Sunday, December 28, 2008

Thoughts on Week 17 in the NFL

- 5 games come on in NY locally (1 being the Sunday night game), and all of them were terrible games. Unbelievable.

- Aaron Rodgers completed an impressive first season starting in the NFL today throwing for 4,038 yards, 28 touchdowns and 13 interceptions and leading the fifth ranked scoring offense, and the eighth ranked passing offense in the league. He has a bright future ahead of him, and the Packers found themselves a nice gem to build their franchise around.

- Drew Brees leads the comeback against the Panthers, then watches his defense give the lead back, and falls short of the passing record by 24 yards. I have a feeling Drew Brees will forever be a stat monger in New Orleans, as they seem committed to putting him opposite a crap defense.

-Congratulations to the Atlanta Falcons. Long overdue, and well late but congratulations to them on their significant turnaround and the success they have had this season. 11-5, who would've thought? They deserve this success, after the whole Vick/Petrino sagas.

- Dallas...Dallas...Dallas. I don't even know what to say. That team has a lot of issues, and that performance on Sunday was one of the worst I've ever seen in a game that mattered as much as it did. It was an unbelievably bad performance all the way around.

- As much as it burns my behind to say this, congratulations to the Miami Dolphins on their record turnaround, and their AFC East division crown. They've had a memorable season, and Sparano has done an incredible job. If they had an 'Offensive Coordinator of the Year' award Dan Henning would win that one easily. He has done a great job with the wildcat, the motion and the creative playcalling used as a masking device for Pennington. Watching the game though I must say about Pennington, he is still the same quarterback he always was, and while Favre didn't work out, I am glad the Jets took the chance and I am glad Chad is no longer the QB of the team as he was a dead end proposition.

- The Denver Broncos looked lost Sunday night. Can someone answer me this? Do the Broncos practice tackling? All year they have looked like a junior varsity high school team trying to tackle, and Darren Sproles exploited that in a big way Sunday night. The Broncos have serious issues on the defensive end and will never win until they fix them.

- Andre Johnson is absolutely ridiculous. It's too bad he plays for the Texans and isn't in the public eye more often, as he arguably the most complete WR the game has to offer. When will the Texans take the next step in being a playoff team? It was thought by many they'd take that step this season and they started off too slowly to make a run. They have the offensive pieces to do so, and they have a young nucleus of players on the defense (Super Mario Williams, DeMeco Ryans, Amobi Okoye). Houston needs to take that next step, and Andre Johnson will be pivotal in that journey.

- The Lions. I was glad to see them make history today as it is something I have never seen, but I feel bad for their fans. They have had to sit through years of Matt Millen's stupid and incompetent management, and now this? Don't worry Lions fans, it will get better soon. After all, it can't get worse, can it?

-There were many complete fold jobs by teams vying for playoff spots late. Denver, Tampa and the Jets all completed late season collapses with losses. Hopefully, for my sanity sake, the Jets collapse costs Mangini his job

Being a fan of the Jets is just painful

I'm a passionate fan. I love the Jets. I watch every game, root my heart out for them. I root for them with all my energy every week. When they lose a gut wrenching game, I take it hard. When they win, it puts me on a high for the week. No matter who's on the team, no matter how good or bad they have been I have been there right in front of my TV watching every minute of every game. From watching Kliff Kingsbury start at QB, to watching Brooks Bollinger run for his life, to watching Chad Pennington with half a shoulder I've watched as much Jets football as I can since Age 8 (Im now 21). 1998 the Jets make a magical run to the AFC title game, where they lose to a John Elway led Broncos team. The pain comes in because the Falcons were in the SB, and they didn't belong there. The Jets destroyed them earlier in the season, and the Broncos then proceeded to destroy them in the Superbowl. I have little doubt in my mind that the Jets would have walloped the Falcons had they made the Superbowl. That was the one game that actually brought me to tears. I was a young pup back then (11) but realized the importance of the game. And the manner which they lost was painful.

1999, SB expectations following Elway's retirement and the run to the AFC title game the year before, the energy surrounding the Jets is great. The kickoff before the first game, the crowd was going crazy. Before the first play, I go answer my door as the pizza had just gotten there, right in time. I come back, and there it is. Vinny Testaverde writhing in pain on the ground. I'm just like "..........." I had no words. He was holding his achillies and during the game the news came out. Torn achillies, out for the season. Just..........unreal. 2004, we make the postseason at 10-6, with a top 5 defense. We win an absolute roller coaster game against SD that featured a roughing the passer on Eric Barton that essentially tied the game for them after they missed a fourth down, and then a missed Nate Kaeding FG in overtime that gave the Jets new life. They promptly scored on the next drive to seal the deal and send themselves to the AFC divisional round.

Then this game against the Steelers, which Pittsburgh tried to gift wrap in every way imaginable. The Jets scored a defensive touchdown and a special teams touchdown, while Chad Pennington led us to a whopping three points. With all of that, after one of Ben Roethlisberger's 3 INTs on the game, Doug Brien had a chance to put the Jets in the lead with a little over a minute remaining. The FG hit the crossbar and bounced back, no good. Roethlisberger then threw another INT, and promptly we found ourselves in FG range. We then run the ball twice in an effort to run clock, then we take a knee to run more clock, which made little sense as we were going backwards. Doug Brien promptly missed the field goal by about 25 yards, then the Jets promptly lost the game in OT, in typical gut wrenching, excruciating 'Same Ol Jets' fashion. 2005-2007 were fairly nondescript seasons. Then this season, the Brett Favre trade happened before the season and nearly 200 million dollars were spent in free agency and expectations were at a reasonably high level for this Jets team to go out and prove something this season.

The Jets then sputtered to begin the season, sputtered through the first quarter of the season to a 2-2 season, including a pathetic loss to a Matt Cassel led Patriots team. Then the Jets went on a run after a close win over the inept Chiefs, winning five straight including wins over the rival Patriots and the previously undefeated Titans, where the Jets impressed in an absolute blowout. This then had people talking Superbowl, an all New York Superbowl. Over the last 5 games the Jets have lost games to the 49ers, Broncos, Seahawks and now completed the collapse with the loss to the Dolphins, and then watched the Dolphins celebrate the AFC East title on their homefield. Between Favre throwing stupid INTs like it was going out of style, and Eric Mangini standing there with that usual stupid look on his face, while chewing his gum and watching the defense get no pressure while getting shredded in the process the end of this season was a disaster. Same Old Jets? You bet. Oh the pain.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Oh how stupid I was to believe in the Jets...

The New York Jets, where to begin... I can begin with the disaster that was the last two weeks of horrid. I can begin with the sickening mentality of this football team or better yet the coaching staff. I can begin with the Jets reverting to Same Old Jets form. I can begin with the Jets apparently believing the season ended once they kicked the life out of Tennessee 2 Sundays ago.

I can begin with a lot of things, but mainly why did I take the bait? Why did I believe this team had turned the corner, and could overcome a completely inept coaching staff en route to a deep playoff run? In a conversation with my buddy Steve the other day, I asked him, "Is it bad I am thinking of the S word with this team?''. The 'S word' represents the Superbowl. Up until the last two weeks, I thought this was the best team I have seen since the '98 Jets which made the AFC Title game only to bring me to tears (literally) with a gut wrenching loss to the Broncos. But in the last two weeks, problems which have been a problem and I thought would hold this team back have resurfaced after the two big wins against Tennessee and New England.

-The quarterbacks have far too much time in the pocket. Between the coaching and the actual players, it's a joke to see QBs have enough time to get facials, manicures, go outside and pick up the paper before actually having to unload the football. Right now we have no one who can beat offensive linemen one on one consistently. Then you add the fact that for some reason, Mangini loves to send three at the QB, living in constant fear of getting beat over the top and the fact that the Jets are as vanilla as you can be with blitz schemes, and you get a horrific pass defense. It's amazing watching the other 3-4 teams, how different they are run compared to the Jets. The other 3-4 teams (Cowboys, Steelers, Patriots in particular), move around pre- snap, and give many different looks, while the Jets line up straight up, with no deception or anything as if they are going to bully the oppoonent apparently? I could go on all day but I'll end my frustrations with the defensive playcalling there.

-The offensive playcalling makes no sense either. Earlier in the season, the Jets played the Chiefs who were dead last in run defense and decided to go out all guns ablaze throwing the ball all over the place. Thomas Jones has been very good(wow how things change) for several weeks now, and you run the ball 11 times today? Why? Then again, making Shaun Hill look like Montana, and keeping their offense on the field couldn't have helped the cause.

-Laveranues Coles and his big mouth. The team is in the middle of a playoff race and Coles makes comments blasting Brett Favre. This guy has been consistently running his mouth, and where is the production ? 1 catch for 5 yards today. Good game Laveranues, keep running your mouth. You're definitely good enough to do so.

Look, this is definitely a post out of frustration as watching this team my entire life has been frustrating. I still think the team CAN make the postseason, and I am not giving up on them, but at this point, what's the use? The Ravens or Colts would both beat the snot out of the Jets. A Wildcard berth and a first round exit, what a surprise. I would almost rather the team go 8-8, and Mangini and company go bye bye. That is the only way this team will go anywhere. Then again, Woody Johnson, the Jets owner is clueless as well so he'd probably still keep Mangini here. Well hopefully the Jets can wake up. If not it will be a long offseason, especially if Miami with Ol Noodle manages to steal the division. Oy vey.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

My thoughts on the Plaxico Burress saga

As most people know, Plaxico Burress was involved in an incident last Saturday in the deep night, where he allegedly shot himself accidentally. Since it happened, the coverage of the incident and all the parameters surrounding it has been nonstop.

My thoughts on the situation go like this:

- As a New Yorker and Giant supporter I am disappointed to see Plaxico, after what he did for the team last season from both a motivational and on field standpoint, go out like this. Most likely, his tenure as a Giant is over and that is sad. I realize he did it to himself, and he hasn't exactly been the quintessential teammate but he did go out there last season and bust his hump to help this team win.

- I let out a hearty laugh when I read that upon checking into the hospital, Plaxico told them his name was Harris Smith and he was shot at Applebee's. How does that work? 'Excuse me, may I have some BBQ ri......NO!!!!!!!!!'

-His blunder is going to end up costing him a lot of money. He was fined by the Giants, an undisclosed amount, he doesn't see the 400,000 in roster bonuses, and probably won't see the last 6 years of his deal, especially given the fact that the Giants actually SAVE 4.4 million if they cut him next season.

- I feel bad for Antonio Pierce. Now the guy is getting hounded with questions, when essentially he was in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong person. It's not like Plaxico has a history of breaking the law, but on that night he did and now Pierce is in the middle of the mess.

- As far as Plaxico, he'll always have a place in my heart for his role in bringing NY a title last year. It was one of the more gutty performances I've seen over the course of a season, with the ankle problems he played through last year. Unfortunately for him, he made a mistake and it will probably prove to be a costly one.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Trade winds swirl; Knicks trade G Crawford and F Randolph

I woke up this morning to the news that Jamal Crawford had been traded to Golden State for F Al Harrington. It came as a bit of a surprise as the move came out of left field. Harrington to the Knicks has been rumored for awhile but the Warriors wanted no part of Eddy Curry. There were no indications that this deal was a possible one until the deal went down this afternoon.

My first reaction was 'YAY 2010', but after reflecting a little bit I'll miss Jamal Crawford. I realize that Crawford was a very flawed player (the guy's shot selection for the most part has been absurdly bad, and his defense is bad as well), but he was an exciting player who gave us a lot of nice moments on an otherwise awful team. He always played hard, never griped or complained about the situation and was a true professional. He tried to be a leader in what was a dead end of a basketball team, and I respect him for that. He did all he could, and I'm glad he is now thrust into a decent situation out on the West Coast, and it's close to home for him. He was my favorite Knick player, and while it is in the best interests in the team, it's still tough to see him go. I appreciate him, and wish him the best of luck in Golden State.

I honestly don't see the fascination with Al Harrington, but I'll definitely trust Mike D'Antoni's judgment over my own. He's a decent player but has never really been much more than that. His numbers have been incredibly consistent over the years though, and he reminds me of a more talented, and MUCH tougher Boris Diaw. He can handle the ball, he can shoot it, he can defend a little, he has a bevy of different talents. We'll see how it works itself out, but Harrington is good enough to not consider this deal a TOTAL salary dump. Was it done to get under the cap for 2010? Yes it was. Is Al Harrington the equivalent of a bag of used baseballs? Nope, he at the very least, is a decent player who can contribute to the team's well being the next couple of years.

Then later on in the day, a trade that was in the works the entire day finally was made official as Zach Randolph was shipped to the Clippers for a bag of baseballs which come in the form of Cuttino Mobley and Tim Thomas. Both of these fellows are roster placeholders for the next two seasons. Tim Thomas, while I absolutely despise him, can actually contribute in D'Antoni's system as he proved in Phoenix. Cuttino Mobley is just......blah. He is just a placeholder who can hold his own a bit on the court.

This trade was a salary dump and there is absolutely no doubt about it. The Knicks have been trying to find a sucker to take Randolph's contract for the longest and they finally found someone to oblige in doing so. As talented as he is (as evidenced by his 20 and 12 average this season), his contract was simply unbearable due to the fact that moving Eddy Curry's contract will be like moving mountains. I like the trade simply because it means a transition and it brings hope. Coming into the day, we had very little chance to make a splash in the 2010 year of the Unbelievable Free Agent Class. Now, as I head off to sleep soon, the Knicks are arguably the favorite to land LeBron James. Given what the Knicks are enduring right, could you really ask for more? I still think D'Antoni and Walsh have another move up their sleeves. Stay tuned.

All in all, this was a great day for the New York Knicks.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

My thoughts on the NBA through a few weeks

- LeBron James is staking his claim for MVP. I know its VERY VERY early, but the guy is playing out of his mind. It seems like every time you look up he has one of those 40, 8 and 7 type of games. If he can get any type of help from the cast he has around him (or lack thereof) the Cavs can be a tough out in the postseason

- To my surprise, the Chauncey Billups trade has paid immediate dividends for the Denver Nuggets, as they look like a completely different basketball team. Less bad shots, and more trust in the rest of the team is the biggest difference. Props to Billups and the rest of that team for making it work to this point. We'll see how long it continues.

- The Nets are absolutely putrid. I realize they beat the Hawks two straight games, but asides from that they have looked awful. Devin Harris and Ryan Anderson to this point have been the lone bright spots. I hope the Nets trade Vince Carter for some type of expiring contract and call it a day.

- Chris Bosh is becoming better as the years go by which is hard to believe. Lost in the rush to see LeBron James hit free agency after next season, is that Bosh can declare for free agency the same season. That free agent class might be the best in league history.

- Zach Randolph is boosting his trade value daily and I love it. The guy is playing great basketball, even though every time he hoists up a three I cringe. He is a beast on the boards, and is putting up monster numbers at this point. Hopefully the Knicks can get some team to take his horrific contract, and at this point it is likely they could. Thank you Mr D'Antoni.

- Gilbert Arenas is injured? I hardly noticed. That contract will be one of the worst in league history.

- Joe Johnson is the most underrated player in basketball, maybe in all of sports. This guy does everything you want out of a two guard, is productive and plays hard yet doesn't get recognition? He can shoot with the best of them, he can create his own shot, he can defend, he can pass. If he played in New York, he'd have a statue outside Madison Square Garden. That is obviously an exaggeration but you get my point.

-The Lakers are essentially going to sleepwalk themselves to the number 1 seed in the Western Conference. I'd be shocked if the Finals matchup isn't between them and the Celtics.

-While Memphis may not be anything noteworthy now, their core of young players is definitely going to be reckoned with in the future. O.J. Mayo is showing already that he can score on the NBA level, Rudy Gay has crazy upside and Mike Conley can be a solid point guard in the future. If Marc Gasol can provide the Grizzlies with anything from the C spot, the Grizzlies can be a playoff team in the near future.

Thoughts on Week 11 of the NFL

While Matt Cassel looks like a decent QB, other from his starting inability to complete a deep pass of any sort, some poor team is going to end up breaking bank for him and treating him like Matt Schaub. Who will it be? Detroit? Minnesota? Who knows, but some team is going to rue the day they gave Matt Schaub a big contract.

-How Denver is 6-4, I have no idea. They are clearly the worst division leader in the NFL, but despite all the guys on IR and a poor defense they just keep on chugging. I think Jay Cutler should get mention as league MVP. Denver is leading their division without the benefit of a defense, and with seemingly half their roster on IR. Cutler's numbers, while not as good as Warner's, are comparable, and he is doing it with much less talent around him. I find it funny that it's basically a One Man race at this point, when there are other viable candidates. Props to Spencer Larsen for starting on both sides of the ball (FB, and LB), and doing a good job. That's how bad the Denver injury situation has become.

- The Colts just keep on chugging. I'm telling you, as a team right now, seeing Peyton Manning come January would scare the daylights out of me, and the poor team that runs into them can thank the Houston Texans and Minnesota Vikings for not finishing off the Colts when they had the chance. When you have a Hall of Fame QB coming off a surgical procedure, and a defense struggling, you have to put that team away. Now, the Colts are alive and kicking. Beware, AFC, beware.

- The Giants just impress me more and more every week. The Ravens, and their vaunted run defense, come to the Meadowlands and it doesn't make a lick of difference as the Giants run all over them. Derrick Ward is a nice back. While the offensive line is obviously what makes all of the runningbacks look as good as they do, Ward breaks a lot of tackles, and has a nice array of moves when he gets to the second and third level of the defense. I wonder who will be the next team to beat the Giants. I can't wait to see the next installment of Giants/Cowboys. That should be fun.

- The perennially overrated Eagles put on an impressive display, scoring 13 points in 5 quarters against the dreadful Cincinnati Bengals. Then after the game, McNabb rambled on about knowing the tie rules in football. Now, I'm not surprised he didn't know about them, and he might not have been serious. That being said if you are going to lay it on thick, "What happens if this were to take place in the playoffs or Superbowl' is a little bit too thick and makes you look like an absolute buffoon. Maybe he was trying to take attention away from his piss poor performance. If he was, he did a great job.

-Tennessee just keeps on winning. Every week they find a different way to win. This week they fell behind 14-3 early, and the run was getting stuffed once again. With a stifling defensive effort in the second half, and effective passing by Kerry Collins, the Titans pulled themselves out of the hole. Justin Gage had himself a wail of a ballgame. Hopefully the Jets take them down this week.

- That was a big win for the Cowboys Sunday night. It wasn't pretty, but it was the type of grind it out, tough nosed victory that you see in playoff football. Romo wasn't great, but when the team needed him the most, he came through by leading the team on a scoring drive. Also, Marion Barber absolutely pummeled the Redskins defense all throughout the fourth quarter, pounding them into submission and wrapping up a Cowboys victory.

- Another year, another strong start, another inevitable collapse for the Buffalo Bills. Ho hum.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

My thoughts on the Knicks through nine games

Sitting at 6-3 the Knicks look leaps and bounds better than last season. They look like a respectable basketball team in many different respects, and look like a well coached basketball team.

So far my thoughts on the team as a whole:

-Wilson Chandler is a baller. The young man can play, and he looks to have a promising future as long as Coach D'Antoni is running the show. His athletic ability, his shooting ability have impressed me. Also, he is a nice rebounder who has a knack for the ball, and he can bang down low. D'Antoni has compared him favorably to Shawn Marion. That speaks volumes (though I do think Marion is very overrated, look at what he did with D'Antoni in Phoenix.

- Chris Duhon is a good distributor. Throughout the course of the season I think he will have to contribute more offensively, but right now he is finding open man, and playing good defense. He has proven to be a good signing thus far.

- When Jamal Crawford is going well, there aren't many guys in the league who I'd rather have with the ball in his hands in a big spot. That being said, that doesn't happen too often, but right now he is going well. He is shooting the lights out, and looks confident as ever shooting the three.

-Defensively, the Knicks are still a work in progress but they are playing better in that department as well. The effort is there, and the teamwork is there. Guys are covering for each other and communicating on the court more than I've seen from these guys recently. The lack of size upfront is hurting the team right now, but the effort on that side of the court is definitely there and that is a good sign.

- I think once Jared Jeffries comes back, David Lee will start to be phased out of the rotation a bit. I, for one, hope they trade Lee and get some value for him while they still can. While I like the guy's hustle, his defense is subpar and his offensive game still leaves a lot to be desired. In the offseason he will be commanding 10+ million, and paying that for an energy player with a limited offensive game is a bit short sighted. I trust that D'Antoni and Walsh will do the right thing.

- Zach Randolph is playing excellent ball right now, averaging 20 PPG and 12 RPG. He has all the talent in the world, no one ever questioned that, but he tends to phase out his teammates with his lack of passing and general attitude concerns. I see that Donnie Walsh knew what he was doing when he didn't just give away Zach in the offseason for a cup of cold coffee and a half eaten donut from the Clippers. Hopefully Zach continues on this pace so the team can rid themselves of the contract and potentially get a decent player for him.

Right now the Knicks look like a team on the rise, but it is still early. The teamwork, the offensive production, and the coaching have all been excellent and that is a great sign. Much like with the Jets, it seems as if times are a changing with the Knicks. Hopefully they can keep it up and bring playoff basketball back to the Garden

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jets defeat Patriots 34-31; sit atop AFC East

That was a hell of a football game. There were so many ups and downs, so many momentum swings. The Jets went up 24-6 early, with a picture perfect offensive display, then when it came down to the 2 minute segment of the first half, the Jets let the Patriots off the ropes with conservative play.

The Patriots couldn't stop them for the entire first half, the Jets get the ball back and run once, then throw a short pass, then get a delay a game and finally run a draw then punt. After that the Patriots proceeded to take the ball and take all momentum, attacking Dwight Lowery and the rest of the bewildered Jets defense en route to a touchdown, which gave them life and sucked the wind out of the Jets.

Other thoughts on the game:

-I don't think the Jets will win anything with Eric Mangini on the sideline. There is no reason why the Jets should have been forced to win this game multiple times and that is exactly what happened. After dominating early, the Jets instead of burying the Patriots let the foot off the gas. Therefore the Patriots were in this game for far too long. Between the extremely frustrating rush 3 and 4 on defense, and the head scratching playcalling on offense, the Jets looked like a completely different football team. That is a sign of bad coaching.

-Dwight Lowery should not be a starting CB on a team with championship aspirations, period. I think he has promise, and he is doing alright for a 4th round rookie thrust into a starting role of a complicated scheme, but he isn't accustomed to the game speed in the NFL yet, and it shows every week. As much as I know Darrelle Revis is a stud, there is a reason no one throws at him. Why throw at him when you have Lowery on the other side?

- Jerricho Cotchery continues to be a Patriot killer. It seems like every time these two teams get together, Cotchery makes a big play to change the game. His fumble hurt, but with the amount of good he did, it went largely unnoticed. It's amazing that Herman Edwards really had this guy on the bench in favor of Captain Concussion, Wayne Chrebet. That one-handed catch he made on the duck thrown by Favre was absolutely splendid.

- Dustin Keller showed exactly why the Jets took him in the first round. He has playmaking ability, good speed, and has good hands. He played a great game tonight and caused problems for New England over the middle of the field, which came into play later on, when a NE linebacker jumped a route to Keller, leaving Coles open behind him on the catch that put the Jets in FG range during the OT session. The threat of Keller opened up space for Coles. It was a beautiful sight, and hopefully one that will be seen a few more times throughout the remainder of the season.

-Matt Cassel looked very good tonight. He made a lot of plays with his feet, and he has a strong arm as seen with the velocity he had on his passes. I think he has a future in the league, and think this Patriots offense could be potent with him, if he ever learns how to throw deep passes. He had Randy Moss open deep twice, and overthrew him by a mile each time. Other than that, his game is fine. Maybe it's the system masking his deficiencies? Who knows, but if the offensive line gives him time to pass the team will be fine.

-This is the type of game the Jets acquired Brett Favre to win, and win he did. Favre was magnificent tonight and this was his best game as a Jet to date. He was precise with his throws, he had his trademark fastball tonight. He made good decisions and got everyone involved in the game. He led the team to 27 points in hostile territory with a defensive wizard on the other sideline (one that has owned him for the last decade to boot), and led this team from the dead twice. After New England kicked the FG to tie the game at 24, Favre led the team down on a long touchdown drive. After New England tied the game at the end of the fourth in logic defying fashion, Favre drove the team down in overtime to win it. This is the type of game the Jets got Favre to win, and this is why I'm glad Favre is on this team instead of Chad Pennington. Thank god. Brett showed why he's a Hall of Famer, tonight. He took the team on his back and carried it to a win

- I love Leon Washington. The guy is exciting, and is a return demon. I wish they would give him the ball more but with Jones going the way he is, that case is starting to dwindle.

All in all, I am very proud of this Jets team. They went up 24-6, by dominating the Patriots, the Patriots came back, and they withstood the barrage on two different occasions. This is the type of game the Jets historically do not win, and never have. It feels like the culture is changing with the New York Jets, and we'll see how it goes even though I feel with each game I watch, the Jets slash a year off of my life. Congrats to the Jets, they deserve this. Now keep the train going, don't stop. Ride it all the way to an AFC East crown.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Thoughts on week 10 in the NFL

-Jay Cutler's performance Thursday night was simply scintillating. Everything seemingly going against Denver, between the dropsies and the Broncos usually pathetic defense, Cutler hauled that team on his shoulders and took them to a victory.

-The Falcons, is there anything more to be said about these guys? Great story, good team to this point in the season. These guys continue to play hard and change the culture down there in Atlanta. To this point I couldn't have been any more wrong about Matt Ryan. Big time props to him, as he has looked good the majority of the year.

-I feel terrible for Seahawks fans having to watch Seneca Wallace every week. This guy is absolutely awful. Watching the end of the Miami-Seattle game, and his throws floating all over the place made me reminisce back to the Chad Pennington days as a Jet. I was talking to a close friend of mine that night and he said to me 'One thing I don't understand about Wallace is why he doesn't run more', and my response was, 'One thing I don't understand about Wallace is why he has the letters 'Q' and 'B' next to his name on the depth chart. He has shown serious flashes at WR, he is beyond terrible as a QB, Seattle's WR corps has NEVER been good. You would think it all adds up, but maybe there is something behind the scenes that I am missing.

- I am glad to see that the Buffalo Bills have come right back to earth like I thought they would. THEY ARE WHO I THOUGHT THEY WERE!!! Anyway, once they start playing inside the East, they have come right back to reality. And I STILL don't see what's so wonderful about Trent Edwards, can someone enlighten me? Maybe it's the shiny QB rating, which indicates nothing, or the TD:INT ratio of 1. I don't know what it is, but the Edwards koolaid has been overflowing since last season and I don't understand why.

- The Rams are absolutely, positively GOD AWFUL. I can't remember the last time I watched a game featuring the New York Jets where I had absolutely no doubt from start to finish that they would win. 40-0 at halftime, seriously?

-Thomas Jones has simply been very good these last few weeks, and is running the ball a lot better. A lot less dancing and "cha-chaing" and a lot more running straight ahead. Kudos to him, as I've been down on him for the last year. The Jets offensive line and Jones are both starting to come together at the right time.

- The Chargers and Colts both should be dead and buried for this season, but they are both like the guy in the horror film who you think is dead at 15 different points throughout the movie, but never ends up dying. The Colts had two games (Texans, Vikings), with big comeback wins, and the Chargers were 2 yards away from losing to the Chiefs which would have put them at 6 losses. As much as both teams are struggling, as a team in the postseason, I would be weary of facing either one of these teams.

- The Patriots just keep on chugging. I think this shows, contrary to the popular belief, that this team was built around one guy. The defense and the coaching staff has stepped up. If it continues, I think Bill Belichick should be a serious contender for Coach of the Year. He lost the alleged 'Best Player in the NFL' in week 1 and his team has continued to win, and are leading one of the better divisions in the NFL from top to bottom (Record Wise anyway). He has done an incredible job keeping that team together.

-The Titans are just a blue collar football team, which is why they don't get as much credit/airtime as they deserve. They are not the Patriots, they don't score 40 pts a half, but they keep on winning. The Chicago Bears stepped up and stopped their running game, the Titans bread and butter, and then Kerry Collins beat them with his arm. It will be interesting to see how far the Titans go in the postseason.

-Why did the Detroit Lions sign Daunte Culpepper? Why? Why not give Drew Stanton a shot? Can it hurt? Signing an old retread, who has done absolutely nothing without Randy Moss solves what? All I can say is, if the Lions keep up the way they are going, Matt Stafford declares for the draft, and the Lions don't take Matt Stafford, that is a head scratcher. They need a blue chip QB prospect to start the healing.

- Adrian Peterson is incredible. Period.

- The Giants are the best team this league has to offer in my opinion. That is no disrespect to the undefeated Titans, but they don't have the offense that the Giants have. The Giants run game is the best in the league, and they have the weaponry to beat you in the air if necessary. Also, the Giants can win any kind of game. They can win the high scoring affairs, like they did Sunday, they can win the "grind it out", low scoring affairs like they did in the playoffs last season. They are the cream of the crop.

-The 49ers. I was just in amazement at that clock management. In an effort to keep this short and sweet, there were 40 seconds left, and you have 4 shots to get in the endzone, and the 9ers got off 2 plays. I think that tells all right there. And why oh why did they take all that time off the clock on 2nd down, just to spike the ball? WHY? If you were going to take that long, why not just run a play?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Jets @ Patriots- Rivalry renewed, battle for 1st place

This is the first Jets-Patriots game with any major implications since the 2006 playoff game which the Jets happened to lose. Since that game the Jets have been mostly a disaster, and the Patriots have flirted with perfection.
In week 2 of this season, fresh off the news of Tom Brady's season ending injury, the Patriots walked into the Meadowlands and beat the Jets 19-10.

As much as I blame Mangini for coaching like a scared puppy the entire game, the MVP of that game without question was Stephen Gostkowski. Every single kickoff he made that game went right through the endzone. Gostkowski's performance along with the long, methodical, time killing drives were key as they heavily impacted the field position battle, which New England won handily all game, forcing the Jets to drive the length of the field to score.

Since then, a lot has changed. I now hold my breath every time Brett Favre throws a pass, the Jets have been utterly dominant on both the offensive, and defensive lines, Matt Cassel is more seasoned, among other things. Kris Jenkins has been everything any Jets fan, scout, coach, employee could have dreamed of and more. The Patriots defense is being relied on to keep the Patriots in games, which is a complete 180 from last year, when it seemed like the Patriots scored 6 TDs every quarter. All in all, the Patriots still have managed to win games without Brady, which shows just how important the New England defense has been throughout this run of success over the last seven years.

As far as the game goes, the Jets need to win this to have any shot at the division. With a loss to the Patriots in week 2, a loss here puts the Jets a game behind the Pats, and the Patriots have the tiebreaker. A loss here basically limits the Jets to thinking in terms of the Wildcard, and in the AFC there is a lot of jockeying for those two spots, even though the Jets have the upper hand in that regard at the moment. At the very moment, the Jets are a more talented team across the board than the Patriots are. They have a productive QB, Thomas Jones is playing well, and the Jets have dominated in the trenches recently.

It comes down to a few things:

- Mangini drawing up an aggressive gameplan. I don't care who is playing quarterback for New England, you will never beat them playing the way we did in week 2. Playing scared and not to lose, is not the way to beat them. You have to go out and there and force the issue, grab the proverbial bull by its horn. Mangini, for some reason or another, always coaches scared against Bill Belichick. It has to stop here, if the Jets want to win this game.

- The Jets offensive line vs the Patriots defensive line. In the Week 2 tilt, in a big goalline stand the Patriots managed to stop the Jets 3 times from the 2 yard line. Wilfork, Seymour and Warren make up possibly the best defensive line in the NFL. Faneca, Ferguson, Mangold, Moore and Woody will have to earn their paychecks this Thursday.

- The Jets forcing the game into Cassel's hands- The Patriots, without Brady, like to employ a ball control type of offense. They like to run the football, and it is essential that the Jets force Cassel to beat them in the air. The passing game is similar in that its is a short pass attack predicated on timing, 3 step drops, and an assortment of short routes. The biggest difference is that Cassel hasn't proven he can attack deep anywhere near consistently enough to be considered a threat.

As a Jets fan the matchup of Belichick vs Mangini concerns me, as Belichick has owned Mangini time after time during his brief tenure as Jets coach. And the Jets coverage on the short passes over the middle concerns me, as the Jets have been brutal in that regard all year.

So Thursday is the day, 1st place in the division is on the line, heated rivals get together on National TV. The Jets are flying high, and as of right now are the more talented team. The ball is now in their court, as they need to go out there and kick the Patriots in the teeth. If the Jets don't beat the Patriots now, they'll never beat them.

Jets 24

Patriots 20

Allen Iverson to Pistons

In a somewhat bold move earlier this week, the Detroit Pistons sent G Chauncey Billups, and F Antonio McDyess to the Denver Nuggets in exchange for G Allen Iverson. This move comes as a bit of a surprise given how much Detroit likes Billups, and the timing of the move (right in the middle of a 4-0 season).

I feel that Detroit got the better end of this trade by a mile. For the last few years, I've been saying repeatedly, while watching Detroit essentially get bounced by one man teams, that Detroit needs a dynamic scorer to compete. You can have this team basketball and chemistry all you like, but in the NBA you need a superstar to win. Boston has Paul Pierce, and Kevin Garnett, the Spurs have Duncan, Miami had Shaq and Wade, the Lakers had Shaq and Kobe.

Team basketball is nice, but when it comes down to 2 minutes and you need one guy to take over a game, all those teams had their go to guy. Detroit has never had one until now. Now the jury is still out on whether Iverson can coexist with a team like Detroit, and whether his style of play can mesh with Detroit's halfcourt style. That being said, Detroit has NEVER had a great offensive player, they have never had someone who can consistently take over a game, and they have never had someone who can break down anyone in the league off the dribble. Now they have that dynamic playmaker, we'll see if he can fit into their plans.

I don't think Iverson is an NBA point guard though, so Detroit is going to have to do something in that regard. They can either slide Stuckey into the starting rotation, slide Iverson to the 2, then bring Hamilton off the bench, or place Iverson into the Ginobili role, of "Super Sub". Do I think this assures Detroit a title? No, but I do believe as a result of this trade they do have a better chance at a title than they did last week. If the trade doesn't work out for Detroit, they simply let Iverson go, move on with Stuckey as the point guard and hope to make a serious push at one of the big free agents in the off season of 2009. It is a win-win situation for the Pistons. They had gone as far as they were going to do with Billups leading them, it was time for a change, and Detroit made one and it works out well for them from every vantage point imaginable.

Now from Denver's standpoint, I don't think it's a good trade for them (basketball wise) but I realize given the fact that Iverson was going to walk after the season anyway, along with the fact that bad contracts (Kenyon Martin making 45 million for the next 3 seasons, and Nene making 41 million for the next 4 seasons), it makes the move almost a necessity for Denver to do this to remain competitive. Considering the fact that even with Iverson's contracts coming off the books, Denver was unlikely to be a serious player in free agency for either of the next 2 seasons, due to the terrible contracts of Nene and Martin in particular, the trade makes sense. I think that Iverson is the clearly superior basketball player but there are many reasons to make that trade for Denver. The financial reasons, getting a true point guard to run that offense up there, and defensively Billups is an upgrade (though I believe we will see him exposed a bit without the varying plethora of shotblockers that Detroit always put behind him). The move for Denver was a short term fix for what will end up as a long term problem. The move was made to stay competitive enough to keep the fans relatively interested but it doesn't make Denver a title contender now or in the future, unless a lot of things change.

All in all, its an even trade for both sides when you consider all of the external ramifications. Now hopefully for Iverson, for Detroit, and the fans of both parties, he can get that elusive first championship ring. It won't be easy, but I like Detroit's chances much more now than I did a week ago.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The NBA season is all but here

With the NBA season upon us I, as a Knicks fan, am looking forward to the season for the first time in what seems like decades. Here are my thoughts, surprises, expectations and other things for the 2008-09 season.

- For all of those folks who may play fantasy basketball I am going to give you a name to remember (I'm not big on fantasy basketball so he may actually be on the radar or what have you). Wilson Chandler of the New York Knicks. That is the name, he will have a major impact this season statistically. I believe he'll throw up a 15 and 7 type season in his first season in D'antoni's system. And who knows, if he starts it could be better than that. Picking that guy in round 8-10 will be great value for a lot of people. Hopefully he stays healthy as I think the guy can flourish.

- I am very interested to see how the young nucleus in Memphis performs. Now I realize they are a bad team, have been so forever, and will probably continue to do so, but the core of Mike Conley/O.J. Mayo and Rudy Gay can be something special in the future. I'm curious to see what strides they take this year. Gay just came off of a 20 and 6 season in his sophomore season in the NBA, and the sky is the limit with a guy of his caliber of talent. No offense to Shane Battier as guys like him are valuable in their own kind of way but I didn't understand it on draft night, and I still don't understand why you would trade away the #8 overall pick, which ended up being Gay, for Shane Battier. That moves still makes me scratch my head.

-Speaking of young talent has anyone paid attention to what the Blazers have done in the draft the last couple of years? They drafted a potentially game changing big man, they drafted a young stud in Brandon Roy, another nice big in LaMarcus Aldridge, now Jerryd Bayless. On paper, the Blazers have absolutely made a living in the draft. They are building their team the right way and seem to be on the road to success. We'll see how it plays out. I think having Oden in the middle defensively will do wonders for their defense. When you have a shot blocker and inside presence on the inside it makes offense harder for everyone on the opposing team and it makes perimeter defense easier for everyone on your team given that they can play tighter defense. It's somewhat similar to playing CB with a guy like Ed Reed playing behind you. You can be as aggressive as you want with that kind of security blanket behind you.

- If Jermaine O'neal can stay healthy (yep I know, that if is as big as
Shaquille O'neal), the Raptors will be tough to handle. Having both O'neal and Bosh to block/alter shots will do wonders for the Raptors defense, and with their assortment of perimeter shooters and a rising young point guard in Jose Calderon, who reminds me of a poor man's Steve Nash. They have the talent, but I don't think much of their head coach. Sam Mitchell seems like a loose cannon. I'll be interested in seeing what they do this year.

- Maybe this is the season, Tyrus Thomas finally elevates from glorified pogo stick to good player? I doubt it, but boy has he been disappointing for a #2 overall pick. All the talent in the world, but a limited offensive game, and what seems like a limited basketball IQ. Between Thomas and one of the biggest stiffs in the NBA Joakim Noah, could the Bulls have done any worse?

- The Denver Nuggets are stuck in neutral. Bringing back Iverson from a basketball standpoint, is kind of pointless. If they did feel they were title contenders, they wouldn't have just given Marcus Camby away for the good ole fart in the jar. So if you don't feel you are a title contender, the point of bringing back Allen Iverson at his price (besides the business ramifications), was? He's a good player but at this point is he worth 22 million?

- Can Chris Paul be the best point guard
EVER when his career is over? I know, I know, that is a very lofty and presumptuous kind of question but his numbers and progress cannot be denied as he gets better annually and has one of the better skillsets at the position that the league probably has ever seen. He just came off a 21 and 12 season where he should have been league MVP. It's scary to think, but I truly believe that he can do that consistently. Can you imagine that? Nope, I can't either.

-Interesting to see that in the first year, of that incredibly unwarranted contract, that Gilbert Arenas is already hurt. So he's injury prone, selfish, doesn't play defense, has no sense of what a good shot is, and is practically a black hole offensively. Washington's management was thinking more economically than their brains on this one in my opinion. We will look back at that and it will be one of the worst contracts in recent memory.

- I love Jason Kidd, and I've made that be known as much as I can. He has brought me some of my greatest memories as a basketball/sports fan, and I miss him dearly even though it was probably the best thing for all the parties involved that he was traded. It's a shame he probably won't see a ring, but I still am greatly entertained by his game, and hope he can have a big year. I think he will, as this is a contract year and its probably his last chance to cash in.

- LeBron James for MVP, start the campaign now.

- I swear I feel like I'm the only one who doesn't understand what was so great about the Mo Williams acquisition for the Cavaliers? What does he add that they didn't already have? All he is, in my opinion, is a rich man's Delonte West. Cleveland needs a post threat, and they still don't have that. Instead they are paying a better version of Joakim Noah 17 million (Ben Wallace). Was getting Wally Sczerbiak and Delonte West really worth taking on that absolutely horrific contract? I think Mo will contribute but I don't really think he makes them that much better.

- With the presence of Elton Brand in Philly now, I definitely think that Iguodala can vault himself into the company of the elite, he just needs to work a little on his offensive game. The athleticism is there, and the defense is there, if he can get to the point where he can be a go to player offensively, he will be the straw that stirs the Philly drink, all the way to the playoffs.

-The Boston Celtics will repeat as champions this year.
- The Portland Trail Blazers will make the postseason
- LaMar Odom will not finish the season with the Lakers
-The Hawks will fall back to obscurity
-The Spurs will start off slowly with Captain Flop...err, I mean Manu Ginobili on the injured list.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The World Series

Game 1 of the World Series is beginning here shortly, but before then I will put my prediction and thoughts on the series out there.

As far as pitching goes in this series, I definitely think that Tampa has the upper hand. While I believe that Cole Hamels is right up there when it comes to best left handers in the National League, last time I checked he can't pitch all the games. After him it is very spotty, as you have a potentially nice #2 starter in Brett Myers, though you never know what you are going to get out of him, Jamie Moyer who never pitches well in the postseason as the 'slow, slower, slowest' stuff doesn't get it done.

I think Joe Blanton is a wildcard here, as he is a guy who can give solid innings, so if he gets a chance to pitch in this series it will be worth watching to see how he fares. As far as the bullpens go, the Phillies have the advantage here by a longshot. Brad Lidge hasn't blown a save all year, even though I tend to think that he is due. As good as the guys in Tampa were during the regular season I think they showed during that seven run debacle in Game 5 against the Sox, that they aren't fully trustworthy. I think David Price is a sleeper though, his stuff is incredible and it seems as if the pressure doesn't get to him. If I'm Joe Maddon I'm using him as my closer this series.

As far as the hitting I'll give the Phillies the edge as they seem to have a million guys who can rake. They are not the best contact hitting team in the league but they can score, score and score some more. Tampa is no slouch in this category as they have several good hitters like Upton, Longoria and Crawford. I do think that Tampa's speed adds a different element to the game.

Keys to this series:

1) Chase Utley- I know this is somewhat redundant but this guy is their best position player. For them to win he has to produce, otherwise it's going to be a long but yet short series for Philly.

2) The Phillies have to win the games that Hamels start. He is their best pitcher, he is the only sure thing you have. If I am Manager Manuel I pitch Hamels in Games 1, 4 and 7 (if necessary). The Phils might be able to scratch one or two out with their other starters but they must win the games Hamels start.

3) The Rays youngsters- So far the brighter lights of the playoffs hasn't affected Upton, Longoria, Garza among others. They have to continue on that path, since this team is chock full of younger players. Evan Longoria seems like he is cool and collected, and BJ Upton does everything so smoothly (I mean, the guy probably brushes his teeth in a smooth fashion for pete's sake) so I don't think the butterflies will be an issue.

4) The Philadelphia "lunch pail players"- While some of these guys are actually quality MLB players, most of them are the hard working, dirty work kind of players. Guys like Shane Victorino and Jayson Werth along with Jimmy Rollins to a lesser extent, bring an energy to the team, and their production has also been good for the most part. Victorino seems to be developing a power stroke as well, as he has come up with several big hits. And of course Jimmy Rollins is the heart and soul of the Phillies team.

I like both of these teams, I think they are both very good and well constructed, but when it comes down to it, I don't think the Phillies have enough pitching to deal with Tampa. I like Philly's core of players and I think Jimmy Rollins is one of the best leaders in the sport. Their style of play, and the kind of players they have is the only reason I give them a shot in the series. I just think Tampa is very good, and destiny is on their side.

PREDICTION: Tampa Bay in 7 games

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Abomination that is called New York Jets..........

and their joke of a head coach, Eric Mangini.
Look, to all the people who may read or skim this blog, this will be as blunt, uncut and forthright an entry as I probably ever will write. Eric Mangini and his fat, arrogant, gum chewing, passive ways needs to be fired. He was good back in 2006 when he took a team nearly devoid of any talent and brought them to the playoffs with innovative schemes and aggressiveness, and actually playing to win. Now he coaches football like Mr Softee, but that isn't even the biggest issue with him. This team is NEVER prepared, and they have been unprepared, lackadaisical and emotionless for the most part this season and it is disheartening. The team has no identity on offense, and plays this bend but don't break nonsense which makes average QBs look wonderful and bad QBs look average.

What exactly did Eric Mangini do to get this job anyway? He was a defensive backs coach on a terrible pass defense for a season when the Jets decided to try and emulate the Patriots (god knows they've been doing this for WAY too long), but I digress as that is not even the point of this. Every single god forsaken game the Jets play you leave the game wondering 'Who the hell is this collection of morons' running the ship? Not one game this season have the Jets been well coached. NOT ONE. Do you know how pathetic that is? And that reached its pinnacle yesterday when Mangini was outcoached by Tom Cable. Yes, that's right, the coach of the most pathetic franchise in the NFL.

The Jets ran the ball as they so pleased yesterday as the Raiders were hell bent on taking away Brett Favre and the threat of the big play. They did that successfully as they harrassed Favre all day, as he made his trademark stupid decisions (see the blind hurl to Hall at the end of the 4th) and forced Jones to beat them, which he did somewhat successfully as he had a boatload of yardage and did whatever he wanted with the Raiders defense except score. While I am not criticizing Jones for his game yesterday, an average back scores 3 long TDs yesterday. Jones simply cannot make anyone miss and it was on display yesterday as Jones had several opportunities to 'hit a homerun' and did not do so.
Now, with Jones running the ball the way he was, you would think the Jets would have run a playaction fake somewhere in the second half? Throughout the fourth quarter and overtime I am sitting there waiting (more like hoping) for the playaction since the Raiders were literally sticking their entire team in the box. But the Jets coaching staff sat there with their collective finger up their collective ass, and ran, ran some more then ran some more. I have no issue with them pounding the rock, but what I do have an issue with is not running a single playaction pass, as well as running the ball the entire overtime period. The Jets were essentially waiting for the Raiders to hand them the game instead of going out there and taking it. This type of playcalling and general nature around the team has been going on for the last two seasons, and it absolutely repulsive.

My issues with Eric Mangini and the rest of this incredibly putrid coaching staff: That dumbass clueless look on Mangini's face no matter how the game is going. No matter the events in the game he has this same emotionless face and is chewing gum. I don't care about yelling and screaming and all that stuff, but could you at least look like you give a damn?

- The overly conservative, play not to lose, soft as charmin garbage playcalling that we Jets fans have to endure on a weekly basis. We trade for Brett Favre, and upgrade from one of the worst QBs in the league, yet we are running the same damn offense we ran last year. Why? What sense does that make? I understand it isn't feasible to throw 40 yard bombs every play, but can we see a 20 yard post? Can we see a playaction? - The use of Kerry Rhodes/the insistence on not putting any legitimate players around him and Darrelle Revis. Nobody has thrown at Revis or Rhodes all season long. Why is that? When you have the human turnstile (Eric Smith) and a rookie who was a 4th round draft pick, why would you throw near Revis or Rhodes? While I think very highly of Darrelle and have since the day we drafted him, does anyone think he is THAT good to the point where he hasn't been thrown at 10 times all year? I don't. I am not sitting here expecting a pairing of LaRon Landry and Kerry Rhodes (even though we could've traded Vilma to Washington and realistically made this happen), or a pairing of Darrelle Revis and Champ Bailey, but is it so hard to have two competent guys around our two very good players? Why the hell is Eric Smith still on the team let alone starting? Oh I forgot, he's smart, hard working and cares about football. Do those things make up for not having any talent, or not knowing how to play the safety position? By the way I am absolutely sick of 'hard working, smart and cares about football' Chad Pennington was all of the above and Eric Mangini swore for him like he was his son. Why? No idea. I guess it's the glaring lack of talent that Eric likes.

I like Dwight Lowery and he is playing well for a rookie 4th round draft selection, but is it really the smartest thing to have him out as the #2 CB when:

A) Our LBs in the middle are very shaky when it comes to pass coverage

B) Our pass rush (the pansy, soft as charmin, play not to lose 3 man rushes certainly don't help) isn't anywhere close to good enough to cover up liabilities much like the Giants is. I can't believe anyone actually thinks Aaron Ross is any good. Whenever the QB has a shred of time to throw the ball, he gets beaten and abused.

-The lack of adjustments. The gameplan isn't working, Mangini stands there with that dumbass look on his face meanwhile we continue to do whatever isn't working. I mean, how many times on 3rd down has the Jets defense rushed 3, watched the QB stand in the pocket until the next damn lunar eclipse and complete a pass for a first down? Hello, Coach, you have a rookie CB, a flat out garbage nickel back, and MLBs who have trouble in the pass game. Might want to try and say, I don't know, put pressure on the damn QB?

-The consistent sticking with favorite players no matter how much they suck and/or struggle. He stuck with Chad Pennington far too long, he stuck with Jonathan Vilma far too long (oh look Vilma just made another tackle 15 yards downfield), only god knows what his obsession with Eric Smith is, etc. If the players are bad, why keep playing them? There are many others but I could conceivably write a book on my problems with this clown and the rest of the clowns on his staff. Bottom line is this, I think the Jets are talented enough, especially with a depleted AFC, to make the postseason and I believe they will in spite of this utterly moronic coaching staff. That being said, we will never take any strides with Eric Mangini as coach. Woody Johnson, the Jets owner, needs to cut bait with that entire coaching staff as soon as possible, before its too late.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

WR Roy Williams to Cowboys

Just when you thought Dallas' offense couldn't get any more potent, they go out and acquire a big, talented, fast WR in Roy Williams. In a blockbuster move at the NFL trade deadline (those are a major rarity), Dallas acquired Williams from Detroit for 1st, 3rd and 6th round picks in the 2009 NFL Draft. The trade of Williams to Dallas is an intriguing one from many vantage points.

-Since Dallas already has the 3rd ranked offense in the league adding Roy Williams seems like overkill.

- Dallas is going for broke this season by trading for the aforementioned Williams who could have been had this offseason for just cash.

- Does Dallas plan on just outscoring everyone en route to a Superbowl win? We saw how well that worked out for the New England Patriots.

- How does Dallas plan on working out their defensive woes? PacMan is in 'trouble' again, Newman is out, whoever they line up opposite Hamlin at safety normally gets targeted. Personally I think they need to be more aggressive and blitz more often. They are playing passive and it shows.

-How does this open up the field for the rest of the weapons Dallas has? Are you going to leave Owens 1 on 1? Are you going to leave Witten 1 on 1 with a linebacker? Are you going to leave Roy 1 on 1? Are you going to bring an extra DB on the field and leave yourself susceptible to the ground attack led my Marion Barber running behind the five run blocking mammoths in front of him?

- How Mr. Owens feels about this. For the record I think he realizes that this move for the short term is good for him. Call me naive but I think he will jive with it. Perhaps I am giving him too much credit.

My thoughts on the trade
- I don't think you can evaluate this trade properly when it comes to its short term gain until the season ends. If Dallas gets to and or wins a Superbowl, the trade was a success for the now. I don't care how they win it, as long as they do. If they don't, I think it's a minor failure since Dallas has loads of young talent and a lot of picks coming to them in the upcoming draft. It's one of those that they will brush off and move on.

- If they don't win the Superbowl but put up production that rivals the 2007 Patriots at some point over the course of the next two seasons, the deal was a success. Since the Tony Romo stint as starting QB started the Dallas Cowboys, the Cowboys have scored the third most points in the league in that time period so there is nowhere to go but to write your names in the history books. As long as Mr. Romo does his part, there is no reason why Dallas cannot be a record breaking offense.

-I have read and heard a lot of people saying that this trade for Roy basically is the beginning of the end for Terrell Owens and I personally believe that they couldn't be any further off. Owens still has plenty left despite his apparent struggles the last three weeks. Now, obviously Dallas now has an insurance policy in the event that Owens goes loony or just flat out loses his skill over the next 10 or so games, but I think the purpose of this was to make this offense a juggernaut, not to replace the flashiest looking toy with another flashy toy.

- This trade is an excellent one for the Detroit Lions who seem to have turned the corner and are weeding out some of the bad seeds. First Millen, then Kitna (placed on IR despite saying that he can play), now Roy. They received a 1st and a 3rd for a guy who was not going to sign an extension with them under any feasible circumstances and have now quickened the recovery process. Good for them, the city of Detroit needs some good news regarding Detroit. It's a new day with the Lions, and the management so far has done well.

-Patrick Crayton, who I personally don't feel is any good, goes back to the slot where he belongs. Now he will get the Wes Welker treatment. He's yet another beneficiary of this trade. He'll see a lot of shoddy coverage and favorable matchups from here on out.

Final thoughts:

I respect Jones for trying to hit the homerun and win this team the Superbowl. In that regard there should be more owners trying to win, but it seems like too many are more worried about making money. Jones tries to win, and no matter who you are or how much you like or dislike the Cowboys you have to respect that. Now we will see whether the deal works out for Dallas, and I think it will. Williams won't have to be a focal point and is playing with a great quarterback, so he will get his. He just needs to focus on being a good teammate, and make the most of the opportunities presented to him.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Thoughts on week 5 in the NFL

-First and foremost I have to start on the Houston Texans. I don't normally use internet lingo in any of my entries. But scratch that for today and 'LMAOOOOOOOOO' @ Sage Rosenfels. I can't fault the guy for the second fumble since it was an excellent play by Robert Mathis, but the first one was simply, for lack of a better word, hilarious.

Funny components of that play:
1) The situation in the game. Rosenfels' team was up by 10 with a little less than 4 minutes left in the game.

2) The fact that Sage Rosenfels apparently thought he was LeBron James and tried to jump over/through FOUR Colts defenders, not one, FOUR.

3) The fact that if he landed safely he, in all likelihood, is STILL short of the first down, even with that incredibly idiotic effort.

4) The fact that Sage could have literally sat down and farted on the football for the last 5 minutes of the game, and that would have helped the Texans more than the events that actually took place.

- As most people who know me would tell you, I have a bias towards good quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger's 4th quarter performance is basically the epitome of why I hold that bias. Watching him dodge defenders and make throws in nail biting situations, was an absolute pleasure. And its also been nice watching him grow as a quarterback. He gets better every year, and it's like the man is impossible to sack. That was a big time performance at the tail end of that game Sunday. There's nothing like watching a QB with that proverbial 'ice in his veins' with the game on the line.

- The Lions are just bad, REALLY bad. Exactly what is the point of Marinelli still coaching that team? He won't be there next year anyway.

- Watching Herman Edwards fold tent is nice. He is proving his worth as a head coach right about now. He rode Parcells leftover talent in new York to two playoff appearances, weaseled his way out of New York, and now is stuck in Kansas City making a fool of himself on a weekly basis. Way to go, Herm.

- You know I must tip my hats to the Dolphins for two relatively impressive wins in a row. That being said, Chad Pennington getting credit for this success makes zero sense. All I've hard is how 'well' he's playing and how he brings 'credibility' to the QB position in Miami. A couple things about that, Chad has 3 TDs in 4 games, and Miami's offense is ranked 24th in the NFL in points scored. What exactly is Chad doing differently, that now all of a sudden is worth praise? Is it the fact that in nearly every big down, Miami takes the ball out of his hands and has Ronnie Brown in the shotgun taking snaps? Or the fact that Miami's defense held San Diego and New England to 23 points combined in successive weeks? Think that might have a tad bit more to do with the success of the Fins?

-Big time props to Matt Ryan. I've been on the 'Matt Ryan is a bust' train since Atlanta took him at #3 in the draft. He has been relatively underwhelming in my opinion, but much props to him for his performance against Green Bay this past Sunday. He was precise on his passes, and was very productive against a good Packers team. Kudos to Ryan.

- I'm glad to see Eli Manning still doing well as I thought he would. I realize the Giants have played nothing but pancakes asides from Washington thus far, but that never stopped Eli from playing like Inconsistent Eli in the past. He looks like a different QB, and his pocket presence is EONS better than it was at this point last season. On a side note, this Eli is the best Manning talk is WAY premature, and that is coming from one of his biggest fans. Eli could only dream to be as good as Peyton is.

- The Titans defense is just plain nasty. That style of football, while often ugly, is quite enjoyable at the same time. Physical, in your face football is enjoyable on so many levels. There is nothing better than the defense who hits you, hits you again, then gets in your face to yap about it, then comes back the next play and does it again.

- Either San Diego is not as good as I personally believe they are, or they are just slacking as usual early in the season, or the Shawne Merriman loss as severely damaged their season. Maybe it's all of above sprinkled with a side of bad Norv Turner coaching. Who knows, but San Diego needs to turn on the switch soon. I don't think they have too much to worry about since the AFC is all over the place, but so are they at the moment. They need to get it together.

-Jay Cutler is growing tremendously as a quarterback weekly. This past week the Broncos played a tough defensive team in Tampa, one that forces patience. Cutler, while he was not productive, took what the defense instead of recklessly forcing the ball like he has throughout his career. While it was a fairly nondescript day for Cutler, his maturity shows. If he ever puts it all together, you may be able to call him the best QB in the league at some point in his career. Oh and I am still laughing at the Titans for taking Vince Young over him. That was a bright move. Is it finally safe to say that Cutler is by FAR the best QB in that draft class or does the never-ending patience with the two busts, Leinart and Young, continue?

- I enjoy seeing the Eagles lose. I also enjoy McNabb talking out of his rear (per the usual, see the many times he has played the race card unnecessarily).

After the game, 'There's no way those guys are better than us'

Really Donovan? The 10 offensive points that
you led the team to, and the 200+ yards than the Redskins amassed on the ground seem to scream otherwise. So instead of giving the other team credit, you decide to take the 'we were better even though we were dominated and lost' angle. Well you can be 'better' all you want, but if McNabb doesn't step up his utterly underwhelming play then the Eagles will be golfing come January. Then McNabb will have all the time in the world to talk about how great the playoff-less Eagles were much like he did this past offseason when he claimed that the Eagles were the best team in the NFC. Really, is that why the Eagles finished 8-8 with little offensive production the entire year? Some people just do not belong with a microphone in front of them, and McNabb is one of them.

- I love watching Lee Evans play. That guy is so ridiculously fast and it looks like he isn't even trying. He's a nice all around WR, and as Trent Edwards develops as a QB, he'll be able to flourish in other areas to compliment his supreme deep ability. The guy is putting up madden esque numbers, 16 catches for 432 yds for an average of 27 YPC and a couple of TDs. On a side note, J.P. Losman might be a bad quarterback, but my oh my can he launch the deep ball.

- Reggie Bush had an excellent night in the return game on Monday but that leads me to a question. After the first return for a TD, and Reggie tripping over himself possibly preventing another TD, why would you tempt fate and kick it to him again? Bravado? Or the kicker just couldn't find out of bounds?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Yankee Stadium (1923-2008)

One of sports most famous sites, the Cathedral, also known as Yankee Stadium closed its doors Sunday night after 85 illustrious years in business. It closed on a positive note as the Yankees defeated the Orioles, 7-3 in a game that took an extreme backseat to the pre-game and post-game festivities. In an all around tough season for the Yankees this was definitely the best moment of the year. Though the Yankees are all but eliminated from playoff contention, this was a special moment, a special farewell that adds to the lore of Yankee Stadium.

I am a relatively young guy, 20 years old. I have been a Yankee fan since the strike shortened 1994 season, so needless to say when it comes to the Yankees, my tenure as a fan has been good. I've seen 4 World Series Championships, and ten division titles along with thirteen consecutive postseason appearances. Even with all of that, I would have to rank this up there when it comes to moments in relation to the Yankees. I've watched my beloved Yankees celebrate World Series titles, hit walkoff homeruns in the playoffs, clinch division titles among the many other goose bump inducing moments. I don't think any single moment or achievement tops the celebration of the Stadium that took place tonight. From the pre game festivities with the fans on the field, to the game itself with Andy Pettitte starting and Mariano Rivera throwing the last pitch in the history of the stadium, this was a beautiful night in the Bronx.

This is the kind of night that makes the Yankees one of the most famous organizations in pro sports. From the festivities, to the preparation to the post game speech by the Captain Derek Jeter to the victory lap around the stadium in front of a packed house, this is one of those moments, one of those days you probably don't see anywhere else. Seeing Bernie Williams, Paul O'Neill, and Tino Martinez as they came out of the dugout as they honored the old Yankee players during the pre game was heart- warming. Seeing those three men brought back a lot of positive memories, from the Martinez grand slam in Game 1 of the World Series that broke the game open, to Martinez game tying solo HR against Byung Hyung Kim in Game 4 of the 2001 World Series, to the fans chanting Paul O'neill's name as he ran into the Yankee Stadium dugout from right field for the last time.

Growing up as a youth, Yankee Stadium has always been a place to be for me. I'll remember taking the 4 train to the game, getting there early enough for Batting Practice then screaming for the players as they pass by the stands.

On a final note, I'd like to do the unthinkable and give credit to ESPN. Their coverage was absolutely excellent. From the beginning of the day to the point of silence after the last out for about 15 minutes, the coverage was definitely good. I mean, for once, the network just let the picture tell the story. I commend them for that, and maybe someone should send the memo to Tony Kornheiser.

I'll end the writeup with this. The most ironic part of the night is, if the Yankees make the postseason this send off most likely doesn't happen, since the Yankees would be 'knee-deep' trying to win a World Series, so I guess everything does happen for a reason. Goodbye Yankee Stadium, you have a special place in my heart and you will always be remembered.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Brady goes down; out for season

The worst case scenario happened for the Patriots this Sunday. Their superstar quarterback limped off the field with a knee injury after a low hit by S Bernard Pollard in Sunday's game. It didn't look good then, and the news that would come was even worse. They would come to find out that Tom Brady is done for the year. In a game against the potentially cellar dwelling Kansas City Chiefs, a far inferior team, the Patriots narrowly won the battle but lost the war in all likelihood. Now this opens the door and makes the AFC a lot more wide open than it was.

Matt Cassel, who has been a backup QB behind great QBs at every level will now step in and try to keep the ship afloat for New England who plays the Jets at the Meadowlands this week. Cassel backed up Matt Leinart and Carson Palmer in college and has backed up Tom Brady in the pros. Literally speaking, Cassel hasn't started a game since high school, which is incredible if you think about it. Cassel came in on Sunday against a team that didn't have a chance to gameplan for him, and a team with a glaring lack of talent offensively and looked merely decent. Decent won't be enough to do much on this team, unless the defense turns back the clock. With Belichick as the coach that is entirely possible but given the amount of old guys on the defense it isn't likely.

This loss obviously hurts the Patriots. Losing a top two quarterback in this league, one who threw 50 TD passes, and won the MVP is a blow of epic proportions. I don't think it leaves a mortal wound though. I still feel this Patriot team is a good one, with a great coaching staff, and a few good offensive players. I wouldn't be surprised if the Patriots surprised people this season. Belichick will have those guys ready to play, especially this week where they will play like a wounded animal. They will be desperate and hungry. I think they will win the game this week and go on to a respectable 10-11 wins, and win the division.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Redeem Team defeats Spain, wins the Gold

Spain had just cut the lead to two on a Rudy Fernandez three pointer. It was gut check time for the United States, and Coach Krzyzewski called a timeout with eight minutes left to play in the Olympics. All the sacrifices this team of superstars had made, all the time they put into this Olympics, achieving the gold medal they had to have came down to eight minutes of basketball.

Doubt started to creep, would the Americans crumble? Would they start to play 1 on 1 basketball? Well, fresh out of the timeout team play was still emphasized. Kobe Bryant drove the lane, the defense collapsed on him and he kicked the ball to a wide open Deron Williams in the corner. Williams nailed an open three pointer, and the doubts started to fade away a bit.
On the very next United States possession, Kobe drove into the lane once again drew the defense and hit Dwight Howard with a pass for a dunk.

The tables had turned, as the U.S. gave themselves a bit of a cushion on their way to winning the gold medal and putting U.S. basketball back on top. After embarrassments in the World Championships and the Olympics, a lot was said about basketball in the United States. The players being too selfish, the caliber of basketball in the U.S. taking a hit among other things. So in an effort to become a power in basketball again, Jerry Colangelo sculpted this team three years ago, and it has been a commitment ever since then. They brought the best talent over here, arguably having the two best players in the world (James, Bryant), 3 of the 10 best point guards in the world (Kidd, Paul, Williams), the best center in the world (Howard) among other talent. It was getting them to play as a team that was the most important part, because obviously the talent is there. It all came together, and the Americans did it. They brought home the gold.

On a side note, I deserve a face full of crow for my stance on Dwyane Wade being on the Olympic team. As is documented in my initial entry about the U.S. basketball team I didn't think Wade belonged there, as I felt we had three bigger better versions of him. Well, Wade was the best player in the Olympics as no one could guard him and he played great defensively. So, Wade gets props, as he played wonderfully.