When last we left doubting club doubtsman in chief, Peter King, he invoked Martin Luther King Jr. and Trayvon Martin’s parents as examples of forgiveness because people should just hurry ahead and get over this Riley Cooper thing already. C’mon, he has two black friends! PK also visited the remodeled second floor of the Browns training facility and was predictably blown away by the use of generic inspirational quotes on the walls. Finally, the mayor of Jamestown pleaded his case to Peter for keeping the town’s minor league team from moving to West Virginia, which is something PK thinks we should give a shit about for some reason.
But what about this week? Mostly it’s Peter King getting drunk in his sponsored RV and accusing other people of being drunks. Sounds like fun, right? READ ON.
Pondering the biggest stories of the NFL weekend from a hotel room halfway between the Chiefs (St. Joseph, Mo.) and Vikings (Mankato, Minn.), as The MMQB training-camp tour rolls on:
Yes, oracle of nuggets. Tell us what grand visions you see gazing into your empty bottle of Allagash.
On opening day eight years ago, the Colts, with Brandon Stokley keying the offense with a seven-catch game out of the slot, beat the Ravens. In the playoffs seven years ago, Indy tight end Dallas Clark caught the key pass in the fourth quarter to beat the Ravens. The Ravens, in need of warm bodies to catch balls, signed Stokley and Clark (average age: 35 years, 8 months) over the weekend.
The Ravens signed players who did things in games against them at some point in the distant past? Have they no idea of the treachery they sow?! Sure, Stokley has won a Super Bowl with Baltimore, but that doesn’t make up for winning some random regular season game against them. Those scars do not easily heal, friends.
Andy Reid coached Kansas City. Chip Kelly coached Philadelphia. Brian Banks played an NFL game. Sean Payton coached his first game in the Superdome in 19 months. Tom Brady played two series for New England and led two 80-yard touchdown drives, with Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson the starting wideouts and Zach Sudfeld the starting tight end.
People DID THEIR JOBS. Sean Payton appreciates that.
4. On the first pass of the Marc Trestman Era, Jay Cutler threw an interception. On the first series of the Jets’ preseason, Mark Sanchez threw a pick-six. And the band played on.
And the Band Played On was an acclaimed television movie about the AIDS epidemic, so I can only assume that PK is implying Cutler has feline AIDS and Nacho has Montezuma’s AIDS.
Sunday: St. Joseph, Mo.
Andy Reid comes to the door of his Missouri Western State dorm room, in his red CHIEFS hoodie, and the first thing you notice is how happy he is.
Next thing you notice is the wheelbarrow full of discarded rib bones.
For 40 minutes, you notice that over and over.
Seriously, it’s a lot of fucking ribs.
But even in private, toward the end of his 14-year period coaching the Eagles, it wasn’t quite like this. Not that he was sullen. But as a very good friend of Reid’s told me last spring: “Usually when a coach gets fired, he thinks of everyone to blame but himself. But in this case, Andy actually wanted to go, and he wasn’t mad at all that Jeff Lurie wanted to make a change.”
No shit. The man had to deal with Philly fans for more than a decade.
Two other things about Reid: In the New York Times Sunday, he admitted he’d twice tried to trade for Alex Smith while in Philadelphia.
Why didn’t he? Too frightened to part with a fifth-round pick?
He didn’t say when, and he told me that while it was true, he didn’t remember exactly when it was.
I don’t remember the times when I’m feeling particularly self-destructive, either.
Once was around the time the team was in the process of fact-finding on Michael Vick before the Eagles signed him. “I just always watched him and thought, ‘Man, I’d like to coach that kid,’ ” Reid said.
“Think of all the mishaps I could blame on his tiny hands.”
And it was 53 weeks ago today that Garrett Reid was found dead at Eagles training camp in Bethlehem, Pa., of a heroin overdose. Garrett and Britt Reid, sons of Andy Reid, had drug problems during his tenure in Philadelphia. Garrett couldn’t beat it. Britt has been clean for several years now, and after a stint on the Temple University coaching staff, he’s working for his dad as a defensive quality control coach. Britt Reid is working under Tommy Brasher, the veteran defensive line coach, learning the NFL coaching business. “He’s with the right guy,” Andy Reid said.
You’re never gonna find a better example of rampant nepotism in NFL coaching jobs than the fact that Britt Reid now has work with an NFL team. That mind-blowing. It’s like someone hiring Ryan Leaf to be their quarterbacks coach, except at least Leaf was once actually a quarterback.
This is a good spot for Reid. The fans are ready to adore the Chiefs again
Very true. They weren’t ready a few years ago. You could sense the fan base collectively thinking, “We just need a few more years of being tortured by this franchise before getting on board with the lovefest.”
after the nightmare of a 2-14 season in 2012 and the ouster of GM Scott Pioli and coach Romeo Crennel.
Wait, I thought it was the lack of Scott Pioli’s balls that has spelled doom for the Patriots in recent years. You mean to tell me Pioli’s Iron Ball rule wasn’t effective and worthy of adoration? I won’t hear it.
Kansas City’s one of those fan bases that’ll give a coach and GM more of the benefit of the doubt than in Philadelphia.
Yes, Kansas City is one of the 31 fan bases that will have more patience with a coach and GM than Philadelphia.
One thing, though: He sure looks strange in red.
THE BIG WEIRD MACHINE.
Saturday: Earth City, Mo.
As the sun beat down and the humidity lay on top of a late afternoon practice here, two men looked like they were about to change that. Three times in a five-play span in red-zone seven-on-seven drills, Bradford found Jared Cook, with a catch radius as wide as Jeremy Shockey’s used to be
Wait, is that a good thing?
(and that’s a good thing)
Whew. I was worried for a moment there he was going to trust me to make my own judgment.
Then there’s the eighth pick in the April draft, slot receiver/kick returner/slot back Tavon Austin. (Want to see a few more slashes in his title? Just watch. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer might expand Austin’s job as the season goes on.)
Good idea. Because Brian will do everything in his power to torpedo that offense. At least he’s identifying the right people to cover for his mistakes.
Austin, a 5-8, 174-pound whippet, sprinted out hard, right at Finnegan.
Whippet? I thought Peter said only greyhounds should play receiver.
When you watch Austin, the only thing you worry about is durability. But as he points out, he missed one practice or game in his four seasons at WVU. If he’s that durable — and it’d be stunning to see someone his size stay that healthy for a long time in the NFL — we’re going to have fun watching an explosive player in the Percy Harvin mold.
So if Tavon Austin is durable he projects as a player with durability issues. Got it.
Friday: Charlotte, N.C.
Bears vs. Panthers
Marc Trestman’s a communicator
BREAKING: Marc Trestman is not a mute.
much more than I thought.
After the game, he spent 13 minutes walking through the locker room, shaking the hands of half the players in the room, stopping for 10- to 60-second conversations. “The book on Marc, the public persona Marc had, was wrong,” said GM Phil Emery. “He’s talking to everybody in the building, all the time.”
He’ll glad-hand his players like a politician. That’s a quality you want in a coach.
Dave Gettleman, the Panthers’ rookie GM from the Polian/Accorsi school, gets it.
It being PK’s coffee in exchange for positive press.
“We all gotta win,” he said before the game.
OOOOOHHHH, HE DOES GET IT.
“Cam Newton’s had the best first two seasons for a quarterback in NFL history. But the sin, obviously is [Carolina’s record in those two seasons of] 13-19. And 2-12 in games decided by seven points or less.” Gettleman’s clear that he doesn’t put this all on Newton; it’s a team thing.
Slow down, Gettleman, I can’t handle all this gettin’ it.
Gettleman said his job was to determine whether the Panthers’ 5-1 finish was real, or fool’s gold. He said it was legit. (I’ve never, though, heard a GM or coach said a winning streak was phony. Just doesn’t happen.)
The Panthers are legit, but it’s untrustworthy percent legititude-ishness.
Tuesday: Richmond, Va.
I’m telling you, RG3’s fine.
/removes RGIII from all fantasy draft boards
No one knows what will happen Sept. 9 when Griffin takes the field to play his first game since looking like a wounded colt against Seattle in January. Will Griffin last the game? The season? A 15-year career as the biggest hero in Washington sports? But Griffin will be there to face the Seahawks. That much I can tell you.
Well, the Redskins are playing the Eagles, not the Seahawks, but I like how much conviction you have about being wrong. Strong take.
Judging by what I saw on this side field, with maybe 30 or 40 fans watching, there’s no question he’ll at least start the season the way he played at his peak in 2012: making defenders miss, and throwing the ball deep, with accuracy.
No question. He looked pretty solid in non-contact drills. He’s totally ready for a full NFL season, no questions asked. PK is ready to be a Redskins team doctor.
Aug. 5: Owings Mills, Md.
So, as many of you know, I have pointed out (harangued?) that I thought the Ravens should have paid Anquan Boldin his full 2013 salary, $6 million, instead of trying to trim it. Now it looks like an absolute gimme decision—if GM Ozzie Newsome had to do it all over again, with his intermediate and deep middle passing game wiped out without Boldin and Joe Flacco favorite Dennis Pitta, surely he’d have kept Boldin for $6 million.
It’s like NFL teams don’t give a shit what Peter King thinks. WEIRD!
“The acquisitions of Elvis Dumervil and Michael Huff are a direct result of the money we saved from that contract,” Newsome told me, watching practice at the Ravens’ facility. “And other guys we got—Chris Canty, Marcus Spears, Daryl Smith—were helped by the savings. So if you ask the question, you can’t just say, ‘Do you wish you kept him?’ You also have to look at the unintended consequences of your actions.”
“Sir, that is a level of self-reflection that I am not comfortable making.”
A good week for The MMQB.
Just minding my own business on the field at halftime of Friday night’s Bears-Panthers game, watching the Frisbee dogs stalk their plastic prey, when the game’s referee, Clete Blakeman, approached. Introductions were exchanged. Pleasant man. Then he said, “I’m really enjoying the new site.”
“Well then, I’ll really enjoy not criticizing your calls this year.”
After the game, our Greg A. Bedard was in the Panthers’ locker room, talking to center Matt Kalil, who praised the fine piece about a veteran in camp battling for his job, by punter Chris Kluwe. Kalil said, “I’d love to write a story for the site.”
“Why you probably shouldn’t write a Super Bowl guarantee in a local newspaper if you play for a shitty team” by Matt Kalil
At the Washington practice in Richmond, a woman from the crowd yelled out, “Love the new site, Peter!” Same with a guy who got out of his car at a gas station off I-40 in Tennessee Thursday morning, and with columnist David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune, graciously, on Friday night in the Bears’ locker room.
That stuff is exciting to me. People are noticing. It’s cool.
THE UBER KUDOS WASH OVER ME LIKE FAVRE JIZZ. ME. MEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE.
Three weeks in the books, and we’ve got some fun stuff planned for you this week. Not to give away everything, but we struck a vein of gold Friday night in Minneapolis.
And the gold spurted forth because gold is the earth’s blood, you see.
Before we launched, we asked Jenny Vrentas, the Penn State biochemistry department’s contribution to our writing team
Does that mean she was a biochemistry major in college?
(yes, she was a biochemistry major in college)
to find an undrafted rookie free agent we could follow through the season — whether he makes the team or is cut.
Instead, she found a study about the composition of cells. Silly science people.
One other point from the road: Titans PR man Robbie Bohren was talking to me about the site and made a good point.
All the formatting and fonts look like shit?
He said he didn’t know what all the different column titles meant. He said he didn’t have much time to surf all the different columns and writers, and thought I should define them, so if you see “Mediaville,” you know who writes it and what exactly it is.
Mediaville – like Beernerdery but about the media.
Quotes of the Week
—Brett Favre, on the sidelines of the 2009 NFC Championship Game in New Orleans, to Vikings teammate and backup quarterback Sage Rosenfels after Favre threw a senseless interception at the end of the fourth quarter in a tied game. New Orleans won in overtime.
The startling admission is part of Rosenfels’ story about the memorable title game for our site. Stories like this great read, as I’ve said from the start, are what we’re going to be.
Using access to provide less than startling admissions straight from people tangentially involved in major events?
Read how Rosenfels described the sideline scene:
“I sat on the Gatorade coolers on our sideline, and Brett limped over to sit next to me. I didn’t know what to say to him; I could feel the weight of the world on his shoulders. I could tell he felt the interception cost us the game and season. I could also sense that he envisioned the story of that year—at 40 years, he was having his best season—was going to be summed up by that one play. A play that never really should have happened in the ﬁrst place. He had played almost ﬂawless football, fighting like it was life or death to him, and this is the way it was going to end. We sat there for a few moments in silence. The referees and team captains went out for the coin toss to start overtime, and I got up to see who won possession. Brett didn’t even bother. He didn’t have the energy, and I think he was still in shock from the interception. After the Saints won the toss, I walked back over and sat next to him.
He turned to me and said, ‘I choked.’ I paused for a second and said,
‘Brett, you are the most amazing football player I’ve ever seen. It has been an unreal experience to watch you play this year.’ I can’t really describe the look he gave me, but I can tell those words meant something to him.”
At this point, Peter King produced his sketch book filled with all the different looks that Brett Favre gives people and demanded that Rosenfels identify the one he saw.
Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me
On Thursday, an era ended. Washington’s radio team did not include Sam Huff. After 38 years, the team played a game with another color man in the broadcast booth next to Larry Michael and Sonny Jurgensen: former tight end Chris Cooley.
Ran into Cooley in the bowels of LP Field in Nashville after the game. I’ve always liked Cooley, because he’s a thinker.
Not the word I would use to describe Chris Cooley, but all right.
I could see how pumped he was. “So nervous before the game,” he said. “A new job, and a pretty big deal.”
This is why he’s going to be good at being the third man in the Washington booth: Before the game, he worked the team’s locker room for nuggets.
Solid nugget instincts. Most former players adopt complacent nugget attitudes. Gotta have the right nuggetude. Nuggets won’t just come to you. You must mine the nugget in a vein of gold blood.
Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week
Our merry band aboard the GoRVing.com RV
Once again, lofty product placement for the company giving you free shit.
made the trip over the last week from suburban Baltimore down the East Coast to Atlanta, then through the mid-south and over to the Midwest, finishing last night in Des Moines (the halfway point between Chiefs and Vikes):
I tried a milk shake with bacon in it.
People make bacon-flavored things? What crizazzlebeans stuff will they think of next?
Wait! Don’t blame me! Blame Bedard!
Oh yes, I’m sure you were absolutely coerced into drinking a milkshake. No other way that would have happened.
We were passing though Newport, Tenn., and I told the group — all but one of whom hadn’t been to a Sonic — that we had to pull in. We did, and Bedard got the peanut butter and bacon shake. “It’s got the salty-and-sweet thing going on,” said the woman at the outdoor table next to us. Greg got it. I sipped
… and … well, it wasn’t gross.
Nor were the other four he ate.
Let’s just say that. A little salty, and the bacon was so pulverized it was almost like tiny chunks of salt in there. I wouldn’t order one, but it wasn’t bad.
Almost there, Sonic. Toss in some nutmeg and melted Kit-Kats and you’ll have a winner.
I am truly bummed.
Because you’re not still eating a milkshake?
I had to leave Des Moines early this morning to get on the road, and I’m told I’ll miss the Sheep Show at the Iowa State Fair. Not to mention the deep fried stick of butter everyone told me i just had to try. I’ll be back someday.
Or you just go to any state or county fair, as those are pretty common fair things.
Tweets of the Week
“In the Pats locker room, a camera guy has a mishap and yells, ‘Jesus Christ!’ Tebow, in earshot, looks at the guy and says: ‘He loves you.’ “
—@kentbaab, of the Washington Post, reporting from Philadelphia after the Patriots-Eagles game Friday night.
“Really, that’s pretty gay, Jesus.”
“So Randy Moss is going to be working at the same network as Joe Buck. That’s deliciously funny.”
Ten Things I Think I Think
1. I think this was the thing that piqued my interest from a couple of weekend conversations with Gil Brandt at the Rams and Chiefs: I asked him what teams surprised him the most
In a good way?
in a good way
on his camp tour across America for Sirius XM NFL Radio. “Arizona,” he said. I’m hearing that out here on the trail. It’s got extra currency when Brandt says it.
/puts Arizona down for five wins instead of four
7. I think, by the way, Dennis Pitta is not assuredly out for the season. Asked a Ravens coach the other day what percentage there was that Pitta—thought to be out for the year after surgery two weeks ago to repair a dislocated hip—would play this year. “Don’t know the percentage,” the coach said, “but it is not zero.”
LEGIT FRACTION OF A PERCENT CHANCE.
10. I think these are my non-football thoughts of the week:
a. Amazon’s honcho buys the Washington Post. Talked to a wealthy Washingtonian the other day, after the sale, who predicted there wouldn’t be a print edition of the Post within two years.
Good call, random rich guy. I like this direction of analysis. Peter King asks uninvolved wealthy people for their takes on the news. Because if you have money, you clearly everything about the world.
I find that shocking, but nothing about the media should shock anyone today.
Of course. A company pays Peter King more than a $1 million a year to talk about minor league baseball and milkshakes in a football column.
b. The Angels bought Albert Pujols for $254 million. Jeffrey Bezos bought the Washington Post for $250 million.
A very, very Peter King juxtaposition right there. Let’s look at all the reasons why.
1. Shoehorned reference to baseball to discuss something completely unrelated to baseball.
2. Professional athlete discussed as though he’s a soulless commodity that can be “bought”.
3. Presenting the total value of a media property and the full total of a professional athlete’s contract as though that actually means anything.
4. Implied dismay that soulless baseball commodity could possibly be worth more than an outmoded media property.
5. Neglects to capitalize the first word of The Washington Post, which is something that, say, a copy editor at a newspaper might care about.
c. That says something dire about our society; I’m just not sure how dire.
Name five things more dire. You can’t.
d. Bernie Kosar, doing color on the Browns preseason game against St. Louis Thursday, had some harsh things to say about the Rams. He called the Rams receivers, including the eighth pick in the 2013 draft, Tavon Austin, “horrible,” said their parents “would be embarrassed” if they were watching the game, and, about backup quarterback Kellen Clemens, said, “Bless me Father for I have sinned. I have to watch him the whole fourth quarter.”
Kosar’s a good guy, and I have always liked him. But I found the comments pretty far over the top and asked rhetorically, on Twitter, whether Kosar had been drinking. Which brought on a raft of criticism from the Twitterverse, saying I’d gone over the top. I don’t think I was over the top, but many of you felt I’d gone too far given the sea of trouble Kosar has had in his personal life. (None of which, from what I can tell, involve treatment for alcohol, or any admission of alcoholism.) My point was, I think there’s a way to be critical of players and teams, and analysts should definitely do that. But Kosar went too far, in my opinion. And not just mine. Kosar called Rams coach Jeff Fisher Sunday to apologize, and Browns CEO Joe Banner said Sunday the Browns “don’t condone the personal and unprofessional approach” Kosar used.
Honestly, I didn’t find PK’s suggestion of Kosar being drunk as troubling as him suggesting that being on TV somehow means that head injuries aren’t allowed to affect a person.
Don't go saying, "Bernie doesn't know what he's saying because of concussions." Doesn't work that way. If you're on air, you're responsible.
— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) August 11, 2013
Though I would be interested in knowing how much of the time Mr. Beernerdery spends doing his job tanked. Also, this situation isn’t helped by the fact that PK is jumping to the defense of Rams players and coaches. From a journalistic standpoint, Peter King should never be allowed to write about the Rams because of his compromised relationship with Les Snead and Jeff Fisher. But whatever. SI ain’t care.
g. Coffeenerdness: The other day, the Starbucks on Kingston Pike in Knoxville got a gold star from me.
Wouldn’t be surprised if Peter King actually carries a sheet of gold stars that he affixes to Starbucks that give quality service.
I went in there to work with my tour pal Neil Hornsby, struck up a conversation with the two baristas about the area, and went to work. The fellow later brought us over small cups of coffee to try from their Clover brewing process and, when I left, the other barista called us both by name. Not sure, but I don’t think that’d happen at the Starbucks on the corner of 55th and Lex.
Because you would be retarded to expect it. It’s a corporate coffee chain located in the middle of Manhattan. That you would expect personalized service from someone who is probably serving multiple people per minute over the course of several hours is deluded in the extreme.
h. Beernerdness: One of the great nights on this tour was made possible, in part, by Porter Hardy IV, the president of Smartmouth Brewing Company in Norfolk. On Tuesday in Richmond, after viewing a Redskins practice, Hardy was waiting for me with a growler of beer from his brewery. It was his Alter Ego Saison. Porter, good news: The growler didn’t last until Atlanta. (And no, our drivers/reporters, Andy DeGroy and Dan Greene, didn’t dabble on our night drive to the Falcons.) But the Saison was delicious. Thanks, Porter. And sorry about RGIII not signing for little Sarah.
Don’t you worry, readers, there was no drunk driving because PK ain’t sharing his growler of booze with his underlings. BERNIE KOSAR IS A HUGE FUCKIN’ DRUNK, BTW!
The Adieu Haiku
Randy Moss? TV?
I’m in the Doubters Club, but …
I can’t wait to watch.
Leads the league in dire straits
Not talking the band