WHY NO WEEKLY PICKS? Will Peter be having his weekly picks put up on this site? I liked looking last year at who he predicted would win the weekend games.
In the past few years, my picks have grown to an 800-1200 word column, where I try to be part informant and part wise guy in previewing the games of the weekend. I have some new duties with the new website. For instance, I have to do three videos per week that were not on my schedule a year ago. I have to edit stories, which was not part of my job a year ago. And I have to write an additional Tuesday column, which is different from the column I had to write a year ago and requires more reporting. So, at some point, I had to make choices. Originally I wasn’t going to do my mailbag each week, but because so many people wanted me to do that, we decided that I would do that as the second part of my Tuesday column. I’ve had a few people tell me in the last few days that they really miss my picks. I don’t know why—I stunk at it. Maybe that’s why. Maybe its fun to see how bad I am at predicting the outcomes in the sport that I cover.
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DON’T JUDGE THE BOLDIN DEAL YET. Don’t you think the title of Monday’s MMQB column, “Anquan Boldin has the Last Laugh,” is extremely premature? It was you who wrote about the defensive players the Ravens were able to add in the offseason solely because of the money they saved by dealing Boldin. I don’t think Ozzie Newsome was sitting at The Castle watching Boldin have a monster game against a very suspect Green Bay defense thinking “Man, I wish we had him for the final year of his contract and not Elvis Dumervil for the next five years.” Especially considering Terrell Suggs’ contract expires soon, and he’s the Ravens only other proven pass rusher. Boldin had a great game, and the receivers for Baltimore had the complete opposite, but it was one game. Let’s see who benefits most from that transaction in a few years from now, not after one game.
I don’t write the headlines to the column, and I didn’t write this one. I will say that the intent of my item was not to tweak the Ravens, but simply to say that it has been my contention all along that Boldin certainly was worth $6 million a year, and he began to prove that on Sunday.
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WEEK 1 WAS SLOPPY. During the Sunday night game yesterday, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth made reference to something about the CBA requiring either less intense or less frequent practices, which could account for a lot of the sloppy play we all saw in the Week 1 games. Is there any truth to this, and do you think it had an impact? Or do you think we just saw a lot of cobwebs being cleared out in the first games of the season? Obviously player health is a critically important part of the game, but does the new CBA go so far as to dilute the game by making it harder for coaches to prepare their players?
I definitely think there is something to it. I think more important than new practice schedules is the fact that so few teams practice tackling or play physically during training camp. That means that for many players on Sunday, they may have only had 15 to 20 plays all summer—meaning plays during preseason games—where there was actually tackling. I think the poor play in Week 1 was more related to the lack of tackling and physical practices than the fact that teams can practice less now than they could before the 2011 CBA.
QUESTIONING MIKE MCCARTHY. Before the penalty-enforcement debacle in the Green Bay-San Francisco game, Mike McCarthy accepted a five-yard illegal motion penalty instead of declining and having San Francisco face a 4th-and-1 from inside its 10-yard line. I also believe it was a full yard that needed to be gained, not a short yard. If he thought it was very close, why not ask for a measurement to take some time? To me that was a critical mistake. He wasn’t going to push the 49ers out of field goal range—it was a chip shot even if Kaepernick takes a sack on the 3rd-and-6. He gives a mobile quarterback, who is also hot, another chance at the TD/first down without facing a fourth-down conversion. I believe Jim Harbaugh takes the field goal there (though I could be wrong; he is very aggressive). If he doesn’t, you have a shot to stop them on 4th-and-1. I don’t think I’d take a 10- or 15-yard penalty in those circumstances, but definitely not a five-yarder. Thoughts?
I agree. I do think that was a mistake by McCarthy, and if he had to do it over again he would have made a different call. Good catch.
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THE SAINTS RECEIVERS JUST GET IT DONE. After watching the antics and listening to the nonsense of diva wide receivers all these years, I take a look at the Saints wide receivers and see Marques Colston (seventh-round pick), Kenny Stills (fifth round) and Lance Moore (undrafted) as the starters for an attack that rolls up passing yards at a near-record pace year in and year out. It seems the lesson for wide receivers should be: Unless you’re Calvin Johnson or Randy Moss, keep your mouth shut and find a good quarterback.
Part of that, I think, is that Sean Payton is not going to stand for a bunch of nonsense from any player mouthing off on his team if it interferes with how the player plays. But you’re right. I think most people in America are tired of diva antics, and want to see guys behave like professionals.
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JUSTIFYING TEBOW. You mentioned in your column, “Tebow can have a role as a changeup quarterback on a winning team.” Why would any winning team want to take a winning quarterback off the field and put someone like Tebow in? He’s not an everyday quarterback; he’s a circus, period. Would you take out Tom Brady for a series for Tebow? Would you take out Drew Brees for a series for Tebow? Would you take out Matt Ryan for a series for Tebow? Would you take out Aaron Rogers for a series for Tebow? I think you get my point. What are your thoughts?
Simple. Say you have a pocket quarterback. You decide as a coach that you want to work on the two-point conversion play, when the ball is snapped from the two-yard line. You have a spread offense in the game, with four receivers. You put Tebow in the shotgun. You have a running back, and Tebow thus has six possibilities when he gets the ball at the six-yard line. He has the four receivers, the running back, and himself. This is a guy who is a 245-pound battering ram right now. If you don’t think that in short yardage or on a two-point conversion play Tebow would be a good weapon, I would respectfully disagree with you. That’s where I think Tebow would help a winning team win more.
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FOULED UP ON THE FALCONS. The Cardinals lose to the Rams and you have them ranked in your Fine Fifteen. Baltimore gets steamrolled on national television and they are ranked as well. Atlanta loses a nail-biter on the road to a motivated and rejuvenated Saints team and they don’t make the cut? What have you done for me lately indeed, Mr. King…
I blew it. Atlanta should definitely be in the Fine Fifteen. My mistake, and I will be more careful from here on out.