Strange Days Are Ruling the Season’s Start

Not much has gone according to expectations so far in what’s proving to be an unpredictable 2013, plus my thoughts on Aldon Smith. By the way, I thought the Browns were tanking

The Giants are 0-3, the Jets are 2-1 and the Saints' defense is shining. Who knew?
The Giants are 0-3, the Jets are 2-1 and the Saints’ defense is shining. Who knew? (Evan Pike/CSM/Landov :: Rich Kane/Icon SMI :: Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

 “You never pick up where you left off from one year to the next,’’ Bill Parcells used to say. (Maybe he still says it, for all I know.) Don’t the NFC playoff teams from last year know it. Those six teams are 6-12 this morning.

That is the 2013 season after 47 games.

I’ll take Startling Stats for $800, Alex.

San Francisco is supposed to define defense. The Niners have allowed 84 points through three weeks. New Orleans (last in team defense last year) and Indianapolis (26th last year), combined, have allowed 86 points.

The AFC East stinks, right? The AFC East is 9-3. Every team in the division is 1-0 against the NFC.

Those guys making the commercials—how are they doing? Robert Griffin III is the 20th-rated passer in football, and, scrambling in the pocket Sunday, was caught from behind by a Detroit defensive lineman. Colin Kaepernick is 25th. Right behind Bay-mate Terrelle Pryor. And 12 slots below Alex Smith.

That first London game, Pittsburgh-Minnesota in Week 4, sure seemed like a gem when it was announced five months ago. The Steelers and Vikings are a combined 0-6.

Offensive rookie of the year? This morning, it’s Chicago guard Kyle Long. The human sack machine, Jay Cutler, has been sacked three times in three games.

So you’re saying there won’t be a New Jersey vs. New Jersey Super Bowl in the New Jersey Super Bowl. Eli Manning and Geno Smith are 1-2 in the NFL in interceptions, with eight and six.

But I’m confused, Mr. Trebek. Jordan Cameron is seventh in the league with 20 receptions. Cameron Jordan is ninth in the league with 3.0 sacks.

Strange days indeed. On to the news of a particularly newsy Week 3.

***

The Aldon Smith Decision

Jim Harbaugh is a meteor in the coaching sky. A star. Until Sunday, when the Niners lost their second game in a row (27-7 to Indianapolis), Harbaugh hadn’t lost two games in a row in three years. He and his team will recover from the events of the weekend; they’re  just too good, too talented. But the world will be watching this Aldon Smith rehab to see if Smith, and the 49ers, are seriously going to address a career-threatening problem, because there have to be legitimate questions about it after Smith played a full game Sunday.

Aldon Smith was taken into custody for suspicion of DUI Friday morning (top) after running into a tree, where cops allegedly found Smith with his foot still on the accelerator after the accident.
Aldon Smith was taken into custody for suspicion of DUI Friday morning (top) after running into a tree, where cops allegedly found Smith with his foot still on the accelerator after the accident. (Courtesy of San Jose Police Department :: Courtesy of @RHandakKTVU)

Smith, the team’s star pass-rushing linebacker, was found in his sport truck Friday morning at 7 a.m. about a half-hour from the Niners’ facility in Santa Clara, Calif., the truck up against a tree in a yard. When the police arrived, he blew a .15 on the breathalyzer test, almost double the legal limit in California. Keep in mind, he was supposed to be at the team facility for meetings and practice within the hour, and he obviously would have been in no condition to be there. He was arrested, jailed, bailed out, and practicing with the team just after noon local time. Right after practice, Harbaugh said he assumed Smith would be playing on Sunday, and he did. Smith played all 67 of San Francisco’s defensive snaps against the Colts.

Last season, a Niners special-teams player, Demarcus Dobbs, was arrested early on a Friday morning and charged with DUI and marijuana possession. The team left him home from a trip to play St. Louis that weekend, meaning Dobbs didn’t play. But Smith is not Demarcus Dobbs. Smith is one of the best defensive players in football, and different rules apply to great players than to marginal ones.

After the game, Smith apologized, and the Niners said he would taking an indefinite leave. I reported last night on NBC’s Football Night in America that Smith would be entering an in-patient facility to deal with his problems—Smith has been arrested twice for DUI in the last 20 months, and he was stabbed at a house party in 2012, and sued from incidents at that party. “This is a problem, and it’s something that I will get fixed,’’ Smith said after the game.

Under league policy, teams cannot suspend players for substance-abuse issues. That’s up to the league and the league only. So until his case is adjudicated in a California court in November, Smith would have been allowed to play—unless the 49ers deactivated him and paid him his regular weekly 2013 compensation of $230,759 not to play.

“I think this was the best thing for Aldon,’’ said 49ers CEO Jed York. “And again, there’s no right answer here.” Maybe not—but unless this is a long, serious and intensive rehab process, the 49ers will look like users, and Smith will look like a pawn. We’ll be watching to see if Smith, and the 49ers, take this as seriously as they claimed they would Sunday night.

I would not have played Smith Sunday were it my decision. I wouldn’t have abandoned him and let him go off to get in more trouble than he already was in. He would have been with the team all weekend—at Saturday meetings, on the sideline Sunday—but there are some things that are just more important than playing in a football game. If it sends the wrong message to sit a guy and pay him $230,000, so be it. I just don’t think it’s right to let him play.

One other thing: The next big issue on Roger Goodell’s agenda—and on DeMaurice Smith’s as well—has to be tougher penalties on DUIs. This isn’t a partisan issue. It’s potentially a life-and-death one, for the drivers and the innocents in their way.

The strange business of trading in the NFL.

The Browns abandoned the season—supposedly—by trading Trent Richardson after two weeks, flew to Minneapolis to play a 2012 playoff team, and won their first game of the season with a third-string quarterback starting.

The Colts traded a first-round pick for Richardson, the third overall pick in the 2012 draft. On Sunday, the 250th overall pick in the 2007 draft, Ahmad Bradshaw, was Indy’s best back, rushing 19 times for 95 yards in a 27-7 upset win at San Francisco.

My takeaways from this deal, and the future of the two teams:

Cleveland will be doomed to fail unless they get on a path and stick to it. In the six seasons since 2008, the Browns have had four different front-office regimes: Phil Savage as GM (2005-08), George Kokinis as GM (2009), Mike Holmgren as president and Tom Heckert as GM (2010-12), and Joe Banner as CEO and Mike Lombardi at GM (2013). That has led to the kind of schizophrenic decision-making that, if I was a Browns’ fan, would cause me to go crazy.

In 2011, the Heckert/Holmgren group traded the sixth pick in a very strong top of the first round (Von Miller, A.J. Green, Julio Jones, Aldon Smith, Patrick Peterson, J.J. Watt) to Atlanta for two first-rounders, a second-rounder and two fourths. What they got in return:

It's Complicated

Who won the Trent Richardson deal? Peter King says the Colts got the better of the swap, while Robert Klemko defends the Browns.

2011 first: Defensive tackle Phil Taylor, a decent starter, who Cleveland had to deal up six spots to acquire. The tradeup cost Cleveland its third-round pick. Kansas City used that pick to select Justin Houston, who leads the NFL in sacks this morning.

2011 second: Wideout Greg Little, who has been a marginal starter.

2011 fourth: Fullback Owen Marecic, cut by the new regime in camp this summer.

2012 first: Quarterback Brandon Weeden, who is in the process of being replaced as the Cleveland quarterback.

2012 fourth: Used in the trade to move up to draft Trent Richardson.

Essentially, the bounty of picks the Browns received for the one the Falcons on Julio Jones resulted in one player likely to be an average to above-average starter: Phil Taylor, who plays about 60 percent of the defensive snaps. And it cost Cleveland the equivalent of Justin Houston to move up to get Taylor.

Now for the Richardson part of this. Cleveland had the fourth pick in 2012. The Browns tried hard to move up to pick Andrew Luck and failed. They could have traded down a bit and picked the third quarterback in the draft, Ryan Tannehill, but he wasn’t the apple of the front office’s eye. Though there was zero chance Minnesota would use the pick to take Richardson, and a very small chance the Vikes would trade down very far, Cleveland, to move up one spot in the draft, gave Minnesota fourth-, fifth- and seventh-round picks. Eighteen games into his Cleveland career, Richardson was traded for Indy’s first-rounder next year. Let’s say Indy lands where it did last year—in the wild-card round, giving the Browns the 24th pick in the 2014 first round. That’d mean Cleveland traded Richardson plus three picks for the right to move down 21 spots in a draft two years later.

This is what happens when regimes value players differently. The new Browns don’t want the power back that Richardson is; these Browns want a shiftier, faster back. The good thing about the dealing is that Cleveland has seven picks in the top four rounds next year, including two in the first round. But that’s not going to do any good if this new management group drafts poorly or if it sticks around for three years, gets fired, and another regime erases what this one began.

Moral of the story: Unless Banner and/or Lombardi stinks out loud, owner Jimmy Haslam has to keep them for five seasons. Build a team their way. Build a team in someone’s way, for crying out loud, and stick to it.

“Continuity is invaluable,’’ Banner said Saturday. “But continuity for its own sake is not the ultimate solution. I don’t want a free pass. If in three or four years we aren’t positioned to win … I should have to deal with the consequences.’’ I’m not sitting here lobbying for Banner and Lombardi to stay if they blow these picks. But any smart football person would tell you a draft can’t be judged for two years at least, and three more prudently.

***

Indianapolis is a different team in a different time.

Sunday’s game in San Francisco was a perfect illustration why GM Ryan Grigson made this deal. Offensive coordinator Pep Hamilton wants to be able to be a power running team. Not all the time, but when it suits his style. And watching the Colts grind out the win against what was supposed to be one of the best run defenses in football, you see why Richardson was important. The Colts entered the fourth quarter with a 13-7 lead. They ran the ball on 15 of 20 (non-penalized) snaps in the quarter. They held it for 10:51 of the 15-minute quarter. And they outscored the Niners 14-0 in the quarter. So what if it was more Ahmad Bradshaw than Richardson? The Colts will need both, in heavy doses, before the end of the season.

As of this morning, Indianapolis looks like the best team in the AFC South. Houston’s been struggling to match its level of consistency from its 12-4 2012 season. We could look back on the deal and say Indy overpaid, or Richardson wasn’t worth it. But the offense Hamilton’s going to run needs power. And Bradshaw and Richardson give the Colts two backs who can provide some power, and some ability to make defenders miss too.

***

A few highlights, and lowlights …

The Bengals and Packers played a game Steve Sabol would have loved. Green Bay scored 30 points in a row, and lost. Cincinnati blew a 14-point lead. Green Bay handed back a 16-point lead. Bengals: four turnovers. Packers: four turnovers. But the biggest play of the game might have been a replay challenge by the Bengals with 4:34 left in the game. Green Bay led 30-27. It was 3rd-and-12 at the Cincinnati 41. Rodgers threw to Randall Cobb, and the officials ruled he gained 12 yards and just barely got the first down. But the Bengals challenged, and won. It was 4th-and-1 at the 30. Eschewing a 47-yard field-goal try from the terminally unreliable Mason Crosby, Green Bay coach McCarthy chose to try to make the yard, and running back Johnathan Franklin fumbled. A Keystone Kops play ensued, and Terence Newman ran it in for the winning touchdown. But the replay was what mattered, I thought. “One of our young personnel guys upstairs saw it,’’ Marvin Lewis said from Cincinnati after the game. “So we challenged. It was close, but it turned out to be a good decision.’’ Lewis’ message—to his team and to the media and his fans—after the game was clear. He didn’t like how the Packers came to Cincinnati as the team with the perceived big edge in talent. “We’ve got great players here too. It’s so week to week in this league. You just never know. But we’ve got enough good players to play with anyone.’’

The Hoyer and Lanning show. Spencer Lanning never played a game of football until his junior year in high school. He was a soccer player until he tore an ACL playing the game. Then he decided to kick a football, and punt one, and pass one. He went on to kick and punt at South Carolina, and throw a football around like any other player having fun before practice. On Sunday, he did all of them, the first time in 45 years an NFL player threw a pass, punted and place-kicked in the same game. The pass was the gem—an 11-yard touchdown thrown from field-goal formation to tight end Jordan Cameron in the second quarter. “All I could hear at the end of our series was, ‘Get off the field! Hurry up!’ ‘’ Hoyer said from Minneapolis. “I’m ticked off, because I really wanted to score down there. I had no idea what we were doing.” Cameron jogged off—but never got all the way to the sidelines. He lingered near the white sideline stripe, Minnesota never noticed him, and as soon as Lanning got the snap, he rose and threw a perfect pass to Cameron, who ran it in. “I just didn’t want to be that guy who overthrows an open receiver and throws it into the stands,’’ Lanning said from Minneapolis. “If you’d ever told me I’d throw a touchdown pass in an NFL game, I would have never believed you.” You did it, kid. You’ve got something in common with Brady and Manning. You’ve thrown an NFL touchdown pass.

The Steelers and Giants shouldn’t be shocked to be 0-3. They can’t block. They can’t protect their Super Bowl-winning quarterbacks, the Giants especially. It’s been 10 seasons since these two teams picked in the top 10 of a draft—coincidentally, the year they got Eli Manning and Ben Roethlisberger—and both are on the way to that ignominious placement in 2014.

***

David Shaw’s NFL future, briefly.

A 34-second discussion with highly respected Stanford head coach David Shaw, about his NFL desires:

Me: “You tempted by the NFL?”

Shaw: “Nope.”

Me: “Ever?”

Shaw: “Maybe somewhere way down the road. I said no to all the interviews last year. I got called by a bunch of teams. I love where we’re at right now, I love this team. This team we have, it’s going to be good for a while.”

Me: “No guarantees in the NFL. The grass isn’t always greener.”

Shaw: “When teams reached out to me last year, I said, ‘Okay, you tell me which NFL city is better than Palo Alto. And then explain that to my wife.’ ‘’

Fine Fifteen

1. Denver (2-0). Just when you thought the season was setting up to be a nice little stroll to AFC home-field advantage, here are the 15 autumn days that will try John Fox’s soul: Nov. 17, Kansas City at home … Nov. 24, at New England … Dec. 1, at Kansas City.

2. Seattle (3-0). A nice afternoon scrimmage against Jacksonville Sunday. There were no casualties, which is all that matters.

3. New Orleans (3-0). Saints started 0-3 last year. Allowed 40, 35 and 27 points. Saints 3-0 this year. Allowed 17, 14 and seven points. Rob Ryan for mayor.

4. Chicago (3-0). Took the air out of Heinz Field in about 15 minutes. How about this: It’s Sept. 23, and the Bears have a two-game lead on the Packers in the NFC North.

5. Miami (3-0). Two straight cliffhanger wins, and this is what I like most: Ryan Tannehill, though taking a beating, is completing two-thirds of his passes and spreading the wealth to four different receivers.

6. Indianapolis (2-1). Watched most of the second half at San Francisco. That was no fluke win. Ahmad Bradshaw made the following statement: I count.

7. New England (3-0). First time since the 16-0 regular-season of 2007 that New England has started 3-0. I mean, just saying.

Talk Back

Have a question or comment for Peter? Email him at talkback@themmqb.com and it might be included in Tuesday's mailbag.

8. Kansas City (3-0). Quarterback Alex Smith has something in common with the rest of the KC offense: zero turnovers through three games. Not to rewrite history, or say the Niners made the wrong call on Alex Smith/Colin Kaepernick, but to refresh your memory about what a gutsy decision Jim Harbaugh made in benching Smith for Kaepernick last fall, Smith was 27 of 29 (.931) for 313 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 151.2 rating in his final passes as a 49er.

9. Baltimore (2-1). No Ray Rice with the explosive Texans coming to town, and the Ravens win by 21. That’s a big win for a team with a lot of new parts. And good contributions by newbies Daryl Smith and Tandon Doss (he’s sort of a newbie).

10. Cincinnati (2-1). This is an odd team. The Bengals can look like the Bungles, as they did in allowing Green Bay to score 30 points in a row Sunday. But then the D can rise up and bat three Aaron Rodgers passes down at the end of the game to preserve one of the wildest wins Marvin Lewis has ever had.

11. San Francisco (1-2). Last two weeks—Foes 56, Niners 10. Best line of the Aldon Smith stupidity, from Tim Kawakami of the San Jose Mercury News: “Aldon Smith was arrested at 7 a.m., one hour AFTER Kaepernick starts work.”

12. Dallas (2-1). The Cowboys are the class of the NFC East by default—though they played well in embarrassing the Rams. DeMarco Murray needs to stay healthy, or the over-reliance on Tony Romo will hurt their chances of playing deep into January.

13. Atlanta (1-2). Roddy White: seven catches, 56 yards. For the season. Don’t tell me that doesn’t hurt.

14. Houston (2-1). The Texans are better than they showed Sunday, but in their three weeks so far, they: overcame a 21-point deficit to win at San Diego, needed a huge late-game rally to beat Tennessee in overtime, and got whacked by the Ravens. Not good.

15. (tie) Tennessee (2-1). Sunday was the first day I have watched the Jake Locker Titans and said: I can see this guy being a good quarterback for a long time.

(tie) Detroit (2-1). The defense is making progress. Three foes have a composite 70.8 passer rating. The Lions haven’t been under an opposing passer rating of 89 for the season since the Joey Harrington Era.

The Award Section

The Browns got an encouraging performance out of Brian Hoyer (top left), along with some trickeration in the form of a Spencer Lanning TD pass on a fake field goal (top right). On Thursday, Justin Houston added 4.5 sacks to up his league-leading total to 7.5 (bottom left), while Marcus Gilchrist Sunday dropped an interception on the TItans' final drive that allowed them to continue down the field for the eventual game-winning touchdown.
The Browns got an encouraging performance out of Brian Hoyer (top left), along with some trickeration in the form of a Spencer Lanning TD pass on a fake field goal (top right). On Thursday, Justin Houston added 4.5 sacks to up his league-leading total to 7.5 (bottom left), while on Sunday the Chargers’ Marcus Gilchrist dropped an interception on the TItans’ final drive that allowed Tennessee to continue down the field for the eventual game-winning touchdown. (Adam Bettcher/Getty Images :: Bruce Kluckhohn/USA Today Sports :: Drew Hallowell/Getty Images :: Mark Humphrey/AP)

Offensive Players of the Week

Brian Hoyer, QB, Cleveland. Roll this one around in your head: The third-string quarterback for Cleveland won a road game over a 2012 playoff team and had a 30-of-54 performance in a stunning post-Trent-trade victory. (I understand the three interceptions are big minuses, but drive after drive Hoyer showed he belonged on this stage.) No way he can be yanked out of the starting job now.

Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Indianapolis. You saw the will of a very good running back in the fourth quarter at San Francisco. Bradshaw, who had to hear for three days before the game that the Colts finally got a franchise back to shore up a weak position, came out and bled the clock in the fourth quarter like Emmitt Smith. He ran it 11 times for 62 yards when everyone in the stadium knew the run was coming—and when coach Chuck Pagano had Trent Richardson next to him on the bench for much of the quarter. For the day, Bradshaw ran 19 times for 95 yards in a win no one saw coming.

Defensive Players of the Week

Justin Houston, OLB, Kansas City. Hard to imagine any defensive player in any game this season playing any better than Houston did Thursday night in Philadelphia. Houston set the edge against the wide runs by Philadelphia, and tormented Michael Vick like he has been few times in his career. Houston, a third-year player from Georgia, is just 24, and we could be seeing the dawn of the career of the next great outside linebacker. Houston’s game in Philadelphia:

• 4.5 sacks, for 28 combined yards lost.

• Three passes deflected.

• One forced fumble.

• Two fumble recoveries.

Greg Hardy, DE, Carolina. Pretty tough to hold the Giants (at least the Giants of old) to 150 total yards and zero points, but Hardy and his friends in the Carolina front seven stifled Eli Manning all day and totally embarrassed the New York offensive line. Hardy: three sacks, eight tackles.

Special Teams Players of the Week

Spencer Lanning, P/K/holder, Cleveland. Hard to imagine a special teams player doing more for his team in a win. Lanning holds for kicker Billy Cundiff. He punts, and averaged 46.8 yards on five boots at the Metrodome Sunday. In the second quarter, from field-goal formation, he threw a perfect 11-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Cameron. And with Cundiff slightly injured late in the game, Lanning, who was a kicker/punter in college at South Carolina, entered and kicked the PAT on the final touchdown of the game. He’s the first man since Sam Baker of the Eagles in 1968 to have a PAT, punt and a touchdown pass in the same game.

Tamba Hali, OLB, Kansas City. Hali thought he was playing on the extra-point defense team when the Eagles scored their first touchdown Thursday night. But Philadelphia called for a weird formation, where only long-snapper Jon Dorenbos, the holder and kicker were in their usual spots. The other eight players on the Eagles’ conversion team were split left, with a huge gap between Dorenbos and the rest of the linemen. Behind the linemen was tight end Zach Ertz. Instead of snapping the ball for a PAT, Dorenbos lifted it off the ground and passed it sideways to Ertz, who immediate lurched forward trying to score the two points. But Hali, sprinting in from Ertz’s right, slammed him to the ground for no gain. Imagine how alert you have to be to anticipate this, and then to react to something you’ve never seen before and wreck it.

Tandon Doss, PR-WR, Baltimore. Cut and re-signed by the Ravens in their desperation for a receiver/returner, Doss made the play of the game in a 21-point Baltimore victory over Houston. Doss took a Shane Lechler punt at the Ravens’ 18, veered toward the right sideline, and sprinted/tiptoed for 25 yards of the trip. His 82-yard touchdown run was a tribute to his athletic ability and jarring speed.

Coach of the Week

Chris Ault, consultant, Kansas City. Andy Reid hired Ault, who coached Nevada and developed Colin Kaepernick into an NFL quarterback, in the offseason to help his team in a variety of ways. Ault’s job is shrouded in mystery. But you can see his effect on both offense and defense. Andy Reid has adopted some of Ault’s stuff into his West Coast offense—Pro Football Focus had Alex Smith lined up in the pistol eight times Thursday night—and he’s also been active in helping the Kansas City defense against the wide-open offenses the Chiefs will play this year. I can only guess why Ault’s role is top secret: Kansas City travels to Washington Dec. 8. Ault and Kyle Shanahan, before Ault took this job, exchanged some ideas informally last winter. I can tell you Reid’s staff values Ault highly, and he had a big hand in divining what Chip Kelly was doing on Thursday night.

Goats of the Week

Will Beatty, tackle, New York Giants. The Giants haven’t had a worse shutout loss in 40 years than the 38-0 job at Carolina Sunday, and it’s doubtful anyone played worse than the left tackle, Beatty. He was awful in the first half as the Panthers ravaged Eli Manning for six sacks, and he added two penalties.

Marcus Gilchrist, strong safety, San Diego. Gilchrist dropped the clinching interception with 44 seconds left in the fourth quarter (Tennessee tight end Delanie Walker helped with a hit, but this was 90 percent on Gilchrist), and that drop is a direct reason why the Chargers are 1-2 today and not 2-1.

Quotes of the Week

Ia.
“This is insanity … Embarrassing. I’ve never seen a Giants’ offensive line so bad.”

—Former Giants linebacker Carl Banks, doing color on the New York radio network Sunday, in the midst of the Giants’ offensive line allowing six sacks in the first half.
 
Ib.
“This is comedy. It’s comedy. It’s shameful.”

—Banks, a few minutes later, when the shameful play continued.

!c.
“It’s embarrassing. If you’re going to be a steady lunch for the guy rushing you, then you’re in the wrong profession.”

—Banks, at halftime, when the Giants had one yard passing.
 
Id.
“I’m at a loss for words.”

—Banks, when the score got to be 31-0.
 
Ie.
“Their will is gone. They have no will.”

—Banks, when it got to be 38-0.

II
“I believe the safest pick in the draft—beyond Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III—is Alabama running back Trent Richardson. He’s a blue-chip player and has all the skills to quickly establish himself as a top-five player at his position. Forget the nonsense about not taking backs early—everyone would love the chance to get this guy.”

—Mike Lombardi, current Cleveland GM and former NFL.com columnist and NFL Network analyst, writing on NFL.com on April 23, 2012, three days before Richardson was picked third overall in the draft by the Browns.

I have scores—hundreds, probably—of quotes from my past that are blush-inducing, and very wrong, and which I wish I’d never written or said. But I can’t imagine one Lombardi would like to have back more from his days in the media than this one.

III
“How do you make your team better by trading your best player? … If I’m the coach and someone came in and did that, I’d say, ‘Okay, fire me, or I’m going to quit.’ Or we’re both going to go to the owner and talk about this, and then we’ll see who’s still standing.”

—Mike Holmgren, the former Cleveland club president who oversaw the trade up for, and drafting of, Trent Richardson before the Browns cleaned house after the 2012 season.

IV
“I’m talking about the pain and instability that comes with a body that’s always hurt in one way or the other. Pain supersedes all boundaries. It goes above and beyond the dreams and the money and the women and all that. The dream that you’re talking about is the dream that we believe when we watch it on television. We see these guys playing on Sunday, 16 times a year. But 349 days of the year, there is a job, and it is professional football, and it is not that dream.”

—Nate Jackson, the former NFL tight end and author of the revealing new book, Slow Getting Up: A Story of NFL Survival from the Bottom of the Pile (you can read an excerpt here) in a Sunday interview on NPR’s “Weekend Edition.”

Not sure if I’ve ever heard the reality of being an NFL player ever put better, and with such feeling, as Jackson did in the NPR interview.

Stat of the Week

Peyton Manning will be 39 at the end of the 2015 season, assuming he plays that long. I assume he will. We all do.

In the first 226 games of Manning’s pro career, he has averaged 266.7 passing yards a game. That has left him 11,583 passing yards shy of breaking Brett Favre’s all-time record of 71,838.

Beginning tonight, Manning has 46 regular-season games until the end of 2015. If, in this pass-happy era of pro football, Manning averages the same number of yards he has to this point, he’d break Favre’s record for career passing yards in Week 15 of 2015. It’d be quicker to break the career record for touchdown passes. Favre had 508 of those. Manning’s at 445, an average of 1.97 per game. That means, at this pace, he needs 33 games to pass Favre … which brings us to Week 3 of the 2015 season.

The one record of Favre’s that Manning would have loved to break he can’t. (Unless he plays every week until he’s 56.) Favre played 297 regular-season games in a row from 1992 to 2010. Manning plays his 19th straight tonight in Denver.

favre-peyton

Factoids of the Week That May Interest Only Me

I
So call Alex Smith what you want—Captain Checkdown is probably the most charitable derisive moniker he hears—but understand why Andy Reid wanted him so badly when he took over as Chiefs coach. Reid is what I’d call a conservative West Coast offense coach. He wants his quarterback to move the chains, engineer long drives, and not turn it over. He might have the most perfect quarterback in football for those traits. The Smith-led offense has zero turnovers in the first three games, and the team is 3-0. Let’s go back and include Smith’s late 49er career for this gem:

In his last 17 starts, Smith has been intercepted in three games, and has lost three games.

II
Kansas City has won three games in the last 12 days.

Kansas City won twice in the previous 614 days.

III
Before Sunday, the last time Detroit beat the Washington franchise on the road was two years before the team moved to Washington. The franchise was in Boston then, in 1935. The site of the 17-7 Detroit road victory? Fenway Park.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

Found myself in a new hotel, the Residence Inn Fenway, in room-starved Boston Tuesday night (big convention in town) after doing some business for The MMQB during the day in the western suburbs. So of course, staying in a hotel just across Brookline Avenue from Fenway Park, I wanted to attend the game. Before heading over, I had this only-in-Boston moment: On the sidewalk outside the hotel were two small groups: a family of five, with three young boys all in Red Sox gear and caps, ready to walk over to the game. And three men dressed in monks’ robes; two of the monks carried black backpacks with MIT logos. I loved the diversity of the Boston area when I lived there, with so many universities around.

Tweets of the Week

I
“Starting to have some doubts about a Giants Jets Superbowl this year in NJ.”

—Novelist @HarlanCoben, in the midst of one of the worst Giants losses since Gary Wood quarterbacked them, 38-0 in Carolina.

II
“Beautiful fall day for a football game … or staying home and smoking a couple racks of ribs.”

—@poisonpill76, former Minnesota, Seattle and Tennessee guard Steve Hutchison, tweeting from Minnetonka, Minn., on a glorious first-day-of-autumn Sunday.

III
“It’s so intimidating when fans flip off our bus. How will I ever play tonight?… Lol”

—@geoffschwartz, the Kansas City guard, as the team bus pulled into Lincoln Financial Field Thursday evening. Kansas City really was shaken up, as the 26-16 win over the Eagles proved.

IV
“Congratulations @JManziel2 for putting on a fantastic show. He may not be able to make money off himself but I can.”

—@FloydMayweather, the boxing champ.

Mayweather bet $220,000 in Vegas that Texas A&M, favored by 17.5 over SMU in the first half Saturday, would outscore SMU by at least that much. Johnny Manziel’s team was up 32-6 at halftime. So Mayweather won walked away with $420,000—his original bet plus $200,000.

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 3:

a. The blitz pickup by Jamaal Charles. Did you see how he demolished Eagles safety Earl Wolff?

b. Dontari Poe. When former KC GM Scott Pioli picked Poe, he was supposed to be the most perplexing prospect in the 2012 draft—a 346-pound defensive tackle who could run a 40 in under five seconds but had questions about his desire. He’s been a disruptive player for defensive coordinator Bob Sutton, and has 3.5 sacks through three games. He swatted down a Mike Vick pass Thursday.

c. Philadelphia Inquirer headline Friday morning: “Reid It And Weep.”

d. Good reporting by Mike Reiss, too, with the story of Rob Ninkovich’s contract extension through 2016 in New England.

e. Antonio Gates and another one-handed catch.

f. Fantastic touchdown throw from Brian Hoyer to Jordan Cameron. In stride.

g. I kept hearing Johnathan Franklin was looking like a bust, and then he went out and ran for 103 yards on 13 carries against the Bengals. Had a big fumble late, but the Packers know they’ve got good depth in the backfield for the first time in a while.

h. Chuck Pagano can coach.

i. Speaking of coaches off to good starts: Joe Philbin, a Bay Stater, is tied with the team he grew up loving, the Patriots, at 3-0 atop the AFC East. And Marc Trestman is proving he should have had his NFL head-coaching chance a long time ago.

j. Geno Smith’s intriguing. Makes too many errors, but he also makes two or three throws a game that make you say: This guy’s got a real chance to make it.

k. Santonio Holmes, five catches for 154 yards. Not bad for a guy who didn’t know if he’d be playing at all this year.

l. Think of the Eagles without LeSean McCoy and his 132 rushing yards a game. Yikes. Big trouble.

m. Ezekiel Ansah caught RG3 from behind Sunday. I think that says a little more about Ansah right now. The guy’s got difference-making speed.

n. Brandon Fields makes a difference every week as Miami’s punter.  

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 3:

a. Mike Vick reverting to the turnover-prone Mike Vick.

b. Aldon Smith and Von Miller, top-10 picks in 2011 and big, big stars. Miller is suspended for six weeks. Smith will be out indefinitely. Disconcerting is what it is. Smith and Miller could learn from a player picked No. 11 in that first round, beneath them both: J.J. Watt. Now we know why Von Miller’s suspension was six games, not four. Adam Schefter and Chris Mortensen reported Sunday on ESPN that Miller tried to corrupt the urine-collection process by getting one of the collectors to substitute someone’s clean urine for Miller’s dirty urine.

c. The first pick in the draft, right tackle Eric Fisher of the Chiefs. He got beat up by the Eagles pass rushers, and called for two penalties too. You mean there’s an adjustment period from the Mid-American Conference to the NFL?

d. How is that Dez Bryant red-zone TD catch not offensive pass interference? He pushed the defensive back down, then turned around and caught the pass. Yes, he and Cortland Finnegan both made contact, but Bryant extended both arms and pushed Finnegan down.

e. The Giants’ offensive line is a disaster. What a fall from grace.

f. Art Vandelay Import/Export Note of the Week: The four teams playing in London this season—including Steelers-Vikes next Sunday—are a combined 1-11.

g. I can’t think of any reason to be optimistic about the Bucs. I’m starting to wonder if Greg Schiano can survive if the Bucs continue like this.

h. Year too early on the Rams optimism.

3. I think Aldon Smith is trying to catch up to Lawrence Taylor, in all ways.

4. I think Von Miller’s lucky he got only a six-game ban. Very lucky.

5. I think I learned a few things from The MMQB’s Andrew Brandt’s interview with concussion lawsuit plaintiffs attorney Sol Weiss at a sports law conference at Villanova Thursday. They are:

a. Weiss, on taking the settlement instead of fighting the NFL longer: “People say you only got $765 million. I’d rather have that than $1.5 billion 10 years down the road.”

b. If players chose to splinter off from the settlement and fight the league on their own, Weiss brought up an important point, and something I’d heard previously: The NFL was prepared to show that players got head trauma in games before they reached the NFL. Said Weiss: “They were going to have to prove that the injuries they have didn’t occur when they were playing football in high school or college.”

c. He insisted that the pool of money would last 65 years, long enough for retiring players this year to live into their golden years. That’s a matter of some dispute. What it means, I believe, is that players with cognitive difficulties aren’t going to get the gold mine they’d hoped for. “We hired economists and actuaries and medical scientiests,’’ said Weiss, “and we are very comfortable there is enough money in that fund to last 65 years.”

6. I think this is one interesting take on the Trent Richardson trade, from former longtime NFL assistant Mike Westhoff after watching the narrow Week 2 Miami win over Indianapolis: “I think if the Colts had Trent Richardson in that game and could have controlled the clock better against the Dolphins, they’d have won that game.”

7. I think, ICYMI, I strongly urge you to check out two stories from last week from The MMQB. The first is Greg A. Bedard’s enlightening look at the NFL prospects of Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel and Jenny Vrentas with the intimate details of a 63-minute ACL surgery. So proud to have both writers on our staff.

8. I think I never thought I would see a Tom Coughlin team look as rag-tag and feeble as these Giants.

9. I think I love the nickname Mike Florio has adopted on the grounds where the Cleveland Browns play: The Factory of Sadness. (Browns fan Mike Polk Jr. dubbed the stadium that in a YouTube clip.)

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

a. “I’m hoping my son’s death is going to save other kids,’’ says the mom of a 16-year-old Montclair (N.J.) High School football player who died on the football field five years ago. Parents of concussed athletes, please read this story about his death, a lawsuit, and Second Impact Syndrome, from the Newark Star-Ledger.

b. Speaking of excellent newspaper stories, here’s one, from Saturday’s Wall Street Journal, about the difficulties the Boston Marathon bombing victims face in returning to normal lives. Haunting.

c. Starting Tulane quarterback Nick Montana’s four-game numbers: 77 of 135 (.570), 919 yards, eight touchdowns, three picks. Son of Joe.

d. Couldn’t be more surprised about a baseball season. For Boston to clinch the division with nine days left in the regular season … I mean, bizarre. Baseball is such a mysterious game. I liked this quote from Red Sox owner John Henry to Gordon Edes after the Friday night clincher, referring to former manager Terry (Tito) Francona: “Tito used to say if we had nine Dustin Pedroias, we’d be champions. This year, I felt like we had 25.”

e. Congrats, Mariano Rivera and Andy Pettitte. Impossible to not admire those two retiring Yankees, no matter what you think of the franchise.

f. Also hard to not have admiration for Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters (who has sat 20 games all season) after his four-day stretch in Boston and St. Petersburg last week. Wieters caught four days in a row (big deal) and four full games—two nine-winning games, as well as 12-, and 18-inning games. He never came out. All on the road, all with wild-card-race pressure, and the 18-innning job after the Orioles arrived at their St. Petersburg hotel after 3 a.m. Friday from Boston. The totals:

Innings caught: 47.

Hours between first pitch of Game 1 and last pitch of Game 4: 79.

Batters faced: 190.

Pitches called: 748.

Different pitchers: 14.

Passed balls: 0.

Errors: 0.

g. Finally saw the last episode of The Newsroom. Other than the fact that anchors and producers don’t get engaged on Election Night while in breaks between awarding states to Obama or Romney, it was a pretty good episode that buttoned up quite a few loose ends.

h. Everyone seems to think The Newsroom will be back for year three.

i. In case you didn’t catch Jeff Garlin’s Ten Things I Think on The MMQB the other day, he said his gut feeling is Larry David will get the Curb Your Enthusiasm gang back together for another season—at some point. “I don’t ask,’’ he said.

j. Coffeenerdness: I might be mainlining Italian Roast too often at 1:15 a.m. I’m sure it’s not good for me. But I’ve tried the va-voom energy drinks. They taste foul.

k. Beernerdness: Flower Power IPA, from the Ithaca (N.Y.) Beer Company, was already one of my favorite beers before I found it on tap in Eastern Standard, the restaurant around the corner from Fenway where I met Greg Bedard and Pete Thamel for dinner Tuesday. But on tap it’s ever better—just the right kind of bitterness for an IPA.

l. Congrats, Max Scherzer. Took you a long time to get to 20, but that shouldn’t derail your Cy Young.

m. I’d be worried about the October Miguel Cabrera if I were the Tigers. Just doesn’t look the same.

Who I Like Tonight

Welcome the Spotlight

Chris Clark is being thrown into the fire, being trusted to guard Peyton Manning's blind side and keep the Broncos' Super Bowl hopes humming. He's not sweating it, Peter King writes.

Denver 30, Oakland 13. The story here is one of the game’s top left tackles, Ryan Clady, on IR for the year with a Lisfranc injury. And so the spotlight will be on a man getting his first NFL start ever at left tackle, Chris Clark.

“No feeling of fear,’’ he told me the other day. “I will not be afraid.” One of the reasons he shouldn’t be: Peyton Manning gets rid of the ball fast. For Manning’s sake, he better look to his left. Often. The man across from Clark, Lamarr Houston, had more quarterback pressures and knockdowns in the first two weeks of the season (18) than any rusher in football.

The Adieu Haiku

Yo, Spencer Lanning:
What a day you had v. Vikes.
You sell popcorn too?

More from The MMQB
317 comments
Danny5
Danny5

Peter Here is What I didn't like from last weekend:  49ers Coach Harbaugh trying to play stupid with the reporter that asked him about the dope that Aldon Smith had in the car.  Really Jim your going to try and act like you didn't hear about it, I mean that is what he told the reporter.  I heard about it myself while listening to some sports break on some radio station in Florida on my I Heart Radio APP and Jim is going to try and act like none of his Coaches, no one in that 49ers organization informed him that his star defensive player not only was DUI but also had dope- Don't buy it for a second, I also think Coach is two bit for allowing Aldon to play but not allowing the special teams guy from last year play after his DUI.  DOUBLE STANDARD exist, you have no credibility after this with your players Jim...classless moves on both fronts!

TheodoreTakeshi
TheodoreTakeshi

Nobody reads my blog or gives a rat about what I think about football, so I take it out on the world by sending Peter King hate mail that he probably won't read.  This makes me feel powerful.  Now if I can just move out of my mom's basement life would be perfect

newreader
newreader

Now that I think about it, this article may be just the thing that gets my junior high sister interested in the NFL.  Half the stuff in here would fit in the "Life & Style" section of the websites she reads.  I will just have her keep me posted on the latest trends and gossip of the NFL.  Sorry, but this is just weird.  I've switched from "newreader" to "noreader".  Am I missing something?

newreader
newreader

Peter King is like the Ryan Seacrest of NFL gossip.  Where's the football?

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

As to the use of the term "Redskins"

As a person who vehemently believes that the concept of gaining governmental power by circumstance of birth, and maintaining that power by bequeathing it to succeeding generations is fundamentally and morally wrong, I will no longer use the term "King". From now on, I will simply refer to a certain SI columnist as "Spanky"

Christopher Atwater
Christopher Atwater

One record that Favre and Manning share is throwing a game winning ball to a Saints defenseman to seal games in 2009.

MarkBray
MarkBray

I'm sure Lawrence Taylor appreciated your comment.  Way to stay classy there King!  Classless cheap shot about 2 men who have/had  personal problems. Look in the mirror once in awhile,  will humble you quick.


Jon8
Jon8

Three thoughts:

1) I was not one of those who agreed with the way Harbaugh handled Smith v Kaepernick. From a loyalty standpoint, I believed then and now, that Harbaugh owed his starter, Smith, his job back. , I saw the flaws in Kaepernick, flash and pizazz over strong and steady wins the race, so I am not surprised at the results so far this season!

2) Plaintiffs attorney Weiss has hit upon the goose that can continue to lay the golden egg in saying that the NFL was prepared to sell-out college football for any plaintiff's not signing on to the deal. Somebody is going to put a class action together against Major College's and their leagues and that will make the NFL settlement look like small potatoes!

3) The Newsroom is unwatchable for anyone except a Liberal like the guy who writes this column!

adplatt126
adplatt126

1) Broncos - Front-runner.

2) Seahawks- Impressive play thus far. Can they keep it up? I don't know, but they're damned good. Not a lot of weak links on this squad.

3) Colts - One loss to a very tough Miami team, that itself has an impressive record, a formidable defense and a quarterback coming into his own. The Colts are just difficult team to beat. They're well-coached and like the Chiefs, they always come to play.

4) Chiefs - Underrated quarterback, fantastic coach who knows how to motivate his players. Good play on both sides of the ball. As a Giants fan I always hated to play the Eagles under Andy Reid. Even when they sucked, they didn't suck. Expect more success.

5) Patriots - Lot of questions, but when you have Tom Brady, you're never out of the top 10.

6) Dolphins - A lot of questions, but great play thus far. If they continue to play at a high level consistently, and most importantly, continue to win, they may actually sneak into the top 5. A true dark horse.

7)  Saints - 3-0 and a proven history of success. Brees always competes. All the punditry in the world is not worth more than actual data. Seeing is believing. The Saints are contenders because they've shown themselves to be in the past; repeatedly. Plenty of questions, no doubt, but we've also received plenty of answers about the quality of this side.

8) Bears - 3-0, but look who they have played! They snuck through the first two! Not in the top 5. Sorry, guys.

9) Niners - Good team, many problems. Is Kaepernick really who many think he is, or should I say anointed him as? It doesn't look good. His consistency issues and lack of consistent success make this team look very troublesome. This all-star team is being thinned of its all-stars and is beginning to resemble a shell of its former self. Also, strategically, other teams have learned how to defend against its style, and overrun its vulnerable defense. I still expect them to slither or power their way into the playoffs, but a complete collapse and disaster of a season is also quite plausible. Hard to place this team now. I think they'll recover, but will they prosper?

10) Texans - I don't think this team has regressed much. They're quite good. I just think they lack some integral components.

11) Packers- Better than their record indicates. They did kind of have one stolen from them, after all.

12) Bengals - Solid team all around. 

13) Ravens - Not quite who they once were. Expect the Bengals and the Ravens to duel it out come season-end for that division title, because I don't expect either one to have a better record than Miami or KC, so if they don't take the division, they won't make the playoffs. Houston and Indy also might be in a similar situation, although both of them have a significantly better chance of making it in over Miami for the wildcard.

14) Falcons - Who is this team? I really don't know, but they're probably better than their record indicates. They've had a tough schedule thus far.

15) Cowboys- Big improvement from last year. Not really a competitor for the championship though. With Romo as your quarterback, dreams like that are a bit overwrought. Sorry, Dallas.

Biggest disappointments- Giants, Redskins, and Pittsburgh. The off-season will be long for those sides. Although at least for the first two, their division is wide open. 10-6 or 9-7 could potentially do it for either team in the NFC East, but don't expect any of them to go very far in the postseason.


Shane Mac
Shane Mac

Hey Peter King:

How does 

Ten Things I Think  I Think

Equal forty five?

dennis
dennis

Saints already ranked at number 3. What were those bozo "experts" thinking when they picked Atlanta to win the division and the Saints wouldn't make the play offs. Hello? Sean Payton is back and the defense is good enough, just as it's always been when he's been there. As if...

Iwawashi
Iwawashi

So called "Professional Journalists" are supposed to be objective and non-biased.   

Peter King is anything but, and is clearly a Dallas Cowboys hater, quick to kick them when they are down and loath to give them credit when they are up (if ever).  Last week he calls out the team's rookie center for one bad play when in reality T.F. has done an incredible job over the past few weeks (AND HE IS A ROOKIE!).  Then this week, the Dallas Cowboys play one of their best and most complete, dominating games in years and all he can do is call out Dez Bryant for offensive PI?  Seriously? 

That Peter King dislikes the Cowboys has been obvious for years, but this week it is so blatant that I can't let it pass without comment.

If you can't keep your personal grudges out of your work, then how about not saying anything at all?  At least that way you will keep some semblance of credibility.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

also another offensive pi that should've been called on hunter who also pushed off clearly pushed off.  also on the game winning td that the bengals got if that had happened 2 minutes and 34 seconds later, it may not have been as bad, as the bengals would've gotten it but the ball would've been dead once it was fumbled forward because of the rule passed after the 1975 season i believe

Jean
Jean

The Idiots on Big Blue Interactive are sooooooo afraid to place Any blame on Jerry Reese ,Giants GM,for trading,dropping,players that the Giants desperately need.

SportPage
SportPage

King points out how ugly Houston's wins were, and says nothing about how New England is one of the worst looking 3-0 teams in several decades. Pats could very easily, and probably should be, 1-2.

Christopher31
Christopher31

I agree with Peter that Dez Bryant's red-zone catch against Cortland Finnegan was a textbook Offensive Pass Interference penalty as a result of a push-off. 

As a Cowboy fan, I couldn't believe he got away with it. But I'll take what I can get.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

Still can't help but to overrate the Niners even after getting blown out and dominated two weeks in a row.  LOL

Didn't even address how stupid it was of you and every other pundit to not see the writing on the wall considering the Niners obvious failings.  1-2 and still in your top 15?  LOL  I mean if they barely lost the games I would agree with the idea of keeping them up there, but they didn't.  They looked terrible.  Like they aren't even a good team.  

Also 3-0, just saying is about as weak an argument as can be made to continue your love affair with the Pats.  Two rookie QB's on mediocre teams and a terrible QB who hates his coach in a melodramatic meltdown situation and you can still kid yourself into believing the Pats are a top 10 team?  Pretty pathetic.  

Braz14
Braz14

"How is that Dez Bryant red-zone TD catch not offensive pass interference? He pushed the defensive back down, then turned around and caught the pass. Yes, he and Cortland Finnegan both made contact, but Bryant extended both arms and pushed Finnegan down."

And Finnegan extended both of his arms too! Let them play.

Yieldman
Yieldman

When is Peyton going to pass Favre's interception record?  Just wonderin'...

Carnifex
Carnifex

Life-long Cardinal and Niners fan here and I'm starting to think that Jim Harbaugh is an average-at-best coach whose shortcomings were disguised by Andrew Luck during their time at the Farm. The game plans in the past four games (including last year's SB) were atrocious. Anquan Boldin bailed him out in week one, but I'm not going to be surprised if the Niners go to London 2-5.

M30
M30

PK ranking an untested Patriots team much higher than it deserves?  I'm shocked!

FredFlintsone
FredFlintsone

Miami 3 and 0. Pittsburgh 0 and 3. welcome to today's NFL where more than one undefeated team could easily be 0 and 3 and other way around too. 3 and 0 chiefs were last seasons last place team

Jim21
Jim21

What I don't get is this notion that Brian Hoyer learned volumes from Brady and the Patriots. He can learn all he wants but it still takes talent to win, ask Matt Cassel. 

jj55
jj55

Of course our resident lefty Peter King likes 'The Newsroom.' I made it through 3.5 episodes of that facile propaganda before cancelling my HBO subscription.

Jesus Hitler
Jesus Hitler

Not sure the glib Giants-Jets Super Bowl remark merited two mentions in  the same article.  I mean-- exactly who had forecasted this in the first place?  

Richard Long
Richard Long

Peter is calling out the refs for a blatant missed call. I watched a couple of other games and highlights and saw other botched calls, some were terrible and influenced the outcome.  And just think, everyone, including Peter, was bemoaning the replacement refs and how we need the "professionals" back.  I guess we now know why the refs were so against having alternates refs waiting as a part of their new agreement.  And you now see why the NFL was adamant about having them.

Pancho Villa
Pancho Villa

The "world" ain't watching Aldon Smith. Most people on the planet don't even know who the 49ers are, much less who Aldon Smith is. ... Hail to the Redskins.

Mike26
Mike26

@MarkBray It's not a cheap shot when the actions involved are 100% self-induced by someone too stupid or weak-willed to make correct life decisions.

IdDoHannahStorm
IdDoHannahStorm

@Jon8 As for Weiss, I'm not sure he sold out college football, but faced the real issue that if the plaintiff claims damages currently manifested are from the cumulative effects of blows to the head, the NFL is going to ask, "When did these cumulative effects begin?'  The answer, for most of these guys goes back to junior high or even Pop Warner.   Thus, any blame for damage is  only partially the league's.  If the NFL dumped it on the colleges, they can turn around and tag high schools.   The other hurdle players would have to face is their own willingness to place themselves at risk.  Part of the players culture is to "play hurt" and "walk it off".  How many times did these guys get their bell rung and continue to play?  If the coaches didn't notice they were dazed, did they hide it or did they admit to being woozy.  How often did a player insist that they were okay when asked, but they knew they were actually a bit out of it?  Going to trial would have been an iffy proposition that could take time that some guys can't afford, and could have resulted in not much more gain. 

Mike26
Mike26

@Shane Mac Wow, you're the 46th person to mention the 45 things...

Mike26
Mike26

@dennis Let's see how long it takes for the next "special program" to come out of NOLA before we starting licking Payton's lollipop.  The guy lost my respect - and that from many others - with not only the garbage he allowed to happen as HC but also the sickening coverup.  So roost all you want about the "rejuvenated" Aints, but no matter what happens people (outside NOLA)  will always question everything that Payton's teams accomplish.

Sdwalt
Sdwalt

@Iwawashi MMQB is a opinion column, he does not have to be non-biased at all. He writes what he wants, and you either enjoy it or you don't. I never have understood why people would get so upset over a free internet column.

arcitek
arcitek

@Iwawashi 

Actually, I was just thinking the same thing.  I have noticed the lack of anything positive to say about the Cowboys when something is being said at all in this column.  I am not saying there needs to be anything positive said but to always write the negative reeks of a biased opinion. There are many reasons to not like the owner or certain aspects of the team.  The game against the Chiefs was a good example of many things to be negative about on many levels.  However, if you want to point out the questionable non call of contact from Dez in this game with the Rams, then you should also point out the questionable contact call in the game last week with the Chiefs.  Obviously you could do this with most teams in most games but the point here is there seems to be a pervasive sense of biased negativity towards the 'boys.  Just saying.

opaque2
opaque2

@Christopher31  Of course you will.  He probably learned the technique from watching film of Drew Pearson

arcitek
arcitek

@randomdeletion  

What I like most is i am pretty sure it was this column or somewhere is SI.com that it was written during the pre-season that the 49's QB was one of the top QB's.  I am not saying that he is not good but we seem quick to anoint people  who have not really put in their time.  It was almost as bad as all of the Eagle fans believing the first game this year was a sign of things to come....this year.  Reality is a beech

Dana2
Dana2

@Yieldman Hint:   Never.   Lil' Abner will own that particular record for at least a half of a century.


Dana2
Dana2

@M30 along with a bunch (check the column again if you don't believe it) of other references to Boston, New England, New York 

fatboy King's east coast bias?    Nnaaaaahhhhhhhh  

(^^^)

Tommy K
Tommy K

@Jim21 amen brother, exactly my thoughts. well said

Shane Mac
Shane Mac

@jj55 What caused you to order HBO in the first place?  I'm assuming there are some very good shows/movies on HBO that you do enjoy.  So instead of just not watching 'The Newsroom' you give up the other shows to make a point?  That's pretty stupid.  Who knows that "The Newsroom" is why you dropped HBO?  Besides your family and possibly your cable provider and now us, your fellow MMQB commenters.   We are all very impressed by your self-righteousness.

Christopher31
Christopher31

@jj55
You're a hero to all of us, jj55.

Just wondering how you're going to get your fix of Bill Maher?

Carnifex
Carnifex

@Pancho VillaRedskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins Redskins. There, I said the name of the 0-3 Washington franchise six times. Still not racist.

randomdeletion
randomdeletion

@Mike26 @dennis Oh please, as if every defense doesn't try to hurt the offensive players.  How naive can you possibly be?  Are you serious?  I am not a Saints fan.  I am a Texans fan, but I am not an idiot.  Every defense on every team, every game in ever year every play, has players that try to hurt the offensive players.  That is just how football is played.   The NFL wants that to change and I actually support that, but I am not stupid enough to think their hair brained lynch mob thing with the Saints painted the Saints as the only team that played football that way.  I watch all games every Sunday and that happens in every game.  It is being diminished, but get over yourself, it isn't because of the BS perpetrated against the Saints last year.  It is due to the daily fines and penalties for each individual hit.  

Jon8
Jon8

@Sdwalt @Iwawashi It is written as, and meant to be, a column that engenders debate and critique!

arcitek
arcitek

@Sdwalt @Iwawashi 

True and point taken. There is a place for people's opinions.   I would not say I am upset so that is an over reaction on your part.  I was only making an observation and since this is a forum, I reserve the right to make the observation.  You can agree or disagree.  Taking a cue from your own comment with a slight modification,  "I never have understood why people would get so upset" over a posting in a forum in a free internet column.

I guess I was misguided to think that someone might offer some good analyses, opinion and reviews for those of us looking for an informed overview of the week's events.  PK has every right to be a biased as he wants.  It is his column with his opinions as you pointed out.

SkeeterSkier
SkeeterSkier

@opaque2  
Drew's push-off was so subtle, it doesn't even compare; I can see how it wasn't called.

After Dez's catch, I kept waiting for the sky to rain yellow.

I kinda wish the rules would allow for a little more physicality...so what if there's a certain degree of pushing and shoving - as long as the players aren't grabbing cloth to impede progress, or they aren't just totally mugging one another, let up bump and fight a little!!!

beekay31
beekay31

@Dana2 @M30 I came over from the ESPN facebook apocalypse and am amazed how much the "experts" on this site try to mirror themselves with the "experts" on that rag.

spac3er
spac3er

@Carnifex  exactly what is a Redskin?  I know what an Eagle or Bengal is but some of these nicknames are confusing.  What are Browns or Packers?  Browns sounds racist and Packers is homosexual related?  I don't understand.  

Dana2
Dana2

@beekay31 @Dana2 @Yieldman   :D .... Eli's got a shot at the SINGLE-season record maybe - 

but the career record - nope - abner owns it indefinitely.

CharlesHenry3
CharlesHenry3

@Just sayin' @spac3er @Carnifex FYI - in case you're all not being sarcastic, the term "redskin" was an early reference to the native population found in the Americas by European settlers.  It referred less to their actual skin tone than to the paint that they wore, which was a reddish color.

In recent times, it has become increasingly considered an offensive term, even though the number of incidents where the term is used in a derogatory manner is miniscule to the point of nonexistence.

As a person of native ancestry, I do find that Peter is dramatically over-reacting, especially considering that the name of the team in question (Washington Redskins) was originally intended as a tribute to their coach, William Dietz, whose mother was of native ancestry.

Oddly enough, nobody who professes taking offense at the name wants to address the fact that in three different polls conducted over the past 10 years, the percentage of native American people who found no offense at the name ranged from 75% to 91%.  Even if only 75% have no issue, why is it so many others profess an issue?

I don't see this as something that will curb any racism, anymore than seeing the name on a team will encourage it.  Racism has not been lessened in recent years despite the outpouring of political correctness and the changing of so many team names.  Millions of dollars spent on team name changes, and yet there is no appreciable difference in what really matters - so what is the point? 

Just sayin'
Just sayin'

@spac3er @Carnifex 

Browns is named after the original owner, Paul Brown.

Packers were originally financed by the Indian Packing Company, a meat packing plant in Green Bay, hence the name Packers.

Not totally sure about the Redskin name. I believe it refers to the color of the warpaint that the Indians applied before going to war.

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