Saturday, December 31, 2011

Open Mike 12-30-11, New Year's edition

On this edition of Open Mike, Michael Cohen takes a look at the huge playoff-like game for the New York football Giants, as Big Blue gets set for a Sunday Night showdown with Tony Romo and the Dallas Cowboys. Michael then takes a left turn and talks about the struggling Jets and their slim playoff chances.

Michael is joined by Triple Coverage co-host and host of Feuerstein’s Fire, Dan Feuerstein, as the two talk about the Jets and the future of Mark Sanchez and Brian Schottenheimer. Michael is then joined by FlippinOut Radio creator, host of Turnpike Throwdown, and Sirius XM’s James Flippin to break down the Giants-Cowboys matchup.

We will see you all again next week in 2012!! LISTEN HERE!

Rutgers wins Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium

There may not be a playoff system to find out who the real National Champion is, but the Rutgers Scarlett Knights feel like Champions today after Rutgers capped off a surprisingly good football season with a 27-13 triumph over Iowa State in the second annual Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

Rutgers celebrates at Yankee Stadium.
Rutgers receiver Mohamed Sanu, who had a brilliant 2011 campaign with 1,207 yards receiving, and who could be a draft day sleeper if he opts to go into the NFL, was shut down by the Cyclones and held to six catches for 62 yards. But the Scarlett Knights, who have built a team on depth all year, found other avenues to score throughout the evening.

Trailing Iowa State 6-0 in the second quarter, running back Jawan Jamison plowed into the end zone from one yard out, to give Rutgers a 7-6 lead. Jamison had a huge evening, rushing for 131 yards and two touchdowns. His effort was the key to Rutgers' success. Jamison would add his second touchdown on the day late in the second quarter on a 12 yard scamper to give the Scarlett Knights a 17-6 advantage.

Fast forward to the fourth quarte; Iowa State pulled back to within seven points, when Jeff Woody's 20 yard touchdown cut the Rutgers lead to 20-13. It appeared that momentum had been taken away from the Knights especially when Iowa forced Rutgers offense into a three and out, but the Scarlet Knights defense came up big. They held Iowa State to -2 net yards on three plays on the Cyclones next possession, forcing Iowa State to punt from their own 40 yard line.

On the next Rutgers possession, the Scarlet Knights put the game away when quarterback Chas Dodd found Brandon Coleman from 86 yards out to give the Knights a 27-13 advantage.

Under coach Greg Schiano, the Scarlet Knights are 5-1 in bowl games, something that nobody thought was possible when he took over this team. While Rutgers didn't win enough games to capture the Big East title, and a higher BCS bowl berth, they accomplished a lot this season on a team that was 4-8 the previous season. If only there was a legitimate playoff system, who knows how far Rutgers would have gone this year.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Tony Romo likely to play with injured hand vs. Giants

When Tony Romo spent the rest of Dallas' 20-7 loss to the Philadelphia Eagles on the bench with his hand wrapped in a bandage, it had to make Cowboys fans across the land sick to their stomachs. With Romo out, and Dallas falling, they now stare at a win or go home showdown with the Giants in MetLife Stadium on Sunday Night.

It appears that Romo will do everything in his power to play this game even with the banged up and swelling hand. He wore a wrap on it during Dallas' practice Thursday, but, according to reports, he didn't take any snaps. He also didn't practice on Wednesday. Romo has Friday's walk through and a Saturday morning work out to determine if he can play this football game flawlessly.

"I think you have to go out there and practice all week and get yourself ready to go to the game on Sunday," Romo said

If Romo plays handicapped, it gives a huge advantage to the Giants team that has seen steady improvement from their pass rush in recent weeks; for example, they sacked Mark Sanchez five times on Christmas Eve. For the Giants to win this game, they have to get pressure on Romo. He tore up the Giants defense when these clubs last met five weeks ago, but this time it will be different. The Giants secondary has stepped it up of late, and a renewed interest in playing solid team defense has trickled through the Giants camp.

That said, Romo is still dangerous. The fact that he will play this game with a banged up hand speaks volumes of a man who wants to will himself and his team to victory. How Romo plays Sunday does go a long way in writing another chapter in his legacy; a legacy that has not been very good, and one that is littered with late season failures, especially to the Giants and Eagles over the years.

Osi Umenyiora hopes to play vs. Cowboys

The Giants are on the cusp of turning what was a mediocre season into a improbable playoff run if they can knock-off the Dallas Cowboys for the second time in five weeks to capture the NFC Eastern division crown.

To do that, the G-Men need to get healthy, so in a season full of bumps and bruises, Big Blue could get their biggest defensive playmaker back for Sunday's showdown when Osi Umenyiora returns from the high ankle sprain he suffered against the Saints.

Umenyiora has been beat up all season, missing most of training camp because of a holdout, then missing the first three games of the year because of a knee injury.

Because of his absence, Jason Pierre-Paul has stepped up and become the force that many people expected him to be. Pierre-Paul has 15. 5 sacks and 81 tackles on the year. He has earned the right to become the Giants premiere defensive end, but as we have seen from the Giants over the years, they are at their best defensively when they can bring multiple threats off the edge in the pass rush.

During Big Blue's Super Bowl run in 2007-2008, the combination of Michael Strahan, Umenyiora and Justin Tuck proved lethal for teams to handle, including the unbeaten Patriots.

If the Giants are to clinch the NFC East title against a banged up Tony Romo and the Cowboys, having as many pieces as possible is the best solution.

Nets get plastered by Howard & Magic


Dwight Howard had 24 rebounds against the Nets, Thursday.
If the New Jersey Nets are indeed serious about adding Dwight Howard to their line-up, they got a bit of a preview of what Howard can bring to a struggling basketball team. The Nets also caught a glimpse of their own ever-present reality: they are not a good basketball team.

The Nets once again struggled to score any points offensively, as the Magic ran over the Nets 94-78 in Orlando Florida; Howard led the Magic with 16 points and 24 rebounds. It was the 49th time in Howard's illustrious career that he had a 20 rebound game. It was the eighth straight time that the Nets fell to the Magic.

The Nets never had a real shot in this game; the Magic jumped out to a double digit lead thanks to a 14-2 run in the first quarter.

The Nets, that has been struggling all season offensively, struggled again; they managed only 37 percent from the field, and 35 percent from three point land with Marshawn Brooks providing the only offense, garnering 17 points on the night.

The Nets lone star, Deron Williams, was held to 10 points and appeared frustrated on the bench in the fourth quarter whilst Howard and the Magic whooped it up big time on New Jersey.

For a team that prides itself as the next big thing in this area, they don't have the personnel to compete at an NBA level. If they think they can get their hands on Howard, they can probably forget that notion; why would he want to play on this loser?

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Drew Brees breaks Dan Marino's passing record

There is a new single season passing yardage king, and his name is Drew Brees.

Brees broke Dan Marino's record for most passing yards in a single season (5,084 yards) that stood for 27 years when he completed a nine yard touchdown pass to Darren Sproles, giving him 5,087 yards on the season, as the Saints destroyed the Atlanta Falcons 45-16. The Saints captured the NFC South title in the process.

The Saints still have something to play for next week against the Carolina Panthers. They need a victory and a 49ers loss to capture the second seed.

Brees needed 304 yards to tie the record. He threw for 307. For Brees, it completes what has another chapter in a brilliant career. A guy who is not the tallest quarterback in the NFL: he's only 6'0"; he has built a career using his mobility in the pocket and deadly accuracy to become one of the leagues' top passers alongside Tom Brady, Peyton Manning and Aaron Rodgers.

What makes this story so great is not only the fact that someone broke the record, but who broke it. Brees was basically an unwanted quarterback when he was a member of the San Diego Chargers, a guy who wasn't given much of a chance in San Diego, as the team drafted Phillip Rivers in 2004. Yet, Brees found ways to overcome. He had a great season in 2004, throwing 27 TD's to 7 INT's and took San Diego to the playoffs for the first time in a decade.

In 2005, Brees was having another great season, but a shoulder injury in the season's final day, ended his career in San Diego. The Chargers wanted to go with Rivers, now they had reason.

So Brees ended up in New Orleans, a city recently decimated by Hurricane Katrina and home to possibly the worst franchise in the NFL, the Saints, or as their fans called them, the 'Aints. Brees embraced New Orleans, and New Orleans embraced him. He has taken the team to two NFC title games, and a Super Bowl Championship in his first five years in the land of the Gumbo.

Now he has the Saints on the precipice of another playoff run, with a likely date against the Green Bay Packers in the NFC title game on the docket.

Brees not only resurrected his career, he resurrected a franchise. It's fitting that in an era in sports where we have seen cheaters win and break records that the NFL's classiest and smallest quarterback is now the owner of the most prestigious passing record in the NFL.

Granted Tom Brady might catch Marino as well next week, but the record will always belong to Drew Brees.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Rex Ryan says Jets don't want Peyton Manning

Who needs Favre Watch? Let Manning Watch begin.

Rumors have been swirling around the Jets training center for weeks that the club might be a possible destination for Colts superstar quarterback Peyton Manning if the future Hall of Famer were made available this spring. Back in late November, coach Rex Ryan shot the idea down after Mark Sanchez completed 40 percent of his passes in a victory over the Bills; now he is trying to extinguish the rumors again.

Remember: where there is smoke there is fire.

Ryan defended both Sanchez and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenhiemer on the Jets awful performance against the New York Giants Saturday, saying:

"I have a huge amount of confidence in both guys; there is no doubt. I have stated it over and over, my feelings about Mark Sanchez. It wasn’t Mark’s best day by any stretch of the imagination, but we know he’s done it, and he's been doing it, and we have great confidence in him, and I I have great confidence in him.

"And as far as Brian Schottenheimer is concerned, shoot, we’ll just keep working side by side, shoulder by shoulder, and we’re trying to find a way to beat Miami. So I have confidence in him, all our coaches. We have to find a way to get it done."

This season has been a nightmare for this offense. They are ranked 21st in the NFL in passing and Sanchez dropped back to pass 59 times, completing only 30 passes for a measly 225 yards. This season, Sanchez has completed only 10 passes of 20 yards or more and was 4-for-24 when attempting deep passes to both Plaxico Burress and Santonio Holmes. Visually, Sanchez holds the ball way too long, and even takes terrible sacks that puts the team in one huge hole after another. He under-throws and over-throws his receivers consistently, and when he does go deep, he is prone to an interception, including those that end up as touchdowns for the opposition.

Moreover, he has not improved in key categories, like completion percentage (55 percent), quarterback rating (73 percent), and thrown picks (15 interceptions) than all of last year.

While the Jets offensive line can be blamed for part of this, Sanchez has been under siege a lot because of the poor play from Matt Slausen, Vlad Duccasse, and Wayne Hunter; facts are facts and Sanchez is not getting it done.

Keep in mind that Sanchez is Ryan's guy. He is tied to him whether the coach truly likes it or not. Ryan has consistently defended Sanchez. Even in his book, "Play Like You Mean It," Ryan spends a lot of time defending the organization's decision to target Sanchez. In fact, Ryan said one thing that attracted him to Sanchez was his vibrant personality which was on display by the number of teammates that came out to support him during his rookie workout at USC. Ryan chose to overlook that it was USC, a.k.a. Party-town USA.

The Jets are more likely to fire Schottenheimer whose hideous play-calling was on full display, Saturday. Even though the Jets gave him a contract extension through 2013, it doesn't mean the Jets won't make a move.

But, as one looks at the future of this franchise and reads into the Mike Florio report from NBC on Christmas day, Sanchez is on watch as well. The most likely scenario: the Jets will sign a veteran like Kyle Orton in the off-season who can compete for the starting job in training camp. The Jets are paying Sanchez $8 million a year over the next two years, which weighs into this decision.

But as Rich Cimini wrote on, the Jets always do something big in the off-season, especially the past four years.

After a 4-12 campaign in 2007, the Jets decided they had enough of the Chad Pennington experience. Pennington had seven mediocre years in New York, with his first season in 2002 his only solid season. Other than that, Pennington battled injuries and poor arm strength, so, by 2007, he looked washed up.

The Jets made a deal that landed them Brett Favre who changed his mind about retirement in 2008. Reports at the time called the Jets a potential landing spot along with the Vikings, Bucs and Ravens, but Mike Tannenbaum and the Jets front office consistently denied reports, and, at one point, said they had no interest in Favre. Then, all of a sudden, in the middle of the night on August 10, Favre was traded from the Packers to the Jets.

Now in 2011, the Jets are finding themselves in similar talks for Peyton Manning. Rumors everywhere say that the Jets would make the most sense for Manning since they are the only team that can win right away. Other teams in the rumor mix include the Redskins, 49ers, Titans, Seahawks, Chiefs, and Cardinals.

Ryan always professed that Manning was the best quarterback in the NFL, and for as much as Ryan wants to back up Sanchez by asserting he will be the quarterback of the Jets for 15 years, won't mean much when it comes time for him and Tannenbaum to make a decision. While Rex would like to help Sanchez, he has to help himself first, and if a healthy Manning gets him to that Super Bowl title he desperatly wants, don't think for a minute he wouldn't hesitate to do it.

That being said, Ryan continues to state that the Jets have zero interest in Manning.

"I've said from Day One I thought he was the best quarterback in the National Football League, I even put him over Tom Brady, so of course I recognize Peyton Manning is an unbelievable quarterback," Ryan said on ESPN 1050 Radio today, in an interview with Stephen A. Smith. "But do I think it’s even a consideration for us? No. I'm going to say this, I’m going to tell you there is no way we are looking to replace Mark Sanchez, there's no doubt," Ryan said.

"If they were both out there and you were starting a draft, would you take Peyton Manning? Yeah, I’d take Peyton Manning over anybody, I'm not saying that. Of course, I'm not telling that lie; of course I would take him. But right now, when you are looking at our football team and our franchise, we feel great about our quarterback situation. He’s young. Is he going to get better? He absolutely is. Is he perfect? Not by any stretch of the imagination right now, and (none of us) are. But, we think he has the ability to be special."

You can read this quote two different ways. 1) Take it for what it is. The Jets have no interest in Manning, and are committed the Mark Sanchez at quarterback and from a financial standpoint. It makes some sense; he's young, and the Jets want to see him break out one of these years before moving on.

Peyton Manning & Rex Ryan together? Rex says don't bet on it.
Or, (2) read between the lines and see this: For the Jets to move on from Sanchez, it would take a Peyton Manning-type quarterback to make that happen. The Jets are intrigued by Manning, but, like they did with Favre, will stay mute on the subject until something happens. If Manning is healthy, having him as a Jet for two or three years makes too much sense. The team has the talent level to make the club successful, and to combine Manning's offensive expertise with Ryan's defensive prowess is enough to make fans' mouths water.

Obtaining Manning might be tricky though. He has a huge contract with $28 million a year coming to him, and any team willing to trade draft picks for him would inherit a contract of a quarterback who is coming back from a career-threatening neck injury.

The Colts have said as much that they will not trade Manning and would be willing to keep him if healthy. The Colts have also expressed continued interest in drafting Stanford's Andrew Luck, who is considered by many to be the best quarterback in the draft. Having those two on the roster might ruffle a lot of feathers, which puts Indianapolis in a position to move Manning.

They might be saying they won't trade him, with knowledge that no team would be willing to take his contract, which means releasing Manning and making him a free agent is possible. If he goes free agent, a whole bunch of teams would go after him, and don't think for a minute that Woody Johnson wouldn't ask Tannenbaum to at least explore it. Johnson has always said that he wants to have a top quarterback on his team so he can continue to sell off PSL's in the still-fairly new MetLife Stadium.

Sanchez was supposed to be that star quarterback who would fill seats, but after Saturday, and after this season, would Johnson and the Jets seriously reconsider? It will be the drama of the off-season for sure.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Jets reconsidering Mark Sanchez's future

Good news, Jets fans; the New York Jets have begun to realize what everyone has known for a long, long time: Mark Sanchez is not the answer.

According to NBC's Mike Florio, Mark Sanchez is quietly "falling out of favor" with the Jets, and the team could begin looking at other quarterback options this off-season.

The free agent class is not very appealing with the only decent QB prospects Kyle Orton and Chad Henne. Orton, before his release from the Broncos this year, threw for 3,900 yards in each of the last two years and has proven to be a guy with a big time arm. Two weeks ago, Orton, led the Kansas City Chiefs to a victory over the then unbeaten Green Bay Packers.

Henne missed the entire 2011 season with a shoulder injury and probably won't be back in Miami since the Dolphins may settle with a unknown rookie in the draft and veteran Matt Moore, who is having a very solid year with the Fish.
Would the Jets dare target Peyton Manning, if available?

Then there is the big fish ... Peyton Manning. The Colts say they will not trade Manning, and if he is healthy, they would like to keep him; however, the Colts also said they would to draft Andrew Luck in this year's draft, if they can get him.

Considering Manning has a huge contract, $28 million per season, the Colts know that no team will want to acquire that contract, even if Manning proves he is 100% healthy. Manning could always be released by the Colts, making him a free agent, and a team like the Jets could sign him for far less.

Either way, a competition for the starting quarterback job will commence this April or May when the Jets return for mini-camp.

Knicks open 2011-2012 season today vs. Celtics

The 2011-2012 NBA season will tip off later this afternoon when the Knicks play host to the Boston Celtics at the Garden at 12 noon.

For the Knicks, this is a beginning of their own version of the "Dream Team" after they added Tyson Chandler, Mike Bibby and Baron Davis the past two weeks joining incumbents Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

The Knicks could be getting the Celtics at the right time. Granted it's only opening day, but the Celtics are getting older. Paul Pierce is questionable for the game with a nagging heel injury, and Kevin Garnett is playing out of position at center since "Big Baby" Davis is now in Orlando.

Last season, the Celtics swept the Knicks out of the playoffs; expect New York to come out swinging and get off to a good start. Prediction: Knicks 98, Celtics 91.

Brandon Jacobs and Rex Ryan exchange words after game

Apparently Rex Ryan and Brandon Jacobs didn't get the memo that Christmas means you are supposed to be nice to your neighbor.

Rex Ryan and Brandon Jacobs confront each other.
Oh, well. According to several reports, the two exchanged barbs as the clock ticked down on the Giants 29-14 beat-down of the Jets, on Christmas Eve. Tensions were initially raised when the Giants discovered that the Jets threw a black curtain over a mural of the Giants four Super Bowl logos, which is located in front of their locker room.

After the game, Jacobs ran up to Ryan and reportedly said, "Time to shut up fat boy!"

Jacobs then told the New York Daily News that he told Ryan to "shut the (expletive) up," and Ryan reportedly told the running back to "go (expletive) himself."

This is another low blow by Jacobs who has developed a reputation as a knucklehead in this town. From lashing out at fans and media, as well as rubbing victories in the faces of his opponents, Jacobs is a guy who just doesn't get it. If he wanted to be above the Jets and their bravado, he should have kept his own mouth shut. While Ryan should be privately criticized for his shots at the Giants over the years, and his unfulfilled boasts, he doesn't deserve to have someone run up to him and scream in his face.

Don't think this will be the end of this story.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Giants blow past blow-hard Jets


The New York Giants got exactly what they wanted for Christmas, while the Jets suffered a nightmare before Christmas.

I'll get to the Giants in a bit because they have everything in their control once again.

But this game was more about how badly Mark Sanchez performed, how badly Brian Schottenheimer's play calling functioned, and how Coach Rex Ryan was forced to eat his own words. The Jets not only lost a game, they completely bobbled their chance at making the playoffs. They now have to beat the Dolphins and hope that the Bengal, Raiders and Titans lose next week in order for them to make the playoffs. Trust me; the Dolphins would love to TKO the Jets next week.

Furthermore, if you need more evidence that Sanchez is not a true NFL franchise quarterback, look no further than today's game against the Giants; in sum, Sanchez was inaccurate, easily rattled, and made one bone-headed play after another. He threw two costly interceptions, fumbled a ball at the Giants one-yard line, and threw a series of dreary incompletions, including a half-dozen near interceptions. He was pathetic!

Like he did against the 32nd ranked Patriots defense, Sanchez made a 29th ranked Giants pass defense (the same Giants defense that got carved up by REX GROSSMAN the week before) look like the 2000 Ravens! That being said, what were the Jets thinking having Sanchez drop back 64 times to throw the ball 59 times?!?!?! Hello?

This is a team that is built to run the football, and when they ran, they actually ran it pretty well, but, and this is a big BUT, they never committed to the run. Brian Schottenheimer was awful once again with his play-calling. He was too aggressive when he needed to get the game back under control and focus on ball control when things were breaking down around the Jets offense.

Hence, this is where Rex Ryan needs to get critcized. As head coach, he has to take control of the reins of everything, even the offense when things are not going well. It is established knowledge that Ryan is a defensive coordinator; offense is not his forte, but, still, he must get into Schottenheimer's ear and tell him to stop throwing the ball on every down.

Furhtermore, for an entire season the majority of criticism against this Jets team has been focused squarely on the shoulders of Sanchez and Schottenheimer, but it high time to place blame on Rex Ryan. Ryan, who spent the better part of three years throwing the Giants under the bus; he even wrote a chapter in his book about how much his Jets would kick the butt of the Giants, and he continued to echo those words this week.

He is eating major crow right now. Ryan should have never ripped the Giants publicly the way he did. He has written way too many blank checks for this football team that consistently comes up small.

The bloom is clearly off the rose of the Rex Ryan bandwagon. He changed the culture after the dour Eric Mangini tenure, but, let's face it, the guy is proving to be more hot air than solid coaching decisions. Ryan is not on the hot seat, but he is definately on notice. What he does to change this offense, and it needs changing, has to start with getting rid of Schottenehimer which will go a long way to reveal what happens to him in 2012.

Finally, let me throw Nick Folk off the bus as well. Here is a kicker who has developed a reputation of being inconsistent from any distance. In fact, this was a guy who only averaged 65 % of his kicks during his career in Dallas and was dreadful last year for the Jets. With the Jets down 10-7 and in position to kick a field goal to tie the game before the half, Folk missed a forty yard kick wide right, killing any momentum for the Jets. Instead of going into the locker room tied, they went down three.

Then, in the fourth quarter, after Sanchez was sacked for a safety to give the Giants a 22-14 lead, Folk botched an on-side kick on the safety punt that didn't go 10 yards; it ended up in the hands of the Giants. What next? Ahmad Bradshaw chugged into the end zone for the touchdown to ice it at 29-14.

As for the Giants, they came up huge. When they needed a big time team effort with all of the chips down, they got it. Granted, the Giants made their mistakes: having 12 men on the field in the opening series on defense that allowed Mark Sanchez and the Jets to score the opening touchdown, and in Eli Manning's interception in the fourth quarter to set up a Jets score.

However, for the most part, when the Giants needed a big play, they got it. Speaking of which, someone tell Darrelle Revis who Victor Cruz is. Earlier during the week, Revis said that Cruz was a pre-season player, and claimed he didn't know who he was. Well, Revis probably knows who he is now. Cruz broke this game wide open when he caught a desperate Manning pass at the 20, broke a tackle and was gone down the sideline for a 99 yard touchdown giving the Giants a 10-7 lead.

After that the game became a slug fest as neither team's offense could muster much momentum at all, but the Giants defense came up huge. They harassed Sanchez all afternoon, forcing hit to throw off his back foot, forcing some bad incompletions and several near turnovers. It was imperative for both Jason Pierre-Paul and Justin Tuck to have a big afternoon, and the duo did just that. Pierre-Paul enjoyed two sacks and three quarterback hits, including a forced fumble, while Tuck accumulated a sack and a two pass blocked in the ball game. Even David Tollefson got into the fray with a Sanchez sack.

Then late in third quarter, Manning threw another huge completion, this time to Cruz again for 36 yards to the Jets 42. Brandon Jacobs then bulled his way down the sideline for 28 yards to the Jets 14; Bradshaw took it in unmolested for the touchdown.

The Giants then received a huge gift on the Jets next possession when Sanchez threw his first interception of the afternoon that led to a Giants field goal to make it 20-7.

Things got really interesting in the fourth. The Giants had the Jets dead to rights when Mark Sanchez was stripped sacked, but the Jets challenged the ruling and got the play reversed, forcing an already tired Giants defense back onto the field. Thankfully for Big Blue, Mark Sanchez was the opposing quarterback since he then proceeded to fumble the snap on third and one at the Giants 1, giving Big Blue the ball back.

Finally with 2:24 left in the game, and the Jets needing to score a touchdown to win the game, Giants special teams came up huge. A brilliant punt by ex-Jet Sam Weatherford spotted the ball at the Jets eight yard line, and the defense did the rest. Chris Canty came hard on the blitz and Sanchez didn't know what to do, throwing a desperate pass out of the end zone to an ineligible receiver, D'Brickshaw Ferguson. The ruling was a safety, pretty much putting a kibosh on the Jets hopes.

For Big Blue, no one can say their defense is soft anymore. They came up big when they needed to. Their quarterback, Eli Manning, while not having a great day, made the big throws when he needed to, and the running game was there when it mattered.

Great moment: Granted it's never great to see a coach get injured, i.e. Sean Payton, who broke his leg earlier this year, but in the fourth quarter, Tom Coughlin injured his hamstring on the sideline, but he stayed out there. He stood on that sideline, limping around on a bad leg, pushing his players to victory. I think the Giants fed off of that because they kicked it up a notch in the game's final five minutes. Anyone who still thinks Coughlin will be fired after the season can forget it.

The Giants are in control of their playoff destiny. All they have to do is beat the Cowboys and they are NFC East champions. The Jets ... well ... better luck next year.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Rex Ryan: Jets are "better than" Giants

Oh, boy! You knew that this was coming from a mile away.

Rex Ryan shot out the first of what should be many missives during the course of this week as his New York Jets prepare to play the New York Giants in a clash that basically determines which team can pack their bags for the season.

"There's a lot of talk going back and fourth, most of it driven by me, but I'll stand by anything I've ever said; I didn't come here to be anybody's little brother; I came here to win, to be looked at that way and to take over not just this city, even though it's the city to take over, but also this league. I haven't accomplished that yet. Saturday I think will go a long way to doing that."

Ryan later added: "There is no way I am going to be second fiddle. If we're playing the New York Yankees, I don't want to be second fiddle to them."

All right, ladies and gents, now you are all on notice because Big Rex is coming to town and he is checking his Christmas list and checking it twice. Once again, the King of Big Talk and little results is writing a blank check for his players, and he expects them to put down the amount, sign it, cash it, and spend it on a brand new Mercedes.

Ryan of course ignores the fact that his "Super Bowl" team has been woefully inconsistent all year, beginning with an offense that can't shoot straight, a terrible offensive line, a horrible running game, and an mediocre quarterback. But facts don't deter Ryan from pumping up his chest if means it will pump up his players. During Ryan's crazy tenure, it has both worked and failed. The bravado worked last year when he lit into the Patriots before the AFC Divisional playoffs; however, the bravado has not worked much at all this season.

The Giants have been responding to Rex's jabs; Mathias Kiwanuka lashed out saying: "I know we're the better team; we just have to go out and prove it."

However, Eli Manning tried to take a higher road saying: "I'm not going to get every quote Rex Ryan is saying and take it to heart. Some guys will respond to it, but it's not going to be me."

The War of the Words is on. This time everything is at stake. For the first time in the regular season, this game means a lot to both teams. Neither franchise has established itself this season and both cling by their pinkie fingers, to playoff hopes and Super Bowl dreams. The Giants need to win out to win the NFC East, while the Jets need to win one of their next two and get lots of help to win the wild card.

This series has really been nondescript over the years. The two teams have only played each other 11 times in the regular season, a crime that needs to be changed when, and if, the NFL goes to an 18 game schedule in a couple years. Of course, the pair play a meaningless pre-season game every season, but, really, who cares?

This game will have all the drama and hype of a Subway Series match-up when Mets-Yankees actually meant something in this town in the late 1990's/early 2000's. However, considering how angry each fan base is at their respective teams, there will probably be plenty of booing to go around on Chrismas Eve, and little holiday cheer.

Both the Giants and Jets have lashed out at their fans for booing them too much, especially the Jets who made a federal case of it a few weeks ago. This week, neither team will be able to tell if the booing is coming from their own fans, or the opposing team's fans.

But in the meantime, get ready for four more days of missives from Rex Ryan.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Clipped: Jets downed by Vick & Eagles


Ineptitude, incompetence, and just plain dreadfulness.

That pretty much describes the effort, or lack thereof, that was on display by the New York Jets Sunday afternoon when they were manhandled by the Philadelphia Eagles 45-19, dropping New York to 8-6, but still clinging to playoff hopes.

The Jets never got off the bus for this one; in fact, they may have been stuck in traffic on Route 95. Absolutely horrible from the top on down for Gang Green as the Jets watched the Eagles build a 28-0 lead with 6:30 minutes to go in the second quarter.

For those fans who thought that the Jets victories over the dregs of the NFL, i.e. Buffalo, Washington and Kansas City in consecutive weeks meant success was on the horizon, here's a new flash for ya: it meant nothing, nothing. The Jets, once again, showed that they can't compete with teams that are their equal, if not better than they. In spite of all the adversity the Eagles faced coming into this game, they were pound for pound a better football team on paper, and it showed on Sunday.

Under Rex Ryan, the Jets have never played up to the level of their competition, especially winning teams; the only exception coming one January Sunday in Foxboro, Massachusetts.

The fact that the Jets still hold onto the number six seed in the playoffs is an absolute joke, as Gang Green has to put the Detroit Lions on their Christmas card list after the Lions stunned the Oakland Raiders in the waning seconds on Sunday.

From start to finish the Jets were outplayed by the Eagles. It started with Santonio Holmes' fumble which was picked up by Juqua Parker, who rumbled 47 yards to pay dirt for the touchdown. That was followed by a Sanchez special, as the inconsistent quarterback threw an interception to Asante Samuel on a pass intended for Holmes that was eventually turned into six more for Philly; Michael Vick found Brent Celeck from 27 yards out to make it 14-0 in the first quarter.

The Jets were completely flabbergasted offensively. For some odd reason Brian Schottenheimer would not abandon the running game when the team was down by as many as 21 points, and the Jets passing attack was limited to short little screen passes to both LaDainian Tomlinson and Shonn Greene. Either Schottenheimer is stubborn, or he just doesn't have much confidence in Mark Sanchez when the chips are down. Maybe it's a combination of both.

Sanchez was under siege all night. He was treated like a Raggedy Ann doll; sacked four times, three by Jason Babin, he was even injured on one of the hits. Sanchez was not great; he threw two interceptions, including a completely stupid one as he was going down on a sack, and actually flipped the ball to an Eagle. Great job.

Defensively, the overrated Jets defense was like a sieve. They gave up 156 yards receiving to tight end Brent Celeck who ate the Jets secondary alive all night long. Michael Vick, who was limping around the field throughout the game, was solid, completing 15 of 22 passes for 274 yards and even ran in for one touchdown.

And speaking of incompetency: Mr. Santonio Holmes, congratulations, you are a winner in the "What-was-I-thinking" award.

Holmes was a huge culprit in this game. His fumble that resulted in an Eagles touchdown took all of the wind out of the Jets sails. He then allowed a Sanchez pass to go through his hands and into the hands of Asante Samuel, and, to top things off, with his team down 28-3, Holmes scored a touchdown, then decided to do his trademark, and over the top Jets touchdown dance in the end zone. Totally selfish and brainless on Holmes' part. His antics were a big reason why the Jets lost this game.

Now New York gets ready for the ultimate BOO fest when they square off with the equally dreadful Giants at Metlife Stadium. The Jets can't complain that they are being booed by Jets fans and Jets fans only because half the stadium will be filled with Giants fans. They will be booing the Jets too. Then again, fans of both teams will be booing a heck of a lot on Christmas Eve.

Knicks sign guard Baron Davis

The Knicks have completed their revamped roster with the signing of All Star point guard Baron Davis.

A week after the team signed both Tyson Chandler to be the team's center, and Mike Bibby to be the team's back up point guard and shooting guard, the team heavily purused Davis, who was waived by the Cleveland Cavaliers a week ago.

Davis is a really good player. He helped resurrect the Golden State Warriors into a playoff contender, averaging 20 points a game over his four year period in Oakland, California. He then went down the coast to LA to play with the Clippers from 2008 - 2010, before moving to Cleveland last season.

Davis is an excellent shooter and game manager. With him in tow in New York, it only makes the Knicks that more lethal on paper. Does this make the Knicks the new "Dream Team" of the NBA?

The Knicks better hope that term is not floated around their camp; just look at the failures of the Philadelpia Eagles of the NFL and the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals for examples. But in New York where expectations run high, if the Knicks fail to match these expectations than Coach Mike D'Antoni will be in big trouble.

He has a great roster with Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, and now the three new additions this year of Bibby, Chandler and Davis. In a lockout shortened year, can the Knicks develop the necessary chemistry to make this program work in a 66 game schedule? That is the question that will hover over the Knicks all season.

Blue Christmas: Giants get smacked around by Redskins


It was right there in front of them. A week ago the Giants seemingly saved their season when Jason Pierre-Paul's outstretched hands tipped away a Dan Bailey field goal attempt to send the Giants into a playoff tizzy as New York escaped Dallas with a 37-34 victory. In spite of a season full of mega disapointments, highlighted by a four game losing streak in the middle of their season, the Giants were still in control of their own destiny.

Win out against the Redskins with Rex Grossman, the Jets with Mark Sanchez, and the Cowboys with Tony Romo, not exactly the elite list of quarterbacks, and the Giants would be in the show.

Instead, the Giants came out flat, unmotivated and unprepared for a Redskins team that beat them way back in Week 1 when the Skins came away with a 23-10 victory at Metlife Stadium.

For the Giants this is an inexcusable performance for the team now has to prepare for an Intra-City brawl with the desperate Jets. The Giants no longer control their own fate. The Cowboys smacked the Buccaneers Saturday, as Tony Romo tallied four total touchdowns, and if New York is to make these playoffs, they have to beat the Jets and the Cowboys to get in. The room for error is zero.

From the outset, things looked ominous in this game. First, the Giants couldn't take advantage of a Rex Grossman interception when as Big Blue went three-and-out on their opening series. The Giants then allowed Washington to march right down the field as Grossman completed three of four passes, including a 19 yard pass to Dante Stallworth to move the Redskins to within field goal range and take a 3-0 lead.

If looking for another microcosm on this bloody Sunday, look no further than the Giants ensuing drive after the Skins' field goal. Eli Manning had Hakeem Nicks wide open down the sideline, but the receiver dropped the ball, forcing fourth down.

Manning was truly awful. He completed one of his first eight passes for 11 measly yards, and never got into a groove as the Redskins pounded the Giants offensive line, forcing Manning to throw three interceptions, and holding down the Giants running attack to only 91 total yards.

However what was most disturbing about this loss was the ineptitude of the Giants defense, which had absolutely no answer for the Redskins mediocre offense. They allowed the Redskins to move the football at will and even made Grossman look like Joe Theisman-reincarnate for a better part of the afternoon. The defense had no energy, no passion, nobody, not even Pierre-Paul seemed willing or able to make a big play when the team needed it. The Giants defense was totally flat.

Case in point came in the second quarter as Grossman completed a huge 16 yard pass to Stallworth on third and 17 to set up a critical fourth and one. On that fourth down, the Giants failed miserably to make the stop; Grossman threaded the needle to Jabar Gaffney for a seven yard gain.

Three plays later, Grossman found a wide open Santana Moss in the back of the endzone for the touchdown and a 10-0 lead.

When the Giants needed an answer after that Redskins score, they didn't get it as Manning was picked off by Ohiomosugo Atogwe at the Giants 41 yard line, setting up the Redskins for another scoring drive. The Skins then relied heavily on the running game and on the combination of Roy Helu, Evan Royster, and Darryl Young for 26 of Washington's 41 yards with Young capping it off with a six yard scamper into the end zone to make it 17-0.

Overall, this represented a complete meltdown for the Giants. They looked ill-prepared and unmotivated. They never once made a huge play to turn the game around, and, for the a better part of the afternoon, the players stood around, slumped over with rejection etched on their faces, and this was even a look that was apparent when the Giants were only down 3-0.

For those who have been calling for the head of Tom Coughlin, they now have credence to that argument. Coughlin didn't get this team ready. He didn't get them motivated to play Sunday, and it showed. When he needed to make adjustments, the results never came. This one is on the head coach, and if the Giants should totally collapse over the next two weeks and miss the playoffs, one can make the argument that it is time for him to go.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Open Mike Christmas edition

On this edition of Open Mike, Michael welcomes in a special guest in the opening minutes of the show, the one the only, Santa Claus! That’s right, the Claus pays a visit to CSB studios to talk about the Christmas season and a little bit of football.

Michael then welcomes in Triple Coverage’s Mike Sanfilippo to discuss the NFL playoff picture as the Jets and Giants try to hang on to playoff dreams in the season’s final weeks. LISTEN!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Giants stun Cowboys, jump into first place in NFC East


Who woulda thunk it?

The New York Giants are in first place in the NFC East after they stunned the Dallas Cowboys 37-34 on Sunday night, ending a hideous four game losing streak that seemed destined to spell doom for Tom Coughlin and Big Blue.

The credit for this victory is clearly due quarterback Eli Manning, who was both fantastic and clutch, throwing for 400 yards and two touchdowns, and leading the Giants on a late touchdown drive to grab the victory from the once playoff destined Cowboys.

The game itself was a back-and-forth affair, as both teams traded scores like a heavy weight prize fight. Through three quarters, Big Blue held on to a 22-20 lead when Manning hit Mario Manningham from 47 yards out, giving the Giants the lead.

But the Cowboys wouldn't go away. It seemed that whenever the Giants had an answer for the Cowboys, Romo would have two answers for the Giants. On a 3rd and 10 from their own 20 yard line, Romo heaved up a pass down the middle of the field to a wide open Laurent Robinson who streaked to the Giants six yard line for a 74 yard gain. On the next play, Romo hit Miles Austin for the touchdown to give Dallas a 27-22 lead.

Things went from bad to worse for the Giants. With New York driving into Dallas territory, Manning's pass intended for Danny Ware was tipped up into the air and picked off by Sean Lee. And it didn't take long for Dallas to answer. Once again Romo found a receiver wide open down the sideline in Dez Bryant, who beat out Antrelle Rolle at the 45 and was running solo down the sideline. Romo hit Bryant in stride for the touchdown and a 34-22 lead.

At that moment, it appeared that the game was lost. The Giants had made the costly mistake offensively, and, defensively, New York couldn't stop a nose bleed.

Yet, these are the moments that Eli Manning lives off. Nobody has been playing better on the Giants this season than Manning, and the guy has a knack for bringing this football team back from the dead. Giants fans began to believe when Manning hit Victor Cruz for a 23 yard gain to move the ball to the Dallas 37. Now Big Blue was within striking distance.

Two plays later, Manning connected with Hakeem Nicks for 24 yards to the Dallas eight yard line. Finally, Manning found Jake Ballard for the touchdown to cut the deficit to five points, 34-29.

With 3:14 left in the game, the Giants defense finally made a stand, forcing the Cowboys into a three and out on only five net yards. With more than enough time left in the game, the Giants still had a shot, but they needed a touchdown.

On a the Giants third play from scrimmage at the Cowboys 24 yard line, Manning found a seam in double coverage on Manningham and dropped the pass right into Manningham's lap, but the receiver dropped the sure touchdown.

No harm, no foul. Manning found Ballard for 18 yards right up the middle to the Dallas one yard line, and Big Blue was in business. Brandon Jacobs scored the go-ahead touchdown to give the Giants the lead, and Danny Ware added the two-point conversion to give New York a 37-34 lead with a minute to go in the game.

Romo didn't waste any time in getting the Boys back in position. He connected with Miles Austin twice for big gains of 22 and 23 yards to move the ball to the Giants 29 yard line. With six seconds to go, Dallas lined up for a game-tying field goal. The kick by Dan Bailey was good, but the Giants called a timeout before the snap to ice the kicker.

The Giants were well aware that Bailey missed a game winner last week for Dallas after their own coach, Jason Garrett, mistakenly called a time out in the Cowboys loss against Arizona.

On Bailey's second attempt, the field goal was blocked by Jason Pierre-Paul to preserve an incredible win for the Giants!

The Giants are now in first place in the NFC East; with winnable games against the Redskins, Jets, and Cowboys on the horizon, the Giants control their own destiny.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Jets destroy dreadful Chiefs; tentatively in playoffs


If someone told you after the New York Jets got stunned by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos four weeks ago that they would be in the thick of the playoff hunt with three weeks to go in the regular season, would you consider that person a falling down drunk?

Think again. The Jets are indeed in the thick of the playoff race after they dropped the absolutely dreadful Kansas City Chiefs 37-10 to improve to 8-5. Not only did Gang Green win the game, but they got a lot of help. The New Orleans Saints beat the Tennessee Titans 22-17, and the Houston Texans beat the Cincinnati Bengals 20-19 to propel the Jets into the number six seed in the AFC playoffs! If the season ended today, the Jets would face the Patriots in the first round of the playoffs.

The Jets needed a solid performance against a dreadful team having toyed with the Buffalo Bills and Washington Redskins the past two weeks, two games the Jets could have easily lost if it weren't for a break here and there.

The Jets never had to sweat against a Chiefs football team that barely mustered 221 yards of total offense, had no ground game, and watched Tyler Palko play like a complete buffoon. Basically, call it a cake walk for Gang Green.

The Jets wasted little time in disposing of the Chiefs. On the opening drive of the day, Shonn Greene, who has come under heavy scrutiny this year for his poor running, broke off a 31 yard run on the Jets first play of the day to move the Gang into KC territory. Later in the drive, Mark Sanchez hit Dustin Keller twice, for gains of 11 and seven yards to move the ball to the Chiefs five. Finally, Sanchez took it in himself, giving the Jets a 7-0 lead.

For his part, Sanchez enjoyed a decent game. He completed 13 of his 21 passes for 181 yards with two touchdowns and became the first Jets quarterback to throw for two touchdowns and run for two touchdowns in the same game, a feat, if you consider the number of lousy quarterbacks in Jets history, that is nothing to get too excited about.

Anyhow, the Jets exploded big time in the second quarter, scoring 21 points and putting this game away before halftime. After Palko was picked off by Jim Leonhard, Sanchez connected with Greene on a bubble screen, and Greene did the rest, chugging for 36 yards to the Chiefs two yard line. Two plays later, Sanchez hit Santonio Holmes in the back of the end zone for the touchdown to give the Jets a 14-3 lead.

One very important note here is Leonhard. After making the interception Leonhard fell to the ground in a heap and had to be carted off the field and into the locker room. It was later reported that he had a knee injury and it is likely that he will miss the rest of the season. This will mark the second straight year that Leonhard will miss the stretch run for the Jets due to an injury. Without Leonhard, the Jets already spotty defense will be tested big time for the rest of the season.

Meanwhile, the Jets offense continued to pour it on. Shonn Greene added to his brilliant afternoon, scoring on a seven yard run to give the Jets a 21-3 lead, and Sanchez connected with LaDainian Tomlinson on a 19 yard touchdown to blow it open at 28-3.

So, what do we learn about the Jets from this game? Nothing.

We learned nothing about the Jets after they clobbered a horrible football team, for, now, the Jets have a very difficult stretch run with the Eagles, Giants and Dolphins on the docket. If the Jets plan to hold on to the number six seed they have to win two or more of these games. That will be very difficult to do, considering the Eagles are playing hard for coach Andy Reid, the Giants are playing for a divisional title, and the Dolphins, who have been playing well of late, are playing very hard for coach Tony Sparano, and would love to TKO the Jets from the playoffs.

For a Jets team that has been on shaky ground all season, it is sure to be an equally shaky finish. Buckle up, Jets fans; it looks like a bumpy road ahead.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Knicks land Tyson Chandler in 3-team deal

The Knicks want to play defense.

Fifteen days before the season begins at home against the Boston Celtics, the Knicks completed a three team trade for Dallas Mavericks center Tyson Chandler, a move the Knicks had to make to have any real shot to compete for a conference title out of the Eastern Conference.

The Knicks set themselves up offensively last year when they added Amare Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, but it was the Knicks defense, or lack there of, that was a big problem for them all year.

Chandler changes that. He brings with him an NBA title experience with the Mavs from last season when he averaged 10 points per game and nine rebounds per game last season. At 29, the Knicks will be the fifth team Chander has played for, performing previously for the Bulls, Hornets and Bobcats before joining for Dallas last year. Chandler signed a new four year deal to remain with the Knicks after the deal was completed.

To make room for Chandler, the Knicks dumped Chauncy Billups, the aging point guard, who was not too crazy about playing in New York last season when he was a throw in in the Carmelo Anthony deal with Denver.

It's not like the Knicks are now without a point guard. They did sign Mike Bibby, the former Sacremento King and Miami Heat guard, who was a star with the Kings. Bibby has seen his playing time dwindle the last couple years, but he is sure to see more time as the Knicks starting point guard.

So, it looks like the 2011-2012 Knicks are ready to roll into the season.

Nets not in trouble for tampering with Dwight Howard

The New Jersey Nets were once thought to be in some trouble after they were caught flirting with one of the NBA's premiere talents, Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard.

Howard who is one of the NBA's best centers who averages 18 points and 13 rebounds per game. Last season, Howard averaged 22.9 points per game with 14.1 rebounds. His size, 6'11," 265 lbs, is highlighted by his freakish physique, making him an intimidating presence inside the plate and a desirable addition for any team that wants him.
The Nets want Howard so they can have some clout when they move to Brooklyn next year. They also hope it will convince point guard Deron Williams to stay with the team when he becomes a free agent after this season.

Souces say that Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov met with Howard in Miami to talk about a trade, something that would have violated tampering rules since Howard is still under contract, and the Magic have not agreed to trade him to the Nets ... yet.

Howard and the Nets have denied the allegations, but ESPN reports that the Nets were allowed to talk to Howard by the Magic in a secret move by Orlando; however, once word got out that the meeting took place, it was assumed to be tampering.

The Nets are indeed one of three teams involved in the Howard sweepstakes. If the Nets can get him, it would be a huge gain for a franchise that has seen some dark days since the Jason Kidd era ended in 2008.

Open Mike 12-09-11 Hot Stove Edititon

On the latest edition of Open Mike, host Michael Cohen cracks open the hot stove, as he digs into the Mets problems, and why they “really” got ride of short stop Jose Reyes.

Michael welcomes in WGHT reporter and Yankees reporter Karen Van Kat to analyze the coming’s and going’s in Major League Baseball during the free agent frucus. Listen Here!

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Knicks & Nets revised schedules released

The revised schedules for the New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets were released last night.

With the season truncated to 66 games, both local teams saw reductions in the number of conference and inter-conference games this season. Case in point, the Knicks only play the Miami Heat twice this year, with the first meeting at Miami on January 27, and the final meeting at the Garden on April 15.

While the Knicks will still play the Lakers twice this season, they will only play San Antonio, Utah, Denver, and the Clippers once this season.

The Knicks open the season at home on Christmas day against the Boston Celtics.

As for the Nets, they open the season the day after Christmas at Washington, their first home game is the next day against the Atlanta Hawks. In interconference play the Nets will see the Utah Jazz and L.A. Clippers twice this season, while only getting to see the Dallas Mavericks, L.A. Lakers and San Antonio Spurs once this year.

The Nets and Knicks play three times; the first meeting coming on February 4 in New York.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Reyes leaves Mets, signs with Marlins for mega deal

Well, Met fans, you can thank Fred and Jeff Wilpon for this one.

The cash strapped Mets, who showed no interest in re-signing Jose Reyes this off-season, will have to watch Reyes play against them 19 times a year when the Mets play the re-tooling Miami Marlins.

The Marlins had been courting Reyes for a couple months and agreed to terms with the multi-faceted short stop on a six year $106 million deal, with an option for a seventh year that would cost Florida $22 million.

Reyes was a dynamic player for the Mets. A guy who was a base-stealing threat, and a huge threat to leg out triples in Shea Stadium and Citi Field; he was one of the most exciting players to wear a Mets uniform.

He helped re-energize a franchise that was dying in the mid-2000's, and energized a fan base that chanted his name with each plate appearance. He was looked upon, with David Wright, as the savior of the franchise, a presence that would be a part of the Mets for decades to come.

But then with the financial crisis that hit the Mets after the 2008 season, it became disturbingly clear that the Mets were not going to be able to afford Reyes when he hit the market; however, more disturbing was the lack of interest the Mets showed in Reyes to remain part of the franchise. This was a guy who hit a career .292, stole 300 bases, scored 750 runs over his eight year career. He won a batting title this past season and was the spark plug for a franchise and fan base. Now he is gone, and the Mets front office doesn't care.

It was Fred Wilpon who in an article published in the New Yorker magazine said that Reyes was not worth Carl Crawford money, citing the outfielder's big pay day with the Red Sox last winter; this sent the message that he was not going to pay Reyes a dime. Well, guess what? He didn't.

Conclusion: Terrible job by the Mets and the Wilpons.

Now they will have to get used to seeing Reyes kill them every single season. It is time for Fred and Jeff Wilpon to go and sell this Mets team before they sink it beyond recovery.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Open Mike 12-02-11

On this edition of Open Mike, Michael sees trouble on the horizon after several Jets players took pot shots at Jets fans for booing the team and Mark Sanchez during the club's lackluster victory over the bumbling Buffalo Bills.

Michael then previews the Giants huge clash with the Green Bay Packers, as Green Bay tries to remain undefeated.

Finally, Michael welcomes in Dan Feuerstein and Bill Zeltman to discuss Bobby Valentine's signing with the Boston Red Sox. Will it be a great marriage, or will it be the kiss of death?

The Open Mike Roundtable finishes off the show discussing the NBA free agent frenzy. Listen here!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Red Sox gamble, bring in ex-Met manager Bobby Valentine

It was only a matter of time before Bobby Valentine returned to a major league dugout.

One of the game's most coveted managerial candidates over the past number of years since his firing from the New York Mets in 2002, Valentine brings his disciplinarian approach to Bean town.

Met fans always wanted to see Valentine return to the Mets; some even felt he was the scapegoat in a bitter "he-said, he-said" with then general manager Steve Phillips. Valentine resurrected his career in Japan, winning a Japanese World Series and, basically, re-inventing how the game was played in the Land of the Rising Sun to point that he earned cult status, and his own documentary the Zen of Bobby V.

No manager knows how to get more out of his players than Valentine. In New York, Valentine took scraps like Benny Agbayanni, Matt Franco, Todd Pratt, Jay Payton, and Rick Reed and turned them into key contributors to a team that had veteran All-Star talent in Mike Piazza, Robin Ventura, Edgardo Alfonzo, Al Leiter, and Todd Ziele. They were a great team, the last really fun team the Mets have had until the club's outstanding, albeit heartbreaking, 2006 season.

Now, heading to Boston, there is a new challenge. He has to deal with a club house that couldn't function for the more down-to-earth Terry Francona, a guy who won two World Series titles in Boston. Valentine, who, while having the reputation of getting the most out of players, can also be quite cantankerous, and was even villified by some players in the Mets club house.

Moreover, Valentine is a guy who loves to have total control of a franchise. That's why he was so successful in Japan; he was the GM and manager. In New York, Valentine got into many fueds with Steve Phillips over player personnel matters and went out of his way to say, years later, that he didn't want Mo Vaughn or Roberto Alomar; Phillips, he asserted, was the one who wanted them.

He goes to Boston where they have just hired a young GM, Ben Cherington, who is trying to establish himself. This will be an interesting relationship to watch develop. Will Cherington allow Valentine to have any say in player personnel, or will these two eventually butt heads? In addition, it is widely believed that Valentine was not Cherington's top choice; he wanted Dave Sveum, a guy who has no prior major league managing experience, one who would probably listen to Cherington's demands.

Then there is the club house. Can Valentine co-exist with guys like Josh Beckett, David Ortiz, and Kevin Youklis? Some of these guys, most notably Beckett, were rumored to be involved in a beer and fried chicken incident during September. Don't expect Valentine to tolerate that, but keep in mind, he did have to deal with Bobby Bolnilla and Ricky Henderson playing cards in the Mets clubhouse during the 1999 NLCS.

So this will be an interesting situation. It will be all lovey dovey on Thursday when Valentine is introduced as manager, but Boston is not the two horse pony that New York is. Valentine is the only manager of the only team in the region, and he has to compete with the Yankees in the division this time around, not for back page headlines. If Valentine succeeds in Boston, his legend will only grow. If not, well ... don't say I didn't warn you.

Jim Leonard & Rex Ryan rip into Jets fans

It appears the Jets season now has hit a brand new low.

Days after the Jets survived a sure defeat at the hands of the Buffalo Bills, Jets safety Jim Leonhard and head coach Rex Ryan felt it was necessary to rip Jets fans for booing quarterback Mark Sanchez during the quarterback's lack-luster performance on Sunday.

First it was Leonhard, who, on his weekly spot on WFAN's Beningo & Roberts show, blasted Jets fans for booing the struggling QB, stating: “I think, probably for one of the first times, I was kind of disappointed. Our starting quarterback gets booed in introductions. As players, you kind of turn to each other and say, "You know what? I guess we’re in this one today by ourselves. We can’t rely on the crowd to give us that energy because it’s already started off on a bad note."

Leonhard was apparently upset that Jets fans loudly booed Sanchez when he was introduced in pre-game and throughout the contest as Sanchez misfired with overthrows and underthrows to his receivers.

Then Ryan went after the fans during his Tuesday press conference saying: “Until he wins the whole thing, he’s going to be criticized just like I’m going to be criticized. That’s fine. It comes with the territory, but he did throw four touchdowns. That’s not all bad. Mark Sanchez is not our problem. He’s one of the strengths of our team.

This is a terrible signal by the Jets. To start taking it out on the fans is a losing proposition. You don't go to the masses against the fans of New York City and expect to win the fight. The Jets have a lot of problems, and yes, it does start with the play of the quarterback and this offense. It was one of the worst performances by a quarterback who threw four touchdowns but never looked comfortable in the game. The fact the Jets won had more to do with the fact the Bills blew it.

Plus, fans are growing pretty tired of watching Sanchez's mediocre play. This is a guy who didn't light the NFL on fire his first two years and was really a complementary piece to a great football team with a solid defense and good running game. Now that the Jets don't have that great D and running attack, it's on the kid to deliver, and he has not. He is still the same mediocre quarterback who completes 50 percent of his passes, has a quarterback rating of around 70, and is good for a bad intercpetion every game. This is not progress; this is not regression; this is who Sanchez is, and the fans know it, but the Jets don't want to recognize it.

More important, fans have every right to boo this team. From the owner on down to the coach and players, they have talked and talked and talked about how great this team would be. They asked fans to fork over hundreds of thousands of dollars in PSL's just to remain in the building, and even kicked out long time, die-hard season ticket holders who couldn't afford the Jets' steep ticket/concession/parking fees in the new building. Jets fans have every right to be angry.

The Jets have become pretty edgy this year whenever they get challenged or called out. Earlier this year, Joe Namath blasted the Jets on several occasions, and it led to several Jets players telling Namath off, even going so far as to say they wanted nothing to do with him! Even Rex Ryan said that Namath needed to mind his own business since he is not a part of the organization.

Then, in mid-October, Darrelle Revis got into a verbal exchange with WFAN's Mike Francesa when Mike tried to challenge Revis about a pass interference call in a game against the Dolphins. Revis grew so upset that he was instructed by Jets PR to hang up on Francesa.

If the Jets think that picking a fight with fans and the media will earn them respect, they can forget it. Whenever a team picks a fight with the fans and media in this town, it is usually a sign that the end is near. I am not saying heads will roll this year, but the seats will be getting red hot in the off-season and into 2012 if this team does indeed miss the playoffs.

The Jets better shut up and play ball because this is one fight they cannot win.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Giants never show up in New Orleans slaughter


Justin Tuck said after the Giants loss to the Eagles, that the season could spiral out of control if the team didn't pick it up.

Consider the wheels off, and the sparks flying.

The Giants didn't bother to show up in their Monday night clash with the New Orleans Saints, watching Drew Brees and company roll up 49 points on the Giants soft defense, as New York fell to 6-5, with a colossal task against the unbeaten Green Bay Packers on the horizon.

The Giants defense, which has been battered by injuries all season, and even watched as Osi Umenyiora left this game with an injury that could sideline him for a while, yielded 577 total yards to the Saints, 300 of which came in the first half alone as the Saints built a 21-3 halftime lead.

The Saints made things look easy, as Drew Brees connected with all of his receivers with great ease. In the second quarter alone, Brees threw three touchdown passes, two to Lance Moore, and one to soon-to-be pro bowl tight end Jimmy Graham to help the Saints built an nearly insurmountable lead.

Offensively, the Giants didn't have much of an answer. They once again struggled to run the football early in this contest, failing to establish any consistency, but once the Saints went up two scores, the Giants could throw away their pathetic running attack, relying mostly on the arm of Eli Manning. While Manning looked great, throwing for 407 yards on 47 pass attempts, including a 72 yard touchdown to Victor Cruz, it was not enough; not with a Giants defense that was so pathetic.

One a side note, in a week where we have seen some pretty bone-headed decisions by players, from Ndmakong Shu to Stevie Johnson, Brandon Jacobs did something amazingly stupid. In the third quarter, Jacobs scored a Giants touchdown to cut the Saints lead to 21-10, then decided to dance in the faces of the Saints. It was a totally classless move by a completely classless player who is doing everything in his power to get himself out of town. It was a selfish move by Jacobs, who clearly showed no interest in the fact that his team was getting killed in the ball game. What a fool.

So now the Giants gravy train is starting to spiral completely out of control. It is clear that Tom Couglin is losing this football team, the coordinators have been ineffective in their play calling and coaching, and the players play like a group playing out the string. It's over for the Giants. If this team has any pride left they would show up for the final five games of the season and try to win these games. I don't know if that pride is there right now.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bills blunders gift wrap victory for Jets


Here is what the optimistic Jets fan, who likes to wear blinders while driving, will say Monday morning when he wakes up from his hangover. "Yo man, Mark Sanchez threw four touchdowns, he's amazing!"

Here is the reality.

In spite of throwing four touchdowns, Mark Sanchez was truly awful as the New York Jets offense barley mustered 318 total yards, and Sanchez threw for only 180 yards and completed only 17 of 35 passes, which is less than 50 percent competed. He was bad; truly awful, as he under-threw, overthrew, and threw behind his wide receivers for a better part of the afternoon; but the big reason the New York Jets won this game had more to do with one bone-headed play after another by the Buffalo Bills, who clearly should have won this game going away.

After the Bills grabbed a 14-7 lead, thanks to a Mark Sanchez interception, that he threw right into the hands of Drayton Florence, the Bills did two incredibly stupid things in a row.

First, Stevie Johnson who caught a five yard touchdown pass from Ryan Fitzpatrick to give the Bills the seven point lead, decided to do a touchdown dance, mocking Plaxico Burress shooting himself in the leg. While some have taken heavy offense to it, it wasn't like Ndamukong Shu stepping on someone's body.

However, the dance did hurt the Bills. It was a 15 yard penalty assessed on the kickoff, meaning that the Jets would have a chance to make a solid return on the kickoff. Then an even more idiotic thing happened, when Bills kicker Dave Rayner muffed the kick-off Charlie Brown-stlye, giving the Jets the football at the Bills 36 yard line.

The Jets took fool advantage, as Sanchez drilled a 14-yard touchdown pass to Plaxico Burress to tie the game. If only the Bills kicked the ball off correctly, this touchdown probably wouldn't have happened.

Sanchez was playing really badly up to this point throwing incompletions all over the place, and whenever he tried to zip it to his receivers the ball ended up in double and triple coverage. It was a truly poor effort by Sanchez, one of the worst performances I have seen from someone who still managed to throw four touchdowns. How bad is the Bills defense, you think?

Early in the third quarter, Sanchez had his best drive of the day. He completed a 22 yard shot to Dustin Keller to move the ball to the Bills 34, then hit Joe McKnight for 12 more yards to the Bills 21. Finally, Sanchez found Dustin Keller wide open in the end zone for the touchdown to give the Jets a 21-14 lead.

Then, the comedy of errors returned for the Jets. The Jets defense and special teams, which had been horrid all season long, continued their mediocre ways. Starting with Antonio Cromartie who muffed a punt return giving the Bills the football at the Jets 36 yard line. On the next play, Fitzpatrick found Brad Smith for a 36 yard touchdown. The ex-Jet, caught the ball when it bounced off the shoulder of Cromartie, and walked right into the end zone for the score to tie it.

Fitzpatrick was tearing apart the Jets secondary. He threw for 264 yards, and three touchdowns. Every pass he completed, whether it be David Nelson, Scott Chandler, or even Stevie Johnson, they were wide open on each completion. It was a miracle for the Jets that the Bills didn't blow them out of the building with this areal assault.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter, and Fitzpatrick orchestrated a solid 14 play 62 yard drive, converting three huge third downs with passes to David Nelson and Scott Chandler to get Buffalo into field goal range for Rayner, who booted it through the up rights to give the Bills a 24-21 lead.

It appeared that Buffalo was well on their way to victory after the Jets went three-and-out on their next possession, but the Jets defense finally made a stand thanks to a sack of Fitzpatrick by David Harris to give New York the ball back.

In a drive that was eerily reminiscent of the Jets game winning drive against Houston a year earlier, Gang Green drove the football down the field for the go-ahead score in the final minutes. Key passes on the drive included a 14 yard completion to Burress to move the ball into Buffalo territory, a 12 yard competion to Patrick Turner to move the ball to the Bills 35, and an 18 yard completion to Burress to move the ball to the Bills 18. The final Burress catch was all on Burress. Sanchez threw behind Burress, but the lanky wide out bailed out his quarterback by making a terrific catch down the sideline. If he didn't catch it, the game would have probably ended right there.

Two plays later, Sanchez found Santonio Holmes in the corner of the end zone, like the Houston game, for the go-ahead touchdown. For 50 minutes the Bills defense flustered Sanchez, but when it really mattered, they couldn't stop a quarterback who was struggling all afternoon. Terrible job by the Bills defense.

Buffalo had one last shot though. Fitzpatrick connected with Nelson for 18 yards to the Bills 45, then hit Chandler for 11 more to move it into Jets territory with 40 seconds to go. After a penalty on the Jets, Fitzpatrick scrambled for 15 yards to the Jets 27, and Buffalo was in business. Then on the next play, Fitzpatrick found that Johnson split the coverage up the middle, and was wide open. He hit him right in stride, but Johnson bobbled and dropped what would have been a sure touchdown for the Bills.

Johnson, who humiliated himself earlier in the game, cost his team a chance to win the ball game late, and the Jets escaped a poor effort against a struggling divisional rival.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

NBA Lockout Close to Over, Tentative Agreement Reached

Well ladies and gents, the NBA is back in business.

Thank God!

In what became a horrific and unending stalemate between the the owners and players union, filled with nasty bickering, little progress and fear that the entire 2011-2012 season would be lost, the lockout finally ended late Friday night when the owners and players tentatively agreed to a new CBA at 3 a.m., meaning that training camp will start as soon as December 9, if the majority of the owners (29) and the players (450) agree to vote on the new legislation.

If the NBA training camp season begins in two weeks, there is still a chance that the season will open on Christmas Day in a truncated 66 game regular season, highlighted by the Knicks hosting the Boston Celtics, and Miami Heat paying a visit to the Dallas Mavericks in a rematch of the 2011 NBA Finals.

After disbanding as a union and filing an antitrust suit against the NBA, the Players Association needs to reform as a union and hold a vote to ratify the deal. The terms of the agreement included a 50-50 revenue split between the owners and players, a source said.

The negotiating session nearly came undone in the early moments on Friday night when Players Association counsel Jeffrey Kessler told Stern and the NBA’s negotiating team through a speaker phone that the players wanted to move back to a 51 percent revenue split, a league source told Y! Sports. Stern, labor relations committee chairman Peter Holt and deputy commissioner Adam Silver termed the proposal “unacceptable,” and soon left the conference room.

The players were feeling out how much leverage their antitrust lawsuits gave them, sources said, but it’s long been clear that Stern didn’t have ownership support to go beyond 50 percent. The players had a 57 percent share of the revenue split in the last collective bargaining agreement, and the move to 50-50 could shift as much as $3 billion to the owners over the course of a 10-year agreement. Yahoo sports.

With the NBA season now back in fold, it is hard not to get excited about the new season. Last year was the most successful year in the NBA since the late 1990s. There was legitimate concern over the years that the 1999 lockout had such a negative impact on the game, that it took a very long time for the fans to come back to the sport. Not only did the '99 lockout steer away fans, but it was also the end of the Michael Jordan era in baseketball, as well as the beginning of the end of the Knicks and Pacers runs through the NBA. The league became dominated by the Western Conference, with the Lakers and Spurs winning most of the time over lackluster competition from the East.

That is not the case now. The NBA in 2011-2012 is full of star power and the balance of power is fairly even. Sure the Lakers and Spurs are older and not as dominant, but that didn't stop people from watching last year; in fact, people kind of perfer it. Instead people were fasinated by the Miami Heat dream team combo of LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, fasinated by the resurection of the New York Knicks, the return to prominance of the Boston Celtics and their rivalry with the L.A. Lakers, as well as great play from the likes of Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks and Derrick Rose of the Chicago Bulls.

The fans should return to the game a lot quicker because the quality is much better than it was in 1999.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Open Mike, Week 11, NY Jets Freakout Friday

On this edition of Open Mike, host Michael Cohen holds a special vigil for Jets fans to rant about the struggling franchise on Jets Freakout Friday after the team got Tebow'd by Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos on Thursday night.

Michael welcomes from Triple Coverage co-host Dan Feuerstein, a life-long Jets fan, and John Silva, yes, a Patriots fan and host of Hudson Hockey, to the show to dissect the Jets struggles.

Michael also welcomes a very special guest, North Bergen head coach Vin Ascolese, who is in his 39th year of coaching at North Bergen, and 50th year of coaching in Hudson County, NJ. Ascolese owns 359 career wins, seven state titles (6 in North Bergen, 1 in Hoboken) and will call it a career after this season.

His Bruins are on an emotional run through the playoffs, highlighted by a thrilling 20-14 win vs. Passaic Tech, where his grandson scored the winning TD. The Bruins are heading to the North 1 Group IV title game on December 2.