Tuesday, April 23, 2019

12 comments MMQB Review: Peter Feels a Draft Edition (I'm Not Calling it FMIA)

I'll skip the typical preamble I've written over the last several years about trying to do more of this and I'm not sure when I'll do it again. Blah, blah, blah. You think you've heard it enough, imagine how many times I've written the "I'm trying to come back and find time..." preamble in the posts I've aborted. I figure I would give this a real shot to see if I remember how to do it. The NFL draft is a few days away and Peter King's sources help him formulate his mock draft. We know how this will play out. Trades happen, smokescreens happen and then Peter will get 4-5 picks correct. Back when I did mock drafts I usually got that many correct on a good year. Today, Peter forgets how to link columns he's referencing, Mike Mayock's daughter explains sending all of the team's scouts home a week before the draft is PERFECTLY NORMAL, and the Adieu Haiku is still a thing unfortunately.

Interesting mock draft dropped Sunday morning in the Los Angeles Times. The paper’s redoubtable NFL beat man, Sam Farmer, 
He has me blocked on Twitter. Why? I don't know, because I'm a really nice person.

On a side note, I always like the certainty with which these players are discussed prior to the draft. "10 year starter" and "best defensive player in the draft" is thrown around like gospel rather than the pure speculation it truly is. Also, Peter used to work with Mike Mayock at NBC, so you can feel him rooting for Mayock. I'm sure we will get some excuse-making for Mayock from the media if he struggles as a first-time GM. You know, like if he sends all of his scouts a week before the draft it could be portrayed as a normal thing to do.

had his annual sportswriter mock draft—he’s done it for 10 years—in which he asks longtime NFL writers he trusts in the franchise cities to make the pick of the team they cover. 

Great, I'd love to read it. Let me click on the link and read this despite the fact Sam Farmer has me blocked and clearly doesn't want me to read what he writes.

(Looks for the link to the Sam Farmer article in FMIA, finds nothing)

Usually, when someone refers to a writing on the Interwebs, that person also provides a link. This is especially done when mentioning the Interwebs writing in a complimentary manner. Alas, Peter shall not do this because because because.

This was Somers’ pick, and his explanation to Farmer:

“Arizona: DT Quinnen Williams, Alabama. The Cardinals like Josh Rosen, and I don’t see them taking a quarterback in the first round two years in a row. They need help on the defensive line and Williams would immediately provide that. GM Steve Keim has made some mistakes in the first round by taking guys who weren’t that passionate about football (Jonathan Cooper, Robert Nkemdiche). So I can see them taking Williams.”

This is the part where I mention I read an article about Kyler Murray in "Sports Illustrated" and it seems like one big red flag. It was a well-written article and you should read it sometime. I know, I'll link it here out of courtesy to the article's author.

I'm not stuck on Murray's height, though it doesn't help my opinion of him. He seems somewhat indifferent to what sport he plays. Mostly, I would like a happy medium between "I have made a blood oath to play football and if I violate this oath, then my family shall suffer the consequences of my actions" and "My dad told me to choose and I think I thought about it and this is what I want for now." I don't know. Murray and D.J. Metcalf are two guys I probably wouldn't draft as high as they are going to go. But guess what? No one asked me.

Interesting … and though I’m going to disagree with Somers in my projection, swept along with the Kyler Murray tidal wave, I do think there’s a good rationale for trading down or taking another player. 

To be clear, it's a very tiny tidal wave that isn't even sure it wants to sweep Peter up or not. You know, whatever the moon's gravitational pool wants the tidal wave to do and all. 

The Cardinals have done a good job in shutting up since it was reported at the combine seven weeks ago that Kingsbury let it slip that drafting Murray was a “done deal.”


I can't understate how upset I am that Peter King didn't refer to Kliff Kingsbury as "precocious." I could not be more disappointed, but at least Peter uses the word once in this FMIA that is really MMQB.

Two other bits of light drama: 

There is just light drama for now. The heavy drama starts on Friday and Saturday when Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden realize the draft isn't going as they expected and there are no scouts around to bounce ideas off. But don't worry, Mike Mayock's daughter will Tweet about how all of this heavy drama is totally normal.

I have four quarterbacks going, but lower than you think—at 1, 15, 23 and 31.

Ah yes, Peter still knows what I'm thinking better than I know what I'm thinking, so he knows when I expect the quarterbacks to be drafted in Thursday's draft. 

1. Arizona: Kyler Murray, QB, Oklahoma

They could decide to take Murray, the choice of head coach Kliff Kinsgbury. They could decide to take the best edge-rusher (Nick Bosa)—who I hear is the choice of many in the building—or the best player (Quinnen Williams) in the draft.

Oh yes, Williams is "the best player in the draft." I love these labels based on projections which are never, ever wrong. I've been wrong about them, so I would expect Peter to know better, except I know better than to expect Peter to know better. 

2. San Francisco: Nick Bosa, edge rusher, Ohio State

Niners have loved him since the Cotton Bowl in 2017, when Bosa’s 1.5 sacks led the marauding Ohio State defense in a 24-7 pummeling of USC’s Sam Darnold in the last game of the star QB’s college career. I hear the Cardinals think of Bosa as a “generational player,” which just speaks to their love of Murray if they’re willing to pass on Bosa and leave him to the Niners.

(Whispers) This could also speak to Kliff Kingsbury not knowing what he's doing if he's the only one in the Cardinals organization who wants to draft Murray and the choice of many in the building is a different guy who they consider to be a "generational player."

But again, I'm just a guy typing on a keyboard, while Kliff Kingsbury is a guy who just got fired a few months ago for not winning enough football games. Though he did have creative control over Texas Tech's uniforms and the team did look very spiffy while they lost games. I'm only saying that if the choice of many in the building is considered a "generational player" and the guy who wants Kyler Murray is the head coach who went 35-40 as a head coach in college, as well as 19-35 in Big 12 play, I'm going with the "many" who want Bosa. Also, I would not have hired Kliff Kingsbury. But again, I can't discount the wisdom of the team that fired their last coach after one season because he didn't win enough games with a rookie quarterback the team is currently trying to replace.

3. New York Jets: Ed Oliver, DT, Houston

Imagine Josh McDaniels, Chad O’Shea and Brian Daboll—the offensive brains of the AFC East—designing protections to keep Leonard Williams and Oliver from wrecking games over the next three or four years.

Get rid of the ball quickly. One of these three offensive coordinators has thus far shown he knows how to design protections to do this. I'll give you a guess which AFC East team he gets paid by.

5. Tampa Bay: Devin White, LB, LSU

Lots of people love White, a tackling machine who, at 237, tackles with the force of a 260-pounder. I’m taking my best guess of what GM Jason Licht would do if he was staring at White and Josh Allen here … because the Bucs need a pass-rusher too. Jason Pierre-Paul is 30, and other than possibly the precocious Carl Nassib,

Carl Nassib is so precocious. Peter could just pinch his cheeks and slap him on the ass with a paddle as a light dramatic punishment. Why would a grown man be considered precocious? Well, at the age of 26, no defensive end should have 12 career sacks. By the definition of "precocious" (which is "exceptionally early in development or occurrence") there is no way a defensive end should average 4 sacks per season by age 26. So precocious.

Plus, White might be the best defensive leader in this draft.

If you are keeping score at home, which if not, why aren't you, please update your NFL Draft whiteboard with the following 2019 NFL Draft superlatives:

Kyler Murray: Most Likely to be Drafted by Kliff Kingsbury
Nick Bosa: Best Edge-Rusher/Generational Talent
Quinnen Williams: Best Player in the Draft
Devin White: Best Defensive Leader in the Draft

I don't want to spoil the next superlative, but R.I.P. Jason Witten.

A veteran personnel man who knows Dave Gettleman said the other day, “Dave wants a pass-rusher in the worst way. He won’t reach for one, but he’ll get one with one his first three picks.”

Gettleman won't reach for one, but looking at his history of drafting DE's, where the two DE's he drafted in Carolina (one in the 2nd round and one in the 3rd round) are no longer on the roster, and the 1st round DT he drafted for pass rushing purposes isn't going to have his fifth year option picked up, it doesn't look great. Other than that, "getting one" wasn't the issue. It was getting a good one in the draft, though he did draft KK Short. And I know Dave Gettleman and it's a crapshoot whether he drafts a good defensive end or not.

7. Jacksonville: T.J. Hockenson, TE, Iowa

Daniel Jeremiah said the other day he thinks Hockenson could be the reincarnation of Jason Witten

So when did Jason Witten die? If Hockenson is the reincarnation of Jason Witten, that has to mean Jason Witten died. Sure, some "Monday Night Football" viewers may have wished Witten was dead, but that doesn't mean he is. He only acted brain-dead.

T.J. Hockenson: Most Likely to Have Been Reincarnated as the Not-Yet-Dead Jason Witten.

Bills love Quinnen Williams, but I can’t see the Raiders parting with him if he’s there at four. Bills could also trade up for Josh Allen, 

Well, that would be confusing to draft two players named "Josh Allen" in the first round in consecutive seasons.

or pick T.J. Hockenson if he falls to them. But if they stay, Jonah Williams could be an upgrade to Spencer Long at right guard or possibly, eventually, Ty Nsekhe, at right tackle. Lots of differing opinions in the scouting community on Williams. I would ask Bills Nation to look up “quixotic” in the dictionary. 

Yeah, you fucking in-bred high school graduate Bills fans. Go look up big words in the dictionary so that you may understand the big words that Peter King doesn't even use in the context of your draft pick because you are all too stupid to get it anyway. Look up the word, come back, and then you will understand the word Peter wanted to use, but didn't, because he doesn't want to lose you. 

Jonah Williams: Basically Don Quixote

18. Minnesota: Garrett Bradbury, C, North Carolina State

Speaking of PFF, the lowest-rated NFL center in the league by far last year was Minnesota’s Pat Elflein

And when have PFF ratings, many of which come out an hour or two after an NFL game has ended, thereby showing no regard for space and time through which a person could grade a three hour game, ever been wrong?

The Vikings pick at 18, 50 and 81, and the perception on the scouting trail is that two of those three picks will be offensive linemen.

And if any team knows offensive linemen, it's the team that drafted Matt Kalil and signed Mike Remmers as a free agent. Very offensive. 

Garrett Bradbury: Most Likely to Not Be Offensive

20. Pittsburgh: Rock Ya-Sin, CB, Temple

Imagine the first cornerback off the board being a guy who played one year at Temple after transferring from the Presbyterian (S.C.) College Blue Hose, and who will have one of the great names in the history of whatever team drafts him. 

Okay, I imagined it. It's ironic that Peter King thinks the name of a prospect is funny when that prospect changed the name he uses for public consumption (from "Abdurrahman Ibn") because he knew many people could not pronounce it. Peter never fails to show what a man of the world he is.

Rock Ya-Sin: Most Likely to Sound Like a Rapper Who Appeared on a Nas Album That Wasn't "Illmatic" or "Stillmatic."

21. Oakland: Josh Jacobs, RB, Alabama

PROJECTED TRADE: Oakland sends 24th and 106th picks to Seattle for this choice.

So, the best running back in this draft will probably be picked somewhere in the twenties,

Josh Jacobs: Best Running Back in the Draft

I met with Jacobs last week, by the way. Delightful fellow.

As was Johnny Manziel prior to the year he was drafted. Both played in the SEC and both have a "J" in their name. They have nothing to do with each other, but I wanted to remind you that Peter was taken in by Johnny Manziel, which I probably shouldn't really blame Peter for. Manziel just wanted to get drafted higher than he deserved so he was on his good behavior for a few months.

Josh Jacobs: Most Likely to be a Pretty Delightful Fellow

22. Baltimore: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson 

New England hopes Ferrell falls 10 more spots, but he won’t. The Ravens also could trade—rookie GM Eric DeCosta would love to accumulate more picks. But Ferrell is an ideal building block on a defensive front that needs a new star. I won’t be shocked if Ferrell is gone if the Ravens take a 10-year center like Erik McCoy of Texas A&M;

Erik McCoy: Most Likely to be a 10-Year Center

23. New York Giants: Daniel Jones, QB, Duke

PROJECTED TRADE: New York gets this pick and No. 55 from Houston for No. 17 overall.

As for Jones the player, there’s a wide disparity in opinion in the man who went 17-19 as a college starter. Very smart, but he doesn’t have the deep arm of the three other first-round candidates. In Bob McGinn’s annual deep dive into the top draft prospects, the veteran scribe quotes a NFL scout saying of Jones: “He reminds me of Ryan Tannehill. There’s just something missing with him.” Damning, but the four first-rounders seem to all have zits this year.

Daniel Jones: Most Likely to Have a Weak-Ass Arm, Plus Has Challenges Controlling His Acne

I also have to address the "Four first-rounders seem to all have zits this year" comment. I feel like every year we hear two things about that draft's quarterbacks.

1. Next year's class is better than this year.
2. This year's class all have weaknesses which bothers some NFL GM's.

Other than Andrew Luck, who is the pinnacle of QB perfection and has been since the day he emerged from his mother's womb playbook in his hand, when was the last time there has been a QB or group of first-round QB's that were considered "safe" or guy(s) who didn't have questions about their talent? I can't remember a time. Every draft there are questions about the top quarterbacks in the draft. It's the nature of the NFL. I would expect the QB's to have zits every single year, as they are college quarterbacks who aren't perfect.

25. Philadelphia: Marquise Brown, WR, Oklahoma

Some love him. Some think he’s too wispy at 166, and they’re worried that he enters the NFL nursing a foot injury, and he might be prone to injury in the big-boy league.

This is not a terribly poor spot for Brown, but I would think a player of this weight and with his recent injury history should legitimately have questions about his ability to stay healthy. The list of small-ish wide receivers taken in the 1st round isn't great of late either. John Ross was let go by the Bengals, Will Fuller (he is listed at 185 pounds) has been very injury-prone, Phillip Dorsett has been a disappointment, and Tavon Austin is not that good either. Of course, Brandin Cooks has been great. But a college wide receiver that is small-ish already has a strike against him, much less a college wide receiver coming off a major injury.

Marquise Brown: Most Likely to be Wispy

27. Oakland: Deandre Baker, CB, Georgia

If the Raiders can come out of this first round with the best defensive tackle in the draft, the best running back in the draft, and a corner who should push for playing time immediately, it’s going to be a successful first draft for the rookie GM Mayock.

If you can say Williams is the best defensive tackle in the draft, Jacobs is the best running back for the draft and ignore that the Raiders are so thin at CB that any player drafted in the first two rounds then you may be Mike Mayock's friend. I'm being snide, but Mayock is a first-time GM and when has Jon Gruden been an astute drafter of talent? I will remain skeptical until I am proven otherwise.

Given the combination of Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock in Oakland, the calisthenics required to compliment the job they are doing and remove responsibility among their friends in the media might break world records if the Raiders struggle again this year. But don't worry, we will see here in a minute that Peter has the Raiders schedule as the reason they could struggle this year. At least the NFL has given Gruden a ready-made excuse for potential mediocrity.

30. Green Bay: D.K. Metcalf, WR, Mississippi

They haven’t taken a receiver in the top 50 in 11 years (Jordy Nelson, 2008, 36th overall). I could see Andre Dillard here too, but Brian Gutekunst is trying to stock up for one last multi-year run with Aaron Rodgers, giving him the kind of weapons that will allow him to be Aaron Rodgers again.

"One last multi-year run" as if this isn't the goal of nearly every NFL GM, given the salary cap restrictions in the NFL. 

I might go Marquise Brown here if I were Green Bay, but I realize a 166-pound burner may not have the shelf life of a Sterling Sharpe-big-bodied player like Metcalf.

What if a 166-pound burner actually knows how to get open and catch a football, which D.K. Metcalf hasn't shown he can do with his 67 career receptions? Also, Metcalf played in 21 games in his college career at Ol' Miss, while Marquise Brown and his short shelf life played in 25 games over his college career at Oklahoma. Brown may seem brittle but he's been durable compared to Metcalf.

Denver likes Lock, and might be able to snag him as a two-year learner behind Joe Flacco while retaining the ability to use the 71st pick this year on a potential starter at a need position, like Texas A&M tight end Jace Sternberger. A move like this wouldn’t surprise me, but I also think the way Denver GM John Elway’s talking, he could punt on a young quarterback until the richer QB draft of 2020.

There's the narrative I like! Next year's draft is going to be a great one, at least until Jacob Fromm struggles this year, questions about Tua's height crop up and whatever else happens that causes doubts in the minds of NFL scouts ends up happening. THEN, it is the 2021 QB class with Trevor Lawrence that is the really rich one. Around and around we go. 

John Elway: Most Likely to Poorly Evaluate a College Quarterback

In the end, I struggled mightily with the Frank Clark trade from Seattle to Kansas City. I had the trade in my first draft of the mock on Friday, then took it out for 48 hours, and just put it back in Sunday night. The waffling came before I sent Clark to the Chiefs because of the Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill incidents. And I will not be surprised at all if the Chiefs don’t do it. But I’m taking the gamble, because the Kansas City need for edge-rush is so pronounced. 

It feels like wanting Frank Clark's ability to rush the passer is nice, but I have to think even the Chiefs are self-aware enough to not trade for him. It's not like he's beating women and children on the regular, like Tyreek Hill seems to do, but he's not exactly shown over the past few years that his lesson was learned.

• Here is something that simply should not happen. The factoid that, upon further review, is a blight on the 2019 schedule:

Raider games in Oakland in the 48 days between Sept. 16 and Nov. 2: zero.
Raider games in Oakland in the 15 days between Nov. 3 and Nov. 17: three.

Let me say, this is crazy and ridiculous scheduling by the NFL. But, I am also jaded and now that Peter likes Mike Mayock, so I can't help but be so jaded this bizarre scheduling isn't in some way going to be used as an excuse if the Raiders struggle this year. 

I’m going to try to interpret why the NFL did what it did to Oakland. First, the Raiders and the A’s are the only football and baseball teams sharing one stadium. The Raiders are not keen on playing many games on the field when it is set up for baseball, with the skin infield and pitcher’s mound.

Because with how the Oakland Raiders have treated their fans with the whole "moving town" thing, it's only right that the franchise be treated fairly so there isn't a huge gap between their home games. After all, the fans the team is abandoning want to see the team play, so the NFL should consider the needs of the fans the Raiders are screwing over. In reality, if the Raiders don't want to play on the field set up for baseball (which I understand), then it's not going to make scheduling their games easier. This is just a basic fact of the matter.

Imagine if Al Davis saw this schedule. The Raiders play five straight games between Sept. 22 and Oct. 27, at mid-morning on their bodyclocks. Five games in a row, all at 10 a.m. PT.

Counterargument: If the Raiders play five straight games at 1pm EST, then it should be easier to acclimate their bodyclocks to playing at this time compared to having games at 1pm EST throughout their schedule. The Raiders will have a chance to get used to playing at 1pm if they play five games in a row at that time.

• Bills Mafia will be screaming about respect. Bills fans are an insular lot, with the Bills Mafia as loyal a fan group as exists in the NFL. What must the Mafiosos have been thinking when Buffalo was the only team of 32 to get zero prime time games? The coaches must love 14 games with 1 p.m. ET starts, and five road trips of an hour or less in the air. But the fans feel only disrespect. The only nod to national attraction is Buffalo’s first Thanksgiving game in 25 years—the mid-afternoon CBS tilt at Dallas.

I would think a Thanksgiving game is not terribly disrespectful. It's only going to be one of the most-watched games of the year. But every NFL fan base screams about respect. My favorite team's fan base is always whining about how nobody respects the team. It's standard fandom stuff. 
“As a kid, my whole dream was to win Super Bowls and play QB in the NFL. For me it was always football. But at the same time it wasn’t.”
—Kyler Murray, to Robert Klemko of The MMQB and Sports Illustrated in a magazine story this week.

Again, reading that article didn't make me question that Kyler Murray likes to play football. It made me question whether Murray didn't like playing baseball as much as he likes playing football and made me wonder what happens when his father has less of a say in the decision. Throw in that even Lincoln Riley indicates that Murray's leadership skills aren't necessarily one of his best attributes and he's a lot of red flags for me.

Bill Belichick turned 67 the other day, which is about the time most normal human beings are seriously pondering retirement.

I seriously ponder retirement around the same time I die, partly because my Social Security money is being drained by Baby Boomers like Bill Belichick and medical care will be so expensive at that point in my life I may have to work just to pay for it. Anyway, carry on...

In fact, 12 of the 15 winningest coaches have not coached, or did not coach, at age 67 or older. Belichick will make that 11 of 15 this fall.

Looking at the top 15, and how many seasons they coached after turning 67:

1. Don Shula: 0. Coached last game at 65.
2. George Halas: 6. Went 47-33-5 and won one NFL title after turning 67.
3. Belichick.
4. Tom Landry: 0. Coached last game at 64.
5. Curly Lambeau: 0. Coached last game at 55.
6. Chuck Noll: 0. Coached last game at 59.
7. Andy Reid: 0. He is 61.
8. Marty Schottenheimer: 0. Coached last game at 63.
9. Dan Reeves: 0. Coached last game at 59.
10. Chuck Knox: 0. Coached last game at 62.
11. Bill Parcells: 0. Coached last game at 65.
12. Tom Coughlin: 3. Went 19-29 after turning 67.
13. Mike Shanahan: 0. Coached last game at 61.
14. Jeff Fisher: 0. Coached last game at 58.
15. Paul Brown: 1. Went 11-4 after turning 67.

You can not convince me that Peter didn't include this information just so he could put Jeff Fisher's name up here. My level of jaded is off the charts.

Lots of Steve Keim criticism. From Ravven L.: “I find it interesting that you say the Cards personnel people are at ‘the upper end among personnel people in belief in their ability to pick players’ but then you detail the incredible lack of talent on that team. How are these two statements compatible?”

My statement was about how confident GM Steve Keim and VP of player personnel Terry McDonough are about their personnel acumen—not about their recent performance in the draft and free agency, which has obviously been lacking. 

So because the Cardinals think they are good at picking players, not based on the recent performance of picking players, the Cards personnel people are at "the upper end among personnel people in belief in their ability to pick players"? I feel like this is a sort of circular reasoning.

"Because we believe we are good at picking players, we will continue to believe that we are good at picking players based on this belief."

But let’s be fair. Arizona won 50 games in Keim’s first five years as GM, got Carson Palmer very cheap in trade with Oakland, and hired Bruce Arians as one of his first decisions as GM (along with club president Michael Bidwill). In his drafts, Keim drafted Tyrann Mathieu with the 69th pick, John Brown with the 91st, and David Johnson with the 86th. He traded the 61st pick plus guard Jonathan Cooper to New England for Chandler Jones; Jones has recorded 41 sacks in his three Cardinals seasons. It’s okay to say Keim is in a personnel slump, but overall, his six years have been better than average.

He also fired Steve Wilks after one season, used the #10 pick on a quarterback he may no longer want, while Mathieu/Brown are no longer with the team. The problem is a personnel slump can set an NFL team back quite a few seasons. While Peter points to the 50 games the Cardinals have won over Keim's first five seasons, they have won 18 games over the last three seasons. That is a more important and relevant statistic. 

1. I think there was a lot of buzz Friday when NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweeted that the Raiders would send home their scouts for the weekend, and for the days leading up to the draft, preventing them from leaking any of the information on the team’s draft board. “The belief is they [Jon Gruden and Mike Mayock] don’t know who to trust and wanted to clear the room,” Rapoport reported. A few thoughts:

Peter has to cape up for Mike Mayock now. He spends four solid paragraphs of bullet points pointing out that "this is all really fucking normal, guys." Perhaps it is normal, which is contrary to most of what I have read. It seems like a chaotic situation to me.

There is also this doozy:

• Re Mayock: One of his friends in the league told me the other day he felt this was Mayock’s attempt to take control over a process that he’s running for the first time in his life. “Wouldn’t you think it’s fair for Mike, with three picks in the first round, to close the circle and keep it as tight as he can?” this friend said.

Sure, if I'm desperate to make excuses for Mayock and I'm his friend, this is how I would reason out the decision. If I were a reasonable person who did not know Mike Mayock personally, I would say as a rookie GM running his first draft wouldn't I want the same scouts who have provided me with evaluations over the past few months to be present in the draft room so I can ensure the best decisions are being made for the future of the franchise? I wouldn't say it's "fair" for Mayock to close the circle, because that's an odd choice of words, but it's certainly within his right to do it. Why Mayock (and Gruden) would do this is the concern, not whether Mayock could do it.

I take the opinion of a Mayock's friend with a grain of salt. They are friends, so of course wrong or right, the friend will rationalize it.

 • Mayock’s daughter Leigh tweeted over the weekend that she went out to dinner with her dad recently and when he went to the bathroom, he took his draft notebook with him rather than leave it at the table, where only his daughter was. “Don’t take it personal scouties,” she said.

Oh, well if Mike Mayock's daughter says this is normal then I guess I should change my mind. In this situation, Mayock didn't leave his draft notebook in public with his daughter at the table where any stranger could run up and grab it. If Mayock considers his scouts to be strangers who would take his draft notebook for nefarious purposes, then perhaps they should have been fired a long time ago. I get that Mayock (and Gruden) want total control over the draft process, but they can do this without essentially telling their scouts to find other jobs. So despite what Mike Mayock's daughter says, telling the Raiders scouts to not show up for the draft is really odd. 

2. I think for all of you, particularly in Packer Nation, who wonder why in the world Green Bay has never played in England or Mexico, you may not have to wonder that much more. I think Green Bay’s time is coming, likely as soon as 2020, to finally go on the road to play a game in London. The reasons why Green Bay has never had to make the trip are predictable—the Packers don’t want to give up one of eight sold-out home games, and no team hosting the Packers wants to give up that gate because the Packers travel so well and fill the stadium and local hotels with fans. But I think the NFL is conscious of not giving a prized franchise special treatment.

Because when I think of the NFL, I think of them being conscious of not giving prized franchises special treatment. Any review of the schedule of primetime games shows that the NFL definitely doesn't play favorites. It just feels like the Cowboys play three Sunday Night Football games every single year. Sometimes they play two and sometimes they play four. 

5. I think that’s why the draft is so compelling. So many people. So many opinions

And yet, Twitter is a cesspool for these same reasons. Weird. 

8. I think my favorite quote of the spring, and nothing is close for second place, is Giants GM Dave Gettleman responding to a question about the strengths of the 2019 draft by saying, in part, “The wides are thick.” Meaning there are a lot of wide receivers on the Giants board. I just love the way he said it.

I have been a Dave Gettleman defender in the past. I cannot lie and say otherwise, but the rose is off the bloom for me. He seems to use fun words that sportswriters enjoy writing down (Hog Mollies, Blue Gooses) and then drafts players that end up not panning out. If I'm a Giants fan, the guy who drafted Kelvin Benjamin and Devin Funchess better not be talking about "thick" receivers or else I'm afraid I may get a thick receiver. Gettleman can say it in a fun manner, but I do hope he's learned his lesson. The fact he traded the most dynamic wide receiver in the NFL, while swallowing dead money, tells me otherwise though. 

10. I think these are my other thoughts of the week:

a. God help our country.

Thanks Peter. Your contribution is appreciated. Maybe Donald Trump should tell all of his advisors not to show up to Cabinet and departmental meetings and that will fix things. After all, he just needs to get full control over the process. It's only fair. 

e. Story of the Week: The Rise and Fall of a New York Shock Jock, by Nick Paumgarten of the New Yorker. Great story about the downfall of Craig Carton, who teamed with Boomer Esiason on New York sports station WFAN’s morning show. Man, gambling is a one-way street to hell. Just read this piece. And an excellent job of taking us deep inside the story by Paumgarten.

f. “Are you Craig Carton?”

g. “Yes I am.”

h. “You’re under arrest.”

a. Why.

b. Was this.

c. Four points on the outline.

d. When it is simply one point that Peter wanted to mention

e. ?

i. My wife and I watch “Jeopardy” most nights. 

What? I'm so shocked about this. I bet Peter watches "Seinfeld" re-runs when he's not watching "Jeopardy." It's so outside the realm of Peter's demographic to watch "Jeopardy" and "Seinfeld" though.

We’ve been riveted in the last couple of weeks by James Holzhauer, the incredibly intelligent, lighning-fast-with-the-buzzer champion who already has the five most lucrative winning shows of all time. Holzhauer is a professional sports gambler, according to the show.

Now Peter, I've heard that gambling is a one-way street to hell. Maybe go talk to the person that said that. He's brilliant and asked God to help our country so you know for sure he's trying to help out.

j. Joe Pinsker of The Atlantic with an interesting story about how Holzhauer, essentially, is so brilliant his games are not fair fights.

k. When the challengers get introduced at the start of the show, they’re lambs led to the slaughter. I’ve never seen anything like it.

It sounds like gambling is no longer a one-way street to hell. It's almost like it depends on the person doing the gambling. 

l. Coffeenerdness: For some reason that is foreign to me, because it’s never happened in my 61 years on earth, I have been getting allergy attacks. 

Maybe you have been gambling too much and your body is telling you that it's a one-way street to hell, unless you are good at it, in which case you get to be on "Jeopardy" and people like you will be in awe of you.

The Adieu Haiku

My mock draft stinks. Stinks!
Over/under on direct
hits: Four point five. Hmmmm.

It's not shocking that "Sports Illustrated" didn't fight tooth and nail to keep the Adieu Haiku like they fought to keep the name "MMQB."

Speaking of stinks, I wish that Peter knew the Adieu Haiku stinks. I mean, he ended this haiku with "Hmmmm." Not very poetic.

Friday, February 9, 2018

5 comments The Legacy of Jeff Fisher is Encapsulated in This Very Column; Sportswriters with Good Intentions Making Excuses for His Mediocrity

I have come back to vanquish my foe, Jeff Fisher. Apparently he is my foe. It's not that I dislike Jeff "8-8" Fisher*, it's that I grow weary of his friends/future colleagues in the media who have made excuses and reason out why he has been overly mediocre for most of the latter stages of his coaching career.

*You know I've been ranting about Fisher for a long time since his nickname to me is "8-8" and not "7-9." His teams going 8-8 are his legacy with the Titans and now it's been updated to "7-9" after his stint with the Rams.

So Dan Pompei wrote a column, and it IS well-written prose, about Jeff Fisher and his complicated legacy while making excuses for Fisher. At this point, even Peter King has kind of given up doing Marvin Demoff's bidding for Fisher. Fisher had to overcome things while he was a head coach. It's not like ALL NFL COACHES HAVE TO OVERCOME ADVERSITY TO BE SUCCESSFUL. But the media-driven narratives to help Fisher's legacy out try to make Fisher an outlier in order to give the perception he got such a bad break. It's not true. Stop making his mediocrity and inability to succeed with the Rams more than it is. He's just not a great head coach anymore. I spoke about this Dan Pompei column on Twitter and then got motivated to do more writing, so here we are.

During the media-driven negotiations (where guys like Peter King drummed up a standoff between the Dolphins and Rams in order to jack Fisher's price up), Pompei was used as a negotiating tool as well.

You are Jeff Fisher,

If true, I accept that I failed in Los Angeles and will retire with my pile of cash not earned through my failure with the Rams.

and if you listen to a few minutes of sports talk radio, you will hear opinions—even from people you have been friendly with for 40 years—about how great it is that you are out of work.

When I say Jeff Fisher's friends protect and make excuses for him, here is an example. So Fisher's friends should not be honest about the outcome from his head coaching job in St. Louis? Everyone is supposed to blow smoke up Fisher's ass, because he's such a nice guy?

You walk out to the driveway of the team facility on the campus of Cal Lutheran where the buses leave. You have your 10-week-old golden retriever in your arms. Hunter is her name, and everyone who sees her can't help but love her.

The aim of this column, though well-written, becomes clear. We need to humanize Fisher more by talking about how some of his players love him, plus he has a puppy. You can't hate puppies, so you can't hate Jeff Fisher for failing with the Rams, which means Jeff Fisher didn't fail with the Rams.

You are Jeff Fisher, and your ride has been a wild one.

Most NFL coaches have had a wild ride in the process of paying their dues. Though in defense of Fisher, he did not know when he took the Rams job they could relocate. See, in this article Fisher was clearly taken off guard by the suggestion he took the job with the Rams knowing they would relocate. 

Wait, that's not at all true and it seems Fisher took the job knowing the Rams could move. I hate to interrupt this pity party for Fisher, but he took a job with the Rams knowing they could relocate and then used that relocation as a reason for his failure. But anyway, the "wild ride" and excuses for failure based on relocation, they are VERY convincing to me.

You were named interim head coach of the Houston Oilers in November 1994. In your first game, you scrapped the run-and-shoot offense the Oilers had been using and went conventional, even though you had only one tight end on the roster. Then in the last game of the season, you switched back to the run-and-shoot for your only victory of the year.

This is supposed to compliment Fisher's ability to adapt, but really only speaks to his inability to put a coherent, effective offense on the field during his first season with the Oilers to the point he had to scrap his offense and go back to what worked better previously. But again, I'm supposed to feel bad for Jeff Fisher, so I need to get in that frame of mind.

In your first full year as head coach of the Oilers, the talk about moving the team from Houston began. Houston turned on the Oilers. You would, in reality, be coaching without a home-field advantage for the first four years of your head coaching career.

You took your team to the Super Bowl in your first season in your new city. Your future team beat your present team 23-16 in one of the most exhilarating Super Bowls ever. 

I'm not sure the best argument for Jeff Fisher's future employment in the NFL is, "Well, he USED to be a good head coach."

The next year, your star quarterback Steve McNair became disheartened and wanted to quit. The two of you spent 10 days in the middle of the season talking it through. A little more than two years after McNair was voted co-MVP of the league, your owner, Bud Adams, abruptly declared McNair could not work out at the team facility because he had yet to agree to restructure his contract.

This is an odd circumstance, but again, other coaches do not make excuses (or have excuses made for them over a decade later) when there are injuries or issues with his team. And notice how Pompei doesn't give a date to when McNair was locked out of the facility, because if he did say it was 2006 when the lockout of McNair occurred then the reader would say, "So Fisher went from having McNair as his quarterback to having Young as his quarterback, that didn't sound like a bad deal at the time." Pompei wants the reader to think McNair being locked out of the team facility was an incident from which it was hard for Fisher to help his team recover. In reality, McNair got locked out in the Spring, before the draft, before mini-camp, and before training camp. There was plenty of time to recover and get the Titans ready for the 2006 season.

Your owner, however, would get you another quarterback in 2006: a first-round pick neither you nor your general manager wanted. You were to make do with the tempestuous Vince Young.

Vince Young had a troubled career with the Titans, but calling Young tempestuous and not including any information from Vince Young's point of view regarding how Saint Jeff "8-8" Fisher treated him is revisionist history at best. The point of this column isn't to investigate Jeff Fisher's flaws, of course. The point is to rehab Fisher's image and help make excuses for his performance as head coach in St. Louis, while painting a picture of Fisher as a good person whose kind nature can't be separated from his poor performance with the Rams. Any information contrary to this goal has no place in the space contained within the column.

You and the Titans eventually had enough of each other.

Jeff Fisher got fired after not having won a playoff game since 2003. Fisher also had disagreements with Bud Adams over whether Fisher's son could join the staff. It was time to move on. Again, he is not the first NFL coach in this situation. 

After a year away from the game, you turned down the Dolphins and became head coach of the Rams in 2012, taking over a team that had averaged three wins per year over the previous five years.

And on the subject of drama, before you coached your first game, your defensive coordinator, Gregg Williams, was suspended for a year for something he did when he worked for another team.

Actually, Williams was suspended indefinitely and Fisher released him from his contract in January 2013, then Fisher hired Gregg Williams back as his defensive coordinator in February 2014. Williams coached the Rams defense for 2.75 seasons and then was fired when Fisher was fired. So Jeff Fisher had Gregg Williams as his defensive coordinator for the majority of his time with the Rams. Again, a person who has this information may say, "But if Gregg Williams was so crucial then why didn't the Rams turn it around when he eventually came back to the team?" and possibly see Williams' suspension as an unfortunate incident, but easy to overcome considering it happened 6 months before the season began and he had not even had a chance to install his defense yet, plus Williams' defense didn't help Fisher win games after the suspension ended. Information relevant to why these excuses given for Fisher's lack of success in St. Louis are faulty is not the point of this column though.

Five of your players made a statement about the Ferguson unrest by coming out of the tunnel with their hands up—and you didn't find out about it until you got home after the game. 

With all due respect, what the hell does this have to do with winning football games? A distraction? Again, Fisher is the coach and he has a job to make sure his team doesn't get distracted. Other NFL coaches have had socially active players on the team and managed to somehow not allow it to distract and upend the entire season.

Your starting quarterback, Sam Bradford, tore his ACL in consecutive seasons.

And Fisher never brought in a competent replacement for Bradford. This isn't just bad luck, this is poor roster management and poor coaching. If you don't have a backup plan for a quarterback who just tore his ACL then you as a head coach deserve how ever many losses may come. And again, the Eagles just won the Super Bowl after their quarterback tore his ACL. The Broncos won Super Bowl 50 after Peyton Manning missed a part of the season due to injury. It is the head coach's job to make sure the team doesn't fall apart.

So your teams lost 165 games, which ties you for most losses in NFL history.

But like 93 of those losses were totally not Jeff Fisher's fault. See what happened was...

You are not the same coach you were back in Houston. You evolved with experiences and the times.

Middle-school offense, huh? That was Todd Gurley's opinion?

You stopped having players report to early-morning meetings, for instance, because you knew most of this generation stays up late with their mobile devices or video game controllers in their hands. And there was a basket for those mobile devices to be dropped in outside the meeting rooms—but you promised the players would be able to get back to them in 25 minutes or less because you knew they couldn't take being separated from them for longer.

Treating players differently because they consume media differently doesn't mean Fisher evolved his coaching style on the field. Let's stop getting the professional evolution and personal evolution confused with each other.

You are Jeff Fisher, and when you were told you were coming home, you said you were honored. You meant it.

(Pompei efforting to make an excuse for why Fisher failed in St. Louis) "Fisher got caught up in another franchise relocation effort. It's hard to coach well and adapt to changes like this."

(Pompei efforting to confuse Jeff Fisher being a good guy with being a good head coach) "Fisher loves Los Angeles and it's like home to him. He felt comfortable in Los Angeles, but not comfortable enough to where the excuse for why the relocation to Los Angeles was SO HARD TO DEAL WITH can't be used. See, Fisher was comfortable enough for me to use his comfort as an anecdote for what a good guy he is, but I also have to not make him seem so comfortable that any negative outcomes as the Rams head coach could be pinned on him."

You loved Los Angeles so much you stayed there for college. At USC, you played on a team that won the national championship, and you met your future bride, a princess in the 1979 Rose Bowl royal court.

When you came back to town as the head coach of your boyhood team, people came out of the woodwork. Relatives, friends from school, old neighbors. Your people accounted for more than 100 season tickets.

Boy, it sounds like the relocation to Los Angeles where Fisher was totally comfortable was a real bitch. 

Mom and Dad would stop by the facility to check on you every other day. You had your first Christmas at home in 25 years. You even spent 15 minutes at a high school reunion, right after a team meeting on the eve of the season opener.

It seems nearly impossible for Fisher to keep control of the team with all this upheaval around him. 

Random thought: Is it possible that the Rams as a team weren't distracted but Jeff Fisher was distracted by all the season tickets he had to buy, the fact his parents came by the office 3-4 times per week and the high school reunion he attended? Perhaps, and I know this is hearsay, Jeff Fisher didn't give enough time and energy to the Rams because he was distracted by his homecoming. Of course not, like anything else that pertains to Jeff Fisher, this relocation to the Rams was a distraction for his team, not him. The Rams record was someone else's fault, not his. Jeff Fisher is incapable of being distracted. The Rams record in 2016 was all his team's fault. Just give him one more year.

But the 2016 season did not play out like a fairy tale.

The 2017 season did though. What changed?

There was a lot going on. Moves from St. Louis to Oxnard for offseason training, to Irvine for training camp, and then to Thousand Oaks one week before the start of the regular season. Trying to replace two starters in the secondary who left in free agency. Playing all but one of your road games east of the Mississippi, and one east of the Atlantic.

Now I never knew the Rams had to replace two starters in the secondary. Has any NFL team ever had to replace TWO starters on defense? I'm guessing not. In fact, it's a borderline miracle the Rams ran the ball as well as they did in 2017 when they had to replace two starters on the offensive line. I'm surprised the Rams even won a game, because as an NFL head coach, experiencing roster turnover is extremely rare.
If losing two starters in the secondary is what Jeff Fisher believes set the 2016 Rams back, then it sounds like he evolved perfectly fine to fit in well with today's highly volatile NFL.

You and Dickerson agree on one thing: You didn't win enough games as Rams coach. The team was 31-45-1 in your tenure.

Can I stop being Jeff Fisher now? I'm feeling very mediocre. 

The trolls on the internet declared 7/9 Jeff Fisher Day, and it was one of a few flash points that preceded your dismissal.

Pompei refers to "trolls" as the ones who made up 7/9 as Jeff Fisher Day and makes excuses for 4.5 years of failure & remarks the 2016 team wasn't set up to win, as if winning was inevitable in 2017. What a crock of crap. 

Your team was facing long odds from the start in 2016. Your team or, rather, that team, was set up to win after 2016.

Riiiiiight. 2017 was the year the Rams were set up to win. That's always the thing with Jeff Fisher and those who defend him/try to find him employment. You see, something happened and it got in the way...but next year, definitely next year it will all work out. Give Fisher another year.

You admired the job your successor did but were not surprised to see Sean McVay take the Rams where you failed to.

"I thought it was a matter of time," you say. "I spent over four-and-a-half years working on that roster and had a lot to do with the way the drafts went. I knew they, or we, were close—a few players away. I'm just really happy for the success the players and coaches and support staff had. It's an outstanding group of people that I worked really close with."

You do not need to spend 4.5 years building a roster just to make the playoffs. Recent history shows this is absolutely not true. Let's talk about Fisher and the draft. He had 12 first/second round picks during his tenure. Don't give us this crap that it needed to be a slow build. Roster mismanagement and bad coaching caused this.

And Fisher is taking credit for the way the drafts went? Does that include Greg Robinson, Brian Quick, Tre Mason, Isaiah Pead, and Tavon Austin or those picks weren't Fisher's fault? But again, and I can't emphasize this enough, it does not take 4.5 years to turn a team around. My favorite team went 1-15 in 2001 and then were in the Super Bowl two years later. Perhaps that's an extreme example, but Doug Pederson took a 7-9 Eagles team with a bad defense and mostly Chip Kelly's guys to the Super Bowl this year and won it. So if anyone tries to pretend 4.5 years isn't enough time to turn a team around, then that person is an idiot.

You are Jeff Fisher, and they're calling you "the quarterback whisperer," usually with a rolling on the floor laughing face emoji.

You didn't win Super Bowl with Nick Foles, like Doug Pederson did. You didn't get to the NFC Championship Game with Keenum, like Mike Zimmer did. You didn't win the NFC West with Jared Goff, like McVay did.

But seriously, this is an incredibly valid point. I know Dan Pompei includes "with a rolling on the floor laughing face emoji" to emphasize it's those Twitter trolls who say this, but this is a very, very, very, very valid criticism of Jeff Fisher. This also speaks to how much "Fisher evolved with the times" is a fictional tale being told by those who just want to see him get another chance in the NFL. 

You were never an offensive coach. 

I know this is difficult for Fisher defenders and for Jeff Fisher to understand, but as the head coach of a team he is responsible for every part of the team. He can't say, "Oh shit, I don't know offense" and pass the blame off, which is a specialty of his by the way. It doesn't work that way. Jeff Fisher was hired to win games. That's the bottom line. Sean McVay didn't do defense, so he hired someone who did, and was accountable for that hire. 

You hired others to do that. And that's where things unraveled. After the 2014 season, your offensive coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, wanted to be closer to his family, so he told you he was leaving for a job at the University of Georgia.

What happened during the three years from 2012-2014? I know this column's purpose is to spit out excuses like a teenager who got caught doing something he shouldn't, but Schottenheimer was with the Rams for three years. Schottenheimer had three years with the Rams and Fisher stuck with him for three years. What happened in those three years that was such a barrier to success?

Besides, NFL head coaches lose coordinators all the time and part of the job is to find good coordinators to replace those you have lost and still have success. Again, IT'S PART OF THE DAMN JOB.

Your intent was to replace him with an experienced NFL play-caller. You reached out to four coaches who had been successful NFL coordinators. Three of them also had head coaching experience. None of them wanted to be your coordinator. "My sense," you say, "is they didn't want to have to endure the relocation."

Or they didn't want to work for Jeff Fisher in a situation that he was clearly blowing. I'll allow you as the reader decide whether Jeff Fisher's reasoning that these coordinators didn't want to endure the relocation is true or not. While thinking about this, keep in mind Fisher has a history of excuse-making and an allergy to the reality of his coaching ability. 

"Had I stayed," you say, "there were a lot of changes I needed to make that we had been unable to make because of the move."

I don't even know what this means. Changes that couldn't be made because of the move? What the hell is this? I'll tell you what it is. This is another example of Fisher constantly promising progress while with the Rams only to make horseshit excuses for why he can't succeed. Of course, Fisher needed 4.5 more years to get close to the playoffs and then he would make those changes. Sean McVay's success only shows how close Jeff Fisher was to success and is not at all an indication that Jeff Fisher had a talented roster and couldn't ever succeed with that roster. McVay's success is a testament to how great Jeff Fisher is. Of course.

No one was calling you "quarterback whisperer" when Mike Heimerdinger was your offensive coordinator and McNair was leading the league in passer rating. Your record with Heimerdinger was 75-53. Heimerdinger died of cancer in 2011.

This is sad. This is also like Heimerdinger got a job as the offensive coordinator in Heaven and so Jeff Fisher had to find a replacement. Again, as the head coach of an NFL team volatility should be expected and part of the job is replacing coordinators who die/get fired/find other jobs. Heimerdinger's death is not an excuse that Jeff Fisher can use. Bad things happen and coaches leave. As a head coach, you can't be so reliant on one coordinator that you can't succeed without him. But that's not the point of this column is it? The point isn't to sort through these excuses and show why they should not be used as reasoning for why Fisher failed in St. Louis. Excuses are why Fisher wants another year. Just as soon as everything is perfect, like it never is in the NFL, then the Rams could have succeeded.

When you arrived, some of your former players were so surprised and touched that they cried, Keenum says. "It was so good to have him," he continues. "I love Coach Fisher. He's a great coach, better person. I loved the time we spent together. He's a guy you want to run through walls for and you want to fight for. I really appreciate what he did for me in my career, giving me a shot. He's somebody I have a lot of respect for."

The party turned out to be one of the greatest Christmas presents you ever received.

Jeff Fisher is a great guy. Fantastic. This doesn't mean he is a good NFL coach or he should be hired as the head coach of another NFL team.

You are Jeff Fisher, and you are considered a retread.

As someone who has held two other NFL head coaching jobs and been fired twice, Jeff Fisher is the definition of a "retread." He may be nice, he may have an influential agent or influential friends, but this doesn't change what he would be if hired by an NFL team as their head coach. He would be a retread.

Being a retread is bad if you are you but good if you are Jon Gruden.

Your career record is eight games above .500. Gruden's career record is 14 games above .500. You are 5-6 in the postseason. He is 5-4. Your team lost in your only Super Bowl. His team won in his only Super Bowl.

He was given a 10-year contact to coach the Raiders, reportedly worth $100 million. You were not interviewed for any of the seven head coach openings.

Pompei refers to the $100 million contract for Gruden that was widely mocked? This excessively long contract that a desperate Raiders team gave Gruden, that's the comparison to use for Fisher? Okay, I'll bite. Fisher has coached in two more playoff games despite being a head coach for 11 more years than Gruden. 11 more years than Gruden and he has two more playoff games on his record.

Here is a great comparison between these two head coaches. Jeff Fisher last had a winning season as a head coach in 2008. Jon Gruden took a decade off from coaching and that's also the last time he had a winning season as a head coach. Fisher coached for 7.5 of the years that Gruden was in the booth and hasn't had a winning season since Gruden was fired by the Buccaneers. Even though Fisher is a really nice guy, doesn't this say something about Fisher that Gruden sat out for almost a decade and still almost matches the number of playoff games Fisher has coached in? I'm not the one that opened this can of worms either, but I'll keep opening it.

This is the comparison that's supposed to tell us how Fisher got a raw deal: 

Jon Gruden: $10 mil/year starting in 2018. 9 playoff games. 5-4 record in the playoffs. 11 years of coaching. 

Jeff Fisher: $7 mil/year starting in 2012. 11 playoff games. 5-6 record in the playoffs. 22 years of coaching.

"He's a guy who's been in some pretty tough situations," former rival Mike Shanahan says. "I know how good a coach Jeff is and what kind of person he is. Players play hard for him. Everybody is on him because the Rams had success last year. But they added some good players, they put in a good new offense and they had a quarterback step up in his second year. I think if you wait a year or two, you'll look back at Jeff and say, 'I forgot about some things.'"

"They added some good players, they put in a good new offense..." How much time did Fisher need to do this? Why didn't he do this sooner? Why is Dan Pompei not asking these questions, though I know that answer so why I am asking this question?

You and Juli, the Rose Bowl princess, went through a divorce near the end of your days with the Titans. Afterward, you and a close friend went turkey hunting one morning in Tennessee. On your way back, in the mid-morning, the two of you stopped to talk on a bridge on your farm. There was some understandable strain in your life. You opened up. You had been a spiritual man, but you realized then something was missing.

On that bridge, with turkeys in the back of your truck, you accepted Jesus Christ as your savior. You felt a tremendous sense of peace. "I put a lot behind me," you say. "My life took a turn for the better at that point."

That's great and it also doesn't have anything at all to do with Fisher's complex legacy as an NFL head coach. I love my family and this doesn't mean I'm very good/very bad at my job. If this article wasn't framed as, "Let's get Jeff Fisher a job in the NFL" then this anecdote may have a place. The article is framed as, "Jeff Fisher got a raw deal. He just needed more time than 22 years. Oh, and here are some excuses," so whatever Fisher does is in his personal life is irrelevant. Heck, if this "inner peace" came AFTER he was fired by the Rams maybe it has a place in a discussion about Fisher as a head coach. The "inner peace" came before he failed with the Rams so it is doubly irrelevant to Fisher's ability as an NFL head coach.

You have thought about trying broadcasting, or maybe working for the league office. But you aren't ready to do that yet.

Jeff Fisher shows zero charisma. I can't imagine a network would hire him to broadcast games. Given Fisher's ability to get his friends to use excuses for him and help him find jobs, he probably would end up with the #1 analyst job with FOX or something.

You had quite a run, including a quarter of a century as a head coach. Only seven men in history coached more games than you—you had to be doing some things very well. But things haven't gone well in recent years. Your last winning season was 2008.

Jeff Fisher is about to rant about people disregarding facts. This last sentence is a fact that Fisher can't disregard. Everyone can make excuses for why they fail in the face of adversity, but Fisher should focus more on reasons why he succeeded despite adversity.

You don't need to be confronted with your failures. You know them better than anyone.

Does he? Because this entire column has seemed like a litany of excuses for his failures.

You also know every story has two sides—at least. And memes don't concern themselves with all of that. "I make the choice to see my career not as the one that tied Dan Reeves for having the most losses in NFL history," you say. Instead, you choose "to see it as 13 wins away from being in the top 10 in wins in history."

That's a great attitude. I see Fisher's career as a good coaching career that ended with 4.5 years with the Rams where he showed he is not built for modern football and is too concerned with what went wrong and collecting paychecks to understand the final judgment of his career falls on him, not outside forces.

You know that now, more than ever, knowledge, context and perspective are not prerequisites for judgment. "I don't let those things eat away at me," you say of the body blows. "The people who are making the comments don't really know what took place or why. You can sit there and state facts, but people's opinions are always going to disregard facts. That's the world we live in."

PEOPLE DISREGARD FACTS? How on Earth can these words come out of Jeff Fisher's mouth? The facts are that he did not have a winning season since 2008. Fact. It does not take 4.5 years to build a team in today's NFL. Fact. The Rams had success after he left. Fact. Individual players who have talent had success for the Rams this year they didn't have with Fisher as the head coach. Fact. Individual players with talent had success with other NFL teams this year they didn't have with Fisher as the head coach. Fisher has plenty of resources to turn the Rams around. Fact. Other NFL coaches have to overcome adversity to succeed. Fact. Fisher adapted to the new NFL and modern players off the field, but on the field he never did. Fact. 

Fisher adapted to the new NFL? Todd Gurley says the Rams ran a "middle school offense."

Here are all the excuses that Fisher used during the 2016 season. I'm sure he sees them as just "facts" which inhibited the Rams from every succeeding, when they really are excuses for his failure to coach a winning team. I love talking facts. What took place and why is irrelevant to the bottom line. 

If I'm Jeff Fisher, then I know I got paid $7 million per year to disregard what took place and why in order to succeed. That was my job and why I was paid. Regarding the relocation, the injuries and everything else? In the words of Don Draper, "That's what the money is for." Fisher got paid $7 million per year to succeed in situations where other coaches who do not make $7 million per year would fail to succeed. 

Plenty of NFL coaches have succeeded through adversity. The Patriots won the Super Bowl last year after having their quarterback suspended for four games. The Eagles lost their starting left tackle, their change of pace back, their starting middle linebacker, and THEIR STARTING QUARTERBACK this year. They won the Super Bowl with a quarterback that Jeff "Just the facts ma'am" Fisher released in training camp last year. That is a fact. Rather than run out a litany of excuses, Doug Pederson and Bill Belichick did their job, which is to win games.

If I'm Jeff Fisher, I stop allowing my friends in the media to make excuses and write articles about my head coaching career that conveniently ignore certain aspects of my career (Fisher's relationship with Vince Young) in order to re-frame my coaching career in a better light and help me get another job. The media shouldn't be my advocate. I should be. My coaching record should be. And in that aspect, NFL teams are not disregarding the facts, because the facts show why Fisher is currently unemployed. Pouting about "facts" while creating false narratives about how much I have gone through is excuse-making. 

You are Jeff Fisher, and you want to be an NFL head coach.

Please stop trying to get this man another head coaching job in the NFL.