pkincog

When last we left simpering dingus, Peter King, he proclaimed that there’s no one really to blame in the Jonathan Martin-Rochie Incognito affair, except for the many people who are to blame. He also accused Martin of “wigging out” before a MMQB copy editor wisely scrubbed that from the column. Finally, PK shared 10 (TEN!) of his dearest reflections from the season that was in Red Sox baseball because that’s just the kind of indulgent asshole he is. But what about this week? It being Veterans Day, surely there’s a heartfelt tribute to the troops. Haha, just kidding, there’s no mention of them. Gotta safe space for the 1,600+ words about his dog. READ ON.

One non-Incognito point to ponder this morning, prompted by non-stat-geek Mike Florio and based on 2013 NFL history: If Indianapolis is 20 points better than San Francisco, and San Francisco 24 points better than St. Louis, and Indianapolis plays St. Louis, then Indianapolis obviously should beat St. Louis by 44.

Strong out of the gate! We already have a Florio namedrop and a distressingly foolish use of the transitive property in sports. Bringing the A-game this week!

St. Louis beat Indianapolis by 30 Sunday, which apparently was any given Sunday.

Apparently that Sunday was a Sunday. Good to know.

On the field, I’d say Week 10 in the NFL belonged to the 1995 expansionists.

That’s right. None of the other wins mattered because they didn’t fit a easily packaged theme.

Jacksonville won its first game of the season, while Carolina won its fifth in a row, a there-are-no-ugly-wins win at San Francisco that left many in Ninerdom wondering, “All right. Who kidnapped Colin Kaepernick, and what have you done with him?”

Considering Kaep struggles have been evident almost all season, I doubt committed Niners fans would only start wondering that now.

I’ll give you Gus Bradley, Luke Kuechly and Steve Smith, and lots of playoff speculation fodder, soon.

No, don’t make us wait for the baseless speculation!

The Lions can’t really win a first-round bye. Can they?

Normally I would say yes, obviously, but it appears the NFL has stripped them of first-round bye eligibility on account of having an excess of no-good thuggish crumb bums. Tough luck, Detroit.

Divining the last seven weeks of the NFC pennant race

Stow your baseball terminology, nugget boy.

starting with the round-robin tournament that will determine whether Seattle can hang onto home-field advantage:

It seems the NFC playoff race is going to be determined by every scheduling format other than the one the NFL uses. The NFC West title will be determined by a best-of-five series between baseball teams drafted by Jim Harbaugh and Pete Carroll.

Whoever did the schedule last spring was smart.

It’s almost as though the NFL has specialists whose sole responsibility is putting it together!

Let’s see how the Seahawks, Niners and Saints will try to beat the crap out of each other in the next 28 days:

Nov. 17: San Francisco at New Orleans.
Dec. 2 (Monday): New Orleans at Seattle.
Dec. 8: Seattle at San Francisco.

Yeah, that works out pretty well. It’s also just a matter of luck as the NFC West was predetermined to go against the NFC South this year.

It’s always dangerous to draw conclusions on playoffs with seven games left (particularly in a league in which the Rams beat the Colts by 30)

…but?

but if you’re a Lions’ fan, you’ve got to be very optimistic this morning. Not only do you have a one-game lead in your division and a sweep of the Bears this year, but your schedule looks like it was drawn up by the ghost of Bobby Layne.

A one-game lead with seven weeks remaining? Surely that’s enough to ease the minds of a fan base conditioned to expect most agonizing failure!

Carolina is relevant … finally.

Those poor dears! They had to go through three losing seasons before being good again!

I was more impressed by their defense, frankly.

Just in case you thought he would extend an ounce of credit to Cam Newton for their success.

This was no fluky win.

Like the Rams’ victory?

The Panthers used the smothering presence of outside rushers Charles Johnson and Greg Hardy to neutralize Colin Kaepernick, who was sacked six times. Middle linebacker Luke Kuechly and defensive tackle Dwan Edwards shut off the run for much of the day. And Carooina left San Francisco with the biggest win of the Ron Rivera Era—and their fifth straight win.

Carooina.

I went back and noticed someone – per chance an editor? – fixed this awful typo, so let’s preserve it here:

carooina

“We have a chance to be as good as we want to be,” said Kuechly. “There’s no doubt in our minds we can play with these teams, and we proved it today.”

No objections to the quote; it’s standard-issue football platitude. Just hilariously predictable that PK seeks out Luke Kuechly for a quote after a big win. GOTTA LOVE THOSE LUNCH PAIL-LUGGIN’ MAULER WHITE BOYS!

[Gus] Bradley gave every player a game ball after the game, and he said it was because of the improvement of so many players in so many little things. “We came back from the bye this week,” he said, “and the attitude at practice was unbelievable. It wasn’t like an attitude you’d see around the NFL very much. I had a couple of people in to watch practice this week and they told me, ‘Gus, it’s like a high school.’ You’d never know we were 0-8.”

“When matched against our own terrible players, our guys don’t look so bad!”

I told him the play in the game that most impressed me was cornerback Will Blackmon breaking through to steal the ball from Tennessee quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and run it back for a touchdown.

“I told him I was most impressed by the lone highlight of the game that I watched.”

Where will Johnathan Martin land? I can’t see him finding a home until next year, if indeed he wants to continue playing football. I don’t think that’s a sure thing, by the way.

Even though he said he does want to keep playing. Just can’t trust those wigging out types!

But if he does choose to play, and the Dolphins let him go, the Colts are probably the most likely landing spot. There he’d work under his senior-year offensive coordinator at Stanford, Pep Hamilton. He’d work with his Stanford quarterback and tight end, Andrew Luck and Coby Fleener. And a GM not afraid of the bold move, Ryan Grigson, would make it fit.

Most felicitous conditions! Oop, caught me using a Stanford word. Just the thing that will help Jonathan Martin feel at home with his studious, architecture loving teammates. They’re no ruffians with their ruffian games – shitting in another’s mouth for sport! And they have a GM stupid enough to swap a first-rounder for Trent Richardson, so why not try this?

Requiem for a Dog

Looks like another one of PK’s dogs died. That’s too bad. At least this time, unlike when it last happened after the Tuck Rule Game, he isn’t leading his column with it.

I would never deny a man the right to mourn his pet. I’ll be broken up when mine go. At the same time, I really don’t need 1,600+ words on a dog in the middle of a football column.

But hey, it’s here so let’s make fun of it!

Did you know Daniel Snyder was responsible for the King family owning Bailey?

No, but not surprising. I seem to recall mentions of Bailey charging for scritches and suing other dogs who marked over his territory.

Did you know if the King family hesitated in the adoption process for just a single day 13 years ago, Bailey would have been Darrell Green’s family dog? That’s the Darrell Green, the famous Washington cornerback.

Bailey! I am sorry! You could have been a Hall of Famer’s dog! You could have been on the stage in Canton with Darrell Green and his beautiful family!

I’m not saying history would have shown me to be a better owner. But I do know no one threw more tennis balls to a dog than I threw to Bailey, and so I hope she was happy where she landed.

Yes, but how many times did the dog catch you jerking it to Favre? That has to factor in. Speaking of…

I used to wash Bailey in our front driveway, because the hose was convenient. On one May day in 2008, in mid-lather, my phone rang. It was Brett Favre. Not loving retirement. Having second thoughts. I was trying to talk to him and wash the dog at the same time, and finally I had to tell Bailey to lay down and wait—for about 40 minutes. There she lay, all soaped up, just doing what she was told, as she always did.

Yeah, would’ve been much better off with Darrell Green.

Fine Fifteen

1. Denver (8-1). If Kansas City’s offense was just a little better, I wouldn’t put Denver here; I’d have kept K.C. No. 1. But in the last 11 quarters, Denver has 12 offensive touchdowns and the Chiefs three. Now, if Peyton Manning’s MRI comes back bad today, I’ll change my tune.

So why put Kansas City at the top spot in the first place? Oh right, because these are half-formed thoughts thoughtlessly shuffled to provoke morons into rage.

4. New England (7-2). Seven weeks left in the season. Two-game lead in the AFC East. Anyone surprised?

ck

Welp, that smugness provoked me into a rage. Guess that makes me a moron. But you already knew that by virtue of me reading this every week.

5. New Orleans (7-2). On a night like last night the Saints looked like the best team in football. Eight days ago they lost to a team on the road that was coming off a 40-point loss to Cincinnati. So, I’m not sure.

It’s almost as though the Saints are a dominant team at home and vulnerable elsewhere! Weird!

8. San Francisco (6-3). I don’t know who Colin Kaepernick is anymore.

Alcoholism, like football, can destroy your memory. Get the help you need, big guy.

10. Philadelphia (5-5). Nick Foles in 2013: 16 touchdown passes, no interceptions, 132.5 rating. This is getting ridiculous.

Naturally, it’s all on Nick Foles being great because PK already wrote off Chip Kelly’s offense as a gimmicky fad the NFL exposed as ineffective.

12. New York Jets (5-4). A stat you never thought you’d read on Nov. 11: Bilal Powell/Chris Ivory, 783 yards; Chris Johnson/Shonn Greene, 574.

I don’t give thought to what very specific stats I might read on a given date – possibly because that’s impossible to predict (and pointless!) – so by technicality he’s got me here.

Offensive Players of the Week

Mark Ingram, running back, New Orleans. Is it possible that was the first 100-yard game of the former first-round pick’s NFL life? Let’s check. Going into Sunday night against Dallas, he’d had a 91-yard game and a 90- in his 29-game NFL career, but never 100. And against Dallas, in a beatdown of 2009 proportions, Ingram ran 14 times for 145 yards and you thought: So that’s why they picked him in the first round in 2011.

When you can spent a first-round pick on a back that will have his first impressive performance three years down the line, you do it.

Defensive Players of the Week

Luke Kuechly, middle linebacker, Carolina. This could have gone to so many: Charles Johnson or Greg Hardy, who penned in Colin Kaepernick so well; Drayton Florence, whose late interception killed the final Niners chance and helped hold San Francisco to 46 net passing yards; or Thomas Davis, the turnover-inducing linebacker. But give me Kuechly

“GIMME THE WHITE GUY! GIMME GIMME GIMME! THE ONE WITH THE SWEET MILKY PALLOR!”

with 11 tackles, a sack, another tackle for loss, a pass defensed and two quarterback pressures. This Panthers defense is absolutely legit.

Trolling to come: next time the Panthers lose and Cam has at least one turnover, PK weighs in with “CAM NEEDS TO STAY OUT OF THE WAY AND LET THIS ELITE DEFENSE BRING THE ELITITUDE OR ELSE THEY’RE DOOMED! SHIP CAM TO ARIZONA FOR A 4TH ROUNDER IF THEY’RE WILLING TO PART WITH SUCH A VALUABLE PICK!”

Coach of the Week

Gus Bradley, head coach, Jacksonville. See above.

“He won. AND he talked to MEEEEE! Coach of the week!”

Probably also the only chance PK will get to fluff this particular coach this season, so he’s gonna seize it. That’s why he makes the big bucks, folks.

Stat of the Week

Remember way back when — around Labor Day — when everyone associated with football was quite sure that we had seen the last of the running back?

Well that’s a fine use of straw man argument as no one has ever said the run game would vanish completely. But stats should the use of the running game is certainly on the wane. From a piece a month ago in PK’s own publication:

So far this season, teams are 61.1 percent pass, 39.9 percent run. A year ago after four weeks, teams were 59 percent pass, 41 percent run. At the end of the 2012 season (since rushing attempts usually increase as the weather deteriorates) NFL teams had a 57.7/42.3 pass-run split.

There is one branch of the NFL tree that believes in the running game. That tree grows in Palo Alto. And the men on the Jim Harbaugh tree will run the ball.

Ah, the seeds of the majestic Harbaugh tree. Is that known as an Aneurysm Oak?

(One small pet peeve before I begin, about “coaching trees.” Because Pep Hamilton coached one year on the Harbaugh staff at Stanford doesn’t mean his biggest influence is Harbaugh. And because Shaw worked for Harbaugh for five seasons—he worked under Jon Gruden and Brian Billick for four apiece—doesn’t mean Harbaugh taught him everything he knows. But they worked for Harbaugh and undoubtedly were influenced by him. Just wanted to make the point that if someone said the Gruden coaching tree had a Shaw branch, that would be correct too.)

Definitely a small pet peeve as PK employed the term in the manner he hates before lecturing everyone on it.

Mr. Starwood Preferred Member Travel Note of the Week

No travel last week, but another New York story for you:

“Did you know there are homeless people here? And, boy, do they smell! One asked me for change the other day, but I yelled, “CHANGE!? MY DOG JUST DIED! WHO HAS TIME FOR CHANGE!?” Then I hurled my scalding hot double venti larduccino in his face. Only in New York, baby!”

The lights are timed on Second Avenue in Manhattan, as they are on many of the main streets in New York. So, walking a lot here, you get in the habit of looking a couple of cross-streets up to see when cars slow down, or to see cars from the cross-streets begin to cross Second Avenue. Then you know the “walk” sign you’re waiting for is about to change. So, as I’m looking up the street and beginning to cross, I bump into a guy to my left. Sort of a hard bump. I quickly apologize, and he looks at me. I thought he’d say, “Hey, no problem,” or “Hey, buddy, come on.” Something like that. Instead, he gives a two-handed pushing motion and says, “Fifteen yards. Pass interference.” And we both move on.

Someone recognized you because you blather about football on TV. How is this a specifically New York story in any way?

Tweets of the Week

“Eat. Get to stadium early. Poop. Warmup 1 hr before I’m out. Simple routine RT @kalenhosier: what’s your Sunday routine before game time?”

—@geoffschwartz, offensive lineman for Kansas City.

Important poop tweet.

“Doc Gooden was too nervous to wait for the team bus prior to his first start with Mets 4/7/84 in Astrodome. Walked 8 miles to park. Won, 3-2.”

—@JayHorwitzPR, the esteemed veteran New York Mets PR man.

That’s the kind of tweet that makes Twitter fun.

Important cocaine tweet.

“The NFL-NFLPA CBA has 127,112 words. Bully, bullying, haze, hazing, harassment, steal, extort are none of them. #JonathanMartin #Incognito”

—@McCannSportsLaw, Michael McCann, SI legal analyst, Massachusetts lawyer and University of New Hampshire professor.

Yes, but how many words on all the dead dogs that De Smith and Goodell have owned?

Ten Things I Think I Think

1. I think this is what I liked about Week 10:

c. Christian Ponder, who played like a real, live NFL starter in the 34-27 win. Suddenly, that quarterback job is very complicated.

If by “complicated”, you mean still inevitably leading to all three quarterbacks getting released, then yes.

jk

Loogit this! Two items in “J” then it skips right to “L”. Lofty first grade listology 101, Pete.

2. I think this is what I didn’t like about Week 10:

j. So Clay Matthews hits Nick Foles hard in the left shoulder pad and gets 15 yards for it? Football rules: I give up.

If only that were true.

k. Andrew Luck, who threw a bad end-zone interception to Trumaine Johnson and, in general, had one of the roughest starts of his young career.

The grudging criticism of a beloved player. My favorite part of any PK column. Don’cha worry, Luck will be back and we’ll have a fresh batch of Quarterback Architectural Digest nuggets.

4. I think the one question I’d have for Incognito is this: “Do you think there’s something wrong with a locker-room culture that has a white man talking derisively to a black man and calling him a half-n—–, and the other black men in the locker room chuckling instead of being outraged?”

Why would you have that question for him? You said last week that no one is to blame for this criz-ay-zay fiasco.

5. I think Ted Thompson is one of the best GMs in football. Hands down. But why an unemployed Matt Flynn is not on the Packers right now boggles the mind, whether he’s got a sore arm or not. To refresh your memory, the last time Flynn started a game for Green Bay, he threw for 480 yards and six touchdowns. It was the greatest passing day in the history of the Packers. He is healthy. He will come relatively cheap. And this team is playing Seneca Wallace and Scott Tolzien while in a dogfight for the playoffs?

“This man is a genius except when he stupidly insists on not signing a quarterback who has been dumped by three teams in the last year on the strength of a meaningless Week 17 start from two seasons ago.

6. I think there’s not an NFL coach who knows Gus Bradley who isn’t very happy for the relentlessly optimistic teacher of football this morning.

I’m sure Mike Munchak is overcome with joy.

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

a. This is the best video I’ve seen in a while. It’s Minnesota coach Jerry Kill—who has had to miss time due to bouts of epilepsy—with his team following the 24-10 win over Penn State Saturday.

Best video of a coach dancing – the same coach PK has twice implied should be fired because his disability is a problem for his team.

b. Good to see Leigh Montville back writing a weekly column at the Boston Globe after 24 years away. From his first effort Sunday: “I am a Mike Napoli type of free agent, a veteran catcher/first baseman with possibly bad hips who might be able to help a little bit. I will do what I can do. I might even grow a beard, add some tattoos, maybe take off my shirt and go for a midnight stroll down Boylston Street if everything works out.”

c. The more Montville in our lives, the better.

fy

d. I suppose we shouldn’t laugh at Toronto mayor Rob Ford, but every time I hear the tape of him talking about smoking crack, I can’t help it. Ford: “Have I tried it? Probably in one of my drunken stupors. Probably approximately about a year ago.” And then, basically, apologizing, wanting life to go on as before.

It’s almost like dealing with Peter, who doesn’t even have the excuse of hard drugs, unless there’s something he’d like to tell us (limit 2,000 word confession, please)

g. Penny for Their Thoughts Dept.: Chris Berman and Dan Patrick together in the dressing room of the Eagles’ Glenn Frey, Friday night at Madison Square Garden, at the Eagles concert.

You’ll really have to pry it out of them. If there are two people who hate going on forever about the trapping of celebrity, it’s fucking Chris Berman and Dan Patrick.

h. Wishing you the best after your little heart procedure last week, Bill Keenist. Get well soon.

i. Good luck in your little procedure Thursday, Ken Fost. (Ever notice it’s “a little procedure” to others, but not when you’re having it?)

Buy two greeting cards, you cheap cunt.

j. Coffeenerdness: Fantastic recognition by the barista at the 51st Street Starbucks Sunday morning. I walked in the door in a quiet moment between rushes and she looked at me and said: “Triple grande hazelnut macchiato.” And this is a store I go in once a week. I said, “You must have been good in school. Great memory.”

But not too good, because you work at a Starbucks.

Though, you think PK presumes there’s barista college that Starbucks forces its employees attend to learn the art of being berated by fat, entitled people? We need to convince him it’s located in Wichita. I bet it makes the next outraged travel note.

k. Beernerdness: Happiness is finding Allagash White in the local Whole Foods. I am a simple man, except when it comes to expensive beer and coffee.

Oh, and lavish hotel accommodations and being pampered during frequent air and upscale train travel. Not to mention monthlong vacations in Europe. Shouldn’t forget that condo in Manhattan. Other than that, just your regular Everyman Joe Six-Pack.

Who I Like Tonight

Miami 24, Tampa Bay 13. If I thought the Bucs could take advantage of the leaks on the Miami offensive line brought about by Incognitogate, I would predict otherwise. But I don’t.

Schiano Men not up to the task? I know who’s getting MRSA for Christmas this year.

The Adieu Haiku

A heaven for dogs?
If there’s one, Bailey’s there now.
She was a good dog.

It’s Veterans Day
You honor their sacrifice
A dog’s requiem