RICHMOND, Va. — Pondering your questions, as well as the meaning of life, waiting for Washington’s practice to start later this afternoon at its shiny new training camp two hours south of the White House:
THERE’S A REASON THEY TRADED FOR HIM. “The Seahawks offense averaged over 30 points a game the second half of last season. With their defense, how much is the loss of Percy Harvin really going to affect them? It’s silly to subtract something that was never added on the field in the first place. I think special teams will be affected more than the offense, especially after letting Leon Washington go. Your thoughts?”
GM John Schneider and coach Pete Carroll thought the offense lacked explosiveness, which it did. Lots of what happened last year, particularly late in the season, was Russell Wilson getting comfortable with the offense and forming a bond with some good receivers. To take the next step, Schneider, especially, thought the offense needed a downfield weapon it didn’t have. I agree: Seattle will be very good without Harvin—maybe even a Super Bowl team. But he gives the offense a dimension few teams have.
NICE STORY OUT OF DETROIT. “Love the new site. Lots of varied articles and not the same old storylines over and over. I just wanted to add a nice little story about Detroit’s training camp yesterday. My daughter wasn’t able to get any autographs, so we headed out. We got to the front of the facility and realized we forgot a picture of her with one of the banners. I asked the security at the front if there were any good photo ops. He said, ‘follow me and this never happened’ with a wink as he led us into the lobby. We were ecstatic. We got our pics and were ready to head out when Matthew Stafford walked through on his way out. He was gracious enough to take a pic with Ally. I’ve never in my life seen her so happy. Those 20 seconds he spent just locked in a Lions fan forever and he has a new number one fan. What a memory for both of us, thanks to Matt.”
Thanks for pointing that out. When given the chance, 99 percent of the players I deal with will do the right thing. This is good to hear.
SUSAN IS OVERWHELMED. “Re The MMQB: I love the concept, love the good writing, but there is too much, too often. I lose track of it and can’t keep up. I know I am missing good articles, but I only have so much time. Keep Peter King’s normal columns!! Have other articles—just not so many so quick upon each other. Some of the guest-non-four-regulars could be moved to SI or dropped. And please don’t dive into politics. And could you please, please bring back the ‘read all’ or something so I don’t have to click on ‘next’ to move on in the Monday morning column?”
I bet 200 people have written me saying approximately the same thing about the volume of stories. I understand—you only have so much time in a day. I have a suggestion: Why not, if you have only 10 minutes a day to surf, go to “Archive” and scroll through the last four or five entries and see which story or video most interests you? Just a thought. As far as the “read all” option, our team made that fix on the website today. So if you check out Monday’s MMQB column right now, you’ll be able to read it all on a single page.
LET RILEY PLAY. “What Riley Cooper did was … indefensible. I can see how it could divide a clubhouse. Having said that, it certainly is NOT worse than what Ray Lewis did in 2000, and I don’t recall the Baltimore clubhouse having a big problem with someone who was a person of interest in a double murder. And please save me the semantics about Ray copping a deal. Innocent people don’t plead AND pay off the families of the victims. So the moral of this story, is that it would have been better for Riley Cooper to have been involved in a double murder instead of uttering racist comments. Sad statement on our society.’”
Teammates are going to be loyal to a guy who looks them in the eye and says, “I didn’t do that heinous crime.” I am assuming Ray Lewis said something like that to his mates. You may think he’s guilty, but a court never found him culpable for murder. As for Cooper, he’s on tape for all the world to see, uttering the worst racial epithet you can utter. I understand your comparison, but it’s apples and oranges: Cooper did it, there’s no legal finding that Lewis did it.
ATTENTION COMMISH. “Love the new and much more in-depth The MMQB. I think I have a solution to the 18 game season that the NFL truly wants to happen. Of course, cut out two preseason games, then have three 6-game sessions for every team, with a bye week between each. Every team has the same bye weeks, no advantage or disadvantage to anyone. Yes, I know the NFL wants your 100% attention all season, but I think it would actually create more buzz, more debates and more interest. Having the two bye-weeks would certainly help all the players with both minor dings and injuries, and even some of the players with the more serious stuff would have a better chance of coming back.”
Biggest problem I see, other than the addition of two games players don’t want to see added, is the two off weeks for the networks. The last thing they want is, let’s say, no football programming on the weekends of Oct. 20 and Dec. 8. Two byes is a good idea, but two byes spread out per team is better.
I THINK WE HAVE SOLVED THAT; IN FACT, I JUST LOOKED, AND IT WORKS THE WAY YOU WANT. “Just wanted to chime in on the MMQB site. Love the content, my only issue is it’s a pain in the butt to navigate. It would be a lot easier if things were lined up in the order the articles have been released, newest at the top, instead of the jumble it is right now.”
Thanks, Nathan! Click on “Archive,” and you’ll see the stories and videos appear in the order they have appeared on the site.
HMM. NICE IDEA. “I would like to see a story about how you actually conduct a training camp visit. You could describe your pre-visit preparation and then track Peter as he conducts a visit. The concept is to show how the job is performed. Are there pre-determined storylines or is the visit just to observe and form the story? I think it would also be fun for the site to have a roundtable discussion amongst the writers after a visit discussing what you have seen similar to “PGA Tour Confidential” on SI Golf. Of course, you must include an anonymous player. A comment about the site front page; can you organize it a bit more? With so many stories posting, I am finding new stories interspersed with older stuff.”
Our traveling videographer, John DePetro, and I will discuss this tonight as we drive to the next stop, Atlanta. And I will do it on this trip if at all possible. Thanks for the suggestion—it’s a good one I hadn’t considered.
DON DOESN’T LIKE THE DESIGN. “The content is terrific. The design is horrific. You have allowed your designers to make a ‘beautiful” site that is in the bottom 10 in functionality. Someone convinced you that video and pretty pictures make a website more popular. But you are devoted to news and information. And functionality should be top of mind. We come to you to read….please make your material easier to access and use.”
Don, appreciate you calling it as you see it. All I can say is, we’re trying to make the site as efficient to navigate and as beautiful as it can be. There are bugs that I see that we will work on, to try to make sure the functionality of your visit is good. Give us some time. Thank you.
COVER THE CHARGERS. “Congrats on the new site, but I do have some feedback. There is a team that plays in sunny Southern California that has a rich history dating back to the AFL days, and they have the best uniforms in football. Check the list of teams and you will see there is a team named the San Diego Chargers and they have lightning bolts on their helmets. I know we have lots to do in San Diego and our team has not accomplished too much, but we do love our Chargers and find it funny how the national media just flat out ignores us. You think you could throw us a bone or honorable mention, or something? And please don’t make it about Teo! I was bemused when I saw your list of training camps you were visiting and of course the Chargers were not getting a visit. I would think with it being such a fabulous place to visit and with it being the microbeer capitol of the world that it would be a must-stop for your team. I do not think you can write a column though without mentioning Belichick and Brady numerous times.
P.S. We know you like the Pats. We get it.”
Let’s start with this: I can physically get to about 22 or 23 team sites a year. I try to make it a practice to never miss any team’s camp or to see a preseason game at the home site two years in a row. I’d been to San Diego the previous two years for training camp. Could I have stretched out the trip another day in California? Sure. Would I have loved that? Of course! Who doesn’t love San Diego? We had a Manti Te’o story by Jim Trotter on our site on day one. We have a 2,500-word Chargers preview by Andy Benoit coming up. We’ll have more. And me being on the Patriots’ payroll? Yeah. Heard that one a few times.
I FORGOT. “While I agree with your some of your analysis on the Hall of Fame odds for 2014, I find it egregious that you left out a player who is arguably the best left tackle of all time. Walter Jones was a nine-time Pro Bowler and seven-time All-Pro who blocked for numerous thousand-yard backs, rarely gave up sacks, and was the primary driving force behind all of Shaun Alexander’s numbers.”
My fault. I forgot. I did send a tweet about him on Monday when I realized the error of my ways, listing Jones at 7-5 for election in 2014.
ON HALL OF FAME COACHES. “A Hall of Fame question (from a die-hard 49er fan): I keep hearing Tony Dungy’s name bantered around for Hall of Fame consideration. Really? One Super Bowl and the Tampa Bay defense. Meanwhile, (here’s my 49er pitch) George Seifert won two Super Bowls, was the defensive mind behind the very underrated 49er defenses of the Super Bowl run and I never hear his name. And while I’m at it where’s Cowboy legend Jimmy Johnson on the future Hall of Fame list?”
The way I see it: Seifert won 124 games, including playoffs, in 11 coaching seasons (11.3 wins per year), with two losing seasons. He won two Super Bowls. He took over a great Niners team and kept it rolling. Then he went to Carolina and oversaw a decline to 1-15 by his last year. Johnson won 89 games, including playoffs, in nine coaching years (9.9 wins per year), with one losing season. He won two Super Bowls. He took over a bad Dallas team and turned it great. Then he went to Miami and made the playoffs twice in four years, but never seriously contended to win the Super Bowl.
Dungy won 148 games, including playoffs, in 13 coaching years (11.4 wins per year), with one losing season. He won one Super Bowl. He took over a bad Tampa team and turned it into a consistent contender. Then he went to Indianapolis and was a consistent playoff coach and won his Super Bowl.
All deserve consideration. I believe Dungy’s record, while one championship shy, is better overall, and stood the test of time in two franchises better than Seifert or Johnson. But I will say this: Jimmy Johnson’s coaching job with the Cowboys is one of the best I’ve seen in 30 seasons covering the game. So there’s that.