Happy Tuesday, friends. I hope everybody had a nice holiday weekend and got to spend it with friends and family. I had an excellent weekend, and today finds me in a good mood. I’ve been trying to think of something to write about, since we’re at that lull period of the offseason - even if this were a regular year - where nothing is going on, and everything has been analyzed to death.
After careful deliberation, I decided to
mock honor our old friend Peter King by listing 6 Things I’ve Decided Are True, because once I think about something, I decide on an answer. Peter King is somebody who thinks that he thinks things. I know what I think – maybe that makes me weird. Anyway, I hope you enjoy it, and get that same warm fuzzy feeling that Peter gives you each week when he isn’t having randoms write his column while he vacations in Montclair, New Jersey, or whatever.
1. I think that of all teh stupid from PK’s columns over the years that has annoyed me, not much annoys me more intensely than the whole Mike McGuire phenomenon. I’m a veteran of the US Navy, and I guess that makes me have a problem with the gratuitous glorification of individuals in the military service. There are a whole lot of people doing important jobs in the service of American foreign policy interests, whatever the motivation for those interests, and those people should all be commended. When some blowhard decides to lionize one soldier, sailor, airman, Marine, or
puddle pirate Coastie, it’s usually a self-serving way of announcing that the blowhard is a patriotic salt-of-the-earth type, and then beating everybody over the head with that narrative repeatedly.
We also like this silly idea in America that anybody can be a star. I blame reality television, which I consider to be an assault on the American way of life. (Read the article about reality TV in the newest Playboy, if you get a chance, which features Crystal Not-Hefner on the cover. That genre of television is just atrocious.) Everybody deserves to be a star, and bask in the fame and glory of People Magazine! If you work hard enough at it, you too can be a star. Just attend this seminar for $399.95; we’ll take headshots, tell you how to create a resume and what to say when you’re screen-tested for the next season of Big Brother Survives The Amazing Race And Rules The Road By Jersey Shore Which Is Part Of The Real World.
When the CIA and the Seals whacked Osama Bin Laden, I saw a tweet from Nick Kostos, who is a producer on Sirius NFL Radio, saying that the operatives were rock stars, and how he couldn’t wait to find out who they were and all about them. It’s laudable that this government declined to trot these guys out for the cameras, unlike the Bush administration, which cynically used Pat Tillman and Jessica Lynch, among others, as human propaganda. I got dragged into attending a Get Motivated scamfest once, and Lynch was there talking about her experiences, as if they were somehow unique among every other soldier who had their truck blown up, and getting paid a bunch of money to help advance the investment scam (You too can trade derivative securities!) that the whole seminar was ultimately promoting. America – Where warmongering meets the selling of snake oil. Kostos doesn’t need to know these guys’ names - and in fact, their names don’t matter, only the mission does. We need those same guys to be ready to do the same job against Anwar The American when he’s found.
Most of us are regular people doing regular jobs, and we’re never going to be stars. Mike McGuire is a guy who’s allowing himself to be held up as some remarkable individual among many thousands of people who have all been asked to set aside their individuality and to be a part of a larger focused whole. I think that makes him a clown, and in fact, almost as big of one as Peter King.
2. This stuff about reporters being able to predict which teams will be most hurt by the labor stoppage is a lot of crap. They’re universally picking two kinds of teams to fit that list; teams with new coaches and teams with new QBs. They have to install/learn a new system! ZOMG!
There’s some truth to the theory that teams like Indianapolis and New England, which have longstanding programs in place, have advantages. It’s silly to think that missed OTA days are going to have that much difference on how players in new programs play, though. Eventually there will be a new CBA - and there will be a training camp, where offenses and defenses are installed.
Currently, that happens once in OTAs, and then again in training camp. This year, teams will only get the base install once. This is football, though, so all of these players have run a 9 route, or played trail technique, or rushed a passer before. When it comes down to it, it will still be about execution on the football field, and the concept of new systems is overrated. Once you get past differences in verbiage, 85% of what you’re doing is the same stuff that you’ve always been doing. For the other 15%, most teams will start out less exotic than usual and spend more time during game preparation weeks in installing a wrinkle here or there. No team ever lost a football game because the defensive coordinator couldn’t get every single blitz package he likes installed in time for Week 1, though, so don’t believe that nonsense.
3. Pat Kirwan has the 25 names mostly correct on his list of the NFL’s best Tight Ends, but Marcedes Lewis was definitely the best in the NFL in 2010, and as a two-way player, I think only Vernon Davis can compete with him right now. The big name guys like Antonio Gates, Tony Gonzalez, Dallas Clark, and Jason Witten don’t give you enough as blockers to be reasonably called better players than Lewis or Davis.
I do like Kirwan’s inclusion of Jimmy Graham, who I was impressed with in 2010, and who I think is going to be excellent for years to come as a two-way player. Green Bay’s Jermichael Finley has all the ability to be the best receiver at the position, and I think he was on his way there before he missed the last 11 games of 2010 with an injury.
4. I thought this article was kind of funny, where A.J. Smith defiantly defended the trade of Eli Manning for Philip Rivers, despite the presence of a ring on Manning’s finger, and the lack thereof for Rivers. It fails to mention, though, that Smith let another guy who won a Super Bowl go in favor of Rivers - Drew Brees.
I won’t tell you that I think Rivers is a bad player, because he isn’t, and I obviously know that teams (not Quarterbacks) win Super Bowls, even if your average Target bookseller reporter doesn’t get that. I will smirk, though, if A.J.’s football epitaph one day reads, “He never won a Super Bowl, but he gave away two QBs who did.” It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
5. Cornbread. Ain’t nothing wrong with that.
6. Finally, peep this stupid article in the Washington Post from Jason Reid. I mean, this is some local newspaper dork, but is he really saying that Mike Shanahan’s decision to trade for Donovan McNabb was the worst of his career? He can’t be can he?
Shanahan’s decision to trade for McNabb was the worst of his career.
Yep. I don’t know about you, but I can name quite a few personnel decisions that Mike Shanahan made in Denver that were a lot less defensible than trading for Donovan McNabb. I’m sure each of you can too. Reid obviously lacks the perspective to know who or what Mike Shanahan is, or he wouldn’t make that hyperbolic and silly comment.
Really, Reid is being a complete jerk here, because when the McNabb trade happened last year, the overwhelming narrative was that this was a huge coup for the Redskins, and that it was shocking for the Eagles to trade McNabb within their own division. Remember, McNabb had a good 2009 and led the Eagles to the playoffs, as usual.
McNabb played poorly in 2010, and Mike and Kyle Shanahan didn’t particularly appreciate his work ethic, conditioning, or his performance. I don’t see how the Shanahans were supposed to know that that was going to happen in advance of the season. There was just no evidence to suggest that it would.
As far as system fit goes, the Redskins did a lot of similar stuff to what the Eagles do. McNabb ultimately didn’t fit the Shanahan program, but as far as the scheme that was employed, he fit it just fine. If anything, the heavy amount of bootlegging in the Shanahan offense should have fit perfectly.
Reid ends his celebration of stupid, which is just atrociously written and edited, with this bit of sage advice:
Now, Shanahan is faced with a similar opportunity. And he could succeed if he remembers one thing: to do just about everything differently than he did last season.
Jason Reid knows all the answers, and if the Head Coach would just listen, everything would be perfect. Do everything differently than you did last season, Mike. Yeah, you had success in Denver, but you just don’t understand: this is Washington, and now you’re in the big leagues. I swear, this guy Jason Reid is like the African-American Woody Paige.
That’s all the time I have for today, friends. I’m going back to the motherland, Norwich, CT, next weekend, but I’m shooting to have something for you on Friday, even if it gets written before Friday. Have a good short work-week.