Monday, December 31, 2012

Jets Fire Mike Tannenbaum, Keep Rex Ryan

It is official, Mike Tannenbaum will no longer be the General Manager of the Jets.

Word came out this morning at approximately 9:10 a.m. that the Jets fired Tannenbaum, and will retain Rex Ryan as Head Coach.

No word if Tannenbaum will be reassigned, and the likelihood is that he will no longer be with the organization.

Woody Johnson released a statement thanking Tannenbaum for his 15 years of service with the Jets.

If Tannnenbaum is totally out of the organization -- it means that the Jets will bring in a brand new GM who will oversee a load of sweeping changes to the Jets front office and football personal.

Ryan is now on very thin ice. He will have to win next season, and win very early or he too could be fired. Don't be shocked that if Gang Green gets off to a very sluggish start in 2013 that Ryan is one of the first coaching casualties of next season -- during the season.

Tannenbaum's career was marred by horrible draft day selections, with players who never panned out, such as Vernon Gholston, Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. In addition Tannenbaum would throw millions of dollars at aging players who never fit the Jets system, beginning with his pursuit of Brett Favre in 2008 and culminating in his pursuit of Tim Tebow this season.

So both Tannenbuam and Tony Sparano are now gone, and more changes are sure to come. 

2012-2013 NFL Playoffs are Set

With the 2012 regular season now in the books it is time to get ready for playoff football.

The entire season has seen some incredible story lines from the triumpant return of Peyton Manning in Denver, to Adrian Peterson's incredible season in Minnesota. Of course rookies also dominated the headlines as Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson each brought their teams to the top of the NFL this season.

The AFC playoff picture is virtually the same as last season, with the only exception being that Pittsburgh is not in the playoffs. There will be some familiar faces at the top of the conference with Manning and Tom Brady holding onto the top two seeds in the AFC, thanks in part to the collapse of the Houston Texans and the fantastic second half run by Denver and New England.

With the Patriots and Broncos off until the divisional playoffs, the wild card playoff picture is as follows: Cincinnati (10-6) @ Houston (12-4) at 4:30 on Saturday January 5. Indianapolis (11-5) @ Baltimore (10-6) at 1:00 on Sunday January 6.

This will be the second consecutive year Cincinnati will visit Houston in the wild card round. This time, however, the Bengals come into this game red hot having won out to get to the playoffs, while the Texans have stumbled.

Meanwhile, the Colts ride a wave of emotion from coach Chuck Pagano's return from cancer, and the Rookie of the Year performance by quarterback Andrew Luck into Baltimore to take on the slumping Ravens who have gone 1-4 in their last five games.

In the NFC, the Falcons are the number 1 seed, but are probably considered the weakest one seed in quiet some time since the Falcons, in the Matt Ryan era, are 0-2 in the playoffs.

The 49ers, in spite of a quarterback controversey are the two seed at 11-4-1, while the Packers loss to Minnesota will force a rematch in the wild card round. The Vikings (10-6) visit Green Bay (11-5) on Saturday night at 8 p.m. on NBC.

Finally, the Washington Redskins, with fellow Rookie of the Year candidate Robert Griffin III ride a seven game winning streak into a wild card match with the red hot Seattle Seahawks at 4:30 on Sunday.

Saturday, January 5, 2013
Cincinnati @ Houston - 4:30 NBC
Minnesota @ Green Bay - 8:00 NBC

Sunday, January 6, 2013
Indianapolis @ Baltimore - 1:00 CBS
Seattle @ Washington - 4:25 FOX 

Let the games begin!

Sunday, December 30, 2012

Sanchez, Rex & Jets Wilt in Buffalo Finale

BILLS 28
JETS 9

There is something to celebrate this season Jets fans! The season is over!!

The nightmare of a season that has been for the 2012 New York Jets came to fitting conclusion with Mark Sanchez once again playing the lead, and Rex Ryan, again ducking the media.

Sanchez was inept in butt-fumble fashion, turning the ball over twice in the Jets season finale. The only reason New York moved the football into field goal range on its opening possession to take a 3-0 lead was because of 42 yards the Jets pounded out on the ground; Sanchez never completed a pass on the drive. When Sanchez finally did rear back to throw, he threw a hedious interception to Bryan Scott (no relation to Bart) who rumbled 20 yards for a touchdown to give the Bills a 7-3 lead.

Every single time Sanchez and this offense touched the football, they couldn't do anything with it against a horrible Buffalo defense. All three of the Jets scoring drives died in Bills territory with Sanchez unable to complete crucial third down passes, forcing Gang Green to settle for three field goals.

The Jets inability to do anything offensively gave renewed life to the Buffalo ground attack. Buffalo quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick was dreadful to open the game, completing one pass in six attempts; yet he found the Bills right in the game, because the Jets couldn't put the Bills away. Down 9-7, Fitzpatrick completed his second pass of the day to C.J. Spiller who dashed up the middle for a 66-yard touchdown, to make it 14-9. Buffalo never looked back again.

Spiller had 131 total yards of offense, and to add insult to injury the Bills brought in former Jets wide-receiver/quarterback Brad Smith in to run the wild cat right down the Jets throats. With Buffalo poised to score on the Jets goalline, Smith took the snap in the shot-gun and pounded his way up the middle for the touchdown to basically ice the game 21-9.

Now that this miserable season is over, the real fun is about to begin for Gang Green. Reports are that offensive coordinator Tony Sparano has coached his final game with the Jets. Sparano's conservative game planning and terrible play-calling was the epitome of ineptidue for the Jets this season. Sparano was a hired gun by both Rex Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum -- a guy Ryan wanted to add to his coaching staff after he was fired by Miami. As it turns out, now Ryan knows why the Dolphins got rid of Sparano a year ago.

More importantly the future of Ryan, Tannenbaum and quarterback Mark Sanchez is up in the air. Starting with Ryan; he knocked down rumors that he wanted to be fired unless Woody Johnson was willing to spend money on the offense, and is even more on the hot seat then he was a few weeks ago.

Ryan came to New York promising great things with Super Bowl titles and so much more. He has failed to deliver; instead this team has been on a steady decline the past two years under his watch. What might kill Ryan more than any of his broken guarantees is his handling, or lack thereof of the quarterback situation. He strapped himself to a failed quarterback in Mark Sanchez, defended him no matter how badly he played and kept him in games even when he fouled it up. The fact that he would never remove Sanchez for Tim Tebow played a huge roll in Ryan's demise this season.

No matter what you think of Tim Tebow, and the Tebow experiment, the way Ryan and company treated him was horrible. They shoved him so far down the pine that he never saw daylight. When they did bring Tebow into a game it was either as a punt protector or a wild cat option, which resulted in nothing. Tebow should have been given the chance to start a game for the Jets, but because of Ryan's bizarre loyalty to Sanchez it never happened.

While the handling of the Tebow situation was all on Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson deserve equal blame for bringing him here. Last spring they ignorantly gave Mark Sanchez a contract extension as a way to apologize to Sanchez for flirting with Peyton Manning. Then, days after giving Sanchez an extension, Tannenbaum and Johnson went out and traded for Tebow -- who never had a real place on this roster to begin with.

However, it will be Tannenbaum who will feel the axe. Johnson is not going to sell the team anytime soon. Beyond the Tebow and Sanchez disasters, Tannenbaum has done a horrible job on draft day -- drafting the likes of Sanchez, Shonn Greene, Vernon Gholston, Kendrik Ellis, Stephen Hill and Quentin Coples. Most of these guys either became incredibly unproductive, or never really contributed much to the franchise. Tannenbaum has to pay for this as well as his liberal use of the Jets salary cap, which is one of this highest in the NFL going into 2013. Salary Cap guru? I don't think so.

If Johnson is smart, and if he cares about his football team, he gets Tannenbaum out of the office and tells him to take his stooges with him, i.e. Terry Bradway. No GM candidate is going to come to New York with Tannenbaum in place in a demoted roll as a salary cap guru. He has to go as soon as the sun rises Monday.

Finally, there is Mr. Sanchez. For the past few years I have talked about how Mark Sanchez is not a franchise quarterback, and eventually the Jets have to go in another direction. Well, now is the time. Sanchez is horrible. His decision making is STILL at a rookie level. Whether it is his horrid inaccuracy, or the fact that he leads the NFL in turnovers the past two years with 52, this guy is a disgrace.

He is the main reason this offense has been a complete bust the past two years.

Let's remember that the only reason this team had success during Sanchez's first two years was because of the stout defense and strong running game they had; they won inspite of him. When the Jets asked Sanchez to do a little more and become THE guy, he couldn't do it.

Getting rid of Sanchez will be no easy task; if he is cut the Jets will face a $17 million cap hit. If they trade him the Jets will have to eat at least $6 million, and they probably won't get much in the way of draft picks for him either. No matter what, Sanchez can not be the Jets starting quarterback in 2013. He is the face of failure, and the sooner the Jets find a real franchise quarterback the better they are.

It is sure to be one heck of an off-season for Gang Green.

NOTES: No matter who the Jets quarterback, GM, or head coach will be next year, the Jets already know whom they will face in 2013. Other than facing the AFC East, the Jets will play the AFC North and NFC South. Since New York finished in third, they will also face the Raiders and Titans in 2013.

Home: New England, Miami, Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, New Orleans, Oakland.

Away: New England, Miami, Buffalo, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Carolina, Tennessee.

Giants Blowout Philly, but Eliminated from Playoffs

GIANTS 42
EAGLES 7 

Needing to win their season finale to give themselves a shot at the playoffs the Giants had their best performance of season both offensively and defensively, as they smacked a Philadelphia Eagles' team that had mailed it in a long, long time ago, 42-7.

However, it didn't mean a thing as the Chicago Bears defeated the Detroit Lions 26-24, silencing the Giants playoff hopes. The Giants dream of defending their Super Bowl title is dead.

After two of the most dismal games in the Tom Coughlin era that put this team in a huge pickle, the Giants suddenly woke up from their second half swoon to send Andy Reid out rudely in his final game as Eagles coach.

Right out of the gate the Giants offense showed the kind of poise and consistency that had been missing for a majority of the season. Perhaps offensive coordinator Kevin Gillbride realized that his job was on the line? Too bad he and this group couldn't play with the same urgency about a month ago!

 After Michael Vick was picked off by Steve Brown setting up the Giants at the Eagles 26, Big Blue quickly pounded it in when a crisp Eli Manning found Ruben Randle from three-yards out to give the Giants a 7-0 lead.

On the next Giants possession, Manning was again percise. He hit Randle for 10 yards, and Victor Cruz for nine more. Finally, the former Super Bowl MVP found Randle streaking down the sideline for a 38-yard touchdown. All season the Giants have been missing a reliable third receiver to take pressure off of Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, and nobody stepped up until today. Nice to meet you Mr. Randle.

After another Eagles three-and-out, the Giants offense continued to light up the scoreboard in the first quarter. Manning's simple screen pass to Ahmad Bradshaw turned into a 41-sprint to the Eagles 28. Three plays later, David Wilson plowed through the front seven for a 15 yard touchdown, extending the lead to 21-0.

The Giants rolled up 32 first downs on Philadelphia's depleted defense, with Manning playing the starring role. Manning had a season high and career high, five touchdown passes in a game that turned out to be pretty meaningless for Big Blue.

In a year that has been a complete disappointment for the star quarterback, a huge day against this Eagles team is going to do little to quell the frustration of what could have been.

They were in first place midway through the season at 6-2, inspite of two divisional losses to Dallas and Philadelphia. Yet, the cracks that were there early in the year, became craters as the season wore on. The offensive line was bad, the running game was practically nonexistent, and the receiving corps was under siege. Not to mention the play-calling was awful.
Defensively, the only reason the Giants had a big game Sunday, was because they were playing the Eagles -- a team that had given up on both Michael Vick and coach Andy Reid, and couldn't wait to get their golf clubs ready for Hawaii.

There has been speculation that defensive coordinator Perry Fewell would be a head coaching candidate for someone, but after a season where he coached the Giants defense to 30th in the NFL, anyone who takes this character on their club would be doing the Giants a big time favor. 
Tom Coughlin and company are going to have to look long and hard at this season and find a way to improve a team that badly underachieved all season long. The Giants can ill-afford to go 9-7 every single year and hope against hope that the ball bounces their way to get into the playoffs. At one point the Giants have to have a consistent 11-5 or 12-4 campaign. If not, maybe it is time to reconsider Coughlin's job security with this franchise.

If Coughlin and GM Jerry Reese want to make a major change, they have to fire both Gillbride and Fewell and bring in coordinators who can get this group to play well. They will have to say good-bye to some long time Giants, i.e. Osi Umenyoria and Justin Tuck who were both invisible this season, and re-tool an offensive line that was hideous all season.

Even though the Giants won their season finale, it will not take the bad taste out of their mouths for this season. Maybe that will motivate them going forward.

NOTES: While the season is over, it is never too early to look ahead to the Giants scheduled opponents for 2013. The Giants will face the NFC North and AFC West. Depending on what happens tonight in Washington, the Giants will face either the second or third place finisher in the NFC South and NFC West.

Home: Philadelphia, Washington, Dallas, Green Bay, Minnesota, Denver, San Diego, (Seattle or St. Louis)

Away: Philadelphia, Washigton, Dallas, Chicago, Detroit, Oakland, Kansas City, (Carolina or New Orleans)

Friday, December 28, 2012

Clueless Nets want Phil Jackson to be Coach

Leave it up to classless and inept management to screw up what appeared to be a good thing in Brooklyn. It didn't take long for the sleek Brooklyn Nets to mirror their past selves, the New Jersey Nets, 28 games into a brand new arena and season, as a team on a mission for ineptitude.

The Nets, who are co-owned by Russian billionaire, Mikhail Prokhorov and Rapper, Jay-Z have proven two things in their tenure as owners of the Nets. 1) They love publicity. 2) They don't know a damn about how to run a professional sports franchise.

On Thursday the Nets kicked Avery Johnson to side weeks after he won Coach of the Month honors for the Nets sizzling 11-4 start. The Nets are 3-10 in the month of December putting them at 14-14. But, even Johnson admitted, and anyone with any knowledge of sports would admit, that the Nets had gone through a rough patch in the journey that is a 82-game season. With the talent they have, they would pull out of it, especially in the lackluster Eastern Conference.

But don't tell that to the Nets' ownership group, which had the biggest knee-jerk reaction since, well... the Lakers about a month ago when they TKO'd Mike Brown. They listened too closely to their superstar point guard, Deron Williams, a known coach killer and clubhouse cancer, who said he wasn't happy with the progression of Johnson's offense. The Nets failure to show up on Christmas proved to be the lump of coal in Prokhorov and Jay-Z's stocking, and final straw they needed to fire Johnson.

Now, the Nets are delusional enough to think that they can land a big time coach to coach this group of misfits for the rest of this season. And the biggest fish out there of course is the one and only Phil Jackson. Jackson and his 11 championships almost made a third comeback to the Lakers a month ago, before their front office decided to go with Mike D'Antoni, and the latest reports are that he is "intrigued" by the Brooklyn situation.

But lets be honest, every time there is a coaching change in the NBA, Jackson's name comes up. The team could be the worst franchise in the league, and the name Phil Jackons rolls off the tougne of the braintrust that runs each respective team. So should we be really surprised that the Nets want Jackson? Who wouldn't want a guy who won 11 NBA titles?

Jackson must be amused to have his name float around for every single opening that pops up. Maybe he gets royalties every time ESPN mentions his name whenever a coach gets fired? His name has floated with the Nets and even the Knicks in years past, and he never took a job at either place.

 Sure Deron Williams is a great point guard, but the rest of team is chuck full of guys who are average at best. Jackson is a coach who prefers to coach a team loaded with talent; why do you think he went back to the Lakers twice? If the roster isn't good enough to win the NBA title, Jackson wants no part of the franchise.

Last time I checked Brook Lopez isn't Shaquille O'Neal, and Joe Johnson is not Michael Jordan. It's not that New York is too big for Jackson, he won in L.A. and Chicago; the Nets are just not good enough for him.

If the Nets can't get Jackson, there are other top candidates Nets ownership is in love with; namely Stan Van Gundy and Jeff Van Gundy. Stan has already stated that he wants nothing to do with the Nets, and who can blame him? Last year Van Gundy was ousted in Orlando because of a rift between him and star player Dwight Howard. Williams has already kicked out two coaches on two different teams in his career. Why would Van Gundy want any part of that? As for Jeff, he has a nice cushy job as the lead NBA analyst at ESPN -- why would he give that up to deal with the pressure of working for incompetents like Prokhorov and Jay-Z?

What Prokhorov and Jay-Z do not understand about the sports business is that people talk. Avery Johnson is a popular coach in the league's coaching ranks. He learned under Greg Popavich, the legendary coach of the San Antonio Spurs, and was a very good point guard as a player. He will get another opportunity.

The Nets owners look like impatient shrills, who put Johnson is a position to fail the past two years, giving him a team that couldn't even compete at the NCAA level let alone the NBA. Then this year, after the club moved across the river, a rough patch proved too much for them to bear. I guess, they aren't selling enough tickets in Brooklyn? Kinda hard to do considering New York IS a Knicks town!

If the Nets owners think that they can convince someone the ilk of Phil Jackson to come work for their team after the buffoonery they pulled this week, they can forget it. Nobody with any real record of accomplishment is going to want to be associated with this franchise.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Brooklyn Nets Fire Coach Avery Johnson

It didn't take long for the Brooklyn Nets to make a shocking move in their new digs in New York.

Weeks after he was named coach of the month, the Nets decided to part ways with Avery Johnson after the team struggled during the month of December, posting a 3-10 record. In November the Nets got off to a sizzling start, 11-4, including beating their cross town rivals the New York Knicks in the first match-up between the two teams at the Barclays Center.

The Nets, 14-14, put up a lackluster effort on Christmas day, losing to the Boston Celtics 93-76 to fall out of second place in the Atlantic Division. ESPN

As of now, no interim coach has been named.

Jets fans, guess who's back? Mark Sanchez Returns

Well Jets fans, it didn't take long for Mark Sanchez to return as the Jets starting quarterback.

According to multiple sources, the Jets will go back to Sanchez for the clubs' season finale in Buffalo on Sunday, after Rex Ryan discovered that Greg McElroy is suffering from symptoms of a concussion. The fact that McElroy has a concussion should not be surprising since the man was sacked 11 times last week against the Chargers.

Sources also say that Rex Ryan was surprised that McElroy was suffering from a concussion: 

" Ryan was unaware McElroy was dealing with any head issues until Thursday morning. The coach was clearly perturbed by McElroy's lack of honesty, saying the quarterback wouldn't play regardless of how tests came back.
"I was stunned by it," Ryan said, via the New York Daily News. "I admire his courage and everything else, but you have to truthful.'" (NFL.com).

This means that the Jets get to see "Buttfumble" one more time this season. Sanchez will take on a Bills team that he actually torched on opening day for three touchdowns. This time expect Sanchez to throw three touchdowns for Buffalo; as in interceptions that go back the other way.

It is curious to note that Ryan quickly went back to Sanchez, a failed quarterback, without any hesitation. Tim Tebow was completely ignored by Ryan once again, as the rift between the coach and the popular signal caller continues.

Tebow was reportedly not happy he was bypassed again. The Jets should have played Tebow instead of Sanchez. Heck, they should have played Tebow last week instead of McElroy. Clearly the Jets have something against Tebow -- they don't believe in him at all; instead they rather go with an even more unreliable quarterback in Sanchez. That says a lot about the current situation for Gang Green.

Open Mike 12-26-12, New Year's 2013 Edition

In the first hour of the Open Mike program from December 26, 2012, host Michael Cohen asks the tough questions about what has happened to the New York Giants this season after failing to show up the past two weeks in Atlanta and Baltimore. Karen Vankat, Giants fan and host of the Warning Track joins in.  OPEN MIKE 12-26-12 PT 1. 

In hour two of the Open Mike program from December 26, Michael Cohen welcomes in Mike Sanfilipo of Triple Coverage to get his take on the Giants collapse. The duo then talk about the Tim Tebow fiasco in New York, and whether the Jets should either fire or demote GM Mike Tannenbaum. That and the boys count down and look back at the year 2012. OPEN MIKE 12-26-12 PT 2.

Smith Lifts Knicks to Dramatic Win vs. Suns

KNICKS 99
SUNS 97

No one said the road to the best record in the NBA would be pretty.

The New York Knicks, who have seen a few struggles of late, found themselves in a battle against a young Phoenix Suns team that just about anyone would have expected New York to blow out. However, just 24 hours removed from their disappointing 100-94 loss to the Lakers on Christmas day the Knicks decided to sweat it out against the Suns.

As a result, New York gave us one of their most dramatic victories to date.

After a miserable third quarter that saw the Knicks blow a ten-point halftime lead, as the likes of Marcin Gortat (6 points - 3rd quarter), and Jared Dudley (9 points - 3rd quarter) dominated the perimeter for the Suns against a seemingly bewildered and tired Knicks squad.

Even though the Knicks were shorthanded with Carmelo Anthony sitting out the back-to-back, the Knicks remained tied with Phoenix after the third thanks to a huge jump shot by J.R. Smith to tie it at 76. The Knicks would be relying on the shooting of Smith for the rest of the night.

Smith and veteran point guard Jason Kidd soon took total control of this game, trading shots and blows and eating away at any small lead the Suns took. In total Kidd and Smith attempted 16 shots combined in the fourth quarter. The biggest statement coming from Kidd, the former Sun, who drained a three pointer to give the Knicks a 93-90 lead with 4:09 to play.

However, New York couldn't hold the lead. Sebastian Telfair's three-pointer and Shannon Brown's jumper brought Phoenix back to within a tie, 95-all with 1:15 left. After Dudley's pair of free throws gave the Suns a 97-95 lead, the Knicks turned to the best shooter on the floor in J.R. Smith and the vet didn't disappoint.

First Kidd found Smith underneath in the paint, and the shooting guard nailed the tying basket with 18 seconds to go. After a Phoenix turnover with only :01 second to go, Kidd had only one play, find J.R. Smith!

Surprisingly the Suns only had Smith in 1-on-1 containment, when double coverage would have been more appropriate. Kidd's in-bounds went right to Smith, who wasted little time in heaving up the shot which cleared net giving the Knicks the victory as the buzzer sounded. 

Overall, Smith had 27 points, while Kidd had 23 points in the victory. Tyson Chandler and Chris Copeland each had 14 as the Knicks improved to a league best 21-8.

Next up for New York a visit to the capital of California and a date with the Sacramento Kings, Friday night.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Big Blue Christmas: Giants season on brink of extinction

RAVENS 33
GIANTS 14

Twas the night before Christmas, and all that was left for the Giants was a season up in flames, and a Raven that quoted "never more."

Needing just about every break one can think of and needing to beat the Baltimore Ravens on Sunday in order to stay in the playoff race, the New York Giants may have watched their chances at defending their Super Bowl title go down the drain this holiday season after posting a second consecutive stinker, this time losing 33-14 in Baltimore.

Even though the Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings had won their games earlier in the day, the Giants still controlled their own playoff destiny if they were only able to win this game; for whatever reason the effort was not there at all.

The Giants were flat for the second consecutive week.  Eli Manning couldn't make much impact on this game other than a dismal 14-of-28 for 150 yard performance that will not quiet the doubters of his "Elite" status. The knock on Eli's "Elite" status has been, for years, that while he can be great at times, he is madly inconsistent other times. This season, Manning picked the wrong time to have two of the most inept games of his career. He wasn't a turnover machine, but he was ineffective against a Ravens defense that has been beaten up all season.

The play-calling was again unimaginative and conservative. Every single drive seemed to be same. Ahmad Bradshaw and David Wilson would carry the ball for a short gain; Manning would complete a short pass; and the Giants, desperatly trying to convert a long third-down, would fail miserably. Granted a lot of the Giants' issues on the offensive side of the ball can be contributed to poor execution, but it is becoming abundantly clear that the Giants will have to make a move in the off-season, and that could mean removing Kevin Gillbride from the coaching staff.

Gillbridge's play calling has been awful for years. He has found a way to avoid the wrath of this town because of the Giants two Super Bowl victories, but this is a guy who should be run out on the same rail Brian Schottenheimer and Tony Sparano have been run out on with the Jets.

But that is not all. Defensively the Giants looked overmatched and bewildered against a Ravens offensive unit that had just recently changed offensive coordinators. This is the same Ravens offense that struggled to do anything during its three game losing streak -- yet the Giants made these guys look like world beaters.

Not only was the Giants invisible pass rush, which has been M.I.A. since week 1, a culprit; but, cornerback Corey Webster may have punched his ticket out of town. Webster was torched by wide receiver Torrey Smith with five catches for 88 yards and a touchdown, and Anquan Boldin who had 93 yards receiving. Smith, who left last week's loss to Denver because of a concussion looked sharp against Webster, who played like he was concused.

The Ravens took the Giants to the woodshed from the opening kick.

A 13-play 65-yard drive culminated in a six-yard score to Smith, with Webster hovering over him.  Later in the quarter, Joe Flacco found Smith streaking down the sideline and connected with him for a 43-yard gain to the Giants 1. Flacco plunged it in from one-yard out, and just like that it was 14-0.

The Giants never recovered from the Ravens quick 14-0 lead, as they watched Ray Rice (24 carries, 107 yards) and virtual unknown, Bernard Pierce (14 carries, 123 yards) gash them up and down the field like it was going out of style. Rice would add a 27-yard touchdown reception to his monster afternoon that extended the Ravens lead to 24-7.

Even though the Giants would hold the Ravens to three field goals in the second half, they looked unmotivated for the remainder of the game. The only positive was a meanlingless touchdown in garbage time. Other than that there were more empty stares than points on the scoreboard for Big Blue.

The Giants can pretty much forget the playoffs. The NFC East is out of their hands. The Redskins can win the division with a win over the Cowboys, and Dallas can take the title if they beat Washington next Sunday night. The Giants only glimmer of hope is the wild card, but even that is very muddled. If the Vikings lose to the Packers, AND the Bears lose to the Lions, AND the Redskins beat the Cowboys, only then can the Giants could make it as a wild card at 9-7. Granted the Giants have to beat the happless Eagles first. If the Giants get losses by Minnesota and Chicago, and Dallas beats Washington, then the Giants are out and the Redskins take the wild card.

The Giants should be ashamed of themselves. This is a team that has accomplished plenty the past five seasons, yet when they had a chance to defend their title, they took an apathetic approach. Once again the Giants opened up the season 6-2 and once again they are struggling to finish over .500. Eventually Tom Coughlin has to answer to the Giants' string of sluggish finishes. But, before he does, he may have to TK'O his offensive and defensive coordinators.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Chargers Maul McElroy and Jets, Tebow never plays

CHARGERS 27
JETS 17

An already abysmal season took a new turn of total absurdity for Gang Green on Sunday, as they put together a heartless, gutless performance against a San Diego Chargers team that had packed it in months ago. The Chargers, who have struggled all season rushing the passer, sacked Jets third string quarterback Greg McElroy 11 times Sunday making the quarterback wish he was holding a clip board again.

The offensive line, which was much maligned in 2011, and had played slightly better this season, went back to the 2011 version, as McElroy was totally under siege against the Chargers. Not all of the sacks were the fault of the line, McElroy made his share of mistakes and misreads; he even had a couple of "buttchez" moments like running into offensive lineman Brandon Moore, and later, fumbling the football into the hands of the Bolts. But, when the quarterback is spending most of his day on his rear end, no team has a realistic shot to win.

The Jets played like a team that had given up on its season. Their execution in all phases of the game was inept; the coaching was even worse. It was like the Jets from the coaching staff all the way down to the water boy wanted to get on a plane and fly anywhere for Christmas vacation.

Right from kick-off the Jets looked like a team waiting for the proverbial shoe to drop. Joe McKnight looked like he wasn't trying to put a lot of effort in returning the opening kick return and was properly blasted at the Jets 15-yard line. After a three-and-out on the Jets first possession, Michael Spurlock took an afternoon stroll past the Jets' special teams unit en-route to a 63-yard punt return for a touchdown.

The only reason Gang Green even led in the game was because of Jeremy Kerley's 42-yard half-back option pass to Clyde Gates, which helped set up the first score, and a curious pass interference call on Chargers' Quentin Jammer, for holding Braylon Edwards in the corner of the end zone. Other than that, the Jets offense couldn't do anything.

The running game? Forget it. Shonn Greene proved that he is not a starting NFL running back with his lackluster effort when the Jets needed him to pick up the slack and take pressure off the young quarterback. The fact he managed only 38-yards against a Chargers team that couldn't stop the Panthers weak running attack a week ago is a total disgrace.

Slowly but surely the Chargers and Phillip Rivers woke up from their season long comatose state to eat up the Jets in the second half. Suddenly Rivers looked like the Rivers of old. He completed four of five passes on the Chargers opening drive of the second half, highlighted by a 37-yard bomb to Danario Alexander to put the Bolts up 17-14.

Later in the third quarter, the Jets were flagged for a huge holding penalty on a third and seven for San Diego; a pass that was initially incomplete turned into a new set of downs at the Jets 45. Rivers took full advantage. He found Antonio Gates open in the flat at the Jets 27, and watched the former All Pro tight end dash into the end zone for the touchdown to basically put the game away at 24-14.

While McElroy and the Jets were dreadful, Rex Ryan's decision making came to the forefront of this debacle with his mishandling of Tim Tebow. He had Tebow dress, and the quarterback never participated in the game. The Jets ran a number of wild cat formations, but, instead used Kerely rather than going to Tebow. Ryan wouldn't address the issue; he dodged it to the best of his ability, but it is clear that the Jets apathy toward Tebow not only is a circus, but truly unfair to the former Florida product.

Tebow looked resigned on the sideline. He never once approaching Tony Sparano, or Greg McElory to discuss strategy. This is a man who knows his days in New York are numbered and he doesn't know what he did to deserve it. The Jets traded a fourth and fifth round pick to Denver for this guy, and never used him. What a disaster. With McElroy proving that he will not be the franchise quarterback of the future on Sunday, it would have made sense to send Tebow in there against a team he faced four times during his career in Denver. At this point putting Tebow in for any extended action is a total insult to the man's intelligence. Have fun in Jacksonville, Tim.

J-E-T-S: Just End the Season? One more week people. Then the real fun will begin.

Friday, December 21, 2012

Jets' D.C. Mike Pettine rejects contract extension

It's not often that someone rejects a contract extension from a lucrative business, but Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine might have a hint of what is to come in the tea leaves for the New York Jets once the season concludes December 30 in Buffalo.

 Pettine rejected a contract extension from the Jets, according to sources who spoke with the mainstream press (NY Post, Daily News), and will be a "free agent" once the season ends. This is an incredible revelation.

It's not like Pettine was in danger of getting fired. His unit was, again, one of the best in the NFL, ranked 2nd in pass defense without the services of all pro Darrelle Revis all season.

With Pettine heading for the door, it comes across that he is trying to seperate himself from the circus that is the Green and White, and wants to establish his name with a more reputable football team -- maybe even increase his chances for a head coaching job one day.

With Pettine gone, Ryan will have to find another person to call the plays next year for defense, that is if Ryan survives when the season is over.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Open Mike Christmas Special

In hour one of the 2nd Annual Open Mike Christmas Special, host Michael Cohen welcomes in two guests, Mike Sanfilipo, of Triple Coverage, and Adam Clarkson of 88.7 fm, to talk about the end of the Mark Sanchez era. Can Mr. Sanfilipo continue to defend the Sanchise? Or will Mr. Cohen finally make his point? Open Mike X-Mas Part I.

In hour two of the Open Mike Christmas special, Michael and his guests look over the MLB Hot Stove report, before getting invaded by Santa Claus! Open Mike X-Mas part II.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Jets finally bench Sanchez in favor of McElory

Get the champagne bottles Jets' fans; the Mark Sanchez era is finally over! Hip Hip Hooray!

The day after Sanchez spit the bit on not only the Jets season, but his career after a five turnover meltdown against the Tennessee Titans, the Jets finally decided to bench Butt-chez in favor of Greg McElroy, who had been inactive the past two weeks.

To say this was a long time coming is the understatement of the year. Sanchez has been just putrid the past two seasons, leading the NFL in turnovers with 24 this year. He has turned the ball over 51 times in his last 30 games, and 87 times in his career. The Jets were long overdue to bench this bumbling fool who has helped wreck this franchise.

Also, the fact that Rex Ryan has endorsed Sanchez for this long is beyond laughable, especially when everyone could see this guy just didn't have it.

Sanchez's career with the Jets began with much ballyhoo from the Jets brass, who traded up to draft a guy who had only 16 career starts at USC, and was warned by his old coach Pete Carroll not to enter the NFL draft. Yet the Jets felt Sanchez had the moxie to be the quarterback of the NYJ.

Yet for four years Sanchez has never become a franchise quarterback. He rode the coattails of a great defense a strong running attack, and a little bit of dumb luck to two AFC Championship games in 2009, and 2010; when the Jets asked him to become THE guy, he couldn't deliever, instead drawing the ire of his teammates, i.e. Santonio Holmes.

Now, Sanchez is on his way out the door after another hideous season as the "Sanchise." Don't feel sorry for this guy, because he is guaranteed to make $8.25 million next season, and if the Jets cut him, they will take a $17 million cap hit. 

Ryan should have never deactivated McElroy, who lit a spark in a floundering Jets squad that couldn't overcome a 3-0 deficit against the Arizona Cardinals. That's right same Arizona Cardinals who were blown out by the Seattle Seahawks 58-0. The fact that he had his best back-up quarterback deactivated for a better part of the year to favor Sanchez, and to keep Tim Tebow interested was the biggest joke of the season, and it should not be forgotten when Ryan has to answer Woody Johnson come January 1.

Whether McElroy has enough to lead the Jets to two wins here down the stretch is virtually pointless. He is not a franchise guy either, but the fact that his name is not Mark Sanchez will make even an incompletion look like gold.

So good riddance to the Mark Sanchez era. It is finally over at long last. Now the Jets can begin the process of rebuilding this franchise from the top - down, and that of course will begin with both Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan, the minute the Jets season ends in Buffalo. 

Sanchez turns the ball over 5 times in Music City Meltdown

Titans 14
Jets 10

What more evidence does one need to know that Mark Sanchez is NOT the answer for the New York Jets. Once again the Jets asked the bumbling butt-chez to get the job done, and once again the Sanchise stunk it up royally on national television against a Tennessee Titans team that wanted no part of winning this football game.

The Tennessee Titans begged the Jets to win this game. The officials tired to give the Jets the game, (i.e. the roughing the passer call that really wasn't), but when it really mattered Sanchez came up snake-eyes killing the Jets dwindling playoff hopes, and likely writing the epitaph to his career in the Big Apple.

Sanchez turned the ball over five times in this disgraceful performance. He struggled to handle the Titans blitzes, struggled to find an open receiver, and even with the return of his favorite receiver, Braylon Edwards, he struggled to find him. The lasting image of this game will not only be of Sanchez on his back, but the cold shoulder that head coach Rex Ryan gave Sanchez when he passed him on the field after the game.

In the most important moments of this game, Sanchez couldn't get the job done. He floated a ball too low for Jeff Cumberland to catch in the end zone on the Jets first possession, killing a nice opening drive and forcing the Jets to settle for three, when seven would have really helped.

The Titans offense was putrid. Other than a nifty 94 yard touchdown run by Chris Johnson the Titans were begging the Jets to go ahead and win this game, but two interceptions by Sanchez in the middle of the game killed the momentum for New York. The Jets were fortunate that Tennessee didn't take adantage of those mistakes and turn them into points.

Once the Jets had something of a pulse, Sanchez couldn't deliver. With New York now trailing 14-10, after the defense allowed Jake Locker to go Tim Tebow on them for an embarrassing 36-yard touchdown to give Tennessee the lead, the Jets chocked the game away.

First Sanchez was picked off when he tried to heave a pass down the sideline to Edwards, but his pass floated and landed into the hands of Michael Griffin, preserving the Titans 14-10 lead.

Then the turnover machine went from bad to completely ridiculous. With the Jets driving for what appeared to be a game winning touchdown drive, and bouyed by the fact that the Titans were flagged for roughing the passer, Sanchez still killed the Jets. He threw a pick right into the hands Griffin at the Titans two-yard line with 1:53 to go, all but icing the game.

However, the Titans couldn't get out of their own way. After failing to move the football for a first down to end it, the Titans punter botched the punt and the Jets had the football at the 25 with 47 seconds to go. And what did the great Sanchez do? He fumbled the snap from center.

Sanchez was only able to catch the butt-end of the football before dropping it to the turf. Hence another mistake that Sanchez keeps making. Recall back to the Hard Knocks series, and Sanchez was tutored by Joe Namath on how to hold the football when coming out from behind center. I guess Sanchez didn't pass that class?

Tennessee recovered and the Jets were on their way to another defeat.

For as bad as Sanchez was, the coaching was awful. Suddenly in the middle of the game, Rex Ryan decided to use Tebow for one unproductive series taking the Jets completely out of their rhythm. If Ryan wanted Tebow to play, he should have left him in the game. And oh, by the way, Greg McElroy was inactive ... again! The play calling by Tony Sparano was very conservative, play not-to-lose football against a team that was begging to lose. Then again, when your quarterback is Mark Sanchez it's kind of hard to ... well ... play to win the game.

Jets fans should be happy, that's right HAPPY, that their team has been eliminated from the playoffs. If the Jets somehow managed to finish above .500 at 9-7, it would have legitimized this awful head coach, this clueless general manager, and this horrific quarterback. Don't be shocked if the Jets lose the rest of their games, because there is nothing left for this team to play for. They are toast, and so is Mr. Sanchez.

If Woody Johnson were smart, and was willing to take a salary cap hit, he would give Mark Sanchez his money and tell him to leave and never return.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Mets Trade R.A. Dickey to Blue Jays for top catching prospect

Well Fred and Jeff Wilpon can take a sigh of relief. They don't have to pay $5 million to R.A. Dickey.

The Mets dealt their best pitcher, and reigning Cy Young award winner, R.A. Dickey, to the Toronto Blue Jays for catching prospect Travis D'Arnaud, who is regarded as one of the "best young catching prospects" in baseball. However, D'Arnaud has never made a major league appearance, and is coming knee surgery.

Before getting injured, D'Arnaud batted .333 with 16 homers. The Mets better hope that D'Arnaud contributes quickly and makes a major impact on this ball club, because it is not often that a team decides to rid itself of its best pitcher who won 20 games the prior season.

While one can argue that the Mets should keep Dickey, trading a 38-year-old pitcher, who may eventually be on the decline for a young talented prospect is a no-brainer on paper. Dickey had a great year in 2012, but does anyone really think he can replicate what he was able to do last season?

That being said, the way the Mets handled this situation was awful. They dragged Dickey through the mud, when he was more than grateful for the opportunity the Mets gave him over the past three years. Dickey and the Mets were $6 million apart - surely a price differential that could have been negotiated.

Instead the Mets trounced Dickey's value, publicly stating that they wanted to re-sign Dickey, and trade him at the same time. By doing this it made it nearly impossible for the Mets to get any true top prospect from any team curious to acquire the Cy Young winner. D'Arnaud might turn into the next Mike Piazza, but the Mets could have gotten more value for Dickey if they didn't lower his value publicly through the press.

Dickey will be missed. He was a great guy to have in the clubhouse, and proved to be the Mets most consistent starting pitcher. The Mets' now have a bunch of young, inexperienced pitchers, who have yet to prove they can be the "ace" that this team desperately needs.

If Dickey wins 15 games, and D'Arnaud never contributes at the major league level, this trade will be looked at as a disaster. Sandy Alderson better hope this works out.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Big Blue Meltdown: Giants Shutout by Falcons

FALCONS 34
GIANTS 0

The Giants playoff fate is now quickly falling out of their hands. Needing a victory over the Atlanta Falcons in order to stay ahead of the Washington Redskins and even the Dallas Cowboys, got clobbered by the Dirty Birds 34-0.

The shutout was the first time Big Blue had been blanked since the wild card playoff game against Carolina, 23-0, in 2005; and the first time in the regular season since December 1, 1996 against the Philadelphia Eagles, 24-0.

A week after scoring 52 points, the Giants were putrid offensively. Eli Manning couldn't get into a groove, and the Giants running game, which had been handicapped a bit with the injury to Ahmad Bradshaw, was nonexistent.

On the Giants second play from scrimmage, Manning set the tone for the afternoon when he was picked off by Asante Samuel, giving Atlanta the football inside the Giants 20. The Falcons responded by pounding the football with struggling tail-back Michael Turner, who bulled his way to 16-yards on four plays and a touchdown to make it 7-0 Atlanta.

After a nice Giants drive stalled at the Falcons 12, when Manning failed to convert a third down to Domenik Hixon, the Falcons took over and stuck it to Big Blue. Quarterback Matt Ryan hit a wide open Harry Douglas down the sideline for 37-yards to spot the ball at the Giants 11. Two plays later, Ryan found Tony Gonzalez in single coverage for the touchdown to extend the lead to 14-0. At that point, the competitive nature of the game was lost.

The Giants went into a collective funk and never again threatened the Atlanta lead. The Giants were able to get down to the Falcons red zone on a couple of occasions, but in each case, the Falcons defense stiffened and the Giants were unable to convert third-and-short and fourth-and-short opportunties.

After the Giants failed to convert on fourth and one at the Falcons 11-yard line, the Falcons once again took advantage of the Giants misfortune and turned it into points. Ryan orchestrated a crisp eight play 80-yard drive, highlighted by a 40-yard touchdown to Julio Jones to give Atlanta a commanding 24-0 lead.

With the loss the Giants have lost control of their playoff fate for the division title. With the Redskins victory over the Browns, the Giants are now in second place because Washington owns a head-to-head tie breaker over the Giants.  If the Giants are going to win this division they are going to have to win out against Baltimore and Philadelphia and get help. The Giants can still make the playoffs as a wild card if Chicago continues to fall apart in their own right. Either way, the Giants have made this season a total mess.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Knicks Beat Down Hapless Lakers

KNICKS 116
LAKERS 107

Two days after their emotional 100-97 victory over the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center, the Knicks trounced the struggling Los Angeles Lakers, and their former head coach Mike D'Antoni, 116-107 at the Garden last night.

The Knicks exploded out of the gate with 41 first quarter points, including 22-points from Carmelo Anthony, who must have really enjoyed sticking to D'Antoni, his in-house nemesis over the past two years when D'Antoni coached the Knicks.

Anthony connected on three straight three-pointers to open the game, handing the Knicks a huge 11-2 lead right out of the gate, and the onslaught didn't stop there and the Lakers never had an answer. Five Knicks were in double figures on the night, including 18-points each for Tyson Chandler and J.R. Smith, as well as 19-points from Raymond Felton, who had a monster night blowing past the Lakers beat up center Dwight Howard for easy lay-ups.

Even though the Lakers got 31-points from Kobe Bryant and 20-points from Howard, both veterans were practically invisible as the Knicks built their lead to as a many as 26 points thanks to a 9-0 run in the second quarter, as Steven Novak and Rahseed Wallace drained three pointers.

With the victory the Knicks improved to their best start in 12 years at 17-5, and are still undefeated at home, 9-0.

The lone concern for the Knicks is the status of Carmelo Anthony, who sprained his ankle after colliding with Dwight Howard, and didn't return to the game. He is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against the Cleveland Cavaliers; but, according to the Knicks the injury does not appear serious. If Anthony misses a game or two, the Knicks have already shown they can win without their top scorer -- remember the hurting the Knicks out on the Heat a week ago? These Knicks are on fire!  

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Open Mike 12-12-12; Knicks and NFL playoffs

On this edition of the Open Mike program from December 12, host Michael Cohen welcomes in Adam Clarkson of WPSC 88.7 FM to hit on various topics including the Knicks smoldering start to the season and of course the stretch run for both the NFL's New York Giants and Jets.

PART I

PART II

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Yankees Tab Ex-Red Sox Youkilis at Third Base

In dire need of some help at third base the New York Yankees have come to an agreement with former Boston Red Sox, Kevin Youkilis, bringing one of the more despised players in the eyes of Yankee fans to the Bronx.

While most Yankee fans may hate seeing one of Boston's own in their uniform, it is a one year $12 million deal, meaning that he won't be on the team past this season. With Alex Rodirguez out for the forseable future when he goes under the knife for hip surgery in January, that will cause him to miss most of the season, tabbing Youkilis makes sense.

While he was apart of the deteriorating locker room that ended both the tenures of Terry Francona and Bobby Valentine in Beantown,  there is no questioning Youk's abilities. He is a .283 career hitter, and between Boston and the Chicago White Sox last season, he hit .238 with 19 homers and 60 RBI. Playing in the friendly confines of Yankee Stadium have been an issue of late for Youkilis, who has hit .231 in the Bronx the past three seasons combined.

Youkilis' ability to come up in the clutch will be a sure boon to the Yankees in 2013.

New York is still expected to resign Ichiro Suzuki to a new contract to play right field, and if they are successful in doing so, the Yankees would have spent close to $50 million on signing free agents over the age of 35! And this is a franchise that has prided itself of late to state publicly that they want to "trim the fat" of bloated contracts to old players.

If and when A-Rod returns, Youkilis has the ability to play both the outfield and first base, so the need to go out and get a top flight outfielder is certainly reduced with Youkilis' presence on the team.

The Yankees still need a catcher, however.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Road to Playoffs No Easy Task for Giants

With three weeks to go in their season, the New York Giants are right where they are used to being during the month of December: on the edge.

The Giants are in the midst of a dog-fight for the NFC East title, and possibly a wild card spot as they head down the stretch. While it is no fault but their own for finding themselves in this predicament, New York still controls their own destiny.

 While the Giants might be 8-5 on the year, their margin for error is zero. They lost three games in the division this year, with Washington and Dallas already owning tie-breakers against them. The Giants remaining three contests will not be easy, with a two game road-trip that has become a highlight of the Giants late season schedule on the horizon. Trips to Atlanta and Baltimore are going to tell all of us what is in store for the Giants as the season wraps up and heads toward January. It is easy for any Giants supporter to scuff at the schedule; the Giants have proven many times in the past that they can handle the pressure, especially on the road. Their two most recent Super Bowl titles have all been accomplished on the road in the toughest of conditions.

However, Atlanta is coming into this weeks contest against the Giants, somewhat desperate. Having lost to Carolina on Sunday, the Falcons still haven't locked up the number one seed in the playoffs - and can take a major step in that direction Sunday with a win against Big Blue. Plus, Atlanta remembers the 24-2 drubbing they took at the hands of the Giants last January in the playoffs, and are out to prove that this years Falcons' team is indeed for real.

Then look ahead to Baltimore, a team that has given the Giants fits over the years, remember Super Bowl XXXV anyone? The Ravens are desperate for a victory right now having lost two in a row, and falling out of contention for the AFC's number two seed. The Ravens, who are now trying to get the number three seed in the playoffs, haven't even locked up the AFC North, and this was a team that started the season at 9-2. Who knows what kind of mood the Ravens will be in in two weeks after Eli's brother, Peyton, is done with the birds this week?

It's not like Atlanta and Baltimore are flawless, however. The Falcons have been perceived as a paper tiger all season and have not been a dominating 11-2 team this year. The Ravens have watched their defense get old and battered, while relying on the right arm of Joe Flacco more often then not which is always a gamble.

In short the formula is pretty simple, win two of these remaining three games and the Giants clinch the NFC East division; win all three and Big Blue gets the East and the number three seed in the playoffs.

The Giants have their flaws this year. They have been terribly inconsistent especially in divisional play. They have not gotten the best out of their running attack, and their offensive line has been in flux. Defensively the Giants have been ravaged by poor play and injuries in the secondary, and the famed Giants pass rush has been invisible at times this year.

Yet, there have been moments of brilliance from these Giants, like last week against New Orleans and two weeks ago against Green Bay. Even the Giants 26-3 domination of San Francisco back in October is a constant reminder of how good the Giants can be if they play their cards right.

However, there is a scenario where the Giants could miss out on the division.

Here is the Redskins and Cowboys Schedule's:

Washington:
@ Cleveland
@ Philadelphia
Dallas

Dallas:
Pittsburgh
New Orleans
@ Washington


Clearly Washington and Dallas have some tricky games too. They have to play one another, and Washington has to play Cleveland and Philly on the road where neither team has anything to lose. Plus, the Redskins may have lost rookie sensation RGIII for this week after having suffered a knee injured in a game against Baltimore.

Dallas has Pittsburgh, who is need of a win, and New Orleans at home -- a place that has been anything but a palace for the Cowboys this season.

But if the Giants were to find themselves in a tie at the end of the season, lets say at 9-7, they will lose out on the division, and would have have to hope that the Chicago Bears, who are in free fall right now, also finish at 9-7 in order for Big Blue to get the sixth seed. A scenario that seems somewhat unlikey, yet one that Tom Coughlin and company do not want to visit.

So if the Giants are going to make the playoffs easily, they have to show some consistency and take care of business during this road-trip; otherwise they will need a lot of help.

"Flip" Wilson leads G-Men in Shootout Over Saints

GIANTS 52
SAINTS 27 

After watching their hold on the NFC East get tighter after both the Washington Redskins and Dallas Cowboys won earlier Sunday afternoon, the New York Giants had little margin for error going into their contest with the New Orleans Saints, and Big Blue didn't disappoint. 

The Giants rolled past the New Orleans Saints 52-27, thanks to a huge night by rookie running back David Wilson, who finally had the break out game that Tom Coughlin and the Giants had been waiting for.

After Eli Manning was picked off Elbert Mack, who brought the ball back 73-yards for a touchdown giving the Saints an early 7-0 lead, Wilson provided immediate fireworks when he returned the ensuing kick-off 97-yards for a touchdown to tie the game.

The wild nature of the contest didn't stop there. A fumble by the Saints on their next possession quickly resulted in another Giants score; Eli Manning found Martellus Bennett in the back of the end zone for a touchdown to make it 14-7.

The night soon belonged to Wilson, Manning and the rest of the Giants offense. Since coming in for Ahmad Bradshaw who left the game with an injury, Wilson lit a fire into the Giants offense. He rushed for 100 yards on 13 carries, and had 227 yards on kick returns; overall a 327 yard night for the rookie.

Wilson found paydirt again early in the third quarter when his six-yard run up the gut gave New York a dominating 28-13 lead.

Manning and the passing attack tore up the Saints secondary. Manning hit Victor Cruz eight time for 121 yards and a score, and found Hakeem Nicks for 67 yards on four catches. Manning threw for four touchdowns in the game, the first time this year he has reached that feat.

Manning's muscle turned the game into a laugher in the third quarter, when he found a wide open Nicks from 35-yards out for a touchdown extending the G-Mens lead to 35-13.

After the Saints worked their way back into the game with two touchdown drives of their own to cut the Giants lead to a single score, the Giants once again took off in the fourth quarter.

After a 60-yard kick return by Jerrel Jernigan to set the Giants up at the New Orleans 25, Manning found Cruz from 10 yards out for the score extending the Giants lead back to 13. Finally, Wilson put the nail in the coffin with 5:20 to go. On the first play from scrimmage he took off down the sideline and went untouched for a 52-yard touchdown handing New York a 52-27 lead.

With the victory the Giants keep pace with the Cowboys and Redskins, and remain in first place with three huge games to go.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Jets Outlast Jaguars in Snoozefest

JETS 17
JAGUARS 10

Okay! Wake up, the game is over.

What happened?

The Jets won.

Why?

Because Mark Sanchez was told not to throw the football.

That basically describes Gang Green's 17-10 bore-fest against the equally inept Jacksonville Jaguars, as the Jets pounded Jacksonville with a consistent running attack of Shonn Greene and Bilal Powell, while quarterback Mark Sanchez took a back seat, and, as he has done throughout his Jets career, road the coat-tails of New York's running game to victory.

Sanchez did nothing to quell the storm of critics who want to see his head on a platter. He was ineffective all day, completing only 7 of 11 passes in the first half for 51 yards; his only highlight having been stripped of the football for a fumble that led to the Jaguars first points of the day.

Like they did last week, the Jets went into the half trailing 3-0, and, like last week, New York had to change its game plan and keep the ball out of Sanchez's hands in order to win. On the Jets opening drive of the second half, it was Greene who led the way for New York, carrying the ball six times for 29 yards and a touchdown that gave the Jets a 7-3 lead.

After another ineffective drive by the Jaguars, it was Powell who had to lead the Jets offense. He carried the football on all seven plays of New York's 46-yard scoring drive, including a 1-yard plunge for the touchdown to make it 17-3.

On the other side of the football, the Jets defense did a nice job against a Jaguars team that was plagued by a dozen dropped passes in key situations that could have made the difference in the game.

Even though the Jets held Jacksonville to 2-of-16 on third down, they couldn't shut the door on them. They allowed the Jaguars to drive straight down the field for a touchdown on 32 yard touchdown run by the third running back, Montel Owens. Then the Jaguars converted two fourth downs en route to the Jets red zone for the potential tying score; however, quarterback Chad Henne's misdirected throw ended up in the hands of Eric Lankster -- giving the Jets the victory.

Was it deserved?  Puh-lease. The Jets struggled to shut down one of the worst teams in the NFL and were well on their way to losing the football game. Sanchez was nonexistent, and one could argue he should have been pulled for a second consecutive week for playing ineffectively. However, Ryan was not going to do it. He benched Greg McElory and listed him as inactive because Joe McKnight had a headache. (Does that make any sense to you?) And you can forget Ryan going to Tebow, whom he clearly doesn't believe in, not a dot, not a jot.

The Jets have "lucked out" the last two weeks having played two dreadful teams in Arizona (4-9) and Jacksonville (2-11). They might be 6-7, bu as the football gods would have it, they are technically alive for a playoff spot, but let's get real: this Jets team is not going anywhere. Their offense is a complete disaster led by an ineffective quarterback, and their defense has been vastly overrated. With tougher opponents in Tennessee, San Diego and Buffalo on the horizon, it will be a real shock if the Jets win out.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Open Mike 12-5-12 Mark Sanchez's Status & MLB Winter Meetings

Here is the opening hour of the Open Mike program from December 5, 2012.

Michael breaks down the Mark Sanchez situation. Was Rex Ryan in the right to go back to the struggling signal-caller?

http://www.mtrmedia.com/2012/12/open-mike-12-5-12-pt-1-rex-ryan-jets-endorse-mark-sanchez/


 In hour two of the Open Mike program from Wednesday, December 5, Michael Cohen welcomes in Karen VanKat of the Warning Track, and John Pielli of Passed Ball to talk Hot Stove Baseball and the Winter Meetings.

http://www.mtrmedia.com/2012/12/open-mike-12-5-12-pt-2-mlb-winter-meetings/

Rex Ryan & Jets decide to stick with Mark Sanchez

Should anyone be really surprised here? Really?

The New York Jets have decided to go back to Mark Sanchez after the bumbling quarterback was benched during an inept performance in the Jets 7-6 victory against the Arizona Cardinals.

Ryan defended his decision to go back to Sanchez citing that he gives New York the best chance to win, and that he still believes in him. Ryan acknowledged that the move would not come with much praise, and frankly didn't care. 

However, the real reason Ryan is going back to "Butt-fumble," as Sanchez has been called in recent weeks by Jets fans, is because the quarterback is owed $8.5 million next season in guaranteed money. Not to mention New York signed Sanchez through the 2017 season when they unconsciously gave him a contract extension after failing to spark any interest in Peyton Manning last off-season.

The move by Ryan while ridiculous -- because Sanchez has been on a downward spiral since he has been in New York, has not improved at all in any statistical category in his career, and has never come across as a true leader this franchise needs -- is not surprising.

Sanchez is Ryan's pick. It was Ryan and Mike Tannenbaum who were blown away by Sanchez back in 2009, and decided to trade up to get him, rather than wait for Josh Freeman (who by the way is lighting it up in Tampa Bay right now).

Ryan has spent four years coddling a failed quarterback, and he won't turn his back on him now when everyone else knows he should leave Sanchez in the dust if he wants to save his own coaching career.

But Ryan has tethered himself to Sanchez. As a result whatever happens the rest of this season could be the end of both Sanchez and Ryan's tenure in New York. It is easy to look at the Jets schedule at Jacksonville (2-10), @ Tennessee (4-8), San Diego (4-8), and @ Buffalo (5-7) and think that Gang Green can win out and finish at 9-7; but let's be real, is there anything that the Jets have done when Mark Sanchez is under center that gives anyone confidence that they can even win one of these games?

The answer is clearly no. If Sanchez had remained in the Cardinals game, the Jets were going to lose. They had done nothing for three quarters, and Sanchez was actually being outplayed by Ryan Lindley who was pure garbage in his own right on Sunday.

Greg McElory is not a long term answer for Gang Green, he's an average quarterback at best, but, he gave this team life after it had been suffocated by Sanchez's ineptitude. The team rallied around McElory and played hard for him as New York overcame a 3-0 deficit that Sanchez couldn't erase.

By making this move, Ryan is risking losing his own locker room. It is hard to believe that many players on the Jets feel the team can win when Sanchez is in the game. He rode the coat-tails of a great defense and strong ground game as New York went to back-to-back AFC title games. When he was asked to be "the man" Sanchez failed miserably.

If Ryan wanted to make a statement that he is a man with strong convictions, he would have benched Sanchez for the rest of the season. However, what Ryan showed us on Wednesday is that he is willing to go down with the ship, which he will if this disaster continues to go down the drain.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Giants Have No Answer for RGIII & Skins

REDSKINS 17
GIANTS 16

The Giants had a golden opportunity Monday night to all but ice the NFC East, and keep their hopes alive for the number two seed in the NFC playoffs with a win against the Washington Redskins. However, as has been the case with Big Blue over the years, nothing they do is ever easy as the Giants found a way to blow a 16-10 lead, and lose to Washington 17-16.

Once again the Giants were failed by missed opportunities on offense, as New York settled for three field goals after failing to convert huge third down plays inside Washington's red zone.

It wasn't like the Giants weren't playing well between the 20s in this game; they were excellent. Eli Manning looked sharp, completing 20 of 33 passes for 280 yards. But, when New York desperatly needed to move the ball inside the red zone they couldn't do it, as Manning missed Victor Cruz on two crucial third down's, one inside the seven and another at the Washington 16 yard line.

As for RGIII, the Giants didn't have an answer for him. Justin Tuck said a week ago, the Redskins singal caller gave him nightmares, and it came to fruition on Monday night.

Griffin was percise and accurate with his throws. While the statistical total won't blow anyone away, Griffin made the big throws when the Skins needed it the most.

With New York leading 3-0, Griffin hit Pierre Garcon for 25 yards to move the ball closer to mid-field. After two nice runs by rookie Alfred Morris, Griffin was off to the races, streaking down the sideline for what looked like a sure score. However, Griffin was tripped, and fumbled the football at the Giants 13. Fortunately for Washington Josh Morgan was there to scoop it up and score to give the Skins a 7-3 lead.

Griffin's big time arm was on display later in the second quarter, when he zipped a 35 yard strike to Gracon to move the ball to the Giants 13, in a drive that culminated in a Redskins field goal to tie the game at 10.

The Giants last great opportunity to score came in the third quarter, leading 13-10. Eli Manning enginerred a seven play drive that started at the Giants own 9 yard line. However when facing a third down at the Washington 16, he couldn't connect with Cruz, forcing Big Blue to settle for three.

It was an opportunity wasted. With the way Griffin and the Skins had been moving the ball on the Giants defense, New York needed a touchdown there, and couldn't finish.

On Washington's next possession it was Morris who did the damage. With rushes of 10 and 16 yards, he moved to ball all the way to the Redskins 40. Later in the drive, Morris would be at it again with three huge carries for 15 yards to move deep into Giants territory at the 25. Then Griffin took over. He connected with Leonard Hankerson for 14 yards to the Giants eight, before capping the drive off with a touchdown strike to Garcon to give Washington a 17-16 lead.

Down a point, the Giants offense went into a collective funk. First, Manning was sacked for a seven-yard loss on their ensuing possession forcing New York to punt from their own 14. Finally, on the Giants final drive of the night, they killed themselves with penalties.

Manning thought he had converted a third and ten at the 43 to Martellus Bennett, but a holding penalty was called on Will Beatty setting the Giants back 10-yards, and facing a third and 20, instead of a new set of downs in Washington territory. Manning's third down throw was well short of the third down marker, and the Giants were forced to punt again.

Griffin made sure that Manning never got his hands on the football again. He converted a monster second and eight to Garcon for a gain of 17 to all but ice the game with less than two minutes remaining.

Now the Giants path to the playoffs has become a little bit muddled. They now stand at 2-3 in divisional games, and have allowed both Dallas and Washington back into the mix. With four games reaming, the Giants have two home games: New Orleans (5-7) and Philadelphia (3-9) and a very difficult two-game road trip at Atlanta (11-1) and Baltimore (9-3) coming up, making their path to January very difficult.

If Big Blue should finish at 9-7, they could find themselves in one of three scenarios: A) miss the playoffs with either Dallas or Washington winning the East, and Seattle or Chicago taking the sixth seed with 10 wins. B) Qualifying for the postseason as a division champ IF Washington or Dallas should finish at 8-8, or C) Qualifying for the postseason as a wild card, if Washington or Dallas wins the East at 9-7, and Seattle or Chicago finishes at 9-7, or worse, allowing Big Blue to get in.

Losing to Washington is a huge step backwards for the world champs. If they had won the game, there would have been a road to the number two seed in the NFC, because the Giants own tie-breakers against the Packers and 49ers. Now, the Giants have to buckle up their chin straps if they want to even make it to the playoffs.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Roll Tide: Jets Bench Sanchez, McElroy Leads Gang to Win

JETS 7
CARDINALS 6
 
For three quarters the New York Jets, once again, looked like a group of zombies as they struggled to do anything against a reeling Arizona Cardinals team that limped into the game on their third quarterback of the season, riding a seven-game losing streak.

As has been the case all season, Mark Sanchez was at the eye of the storm; every throw he made turned out to be a total disaster for Gang Green, as New York failed to move the football at any point during the opening three quarters of this football game.

From the onset, Sanchez showed Jets fans once again why he is not the answer at quarterback anymore, when he threw a pick to ex-Jet Kerry Rhodes on the Jets first play of the game. That wouldn't be the last mistake by Sanchez, who threw two more interceptions, and completed a woeful 10-of-21 for 92 yards.

With each incompletion on third down (Sanchez was 2-of-9 in that situation) and the Jets uncanny inability to do anything against a Cardinals team that walked around like they were wearing a large KICK ME" sign was infuriating, disturbing and outragous.

The Jets were so bad under Sanchez on Sunday that it wouldn't have been surprising if they lost to a high school football team, let alone the likes of Notre Dame or Alabama.

It wasn't like Arizona wanted to do anything to win this game either. Rookie Ryan Lindey was atrocious. He couldn't move the Cardinals anywhere past mid-field, and the only reason Arizona was able to score in the first half was because of a fancy run on a fake punt by Rashad Johnson that went 40 yards to the Jets 35.

Yet here were the Jets, trailing 3-0, having outplayed Arizona statistically in every facet of the game, with the Jets defense manhandling the Cardinals offense, and still the Jets couldn't muster a point because Mark Sanchez couldn't figure out how to throw on the Cardinals.

With the stadium booing louder and louder after each three-and-out by the Jets, coach Rex Ryan finally made the move that Jets' fans have been waiting for all season long. He decided to remove Sanchez from the football game.

However, it wasn't Tim Tebow, who came in to save the day. Tebow was out for the second consecutive week due to a rib injury, so the Jets went to the guy, who they didn't even bother dressing a week ago, Greg McElroy.

When McElroy strolled from the sideline to the huddle, a palpable sense of releif could be felt in the entire stadium, as the 70,000 plus Jets fans suddenly found their voices and cheered loudly with approval. While it is popular to say that the back-up quarterback is always the fan favorite, this was a move that the fans have been waiting for for a couple years now.

Sanchez has become a drag to this franchise. His inconsistent play, and consistent stupid mistakes have become a trademark of Jets football the past four years. When Sanchez went head-first into the rear-end of Brandon Moore on Thanksgiving, Sanchez guaranteed himself a starring role in the NFL Bloopers 2013 DVD.

The fans have waited for someone to come in a save this sinking ship, and the Alabama product did just that for at least one week on Sunday.

While he wasn't flashy, and was asked to hand-off to Shonn Greene most of the time in the second half; McElroy lit a spark into the stadium and into the team. On his first pass he shot the ball down field to Stephen Hill down the sideline, which he overthrew a tad, as the ball fell incomplete. While the pass was registered as an incompletion, the stadium roared when the young quarterback reared back to throw.

On his next play, McElroy zipped the ball to Hill down the middle for a first down to the delight of the crowd.

After a personal foul on Arizona moved the ball to the Cardinals' 14, the Jets pounded it with Bilal Powell and Shonn Greene to the Arizona one. Finally on third and goal, McElroy rolled out on a naked bootleg, found Jeff Cumberland in the back of the end zone and hit him for the touchdown, giving the Jets the lead and breathing life into MetLife Stadium in the process. 

McElory's final numbers were 5-of-7 for 29 yards and touchdown. Not flashly, but he got it done. If Sanchez had stayed in the game, the Jets probably would have lost 3-0.

Now it is up to Rex Ryan to make a final decision. If he didn't think he would have a quarterback controversy on his hands, he has one now. Ryan wouldn't commit to Sanchez the way he has in the past during his post game press conference, meaning the battle for the starters job is on -- big time.

McElory earned the right to be the Jets starter when New York heads to Jacksonville next week. Yet, there will be many who would like to see Tim Tebow get the start, if healthy, because he has been the miracle man before. However, Tebow has done nothing with this offense. When he did play, Tebow was virtually ineffective.

Yet, Ryan could still go back to Sanchez, and chalk up the Arizona game to a bad week for the "Sanchise." He has $8.5 million reasons to do so. However, the facts are out there, Ryan is going to have a hard time convincing this locker room to go back to Sanchez after this performance today. There were rumblings in the locker room about dislike for Sanchez last year, what must these players be thinking now after McElory led the team to victory over a hapless Arizona team, while Sanchez looked inept?

Ryan will likely wait to make a decision until Wednesday. If he is smart, and if he wants to save his own job, Ryan would stick with McElory and see what the kid has down the stretch. The Jets have nothing to lose -- they likely won't make the playoffs. Now is the time for people to audition for jobs in 2013, and now is the time for Mark Sanchez to look for a new one come the new year. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Wright Puts Pen to Paper, Agrees to Stay with Mets

The New York Mets will keep the face of the franchise around through the rest of this decade.

David Wright and the Mets agreed to a seven-years $122 million extension, Friday morning that will keep the third baseman in Flushing through the year 2020.

The deal will also include Wright's $16 million option for 2013, bringing the total of the deal to $138 million.

This was a deal that the Mets had to get done. With all of the bad PR that had enveloped the franchise thanks to the actions of Fred and Jeff Wilpon, losing David Wright one-year after allowing Jose Reyes to walk away without a substantial contract offer would have led to a total mutiny at Citi Field.

Wright, who has been encouraged through out his career to take more of a leadership role with this franchise, will now have to become the leader of the Mets whether he likes it or not.  He is the lone star on a team of fringe major league players, if the roster remains virtually unchanged from 2012.

How Wright performs is going to play a big roll in how successful the Mets will be, especially over the next two years of the contract.

Now the pressure goes squarely on the shoulders of the Wilpon's and GM Sandy Alderson to back up this landmark occasion with the signing of quality free agents who can make the Mets a competitive team again the NL East.

For as good a player Wright is, he is more successful when surrounded by solid hitters in the line-up. That is why he was so good in the 2000's when he had guys like Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran protecting him in the line-up. Over the past three seasons, he's been surrounded by Lucas Duda, Mike Baxter, and a plethora of other never-will-be's, putting extra pressure on him to get the job done.

So this is a moment for the Mets to celebrate -- but the job is still not finished, and the damage by the Wilpon's past moves sill needs to be totally repaired.