Monday, January 9, 2017

Beckham a No Show, Giants Get Clobbered by Packers


Well, at least Odell Beckham and the Giants receiving corps can go to Miami this week with no problem.

The chickens came to roost for Beckham and the Giants, who carried themselves with little regard for their opponent all week and it came back to bite them. This is what they got and deserved. 38-13. A total beatdown. Boatgate did not play a role in deciding this game at all, even if people think it did.  Rather the Giants were totally outclassed, outplayed and outmatched against the Green Bay Packers on Sunday.

But the same Giants football team that made light of Beckham's Miami trip, will have to relive "boat-gate" courtesy of the media and fans alike tonight, tomorrow, all off-season, and even next season too. Like their neighbors the Jets whenever their former coach Rex Ryan did or said something ridiculous only to have it blow up in his face, the Giants are going have to eat their humble pie.

Let's break this down piece by piece.

Odell Beckham Jr. The 3000 lb gorilla in the room got bigger and bigger the worse Beckham played on Sunday. He recorded only four catches for 28 yards. He was targeted 11 times, and dropped four passes. Two of those drops came early in the game. The first one came on a third and five at the Green Bay 35, which cost the Giants a first down and points. Later in the quarter, Manning had Beckham deep down the sideline for a touchdown, but the receiver had the ball bounce in and out of his hands. Instead of six points, the Giants had to settle for three instead.

After that we didn't see much from Beckham again. He was double-teammed most of the night, and whenever he did get the football it was either off his hands or out of his reach. With each drop and incompletion that went his way, you could hear the throng of social media hounds pounding their collective keyboards on Twitter, trolling the wide receiver.

It didn't get better for Beckham after the game. Reports surfaced that he had a locker room tirade that included smacking his head against his locker and punching a gigantic hole in a wall. Here is the photo below:

It's getting so bad on Twitter right for Beckham that people are putting sad Jordan's in that gapping hole to mock him.

Beckham is clearly not handling the adversity well.  This moment is another in a long line of troubling moments for the Giants superstar. From his feud with Josh Norman, to his tirade on the field against the Redskins in week 3, to his blasting of officials after a Week 16 loss to Philadelphia, Beckham is both the games most talented and most troubled player. Someone needs to help this young man before he becomes the subject of a 30-for-30.

Giants Defense: For most of the first half, the Giants defense was outstanding. They absolutely shutdown one of the hottest offenses in the league with a designed four man rush and zone coverage. Aaron Rodgers had nowhere to throw early on. He was sacked three times, and was throwing balls all over the place just to avoid the Giants pass rush. Statistically, the Giants held the Packers to 49 yards of offense with 5:06 to go before halftime. Then, things fell apart ...

Aaron Rodgers caught fire and couldn't be stopped: Things fell apart for the Giants when Rodgers hit Devonte Adams down the sideline for 31-yards to the Giants seven-yard line. It was the longest pass play of the day for Green Bay, and settled down an offense that looked flustered and lost. Two plays later, Rodgers found Adams again for the touchdown to give Green Bay a 7-6 lead.

Right before halftime Rodgers killed the Giants once and for all when he heaved a Hail Mary into the end zone that was caught by Randall Cobb in the back of the end zone for the touchdown. Cobb had both feet in bounds when he stretched above three Giants to catch the football. It was a spectacular play, and ultimately was the backbreaker that Green Bay was looking for.

Eli Manning and the Giants didn't do enough in the first half: This goes back to all the drops that Beckham had, but he wasn't alone. All of Manning's receivers were letting him down in this game, including Sterling Shepherd who had a big drop in the first half as well. The Giants rolled up 198 yards of offense in the first half, but had only six points to show for it. That is not going to get it done, especially when the opposing quarterback is a future hall of famer in Aaron Rodgers.

Mike McCarthy almost gave the game away: With 6:08 to go in the third quarter, Green Bay had already failed to convert a third and short at their own 42-yard line. Instead of doing the reasonable thing and punting the football, Packers head coach Mike McCarthy decided to go for it, and it almost cost him dearly. The Giants stuffed Ty Montgomery on the play and got the football back in great field position. It didn't take Eli Manning long before he found Tavarres King for a 41-yard touchdown to cut the Packers lead down to 14-13. That was as close as Big Blue would come the rest of the night.

Rodgers put the Giants to sleep: After the Giants cut the Packers lead to 14-13, most teams would wilt under such circumstances. The Packers aren't most teams, especially with Rodgers under center. Rodgers guided the Packers on a four-play 63-yard scoring drive that culminated in a 30-yard touchdown catch-and-run by Randall Cobb that pushed the Packers lead back to eight, 21-13. It was like the Giants touchdown never happened.

Did Bobby Rainey go to Miami too? New York later screwed up big time when Bobby Rainey decided to field a kick-off that was destined for the sidelines. Instead of letting the ball bounce out of bounds for a kicking violation that would move the football to the New York 40, Rainey fielded it at the Giants three-yard line and stepped out of bounds. Of course the Giants would go three-and-out on this possession.

Now the Packers were on the march again, with Rodgers getting the Packers within range for a Mason Crosby field goal to make it 24-13.

Goodnight Folks: The fourth quarter proved to be no contest. The Packers dismantled the Giants will at this point with two more touchdowns to blow the game wide open. Rodgers continued to toy with the Giants. He connected Montgomery on a 34-yard pass play to move the Ball to the Giants 36. Two plays later he hit Adams again for a huge first down on third and nine at the Giants 23, and capped off the 10-play, 80-yard drive with a 16-yard touchdown pass to Cobb to make it 31-13.

Aaron Ripkowski would score the final touchdown of the night on a one-yard dive over the goal-line, completing a nine-play, 55-yard drive that ate up almost six minutes.

Final Stat Line: Even though he was sacked five times, Rodgers threw for 362 yards and four touchdowns in the 38-13 win for Green Bay. Dvonte Adams and Randall Cobb each had over 100 yards receiving. They needed that kind of effort because Jordy Nelson left this game with a rib injury. There is even concern for Ty Montgomery who left this game after getting twisted up on a tackle in the third quarter. The Packers would love to have everyone healthy for Dallas next weekend. Stay tuned.

For the Giants, Eli Manning played well. He threw for 299 yards and didn't throw a pick until the games final minute. Odell Beckham Jr. wasn't the only boat gate player who had a bad day. Victor Cruz was held to just 30-yards on three catches, and Roger Lewis had no catches. Only Sterling Shepherd had a good day of the "Yacht Club."

What's Next: A lot of heat on the Giants on Beckham Jr. The Giants have a clear image problem that they must address. From the Josh Brown fiasco that was poorly handled to Beckham's misbehavior, it was not a good year from a PR standpoint. They need to rein things in. Ben McAdoo will get bombarded with questions on Monday and all week about "boat gate" and this defeat. This will be a big moment for the young head coach. He has to handle this well. As for Beckham, the guy needs help. If he doesn't control his emotions, New York City is going to eat him alive and he will find himself playing elsewhere when he becomes a free agent in two years.

On the field, the Giants must address their lingering issues with the offensive line and running game. Neither was good enough this year. They also must address the back-up quarterback position, and likely find a replacement for Victor Cruz who is a free agent. Defensively, they have to keep this group together. Another year under Steve Spagnuolo, and the Giants could lead the league in D next year.

A look ahead at the Giants 2017 opponents: Home: Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, L.A. Rams, Seattle, Detroit, Kansas City, San Diego. Road: Philadelphia, Dallas, Washington, Arizona, San Francisco, Tampa Bay, Denver, Oakland.

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Beckham's Bieber Party a Black Eye for Big Blue

No matter how you slice it. No matter how much talk radio heads like Mike Francesa will try to act like it means nothing. No matter how much Eli Manning tries to dismiss it in press conferences, the fact that Odell Beckham Jr. and three other Giants receivers decided to partake in a booze and drug party with Justin Bieber the night after the regular season finale is a disgrace.

It's a disgrace because the Giants still have something to play for this week. The team visits the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the NFL Wild Card game. Yes, this occurred on Monday, on the players scheduled "day off," but it leaves no excuse for the players to do this, and its even less of an excuse for the Giants to allow it to happen.

Just because nobody got hurt physically, nor arrested doesn't justify the actions of this quartet. They humiliated their franchise, and worse off made a totally mockery of Sunday's wild card game. If the Giants lose on Sunday, this is all anyone will talk about. Even if the Giants go to the Super Bowl, this is all anyone will talk about.

Beckham along with Victor Cruz, Sterling Shepard and Roger Lewis Jr. all jumped into a plane in the hours following the Giants 19-10 win over Washington and headed down to Miami to party all day and all night with "pop star" Justin Bieber and Trey Songz (whoever he is). Social media went ablaze with photos of the group hanging out on a Yacht, fooling around and apparently doing drugs, according to a report in USA Today. According to that same report Shephard could be heard telling someone "I can't take Adderall." In case you didn't know, Adderall is a banned substance in the NFL.

Of the quartet, Cruz should have known better then to allow this to happen. As the veteran of the group, he should have put his foot down and set an example -- especially around a rookie like Shepard, and especially around Beckham who is a loose cannon.

When pressed by the media about it, coach Ben McAdoo did his best to act like the events of Monday were no big deal. "Players are off until tomorrow morning. We will see them tomorrow morning and they'll get their workout in, and we'll be ready for Green Bay. The players were off, they are not working."

This coming from the same guy who wouldn't condemn Josh Brown's actions of spousal abuse from earlier in the year. Another wonderful black eye for the Giants this year that most have now forgotten.

McAdoo is walking a slippery slope. His comments are basically a blank check to his players to do whatever the hell the want -- no matter the consequences. This is a horrible example to set. Think Tom Coughlin would be happy to hear that his four receivers, including his three biggest play makers were on an all night bender in Miami -- even on a day off? I don't think so. If Coughlin were still running things at the Giants Timex Center, there would be talk of fines and maybe a benching of Beckham -- even in a playoff game.

Think this is sitting well with Giants co-owner and CEO John Mara? So far we haven't heard from him, but I can't imagine that he is too pleased. Earlier this season he had egg all over his face for the Josh Brown fiasco when it came to light that he was aware of Brown's marital issues -- including his striking of his wife at the Pro Bowl.

The Giants decided to re-sign Brown in the off-season in-spite of all the facts and didn't cut him until the pressure from outside became too hot to handle.

Now they have this mess with Beckham and company. When asked about Beckham's early season tirade with a kicking net, Mara had this to say: "He's a young man who is very emotional but he's basically a very good man who does a lot of good things off the field. ... Sometimes he goes a little too far, but that's the truth with a lot of players ...".

These four men should consider themselves lucky, it could have been much worse.

And to the Giants fans who ripped Tony Romo nine years ago for being on vacation with Jessica Simpson during the team's bye week before playing in divisional playoffs, you have no leg to stand on now. Giants fans can not defend Beckham's actions, while justifying their ripping of Romo in 2007.

Well see if the Bieber curse works its magic here. Remember it was Bieber who hung out with the Cavs during the finals two years ago -- Cleveland lost. Bieber also paid a visit to the Steelers in December of 2010 and they lost to the Jets that week. Biebs is also part of the Johnny Manziel entourage -- enough said there.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Giants Play Hard, Knock Out Redskins


Giants head coach Ben McAdoo deserves a lot of credit. For the entire week he told anyone who would listen that he was going to take the Giants season finale in Washington extremely seriously and would not rest any key starters. It was an old school approach, and considering how many teams mailed it in on Sunday, it was an approach that was greatly appreciated.

As a result, the Giants supported their coach with an impressive 19-10 win over the Redskins knocking them out of the playoffs.

Defense Win the Day: The Giants defense was once again unbelievable. They held the Redskins to just 284 yards of offense and forced three turnovers. Kirk Cousins was brutal on Sunday. He was picked off twice and sacked four times in a crucial game for his football team. The Giants forced the Skins to punt the football five times in the entire first half, allowing them to get past mid-field only twice.

Late in the game, the Giants made Cousins' life miserable. Dominique Rodgers Cromartie had a huge interception of Cousins with 4:06 to go in the third quarter with the Giants holding onto a 10-3 lead. Then in the fourth quarter, after New York grabbed a 13-10 lead, Cromartie made another huge pick of Cousins at the Giants own 25 yard-line with 1:27 to go in the game. The Giants would finish the game with a fumble recovery for a touchdown to push the lead to nine.

Eli Manning and Company: Manning wasn't blowing anyone away statistically, but the Giants offense and their veteran quarterback were good when they needed to be. No play was bigger than the 44-yard strike from Manning to Tavarres King that helped set up Robbie Gould's go-ahead field goal.

Giants Ground Game: The Giants ground game came to life on Sunday. Paul Perkins led the way with 102 yards on the ground, and Big Blue ran for a season high 161 yards for the game. It was about time that this ground game got moving for Big Blue.

What's Next? The Giants are locked in as the number five seed and they will travel to Green Bay to play the Packers in the Wild Card game next Sunday at 4:40 p.m. on Fox. The Giants and Packers met earlier this year in Week 5 with Green Bay winning 23-16.

These two teams are much different now. The Packers are on a six-game winning streak with Aaron Rodgers playing at a Pro Bowl level. The Giants defense is playing at an All-Pro level that wasn't seen in October. This is the third time since 2007 that the Giants and Packers will meet in the playoffs. The previous two times were both in Green Bay, and each time the Giants won.

Jets End Nightmare Season, Bowles Will Return

JETS 30 / BILLS 10

Alright, let's be honest, it's not worth rehashing much from this contest between the Jets and Bills. Neither team wanted to be out there on Sunday and it showed. Just days after the front office fired head coach Rex Ryan, the Bills played like a team that could care less. They allowed the Jets to do as they pleased, and New York took full advantage in a 30-10 win.

Ryan Fitzpatrick: In what will almost certainly be his final game as a Jet, Fitzpatrick finished 20-of-30 for 210 yards and two touchdowns. It wasn't an overly impressive start, but considering the season he had, it was good enough to beat a helpless Bills team. The Jets should let Fitz walk. He is a free agent, and dragged this team far enough into the muck.

Darrelle Revis: Finally had his first interception of the year on a deflection that helped set up a Jets field goal. This was likely Revis' final game with the Jets. He is due $15.5 million if he stays wit the team in March. The Jets are almost certain to cut him. His lack of passion for the game, and injuries have taken their toll on this once proud football player.

Bilal Powell: Powell left little doubt that he needs to be seriously considered for the lead back role in 2017. He ran for 122 yards, and finished with over 1100 all purpose yards this year. While, I have my doubts that his 5-10 frame can hold up as an every down back, Powell proved how important he can be to this teams future success.

Todd Bowles: Now for the big news. Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan will be back in 2017. According to the Daily News, Jets owner Woody Johnson told Bowles he is safe a week ago, and the embattled head coach will be back for another year to the chagrin of all Jets fans. While continuity is important, Bowles lost his team this year. The locker room was in total disarray, and the players gave up on the season. That all falls on the head coach and it's unacceptable. Bowles gets another shot, albeit on a short leash.

Christian Hackenberg: To further prove my point of a fractured locker room under Bowles' leadership, a story leaked on Sunday that the coaches think that quarterback Christian Hackenberg stinks. While this might be true (nobody but the Jets have seen him), stuff like this can not get out. That too is an indictment of the head coach.

What's Next? 

Tony Romo: Romo made his first appearance for the Dallas Cowboys this season in their season finale at Philadelphia and played well. He was 3-for-4 with a touchdown pass before former Jet, Mark Sanchez came in and gave the game away to the Eagles. Romo looked sharp. Do the Jets go all in on Romo this off-season, knowing full well he's 36-years-old and brittle? I suggest they pass on the temptation. Romo wants a winner, which the Jets are not. And the last time New York invested in a gunslinger like this, Brett Favre imploded in 2008.

Offensive Coordinator: Chan Gailey is likely going to be one of the assistant coaching casualties on this team. His offense was putrid in 2016, ranked 25th in total offense and 27th in passing offense this year. That is unacceptable. His coaching style is way out of style. It is time for the Jets to come into the 21st Century and get a quarterback guru to run this offense. The Jets should keep taps on Mike McCoy who was fired as head coach of the San Diego Chargers. McCoy was a solid offensive coordinator with the Broncos before becoming a NFL head coach.

2017 Opponents: Home: New England, Miami, Buffalo, Kansas City, San Diego, Jacksonville, Atlanta, and Carolina.
Road: New England, Miami, Buffalo, Denver, Oakland, Cleveland, New Orleans, and Tampa Bay.

Saturday, December 31, 2016

17 Sports Predictions for 2017

Happy New Year 2017! Just like that 2016 is about to come to an end in just hours -- leaving us with a period of reflection of what was and foresight of what is to be. 2016 was a crazy year, both in sports and in life.

To some it was a rough year -- we saw a lot of well known celebrities pass away -- such is life.

It was also a year where the impossible became possible. The Cavs won their first NBA title. LeBron James actually delivered on his promise to the city of Cleveland. The Cubs won the World Series. Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton to win the presidency, and the Cleveland Browns actually won a game!

Yes, 2016 will never be forgotten -- it was a historic year no matter how you slice it. The question is what does 2017 hold?

Let's make 17 fun sports predictions!

1) The Jets won't fire Todd Bowles next week. Sorry Jets fans, you won't get your wish. The reports will hold true and Todd Bowles will return to coach your team in 2017. Here's to 2018 Jets fans.

2) The New York Giants will get whacked in the wild card game. I predict that the Giants will get the Packers in the wild card game next week, and Green Bay will pound Big Blue into the off-season. The Giants lack of a sound running game, offensive line and overall consistency will do them in.

3) The Cowboys will NOT go to the Super Bowl. Technically this is still the 2016 NFL season, but the playoffs are occurring in 2017. But, I just don't buy the Cowboys. They are extremely talented, but I have seen too many teams like this in the past. Something tells me Dallas is in for a major upset. Jerry Jones is gonna be pissed.

4) The Packers and Patriots will play in Super Bowl 51. Brady vs. Rodgers -- that is all.

5) The Yankees will win the AL East. You heard me. The Yankees with all that young talent will beat out the Red Sox for the AL East crown in 2017.

6) The Mets will miss the playoffs. Not totally surprising, but I need to see it to believe it with the Mets. Too many questions about the health of their starting rotation, and an infield that bares too many question marks as well.

7) The Cubs become the first team since the 2000 Yankees to repeat as World Series champs. Call me a shill or one with a lack of imagination, but I'll say that the Chicago Cubs dominance in 2016 will carry over into 2017 and they will repeat as World Series champs.

8) The rift between Carmelo Anthony and Phil Jackson leads to Anthony finally getting traded ... to Houston.

9) The Warriors lose to the Spurs in the Western Conference Finals.

10) The Cleveland Cavs roll over the East, and get upset by the Spurs in the Finals. LeBron cries a lot.

11) The New York Rangers ... ah, nobody cares about them anyway.

12) Tony Romo gets his release from the Cowboys signs with the Broncos. Get's hurt shaking John Elway's hand.

13) Mark Sanchez gets released by Dallas, signs with in Montreal of the Canadian Football League and gets traded to the circus.

14) Rex Ryan joins Jon Gruden on ESPN MNF. (Not enough oxygen in the booth).

15) Tim Tebow gets released by the Mets. (Thank God!)

16) Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens inch closer to a realistic entry into the Hall of Fame, causing Twitter and the world to explode.

17) The Cleveland Browns will ruin the career of another young college quarterback!

When It Comes To "Class" Darrelle Revis Shouldn't Talk

What's a pending Jets off-season without a little drama from Darrelle Revis.

Seriously, throughout the career of the Pro Bowl cornerback, drama has followed him like a bad dream. So I find it rather interesting when Revis tells the media that it is time for the Jets to respect him with class and make sure he retires a Jet, when one considers it was Revis who has never handled anything with class when it comes to his rocky relationship with the Jets.

Here is the quote:

"Would I love to be here? Yes. Will I be back? That's a great question. My thing is this: Do the New York Jets want to treat my situation with class or no class? With me being one of the best players in the history of the franchise, do they want me to retire here or not retire here?" Revis said.

It doesn't sound like Revis is saying that he loves being a Jet. It sounds more like a guy who is still full of contempt for the franchise, and is more concerned about getting his money.

Whether it was injury or not is irrelevant, because Revis played the 2016 season as if he was totally oblivious. Too many times he would play seven yards off the line of scrimmage. Too many times he would come in late on tackles, or not even complete a full wrap up of the receiver he was covering. He was beat consistently, as quarterbacks had a 108.9 rating against him. He only defending four passes this year, and never recorded an interception.

Receivers are not scared of him anymore. Quarterbacks don't care if he gets a hand on a pass anymore. Revis is finished as a player.

The fact that Revis feels he's entitled to be treated with kid gloves is a total joke in of itself. Let's remember this is the same Darrelle Revis who dragged a contract negotiation deep into the summer back in 2010 to the point it looked like both sides would never come together. Remember the Hard Knocks episode at the time when head coach Rex Ryan was in Mike Tannenbaum's office screaming at Revis' agent over the phone?

Eventually Revis agreed to a four year, $32 million deal just a week before the season opener against Baltimore that year.

This is the same Darrelle Revis who wanted more money from the Jets two years later in 2012. He hinted at another prolonged hold out, but decided to play through the season before suffering an ACL injury in a game at Miami that season.

This is the same Darrelle Revis, who coming off that injury wanted his contract renegotiated to the point that the Jets felt obligated to get him out of town and traded him to the Buccaneers. He signed a six-year $96 million deal with Tampa, making him the highest paid player at his position. He played well that year and was then released because his contract was killing the Buccaneers.

After toying with the Jets, Revis then decided to opt for the ultimate betrayal and signed with the rival Patriots and won a Super Bowl with them in 2014.

Throughout his career, Revis has been a greedy player who always felt he was underpaid and unappreciated. He never truly enveloped the role of being a New York Jet, instead toying with the franchise for the past seven years. He may be a Hall of Fame player, but as a person, Revis is far from it.

As his old teammate, Damien Woody said, football is a cold business. The Jets owe Revis nothing. He gave them three outstanding years in 2008, 2009 and 2011 where he was indeed the best cornerback in the sport. But now, at age 31 with his skills diminishing and his enthusiasm for football in question, the Jets are best suited to cut ties with him and move on.

If they cut him, the Jets will save $9 million on the cap. If he stays, the Jets will owe him $15.5 million. In other words his time with the Jets is over.  If Revis wants to keep playing, maybe the Patriots will welcome him back with open arms.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Coughlin Not Heading to Jaguars

Tom Coughlin will not be the next head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars. For Coughlin's sake, thank goodness!

Coughlin and the Jaguars met this week, but neither side found the necessary chemistry and will move on. The Jaguars are looking for a coach to replace Gus Bradley. Coughlin is still deluding himself in thinking that at 71, he can still be a productive head coach.

The Buffalo Bills are also interested in Coughlin.

For Coughlin it is a good think that he is not heading back to Jacksonville. As I said, he's 71-years old, and is too old to coach in a league that doesn't employ 70+ year-olds as head coaches. The Jaguars need a young voice that can handle the slings and arrows of a rebuild.

If Coughlin were to coach again, he would need to be on a team that is ready to win NOW!

Truth be told, the best situation for Coughlin at this point in his life and career is to be home and accept retirement. He had a great career as a coach both in the NFL and in college. He made the Jaguars legit back in the 90s. He won Super Bowls with the Giants. He has nothing to prove. His place in NFL history is secure. Just ride into the sunset Tom, you did great in the NFL.

With Bowles Likely Back, NY Radio Goes Nuts

With Woody Johnson likely to keep Todd Bowles as his head coach heading into 2017. New York Sports radio had a field day, specifically Joe Beningo on WFAN.

Beningo ripped into his "friend" Ira from Staten Island, claiming that he is buddies with members of the Jets front office, and that he wants to keep Bowles. Beningo, in case you didn't know, is the leader of the anti-Bowles movement. He has even said he wants the Bills to blow out the Jets in order to get Bowles fired.

This is classic stuff take a listen. :)

Later in their program --- which by the way is actually Mike Francesa's time slot, but Mike is on vacation, Beningo goes on a rant during a call from New York Post writer Brian Costello. Costello's reactions to Beningo are classic.

Oh the pain!