Thursday, March 25, 2010

Jets Prepare To Be On HBO "Hard Knocks"

This is what a surprise run to the AFC Championship game can get you.

Your very on television show!

In an offseason that has been full of Jets headliners since they fell to Indianapolis in that aforementioned title game, the latest now has the Jets staring in HBO's annual right for open-mic'd big mouths with bigger egos in "Hard Knocks," a training camp diary that follows a team from day one of training camp all the way to the final preseason game.

For Jet fans this is an exciting time. The Jets have never been treated like kings in the franchise's history, and in just two months since the end of the season, this franchise seems to be grabbing more headlines in New York than the Mets and Yankees are, both of whom are about to start their season in a matter of days.

Such publicity is the root of the Jets plans, the want to be New York's Team! New Jersey's Team! Hey, and if they win a Super Bowl with all this publicity, why not push the Cowboys for the title of America's Team?

Consider that Woody Johnson made a big fuse over a meaningless coin flip that awarded the Giants the first regular season game at the new "GIANTS STADIUM."

But, while the Giants get a 1:00 kickoff on the first Sunday, the Jets are the real winners because they receive two gifts from the NFL, they get to open their home schedule the next day on Monday Night Football, and they will get to host a game on Thanksgiving night, rumor has it that they will face the Texans on Thanksgiving.

Consider the fact that the Jets signed another aging Hall of Famer in LaDainian Tomlinson, a guy who looked finished each of the last two seasons, but who's name still reverberates through the league.

Also, the Jets are opening the brand new stadium with the Giants, and are still trying to sell Jets tickets; why not give fans more rhyme and reason to buy PSLs than to have them star in prime time game slots, and have them on HBO?!

The Jets in many ways are trying to make people forget about the Giants, and the Giants are just a little over two years removed from winning the bling, bling that the Jets do not possess. The Jets want people to come see them—bottom line.

What should we expect from "Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the New York Jets?" Well, we know that Rex Ryan will have a lot say, and there may be less of him (physically that is) after his lap band surgery that will allow the coach to lose some weight.

If you thought he had a lot to say about Bill Belichick and Channing Crowder last year, imagine what he will say on HBO! Keep the kiddies away!

Bart Scott, Kris Jenkins, and Damien Woody have built reputations as guys who love the camera, and HBO will most definitely track Mark Sanchez and his work back from knee surgery.

Keep in mind this is New York, and when the Jets return to New Jersey, there will still be another week or two left in the Hard Knocks' series; don't be surprised to see HBO tail some players into the city, the way they followed Chad Ocho Cinco living up the nightlife in Cincinnati during training camp.

This sounds great, and it will make for must see TV; could even break ratings records for HBO in the New York/New Jersey market.

However, is all of the publicity really good for the Jets?

Training camp is a time when the players are supposed to hunker down, get to work, learn to live and play with each other, and focus on something called football. Teams in the recent past that have tried "Hard Knocks" haven't exactly hoisted the Lombardi Trophy at the end of the year.

You don't see the Patriots, Giants, Saints, or Steelers doing any shows for HBO do you? They all have rings.

The 2007 Chiefs tried it after a 9-7 playoff season in 2006. They went 4-12 in 2007. The Cowboys tried Hard Knocks in 2008, after their 13-3 season the year prior, the Boys went 9-7 in 2008. The Bengals are the only team to have some success in spite of Hard Knocks, so maybe the good karma will rub off. Who knows?

Just remember the Jets were 9-7 last season, by no way were they blowing people out of old Giants Stadium on a week in and week out basis. Heck, they even had four hideous losses at home on their resume.

When the Jets started to make their push after the Colts took their starters out of a game against the Jets in week 16, this team went on an incredible role that sent them back to Indy to face the Colts.

During that one month stretch the Jets received more praise then they have ever received. Not even the 1998 Jets squad that went 12-4, and had Bill Parcells, and Bill Belichick on the coaching staff; Curtis Martin, Vinny Testaverde, Bryan Cox, Keyshawn Johnson, and Wayne Chrebet on the field, received as much support during their run as this year's team.

Die-hard fans were joined by bandwagon fans at pep rallies in Manhattan, and pep rallies in New Jersey. Media outlet all over were tickled with the idea that the Jets could win the Super Bowl this year. People felt that the 2009 Jets could do the unthinkable, and win the Super Bowl as a 9-7 team. It would have been great, it would have been wonderful, but it didn't happen.

Everyone is excited about the prospects of the Jets in 2010. Many news outlets will pick Gang Green to go to the Super Bowl and possibly win it, because of their number one defense and running game. Hard Knocks will try to paint this as the dynasty of the future, and the franchise will slogan 2010 as the drive to Forty-Five.

But lets just remember that the Jets were 9-7.

They were average most of the time. Looked dead other times.

They have holes at defensive end, questions at running back, wide receiver and kicker. They have been restricted in free agency thanks to the "Final Eight Rule" in this un-capped year.

And their 2010 schedule won't be easy: Green Bay, Minnesota, @ Pittsburgh, Baltimore, New England twice, Miami twice, @ Denver, Houston, and @ Chicago—all of those teams expect to win big time in 2010 as well.

So before the Jets take bows for being the new "America's Team" with television deals, a half dozen prime time games, and signing one Hall of Famer after another, do the "real" Jets fans a the Super Bowl first!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Tiger Woods Is Coming Back To Play Masters

After a four month hiatus of nothing but bad publicity following his weird car crash on Thanksgiving, that eventually bled out into revealing more than a dozen mistresses, Tiger Woods is ready to whack that nine iron again.

On the golf course that is.

Moments ago it was announced that Woods will play in the Masters from April 8-11.
The Masters is where I won my first major and I view this tournament with great respect,” Woods said in a statement. “After a long and necessary time away from the game, I feel like I’m ready to start my season at Augusta.

This figures to be the highest rated Masters for sure. Maybe not Super Bowl ratings, but it will definately garner big time numbers, especially if Woods is in the mix on Saturday and Sunday, especially Sunday.

It should be interesting if he answers any questions regarding his foul play, highly unlikely. It will also be interesting to see how many protesters show up to mock Woods during the Masters. Plus, how well will he play? He hasn't golfed since September!

A few weeks ago, Woods made a public statement apologizing for his actions, and demanded that the media leave his family alone.

Jets & Giants Will Host Opening Weekend Anyway

Even with the results from the controversial "coin flip" that awarded the Giants the first home game at the new Giants Stadium, the NFL has decided that it will allow both the Jets and Giants to open up the regular season there.

No they do not play each other. The two teams are not scheduled to play one another in the regular season this year.

No, instead the Giants will host a Sunday afternoon game on Sept. 12, while the Jets will host a Monday Night Football game on September 13, the next day.

Opponents will be determined in one month.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Giants Win Right To Host First Game

It's Giants Stadium after all.

The Giants won a much ballyhooed coin toss against the Jets for the right to host the regular season opener this coming September when the 2010 season kicks off.

Sources said Jets owner Woody Johnson was "outraged" - not because the Jets lost but because no team representatives were present.

Tomlinson Signs With N.Y. Jets

It is now official, the Jets have themselves a brand new running back in former Charger LaDainian Tomlinson.

Tomlinson, the disgruntled running back who has watched his productivity slip drastically over the last three seasons, ran for a career low 730 yards last season in San Diego. He signed a two year $5.2 million contract with the Jets to take over for the spot vacated by Thomas Jones, signed via free agency with the Kansas City Chiefs.

This is not a good move for Gang Green. Unlike Jones, who ran for 1,402 yards and 14 touchdowns last season, Tomlinson appears washed up. This is a big risk for the Jets. They are betting that Tomlinson can rediscover the guy who ran for 1800 yards in 2006, while betting that Jones slows down in Kansas City.

The Jets were better off sticking with Jones, who had less tread on his tires as compared to Tomlinson.

Time will most certainly tell if this deal was worth it, but, this is by far a very, very big gamble by the Jets.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Jets Interested in LaDainian Tomlinson?

To quote Jon McEnroe: "Are you kidding me? You can't be serious?"

Yes, the Jets have not had the greatest off-season in the world, not their fault, because of the fallout over the collective bargaining agreement that has led to an uncapped year and restrictions on teams that qualified for the second round of the 2009-2010 playoffs, there is not much Gang Green can do this off-season.

After trading away Kerry Rhodes to Arizona, the Jets picked up Brodney Poole to a cheap one year deal to replace him. Poole had a decent season for the Browns recording 50 tackles, four interceptions and a sack, but that is not the story here.

LaDainian Tomlinson, the disgruntled running back of the San Diego Chargers is coming to Florham Park today to pay the Jets a visit. A day after losing Thomas Jones to the Chiefs, the Jets are interested in Tomlinson.

Three years ago, this would be a brilliant move, now - not so much. Over the last two seasons, Tomlinson's production has been on a sharp decline. He ran for only 1110 yards with a 3.8 ypc average in 2008, and last season, ran for only 730 yards, 3.3 ypc. He is 30 years old, and already less productive than Thomas Jones was over that same time span.

If it was between keeping TJ and signing LT, the Jets were better off with Jones.

Plus, Tomlinson has the reputation as guy who tends to pout on the sideline when he is not heavily involved in a game. Bringing in a miserable, washed up running back would be a big mistake for the Jets, even when one has the big ticket name like Tomlinson.

The Jets could talk to him, but it should end there.

Reyes' Thyroid Could Keep Him Out Until May

On Tuesday it was announced that Jose Reyes' thyroid was overactive, yet the short stop should have been able to play within days after some necessary rest. Thursday however had a different tale.

Reyes will miss the next eight weeks of action because of the thyroid. He has to avoid sea food, which has apparently contributed to the condition, and can't resume baseball activities until further evaluated. Interestingly enough, the thyroid won't need surgery...yet.

This leaves more questions than answers of course: What if Reyes comes back and the thyroid acts up again? Will surgery ever become an option? What is in this diet? Most importatly: why the lack of solid communication. One day a doctor says that Reyes will be fine, the next day, another doctor says he's out for eight weeks.

As usual the Mets can't get on the same page, and once again Reyes is the one who is dangling underneath the tires. Remember, early in his career the Mets twisted Reyes in the wind over his hamstring injuries, and last year didn't have a clear path as to when to bring back the short stop, who didn't have immediate surgery to repair the latest hamstring tear.

The Mets have to get used to life without Reyes. Meaning that Alex Cora who had a whopping one homer and 18 RBI last season will be the everyday shortstop on opening day. Keep in mind, Carlos Beltran is also expected to miss the first month of the season due to knee surgery.

Can you say horrendous start to the season? You betcha!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Jets Trade Kerry Rhodes to Cardinals

Well say good bye to Kerry Rhodes after all.

Once safety Antrele Rolle signed with the Giants, it made some sense that unless they could get something of equal value for Rhodes, Rhodes would be a Jet next season.

Not so fast. The Cardinals traded for Rhodes late Saturday night for a fourth round pick in 2010 and a seventh round pick in 2011. The Cards effectively replace Rolle, who used to play for them.

This leaves a hole at strong safety for the Jets. They are already hampered by the Final Eight rule from signing any big ticket free agents. Look for the Jets to use this year's draft as an opportunity to draft a safety and running back. Even though they are in a win now mode, building for the future should not be out of the question.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Jose Reyes May Have Thyroid Condition

Mets short stop Jose Reyes is not healthy.

No this isn't a strained hamstring or tweaked ankle, this is far more serious. Doctors have discovered an imbalance in Reyes' thyroid.

Reyes will fly back to New York for further testing on Monday to determine whether he has a thyroid condition.

"Reyes underwent a blood test Thursday morning in conjunction with a team physical. He received word after the blood test that he was fine and could resume playing, but team physicians later reviewed the results and decided further evaluation was needed.

The thyroid gland -- which is found in the neck -- and the hormones it releases are responsible for regulating a person's metabolism." In short if the thyroid is a problem it could keep Reyes from the field for a while.

According to the New York Post the condition is treatable if caught early, "An overabundance of thyroid hormone introduces a host of dangerous symptoms including tremors, weight loss, sleep loss and irregular heartbeat. But the prognosis with treatment -- given early detection -- is excellent, according to doctors contacted yesterday, and Reyes could return to action soon.

Treatment options are three-fold: Surgery to remove all or parts of the gland, anti-thyroid prescription drugs, and radioactive iodine, which the patient ingests in a capsule designed to nuke the thyroid with radioactive chemicals" (New York Post).

Giants Ink Rolle to 5 Year Deal

In what figures to be a long off-season for the Giants, Big Blue made its first step to improving the franchise when it signed former Cardinals saftey Antrele Rolle to a five year contract. He will make $37 million over the course of the deal.

Rolle is a terrific safety, developing the reputation as a ball hawk and a hard hitter. The Giants need help in the secondary considering Kenny Phillips was lost for the year with injury. With Phillips and Rolle in the secondary the Giants defense should be that much better in 2010.

Look for Big Blue to improve its linebacking corps. next after the release of Antonio Peirce in January.

Jets Acquire Antonio Cromartie From Chargers

So if you can't beat 'em, join 'em as they always say.

A month and a half after the Jets beat the Chargers in the AFC Divisional playoffs 17-14, the two teams made one of the first big splashes of the free agency period, when the Chargers sent cornerback Antonio Cromartie to the Jets for a conditional third or second round pick in 2011.

There had been a lot of rumors of the past six weeks that the Jets would look to acquire Namde Asomugha from the Raiders. Asomugha is widely considered one of the best corners in the NFL, in spite of the fact that his statistics have dropped off over the last three seasons.

Instead the Jets swung the deal with San Diego to acquire Cromartie. Cromartie stands at 6'2" and has developed the reputation as a ball hawking corner. He had 10 interceptions in 2007, 2 interceptions in 2008 and 3 interceptions in 2009. Unlike Asomugha, Cromartie is still making plays.

The one knock on Cromartie is his attitude. Many people in San Diego believed that he was a lazy player who doesn't like to hit people. Cromartie is in his contract year, and if he wants to get paid in 2011, he is going to have to change his attitude and starting playing with reckless abandon.

Rex Ryan won't tolerate anyone taking plays off on defense, and they will need a guy with Cromartie's athleticism to make it hard for opposing quarterbacks to throw to intended receivers, because nobody will want to throw in the direction of Darrell Revis.

This is a good trade, and it will be interesting to see how it pays off.