Here’s (The Real) Johnny

Blake Bortles of Central Florida participated in the passing drills at the combine Sunday, something past first-round quarterback prospects often choose not to do. (Todd Rosenberg/SI/The MMQB)
Blake Bortles of Central Florida participated in the passing drills at the combine Sunday, something past first-round quarterback prospects often chose not to do. (Todd Rosenberg/SI/The MMQB)

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think the difference between this year and many recent ones is that we know which players to place at the top of the draft, but we have no idea whom to match where. I’ll take this shot at the top 10, though the Rams certainly will have a chance to trade the second pick, and will be very interested in doing so:

  1. Houston: Blake Bortles, QB, Central Florida.
  2. St. Louis: Greg Robinson, T, Auburn.
  3. Jacksonville: Jadeveon Clowney, DE, South Carolina.
  4. Cleveland: Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville.
  5. Oakland: Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M.
  6. Atlanta: Jake Matthews, T, Texas A&M.
  7. Tampa Bay: Khalil Mack, OLB, Buffalo.
  8. Minnesota: Anthony Barr, OLB, UCLA.
  9. Buffalo: Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson.
  10. Detroit: Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan.

2. I think if you add these six players—cornerback Darqueze Dennard of Michigan State, tight end Eric Ebron of North Carolina, linebacker C.J. Mosley of Alabama, safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix of Alabama, and wideouts Mike Evans of Texas A&M and Marqise Lee of USC—you’d have something very close to the first half of the first round May 8.

3. I think this was the line of the weekend, from one GM to me when I asked about the value he got from his six days in Indianapolis: “I look at it as the combine and the ‘con-bine.’ So many agents are telling you what your players are worth, and what their players are worth.”

4. I think this is not the way to get drafted by your dream team, the Seattle Seahawks: U-T San Diego reported Sunday that San Diego State running back Adam Muema bailed from the combine without working out, telling the website that if he didn’t work out, he would get his wish and play for the Seahawks. Muema had been projected as a late-round pick in May. He said God told him to “sit down, be quiet, and enjoy the peace.” I’m sure combine officials and the NFL are pleased to have had Muema take a running back slot at the prestigious tryout camp and to have paid his way from San Diego to Indianapolis for the combine, and then have Muema inform them God didn’t want him to work out. Just a hunch: This won’t raise his grade on the Seattle draft board. Or anyone’s. If he’ll be on one at all.

Teddy Bridgewater (left) and Johnny Manziel sat out the passing drills at the combine. (Todd Rosenberg/SI/The MMQB)
Teddy Bridgewater (left) and Johnny Manziel sat out the passing drills at the combine. (Todd Rosenberg/SI/The MMQB)

5. I think, regarding Manziel and Bridgewater not throwing at the combine, I can’t buy the mantra: If they were competitors, they’d be out there competing. Silly. First: If I were Manziel, and I had a huge amount riding on my offseason workout for NFL teams, I’d want to throw in my absolute comfort zone—with receivers I trust and know well. He’ll do that March 27. Second: Never after a draft have I heard a coach or GM or personnel man say anything like this: You know, we liked Bridgewater, but when he didn’t throw at the combine, we lost interest in him. That was a decisive black mark. Just never happens like that.

6. I think the strangest thing I heard on the NFL Network’s combine telecast over the weekend came from Mike Mayock, who, on the one hand, called Blake Bortles a certain franchise quarterback, then said he under-threw some deep throws horribly. Not sure how you can be one with the other.

7. I think, though, it’s educational to listen to Mayock riff on almost everything, and to have him and Rich Eisen play off each other. Mayock doesn’t buy the common wisdom, and wasn’t in the mood to rip LSU wide receiver Jarvis Landry after he struggled in a 4.65-second 40. “Just because he ran slow, I’m not getting off that kid. I like him,” Mayock said.

8. I think this is all I could think to say when I ran into Rob Chudzinski quite late Saturday night here at the combine: “Whoa! Rob! How the heck are you doing?” Or words close to that. Chudzinski, now a Colts offensive assistant, has been invisible to the public since suffering the most ignominious job fate in recent NFL history—he learned he likely was getting whacked after 50 weeks as Browns head coach (his dream job) while on a bus ride back from Pittsburgh after the final game of his rookie season. It was just a sight I didn’t expect to see, sitting there having a drink with good friend Terry Robiskie at the JW Marriott. We spoke for a few minutes, and all I can say is this: In words and facial expression, he is not over the Cleveland nightmare.

9. I think the league’s a more fun place with Mike Tice in it. Hired recently as the Falcons offensive line coach, Tice is a big man with a bigger personality. Great to see him back—in this case, entertaining a crowd Saturday night at the JW Marriott, talking horses and Long Island and Boomer Esiason and his new coaching life—after being fired by the Bears when Lovie Smith’s staff was cleared out following the 2012 season.

Talk Back

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

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

a. This, according to the Wall Street Journal, was the delicious (pun intended) exchange between some Russian reporters and the head coach of the Russian hockey team, Zinetula Bilyaletdinov, after the team was eliminated from medal contention with a 3-1 loss to Finland last week:

Question: “What future, if any, do you see for your own work and for your coaching staff? Because, you know, your predecessor was eaten alive after the Olympics.”

Coach: “Well then, eat me alive right now.”

Question: “No, I mean—“

Coach: “Eat me, and I won’t be here anymore.”

Question: “But we have the world championship coming up!”

Coach: “Well then, there will be a different coach because I won’t exist any more, since you will have eaten me.”

Question: “But you’re staying, aren’t you?”

Coach: “Yes, I will remain living.”

b. That has to be the quote of the decade: “Well then, there will be a different coach because I won’t exist anymore, since you will have eaten me.”

c. Saw 12 Years a Slave. Then I cried for 12 years.

d. Tremendous movie. Riveting, painful, memorable. I haven’t seen all the Best Picture nominees, but it will take an epic film to beat that one in the Oscars for me.

e. Really liked the Kerrigan/Harding show Sunday night on NBC. I’d forgotten how nutty the whole thing was. Nancy Kerrigan came off classy and human, I thought, and Tonya Harding a train wreck.

f. Coffeenerdness: Patachou, the great breakfast spot and NFL personnel hangout in downtown Indy, could use one darker roast coffee, but the Simon Blend, with a medium bite, is so much better than coffee you get in restaurants almost anywhere.

g. Beernerdness: Two selections from a weekend of fine beer-drinking in the fine city of Indianapolis. One: Osiris Pale Ale, by Sun King Brewing of Indianapolis. A delicious and perfectly hoppy pale ale served in a tall can. That beer needs to get to New York, and fast. Two: Rail Splitter IPA, of Triton Brewing, also of Indy. (Great craft beer town by the way. I’d be hospitalized if I tried them all.) Not many IPAs give off a citrus scent, but this one does. I really liked it.

h. One last Indy reference: I strongly recommend a pizza shop there, Napolese Pizzeria, downtown. The crust is a bit thicker than my wafer-thin crust preference, but the taste of the crust, and the fresh ingredients, make it a great meal. Looking forward to going there in the summer, because locally grown stuff will make up all the salads and pizza ingredients then. Very good wine list too.

i. You tell ’em, Bob Costas. Of the home country’s government as the Sochi Olympics wound down, Costas said: “This is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria—and that’s just a partial list.”

j. Pleasure to see you and spend time with you at the combine, Matthew Berry.

k. Speaking of Mr. Berry, I am 15 days out from my Rotisserie League draft, and I am totally clueless, and I wonder if my BFF knows he’s about to get hammered with such vital questions as: “Kyle Seager or Pedro Alvarez in the 11th round, Matthew? Or wait two or three more rounds and take the Xander Bogaerts flyer and hope he gets 550 at-bats?”

l. We keep three players in our league. Mine: Dustin Pedroia, Jay Bruce, Ian Desmond. Had Ellsbury, but didn’t protect him as one of my three keepers. Because, well, you know.

The Adieu Haiku

Indy in winter.
Autograph guys chase Manziel.
But they don’t catch him.

mmqb-end-slug-square

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253 comments
Redfish
Redfish

At least the word Rape is not associated with any of his activities like another Heisman winner. Can't wait to see how that little character flaw will pop up when Winston goes in for his interviews when he goes pro.

Buck2185
Buck2185

Peter, you continue to show how little you actually know. Manziel will drink and carouse, gain 100 lbs, and change his name to Jamarcus. He will then take some Adderral, and shoot off his mouth, like a punk, in an interview with Erin Andrews.......

Rock305NY
Rock305NY

If you really want to clean things up, why stop at the N-word? How about f**k? mother**ker? A**hole? Sh*thead? etc. Plenty of people find these words offensive. How about banning the n-word plus the 7 words you can't say on TV? Then let's see the refs enforce it- while correctly identifying the offenders.  This sounds like an off the wall reaction to the Jonathan Martin situation. If such language it bothers the players so much, why aren't we seeing race-related brawls all the time? 

PaulPage
PaulPage

Under the 10 things, how are not #4 and #5 making diametrically opposed points?  Please don't tell me it's the difference between a first round and late round choice - that just doesn't apply.  The wording of his points is too similar.  Typical PK.

qwerty2002
qwerty2002

Not about the NFL, but I don't care. I thought so 20 years ago, and I was reminded Sunday Night -- Nancy Kerrigan was totally AWESOME! I cannot think of any other athlete who performed so incredibly well, and over two separate nights, and who was under such intense individual pressure. She was totally overwhelmed, and yet she skated her absolute best. And in ice skating, you are totally alone out on the ice, all attention the world over is focused on you, you get one and only one shot, and she knocked it out of the park. Came back two nights later and did it again. She deserved the gold, but she didn't get it, that's the way things go sometime. Really incredible.

salvaje50
salvaje50

Mike Brown is the cheapest SOB owner in the league.  Surprised he wasn't seen in Wal-mart buying bread, peanut butter and jelly that was on clearance. 

PaulCostello
PaulCostello

The first time a black player uses 'the n-word' and gets flagged on the field will be the last time the rule is enforced. What WHITE guy is using that language on the field, and NOT getting clobbered -- by the opposition OR his own teammates?? This is a solution in search of a problem. 

CoreyLivermore
CoreyLivermore

"The league’s Competition Committee meets in Florida beginning Friday, and one of the items on the agenda will be discussion on a rule to flag players for using the n-word on the field during games. I’m unequivocally in favor of it, and can see no reason why it wouldn’t be enacted …"

I wonder if the Competition Committee would be committed to penalizing black players for the use of cracker, honky, white bread, or any other racial slur they throw around at white players on the field, or if they will, like the rest of the politically correct moronic under-educated majority in this country, continue to allow the racist double-standard to continue.  I, a middle-aged middle-income white male can't say the N-word in the privacy of my own home, but black people are allowed to say whatever they want in public.

And they said Paula Dean was racist for admitting to using the N-word (and yes, it bothers me that I can't say it in the context of expressing the word she used and not the meaning behind it) 30 years ago.

Hussman
Hussman

Reading this description re: Harbaugh and the Browns, are you signaling the following pure speculation about the possible chain of events?


-Browns start losing streak, Lombardi/Banner start to lose confidence in Chud.  They have kept in touch with Harbaugh as friendly colleagues, and hear he is unhappy.

-Lombardi/Banner talk with Harbaugh and get some kind of feeling he would be receptive to Browns job.

-Lombardi/Banner tell Haslam they could get Harbaugh and request permission to boot Chud.

-Chud gets dumped, but the 49ers go far into playoffs and Harbaugh starts to think he can get the money he wants from York on a renegotiation.  He tells Lombardi/Banner that he has lost interest.

-Lombardi/Banner are now in trouble, they lost the coach that could have done more given more time, and they also lost their potential franchise changer.  They also lost every good candidate because they seem flighty and they took too long to make offers, and get Pettine (who may be good, who knows?)

-Haslam, frustrated at the events, talks with Farmer and sees he's the real deal, and tells Lombardi/Banner their services are no longer needed.


Possible or pure speculation?


DEJ1948
DEJ1948

Manziel should be black and blue from NFL teams touching him with ten-foot poles.  When multiple millions of dollars are in play, what sort of pre-draft behavior would you expect?  Anyone who's getting sucked in by the new personna Manziel and his handlers are hocking to the media and to anyone else who will listen would be well advised to proceed with extreme caution.   

ianlinross
ianlinross

"Costas said: “This is still a government which imprisons dissidents, is hostile to gay rights, sponsors and supports a vicious regime in Syria—and that’s just a partial list.”

I'm sure I can dig into some recent US history and current affairs and come with the same comment.

KristinDiggins
KristinDiggins

Kudos to Peter King for reporting on Sam's weak showing in the bench press.  I assumed he would ignore Mr. Sam's actual performance unless it was better than expected.

rckymtn4
rckymtn4

I really like the Russian coach's response to the writer. Not sure if he picked up on the double entendre, but really good.

number1mavsfan
number1mavsfan

If they're really going to police the 'n' word, can they at least penalize the idiots that dance around looking like a total idiot when they make a play? Last time I checked, it's their JOB! I understand 'emotions', but come on, most of us (too bad it's not all) could really care less how you DANCE, or make some stupid looking gesture, when all you did is make a play...

DamionMosher
DamionMosher

This is my problem with any gay intolerance, talk about gay players, or "benchmarks" for openly gay players: why the bleep does it matter? Will the play less hard, work less hard or be lesser players because they are gay? No! Is there some sort of connection to what happens in someone's bedroom and what happens on th field? Nope! Does having a gay player on your team make you feel uncomfortable? Who cares, how is it any different then having a guy with one blue eye and one green? How is it different from having a guy with really dark skin or one with pale white. None of these things have any baring on how the game is played, so get over it. What happens in any persons bedroom is between the and the other consenting adult in the room. As long as the other person isn't underage or somehow impaired, no one in John Q Public should give a fly Bleep, and if you do, you should take a long hard look at yourself and ask why!!!

apgoad21
apgoad21

Hey, where is the psychsports guy?


MarkPasquinelli
MarkPasquinelli

I remember a time long long ago when football talk was actually about football.  I'm fed up with liberal journalists hammering their social agenda down my throat (or else I'm a knuckle dragging, Neanderthal, hate mongering, bigot); the political correctness of the Redskins name; games in Europe  deny the true fans their rightful game; over-officiated games with no consistency of rules; the thug culture (it's not that hard to stay out of jail...really), and now legislating language.  I'm not leaving the NFL.  It's left me.

CobyPreimesberger
CobyPreimesberger

again i'm getting sick and tired of the collins stuff last year 1.1 ppg 1.6 rpg, career 4.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg and his first stat line 11 minutes 0 points 1 rebound 5 fouls.


as for this n-word stuff it's bad enough the game is overofficated enough, now were trying to legislate language on the field.  i mean it's bad enough that you can't touch the qb's much anymore and we have seen qb's flop to get a penalty see andrew luck, see tom brady

PaulPage
PaulPage

And then to follow up with #6 - "Not sure how you can be one with the other."

UlisseP
UlisseP

@CoreyLivermore Yeah, poor you. White and male in America: the horror that your demographics has had to endure through the centuries. Every time someone calls you a "cracker", you must really feel the pressure of decades upon decades of oppression and derision.

Gfunk
Gfunk

You are beyond pathetic.

MartyJenkins
MartyJenkins

@ianlinross having people hostile to it vs a government that is against it are two different things

KristinDiggins
KristinDiggins

@ianlinross  I am just happy he mentioned abuses other than the gay-rights issue, especially Putin's continued support of Syria (a regime that killed hundreds of children via chemical weapons).  

Mike26
Mike26

@DamionMosher  No kidding Damion!  Now if the media folks would trying to tell us otherwise, we could just get back to talking about how many plays Clowney took off last year while on the field....

UlisseP
UlisseP

@MarkPasquinelliHow exactly are "games in Europe" and "over-officiated games" journalism's fault? Are you just randomly angry and have decided that blaming the media is the quickest way to vent your frustration?

scarbarough
scarbarough

@MarkPasquinelli  Right, because for some reason it's critical to your enjoyment of football that players be able to use the N word...and are you saying that players going to jail is a new thing? That's always happened, to a small number of players each year.

BARRYWINDHAM
BARRYWINDHAM

@MarkPasquinelli You don't want language by players regulated because that's too liberal but yet you think the NFL has a thug culure that I assume you think should be regulated or some how controlled?! Strange! You want a "Man's man league" where guys can say anything and a name like the Reskins is not questioned but if a player get's arested now you turn into the moral police and think the league is recruiting the wrong players?! Again, strange.

drudown
drudown

@MarkPasquinelli  


"I'm not leaving the NFL. It's left me."


As the teacher in 'A Christmas Story' once said: "poetry, sheer poetry." Wait. That too, a dream.


Since you seem inclined to mix politics and sports, why don't you cite a SINGLE GOP policy that has BENEFITED the People since 2000? I'm serious. 


“Truth fears no trial.” - Thomas Fuller, M.D.



Contrary to GOP promises, the alleged economic upside of the Bush Tax Cuts proved to be false and did not lead to a stronger Economy.


Contrary to GOP promises, the Patriot Act was not used for apprehending terrorists at all, but engaging in the largest, warrantless "dragnet" against LAW ABIDING, innocent US citizens with no connection to terrorism whatsoever. 

Contrary to GOP promises, there was no strategic benefit to the US in invading Iraq and Wolfowitz LIED when he said the "oil revenues alone will pay for the Iraq war."


So please. How does "the conservative wing" have any more credibility than "the liberal wing" when NONE of the GOP has any semblance of credibility- not just on the Economy (e.g., if the GOP economic model "works", the US would've been "stronger" after the W era…not so)- but just in terms of this FABRICATED, wholly disingenuous GOP "guiding precept" that the People "don't really want" the State to AFFIRMATIVELY take measures to IMPROVE our lives, Military, Diplomacy and JOB PROSPECTS…but that the ACA does anything OTHER than what the EVIDENCE shows:  a SLOWER rise in Health Care costs in 40 years. Notably, for all your GOP "paid for" Media blustering, the GOP cannot cite a SINGLE, reputable source to support such claims the ACA has increased Health Care costs. 



Res ipsa loquitur.

joeg
joeg

@MarkPasquinelli I know how you feel. The republican party left me, Ronald Reagan, Bush Sr, and lots of others.

MoeLarryJesus
MoeLarryJesus

@MarkPasquinelli Poor widdle Marky's upset because Angry Old White Racists like him don't control the culture any more.

Go sit in the corner and cry while you drool, you pathetic old dinosaur.

Wombat
Wombat

@MarkPasquinelli  While I don't agree with all you said your last statement rings true for me as well... "I'm not leaving the NFL... it's left me", well said.

coolperspective
coolperspective

@CobyPreimesberger The field is the workplace for these (supposed) professionals.  Do you advocate for different rules to govern their workplaces than are applicable to your own?  Go to work tomorrow and call the first person you see a "nigger".  See how that goes over.  Why should these highly paid men be allowed to act any differently than you or I do or get a free pass on their behavior because they are athletes?  They may play a game for a living but that doesn't justify them acting like children.  Conducting their business in a mature and responsible manner does nothing to diminish the game.  In fact it can only serve to improve it.

MartyJenkins
MartyJenkins

@UlisseP @CoreyLivermoreall you are as a human is what your life is now - stop pretending like the black males of today are somehow tortured by the terrors that their ancestors has to endure.  All you are is what YOU are right now, and nothing more.  All hes saying is that if you're going to bad a racial slur, ban all racial slurs.  


Its not a complicated concept, and its fair.

MartyJenkins
MartyJenkins

@drudown @MarkPasquinelli nobody wants to hear this hear, otherwise we'd be on a full on political site.... get off your high-horse

I just skimmed it and it was bad enough

Mike26
Mike26

@drudown @MarkPasquinelli  Don't engage this idiot.  He attempts to drag down every single column that he can.  Never feed the troll that goes by drudown!

rckymtn4
rckymtn4

@drudown @MarkPasquinelli If he walked along the shore of mixing politics and sports, you dove into the lake swam to the bottom and rolled in the mud. Way out of line. Get back to the MSNBC web site.

Wombat
Wombat

@MoeLarryJesus @MarkPasquinelli  You cretin. I just miss the old days of the NFL without all the issues... You sir are a sad soul that stirs up issues just to be seen. Sad really...

Ilovemesomeme
Ilovemesomeme

@MoeLarryJesus @MarkPasquinelli Not sure what he said that you would deem to be "racist."  It was a baseless accusation.  Unfortunately that's become a tried and true tactic.  He wants to read football articles about football.  Not sure how that's racist. 

SemperFiDTM
SemperFiDTM

@Mike26 @drudown @MarkPasquinelli  Sure, Ill throw my hat in this ring....drudown, what your forgetting is that every single problem today can be traced back to President Rutherford B. Hayes' improper use of a bolo tie. And the lack of faith in both houses of congress started when members of the Whig party were caught without their toupee's. 


~ oureya nasay assinus.

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