When last we left just-regular Spring Hill Suites guy, Peter King, he apologized for the rampant EvoShield plugs in his column. He didn’t mean to do anything unethical. It’s just that inserting a company’s name 50 times in his notes and not editing them is just part of his writing process. Not that he drew conclusions or anything, but Peter King also saw Blaine Gabbert do well in a preseason game, so time to stop despairing, Jags fans.
But what about this week? Were you aware that Derek Jeter has hit more home runs than some people? Who defines “markedly better” and is that even a quality that a person can embody independent of others? PK says MAYBE. READ ON.
MMQB preamble, Homage to the Opening of High School Football Season:
Peter kicks things off by letting us know that former Buccanners teammates Dave Moore and Mike Alstott are both now high school football coaches and their teams are gonna play each other soon. I KNOW! SO WEIRD! SINCE WHEN DO FOOTBALL PLAYERS GO INTO COACHING AFTER THEY RETIRE!?
“What are the odds of that?” Alstott said. “It’ll be pretty incredible looking across the field and seeing Dave.”
“Because he used to stand next to me on the field. That’s a different place! What a country!”
Now on with the show
The burlesque show?
, the NFL show,
in a busy week during which we’ve found out a few things — that Pete Carroll was serious when he said the best man would win the quarterback job in Seattle.
A conclusion PK would have reached no matter who emerged the starter in Seattle. “Pete Carroll said he would let the best guy win. This guy won, so he must be the best. WAY TO STICK TO YOUR GUNS, PETE!”
I’ve got only one thing as cool as what I just wrote about Moore and Alstott — my Ernie Zampese note, way down in the column.
ERNIE ZAMPESE NUGGETS! Remember that time he wasn’t even as good an offensive coordinator as Norv!? WEIRD.
2. Pete Carroll announced the inevitable late Sunday night: Russell Wilson’s the starting quarterback for Seattle. “He’s earned the job,” Carroll said to Seattle reporters. “He really validates what [GM] John Schneider saw in the draft from day one.”
And really invalidates what he saw in free agency with Matt Flynn.
At the start of camp, I was told by Someone Who Knows that Wilson would have to be markedly better than free-agent signee Matt Flynn to win the starting job. Well, Wilson’s performance in the past month defines “markedly better.”
To recap: PK already said Russell Wilson leads all rookies in charisma and now he defines the state of being superior to others, but in a clunky, poorly worded way. All before playing a single regular season down. Precociousness, Russellmania has it.
3. The Colts deal for Vontae Davis, and south Florida begins to say, “Wait ’til next year.”
Because Dolphins fans were really holding their breath for a Super Bowl run up to this point.
Though the fourth-year veteran had fallen out of favor with the new staff in Miami, Pagano is likely to make him a poor man’s Darrelle Revis, putting him on an island against the Andre Johnsons and Justin Blackmons on the Colts’ schedule.
A poor man’s Revis! He defines “markedly worse”.
Seattle will get a seventh-round pick that could improve to a sixth- if Jackson is active for six games this year; the Seahawks couldn’t get more because the rest of the league knew Seattle wasn’t going to keep Jackson and his $4 million salary to be a third-string quarterback.
Also that it’s Tarvaris Jackson and he’s awful.
One of the best guards to come out of college football in years, David DeCastro was playing like a five-year vet for Pittsburgh in the preseason.
Given that there were reports early in camp that DeCastro was not looking particularly impressive, I assume that’s a five-year vet of the same shitty O-line.
8. Want the good news in Tampa? Or the bad? Let’s start with the bad.
Like Jacksonville, Tampa lacks total Starbucks penetration in its downtown business district. Please assist these second-tier Florida cities, Seattle.
Doug Martin over a refocused LaGarrette Blount? That’s because Martin catches it better and blocks better.
He does everything better, but not markedly better than the markedly better than Russell Wilson does. That’s uber-better.
Skelton would make it 15, if he gets the nod over Kolb in Arizona.
We’re in an incredible time for quarterbacks in the NFL. With offensive systems getting more complex by the season, NFL teams are saying the more precocious the QB the better.
Precocity, teams need it. Unless that starting quarterback was winning first grade spelling bees and starting to walk at six months, they have no place on an NFL roster. Late bloom on your own time, ladies.
Fourteen of the 32 starting quarterbacks in Week 1 (15 if the Cards start John Skelton) will be either rookies or 25 or younger when they take the first snap of the season. That’s 44 percent of the starters in the NFL.
THE PRECOCIOUS PERCENTERS.
A quiet hero in so many ways — as a Korean War combat pilot, a man who would never try to make money on his accomplishments as an astronaut, and a soft-spoken professor at the University of Cincinnati. Neil Armstrong defined “the best and the brightest.”
MARKEDLY BESTEST AND UBER BRIGHTEST: THE LOFTY STUFF
On Saturday, his family said this, fittingly: “Honor his example of service, accomplishment and honesty.” In a me-first world, Armstrong was a selfless American original.
Truer nuggets were never spoke. Indeed, Neil Armstrong broke free the bounds of me-first glory planet and touched on on its lunar lunchpail. HE EVEN BROUGHT BACK MOON GRIT.
Previewing the Game of the Week
Ohio University at Penn State, Saturday at noon. The game’s a big one for all the obvious reasons — the most obvious being that I went to Ohio and we might have a chance to beat Penn State in State College.
I also noticed the other day that SI.com’s Holly Anderson picked the Bobcats to go 12-0 this season.
Using the deduction skills honed at Ohio 35 years ago, I figured that must mean Holly has the Bobcats beating the Nittany Lions. OU fever, baby.
Deductive reasoning, Peter King sort of still has it, MAYBE.
So I got in touch with the OU quarterback, Tyler (Son of Mickey) Tettleton, and took the temperature of our crew before the big game in Happy Valley.
“So I’ve got a way for you to really get at your father. Tell him you thought he was a home run hitter in the major leagues, and now you’ve found out that Derek Jeter hit more home runs than him, so how good could he really have been?”
Tettleton: “That’s a good one.”
Tyler Tettleton: Hey dad.
Mickey Tettleton: Yes, son?
Tyler Tettleton: I noticed that you hit a couple fewer home runs than Derek Jeter even though you had less than half the number of career at-bats.
Mickey Tettleton: That’s true.
Tyler Tettleton: So you’re not mad?
Mickey Tettleton: Of course not. That’s a fact. Who told you I’d be mad about that?
Tyler Tettleton: Peter King.
Mickey Tettleton: YOU SPOKE TO PETER KING? WHY YOU LITTLE!
“Why not baseball for you?”
Tettleton: “Well, I played a lot of it, but I think I found out I was more of a physical sports type of guy. Being out in the outfield, that can get old. I was bored with it.”
“BUT, BUT YOU’RE MICKEY TETTLETON’S SON, FERCHRISSAKES! YOU HAVE WEIRD BATTING STANCE IN YOUR DNA! FOOTBALL IS AMORAL AND NOT A METAPHOR FOR SPRINGTIME AND REBIRTH!”
Defensive Player of the Week
Minnesota DE Jared Allen. What a first half for Allen against the Chargers: two sacks of San Diego quarterback Charlie Whitehurst, and a tackle in the backfield of Chargers running back Edwin Baker that nearly resulted in a safety. The tackle did result in a sore elbow for Allen, who was miked for sound, and NFL Network played a clip of Allen saying to linebacker Chad Greenway, “Why do they call it your funny bone? It’s not so funny.”
[Smacks elbow into helmet] “Stupid funny bone! Be more funny! OWWWWWWWW!”
Coach of the Week
Tampa Bay coach Greg Schiano.
THE SCHIANO FACTOR. THIS WEEK, HE REPRIMANDED SIX ASSISTANTS FROM BRINGING HIM THE WRONG TYPE OF PASTA!
In the span of a month, without top pass rusher Da’Quan Bowers, Schiano and defensive coordinator Bill Sheridan have put a tough stamp on their defense. On Friday night, Tom Brady and one of the NFL’s three best offenses had the ball nine times. Five times Brady went three-and-out; once four-and-out. He had two long touchdown drives. By the time Ryan Mallett came in to replace Brady, the Bucs led 30-14.
Lots of changes in MMQB this week. For instance, PK has been shamed into not making a single mention of EvoShield, after plugola-ing the shit out of them for the past month. Oh, and he know longer has any qualms about making heroic assumptions about what happens in the preseason, despite saying no one should do that a few weeks ago. If anything, MMQB is not static in its awfulness.
Quote of the Week I
“There is no sleeping around here.”
— Colts coach Chuck Pagano, after Indy traded a second- and conditional sixth-round pick in 2013 to Miami to acquire cornerback Vontae Davis.
NO SLEEP ‘TIL LOSELYN!
Quote of the Week III
— A scout for the Oakland A’s, writing in his 2009 scouting report about 17-year-old Mike Trout, under the section of the report entitled “Body Type,” according to this week’s magnificent cover story in Sports Illustrated on Trout by Tom Verducci.
Too bad it wasn’t personality type, or we’d have seen a bunch of stories about Mike Trout calling Albert Pujols a pussy and fucking Lindsay Lohan in a dumpster behind a Chinese takeout.
“There has never been a position player this good this young,” Verducci writes.
In the all-time annals of historical precociousness, there is Mike Trout.
The best anecdotes are about Trout the athlete and Trout the competitor. He called home one night on a lark bowling outing with friends and said to his mother, “Mom, guess what? I bowled a 300!”
“Michael, I told you to stop calling this number. This line is being bugged by a team of shithead sportswriters.”
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
Remember Ernie Zampese?
Remember that guy who was a well-known offensive coordinator for a long time? Of course you don’t. Now let me explain to you what the Abbey Road album cover is.
He’s a former offensive coordinator for the Rams, Chargers, Cowboys and Patriots. Now 76, he lives in San Diego, and was a visitor to Chargers-Cowboys practice Tuesday at the San Diego practice facility.
Zampese used to smoke three packs of cigarettes a day. In 2002, he had a stroke, and the first seven days after the stroke are a blur to him. But when he began to get his wits about him, he realized he didn’t want to smoke anymore. He had no desire to smoke anymore. His doctors think the part of his brain that signaled his desire for a cigarette somehow shut down due to the stroke.
“To this day, I don’t want a cigarette,” he said.
And he honestly believes if he hadn’t suffered the stroke, he would have kept smoking to excess, and there’s a good chance he’d be dead today.
Strokes: the secret lifesavers, unless they aren’t.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me and Every Hall of Fame Voter
Derrick Mason retired in June with more receptions, 943, than any of the 21 wide receivers in the Pro Football Hall of Fame except Jerry Rice.
Oh, well then surely Derrick Mason should get in the Hall before Cris Carter.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
On my final camp stop, in San Diego to see the Cowboys on Tuesday, I stayed at a hotel I’d never heard of: the Andaz. “What’s Andaz?” I asked our SI travel agent. It’s the boutique-y Hyatt hotel, I was told. “Like a W,” the travel agent said.
Quasi-W-esque, boutique-y semi-hotel.
I’m not a fan of dark hotels. I don’t understand them, first of all. Who favors dimly lit rooms?
Fuck-first glory couples, probably.
Arriving close to midnight, I saw how W-ish it was, with pillows and comfy chairs in the lobby. I was checked in by a man using his iPad.
The concierge of the FUTURE.
Then I went upstairs to my room, to write my Chicago Bears scouting report/team preview for the magazine’s NFL preview issue. (I wrote eight of them for the preview, and being on the road for much of a month, a person has to work at some odd hours to get things done.)
I looked all around the desk. Couldn’t find a light. No light on the desk. “#$%^&*@#$!!!” I said, or something like that
Better acknowledge that fudging. The true fan knows Peter uses way more circumflexes in his profanity.
and then turned on every 40-watt-bulb lamp in the place (exaggerating, but it wasn’t too bright in there). So I finished my work by candlelight, shut the computer, and accidently touched what I’d thought was some silver sculpture or piece of curved art on the desk. And a light went on. The silver thing was a light, and I officially was a dufus.
PK defines “markedly doofier”.
I’m probably more a Marriott TownePlace Suites or Spring Hill Suites guy on the training camp road. There, I know how to turn on the lights.
Try Motel 6. They’ll leave the light on for ya. They dufus-proof the beds, too.
Tweet of the Week I
“If u don’t like it buy ur own team and try to make the playoffs 9 season n a row n put together 7 straight 12 win seasons n a row as Owner!”
— @JimIrsay, the owner of Colts, indignant that some fans were ripping him for tweeting several times that the Colts were engaged in trade talks, implying that he sounds like the boy who cried wolf for the tweets and no trade happening. It finally did on Sunday.
“Yeah, losers. Have some guy give you a football team because he’s your dad and let’s see if you can have a couple quarterbacks fall into your lap. It’s not because you can’t. It’s because you WON’T.”
Tweet of the Week IV
“Apparently the Dodgers front office doesn’t get NESN.”
— @AndrewCatalon, a sports anchor at WNYT-TV in Albany, N.Y.
Meaning: The Dodgers dealt with the Red Sox to acquire, among others, the tremendously disappointing Josh Beckett and just-regular disappointing Carl Crawford, and NESN telecasts most of the Red Sox games.
THOSE STUPID FACKIN’ DOWDJAHS! THEY DO NAWT KN-AH HOW BADLY THEY WE-AH SWINDLED BY THE BRAINTRUST OF THE SAWX! FIRST, THEY TOOK THAT LAZY SPIC RAWMIREZ AND NO THEY AHHHHH OWWW-AH RAWSTAH DUMPSTAHH ONCE AGAIN! NO ONE DENIES THIS!
Ten Things I Think I Think
2. I think the 49ers, after seeing Ted Ginn Jr. go down with an ankle injury Sunday in Denver (X-rays were negative), could be staring Kyle Williams-as-return-man in the face early in the season. The team’s been uber-supportive publicly of Williams, who had a costly turnover in the NFC Championship Game. If Ginn has to miss a little time, we’ll see if the 49ers proceed with Williams returning punts. I say Jim Harbaugh will, if necessary.
Necessary? It’s uber-necessary. It defines markedly necessary. No one has to play Kyle Williams more than Jim Harbaugh has to play Kyle Williams.
4. I think my wish-I’d-written-that line of the week belong to Mike Florio, of ProFootballTalk.com, on likely Cleveland owner Jimmy Haslam sitting with the fans Friday night at the Eagles-Brown preseason game: “Prospective Browns owner Jimmy Haslam spent some time in the Dawg Pound on Friday night. (Fans recognized him by the Steelers jersey he was wearing.)” Of course, another Saturday line by Florio was a close second: “The Indy car driven by JR Hildebrand had been painted to honor the 49ers and coach Jim Harbaugh for Sunday’s race at Sonoma. (If Hildebrand loses, he should say he wasn’t ‘pursuing’ victory, only ‘evaluating” it.’ “
“You guys, my boyfriend Mike Florio is SOOOO FUNNY. He, like, walked up to this skank at the bar and was, like, ‘What’s the difference between marmalade and jam?’ Of course, she’s, like, ‘What?’ Then he’s, like, “Well, I can’t marmalade MY COCK into you!’ HAHAHAHA, yeah, we got thrown out after that.”
8. I think the Jets look worse than they did last December, when they lost their last three games by an average of 14 points a game. I didn’t think it was possible. Mark Sanchez is having his accuracy issues again, and his receivers certainly aren’t helping (I mean you, Stephen Hill). Now tight end Dustin Keller out with an ouchy hamstring
Peter King now writing like The Ben talks. OWIE IN HAMSPOT.
9. I think the blue-suited guy who does NFL Network ads has to go. Weird, not clever, dumb. Any other pejorative words you can think of? Just add them.
Yup. Peter King is paid lots of money for his writing. WEIRD. Name five adjectives more pejorative. You can’t.
b. As far as the deal goes, I like it as a Red Sox partisan — particularly the part about the Dodgers taking $250 million or so (96 percent) of the remaining salary of the four Red Sox vets. Adrian Gonzalez is a big loss. Carl Crawford might be, but he also might be a player who isn’t suited for the big-headline places, and who won’t be able to play until next April or May because of elbow surgery. And Josh Beckett, well, you can have him. Never met him; don’t know any of these guys. But he strikes me as one of the most miserable people ever to put on a Sox uniform — and that encompasses a lot of miserable people.
Not a fraction as miserable as the tardfarts they’ve had to play for.
f. The Pittsburgh Pirates are seven full games better than the Red Sox in the last full season.
ZOMG A TEAM THAT IS TRADITIONALLY BAD IS NOT BEING BAD THIS SEASON! THAT’S NOT ALLOWED TO HAPPEN IN BASEBALL! THE SAME FIVE TEAMS HAVE TO BE GOOD EVERY YEAR!
g. How must the Rays feel? Hottest team in baseball last Monday. Coming off an 8-2 road trip and a four-game sweep in Anaheim. Breathing down the Yankees’ necks. They come home on Monday night and draw 9,913. Is Tampa-St. Pete trying to lose an excellent franchise?
h. I mean, I hate the Trop as much as the next guy — it’s a bad place to watch baseball — but that is a pathetic showing by that fan base.
If only they had a LYRICAL BAND BAWX like Fenway, the Rays could attract a legion of shithead, self-entitled assholes who hate their players for having a beer when they aren’t working.
i. While I’m on the topic of baseball box scores, is it too much, USA Today, to wake up in my hotel in San Diego and see the results of the East Coast games that end around 7:30 p.m. Pacific time?
Seriously, haven’t you been in journalism for, like, three decades? Don’t you fucking understand deadlines and distribution? USA Today is based on the East Coast and a 7:30 West Coast finish is 10:30 there. Considering they distribute nationally, it’s probably not worth holding the version that goes out free to hotel rooms across the country on account of a few meaningless baseball games. If you need the scores that bad, log onto your precious Macbook, you dippy ubertard.
l. Coffeenerdness: Good to be home and have my daily Italian Roast fix. Tough times on the road without it.
“Only the Chargers had Starbucks vending machines! It was terrible! I’m never leaving home again, except the 38 other vacations I take during the year.”
m. Beernerdness: Safeco Field is a great stadium for beer nerds — 23 variety of beers sold in the concourse, by my count, the last time I was there. But Petco Park (“Petco! Where the pets go!”) will give it a run for the money. I was there with the Cowboys media contingent and Dallas PR czar Rich Dalrymple Tuesday night (thanks for the tickets, Troy Aikman)
Accept gifts from people I have covered and will continue to rely on as a source in the future? WHY NOT? FUCK JOURNALISM! EVOSHIELD EVOSHIELD EVOSHIELD EVOSHIELD EVOSHIELD EVOSHIELD
and we found an alley behind our seats of five local microbrewers with their wares on tap. How considerate.
So considerate. How nice of Petco to place a bar just behind where Peter King was going to perspire six gallons of beer sweat for three hours.
n. As that wise owl Brian Hyland texted me after seeing the front page of the New York Daily News (with Neil Armstrong’s photo and tribute, and this headline above it about “Snooki” going into labor: “Cameras roll for Jersey’s little meatball”), “I think if Neil Armstrong knew that when he passed he’d have to share the front page with a person called ‘Snooki’ he would stayed up there.”
“YOU CAN KEEP THAT ME-FIRST GLORY PLANET! I CHOOSE TO RUIN THIS HISTORIC MISSION AND REMAIN HERE, WITH THE GRIT!”