Sunday, August 28, 2011

MMTMQR: Preseason games, midseason stupidity

Back to the salt mines, people. It's time for another six month stint of awful, Gregg style.

Harbaugh-East note: Baltimore led 24-13 with 1:18 remaining in its preseason game Friday against Kansas City. Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh had the Ravens' third-string quarterback Hunter Cantwell play-fake and throw deep. Having reached the Kansas City 1 with 8 seconds remaining, Harbaugh-East called timeout to allow a final play, running up the score to 31-13.

Are you surprised that Gregg thinks getting high pressure late game reps during a preseason game for players who may or may not make the team and need a chance to distinguish themselves is no different than running up the score in a regular season game? If so raise your hand. Now use it to tap yourself on the balls for being a dumbshit.

Not only was this bad sportsmanship, but it was classless considering that in their previous meeting, at Kansas City in the playoffs, Baltimore had won big.

In what way is the outcome of last January's playoff game relevant here? I'm racking my brain. Is Gregg mad because he thinks the Chiefs and their players had forgotten about that game, but this would remind them of it? Because he thinks it's bad form to blow another team out twice in a row? Because Harbaugh was dressed more warmly than Todd Haley? Your guess is as good as mine.

Lack of class always comes back to haunt you -- and now the Ravens enter the 2011 season as bad sports.

Go Ravens!, And also this.

This season the Bills go to a retro-1970s uniform, which is better than the Rusting Russian Dreadnaught look. But why did the Bills return to a uniform style they wore when making the postseason three times in 17 years? They could have gone back to a gloried Super Bowl look based on red, white and American-flag blue -- not to put too fine a point on it, but the single most successful color scheme in world history.

Let me tell you, I really put a lot of stock in what uniforms teams zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

During the offseason, coach Chan Gailey and general manager Buddy Nix repeatedly criticized defensive end Aaron Maybin, the 11th overall choice of the 2009 draft. Then this summer, they tried to trade him. The public criticism meant other teams knew Maybin would be waived, so no one made a trade offer, leaving the Bills with nothing when they released Maybin last week. So was the public criticism nonsensical? Not if the goal is to lose cheaply.

The last line goes hand in hand with the main hypothesis advanced by Gregg this week, specifically that many owners find it more profitable to put a crappy team on the field that's way under the salary cap than to spend up to the cap and field a winner. This ignores the non-monetary value that some owners derive from fielding a winner and being in the good graces of the team's fans- although I concede that many owners really don't give a shit about that and would rather make a few extra million than be liked.

The reason I didn't pick apart the hypothesis is that if you grant him the 17 assumptions he made in calculating the profitability of a winner vs. a low-cost loser, he's pretty much right. And I didn't feel like doing my own research. However, I explain it here and copied/pasted the passage above because Gregg is apparently blissfully ignorant of the fact that Aaron Maybin was fucking atrocious (a source close to the Bills organization, i.e. a friend of mine who likes the Bills, says the real problem is that he never bothered to bulk up). Generally trying to trade and then releasing an atrocious player is a way to get better rather than worse.

And of course, let's all get on the same page re: one other thing. Clearly Maybin sucked ass with the Bills because he was a high drafted megabucks glory boy.

Making a great show of discussing how bad the previous regime's high draft pick was creates an excuse for Gailey and Nix to present a losing team in 2011 -- "What did you expect, when the guys who came before us blew the team's 2009 first-round pick?" Since arriving a year ago, Nix has waived, traded or let go four recent first-round draft choices (Maybin, Evans, Marshawn Lynch and Donte Whitner), cutting costs while shifting blame backward to the previous coach and general manager.

I love this. Maybin = terrible. Lynch looked terrible at the time he was cut, although he did have that beastly run against the Saints in the playoffs for the Seahawks. Still, probably more likely to be out of football in 2 years than starting anywhere. Whitner = terrible. Evans wasn't even the best WR on the team at the time he was traded, although I admit it didn't make a whole lot of sense to do it. Still, it's fantastic watching him work himself into logical knots in order to prove his next big point. He's so eager to paint the Bills FO as trying to field a loser by getting rid of good players that he completely ignores the fact that none of the HIGH DRAFTED MEGABUCKS GLORY BOY guys they got rid of were very good in the first place.

Didn't Ohio used to be a hotbed of football culture?

Perhaps, and on the HS and college level it certainly still is, but it's also a miserable place to live. It combines all the fatness of Indiana with all the failing rust beltness of Pennsylvania.

The Bengals' last winning coach was Sam Wyche, who left in 1991. The Browns' last winning coach was Marty Schottenheimer, who left in 1988. Since these two gentlemen departed, the state of Ohio is 226-364-2 in the NFL. And Ohio's record will not improve opening weekend, because the Browns and Bengals meet.

Listen, I'm just sayin', as long as they don't tie the state's to win percentage will go up. Just sayin'.

Leading the Patriots 10-0 in the first half, facing fourth-and-1 in their own territory, they went for it. So what if on the next snap, the Browns lost a fumble? The football gods smile on boldness.

They smile on it so much they caused a turnover 15 seconds after the gamble. Chris H nominates this as the most striking display of cognitive dissonance in the history of sportswriting.

Houston: The Texans have a chairman and CEO, two vice chairmen, a general manager, a president, three senior vice presidents, three senior directors and 14 directors -- resulting in a franchise lifetime record of 55-89. Maybe if this organization wasn't so top-heavy, it could get things done. Such as making the playoffs, which the Moo Cows -- check their lovely cow-inspired logo -- never have accomplished.

First of all, if you don't know what the Texans logo looks like, please stop reading TMQ and go click around for a while. On the other hand, people like that are probably right in Gregg's target demographic. "Say, I'm a pretentious faux-academic who obsesses over nerdy pop culture and pop economics, and I also sometimes watch the Super Bowl! This Easterbrook fella is really something if you ask me!"

Second of all, I love the assertion that the Texans struggle because they employ too many useless executives who pull a paycheck and don't do much else. I'm quite sure they have too many useless executives who pull a paycheck and don't do much else- and I'm also quite certain that that's the case with approximately 31 other NFL teams. Look at the Bears, for crying out loud. And yet they were within a few plays of making the Super Bowl last year. Bloated upper management kind of tends to be a part of the deal when you're involved with the most popular, profitable sport in the country.

Traditionalists believe the run is the key to NFL success, despite nine of the past 10 Super Bowls being won by teams with pass-oriented offenses.

/goes into archives, finds 46 TMQs from the past five years that bemoan how pass-wacky the league has become [Edit made later- I somehow tried to loop "Stop Me Before I Blitz Again!" into this point by saying there was an identical item titled "Stop Me Before I Pass Again!" As usual, the reason for the mistake is that I'm a fucking idiot.]


/eats Sharpie

Cut by the Jets, DE Shaun Ellis signed with archrival New England, causing Ryan to say, "There's no way I am going to wish him well." But New England made Ellis the best offer. If Ryan had been fired by the Jets and gone to New England because that's where the best offer was, no one would bat an eyelash. This seems to be yet another example of a pro sports double standard: If a player does what's in his best interest, he is condemned as a mercenary. If a coach does what's in his best interest, he's viewed as just taking care of business.

Huh? Although this is a stupid paragraph about an irrelevant distinction, at the very least I think Gregg and I can agree that pretty much every single NFL coach is a raging self-important asshole.

But then the Patriots wheezed out at home in their first and only game of the playoffs. It was the second consecutive year New England had been fabulous in the regular season, then looked awful at home in the postseason. The year before that, the Patriots finished 11-5 but didn't make the postseason owing to a standings quirk. Here's the deal: The New England Patriots have not won a playoff game since Spygate broke.

Spygate broke in September 2007. In January of 2008, the Patriots won two playoff games.

/eats another Sharpie

Bill Belichick continues to refuse to say, "I cheated and I apologize." Until he does, the football gods will torment this team by allowing the Patriots to play very well during the regular season, then denying them in money time.

Go Patriots! Oops, sorry, nevermind. Fuck the Patriots.

A Boom or Bust Round: With the Steelers' decision to waive Limas Sweed, the 2008 second round of the draft continues to be a tumultuous one for the wide receiver profession. Picks were either terrific or terrible. The 2008 second round produced DeSean Jackson and Eddie Royal, both stars; Jordy Nelson, who was terrific in the Packers' Super Bowl win; and Donnie Avery and Jerome Simpson, both of whom have shown flashes. The 2008 second round also produced several wide receiver busts, all since waived by at least one team -- Sweed, Devin Thomas, Dexter Jackson and James Hardy. Malcolm Kelly, another 2008 second-round receiver, is a long shot to make a 2011 NFL roster. There must have been something in the water in 2008.

Breaking news: sometimes, draft picks work out. Other times they completely fizzle. Unfortunately, you have to be an ESPN Insider to read the rest of Gregg's analysis, in which he explains the fact that offensive linemen are secretly very important to a team's success.

Tennessee: Bearing in mind that the Flaming Thumbtacks were once the Houston Oilers, this team now has two coaches who made the Hall of Fame as players in its colors. New head coach Mike Munchak was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Oilers; new offensive line coach Bruce Matthews was a Hall of Fame offensive lineman for the Oilers/Titans. If nothing else, that is good vibes.

Munchak was drafted 8th overall. Matthews was drafted 9th overall. Sounds like bad vibes to me. Get me a coach who never played, and was told his whole life he'd never be good enough. THAT'S who I want coaching my team. Someone like Josh McDaniels.

Next Week: The Eagles become the Philadelphia Heat, plus the rest of TMQ's NFC preview.

Go Eagles! Oooooooooooooof.

/considers a Philly-New England Super Bowl

/drinks dish soap


Chris W said...

Lol...beyond the queation of how an economist can be as oblivious to confirmation bias as Gregggggg so clearly is, the fact that an economist doesn't realize that a sub .500 entity adding a 1-1 stretch IMPROVES their pct boggles the mind

Chris W said...

Also, wrt Rex Ryan, I love how Gregggggg ignores the rivalry aspect of that situation and the Rex Ryan is a loudmout aspect of that situation and attempts to apply it to every team in the league, i don't see Mike McCarthy talking shit about Nick Barnett, eg

Adam said...

Not only is the whole wide receiver draft thing fucking obvious, but Gregggg's list trashes his premise.

Twice he said there was no in between, but then four different levels of sucesss = totally indicates polar opposites.