Posts Tagged ‘ NFL ’

Sports …. Huge News Out of Florham Park

Huge news today out of FlorhamPark!  The Jets are putting the finishing touches on a trade that would send a 4th round draft choice to the Denver Broncos in exchange for QB Tim Tebow.  While I am not a huge Tim Tebow fan I think that this is a good move for the Jets.

First, the acquisition of Tebow gives the Jets and Mark Sanchez, in particular, something they have both needed which is a credible backup. Up until now Sanchez has not had to watch his back. Now he does.  Competition is a good thing and the arrival of Tebow should spark some healthy QB competition during training.  Also, Tebow was renowned for his work ethic and character which could and hopefully will rub off on his teammates.

Second, Tebow give the Jets offense new options.  When Brad Smith was still a Jets he would from time to time be brought in to run the “Wildcat” offense which is favored by both Rex Ryan and new Offensive Coordinator Tony Sparano.  When Smith left to sign with Buffalo the Jets lost this ability.  Tebow reopens and most likely expands their options in this area.   It also give opposing defenses something to think about knowing that the Jets could bring in Tebow with his unorthodox style at any point during the game.

Third, the acquisitiuon of Tim Tebow is a much needed addition of character and class to a locker room which RB LaDainian Tomlinson called “one of the most dysfunctional” he ever saw.  Don’t get me wrong not every player needs to be an angel (after all this is football not tidily winks) but there has to be a balance.  In seasons past the Jets had players like Leon Washington, Alan Faneca and , my favorite, Tony Richardson.  These were all class guys and solid citizens.  Tebows presence will hopefully restore some of that. Not to mention his reputation as a “winner”.

Lastly, do not take any of what you just read as a lack of confidence in Mark Sanchez.  Mark is and still should be the incumbent and I firmly believe everything I wrote in my earlier piece.  I merely think that this is a good fit, it gives the team enhanced flexibility and can only make the Jets better for this coming season.

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Sports – The Future Belongs to Sanchez…

So it would appear that MetLife Stadium will not become “Peyton Place”.  The Jets decision, last night, to extend the contract of Mark Sanchez all but precludes the possibility of the Jets making a play for Peyton Manning.   I know that there has been some disagreement amongst Jet fans on this issue. Many felt the availability of Peyton Manning represented a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to bring the future Hall of Famer to the Meadowlands and in the process make the Jets a sure favorite to be play in the Super Bowl next February in New Orleans.  I, however, am not one of those Jet fans.  I think the Jets made the right decision and will tell you why.

First, Manning is 35 and coming off a lost season in which he did not play at all due to pre-season surgery on his neck.  The Jets have had experience with QB’s in the 35+ range.  Does anyone remember the Brett Favre fiasco?  Now I understand that there are those that will say that there is no comparison.  That Peyton is a much better QB than Favre.  That may be so but we were sold the same song and dance four years ago with Favre; about how he is surefire HOF’er and how he would put the Jets over the top.  Furthermore, a move for Manning on the heels of the Giants winning yet another Super Bowl would reek of a level of desperation that would overwhelm the stench of the swamp on which MetLife Stadium is built.

Second, bringing in Manning would have all but guaranteed the release of Mark Sanchez.  While not a perfect QB, Sanchez does not deserve to be discarded.  Sanchez’s numbers have steadily improved over the course of his three years in the NFL.  As a matter of fact, his first three seasons compare favorably, at least statistically, with those of Eli Manning, now considered amongst the “elite”.  In their first three full seasons as starters Eli Manning is 29-19 while Sanchez is 28-20.  Not to mention the fact that in his first two seasons he won four road playoff games and took the Jets to two straight AFC title games.  The big difference is that Eli made the GIANT (no pun intended) leap of leading the Giants to Super Bowl in his third year but had lost is first two playoff starts in prior starts.  Also consider that Eli spent part of his first year as understudy to Kurt Warner, a pretty good QB in his own right. Sanchez, by comparison, was all but immediately named the starting QB of the Jets, anointed the “Sanchize” and savior of the Jets, after only one season as starting QB at USC.

I have long said that Sanchez is the kind of QB you can win with but probably not because of.  While talented I do not think he can single-handedly lead a team to victory but he is still young and that could still come. Does he need to step up and take that next step? Yes.  Does he need to concentrate more on football than on super models, starlets and celebutantes?  Yes.  Do the Jets need to bring in a credible backup to push Sanchez to excel?  Yes. Do they also need to improve his protection?  Yes. BUT the future still belongs to Sanchez.

Lastly, I firmly believe that one of the prime reasons the Jets have been such a disappointing franchise throughout their history is because of impatience and institutionalized chaos.  Since the year 2000 the Jets have had four different head coaches.  The Giants have had two.  The Pittsburgh Steelers have had two since 1969!  Since 2000 the Jets have had four different starting QB; the Giants two; the Steelers three.  They have repeatedly and consistently shown an inability of draft a plan and carry it out.  This destruction pattern has to stop if the Jets are ever going to be successful.  In my 30 years as a Jet fan I think Mike Tannenbaum is the best GM they have ever had.  He has drafted well and has brought in good free agents when available.  My one complaint is that he has tended to churn the roster a bit too much from one season to the next.  However, he has put many excellent pieces in place and we all need to have the patience to see it through.

There is little doubt that 2012 will be a critical season for the New York Jets.  After a meteoric rise in their first two seasons together Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez came back down to earth last season.  Yet they finished the season 8-8 not 4-12.  While not a great result it was not a disastrous one either.  The old saying goes that the true test of a man is how he handles adversity.  Rex, Mark and the rest of the Jets have experienced their first taste of adversity.  They are either going allow it to make them better and come back stronger or they are going to let it tear them down.  I certainly hope it’s the former.

Jets/Ravens in Review……

Last night the Jets played the type of game that every fan feared.  In their 10-9 loss to the Baltimore Ravens the Jets played about as brutal a game I have ever seen them play and believe me that is saying something!

First the good news, such as it is.  Mike Westhof’s Special Teams unit played an excellent game.  New kicker Nick Folk accounted for all of the Jets scoring by connecting on all three field goal attempts including one from 48 yards out. Punter Steve Weatherford pinned the Ravens deep in their own end on several occasions.  The unit got nice return efforts from Brad Smith and Jim Leonhard. As Coach Westhof observed to me this morning the Special Teams gave the Jets every opportunity to win. The defense only gave up ten points and held the Ravens to a mere 51 years rushing.

 Now the bad news and I hardly know where to begin.  The offense was atrocious!  Simply abominable!  The Jets earned a mere six first downs the entire game and generated a mere 190 yards of combined offense!  Mark Sanchez looked like a lost child going 10/21 for 74 yards with not TD’s or INT’s.  The lone bright spot was LaDainian Tomlinson who rushed for 62 yards.   LG Matt Slauson replacing the banished Alan Faneca had a brutal game contributing to a game changing fumble and provided inadequate protection for Sanchez.  The Ravens were able to avoid spending time on “Revis Island” by exploiting the inadequacies of Antonio Cromartie and rookie Kyle Wilson who were both repeatedly burned throughout the game. The Jets could not stop Baltimore on repeated third and long situations and were called for numerous penalties.  At one point in the first half the defense had committed more penalty yards than the Ravens had generated on offense.  In a final insult the Jets were given back the ball with 1:40 left and where able to generate ZERO offense.  The inept offensive display was  capped off by tight end Dustin Keller going out bounds 1/2 yard short of a first down on fourth down with 40 seconds to play.  If that were not enough, it was just reported that nose tackle Kris Jenkins will miss the rest of the season after reinjuring his left knee in the first quarter.

 This was about as sad a performance as was ever turned in by a supposedly good team.  The Jets have talked the talked since the end of last season.  If any good can come out of last nights debacle it is perhaps that they realize that talk is cheap.  Sunday they face the New England Patriots.  If the Jets are embarrassed and pissed off after last night, as they should be, it might be a long day for the Patriots.  However, if the offense phones in another one like they did last night then Sunday will be UGLY!  I am hoping for the former.

Are You Ready for Some Football???

The Rangers missed the playoffs and are going nowhere fast.  The Mess (I mean Mets) are 4-7; not much hope there.  So its time to think about my other cause of frequent heartache…the J-E-T-S JETS!   It only mid-April but it’s already time for football.  Since the NFL draft is this week I thought I would devote the next 250 words (or so) to my Jets. 

I’ve often said that you learn very early on as a Jets fan that it is never their year.  Yet in spite of myself I find myself looking forward to the 2010 season with growing expectation.   

They have improved on an already good defense with the addition of Antonio Cromartie, Brodney Poole and may add six-time Pro Bowler Jason Taylor.  With the return of Kris Jenkins and the continued emergence of Darrelle Revis the Jets have the makings of (dare I say it) a Super Bowl winning defense.

 On offense they have given Mark Sanchez another target to throw to in Santonio Holmes and added perennial Pro Bowler LaDainian Tomlinson to compliment Shonn Greene and a returning Leon Washington at running back.  They have also brought back my man veteran Tony Richardson aka T-Rich to add leadership and blocking ability. If they can add a veteran backup at QB it would add needed depth.  To that end, there are rumors that the Jets are considering bringing in veteran Mark Brunell.    

 There are always question marks, however.  Tomlinson seems to clearly be on the “back nine” of his career coming off two lackluster seasons with San Diego.  Can he fill the shoes of Thomas Jones who was the team’s workhorse at running back?  There is the chance that Shonn Greene will be the featured back and Tomlinson will be relegated to a secondary role.  Whichever is the case it is clear that the Jets need a strong running game until such time as Sanchez proves that he can win games with this arm alone.   Furthermore, with the additions of Cromartie and Holmes the Jets are adding two players with checkered pasts.  Holmes will already miss the first four games of the season for violating the leagues substance abuse policy.  It will be interesting how Coach Ryan handles his growing rogues gallery.  Lastly, the defection of kicker Jay Feely to Arizona leaves a gaping hole for Special Teams Coach Mike Westhoff to fill.

 Despite all this two things are clear Rex Ryan has clearly put his stamp on this team, even more so than last year.  This team will have attitude and will be most likely be one of the most hated in the league.  It is also clear that from a professional sports standpoint they are all I have.  I am going to try and not get too excited but it’s getting kind of tough!   J-E-T-S…..JETS!