I doubt this wakes Harvin up, and if it doesn’t, the Jets can say goodbye on Dec. 29, the day after the season, and figure, Well, we gave it a shot.

(Bengoodfella can't hold himself back) Josh Freeman. What about Josh Freeman, Peter? He got paid $2 million and then the Vikings could get rid of him after the last day of the season. Couldn't the Vikings have just gotten rid of Freeman like they did and figure "Well, we gave it a shot"? So why the weekly descriptions of what a waste of human flesh Josh Freeman was for Minnesota?

I will never get over this. In terms of a sportswriter completely overreacting to a player's performance, Peter takes the cake with his weekly rages against Josh Freeman. Yet, here he is perfectly fine with the Jets paying Harvin three times what Freeman made and being all chill about the Jets just giving up a draft pick and not keeping Harvin around next year. But when the Vikings sign Freeman and didn't give up a pick, Peter wanted everyone to know what a jerk Freeman was for not performing at a high level for Minnesota.

As for the Seahawks, I think they’ll work their way out of their rut (2-3 since opening night), but only if they protect Wilson better, make some holes for Lynch and get invaluable linebacker Bobby Wagner back from injury soon. They probably would have won Sunday in St. Louis had they played even a D-plus game on special teams instead of an F-minus.

The Jeff Fisher Era everyone!

“We have to have everyone take a breath.”

But inside the locker room, before it was opened to the press, anger spilled out for outsiders to hear. “Do your job!’’ was one of the milder ventings. The Bears continue to get flashes of brilliance but stretches of careless, turnover-plagued play from quarterback Jay Cutler, who reminds me of a more cavalier Brett Favre with the ball.

Well, Cutler has quite a few more interceptions to catch up with Favre, but he also has quite a few more touchdowns to get to the total Favre accumulated as well. The good news is that Skip Bayless probably likes Cutler again, because Cutler is being careless with the football.

It looks as though the NFL could take two paths to a new personal conduct policy: one for players, and one for all other NFL employees, including owners.

It will be a pretty easy to understand new personal conduct policy. The owners can do whatever the fuck they want to do without any repercussions, while the players can not. It's fair and doesn't punish owners like Jerry Jones who settled a sexual assault case in mediation for accusations that would get an NFL player suspended or put on the super-special commissioner's list for players who did bad things and nobody has a clue whether to punish the player or not so he will just stay on this exempt list.

I am told there is likely to be one onerous part of the policy for NFL personnel—from owners to administrative assistants—that hasn’t existed before. The NFL could well adopt a policy similar to some police departments and other public-service sectors. If an employee is charged with a serious crime, such as happened in the case of Colts owner Jimmy Irsay, the league could put the employee or owner on paid administrative leave, pending the outcome of the case.

But what if the employee or owner "has a problem" and that's why he committed the serious crime? How will this new personnel policy treat the owners like they have a problem that needs help, while in the same situation treating players like assholes who just need to stop driving drunk?

The Fine Fifteen

Assorted NFL teams placed in orderly fashion as chosen through a random process of Peter King's opinion!

1. Dallas (6-1). Tony Romo is completing 69 percent, DeMarco Murray is on pace to rush for 2,087 yards, and the Cowboys can play defense. Life is darn good in Dallas.

It's almost like there is a correlation between all three of these things.

6. Green Bay (5-2). Really, three through eight here can be put in any order. You pick.

Or since you are the one who writes the column and insists on including a Fine Fifteen, how about you pick?

10. Baltimore (5-2). Won five of six, and scored 29 (Sunday), 38 and 48 in three of those game. Which is good when you’re giving up an average of 14 points in the same span. It’s fairly incredible that all of this is happening to a team that was supposed to be ripped asunder by the Ray Rice scandal.

I'm not even sure who said the Ravens would be ripped asunder by the Ray Rice scandal. It sounds like Peter is making this up in order to create a narrative to place alongside the Ravens playing well at the current time.

12. Seattle (3-3). I don’t know what this team is right now. I do know the Seahawks are 2-3 in the last five games, and allowing 25 points per game, and playing like that is going to get the Seahawks homebound in January. Which would be a mild upset.

Peter probably shouldn't overreact to this. The Seahawks lost to the #1 team in his Fine Fifteen and then played on the road against the Rams during a week with a lot of team turmoil. I can't wait until the Seahawks go 11-5 and Peter will ask if we remember when "everyone was counting the Seahawks out" after the Percy Harvin trade.

So has Peter found the answer yet as to whether Russell Wilson sweats or not? I feel like Wilson does sweat, but I want a definitive answer from Peter.

15. Cincinnati (3-2-1). And fading very, very fast.

And Andy Dalton STILL hasn't won a playoff game. Be sure to mention this.

Goat of the Week
 
Drew Brees, quarterback, New Orleans. Brees had the Saints up 23-10 late at Detroit. The Lions scored once to make it 23-17, and Brees went incompletion-incompletion-interception.

I don't think I would defend Brees too much here, but it's a bit much to call him the "Goat of the Week." Brees wasn't at-fault for the defense allowing the Saints to march 90 yards on six plays the possession prior to this interception. He was obviously at-fault for the interception he threw, but if the Saints defense has stepped up and held the Lions to a field goal instead of a touchdown, then the Saints still win the game.

On the ensuing series, Brees’ first four passes were incomplete, then he completed two for seven yards, and then he threw an incompletion on fourth down. It’s not often, if ever, that Brees, in the clutch over two series, would go 2 of 10 with a passer rating of 0.0, but he did here, and it cost New Orleans dearly.

It's just a bit much to call Brees a "Goat" when he went 28-45 with 342 yards. He did throw the interception, but there wasn't another NFL player who had a worse performance this past week?

“You’re playing against a coordinator out there.”
 
—San Francisco safety Eric Reid, after Peyton Manning shredded the Niners for four touchdowns, including the NFL record-breaking 509th career TD pass.

Adam Gase is offended at the idea he isn't the true offensive coordinator for the Broncos. Look at what a hot coaching candidate he is!

“Hopefully we got windows on that son of a b—-.”
 
—Arizona coach Bruce Arians, on the team buses the club will use in Oakland. Arians was reminded on Friday that the fans in Oakland, the site of the Cardinals’ game on Sunday, threw eggs at the Chargers’ team buses last Sunday.
Arians loves to say that “SOB” phrase.

Fascinating, Peter. Just fascinating. There's nothing sportswriters like more than a coach who curses and seems like a real character. They like it almost as much as they like free snacks in the pressbox.

Stats of the Week
 
These from the Percy Harvin file:

Real quick change of the subject...would Gregg Easterbrook consider this to be a mega-trade for Percy Harvin? I'm guessing he would and he will bring the Vikings-Seahawks trade that brought Harvin to Seattle as a reason mega-trades don't work in TMQ. I'm trying to steel myself for this.

For those eight games, the Seahawks paid Harvin $19.03 million, and they paid the Vikings first-, third- and seventh-round picks.

But that $2 million the Vikings gave Josh Freeman just to sit the bench.....man, Peter wakes up in the middle of the night and rages against Freeman for stealing money like he did. How dare Freeman help to get Peter's buddy Greg Schiano fired like that!

Chip Kelly Wisdom of the Week

(Yawns) Peter is still doing this? He is still pretending that Chip Kelly is a coach who has tons of interesting things to say that readers of MMQB can't wait to have Peter relay to them? A lot of what Kelly says sounds like dressed-up coachspeak to me.

Kelly, captured by NFL Films on the sidelines of the Giants-Eagles game eight days ago:
 
“We got a good group of guys, don’t we? Culture wins football games. Culture beats scheme every time.”
 
Eighteen words that tell the story of Chip Kelly the football coach right there.

Yes, it does Peter. Chip Kelly, who is known for his innovative offensive schemes, thinks that culture beats scheme every time. I'm betting there is a discussion of DeSean Jackson in here somewhere, but Peter will expect some other sportswriter to lead that discussion. He prefers to stand in awe at the words out of Chip Kelly's mouth rather than analyze what these words might mean in regard to a well-covered story from this past summer. It's Peter's job to fawn, not connect dots.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Or, as I call it, the story of how Peter King dropped hints to a complete stranger and used his celebrity to get tickets to a Royals playoff game.

The fellow next to me at the bar was rooting for the Royals, and I looked over and saw his boarding pass with “MCI”, the Kansas City airport abbreviation, and so we struck up a conversation. Lance Baughman was his name; a lawyer from Kansas City with Royals season tickets held by his firm

So then Peter thought, "How can I drop a hint that I want to attend a Royals game?"

He wanted to know what I did, and I told him, and said I was going to Kansas City to do a story there with the Chiefs. So we settled in, watched the game and talked.

"I'm Peter King. I'm a well-known sportswriter who writes a weekly column about the NFL and can get your name mentioned in the column to give you and your law firm free publicity if you will just find a way to score me Royals tickets."

I'm kidding, Peter didn't say that. He just hoped the hints he dropped would lead to free tickets to a Royals game.

I told him if I got done with my meetings with the Chiefs in time for the late-afternoon game the next day that I would try to StubHub a ticket late and go. We exchanged numbers and boarded the plane, going our separate ways.

There's the hint drop that Peter wants a Royals ticket, and then he exchanged numbers with the guy, since apparently Peter needs this guy's phone number to purchase a ticket on StubHub? Of course not! Peter wants a free ticket.

When we landed, Lance Baughman sent me a text. Seems his partner couldn’t make the game the next day, and would I be interested in attending the game with his partner’s grown son?

(Lance calls his partner) "Hey, I just met Peter King from THE MMQB at a bar. He wants to go to a Royals game. Can you give him your ticket for tomorrow?"

(Lance's partner) "Well, you know my son wanted to go that game with me pretty badly. It's an important game in the history of the franchise and I would love to experience it with my son who I love very much."

(Lance) "Free publicity. He'll mention my name in the column if we do this I bet. Well, I don't bet, Peter literally said, 'I sure would like to go to the game and would mention someone's name in MMQB if they gave me a ticket.' I think he was hinting at it pretty hard."

(Lance's partner) "Fine, give him the ticket, but be sure he mentions your name AND my name."

(Lance) "Have you ever read anything written by Peter King? He'll name-drop us. He loves free shit and the NFL and NFL teams use him as a patsy when they feel like they can."

(Lance's partner) "Get it done then. Just say I have an important meeting to attend."

Well, what a swell offer.

Golly gee! Peter thinks he is being self-deprecating right now.

I just had to be sure I could make it the next day, and when we texted the next morning, I was sure I could. So I met Adam Wright, son of Baughman’s law partner Roger Wright, and we spent a very pleasant afternoon watching the Royals win their first pennant in 29 years. How incredibly nice of Lance Baughman and Roger Wright.

Yes, very nice of them. Of all the people who could have been given this ticket, it's so nice of them to give it to a complete stranger and not one of the countless other individuals that live in the Kansas City area, are big Kansas City Royals fans and are people who Adam Wright might personally know better and would enjoy attending the game with. Weird how that works, isn't it?

Postscript: Every time on Wednesday afternoon that I stood up to stretch or look around between innings, I scanned the stands at Kauffman Stadium, and I couldn’t find an empty seat. This was not a crowd there to be seen or to go get food and beer over and over; this was a celebration of baseball, and the 40,468 in the house would be damned if they were going to miss a pitch. So good to see.

It's almost like the Royals have had a shitty team for a while and the crowd was anxious to see a winning team play. I'm sure Peter described the crowd as very Fenway-esque and mention Lorenzo Cain plays centerfield like Jacoby Ellsbury, while Salvador Perez reminds him of a younger Jason Varitek.


The ex-QB on Saturday night, presumably before the big event. That, Drew Bledsoe, leads the league in cuteness.

It leads the league in cuteness, but is in second place for precociousness. I'm not sure there is a sportswriter alive that uses the word "cute" or "precocious" as much as Peter King does. He absolutely adores taking grown men and describing their behavior in child-like terms.

The sad news for Bledsoe is that immediately after taking this picture he sprained his ankle on a rock, but Tom Brady stepped in and took Bledsoe's daughter on a much hotter date for the Father Daughter Dance. Bledsoe then took his other daughter on a Father Daughter date, but it wasn't really the same ever again.

Ten Things I Think I Think

Peter thinks he sure would like a World Series ticket. He guesses he'll just go on StubHub here in a minute and see if he can find a ticket, though he's not confident...if only someone had an extra one.

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 7:

b. Drew Brees, with 19 straight first-half completions against a rising-star defense in Detroit.

GOAT OF THE WEEK!

e. I love the referees being able to talk—through wireless communications—with the field officials on things like pass interference.

Golly, the NFL is so smart with their innovations and constant forward-thinking. By the way, has anyone gotten to the bottom of whether Roger Goodell lied or not when he said he had not seen the Ray Rice video? It slowly fades away...

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.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 7:

d. Jets tight end Jace Amaro’s steel girders for hands.

I'm pretty sure NFL players aren't allowed to play with steel girders for hands. That seems illegal in some fashion and would result in a fine.

g. Come on, Jets: I know you’re the house organ, but you’re telling me you can’t ask Percy Harvin even one pertinent question?

This is a strong take coming from Peter, a guy well-known for his "You are the greatest ever, right? So how does that feel?" line of questioning or if he wants to be more hard-hitting, he may ask a question like "You were kicked out of the league for murdering 10 people, tell me one thing people don't know about you."

m. Carolina, down 21-0, third-and-one at its 33 to try to get something, anything, going … and then Jonathan Stewart is stoned at the line of scrimmage. Rapidly becoming a lost season for the Panthers.

Yes, it is. By the way the Panthers are 1.5 games ahead in first place of the NFC South right now. So it's a lost season, but they are the team in the NFC South outrunning the bear right now. 

n. Oh, and Cam Newton’s first-quarter stats at Green Bay: 0-for-2. And Carolina’s yardage in the first quarter: five.

Here's another interesting statistic. Green Bay was up 21-0 after the first quarter and the Panthers offense had the ball for about five minutes. Not that the Panthers offense, led by Newton have an excuse, but it really would have helped an offense with four undrafted free agents on the offensive line to not have the Packers ahead by 20+ points after the first quarter. At least the Panthers defense should have pretended to do their jobs. But yeah, Cam was bad in the first quarter, lay the blame there. Seems fair.

3. I think the tremendous NFL Network interview with Brett Favre on Sunday took me back to so many of the conversations I had with Favre—

His gruff, yet tender voice. The way he plays with his beard while he talks in a cute little way. So precocious, like he's almost not aware he does it.

because the word “interview” with Favre is really misleading. You’d go into a talk with him thinking you’d want to ask him about X number of topics, and invariably you’d veer off into some tributary you never expected.

But then Peter would get the urge to veer off into another tributary no one expected them to veer into. But it wasn't right then and it wouldn't be right now. What would Deanna say? What would the kids do? Why would Uncle Pete do this to them?

He’d be tough to deal with today, in the atmosphere of tight schedules for superstars, where a 10-minute window with a big star is generous. So many times 15 minutes became 115 minutes, and he was fine with that. That’s what I saw between Favre and Steve Mariucci on Sunday. You can say, “Well, Mariucci coached him and they’re good friends.” True—but I’ve seen it with Favre and people he didn’t even know very well.

And we know Peter would NEVER just vouch for Favre because he likes him. Also, I would argue that Favre loves the spotlight, so any time he gets to talk to someone who can put him on television and remind everyone watching that he still exists, Favre will talk as long and much as he wants in an effort to keep that spotlight on him.

5. I think Percy Harvin needs to talk to Brandon Marshall about whatever it is that ails Harvin. And it is apparent something does. Marshall, until being diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder in 2011, was widely viewed as a very good football player who simply couldn’t control his emotions, and those emotions were ruining his football career and wreaking havoc with his ability to live a normal life.

Apparently Peter King thinks that Brandon Marshall is a psychologist now. Also, Harvin would have to admit that something ails him, or there would actually have to be something ailing him for Harvin, to speak with Marshall and it have any positive effect.

I don’t know what Harvin’s story is. 

It seems Peter King does know what Harvin's story is since he seems to believe Harvin has a personality disorder and needs to speak with Brandon Marshall in order to find out the best way to treat this disorder. Peter doesn't know what Harvin's story is, but he knows enough to suggest it could be a personality disorder.

But if he blows this chance with the Jets because he can’t control his emotions, his football gravy train might be over.

Harvin is fast and talented. As long as he doesn't commit a crime and get suspended by the NFL there will usually be teams willing to take him on as a challenge.

6. I think it’s pretty easy to talk about the futility of the Bucs and focus on the inability of the defense to stop anything in its wake; Tampa has allowed 56, 24, 37 and 48 points in the past four games. But that is masking an equal problem on the other side of the ball. The Bucs have a startling number of negative plays on offense. I missed this display of offensive futility last week in the column, but with the Bucs on the bye Sunday, I wanted to bring it to your attention today.

Because in last week's MMQB, it was more important for Peter to write all the other filler that's non-NFL related than it was to discuss the Buccaneers' offensive problems. Priorities.

9. I think if you want to know why so many details about Percy Harvin’s sordid time with Seattle never surfaced until the weekend trade to the Jets, I believe it has much to do with the culture of the locker room—and specifically the culture of Pete Carroll’s locker room.

It also has to do with sportswriters who were aware of these issues never reported on them. I know this because less than hour after the trade, there were NFL sportswriters being all "Yeah, Harvin was a pain and didn't get along with teammates" regarding the trade on Twitter. So maybe the details weren't immediately mentioned, but it was obvious there was some knowledge among those paid to cover the NFL and the Seahawks about Harvin not being the best of teammate.

For proof, see the Harvin-Golden Tate fight before the Super Bowl. It even extended to Tate once he left for Detroit in free-agency and was no longer beholden to honor the code of locker-room silence in Seattle. He never broke the code as a Lion. After the story was reported by the Seattle Times on Friday, it was confirmed in many spaces over the next 36 hours,

Yeah, it was confirmed, but there were tales of a fight that just simply never went explored. I know this because the story of a possible Harvin-Tate fight was reported shortly after he was traded. Apparently these reporters, who seemed to be familiar with the story, didn't feel the need to confirm the story prior to Harvin's trade when they had originally heard tell of such a fight. I guess it's not fun to report on a Harvin-Tate fight when one of the players is still on the Seahawks team.

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

e. The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant! The Giants win the pennant!

f. They’re going crazy! They’re going crazy! Whoaaaaaa-oh!

I'm really glad Peter took the time to include these thoughts in MMQB. Very insightful.

i. Giants in seven. But I don’t feel particularly confident about it.

Considering I am betting Peter couldn't have named three players on either team prior to the playoffs starting, I can understand his lack of confidence.

j. If I were building a baseball team this offseason, and if I could spend relatively the same per year, combined, for Andrew Miller, Pat Neshek and Yovani Gallardo (or a starting pitcher in the $10-million-a-year range) as I could for, say, Jon Lester, I’d opt for the first option.

This is a moot point because Gallardo probably won't be a free agent, but Jon Lester is going to want around $22 million or so per season in his next contract. Gallardo was paid a little under $8 million this year and the way the free agent market is set up for starting pitchers he will probably want $13 million per year (which is what the Brewers team has an option for, so he won't even be a free agent). Edward Mujica got $9.5 million over two years, so Neshek will probably want about $5 million per year. The market for a lefty like Andrew Miller is probably about $7-$10 million per year, so that puts the total spent on these three players at $25 million at a minimum. So I would agree with Peter these three players may be preferable to Lester, but it doesn't matter really because these three players couldn't be signed for what Lester wants over one season.

q. Enjoyed the story by Richard Sandomir of the New York Times on plummeting baseball ratings despite the thrilling postseason. Amazing to think that, in 1982, 49.9 million people watched a World Series game between small-market teams St. Louis and Milwaukee … and, 32 years later, a Game Two playoff cliffhanger between Los Angeles and St. Louis was seen by 1.77 million people on MLB Network.

And in 1982, the highest-rated television shows got much higher ratings than the highest-rated television shows in 2014 receive. There is more programming to distract a viewer in 2014 and baseball hasn't become appointment television. Statistics showing the decline in viewership of baseball games is an old story, but isn't necessarily indicative of baseball dying. There's many, many more options for viewers of television in 2014 than there was in 1982.

The Adieu Haiku

Could Luck pass Manning?
He’s four hundred forty-five
behind. (All heads shake.)


Why does it have to be Andrew Luck? Aaron Rodgers has 206 career touchdown passes and he's only 30 years old. Eh, Andrew Luck will probably break Manning's record because it would be a convenient narrative that the guy who followed Manning in Indianapolis would pass him for career touchdown passes. "We" all love convenient narratives. 

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

10 comments MMQB Review: It's a New Week With No Outcomes For "Us" To Overreact To Edition

Peter King seemed to have Bill Simmons ghostwrite MMQB last week. He was using many of Bill's techniques (saying "we," gushing about Tom Brady, using overly-specific percentages) that he often uses in his writing. Maybe during his three week vacation Bill decided he would try to spice up MMQB. Peter also told us that "we" overreacted in burying the Patriots and that Russell Wilson not only used to be a bully and was in fact the John Stockton of bullying in high school. This week Peter officially permits Cleveland to get excited, is shocked by who he puts at #1 in his Fine Fifteen (only Peter King could be douchy enough to be shocked at his personal choices...I imagine he sits at the dinner table staring at his food sometimes saying, "I am in disbelief I ordered the chicken tonight. I don't know what happened that caused this."), and marvels over the genius of Aaron Rodgers. Oh, and Peter found a really good pumpkin ale. So alert the authorities and tell breweries they are now officially allowed to keep brewing pumpkin ale now that Peter has found one he enjoys.

And also, there was a tie game in the NFL on Sunday. It's not terribly interesting, but since they don't happen that often it deserves maybe more than a passing mention, no? Apparently not. Peter is going to talk about that game in the Tuesday mailbag. This is one of the issues that plagues MMQB. It's a bloated column that isn't about the NFL. It's about Peter King. As he has done multiple times before, Peter leaves out coverage of some NFL games or events that happened on the weekend in favor of quotes, Tweets and an entire page of Peter's personal thoughts. MMQB is about Peter King, not the NFL.

I’ve got a lot to say about the insanity of this season,

This is the craziest NFL season since the last NFL season and there probably won't be another INSANE NFL season like this one until next year.

But the top of the Week 6 column belongs to the Cleveland Browns.

What a privilege for the Browns. They take the top of the Week 6 column in MMQB. Peter ever-so-briefly has stopped discussing the coffee-related issues involved with traveling and giving his readers great Tweets from the past week to do his job and write about the NFL. AND he is writing about the Browns first. He deserves a thank you note, Browns fans.

The contending, competent, fun, just-might-be-for-real Cleveland Browns.

I really liked the Browns coming into this season. I didn't think they would be this good, but they are a team...wait for it...here it comes...on the rise! I've always thought Brian Hoyer was competent at playing quarterback and it's amazing how a decent team with a competent quarterback can win games.

One factoid before I go there, to tell you that no matter how much you know about football, you actually do not know jack.

Neither do you, big boy. This would be a good time to say "we" don't know much about football, but as usual like Bill Simmons, when Peter is wrong "we" are wrong, but when he doesn't want to be seen as wrong it's just "us" who are wrong. Also, no one knows anything about any sport because human beings are incapable of predicting the future. So yes, no one knows anything. Glad you get paid seven figures to state the obvious.

Remember opening night, Sept. 4?

I don't Peter, only you are smart enough to recall events from over a month ago. We will find out in a bit that Peter can't recall events from two years ago, but events from a month ago are fresh in Peter's mind.

Seahawks 36, Packers 16, and the story line for the next week was something like this: Yeah, we know no one ever repeats in the NFL, but this year’s different. Seattle’s unstoppable. No weaknesses. Everyone who didn’t pick Seattle to repeat, change your picks now.

What's ironic about Peter talking about everyone overreacting to Seattle's win over the Packers on opening night is that he is now overreacting to a loss by the Seahawks at home against the Cowboys. Yes, the storyline about how Seattle looks good to repeat isn't necessarily dead. They are a good team. They could go 7-1 at home, and then if they go 5-3 on the road, then that is a 12-4 record which gives them a chance of homefield advantage in the playoffs. All is not lost, don't overreact.

Seattle since the opener:

Record: 2-2.
Points scored: 97.
Points allowed: 97.


Five weeks from now Peter is going to be writing, "Remember when we all thought the Seahawks were going to go 8-8 and miss the playoffs? Well, they are 8-2 now and have the best record in the NFC." The Seahawks' next five games are against the Raiders, Panthers, Chiefs, Rams, and Giants. Two of those games are at home and three are on the road. All is not lost. Peter should not start rubbing it in his readers' faces that they thought Seattle could repeat quite yet.

When’s the last time things broke right for the Browns? I mean, really broke right. And 2007, when the Browns won 10 games, really doesn’t count, because it was a fool’s gold kind of season; the Browns won 4, 5, 5, 4, 5 and 4 games in the six seasons to follow.

So doesn't that mean things broke right for the Browns on that season because a team that shouldn't have won 10 games did win 10 games and made the playoffs? Isn't that how something "breaking right" works? Things go right and allow a team to do better than they should be doing?

Not to say this 3-2 start signals anything permanent, or that Brian Hoyer is Kurt Warner reincarnated. But it’s going to take some getting used to, the Browns looking like a respectable NFL franchise.

"Not that the 3-2 record means anything at all, but here is the conclusion I am jumping to and then will accuse my readers of jumping to the conclusion when it ends up wrong." 

As he spoke, Pettine was parked outside defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil’s house. Seems that O’Neil has a newly constructed bar in the home he’s recently moved into. “I’m going to help him break in that bar tonight,” Pettine said. Deservedly so. But he didn’t seem in any rush to get off the phone.

It's because you are such a good conversationalist, Peter.

Brian Hoyer, the native son, had another efficient game, and it’s becoming clear the Browns are comfortable with him managing the game because he doesn’t make the kind of killer decisions that most inexperienced passers do.

Again, like I feel about Kyle Orton, it's amazing how a competent quarterback can help a team stay in games and even win a few games.

Northern teams have to be able to run to win, and this one can. Hoyer’s running the ship so well that the immense story of the summer—When will Johnny Manziel take over the starting job?—has turned into an afterthought now.

All teams need to run the ball, not just Northern teams. Also, it was Peter and his friends in the media who were pushing that "When will Manziel take over?" story. Few others who aren't infatuated with covering Manziel cared.

“Brian is the best example of a guy who’s confident because of his preparation,” said Pettine. “He learned in the Tom Brady school of preparation. [Hoyer was a New England backup from 2009 to ’11.] I doubt there’s a better person to learn from.

Well, he could learn better from Mike Vick if he did the opposite of everything Vick does to prepare for a game.

“The big part of the success for me is that the success we’re having now cements the buy-in by the players. When I got here, when this new staff got here, these guys didn’t have a lot of reasons to trust us. New staff. Not a very well-known head coach. Radical change on both sides of the ball. 

If anything, I would think because there are big chances on both sides of the ball, the Browns players would trust the new coaching staff more. It's not like there was a history of success that Pettine was ruining or anything like that. No offense to Browns fans, and I think they would agree, not continuing the same path that has led to failure is a good thing.

The injuries: defensive lineman Armonty Bryant suffered a knee injury, and Pettine said he’s likely gone for the year. Pro Bowl center Alex Mack, an ironman of the highest order, 

And the same player who Peter worked really hard to get out of Cleveland this past offseason by using his relationship with Marvin Demoff to lay out nearly the exact contract a team would have to offer in order to get the Browns to not match. It's one of Peter's more shameless moments over the past year. He used his connections to pimp out one of his agent's clients on behalf of that agent.

Not having Mack at center was a culture shock for the Browns. Since being drafted in 2009, Mack had played every snap of every Browns game—4,556 offensive plays—until the injury in the middle of the second quarter.

So perspective suitors, start lining up for Mack now just in case the Browns ever release him! Peter will have the exact details of the next contract Mack will want in a MMQB during the offseason, just as soon as Marvin Demoff provides the information and orders Peter help drum up interest in the market for Mack.

Now, about things breaking right … check out the schedule Cleveland has before a Thursday night date at Cincinnati in early November that could have quite a bit of playoff meaning:

Sun., Oct. 19: at Jacksonville (0-6)
Sun, Oct. 26: vs. Oakland (0-5)
Sun, Nov. 2: vs. Tampa Bay  (1-5)


Again, the schedule breaking right is another reason the Browns' 2007 season involved things breaking right for the team. 2007 does count.

But if you thought LeBron coming home was going to be the only bit of good Cleveland sports news this year, it looks like you’d be wrong.

Yes, "we" would be wrong! I'm so glad Peter knows what "we" are thinking about the Browns and how because he didn't think the team would be competitive no else thought they would be competitive either. How could anyone have knowledge of anything NFL-related without Peter having that knowledge as well? If Peter is wrong, "we" are all wrong too.

The greatest workhorse back in NFL history is Emmitt Smith, who had nearly 600 carries more than any other player in history when he retired in 2004. So it seemed sensible to compare one workhorse Cowboy to another in the wake of Murray’s sixth straight 100-yard game to start the season, a 115-yard job against the best rush defense in the league, Seattle.

There's symmetry here! Quick, create a narrative! Sure, DeMarco Murray has never had more than 217 carries in a season or participated in 16 games in a season, but he's a workhorse back now just like Emmitt Smith. I can't wait three weeks from now when Peter tells "us" that "we" thought Murray could last the whole season, but "we" were wrong to compare him to Emmitt Smith.

Through six weeks, Murray has 159 carries, 43 more than any other back in football. I thought I’d compare his first six games to the back with the most carries ever, just to see how close he is to a truly historic workload.

I don't mean to be negative, but for a running back who has never had more than 217 carries in a season and has a history of injuries, isn't this huge workload more of a red flag than something Peter should be celebrating? Obviously Murray has played very well, but it's not like he has a history of carrying the load for a full season.

The Cowboys never handed it to Smith as much as these Cowboys are handing it to Murray. I asked Murray last week if he thought he could keep up the crazy pace, and he said, “I think I can. I’m in the cold tub right now.” Well, what else would he say?

I don't know, Peter. You are the dumbass who asked the question, not me.

The big workload is what caused coach Jason Garrett the other day to say he planned to cut down on the Murray reliance. That’s easy to say on a Monday or Tuesday or Wednesday in a nice football office. It’s another thing to get in the mayhem of a game against the Super Bowl champs, at their place, and stick with the conservative plan.

I don't know if I would call it a conservative plan to cut down on the NFL running back with the most carries on the season. It's sort of common sense more than anything else.

The Dallas defense deserves credit for the win too.

Why on Earth would the Dallas defense deserve credit? That's crazy talk.

It’s hard to make Russell Wilson inefficient. This was only the third time in his young career that Wilson had a passer rating under 50 and completed 50 percent or less of his throws. 

It definitely helps when the offense holds the ball for nearly 38 minutes and the Seahawks run the ball only 18 times in the game. Russell Wilson and the Seahawks offense isn't built to throw the ball 28 times and run the ball 18 times in a game while only holding possession a little over 22 minutes. Not a lot of teams are built to do that. I guess the answer Peter posed a few weeks ago to whether Russell Wilson ever sweats is "Yes, he does."

“You understand what people are saying about you—that you guys will be one of the worst teams in the league?” I asked.
“I’ve heard it,’’ he said, and thought for a moment how to respond. Tactfully. “Quite candidly … they’ll be wrong. You just watch: We’re going to be a lot better on defense than anybody thinks.”
Look who’s laughing now.

I mean, you say a lot of things and eventually you will be right. Jerry Jones certainly isn't going to say his defense stinks before even one game is played during the season. I hope Peter didn't expect him to say anything like that.

“On the line! On the line! Clock! Clock! Clock!”
Aaron Rodgers throttled his hand in a pass-spiking motion one, two, three times, looking over the Miami defense as the seconds ticked away in the final minute in Miami.
:18 … :17 … :16 …

“I was looking at Davante Adams,’’ he said from the Packers’ bus, on the way to the Fort Lauderdale airport late Sunday afternoon, “but he wasn’t looking at me.

Peter King knows the opposite of that feeling. The feeling of him looking at a Packers quarterback, but that Packers quarterback isn't looking at him. He knows that feeling all too well. It hurts. Still. It hurts so badly still. Just look at Peter once in the same way he looks at you, Brett. Just once.

In a situation like that, you want to make eye-contact so he knows something might be coming.

Peter knows that feeling with a Packers quarterback too. Nothing ever came of it though. Nothing but careless whispers and meaningless promises to hang out again on the front porch of a farm in Mississippi sometime in the near future.

“I saw the corner on that side [Cortland Finnegan], at the last second, back off to about 12 yards off Davante. And I’m thinking there, ‘They’re giving us free yards.’ ” Actually, Finnegan was about eight yards off to start, then walked back to make it about 11. The cushion was just too tempting.

Hey, Finnegan would fit in great with the Panthers defense. Play as far off the receiver as possible and just concede passing yards.

But Rodgers knew if he threw to Adams, and Adams didn’t get out of bounds, the game’s over. Did Adams know? You’d think he would, but a rookie?

Gregg Easterbrook would argue because Davante Adams is a highly-paid, highly-drafted glory boy he would have no idea what to do in this situation. All Adams cares about is putting up big numbers and I am sure Gregg would call him a "diva" for some reason as well.

“How about that!’’ John Lynch, the FOX announcer, says on TV. “In the home of Dan Marino, he pulls the Marino!”

Then John Lynch continued to repeat things about Dan Marino until the viewer realized he isn't a very good analyst and has no idea what else to say in this situation.

Dan Marino once fake-spiked and threw a touchdown pass to Mark Ingram (the dad, not the son)

Thanks for clearing up that it was Mark Ingram's father who caught the pass, because I'm sure Peter's readers thought Mark Ingram the Saints' running back was playing wide receiver in the NFL when he was four years old.

Adams and Finnegan met at about the 11, and Adams, smartly, was already making tracks for the sideline. But all Finnegan had to do was tackle Adams in-bounds. He could have walled him from the sideline and forced him to stay in. But no. The veteran failed to make a veteran move.

In Finnegan's somewhat defense, forcing Adams out of bounds may have seemed like a better option at the time then to push Adams towards the middle of the field where he could conceivably score a touchdown against a shocked Dolphins defense. I agree, Finnegan should have tackled Adams inbounds of course, but in his shock it made more sense to ensure Adams didn't get around him. I'm sure Gregg Easterbrook will have this as the worst play of the season so far while forgetting to mention Finnegan's draft position.

What receiver wouldn’t want to play with Aaron Rodgers?

Greg Jennings apparently. 

Then Peter talks about J.J. Watt having to help the Texans make the playoffs in order to be considered the MVP of the NFL. Since it is Week 6, I have no idea how I feel about Watt being considered a front-runner for the MVP and it's way too early to start talking about these things. But hey, have to kill some space in MMQB before Peter gets to the meat of the column, which of course are his personal thoughts on beer and baseball.

The assistant coach of the year so far? San Francisco defensive coordinator Vic Fangio is in the discussion. 

Fangio is in the discussion for assistant coach of the year because he is an assistant coach for an NFL team. Deep thoughts of the day from Peter King that sounded deeper than they really are based on how Peter phrased this sentence.

The Fine Fifteen

Fifteen teams placed in random order of strength and ability to win games.

1. Dallas (5-1). In Fine Fifteen history, I have to say this is one of the biggest surprises I ever recall: the Dallas Cowboys being number one.

How in the hell can it be a surprise? YOU are the one who is placing the Cowboys as #1 in the Fine Fifteen? You have control over your thoughts, so you shouldn't be surprised by your own thoughts nor how you rank NFL teams based on perceived strength.

Only Peter King can be surprised about how he subjectively ranks each NFL team.

3. Seattle (3-2). Since opening night, mortality.

The Seahawks have played the teams that are #1, #2, #4, and #9 on this list. They beat two of those teams. So I don't know if it is "mortality" any more than it is a really difficult opening schedule.

6. Arizona (4-1). As Mike Florio said in our little NBC den Sunday night: “Why’d the Steelers ever let Bruce Arians go?” Good question, Mike. Very good question.

Because Bruce Arians "retired" from coaching. It's kind of hard to keep a guy who doesn't want to be kept isn't it? I would never expect Peter King or Mike Florio to remember something that happened two years ago when there are so many coffee anecdotes to be shared and legal cases broken down in 200 words or less. So I guess "Why did the Steelers let Arians go?" may eventually become the "Why did the Dolphins not want Drew Brees?" for a new generation.

8. New England (4-2). The loss of Jerod Mayo hurts. Hurts bad. But consecutive 26- and 15-point season-saving wins are a good salve.

Yes, the Patriots will feel much better about losing one of their best defensive players for the season when they recall how they were 4-2 and only had 10 games left in the season to play. I mean, the season is almost over and the Patriots won this past weekend. Who needs Jerod Mayo? Or is it Jerrod Majo? Either way, the Patriots don't care because they won a football this week with 10 games left to play.

9. Green Bay (4-2). The 19-7 loss at Detroit doesn’t seem like it was three weeks ago.

It doesn't feel like it was three weeks ago? What do you mean? Consider me intrigued.

More like three months.

You got me again, Peter! It felt more like three years ago. Of course, we know from Peter not recalling that Bruce Arians "retired" from coaching two years ago that if the 19-7 loss at Detroit was three years ago then Peter wouldn't remember it at all. So yes, it was definitely three weeks ago. 

12. Cleveland (3-2). Lots of reasons to like the Browns right now. Quarterback playing well, never out of games, good running game, and a total buy-in to a good coaching staff. They are not going away.

Four weeks from now in MMQB: "Remember when we thought the Browns had everything going their way? Well..."

15. New York Giants (3-3). Those Giants-offense-has-arrived stories can be put away for a while.

Yep, that's a link to a THE MMQB column. Sometimes I think Peter should have named THE MMQB as "The Site Where Conclusions Are Jumped To and Then Taken Back While Overreacting and Jumping To Another Conclusion." He would call it "The SWCAJTATTBWOAJTAC." It's not quite as catchy though.

Coach of the Week
Rod Marinelli, defensive coordinator, Dallas. Playing in the toughest place to play in the NFL, the Dallas defense shut down Russell Wilson’s improvisation, limited Marshawn Lynch to one impact play in four quarters, and frustrated Seattle all day. What Marinelli’s game plan did to Percy Harvin was particularly stifling (six touches, minus-one yard). A tremendous coaching job by Marinelli.

Someone get this man a head coaching job somewhere! Wait, nevermind.

Goats of the Week

Gus Bradley, head coach, Jacksonville. With 12 seconds left, and no timeouts left, trailing by two at Tennessee, the Jags had a third-and-two at the Tennessee 37. The Jaguars had just been handed a gain of eight yards on a sideline-route to put the ball at the 37. And Bradley, instead of taking six or eight more free yards on another sideline route, chose to put Josh Scobee on the field for the 55-yard field goal try. Now, there’s no guarantee Blake Bortles completes a ball on third-and-two. But why not try? Why settle for a 55-yard attempt when you’ve got a chance to get six or eight yards closer? Bradley needs to help his kicker there, and he didn’t.

This is a very Gregg Easterbrookian criticism (which he also made). It's easy to criticize Gus Bradley for this decision. Having a rookie quarterback making one of his few NFL starts and a pretty young group of receivers makes me think kicking the field goal may have been the right decision. Peter didn't know if a rookie wide receiver (Davante Adams) could be trusted to get out of bounds earlier in this column with around the same amount of time left in the game, what about a rookie quarterback throwing the football to a rookie wide receiver like Allen Robinson or Allen Hurns? Can they be trusted to go out of bounds? It's obviously a judgment call, but based on Peter's concern that a rookie wide receiver couldn't get out of bounds with Aaron Rodgers throwing passes, can two rookies be trusted to stop the clock in a similar situation? I'm not sure.

What you need to know about the new Bills owner, Terry Pegula, 63, who also owns the National Hockey League’s Buffalo Sabres:

He likes sports quite a bit.

You mean the guy who owns an NFL and NHL team likes sports a lot? What a shock to my system to hear this. The next thing Peter will tell me is that Pegula is actually quite wealthy compared to most Americans.

Josh Beckett retired the other day. Very quietly, the way he would like it,

Peter wants to know why no one noticed that Josh Beckett was retiring? Who is here to eulogize Josh Beckett's career as Peter King does a one page memorial to Derek Jeter's career? Why isn't ANYONE paying attention to Josh Beckett and Paul Konerko? The same person who gets to the bottom of whether Roger Goodell lied or not can also figure out who should be eulogizing Josh Beckett's career. It's certainly not anything Peter is capable of doing.




Todd Haley has never been very good. He kept failing upwards while he was pissing off his players. It's good to see he is finally be called out for the coach that he is. He isn't so good at his job, but in the NFL being the son of Dick Haley really pays off in getting multiple chances to piss your players off and generally not being great at your job without a Hall of Fame quarterback running the offense.

I heard an interesting and not surprising story about Todd Haley this past summer. I was in Ocean City, Maryland vacationing and spent some time at a local bar. My wife and I were chatting up the bartender, as I am want to do, and the bartender mentioned that a certain liquor (I can't remember which one) was a favorite of an NFL coach (and yes, I can't remember which). I then asked if they got a lot of NFL coaches in there and he said they had a few come by over the past year. The bartender then said one of the coaches for the Pittsburgh Steelers came in one time and was a complete jerk. I asked, "Was it Todd Haley?" and showed him a picture of Todd Haley. He said that was the guy. Apparently Todd Haley had called ahead and alerted the restaurant that he would be gracing them with his presence in a couple of days and wanted a specific bottle of expensive wine purchased for his dinner at the restaurant. If he did not have this wine, he would not be eating at the restaurant. So the restaurant acquired this difficult-to-get (for them) bottle of wine and had it ready for him when the red carpet was rolled out and Todd Haley would enter the building. So Todd Haley arrived with his wife. Long story short, they stood at the bar for about five minutes, the wine was presented to them, and they continued to stand there and left the restaurant a few minutes later never to be seen again without touching the wine. So in summary, Todd Haley is a dick and if he gets fired it's good for everyone.

Ten Things I Think I Think

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

c. A receiver for the Raiders whom America hadn’t heard of until about 4:30 ET Sunday afternoon—Andre Holmes, who had two touchdown catches (one a 77-yarder) to help Oakland nearly stun the Chargers.

Some people in America had heard of Andre Holmes because they play fantasy sports and Holmes was a guy who got picked up every once in a while off the waiver wire last year. But no, because Peter hasn't really heard of Holmes that means no one else had either.

f. Tony Sparano. I knew he’d get the Raiders to play harder.

Trying really, really hard can only get you so far. If the Raiders had given up on Dennis Allen and weren't trying hard for him, that brings into question what kind of players are on the Raiders team. So they had just sort of quit playing hard?

g. Ryan Kerrigan, who makes about five big plays a week for Washington. He’s no J.J. Watt in terms of impact, but he should be more famous.

If only there were sportswriters who covered the NFL who could use their weekly columns to focus on Ryan Kerrigan's great plays during the week in order to make him more famous. Oh well, nothing Peter can do about it.

n. Good baiting-of-Teddy Bridgewater pick in the end zone by Detroit safety Glover Quin.

Mike Mayock knew all along that Teddy Bridgewater was a terrible quarterback. This interception just goes to prove it. Norv Turner set Bridgewater up for all the success he will have and now because Bridgewater sucks so badly not even Norv can help him.

w. Line judge Mark Perlman with a tremendous call on the ridiculous catch-and-two-feet-dragging-on-the-sidelines play by Dallas wideout Terrance Williams. We criticize officials often enough and should praise them for a brilliant call—which this was.

Yes, "we" do. I'm always criticizing the officials in my weekly national football column. I can't believe I am so thoughtless as to criticize the officials and never praise them in my widely-read NFL column. I will be sure not to make that mistake again.

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


b. The Kirk Cousins interception to close the 30-20 loss to Arizona. He threw directly to a wide-open Arizona safety, Rashad Johnson.

But Kirk Cousins is better than Robert Griffin by a long shot. Because after all, Cousins was the backup quarterback and the backup is always better than the starter.

g. Cincinnati linebacker Rey Maualuga, in celebration, head-butting his teammate, Vontaze Burfict, who just returned from a concussion. Head-butting is a terrible way to celebrate in football anyway, given what we know about concussions. To head-butt a fellow football player is not smart. To head-butt a recently concussed one is really not smart.

You mean the same Vontaze Burfict that got a concussion and was back in the game a series later? The NFL is very concerned about concussions and concussion protocol, which is why Burfict recovered from what looked like a concussion in a matter of minutes.

j. Raiders fans, for egging the Chargers’ team buses heading into O.co Coliseum Sunday. What are you guys, in third grade?

Very odd name, the "O.co Coliseum." It looks like a misprint.

4. I think you cannot overpay football players. That’s what I thought after seeing the Victor Cruz injury.

This is pointless hyperbole. That's what I think after reading this sentence. Yes, football players can be overpaid for choosing to participate in a sport that they know is very physical and causes harm to their bodies. It's still possible to be overpaid.

6. I think the best point made about Jets quarterback Geno Smith in the past week came from Jon Gruden, after Smith somehow got the time wrong and missed a meeting the night before the Week 5 31-0 debacle of a loss at San Diego. “You’re playing Philip Rivers, and then Peyton Manning and Tom Brady,” said Gruden, referring to Smith’s foes in Weeks 5-7. “Those guys don’t miss meetings. They run meetings.”

In Geno Smith's defense, his role models at the quarterback position have been Mark Sanchez and Mike Vick. I am only guessing about Sanchez's work ethic, but it's not like Smith had a veteran quarterback to show him how to prepare for a game in the NFL and help set an example.

8. I think Roger Goodell should give his testimony in the Ray Rice appeal. I don’t understand why he wouldn’t. This case should be about absolute transparency. I want to know what Goodell remembers about his June 16 hearing with Rice. I don’t believe this should be the province of Robert Mueller exclusively; the sun should shine in on this process from all angles.

The investigation is slowly being forgotten or put on the back burner in the minds of the general public. It's almost like there was a plan put into action by the NFL and Roger Goodell or something. A plan to basically wait the outrage out and wait for the public fervor to die down or get focused on a new issue.

9. I think I marvel at Alex Mack, never missing a snap for five-and-a-third years at the center position. His absence will be felt heavily by the Browns, as our Greg Bedard explains today at The MMQB.

Oh, so now Peter has employed Greg Bedard to do some PR for Marvin Demoff and his clients. I like that Mack is getting some press for being such a consistent player, but I never trust Peter's motives when it comes to Marvin Demoff clients...especially when Peter has already written a piece this past summer basically laying out the details on how a team could present an offer sheet to Mack that the Browns wouldn't match.

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

e. Now that I’m a boss, I don’t feel great about assigning Vrentas to work on her 30th birthday. But hey, it was the Giants-Eagles, Sunday night, at the Linc.

Peter, you have always been a boss...at least in your own mind.

g. Wow. How great has this baseball postseason been?

It's been the greatest postseason in Peter's lifetime. By which Peter means that this has been the greatest postseason in the last five years.

j. The Royals are marvels. Lorenzo Cain is playing like Willie Mays in his prime.

Okay Peter, I'm going to need you to calm the fuck down. I think Lorenzo Cain has played great, but "Willie Mays in his prime"? Maybe move the hyperbole scale down a notch or two and just enjoy the games rather than saying some outrageous shit out of excitement. It's a small sample size and it's just as accurate to say Cain has played fantastic baseball over the last couple of weeks.

k. It rained in New York on Saturday morning, so I was stranded on a treadmill.

You know, you can pull the red cord out and the treadmill will stop. You don't have to stand on the treadmill and wait for it to stop moving.

I can picture Peter furious on a treadmill standing there and throwing his hands up in the air as he is confused and disappointed that the treadmill just won't stop because it doesn't feel his body weight on it anymore.

m. Coffeenerdness: Good job with that Anniversary Blend, Starbucks.

Yeah, great job Starbucks. You get a high-five from Peter, you very wealthy corporation that makes money off selling coffee. Good job making coffee. I'm sure the kudos from Peter King means more than the millions upon millions you will reap in profits this year.

n. Beernerdness: I have found the ideal pumpkin beer, thanks to so many of you recommending it. The Southern Tier Imperial Pumking Ale is terrific—sweet but not overly so, with the perfect, non-overpowering taste of pumpkin in the brew, and a bit of vanilla (not sure, but that’s what it tastes like).

Okay everyone, the world can continue spinning because Peter King has found a pumpkin beer that he enjoys drinking. Carry on as you normally would had the world just not changed dramatically.

I’ve always liked the pumpkin brews, but I’d say two-thirds of them disappoint because they’re either overbearing or too mild.

So that means youuuuuuuuuuuuuu...don't like pumpkin brews? Peter says he likes pumpkin brews but is disappointed by two-thirds of them, then that means Peter doesn't generally like them, right? If I say, "I like coffee, but most of the cups of coffee have are too dull and lack taste to me," then doesn't that mean I generally don't like coffee?

Who I Like Tonight

San Francisco 27, St. Louis 24. Someone, somewhere, just doesn’t like the Rams. For the second straight year they play their most attractive home game of the season—a Monday nighter versus one of the league’s marquee teams—in the middle of the baseball playoffs with the wildly popular crosstown Cardinals involved.

Hey, it's the Cardinal Way to shit on other St. Louis teams during their big chance in the spotlight. Don't question the Cardinal Way.

In his three starts, Sam Bradford’s replacement has averaged 312 passing yards, completed 67.5 percent of his throws and had a rating of 100.6. The Rams need a stronger run defense (and should have one, with all those high picks on the defensive front) than the one they’ve shown so far. Frank Gore’s going to be a very big factor tonight.

So Frank Gore, who plays for a team that likes to run the football, is going to play a very big factor in the game? No way.

The Adieu Haiku

It has to be said,
Though it will make some vomit.
“How ’bout them Cowboys!”

But at least Peter isn't reading too much into the Cowboys success early in the season, as compared to the Seahawks "only" having a 3-2 record, and then overreacting to the Cowboys' success while there is still a lot of the NFL season left to be played. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

5 comments Gregg Easterbrook Says the Broncos-Seahawks Rematch May or May Not End Up Like the Super Bowl Did

Gregg Easterbrook continued repeating topics from past TMQ's in last week's column. He also continued to get a little confused about whether O.J. Simpson was found guilty or liable in the civil suit brought against him by Ron Goldman's family. This week he talks about how Super Bowl rematches are so rare, criticizes how television shows portray the government as villains, and continues his bare-bones knowledge of football to give his shitty analysis of why blitzing is bad except when it isn't. I still can't believe Gregg gets paid to write a weekly NFL column.

Next Sunday, the Denver Broncos travel to Seattle for a Super Bowl rematch. Are the Broncos happy to have another chance to slay the dragon, or dismayed that stretching back to last season, two of four games that count will be against the league's best defense?

They will probably try not to worry about it too much and just win the game. There is always that option too. I don't know too much, but I do know NFL teams aren't generally worried about going back to last season to whine about how many games they have had to play against teams with a great defense, especially when one of those games was the Super Bowl. No team is dismayed about playing in the Super Bowl.

On only five occasions following the 47 previous Super Bowls -- or V times following the XLVII previous Super Bowls -- has the next regular season seen a rematch. So far teams that lost the Super Bowl are 2-3 against the victors in regular-season rematches the following season. 

When Gregg says "Super Bowl rematches" it makes it sound like it is a rematch of two teams in the Super Bowl, who played against each other in the Super Bowl the previous year. That's not what Gregg means. He means a regular season matchup of the two teams that played in the Super Bowl. His phrasing is confusing.

The most recent Super Bowl rematch, Green Bay versus New England, occurred in 1997, so it's been nearly two decades since a regular-season rematch.

Riveting. When it comes to putting together facts or stats I don't care about, Gregg is unparalleled.

Considering the beatdown the Bluish Men Group defense put on the Broncs' high-tech offense in the Super Bowl, the odds would seem to favor another Seattle win. So would the Seahawks' league-best 18-1 stretch at home. So would Russell Wilson's sterling record versus the NFL's quarterbacking old guard. Wilson is 7-0 in starts against Tom Brady, Drew Brees, the Manning brothers and Aaron Rodgers. By comparison, he's 3-2 versus young guns Colin Kaepernick and Andrew Luck.

Russell Wilson isn't really 3-2 or 7-0 against these quarterbacks. It's his team that has these records against these quarterbacks' teams. Football is a team game.

When John Fox coached the Carolina Panthers in Super Bowl XXXVIII at Houston, the neutral crowd didn't make much noise.

Yes, the neutral crowd of Patriots and Panthers fans didn't make any noise. Because no one team dominated the attendance, every fan in the stadium was quiet as a result and didn't make noise cheering for their team. Sure, I bet that happened.

When preparing the Broncos for Super Bowl XLVIII, Fox assumed the neutral crowd at Snoopy Stadium would be similar, like they were watching Masterpiece Theatre. Assuming this, Fox had the noise generators turned off at the Jets' practice facility where Denver prepared for the big game.

The Broncos assumed the crowd would be completely silent! This is a real thing that Gregg believes happened. Peyton Manning has never played in a loud stadium before, so naturally he was confused to hear all of that noise coming from the stands. The difference in the Seahawks and Broncos in the Super Bowl was that the Broncos didn't expect crowd noise and the Seahawks did. This is what Gregg would have you believe.

Denver seemed discombobulated by the noise level. ("Wow it's loud in here," one of my kids, attending with me, said a moment before the safety.)

Unlike the Super Bowl between the Patriots and Panthers where there was little noise during the game. John Fox just assumed no one would be cheering at the next Super Bowl and his players certainly had never played in a loud stadium before.

Some coaches tailor everything to specific places and opponents, others say they approach every game the same. Seattle coach Pete Carroll is in the former group, Fox in the latter. Example: Going into the Super Bowl, Carroll had the Seahawks prepare for a long halftime. Fox did not have the Broncos practice this.

The reason the Ravens won the Super Bowl the year before is John Harbaugh practiced the Ravens resting during halftime AND planned for the lights to go out during the game causing a further delay. Harbaugh had his players just sit around for 35 minutes, after they had rested at a simulated halftime, at every practice leading up to the Super Bowl and that is why the Ravens beat the 49ers. The 49ers just planned for a halftime, but failed to plan for the lights to go out.

When the New Orleans Saints onside kicked to start the second half of their Super Bowl collision with Indianapolis, Colts on the receiving team seemed unfocused. Some were checking out the double cheerleader squads both dancing at the Colts' end of the field.

It certainly sounds like somebody else (ummm...Gregg?) was checking out the double cheerleader squads dancing at the Colts' end of the field. Also notice how Gregg is capable of checking out these cheerleaders and still paying enough attention to the game to have talked about the onside kick that occurred after halftime, but he assumes the Colts' receiving team isn't capable of doing this as well.

I would also like to know how good of vision does Gregg Easterbrook have? He can see from where he was sitting at the Super Bowl the exact direction that the Colts players were looking, despite the fact they had helmets covering their face? He has to have the eyesight of an eagle, and yet, he wears glasses. He must wear super-powered glasses that give him vision even Superman would be jealous of.

Some were watching the final sets for The Who to be rolled off. The Colts weren't prepared for keeping focus during the unusually long halftime.

I know the Colts players were probably terribly interested in The Who's equipment being rolled off the field. See Gregg knows the Colts weren't prepared to focus, because along with superior eyesight, he also has the ability to read minds.

To prepare the Seahawks for the unusually long halftime, Carroll had them run plays, then go back to the locker room for half an hour of twiddling thumbs, then go back out and run plays at game tempo. Rich Cimini provides the details. Denver did not do any special halftime rehearsal. Result? The Broncs' special teams looked drowsy, too many players bunched on the same side, as Seattle ran the second-half opening kickoff back for a touchdown, turning the game into a rout.

While as an NFL head coach I would probably do the same thing Pete Carroll did, the game was already a rout at halftime anyway. It's not like if John Fox had changed his usual process (which he won't do, simply because he's a great coach but very conservative and can be set in his ways) then the Broncos would have won the Super Bowl.

One would think that in Sunday's rematch there's no way the Denver Broncos will repeat the mistakes they made in the Super Bowl. Yet history has a way of repeating itself.

Peyton Manning may throw another interception against the Seahawks, or he may not, either way history may or may not repeat itself.

Ongoing settlement talks for the main NFL concussion lawsuit last week led to a league-financed study roughly estimating that one former NFL player in three will develop later-life neurological damage. Since there are around 18,000 former NFL players, that estimate suggests 6,000 face neurological problems. A terrible number -- but nothing compared to what the estimate foretells about the larger football universe. About 3.7 million boys play youth and high school football, according to USA Football. If one-third of them face later-life neurological decay caused by football, that comes to 1.2 million cases of crippling head harm. 

Except this number may not change because the same 6,000 NFL players that suffer neurological harm also played youth and high school football. It's not like these players just showed up one day on a college campus and started playing football. The 18,000 former NFL players also had teammates who played youth, high school and college football. So the data is even more convoluted because it leaves out those boys who played youth and high school football that didn't play in college and suffer from neurological problems. Then there would need to be information on those boys who played youth and high school football, plus college football, to see how many of them eventually faced neurological problems. Basically, Gregg's 1.2 million number isn't correct and he knows that.

Of course most youth and high school players never participate in as much football as those who go on to make the pros, and thus experience fewer head impacts. Cut the NFL rate in half, and that's still more than 500,000 cases of serious neurological harm caused by football. Cut the NFL rate to a tenth, and that's still more than 100,000 cases.

Okay, fine. But what if the 6,000 number is only indicative of those players who play football in the NFL? What if the rate of neurological problems for those who only played youth and high school football is much lower? After all, the 18,000 former NFL players are also part of an unknown million dollar figure of boys who played youth and high school football. So, while including these boys who played football at a lower level would increase the overall number of ex-football players suffering from neurological issues, it's possible the rate of neurological harm decreases as the level of competition decreases. After all, an NFL player takes much harder hits to the brain and body than a youth or high school football player. So 100,000 cases may still be an overestimation.

There's so much data here, it's almost impossible and misleading to throw out 100,000 cases of neurological damage and feel like you are telling your readers anything concrete. In order to have a reasonable number among the 3.7 million boys who will suffer neurological damage caused by football, Gregg would have to know how many boys played youth and high school football over a specific time period that a subset of the 18,000 former NFL players played. The 18,000 former NFL players could span 40-45 years of youth and high school football, while Gregg is taking his numbers from how many boys are playing youth and high school this year.

In other sports news, what if your team scored 68 points and lost?

I would say my basketball team needs to score more points.

I'm not talking about your basketball team; I'm talking about your NCAA college football team.

The twist! What a shocking turn of events! I hope there is more below about this.

See below.

Thank God. This is a very intriguing tease that I care deeply about.

I like how Gregg treats MMQB like a newscast where he teases items he writes about below. Just write what you are intending to write and quit with the tease crap in order to kill space.

Stats of the Week No. 1: During the regular season, the Cincinnati Bengals are on a 10-0 streak at home; during the playoffs, they are on an 0-3 streak at home.

Of course one streak spans less than a year and the other streak spans multiple years with completely different Bengals teams, but Gregg isn't interested in things like this. He prefers to throw facts out and hope his less-mindful readers think he's a genius.

College offensive tactics are the NFL trend of the moment, and the hosts showed a lot of Stanford's Four Horsepersons backfield, a run-first set. The result of these tactics? A 17-7 Santa Clara lead at intermission.

So during halftime, Bears defensive coordinator Mel Tucker changed tactics, switching to the Tampa 2 front that Brian Urlacher excelled in.

Santa Clara had plenty of blame to go around -- 16 accepted penalties (two more declined), including two automatic first-down fouls on Chicago third-down incompletions, one of which sustained a touchdown drive. The Niners dropped three interceptions. (After Jay Cutler threw two dropped interceptions on the same second-quarter possession, the Bears seemed so doomed the NBC announcers were talking about whether Jimmy Clausen -- 1-9 in his career -- would take over in the second half.)

It's almost like the three dropped interceptions and 16 accepted penalties had more to do with the 49ers losing than the change in tactics. After all, if the 49ers grab those interceptions and don't commit so many penalties than the Bears comeback probably isn't possible.

Jonathan Marin was horrible at right tackle, surrendering two "olé!" sacks on which he barely slowed Young.

Well, no wonder. None of these Jonathan Marin's look like they could play right tackle in the NFL. Why would the 49ers start Jonathan Marin when they have a guy like Jonathan Martin who has experience playing tackle in the NFL?

So does this mean Gregg will send out a correction or can I say, a la Gregg, that in TMQ Gregg Easterbrook got 49ers right tackle Jonathan Martin confused with various businessmen named "Jonathan Marin"?

Three touchdown passes for Chicago went to its very tall wide receivers when they were covered by 5-foot-10 Jimmie Ward. Cutler was looking for whomever was matched up against Ward, and Niners coaches did not give Ward help.

Who would have thought that the Bears would go after the rookie safety? Also, Ward is a safety. Oftentimes he IS the help and not the one requiring the help. Safeties when matched up with a receiver often don't get additional safety help over the top. I don't think that's very normal because it is usually the safety providing help to a linebacker or cornerback. Of course Gregg would expect the 49ers to provide their safety additional safety help.

Then there's Kaepernick. He is a gifted athlete who has an engaging personal story, and he looks great naked. (In consecutive offseasons, Kaepernick has stripped to pose for magazine covers.)

And yet, you still could have left this out since it wasn't relevant to the discussion of Kaepernick's performance against the Bears.

But increasingly it seems he is in over his head as an NFL quarterback. He had four turnovers versus the Bears, two coming when Kaepernick forced the ball toward Michael Crabtree. Attention Niners coaches: The entire league knows Kaepernick forces the ball to Crabtree; make him stop!

I'm sure the 49ers coaches never thought to do this. What a great idea!

Maybe the game will "slow down" for him (Drew Brees made a lot of mistakes at this point in his career, too).

Except the talent level of the Chargers team around Brees was much different from the talent level of the 49ers team around Kaepernick. By "different" I mean "not as good on defense" and Brees figured it out his third full year in the NFL. I'm sure Kaepernick will figure it out and I like to hear Gregg is writing Kaepernick off a bit for when the 49ers go on a 10-4 run to end the year. You know, similar to what happened last year after Gregg declared the zone-read as having been figured out by NFL defenses.

At Jersey/A, the Arizona Cardinals faced third-and-17. A false start stops the play, but New York Giants defender Jameel McClain ignores the whistle and runs several steps to drill backup quarterback Drew Stanton. With a first down via personal foul, the Cardinals go on to score a touchdown on the possession and continue on for the victory.

Doesn't Gregg mean "undrafted, hard-working Jameel McClain"? Wait, that doesn't fit his narrative that highly-paid, highly-paid glory boys drag their team down, while undrafted free agents work hard and don't make mistakes like this. Gotta keep that narrative going.

The conventional wisdom is that Hollywood roots for Barack Obama and expansion of government. Maybe so. Yet Tinseltown simultaneously indoctrinates audiences to believe government is evil. 

It's almost like movies are considered to be entertainment and don't necessarily always reflect the beliefs of those screenwriters, producers, and directors who worked on the movie.

As recently as a decade ago, when "24" became a ratings monster, its interpretation of high-level government was quite unusual, and attributed to Surnow's politics. Now this worldview dominates network action fare.

Hey, remember when this was a football column and not a study of how the federal government is portrayed in fictional television shows and movies? You don't? Yeah, me neither, but it would be nice. A column about the NFL, not written by Gregg Easterbrook. That sounds good.

On CBS's "Hawaii Five-0," the CIA is assisting Chinese gangsters in their plot to destroy the U.S. economy. When Danno questions CIA motives, the agency takes him captive and tortures him; the CIA officer who helps Danno escape a U.S. government black-site prison is immediately executed by the agency. This is presented as standard CIA behavior.

No, it is presented as behavior that the CIA officers assisting the Chinese gangsters take part in. If it were standard CIA behavior then the CIA officer who helped Danno escape would not have helped Danno escape.

On the FX prime-time show "Justified," the FBI is helping mobsters bring heroin into the country; on the FX prime-time show "The Bridge," the CIA is helping Mexican cartels smuggle in heroin.

On "The Bridge" the CIA is not helping Mexican cartels smuggle in heroin, they are simply helping to choose the leadership of those cartels in an effort to control the drug trade between the United States and the Mexico. By the way, the CIA has helped "choose" new leaders of unstable countries in the past, so it's not an entirely far-fetched idea they would exert influence to get Mexican cartels to choose a head of that cartel they (the CIA) could control.

And if it's true that the Hollywood establishment wants voters to support Barack Obama, the prime-time worldview of traitors running Washington is not likely to help.

If somebody is influenced politically by watching "Hawaii Five-O," then...you know what, I am sure people are influenced politically in some fashion by these shows because people are idiots. Still, I would prefer Hollywood write the scripts they want to write instead of only writing television shows and movies that would influence voters to support one political party over another.

The defending champion Florida State program graduates just 58 percent of its players. That's okeydokey with the NCAA. But heaven forbid there should be telephone calls or text messages!

But Florida State is very good at mixing academics and athletics, because they are 6th in ESPN Grade. That's very impressive, isn't it? Florida State is the 6th best university in the Top 25 at combining academics and football. I don't see how Gregg can criticize them while also thinking ESPN Grade is such an excellent metric. It's almost like Gregg wants it both ways.

Latest Nutty Sports Contract: Over the weekend Robert Quinn signed a mega extension with about $41 million guaranteed. The Rams want to lock him up, contractually speaking, because he was second in sacks in 2013. But Les Mouflons were mediocre on defense in 2013, and since the start of that season, have allowed at least 30 points on six occasions. If Quinn is a franchise-quality defender, why is the St. Louis defense unimpressive?

Why? Because an NFL defense consists of more than one player, part of the reason a team may give up a lot of points is because they don't have an offense that can score points and keep the opposing team's offense off the field, the Rams were 15th in yards allowed per game and 13th in points allowed per game (which I don't think is mediocre, but average), and the Rams secondary isn't very good which impacts how many points the team gives up. Robert Quinn is 1 of 11 defenders. He can be a franchise-quality defender and the Rams can still give up 30 points six times in 18 games.

In Week 1, the Saints seemed to have the Falcons dead to rights, leading by 3 with Atlanta on its 20 with 1:20 remaining. Then New Orleans shifted into the prevent defense, and you don't need to know anything more about the contest.

They shouldn't have gone to a prevent defense. Start blitzing!

Sunday, the Saints seemed to have the Browns dead to rights, leading by a point with low-voltage Cleveland back at its 4 with 2:46 remaining. This time the Saints went to the opposite extreme, with too much blitzing. Third-and-3 on the Cleveland 24 with 1:34 remaining, New Orleans blitzed seven, easy first-down conversion.

They shouldn't have started blitzing. Lay back and rush only four!

Five-man blitz results in a short sack, which only seemed to encourage Saints defensive coordinator Rob Ryan.

I can't believe Rob Ryan saw a positive result and then tried to duplicate this result. Don't they say that madness is "Doing the same thing over and over again when you are getting a positive result." I don't know why Ryan would be encouraged to blitz more when blitzing worked.

Cleveland has first-and-10 on its 48 with 19 seconds remaining, holding a timeout. Ryan called a big blitz; quick 13-yard completion. Second-and-10 on the New Orleans 39 with 13 ticks remaining, Ryan called another big blitz. Wide receiver Andrew Hawkins ran up the field uncovered by anyone -- an uncovered guy going deep with 13 seconds remaining in the game! Hawkins caught a 28-yard pass that positioned the hosts for the winning field goal as time expired.

This would never have happened if Ryan had rushed four and made sure his safeties played deep, you know, like he did last week against the Falcons and Gregg criticized this move. 

Consecutive late defensive collapses: Rob Ryan just can't seem to call the defense that is appropriate to the situation. That fourth-place New Orleans finish for defense last season? Maybe it was a misprint.

So what's your suggestion then, Gregg? Other than "Do whatever ends up working." Gregg rips the Saints for playing a passive prevent-type defense one week, then he rips them for blitzing the next week. Sure, the Saints should call whatever plays end up working, but what defensive plays would that be which wouldn't cause Gregg to use hindsight to criticize the result?

Leading ninth-ranked USC by six points, mega-underdog Boston College had first-and-goal on the Trojans' 6-yard line with about 30 seconds remaining. Rather than try for an extra touchdown to run up the score, coach Steve Addazio did the dignified thing and had his charges kneel.

It also happens that kneeling the ball down was the safe move in this situation. It's less likely for there to be a fumble on a kneel-down than there is to hand the ball off with the USC defenders trying to rip the ball away from the running back.

Peyton Manning and Julius Thomas got into an (uncharacteristic for Peyton) sideline shouting match over Thomas' allergy to blocking. With Seattle losing and Denver not sharp, perhaps both teams were looking ahead to their rematch.

And here I thought Jay Cutler was the only NFL quarterback who showed a lack of leadership by yelling at his offensive teammates for not blocking. I'm sure when Peyton Manning does it, he is showing leadership, while Cutler is just being an asshole that nobody likes.

Will the Mega-Trade For RG III Be Seen As a Mega-Blunder?

So it seems Gregg thinks both the Rams and the Redskins screwed up in this trade. How can the Redskins screw up by trading for Griffin while the Rams screwed up by trading the pick and not drafting Griffin?

Gregg from two weeks ago:

Chose Bradford over
Griffin: Regrets begin now.
The St. Louis Rams.

Forecast finish: 4-12


Gregg from a year ago:

Left RG III on
the table; can they rebound?
The St. Louis Rams.
Forecast finish: 4-12


I guess at this point the Rams should regret not drafting Griffin, while the Redskins should regret drafting Griffin?

During the contest, Cousins completed eight passes, including a touchdown pass, to the little-used Niles Paul. Because Cousins and Paul are backups, they are accustomed to tossing the ball around with each other. When a backup quarterback unexpectedly enters a game, defenders should be wary of any backup receiver who also enters.

Paul actually played a lot the previous week when Jordan Reed got injured, so he didn't enter the game when Kirk Cousins did. Also, Paul is a tight end, not a receiver. But these are just simple facts that shouldn't get in the way of Gregg's assertions being very correct. Why would reality impact what Gregg thinks to be true?

Week 1 fantasy-stats star Allen Hurns of Jacksonville was all by his lonesome when he dropped what would have been a 76-yard touchdown. Persons cornerback DeAngelo Hall was making the high school mistake of looking into the backfield trying to guess the play, and let Hurns run right past him.

Gregg can see from his television set where DeAngelo Hall was looking. I need to either find a set of glasses that give Gregg such great vision or have Gregg invite me over to use his 125 inch television set on Sundays.

I didn't see this play, but I would guess that what Gregg perceives as "looking into the backfield trying to guess the play" was actually the Redskins running zone coverage. This usually is the type of defense a team is running when Gregg accuses a cornerback of looking in the backfield. Gregg seems to think every NFL team runs man coverage, either that or he doesn't understand how zone coverage works.

Tesla's agreement with Nevada to build a battery factory is expected to create about 6,000 jobs in exchange for $1.25 billion in tax favors. That's about $208,000 per job. More jobs are always good. But typical Nevada residents with a median household income of $54,000 per year will be taxed to create very expensive jobs for others.

The way it usually works is a company creates more revenue for an area than just the pay the workers at that factory would receive. New jobs brings new spending, which brings more tax revenue.

Monday night's game had all kinds of tactical fun -- unbalanced lines, triple-tight end sets, lots of double-A blitzing. But the exhaustion effect of the quick snap was most prominent. Teams that face the Eagles may do well in the first half and think, "This Blur Offense isn't so hot, we're controlling them." Then it's the second half.

That's sort of the point isn't it? Chip Kelly keeps his team in good shape and ready to put constant pressure on the opposing team throughout the game in the hopes of wearing the opposing defense down.

TMQ's alternative-jersey Super Bowl picks were Denver over New Orleans or Seattle over Indianapolis. Two of my four predicted Super Bowl entrants opened 0-2, and the Colts just lost Robert Mathis for the season. Being wrong in front of the entire nation is not for the faint of heart!

Only 10 of my predicted 16 predicted Super Bowl entrants are doing well this season. But hey, I picked 16 teams to be in the Super Bowl, so just like Gregg, I can't wait to brag about how I was right about the Super Bowl matchup.

But I am sticking with my hand. The Tuesday Morning Quarterback Law of Panic holds: Don't panic now; there will be plenty of time for that later.

It's good to hear that Gregg isn't going to make another Super Bowl pick in the desperate attempt to be correct...yet. I'm sure by the end of the 2014 NFL season he will have made another Super Bowl pick unofficially. Probably around Week 13 when he will write, "I think Team X and Team Y will meet in the Super Bowl this year," then posit an obvious theory about why this is. That way Gregg has a Super Bowl pick he's made while having more information and two other Super Bowl picks he made at the beginning of the season.

The Packers-Jets contest tied in the third quarter, on first down Jersey/B run-blitzed seven defenders. Jordy Nelson ran a stop-and-go -- which TMQ thinks is football's most effective pass pattern -- and blew past a press corner, 80-yard catch-and-run for the winning points.

A stop-and-go is the most effective pass pattern. It also takes time to develop, so teams with bad pass protection probably should be wary of running a bunch of stop-and-go routes. Plus, a stop-and-go doesn't do much good if the corner isn't pressing the receiver or doesn't fall for the "stop" portion of the route.

I know, I know. How dare I point out the problem with Gregg just saying "This is football's most effective pass pattern." It's an effective pass pattern if run during certain circumstances.

Also, you can't see the route Nelson ran, but the guy in the NFL.com studio referred to it as a "double move," not a stop-and-go route.

Hidden Play Of The Week: Hidden plays are ones that never make highlight reels but sustain or stop drives. Carolina leading 3-0, Calvin Johnson dropped a well-thrown touchdown pass on third down, then the Lions missed the field goal try. The Cats went on to win by the new economy score of 24-7.

I'll go with the usual disclaimer: A play isn't hidden because it doesn't make a highlight reel. The term "highlight" refers to only the most important parts of the game being shown, and doesn't mean there aren't important plays that weren't shown, and usually a highlight is only 45 seconds to a minute or so long. A dropped touchdown pass is never really a hidden play for anyone who watched the game. If a person relies on a highlight to show him/her all of the important plays in a game, and assumes the highlight will show all of the important plays in a game, then that person is an idiot.  

Oh, and check out what happens at the :10 second mark of this video. I guess this is a hidden play that doesn't show up in the highlights, but showed up in the highlights?

Adventures In Officiating: Late at Denver, Alex Smith appeared to fumble, with the Broncos recovering to ice the contest. On review, officials correctly determined that because his arm came forward with control of the ball, the down was an incompletion. Smith was in the pocket and the pass did not travel toward a receiver, so why wasn't it intentional grounding? The result was not intentional; Smith's arm was hit as he tried to throw.

Smith's arm was clearly moving forward and he was attempting a forward pass when he was hit by the defender. Therefore, it was an incompletion, not a forward pass. It wasn't intentional grounding because Smith didn't intentionally throw the ball into the fucking ground. This question doesn't need to asked, simply because it's so stupid and nonsensical. A pass isn't considered intentional grounding if the quarterback doesn't intentionally throw the ball to an area where there is no receiver and he is still in the pocket.

Why was Smith's arm hit? Chiefs tackle Eric Fisher, first overall choice of the 2013 draft, did an "olé!" block on DeMarcus Ware.

Oh, so a highly-drafted, highly-paid glory boy beat Fisher to get to Smith? Notice how Gregg points out Fisher's draft position, but conveniently leaves Ware's draft position out.

Les Mouflons leading 19-17, City of Tampa's Mike Evans caught a pass that put the Buccaneers in field goal range with 8 seconds showing. But Evans was hurt on the down, and Tampa was out of timeouts. Dazed, Evans tried to stagger off the field; he should have tried to line up, so Josh McCown could spike the ball.

Says the middle-aged, out-of-shape guy sitting on his couch drinking beer and eating chips who didn't just get hit hard by a world class athlete.

Santa Clara leading Chicago 10-0, the Bears completed a third-down pass deep into 49ers territory. Officials called the catch good on the field; Harbaugh/West challenged and the call was reversed, leading to a Bears punt. It sure seemed that a correct call on the field was made into an error by replay review. Even if the original call was wrong, it wasn't indisputably wrong -- unless the call on the field is so clearly wrong the referee has to look at it only once, the call on the field should stand.

Notice how Gregg states the officials got this call wrong based on his own belief on how replay should be handled by the NFL. This wasn't a bad call by the officials simply because they failed to meet Gregg's own standard for when a call should be overturned. Besides, officials and those who review challenged calls look at the play from more than one angle, so every call needs to be looked at more than once simply for confirmation the initial conclusion is correct. The idea an official or review official should only look at a call once in any situation is fallacy on Gregg's part.

The Football Gods Chortled: Iowa and Iowa State were tied with two seconds remaining in their annual rivalry contest. Iowa State launched a field goal attempt, which missed. But Iowa called timeout an instant before the snap, hoping to ice the kicker -- who hit on his second try, giving Iowa State the victory.

But Peter King said in this week's MMQB this type of thing (a coach call a timeout that ruins a scoring play by his team) can only happen in New York! My world is spinning now. Peter King couldn't be wrong or have excessive belief that certain things only happen in the city he lives in, could he? 

Next Week: Will the Super Bowl rematch be true to form?

I don't know, but I'm sure the game will be decided by a highly-drafted glory boy doing something wrong (while Gregg ignores a good play by a player who is highly-drafted) or a cornerback looking in the backfield trying to guess the play.