Cortland Finnegan versus Mike Florio is a fight I would pay to watch. Seriously. But I want it to be like a "two men enter, one man leaves" kind of thing. And all of it stems from -- surprise! -- Florio taking Finnegan's comments and injecting his own meaning into them.
It all started with this post at PFT, in which Finnegan called Tim Walton's defensive scheme "atrocious." It was actually a quote he gave the Miami Herald. He added his opinion that Walton was over his head.
No surprise here, and nothing that most of us here at TST wouldn't agree with. Remember how much better the Rams defense played late last season once Jeff Fisher reportedly got more directly involved in calling the D?
Fast forward to Wednesday evening. PFT posted this brief hit about some unknown sources with the Rams firing back at Finnegan.
Pause. Up until this point, Finnegan's comments and the back-and-forth over them centered on Walton being over his head. In the Wednesday post at PFT, Florio expanded the target area:
A source with knowledge of the team's thinking tells PFT that the problem with Finnegan had far less to do with the coaching or the schemes and far more to do with Finnegan.
Some believe the Rams actually played better without Finnegan, who eventually landed on injured reserve in November with a fracture of the orbital bone. We're told that Finnegan initially tried to play with the injury and that, as he struggled, the injury became a crutch.
Emphasis added is mine. Because this is the kind of shady sourcing where PFT usually ends up tripping all over itself ... it's also the kind of gossip blog fodder that's made PFT so dang popular.
Dollars to donuts that's an agent telling Florio that, more than likely Tim Walton's agent. When it's a team source, they'll usually say that. Whatever terminology they used, it's a shitty way to report that information, which really isn't information at all ... just gossip with a fresh coat of paint to pass it off as INSIDER TALK.
There's no question that Finnegan's play was way off last season, to the point of being detrimental to the Rams defense when he was on the field. Everyone here also watched more than enough games to notice that Finnegan wasn't the only problem the Rams defense had.
But then again, Florio excels at making word salad with long-winded sentences written in the passive voice. He also suffers from being Florio, a troll living under the bridge where INSIDER meets BLOGGER, writing shit like this:
While Finnegan currently is saying all the right things in Miami, those who know him predict it's simply a matter of time before he has issues with the coaching staff there - especially if he struggles and needs someone other than himself to blame for it.
Emphasis added is mine.
Alright, that's a lot of setup for the best part of this whole thing, Cortland Finnegan calling out Mike Florio. And having more than a leg to stand on in doing so.
He took issue with my characterization of his attack on Walton as an attack on the Rams. Finnegan said that he wasn't talking about the Rams, only about Walton. I told Finnegan that, because Walton was a member of the Rams coaching staff, Finnegan necessarily was talking about the Rams.
Of course he did. And he was right to do so. Finnegan's comments -- right or wrong -- are very clearly focused on Walton, and not the Rams. Finnegan's been a player in good standing with Jeff Fisher for a long, long time.
That segment right there makes you wonder about Florio's initial "report" about someone with knowledge of the team's thinking. It stinks already, but the eau de toilet really kicks in when Florio tries to defend his paragraph about Finnegan and his coaches in Miami.
... Finnegan particularly wasn't pleased with the last paragraph of the article: "While Finnegan currently is saying all the right things in Miami, those who know him predict ... "
What? A player took issue with a broad characterization from a national media outlet about his ability to get along with coaches on the team that signed him to a free agent deal this spring?
The brave man naturally stood by his words, using them as a human shield.
While "those" would have been more accurate if the word "some" had been used (and I regret not using "some" instead of "those"), Finnegan accused me of expressing an opinion that he can't get along with coaches. I tried to explain to Finnegan that it's not my opinion, and that the information came from a source in position to appropriately have that opinion.
It's not Mike's opinion, he just wrote it that way.
Mike, that's not a poor choice of words, that's bullshit. If it's your opinion that Finnegan will eventually run afoul of his coaches, then state it. Don't hide behind your vocabulary and being too cheap to hire an editor for yourself.
By this point, it's all off the rails. Completely off the rails, to the point where Finnegan is supposedly threatening Florio.
Nothing more gets mentioned about how Florio took Finnegan's characterization of Walton and turned it into a characterization about the entire Rams staff.
Finnegan did add this when talking about Walton:
"Was he not?" Finnegan shot back. "Call James Laurinaitis. Call Chris Long. Call Robert Quinn. Coach Fisher fired him."
Okay, I stopped for a minute. Where was I?
Oh, yes, back where we've always been, Florio being a tool.This time a player called him out on it, something only a player like Cortland Finnegan can get away with.
It's worth reminding you here that Mike Florio once got into a shouting match with a mascot on Twitter. He even lied about how many page views per month he gets ... TO A MAN IN A JAGUAR SUIT. Think about that next time Bob Costas sends it over the li'l guy at halftime on Sunday Night Football for an update on the things you heard about 4 hours earlier.
Mike Florio versus Cortland Finnegan is very much a duel we would like to see, 10 rounds of bare-knuckle boxing. For charity. We'll gladly kick in for the whole affair.