Peter King Questions A City Without Starbucks

08.06.12 5 years ago 42 Comments

When last we left low-level fart cloud, Peter King, he was passing through 5-11ville and was surprised not to find the Saints there. Speaking of, the Saints brass stopped talking to PK, because they’re awesome. If you blinked, you missed him blinking.

What about this week? What is the Schiano Factor? Is it a cable news show about proper stretching technique? Is a mathematical formula to determine quasi-orderliness? Or is it some more dumb sh*t Peter made up? READ ON.

Black crepe paper hangs over the column this morning.

This week’s MMQB has been farmed out to a kindergarten arts and crafts class. All told, a step in the right direction.

Garrett Reid, Andy Reid’s oft-troubled 29-year-old son, was found dead in his Lehigh University dorm room at Eagles’ training camp Sunday morning.

We don’t know what happened yet, and I shan’t speculate.

Shan’t, unless we shall, which we might. MAYBE

But Garrett, who had drug problems and served time in jail for them, was working with the Eagles’ strength coaches, helping players with their conditioning, trying to get his life together. His brother, Britt, who also has a history of drug problems, was on the comeback trail too, and both were getting some coaching experience to try to help.

Nope. Not gonna speculate, just gonna leave this reference to his troubling history with drugs in a way that implies it’s a likely cause. Not that that isn’t what most people would assume absent other explanations, but it’s PK-standard disingenuous behavior to pretend he’s not trying to connect those dots.

There aren’t many people around the league who don’t think highly of Andy Reid. I can’t think of one, honestly

Eagles fans, on the other hand…

Philly Post columnist Michael Bradley argues that Andy should get a free pass from criticism for the entire 2012 season. That should totally stick.

Headlines of the day, before I get to Week 2 of the SI-EvoShield NFL Training Camp Tour:

Peter not yet maximizing his potential whoredom. Sure, he’s constantly plugging this apparel company in exchange for a free van, but in the weeks to come, we’ll see it become the SI-NBC-EvoShield-Westin-Peet’s-KitKat-Allagash-Southwest Tour, brought to you by Starbucks.

Terrell Eldorado Owens works out for the Seahawks today.

Waiting on a contract offer to point and cackle at Ufford.

We landed on Mars at 1:33 this morning. Thought I’d throw you a change-up. You know, just to see if you’re paying attention.

Thanks, because no one else is discussing that today.

Monday: San Francisco (Santa Clara, Calif., 49er training facility).

Three football nuggets: Niners return 11 starters to NFC’s top-rated defense. Doubt that’s ever happened in free agency era. “I’d be surprised if a top-five defense ever brought all its starters back,” said GM Trent Baalke

The 2010 Steelers were the 2nd ranked defense and brought all their starters back for the following season, which was, hey, just last year! That was tough.

How Kyle Williams turned a nightmare upside down.

An upside down nightmare sounds even more terrifying. Disorienting night terrors, Kyle Williams has them.

I meet Williams, who had the two-muffed-punt nightmare in the NFC Championship Game last January, and there’s no mistaking his allegiances: He was wearing a Chicago White Sox hat and Jordan T-shirt, and underneath his friendly and respectful exterior, he came across as being Chicago tough.

He could three whole pizzas and not even blink! Chicago tough!

Kyle was 12 when his dad was named general manager of the White Sox. “When I got the job in Chicago, there was a lot of, ‘He just got the job because he’s black.’ Some tough things happened. We had ‘n—–‘ spray-painted on the side of the house.”

PK then asked if he any pieces of siding from the house, as he’d like to add it to his concentration camp gravel as part of his growing “Atrocity Nugget Exhibition”.

Young Kyle soaked it in, and the toughness he saw from his father showed up last Jan. 22. As the backup punt-returner pressed into duty because of an injury to Ted Ginn Jr., Williams dropped back to return a Giants’ punt with 11 minutes left and San Francisco up 14-10. The punt bounced funny and nicked his leg, and after a replay challenge confirmed the muff, the Giants got the ball at the Niner 29 and scored the go-ahead touchdown. In overtime, fielding a punt on a bounce, Williams had the ball punched loose and the Giants recovered at the Niner 24. Two minutes later Lawrence Tynes’ field goal won it.

Kenny Williams was sitting in the stands watching the game. I asked him if his heart broke when he saw the misplays. “It did. It did. But as much as it hurt, I thought, ‘OK, here’s an opportunity to see what my son’s made of.’ ”

Butterfingers and fumbles, apparently.

The days that followed brought Twitter threats of harm to Williams and his family. (Sound familiar?)


Do they? Loyalty to a well-liked and respected teammate is one thing. But this is a dog-eat-punt-muffer business. I asked Jim Harbaugh: Can you put Kyle Williams back there again to field a big punt?

“We like Kyle Williams; he is one of us,” Harbaugh said. “The folks who want to continue bringing this up — this is not going to be a continuing story. It isn’t with us. We will not allow the media to hang an albatross around his neck. He is on the inside of the team looking out.”

Harbs tried to claim he likes Alex Smith, too. Williams doesn’t survive the first round of cuts.

Tuesday: Oakland (Napa Marriott, Napa, Calif.).

Matt Leinart is a solid No. 2 at quarterback. I’d be surprised if Terrelle Pryor dents the top two without an injury

Precarious perch way out on that limb. Petey already claimed Leinart was one of the better signings in free agency. No better way to buttress that than pointing out how Leinart probably won’t be deposed by another college-famous but far less NFL experienced shitty quarterback.

Life changes. Even the Raiders change.

The Raiders have had training camp on fields behind the Napa Marriott for years, and nothing much is different back here. Except for one thing: the small media tent, with Wi-Fi if they want to write out here, and a cooler of bottled water.

Oh, thank GOD. I was worried Raiders camp would never be cozy enough for you.

Welcome, media! How can we help you? Then you see the media guide — in living color for the first time — and you look in the records section, and you see more signs of détente. Color photos of Mike Shanahan and Lane Kiffin! What else could there be on the premises?

“Starbucks vending machines, like they had in San Diego? Those are building blocks of dynasties, friends.”

Also, how great is it like you have a photo of your former shitty head coach NOW IN COLOR!?

Here’s what else is new: drafting a wide receiver who ran a 4.68 in the 40 at the Scouting Combine. True fact. Arizona’s Juron Criner, 6-2 ½ and 224 pounds, ran glacially for a wideout at the combine, and the new general manager of the Raiders, Reggie McKenzie, saw past it and drafted Criner in the fifth round, the only wideout Oakland drafted this year. Al Davis drafted wideouts with sprinter speed; it was a Raider trademark. McKenzie likes sprinter speed, but good receivers who run in the 4.3s aren’t going to be available with the 168th pick in the draft, as Criner was. So you improvise.

Meet the new boss, horrible in diametrically opposed ways to the old boss.

Imagine being Carson Palmer

/imagines my asshole being tightly clenched for 30 years

being told you’re definitely not being traded by the Bengals last year, not doing any football training or much throwing after the season started, getting traded on the day of the deadline, and playing an NFL game five days later?

Very specific Carson Palmer fantasy. I’m feeling… semi-put-out-ish?

Palmer told me offensive coordinator Greg Knapp is “a phenomenal teacher, a genius” (someone call Terrell Owens for comment). Palmer also said running back Taiwan Jones “is the fastest man in the league,” Darren McFadden “is as good as any running back there is,” called back Mike Goodson “shockingly good,”

“I was caught off-guard by his non-wretchedness.”

and added, “I know I can play as well as any quarterback in this league.”


Wednesday: Miami (Davie, Fla., Dolphins practice facility).

I really like how the Dolphins practice.

“Their pads have Wifi.”

On a full field, the coaches line up at the 50. One full team plays 11-on-11 heading north on the field; when I was there, David Garrard piloted the first offense against the defense. As soon as Garrard ran a play and the whistle blew, ending the play, the coaches turned around to see an entirely separate 11-on-11 play, the offense led by rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill. When that play ended, boom, the coaches turned around and Garrard was calling signals for his next play. And so on. Ten plays per period per 11-on-11 unit, so 20 in all — in maybe four or five minutes.

In the first five practices this summer, Philbin’s coaches scripted what he called 572 competitive plays. Because of the hurry-up concept, the players ran 657. That’s an extra 85 plays — 17 per day.

“I’ve never seen it before,” said GM Jeff Ireland. “The tempo’s earth shattering.”

Think of how quickly they could get to 3rd and 17! Your head will spin!

Thursday: Tampa Bay (Tampa, Bucs’ training facility).

Dallas Clark’s healthy — for now — and looking like a good security blanket for Josh Freeman

Yes, a good security blanket, that is frayed and on fire.

The Schiano Factor will be the story of the year for the Bucs.

Just about time for Peter to be ridiculously impressed by the orderliness of a rookie coach. Last year, it was Mike Munchak making his players dress nice and use their salad forks. The gushing is doubly bad for Schiano since he’s part of the GRUMBLELORD coaching tree.

“Gracious! Gaze upon the military precision of those stretches. Their limbs will extend end zone to end zone once they’re done.”

PK: How’d you know this was the right job?

“They offered it to me.”

Schiano: “I knew I wanted it when I heard [Oregon coach] Chip Kelly got it, and I was pissed. I wanted this job. So when he decided to stay, I was really happy. Guys like Josh Freeman, Gerald McCoy, I knew about them, and I knew they wanted to be great, and those are the kind of players I want to coach.”

“But not Kellen Winslow, who refused my oddly specific stretching routine. WE WIN THE STRETCHY WAY OR WE DON’T WIN AT ALL!”

Friday: Jacksonville (Jacksonville, EverBank Field).

Jag brass is working hard to integrate football analytics into football strategy, as are several teams I’ve seen on this trip, and it’ll be interesting to see how the Moneyball stuff is accepted by the coaches and traditional scouts

And dippy SI columnists who swear by the draft trade value chart even though no one else in the league still does.

It all comes down to Gabbert.

Famous last words.

With such a shaky performance by last year’s first-rounder, quarterback Blaine Gabbert, common sense says Jacksonville has to have Jones-Drew playing great for the team to have a chance. But wise, old Jacksonville scribe Vito Stellino has it crystal-clear correct when he notes that the Jaguars aren’t going to prosper, Jones-Drew or no Jones-Drew, unless Gabbert is significantly better than he was last season.

Such clear-eyed sagacious insight. If the component that made this team inept last year doesn’t improve, they’re doomed for further shittiness.

STELLINO ON FINANCE: “If there aren’t more jobs, unemployment will never get better!”

Mularkey emphasized to me that he didn’t think Gabbert ever played scared last year. (Sure looked it to me.) His best point to me: “When I coached Matt Ryan [in Atlanta], he entered the league after his fifth-year senior year. This is the equivalent for Blaine, his fifth year [of college and pro football combined]. He came out as a true junior.”

That’s encouraging. Only two more years until he’s as good as Matt Ryan as a rookie.

Sunday: Atlanta (Flowery Branch, Ga., Falcons’ training facility).

What a yappy, infectious practice. If you don’t watch much football practice, you’d be surprised at the competition that goes on, and the taunting on some teams. It’s almost immature. No: It is immature. But that’s the game that goes on.

This lacks the leisurely, gentlemanly approach of spring training baseball bullshit. Why, they aren’t even playing pepper!

For the last four years, Samuel was the mouth that roared in practices and in games for Philadelphia. Now he’s the mouth of the south.

I take that to mean Asante Samuel will lead the Honky Tonk Man to an NFC South title through nefarious tactics.

Matt Ryan has to hold onto a ball in the pocket too long. Samuel screams: “Coverage sack! Coverage sack! I do it all!”

“Just wait until The Nasty Boys get a piece of you at Summerslam!”

Julio Jones pushes off slightly (very slightly, really) and catches a deep ball from Ryan, and Samuels makes a beeline for the back judge. “WE CAN’T GET NO DAMN CALLS!” he shrieks. “All we want is one call! I’m gonna tell my mama, ‘Don’t watch.’ ”

Huh? Watch what?

Density. Peter King has lots of that.

“We just hit 1,000 miles,” SI staffer Matt Gagne said this morning around 1:30 as we busted it for northern Virginia toward Redskins camp. It feels like it. Matt and fellow driver Jack Ford, a Villanova kid working for SI this summer, have been terrific on the SI-EvoShield NFL Training Camp Trip, sponsored by the five-year-old Georgia-based company making protective gear for athletes.

Jack’s been a horse, handling the entire Davie-to-Tampa and Tampa-to-Jacksonville and Jacksonville-to-Atlanta drives on back-to-back-to-back days.

Jack and Matt have allowed me to write and tweet while the miles pass by, as they did through the pitch-black of a southern night and early Monday morning.

Bless you, Jack and Matt, honest people being paid probably far too little to ensure that Peter King’s nationwide coffee hunt and stretch technique astonishment isn’t broken up by things like work.

Quote of the Week II

“I was asked by a reporter earlier this week if I would allow my child to play football. I don’t know, I would probably be reluctant. But if my kid can learn what I learned from this game, I’d let him play. I think it’s worth the risk.”

— Hall of Fame running back Curtis Martin, in his emotional 27-minute acceptance speech in Canton Saturday night.

“If he learned like I did to be randomly lucky and avoid injury, it’ll totally be worth it.”

Quote of the Week III

“All of it. I’m very, very average.”

— Cincinnati tight end Jermaine Gresham, asked by Cincinnati Enquirer beat man Joe Reedy what he has to do to improve this season.

Yes, you’re off to a fine start, Gresham. I dare say, you risk being juuuuust slightly above average. KSK would like to see more sustained middle of the road production before placing you on our all-time average list.

Quote of the Week IV

“Thinking about going into porn. I got to earn a living. I’m being serious. I mean, that’s what I would do.”

— Miami wide receiver Chad Johnson, asked by a reporter what he would do if he got cut by the Dolphins this preseason and had to find another job.


Factoid of the Week That May Interest Only Me

White Sox GM Kenny Williams, father of 49ers wideout Kyle Williams (see above), got some puzzled looks when he hired Robin Ventura as manager last October. Turns out he got the inspiration to make the Ventura hire from visiting with San Francisco GM Trent Baalke and coach Jim Harbaugh. Ventura, you may recall, didn’t have any previous professional managing experience.

“I haven’t told anybody this,” Williams said by phone from Chicago the other day, “but in talking to Trent Baalke and coach Harbaugh, and watching the dynamics of how their organization works, sometimes they think out of the box, and that can take you from a bleak situation to a solution. Talking to them, and listening to some of the things my son’s told me about the way they operate — that helped give me the courage to make what some people thought was an unorthodox move.”

Harbaugh actually had experience as a head coach prior to getting the Niners job, so I don’t understand how that justifies hiring Ventura.

“Ehhhh, how about that guy who got his ass kicked by Nolan Ryan? That probably taught him something.”

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

At one of our hotels in the South the other day, a Marriott TownePlace Suites, there was a breakfast buffet. I’m a Cheerios, Shredded Wheat or oatmeal guy in the morning, preferably with some blueberries or some other berry. No Cheerios. No Shredded Wheat. No oatmeal. No blueberries. No berries of any sort.

There were, however, three kinds of grits: creamy, bacon and a third I don’t recall.

Get the fuck out! Grits, in the South? INCONCEIVABLE! Regional cuisine offered in native region!? WHAT A COUNTRY!

Tweet of the Week II

“reporters always warn fans not to draw conclusions from preseason games, then we draw conclusions from preseason games.”

— @kentsomers, beat man on the Cardinals for the Arizona Republic, reporting from the press box during the Cardinals-Saints preseason affair Sunday night and, presumably, drawing conclusions on the local club as we all were.

Reporters being full of shit is less surprising than finding grits in the South.

Ten Things I Think I Think

5. I think those who saw Sean Payton Saturday night at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony said he appeared happy and had big hugs for Drew Brees and interim coach Joe Vitt. And the lens of Times-Picayune photographer Michael DeMocker shows one other thing: Payton’s used his free time while being suspended to work out hard. He’s ripped.

“Looking nice, Sean. You must be spending all your time NOT TALKING TO ME AND RETURNING MY VOICEMAILS YOU DICK hitting the gym and pumping iron. Impressive, but is it impressive enough? HARDLY. It’ll take more than a few glamor muscles to best the hulking Roger Goodell in a test of might. He hoists highway overpasses into place with one arm.”

7. I think this tells you more of what you need to know about New England’s further offseason obsession with tight ends: The Patriots were interested in acquiring Kellen Winslow from Tampa Bay before the Bucs dealt him to Seattle. I’m told the relationship between Bucs coach Greg Schiano and Bill Belichick had something to do with the deal not getting made with the Patriots. Schiano knew Winslow wouldn’t be Belichick’s kind of player, and so the Bucs — who would have been advantaged by sending Winslow to an AFC team instead of the NFC ‘Hawks — made a deal for a conditional seventh-round pick with Seattle.

Oh good. So not only does Belichick poison other franchises with his idiot disciples, they do him the service of scouting their own players for him. I usually bristle at the genius shit being tossed around GRUMBLELORD, but that is pretty ingenious villainy.

9. I think the one side note in the Jonathan Vilma settlement talks is that, if he settles and returns this season, by the time he does return, he very well could have lost his job permanently to free agent acquisition Curtis Lofton. That would be pretty awkward.

“So, you think you won, Vilma!? DO YOU!? Well, don’t be so sure. Just because you won a standoff I said you never would doesn’t mean you won’t SUFFER. Oh, you’ll suffer. You’re still gonna lose your job. Won’t that be WEIRD!?”

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

a. I’ll be running my second half-marathon, God willing, on Sept. 29, the Hamptons Half-Marathon on eastern Long Island. I’ll run to benefit retired NFLer Steve Gleason’s efforts to build an in-patient residence to serve ALS patients in New Orleans and allow them to live as independently as possible. Gleason, who was diagnosed with the disease in 2011, figures the residence — which he hopes to build as a separate floor of a New Orleans nursing home — will cost between $750,000 and $1 million to establish. So let’s see if we can help him. I’ll pledge $1,000 to the cause if I finish the run in 2 hours 20 minutes or less, and $2,000 if I either don’t finish or run slower than 2:20. Here’s how you can contribute.

That’ll be $2,000. In other news, 10K purist Jeff Pearlman is now out of the manly man long-distance running business.

d. Michael Phelps should be everyone’s hero.

Civil servants. Troops. Doctors. Social workers. All should prostrate themselves before the heroism of a guy who swam really well in two three Olympic games and can now retire in his late ’20s and spend the rest of his life living in luxury, unless he does something really dumb and ruins his endorsements.

f. Regarding the Wisconsin Sikh temple shootings that left six dead Sunday: When, oh when, will our leaders in this country lead and do something about gun violence?

Finally, the solution we’ve been looking for! Doing something! And here we are just casting around, telling ourselves, “don’t rock the boat. Inaction on gun violence is the answer.” That was until Peter King issued the clarion call of DOING SOMETHING. You are everyone’s hero, Helen Lovejoy Peter King.

g. What In the Name of Buster Olney Dept.: In 106 minor league games in A and AA ball this season, Cincinnati farmhand Bill Hamilton has 126 steals. He had three Sunday again for the Southern League Pensacola Blue Wahoos. Thanks, Buster, for the heads-up tweet on that.

h. Coffeenerdness: I’m not denigrating Jacksonville or anything

Here’s the wind-up… and the bitch…

but I stayed at the Omni Hotel downtown late last week and went down to the lobby in the morning, looking to take a walk to get a coffee. “Where’s the nearest Starbucks?” I asked the parking guy in front. He said the nearest one was a little more than two miles away, and there wasn’t one in the city’s business district downtown. Amazed, I said, “Any other coffee bars downtown?” None, the guy said, at least to his knowledge.

i. An American inner city, without a Starbucks. Now I’ve heard it all.

And here we considered ourselves a world power. THE ARROGANCE! Until Starbucks has achieved true omnipresence, we as a nation are lacking.

Oh, SI is now allowing comments on Peter King’s columns on its site. It appears people were quick to let Peter know he’s a technologically deficient dingus.

j. Beernerdness: The Beer of the Week (and trust me, there was a lot of competition, particularly from Intuition Brewery in Jacksonville) is Sweetwater 420 Extra Pale Ale, which made me think I was back in Seattle. Really crisp and wonderful on the palate.

Ooh, that’s hoppy. Is Peter starting to stray away from exclusively citrus beer? I’m dying to not give a fuck.

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