Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Blizzard: do you realize how close the season is?

At ESPN, James Quintong examines whether Marion Barber can handle being a feature back.

Advanced NFL Stats discusses fantasy football strategy (here and here).

Adrian Peterson (Viking Update).

Tarvaris Jackson (Viking Update).

Tarvaris Jackson's injuries (Kevin Seifert).

Doesn't this make Lion, Viking, and Packer fans smile? Kyle Orton is the Bears' starting QB (Fox). Orton means fewer turnovers, but he also means few pass plays worth any yardage.

An amusing take on the sorts of memorabilia they're putting into sports cards these days (Insomniac's Lounge). That crazy Allen & Ginter set: I had to go ahead and buy a Fyodor Dostoevsky card. Could hardly resist.

Peter King
Peter King called out Jets fans for not attending a preseason game, and Signal to Noise's reaction is pretty close to mine. I've been to two preseason games (I stayed at one from beginning to end): nobody, in any situation, needs to provide any excuse for missing a preseason game. I've watched a lot of Kansas City Chiefs' training camp practice--that's more fun than a preseason game, much less expensive, and much less hassle. And here's King's reaction to fans writing to him about this really stupid point. He uses language such as "a real Jet fan" and "Sorry, I've got a problem with that" (King has evidently appointed himself arbiter of what "real" sports fans are and what they must do. Hey, I guess it works for Bill Simmons). I think this is a sign that King is out of touch. It's not only that King has elevated Brett Favre to some sort of demi-god and is surprised that others haven't. It's that King, who is paid to cover the NFL, is lecturing people who are not paid to cover the NFL about why they should take up a summer evening to commute to a stadium to watch a football game that means absolutely nothing. It was not Brett Favre's debut with the team any more than his first practice was a debut with the team (even if ESPN et. al. tries to hype it that way). His real debut with the Jets will be week one, and his first touchdown pass with the Jets will not be the one he threw in a preseason game, but the first touchdown pass he throws in a regular season game.

This reminds me a bit of the episode of The Wire when McNulty is on a date with a political campaign adviser. When McNulty tells her he doesn't follow politics (and didn't vote in the last election), she is flabbergasted. And I recognize her reaction. She's so consumed with politics, so devoted to it, spending all of her time thinking about it, she just assumes everybody else should be too. Have you encountered such situations? Been in a conversation with somebody who doesn't even seem to realize that his/her particular interest, hobby, or career, is not something most people spend all their time thinking about? I think that's the sort of attitude that makes a person lecture fans--particularly fans devoted enough to the team to purchase season tickets--about why they should go to a game that doesn't matter. They've already devoted a large enough portion of their lives to the Jets to purchase season tickets, to make the financial commitment and the time commitment to go watch the team in person throughout the season, and King doesn't think they're good fans because they don't also want to go to a preseason game.

I suspect that because covering the NFL is Peter King's career, he's rather consumed with it, and expects others who follow the NFL to be consumed with it. Well, many of us are, but for most of us, it's not our job. There are die-hard Jets fans that have jobs, have families, have other hobbies. There are season ticket holders that are going to give up a lot of time to go to eight games throughout the fall, and they may not want to give up additional time before that for games that don't count. And there are many die-hard Jets fans that won't go to any games, that will watch all the games on TV. And in my estimation, this makes them no less die-hard. You can be a devoted fan while watching all the games on TV. You can be a devoted fan and mostly ignore the preseason. King is paid to go to the games; Jets fans, I wouldn't listen at all to Peter King's judgment of you.

Some personal whining
There is only one way that I can actually miss Viking games on TV for work: if the NFL schedules them for a Monday night game at 6:00 central. There is only one such game each year, and now the NFL has scheduled the Vikings for this game two of the last three years. I'll get home in time for halftime, and I love you, DVR. You complete me.

What do you want in a fantasy football backup quarterback?
I think there are two ways to go:

1. Steady.
Draft a QB that you know you can rely on if you're forced to start him for a stretch of games. He's probably not going to be terribly high scoring, but over the course of the season, he's not going to disappoint you. He's the sort of player that, if he were a little better, he'd be a fantasy starter. Depending on the size of your league, this type of player might be Jake Delhomme, Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, that sort of fellow. You'll expect 3,000+ yards and 20+ TDs, but not that much more than 3,000 yards and 20 TDs.

2. Go Bananas or Go Drink Garbage Water.
It's your backup quarterback, after all: you can afford to take risks. Go ahead and take the QB that could reasonably be expected to completely suck, but just might go bananas. This is the Vince Young sort of QB. If he plays like last season, you don't even want him as your backup. But...he can run...and he can throw... and you know that you just might be looking at a QB who will have 800 yards and 10 TDs rushing.

Fantasy Football Rookies
Running Backs are really the only rookies you should take in a fantasy football draft, and I almost always take one. This year I went for Matt Forte: other than Darren McFadden, Forte seems to have the least in his way to becoming his team's feature back.

Bernard Berrian
I'm really starting to feel like Bernard Berrian is going to be a central player to the Vikings' 2008 fortunes. Tarvaris Jackson has been blamed for his struggles last season, but Viking WRs and TEs had a lot to do with those struggles. Jackson often threw passes to receiver who dropped the ball, or tried to complete passes to receivers who couldn't get separation from defenders.

Whoever plays quarterback for the Vikings this season is going to need good play from the WRs. That means a lot is riding on Berrian. If he can make plays in the intermediate passing game, and occasional plays in the deep passing game, the Vikings can be special. If he is a free agent bust, the Viking passing game will likely continue to struggle.

That crazy English language
The story link to this Matt Hasselbeck story reads "Hasselbeck set to go after nursing a back injury." When I first glanced at the sentence, I thought Hasselbeck was getting ready to seek some sort of special nursing for his back injury (my mind somehow inserted "for" in between "nursing" and "a". No no, he's no ready to return after having nursed his back injury. Fun times (although maybe only for me).


  1. I'm with you with regard to the No Show Jets fans. The season is long and a huge time/money commitment. I don't know how you felt about your trips to the dome last year, but personally, at the end of a USC football season, I'm glad I don't have to travel to the stadium anymore. I would never go down for a meaningless game or scrimmage.

  2. Anonymous9:18 AM

    king expecting jets fans to match packer fans for support and enthusiasm is a little unfair. packer fans have little else in their lives, and their fandom is mostly an obsession. also, game goers tend to live down the street from the stadium, so it's easy travel. any team that sold out two decades worth of non-play off football has a fanbase that is hard to match, for whatever reason.

    i thought the stadium should have been packed, but i come from the packer fan tradition of watching every preseason game as if it were a real game.


  3. Anonymous9:20 AM

    and your vince young fascination will be the ruin of you. you wouldn't start peyton manning if he had those receivers.