Monday, October 31, 2016

Cubs Survive Extinction, Will Play a Game 6 in World Series

CLE leads 3-2

The Chicago Cubs avoided elimination on Sunday night by defeating the Cleveland Indians at their own game, by sending out their closer for two-plus innings in order to nail down a Game 5 win, and send this best-of-seven World Series back to Cleveland.

In what has already been a tremendous fall classic, full of tense moments, and clutch pitching at the most opportune times, it was time for Chicago to finally let loose. Their backs to the wall down 3-1, they needed this one in the worst way. Had the Cubs lost Game 5 at home, at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, it would have spoiled all the good they had accomplished in winning 103 games this year.

The Cubs faithful had waited four games to finally have something to truly cheer about, and when Kris Bryant's 387 foot home run to left just cleared the wall to tie the game up at one, cheer they did. The fans had seen their beloved Cubs get shutout twice against the Indians, and had just seen Cory Kluber shut them down in Game 4. Bryant's home run was the turning point of Game 5. Whether it is the turning point of the series is yet to be determined.

The home run spark the Cubs to a 3-run fourth inning, with Addison Russell driving in Anthony Rizzo on an infield grounder down the third baseline, and David Ross driving in another run on a sac fly to deep left.

Now it was up to the pitching staff of the Cubs, and they were up to the challenge. John Lester did his part over six innings, allowing only two runs on four hits and striking out five. It was a nice comeback for the lefty who struggled in a 6-0 Game 1 loss back in Cleveland. Once Joe Madden turned to his bullpen the question was how long would the Cubs wait before bringing in their closer Aroldis Chapman. Unlike the Indians who are three deep in the bullpen with Cody Allen, Andrew Miller and Bryan Shaw, the Cubs are a one-man show in the pen.

That is what made Sunday's effort by Chapman so amazing. He came in relief of Carl Edwards Jr. in the top of the seventh inning with a man on and one out, and gutted out the rest of the inning, striking out Jose Ramirez and getting Roberto Perez on a ground ball.

The eighth inning was not easy for Chapman, because Rajai Davis would put a tremendous amount of pressure on him when he singled, and stole both second and third base to put the potential tying run just 90 feet away. Give Chapman credit here. He jammed Jason Kipnis on a fly ball out on 3-1 for the second out, and later struck out Francisco Lindor to get out of the inning.

Gutting out the eighth inning the way he did, Chapman was in cruise control in the ninth.  He blew away the final three hitters of the game, including Ramirez, whom Chapman struck out a second time.

Ball game over, and for the first time the song "Go Cubs Go!" blared over the sound system at Wrigley Field on the night before Halloween. It was a grand moment for Chicago -- they kept their slim hopes alive. Now, they get to play in November for Game 6, and maybe Game 7 for all the marbles.

Should the Cubs force a deciding Game 7 on Wednesday night, we will remember the Bryant home run in the fourth inning and the gutty effort by Chapman as turning points. For the Indians, they get to head home --- still trying to nail down the hardest win of the entire baseball season -- the fourth win of a World Series.

Jets Win Ugly Against 0-8 Browns


The Jets proved one thing on Sunday afternoon, you can play well for only half the game and still win, especially when the opponent is the Cleveland Browns.

For an entire first half the Jets played like a team that was totally disconnected and unprepared for the Cleveland Browns. They were out-gained, out maneuvered and out coached at times in the first half against a desperate football team.

Cleveland built a 20-7 halftime lead on the Jets, and it could have been much more had the Browns not stalled at the Jets 10-yard line in a goal-line situation with 47 seconds to go before the half. The Browns could have easily put the Jets away with a touchdown that would have made it 24-7, but, no, these are the Browns after all. They gained only one net yard inside the ten and kicked.

Earlier in the half, Cleveland tore up the Jets defense on three long scoring drives. The Browns opened the game with an eight play 75-yard scoring drive as Josh McCown was zipping the football all over the field. He hit Gary Barnidge for 32-yards on the first play of the game. Later, McCown connected with Terrell Pryor for 24-yards to the Jets 19. Three plays later, Cleveland was in the end zone on a Andrew Hawkins touchdown catch from McCown to make it 7-0.

The Browns would take a 10-0 lead on the Jets, the third straight game in which the Jets fell behind by double-digits in the first half, before New York finally put something together on Bilal Powell's 35-yard touchdown scamper down the sideline that cut the deficit to 10-7.

Yet that one play was the only offense by New York in the first half. They wouldn't advance the ball much at all for the rest of the second quarter. A big reason for that was the poor play of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick, who completed only three passes in 14 attempts. New York as an offense gained only 106 yards in the first half.

Whatever head coach Todd Bowles said at halftime it worked. After the game, Bowles downplayed his message to the team, but threw in a couple of F-bombs during his press conference. Clearly the coach was not happy with the performance, in spite of the victory.

Bowles had to have lit a fire under his team, because they came out like gangbusters in the second half. New York opened the half with a 12-play, 75-yard drive that ate up nearly seven minutes of action, culminating in a 24-yard touchdown by receiver Quincy Enunwa.

Enunwa had a heck of a second half. He led the team with 93 yards receiving on four catches, and his 57-yard catch down the middle of the field set the Jets on fire on their next third quarter possession. The monster grab by Enunwa turned the field over 180 degrees for the Jets, who were now poised to score from the Browns 13-yard line. New York would push all the way down to the Browns' four-yard line before going for it on fourth and one with Matt Forte. Forte plunged into the pile and broke free of some tacklers before scoring standing up to give the Jets a 21-20 lead.

New York later scored its third straight touchdown when Forte scored again, this time from two yards out to give the Jets a 28-20 lead. The score completed a 13-play 81-yard drive. Forte finished the afternoon with 82-yards on 25 carries and two scores.

With the lead, the Jets defense started to play inspired football. They held Cleveland to just 51-yards on their first four possessions of the second half, and forced two interceptions of McCown.

While the Jets inked out the win, this was a game that should never have been this close, considering the opponent. The Jets put themselves behind the eight ball early, a formula that has not worked well for them obviously this season. The Jets know they need to play better next week in Miami. That being said, New York is 3-5, and still with a heartbeat in this 2016 season.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Indians Smash Cubs Behind Kluber and Pen

CLE leads 1-0 

The Cleveland Indians know full well that they are the underdog to the Chicago Cubs in this World Series. They don't care either.

The Indians dominated the Cubs 6-0 in Game 1 of the 2016 World Series in a game that wasn't even that close. The Indians are for real, and if you have missed most of this postseason with them, you're in for a surprise. If you have seen the Indians in their series wins over Texas and Toronto, you would know this team is ready to kick some serious tail.

Over nine innings, the Cubs had only one real glimmer of hope, in the top of the seventh inning when they loaded the bases against Indians reliever Andrew Miller. Miller, who gutted out two incredible innings with 46 pitches under his belt, got out of the pickle when he jammed Wilson Contreras on a fly out, and struck out both Addison Russell and David Ross to get out of the inning.

Miller's two innings of brilliance was another pelt on the wall for a man who has etched his name in postseason history already. He has yet to give up a run over 13.2 innings of work this postseason, and he was on top of his game on Tuesday night, as he preserved the lead for starter Corey Kluber.

Kluber was equally great. He held the Cubs to just four hits over six innings, while striking out nine batters, and continued his dominate postseason in 2016. In four starts, Kluber is 3-1 with a 0.74 ERA in 24.1 innings. He has struck out 29 and walked only seven. The nine K's over six innings set a Cleveland Indians record for a World Series game.  Combined, Kluber, Miller and closer Cody Allen struck out 15 batters, which was two shy of a World Series record.

Offensivley the Indians took the early 2-0 lead in the bottom of the fist thanks in big part to their young star Francisco Lindor. Lindor singled, stole second base and scored on a infield single by Jose Ramirez to make it 1-0. Lindor and Ramirez were huge in the win, with both hitters going 3-for-4 on the night.

Yet, this night will probably be best remembered for the heroics of Roberto Perez, the forgotten one in the Indians lineup. For a team that hit 184 home runs this year, Perez hit only three homers in the regular season. His .185 batting average not withstanding, nobody expected this guy to do any damage offensively in this series.

Again, that is why baseball is a beautiful game. Not only did Perez catch a brilliant game behind the plate, he had the two biggest hits of his entire career in one game on the biggest of stages.  Perez cracked two home runs, including a 3-run bomb in the eighth inning that helped push the Tribe to a 6-0 advantage.

With the 1-0 series lead the edge now goes to Cleveland. Teams that take a 1-0 lead in the World Series win that series 64.5 percent of the time. Teams that take that 1-0 lead at home win it 68.8 percent of the time, according to CBS Sports. The last team to comeback and win a World Series after dropping Game 1 as the road team was the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992. The Indians have now recorded four shutouts this postseason, which ties them with the San Francisco Giants (2010, and 2012), the 1998 Yankees and the 1905 New York Giants. All those teams won the World Series in those respective seasons. While all the talk has been about the Cubs this October, the Indians have quietly gone about their business and now hold an 8-1 record this postseason. The Cubs are 7-5.

Giants Cut Kicker Josh Brown

Josh Brown's Giants career is now over. The New York Giants officially released the kicker after revelations about alleged abuses of his ex-wife came to light last week.

The release of Brown isn't surprising at all. The diary containing Brown's admittance to having "abused his wife," and the detail of how he "physically, emotionally and verbally" abused her were too much to bear.

The Giants apparently knew of Brown's transgressions from the charges that were levied in Kings County, Washington in 2015, to the alleged abuses at a hotel at the Pro Bowl, yet they still tried to justify bringing him back on a two-year contract extension this past offseason.

"We believed we did the right thing at every juncture in our relationship with Josh," team president John Mara said in a statement. "Our beliefs, our judgments and our decisions were misguided. We accept that responsibility.

"We hope that Josh will continue to dedicate himself to rehabilitation and to becoming a better person and father. We will continue to support him in his efforts to continue counseling, and we hope that Josh and his family can find peace and a positive resolution." (ESPN, 10/25/16).

As for Brown he said he never "struck" his wife, but accepts the Giants decision and will seek help. 

We still have yet to know how the NFL will determine Brown's NFL future. Currently he is on the Commissioner's exempt list. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Geno Smith out for the Year with ACL Tear

So much for the quarterback controversy developing in Florham Park with the New York Jets. On Monday it was reported that Jets quarterback Geno Smith tore his ACL during Sunday's action against Baltimore when he was tackled by Matt Judon. As a result, he will undergo season ending knee surgery to repair the ligament tear.

This is the latest, and possibly final chapter of misfortune in Smith's Jet career. From being treated like a proverbial human yo-yo under Rex Ryan in his battle with John Idzik to getting punched in the face by a teammate last August, and showing incredible immaturity both on and off the field, it is bizarre and disturbingly fitting that his time in New York could end like this.

Smith was never going to be the Jets starting quarterback again. That shipped sailed away for good when the Jets fired both Idzik and Ryan and hired Todd Bowles and Mike Maccagnan. They held on to him, albeit reluctantly, because of his contract, but he never blossomed enough to win anyone over. Hopefully, Smith can revive his career elsewhere, most likely as a back-up.

Now the Jets are back in the hands of Ryan Fitzpatrick, who professed his angst for the Jets front office, saying that he felt owner Woody Johnson, Maccagnan and Bowles stopped "believing in him."

Bowles offered the perfect retort to Fitzpatrick's comments when he told reporters: "If pissed off is going to stop the turnovers, then I'm more than happy to have him pissed off the whole time." That was perhaps the best quote Bowles has had in his short two year stay with the Jets. It is the perfect answer that basically tells Fitzpatrick to stop complaining and play like a professional.

For a quarterback who came across as the ultimate team guy, Fitzpatrick certainly has shown his true colors as a self-absorbed athlete, who thinks he's better than everyone around him.

Those hoping that this means Bryce Petty will enter the conversation should hold their horses. Beat writers for the Jets have noted that Petty does not look ready to play since he was just recently activated from the DL after a shoulder injury. He is probably a ways off before being able to truly challenge Fitzpatrick for the starting job.

Not to mention, at 2-5 the Jets still have a mathematical (although unlikely) shot at the postseason. They play in Cleveland this week, visit Miami in two weeks and face the Rams in mid-November. Those are three teams that they should beat with Fitzpatrick at quarterback. If they do, they are 5-5 going into their first match-up with the Patriots in late-November. If the team squanders this chance with Fitz under center, then obviously it is time for Petty to start.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Fitzpatrick Rips Jets Executives after Victory over Baltimore


As the old refrain goes, only the Jets could put cold water on their own victory.

The Jets defeated the Baltimore Ravens, Sunday 24-16 in a game that featured a nice return to the running game and a defense that finally found its groove. Yet, nobody was talking about that a few hours after the game had concluded. The talk was all about Ryan Fitzpatrick and Geno Smith.

The Jets quarterback quandary got worse, not better on Sunday afternoon. It all started when Smith was injured on a tackle by Ravens defensive lineman Matthew Judon when the quarterback was trying to scramble out of the pocket. Insert Fitzpatrick, the man whom Smith replaced four days earlier. And it was Fitzpatrick who led the Jets to a come-from-behind victory. Oh, the irony.

While Fitzpatrick played well, he was 9-for-14 for 120 yards and a touchdown, it is what he said after the game that shook Jetland to its core once again.

"The biggest thing in the this game in order to last is to have belief in yourself..." Ok, good start Ryan. He's going to say how he learned a lot from his demotion and is ready to let bygones be bygones, right?

"...because when the owner stops believing in you and the GM stops believing in you and the coaches stop believing in you, sometimes all you have is yourself." D'oh (facepalm)!

Fitzpatrick then went on to say that his teammates are the ones who have his back, while insinuating that the Jets front office does not. Fitzpatrick must have taken a hint when Bowles benched him on Wednesday, two days after the Monday night debacle in Arizona that owner Woody Johnson and/or GM Mike Maccagnan may have had a say.

What make matters worse is Geno Smith left Sunday's game with an apparent knee injury and never returned. On his performance, Smith was decent in his return under center. Nothing spectacular. His final stat line was 4-of-8, 95 yards and a touchdown, but keep in mind 69 of those yards came on one play to Quincy Enunwa. Take away the touchdown, Smith was 3-of-7 for 26 yards.

Now Todd Bowles has a decision to make go with Geno Smith, if healthy, or stick with Fitzpatrick who just threw him under the bus?

To make matters more interesting, one has to wonder if Smith even has support in the locker room. After the game, Dan Leberfeld of Jets Confidential tweeted out that Sheldon Richardson told Geno to get rid of the ball faster before taking big hits.

"I keep telling him to get rid of the ball. I play defensive line." - Sheldon Richardson on Geno Smith.

Smith isn't a guy who has been reported in the past to be endearing to his teammates. He said he was going to write a book about his "comeback" during the summer. Then when Fitzpatrick returned he told the media he was "pissed." This is also the same guy who threw a temper tantrum on the sideline showing up Fitzpatrick last week in Arizona.

While Fitzpatrick said he "feels for" Geno Smith, his declaration about the front office, and his statement that he should be "the starter every week" is a slight slap back at Smith as well.

Looks like New York has a quarterback controversy on their hands as they get ready for Cleveland.

This ugly situation mares what was a great day for the Jets. The defense was tremendous on Sunday. They held the Ravens to six yards rushing and picked off Joe Flacco twice on the afternoon. The first interception by Buster Skrine set up the Jets field goal to take a 17-16 lead.

Later, Flacco was picked off again when he air-mailed a ball into the clutches of Marcus Gilchrist. The Jets quickly converted that into six points when Matt Forte plunged in from the one yard line to make it 24-16. Brandon Marshall is deserving of a save on this scoring drive as he recovered a Forte fumble three plays prior to the touchdown.

Fitzpatrick started out hot when he came in relief of Smith, completing his first seven passes, and leading the Jets on a  seven play 85-yard scoring drive to cut the Ravens lead to 14-13 just before halftime.

Giants Defense leads G-Men to Victory in London


The only way the Giants could begin to put the Josh Brown fiasco behind them was to find a way to pull out a win against the Los Angeles Rams in London, England on Sunday morning. Give them credit, for a few hours anyway they succeeded, as Big Blue's defense came to play in a big way, dominating the Rams in a 17-10 win to push New York to 4-3 as they hit the bye week.

Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo, a one-time head coach of the then St. Louis Rams dialed up a game plan that flustered his former team in so many ways, and likely will push current Rams head coach to make a decision on quarterback Case Keenum.

The Giants harassed Keenum all day. First they shut down his star running back Todd Gurley, holding him to just 57 yards on 15 carries, and made speedy receiver Tavon Austin a virtual non-factor with just 57 yards on 10 receptions.

On top of that the Giants made the plays defensively they needed to because they were not getting any help from the offense.

Eli Manning and company had a pretty pedestrian day against the Rams. They only ran for 36 yards on the ground, and Manning threw for 196 yards through the air. At the end of the day the Giants had only one scoring drive that produced points and that was a 14-play 71 yard drive that resulted in a  field goal in the second quarter.

Least of all the offense put Big Blue in a big hole early when Larry Donnell fumbled the football on the second play of the game, handing LA great field position. The Rams cashed in seven plays later when Austin caught a 10-yard pass from Keenum for a touchdown to make it 7-0.

Before the Giants knew it they were down 10-0 for the second straight week after one quarter of play.

Then the defense turned it on. With 7:10 to go before halftime, Landon Collins picked off an overthrow Keenum pass and weaved his way through the Rams offense to the end zone for the score. How determined was Collins to score on the play? When it appeared he was tackled at the two yard line, he used a nice second effort to power over two lineman to get into the end zone for the score to tie the game up at 10.

Fast forward to the fourth quarter and Collins again came up huge when he picked off another Keenum pass and set up shop for the Giants at the Rams 35.  Three plays later, Manning hit Odell Beckham Jr. for a 22-yard gain to the Rams three yard line, before Jennings capped it off with a 1-yard plunge to put the Giants on top 17-10.

Later in the quarter with the Rams driving into Giants territory, Keenum threw his third pick of the day, this time to Dominique Rodgers Cromartie to kill the Rams momentum with a little over four minutes to go.

However, the Giants could run out the clock, giving Keenum and the Rams one last shot at tying the game. Keenum had the Rams moving, getting them all the way to the 15-yard line before he heaved up a meatball into the back of the end zone that Cromartie caught like a fair catch on a punt. Ball game over.

The Giants head into the bye at 4-3, and will face Philadelphia in two weeks.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Cubs End the Curse, Head to World Series

Chicago wins NLCS 4-2

It certainly is "hard not to be romantic about baseball" as the movie Moneyball once said.

For the Chicago Cubs fan, they had waited 71 years for this very moment, and for those who go beyond the last time the Cubs last represented the National League in the Fall Classic, it has been 108 long years since Chicago last won it all.

While there is still work to be for these 2016 Chicago Cubs, they are heading back to the World Series for the first time since 1945. They will square off against the Cleveland Indians, who are gunning for their first World title since 1948.

Two old school mid-western teams and one dream.

The Cubs got the job done by relying on the right arm of Kyle Hendricks who out-dueled Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw with a performance that will go down in NLCS history as one of the best by a starter. It will most certainly be one of the top five efforts in Cubs history.

Hendricks held the Dodgers scoreless over 7.1 innings of work. He allowed only two hits on the night, with the first hit for the Dodgers coming on a lead-off single by Andrew Toles in the first inning. Toles was quickly erased one pitch later on a 6-4-3 double-play grounder to short stop. That was the only time the Dodgers ever threatened to do some damage against Hendricks.

He blew away Los Angeles, taking out the drama in a game that otherwise would have been full of drama with the Cubs going for the first pennant since the Harry S. Truman administration. He shutdown hitters with ease, fooled them with his off-speed stuff, and came back with a deadly fastball that had hitters chasing. In short he made the Cubs relax in that third base dugout.

Offensively, the Cubs went to work early and often for Hendricks, giving the righty two quick runs in the bottom of the first inning. Kris Bryant singled to right to score Dexter Fowler with the first run of the day; then two batters later Ben Zobrist, who won a World Series ring last fall with the Kansas City Royals, plated home another run on a sac fly to center.

Leading 2-0 in the second inning, the Cubs tacked on when Fowler drove home Addison Russell on a RBI single to left to make it 3-0 against the mighty Kershaw.

Wilson Contreras sent Wrigley Field into full throttle party mode in the fourth inning when he deposited a Kershaw pitch into the left field bleachers for a solo shot to make it 4-0.

Finally, Anthony Rizzo corked one to right-center for his second home run of the series to push the Cubs lead to 5-0.

It is important to note that Rizzo, Bryant and Fowler played a huge role in not only the Cubs win on Saturday night, but in the NLCS in general. The trio was a combined 5-for-12 (.416) with three runs scored and three RBI in Game 6. Fowler hit .333 in the series, while Bryant hit .304 and Rizzo .320. With those three hitters turning up the heat against the Dodgers it is easy to see why the Cubs won.

By the eighth inning, Joe Madden pulled Hendricks from the game to a thunderous standing ovation from the Cubs Nation. For a fan base that has been so tortured for so many years, Hendricks gave them the kind of effort they had waited generations for. They never got this effort from Kerry Wood or Mark Pyror when it mattered a little over a decade ago. They didn't get this for their current ace, Jake Arrieta in this LCS. Instead they got this effort from a 26-year old man, who was always the forgotten man in the Cubs rotation.

When you think Cubs starting pitchers in 2016, you think Arrieta and Jon Lester. To be fair Lester was named LCS MVP with good reason, he did beat the Dodgers twice. But, this was Hendricks' night to shine on a national stage and he did in a big way.

Finally, it was up to Aroldis Chapman. The ex-Yankees and Reds closer picked up where Hendricks left off in the eighth inning, giving the Cubs 1.2 innings of no-hit baseball to get lock the door on LA  for good. The final out coming on a double play with the combination of Russell, Baez and Rizzo completing the 6-4-3 to win it. Combined Chapman and Hendricks faced one batter shy of the minimum, something that has only been done once before in a postseason game, i.e. Don Larson's perfect game in the World Seres in 1956.

Once Rizzo closed his glove on the ball for the third and final out of the ball game the party was in full force. The song "Go Cubs Go!" exploded over the sound system, old Cubs fans cried, younger Cubs fans were in total hysteria. From the intersection of North Sheffield Ave, and West Waveband Ave where throngs of fans packed outside the stadium, to the local bars in and around Chicago, it was absolute pandemonium in Chicago's North Side.

This was their night to cherish. So long Billy Goat, hello Cleveland.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Giants and NFL all guilty of Ignoring the Josh Brown Fiasco

The New York Giants should be disgusted with themselves.

When given the chance to do the right thing back in August, Big Blue turned its back on the facts and allowed kicker Josh Brown to remain on the team. They allowed a man who (at the time) allegedly abused his wife to remain a part of the one of the flagship franchises in the National Football League.

The NFL is equally culpable in this mess. When presented with the facts all they did was suspend Brown for one game, the season opener in Dallas.  Typically a domestic abuse case in the NFL would require a six-game suspension.

Now the backlash is coming back at the NFL and the Giants, after a journal entry submitted by Brown's ex-wife, Molly to the Kings County (Washington) Prosecutors office, detailed the ugly truth, Brown abused his wife. He even went as far to say that he "physically, verbally and emotionally abused my wife Molly." The letters also document Brown's obsession with sex, and his history of abusing women which began at age seven.

All of this comes out after we learned in the summer of 20 incidents in which Brown abused his ex-wife. Those abuses date back to 2009 when she was pregnant with their child.

In short, this dude is flat out disgusting.

What makes this sad story most sickening is that the Giants knew about it, and did nothing. Giants President and Co-Owner John Mara admitted during the summer that he knew of Browns arrest from 2015 in Washington state when the Brown case opened up. Yet, it was not enough to convince the Giants not to re-sign the kicker.

“Based on the facts and circumstances that we were aware of at that time, we were comfortable with our decision to re-sign him,” Mara said while standing on the porch of the Giants’ training facility at the Meadowlands. “Nothing has happened in the meantime to make us question that decision.”(NY Daily News). 

The Giants signed him to a two-year deal this off-season, and have stood behind him even in light of the latest allegations. Before taking off for London, Giants coach Ben McAdoo said that they would "not turn their backs on Josh." 

Eli Manning was also "all over the place" according to the New York Post in his response to the Brown allegations. In a way you can understand this from the player and coach standpoint, because the subject is so touchy, and it isn't official whether Brown will be gone or not. 

Still the lack of enforcement by the Giants front office when it mattered the most is truly troubling. While many assume that Browns career with Big Blue is over, nothing has been made official. The Giants did sign Robbie Gould to take over for Brown, which may signal an end game for the disgraced kicker, but a decision probably will wait until the NFL makes its own determination. 

Currently the NFL placed Brown on the league exempt list, which is the NFL version of limbo. In a nutshell Brown will still get paid, but can not play in any games, attend any games, nor does he could on the 53-man roster. He can still work out at the facility via the teams' permission. The NFL is currently doing an investigation that it should have done months, if not years ago on Brown. 

If the NFL determines that the evidence from the King County Police Department is too damning, one would figure that it could be the end of Brown's career. 

Yet, a punishment seems hallow now. The NFL continues to strike out in the public image department. They botched the Ray Rice fiasco, suspending Rice only one game when video came out of the former running back slugging his wife. After outside pressure, the NFL instituted a stronger ban, and Rice never played in the NFL again. The NFL also botched the Adrian Peterson incident with a slap on the wrist. Peterson returned last season after missing all of the 2014 season due in part to injury and the scandal involving child abuse. Not to mention Deflategate challenged the collective bargaining agreement. 

And the NFL wonders why people are turning off the television sets? 

This is the latest disgrace. Nobody comes out clean in this disaster. The best news that would come out of this is if Brown never plays in the NFL again. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

Geno Smith Named Jets Starting Quarterback

Oh, goodie Jets fans! Geno Smith is back under center for the miserable New York Jets, starting this Sunday against the Baltimore Ravens.

Smith was named the Jets starting quarterback after wishy-washy head coach Toddy Bowles back tracked from comments he made following the Monday Night meltdown in Arizona. Ryan Fitzpatrick, who threw yet another pick, deserved to be benched, but Smith is not going to be a tonic the Jets need.

Many have already pointed out that the decision by Bowles looks like it has Woody Johnson's fingerprints all over it. It was reported before the game on Monday that Johnson was displeased greatly with the Jets performance this season; understandable for team that is 1-5. Perhaps Johnson had a say, or maybe someone underneath him had a say on the Jets quarterback situation.

On one hand the decision had to be made to bench Fitzpatrick. The Jets rank 26th in the NFL in total offense and dead last in the league in points per game with 15.5. On top of that Fitzpatrick has a QBR of 30, and 11 picks to just five touchdowns. His drive killing interception in the end zone against the Cardinals was an absolute backbreaker.

With that being said, Geno Smith will not rescue this sinking ship. He is a stop gap for either Bryce Petty, Christian Hackenberg or both at some point down the road. Smith has really nothing to prove to the Jets. The trade deadline is coming on November 1, but two games certainly will not be enough to convince someone to take Geno off the Jets' hands.

For one, there is too much baggage there. From the clash with IK Enemkpali last season that cost Smith the starting job in the first place, to his continued lack of professionalism and maturity, no one in their right mind would give this guy a chance ... unless you are the Jets, of course.

Chances are Bowles will have Geno Smith on a very short leash. If he plays poorly, Petty will be in under center. Keep in mind that Petty just recently returned from the disabled list after dealing with a shore shoulder that he injured in the preseason. Petty played well this summer, and were it not for the injury, he could have supplanted Smith as the back-up to Fitzpatrick.

Either way, the Jets season is over. Their chances at the postseason went by the wayside weeks ago when they got smacked around in Pittsburgh.

The Jets can delude themselves all they want that they are still trying to contend by putting Geno Smith in action, but at the end of the day the Bryce Petty era (for better or for worse) is on the horizon.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Debacle in Arizona leaves Jets at Crossroads


It has been well established for weeks now that the Jets chances of making the playoffs was slim to none. Now after a listless performance in a 28-3 meltdown in the desert, it is becoming abundantly clear that perhaps this 2016 New York Jets team has given up on the season.

At least that is how it looked on Monday night in front of a national TV audience.

There was no fight, no passion, no real discernible effort by the Jets on Monday night, and that falls at the feet of head coach Todd Bowles. They got blown off the football by the Cardinals on both sides of the ball, and failed to adjust to the flow of the game. In other words it looked like the Jets chalked up the L as soon as the got off the plane.

They were outgunned 396 - 230. They had only 11 first downs in 10 drives and were a measly 2-for-13 on third down. Not to mention the ridiculous amount of penalties (10) that the Jets amassed over 60 minutes of painful football.

Meanwhile, the Cardinals did whatever they wanted. Run at the Jets from middle of the field? Why not. Run toward the sidelines? Why not. Throw deep into coverage? No problem. Arizona running back David Johnson tore the Jets apart. He ran for 111 yards on 22 carries, but it felt like a lot more. The Cardinals offensive line pushed the Jets front seven around as if it the Jets were a Division I-AA school (no offense to an I-AA college football teams out there).

On the first play of Arizona's second drive of the night, Johnson glided through the line of scrimmage and dashed untouched down the sideline for a 58-yard touchdown to make it 7-0. He was never touched. There was no holding, why would there be when there wasn't a Jet even close enough for a Cardinal offensive lineman to hold. It was an embarrassment.

Johnson would score twice more, with each one completing a lengthy scoring drive for the Cardinal offense. In each instance, Johnson when untouched as the Cardinal offensive line pushed away the Jets like the parting of the Red Sea.

And then there was the quarterback. Ryan Fitzpatrick was absolutely atrocious on Monday against the Cardinals, as he reckless and listless until Bowles finally pulled the plug on him in the fourth quarter when the game was out of hand. Somehow, he completed 16 passes in 31 attempts, but for much of the night he was overthrowing and under throwing his intended targets, and missing badly. The Cardinals never sacked him, because they didn't need to. Fitzpatrick was doing enough to hurt the Jets by failing to move the team in any positive direction.

The only time Fitzpatrick had the Jets moving on a 12-play 61 yard drive in the third quarter, he threw a costly, drive killing interception in the end zone on third and seven from the Arizona 14-yard line.

The fact that Fitzpatrick was still in the game in the third quarter was a joke in itself. He should have been lifted for Geno Smith sooner, not because Smith would have given the Jets a chance, far from it. It would have sent a message that the $12 million man is not getting it done and the Jets have to go elsewhere.

When asked about Fitzpatrick's job status after the game, Bowles gave his quarterback the dreaded vote of confidence, comparing his decision to lifting a starting pitcher in baseball. Fitzpatrick is still expected to start on Sunday against Baltimore. But let's be honest the leach is going to be short on him. If Fitzpatrick were to struggle against the Ravens, then the Jets have no choice but to let Smith or even Bryce Petty play.

Fitzpatrick has done nothing to deserve to remain the starter, his 11 interceptions to just five touchdowns and a 30 QBR proves that. The fact that this team has scored only two touchdowns in its last four games, and has scored exactly three points in two of those losses says everything you need to know about the quarterback and this offense.

Removing Fitz now would signal that the season is indeed lost, but lets' be honest with the way this team is playing (not just at the quarterback position) this season is a lost cause anyway. At some point soon the Jets have to take stock and see what they have moving forward on this roster.

Word is that Woody Johnson is not pleased at all and getting impatient. With the teams poor play, and Bowles lack of innovation during pre-game and in-game decision making, his seat is only going to get warmer after last night's loss. Already fans and media are calling for Bowles head. His quiet demeanor and Mangini-esq personality is doing him no favors. And if the Jets continue to put forth efforts like last night, he won't be the HC of the NYJ and Ryan Fitzpatrick won't be the QB of the NYJ too much longer.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Giants Survive Ravens, End 3-Game Skid


It was not pretty at the Meadowlands on Sunday, and when it comes to the New York Giants lately, it never is. After watching the Ravens dominate the first quarter by jumping out to a 10-0 lead, Big Blue worked its way back into the ball game, and soon outlasted the Ravens in a fourth quarter shootout.

The star of the show? The same man who has become a lightening rod of controversy for the Giants this season: Odell Beckham Jr. In a lot of way's Beckham Jr's day was a microcosm of the entire afternoon. He started his day by fumbling the football on the Giants first play of the day. Baltimore quickly took advantage and punched it in for six points to make it 10-0.

Later, Beckham Jr. was hobbled by a hip injury that forced him to miss the Giants lone scoring drive of the first half.

Then, when the Giants took off, so did Beckham Jr. On the Giants opening drive of the third quarter, Eli Manning moved the Giants on an efficient 15-play 72 yard drive that ate up over five minutes of action. Manning completed two big passes to Sterling Shephard, an 11-yarder to Beckham, and a clutch 17-yarder to Victor Cruz to the Ravens' two yard line. The Giants would settle for the field goal, but the dye was cast.

After the Ravens took a 13-10 lead midway through the third quarter, the Giants wasted no time in responded. Manning hit Beckham Jr. in the flat toward the sideline and the speedy receiver did the rest. He made a move to peel off the corner was gone down the sideline, galloping home for a 75-yard touchdown to give the Giants their first lead at 17-13.

Keep in mind this game could have been a lot different had the Ravens not shot themselves in the foot. Baltimore drove the ball all the way down to the Giants 1-yard line, thanks in big part to a 70 yard completion from Joe Flacco to Mike Wallace. The Giants maligned defense held the Ravens out of the end zone on three goal line plays, forcing a fourth and goal at the one. Had Baltimore settled to kick a field goal to cut it to 17-16, they could have been in position to either tie or win the game later, instead they decided to go for it. It was a big mistake. The Giants held the Ravens out of the end zone when Terrance West was gang tackled by Jonathan Casillas.

Fast forward to 2:38 to go in the game, with the Giants now holding onto a 20-16 lead. The Ravens had just driven into Giants territory, when Baltimore got the biggest gift of them all when Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was flagged for pass interference. It was a horrible call, because Rodgers-Cromartie was underneath in coverage and had the advantage toward the football. The flag should have been on Breshard Perriman for offensive pass interference. It was a hideous call by the officials, and it nearly cost the Giants the game.

With Giants fans booing their collective heads off, the Ravens scored on Terrance West's two yard plunge on third and goal from the Giants two yard line to make it 23-20.

With 2:04, the Giants needed a miracle. They got it. On fourth and one at the Giants 34, Manning found Beckham Jr. breaking containment down the sideline and hit him in stride for a 66-yard touchdown that sent MetLife Stadium into a frenzy. Beckham dashed into the end zone, ripped his helmet off and even proposed to the kicking net as the Giants stunned Baltimore 27-23.

Beckham had 222 yards receiving on the day, while Manning earned his 100th career win with 300 touchdown passes to boot.

The Giants (3-3) head to London next Sunday to face the LA Rams.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Ex-Jet Dennis Byrd Killed in Car Crash

Life can be extremely cruel.

Former Jets defensive end Dennis Byrd who was best known for walking tall after suffering a career ending neck injury way back in 1992 passed away on Saturday when he was killed in a car crash on Saturday, October 15. He just turned 50 years old 11 days ago.

Bryd was pronounced dead on the scene according to reports. His Hummer H2 was struck head on by a car that was veering on Highway 88 northbound in Oklahoma. The other driver was a 17-year old, who had a 12-year old passenger in the car. Both children are in critical condition.

This is truly a sad day in Jets land, and in football in general. Byrd defied the odds. Late in the 1992 season in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs, Byrd collided headfirst with a fellow defensive lineman on an attempted sack of the quarterback. He suffered extensive damage to his neck and spinal cord and doctors had doubts he would ever walk again. He proved the doctors wrong. Within months he was walking again, and would live a fairly normal life for the rest of his life.

In time he became an ambassador to the Jets. During the team's 2010 playoff run to the AFC Championship Game, Byrd was an honorary guest and captain during the Jets playoff game against the Patriots. He gave a motivational speech to the team the night before the game, and New York would go on to beat their AFC East tormentors 28-21 to advance to the title game.

His loss is great, but his inspirational story will live on forever.

2017 Might Be Collins Last Season with Mets

2016 was a rough year for the New York Mets and Terry Collins.

Not only did he watch his Mets lose out in the National League Wild Card game to the San Francisco Giants, but the road just to get to the one-or-done playoff game was an arduous one.

From losing David Wright to a season ending, and possibly, career threatening injury; to watching 3/5 of his starting rotation go down with season ending injuries, and having to trot out a minor league lineup every single night, yes, it is safe to say 2016 was not fun.

This past week a story came out that Collins thinks 2017 could be his last in blue and orange.

"I just need to re-evaluate at the end of this coming year what's going on, where I am, how I'm feeling," Collins told on Thursday. "I've always said a lot of it will be dictated by how I'm feeling. This was a tough year." 
In June, Collins was hospitalized overnight in Milwaukee and missed the series finale against the Brewers at Miller Park after becoming ill pregame. He said that medical issue did not resurface, but the physical demands of the job can be challenging. Collins, who at 67 is the oldest manager in MLB, felt particularly worn down when the Mets had to play a day game on Labor Day in Cincinnati after playing in New York the previous night on ESPN Sunday Night Baseball.  (Rubin,
Collins admitted as much that the Mets quick turnaround on Labor Day, playing a day game in Cincinnati just hours after playing a night game at home took a tole on him and his players. He even said that if he feels as exhausted and worn out a year from now, he'll call it a career. 
Can't blame him. He's been through a lot since becoming the manager of the Mets in 2010. For a number of years, nobody did more to try to keep things afloat when the talent was scant to work with. Last season he got the ultimate reward for his work when the Mets went all the way to the World Series, but this season has been truly difficult. Aside from the injuries, the team went through long extended periods of not playing well, with a number of fans questioning whether he should be retained or not. In fact there were even rumors that Collins was on the hot seat in mid-August. 
2016 was an exhausting year. Let's hope Collins can get a healthier ball club to work with in 2017 so he can make his swan song season a successful one.  

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Bumgarner Outlasts Syndergaard in Wild Card Game


The National League Wild Card game lived up to the hype. A game that featured two of the games bright young aces, Madison Bumgarner and Noah Syndergaard, was one for the ages. Yet at the end of the day, the San Francisco Giants won this one-and-done playoff game the same way they have won three World Series championships in their five previous seasons.

The San Francisco Giants won because they got the most out of their players when it mattered the most, especially from the most obscure players on the roster, and, they won by riding the left arm of the game’s modern day Koufax in Madison Bumgarner.

Through the game’s first four innings it was Syndergaard who was on top in this clash of titans. Syndergaard, or better known as “Thor,” was overpowering hitters with a heater that cracked 99 mph and a slider that hit 93. He was working away on hitters, establishing the outer half of the plate that was his canvas for much of the evening. When needed to, he would work his way back inside, challenging hitters with sliders, and some two-seam fastball action.

The technical language of pitching aside, it was nothing short of brilliant. Thor struck out 10 batters over seven innings of work. He had a no hitter through five-and-two-thirds innings, and don’t let anyone tell you that they didn’t think Syndergaard could have a shot at joining Doc Halladay and Don Larsen as the only pitchers to throw a no-no in the postseason.

For a while, it looked really possible.

He blew away Denard Span in the first at bat of the game on swinging strike three, backing the leadoff hitter off of the plate. He then came back to blow away Brandon Crawford and Angel Pagan in the second inning. In the top of the third inning, Syndergaard made quick work of Joe Panick and Connor Gillaspie by striking out both hitters swinging. Finally in the fourth inning, with a runner aboard, he struck out Hunter Pence on a slider that dropped low and away for the final out of the inning. Just that like, “Thor” had six strikeouts in four innings.

Of the nine hitters in the San Fran lineup, only Brandon Belt and Buster Posey didn’t strikeout against Syndergaard. Ironically, Bumgarner was the only hitter who didn’t strikeout swinging against him.

Speaking of Bumgarner, he was on point too. He needed only 21 pitches to get through the first three innings of the game.  While he wasn’t overpowering, he was effective in jamming hitters early in counts.

By the bottom of the fourth inning Bumgarner kicked things into high gear after he had just watched Denard Span get robbed of a stolen base on a blown replay review by the umpires in the top half of the inning. Had Span been ruled safe, the Giants would have had a great chance to score the first run of the day.

It is moments like these where a pitcher comes up big and settles down the noise. Bumgarner did just that.  With Asdrubal Cabrera at first base on a one-out single, he struck out Yoenis Cespedes swinging and retired Curtis Granderson on a soft liner to center to get out of the jam.  The controversy in the top of the fourth? All but forgotten.

From that point on, Bumgarner only got stronger. He got out of a tight jam in the bottom of the fifth inning, then proceeded to hold the Mets to just two base runners for the rest of the evening.

As for Syndergaard, he started walking a tight rope. He got out of a huge jam in the sixth when Curtis Granderson crashed into the center field wall to rob Brandon Belt of a RBI double. Then, in the top of the seventh inning, while clearly running out of gas, Syndergaard was able to get Joe Panik to bounce out on a hard grounder to shortstop to get out of a two-on-two-out jam.

Finally, it was up to the Mets bullpen and they just weren’t up to the task. Try as Addison Reed and Jeurys Familia must, they couldn’t replicate the power and deceptiveness by which Syndergaard pitched to.

Give Reed credit, he did get out of a bases loaded jam in the eighth when he struck out Hunter Pence swinging. But it was the last moment where Mets fans believed that this was destined to be their night, because Bumgarner quickly dashed those dreams in the bottom of the eighth like stealing candy from a baby.

Connor Gillaspie then stomped on those dreams some more in the ninth.

Against a closer in Familia who nailed down 51 games in the regular season, the Giants quickly rallied with a Crawford double and a walk to Panik. Then it was up to Gillaspie, a guy who had only one home run in the month of September, and had played in only 16 games in the final month of the year. Heck he wasn’t even supposed to play, Eduardo Nunez was supposed to start at third, but he had a hamstring injury. Of course, it was Gillaspie who crushed the Familiar fastball into the Mets bullpen in right.

With the lead, there was no question that Bruce Bouchy would go back to his stud. As soon Bumgarner headed back out to the hill for the ninth it was like the abrupt series finale of the Sopranos several years back, cut to black … on a wild, crazy and unbelievable Mets season.   

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Mets take on Bumgarner in Wild Card challenge

The New York Mets will host a one-game playoff tonight against the San Francisco Giants in a match-up that will be all about pitching.

Noah Syndergaard will get the ball tonight for the Mets against Giants ace, Madison Bumgarner. Both of these starters have their fair share of playoff experience, but it is the Giants' Bumgarner that comes into this matchup the heavy favorite.

Bumgarner is 7-3 with a 2.14 ERA in 14 postseason games. Two years ago he put together one of the most historic postseason's in baseball history, pitching to a 1.02 ERA in 52.2 innings of work. That year in the World Series he absolutely dominated the Kansas City Royals en route to a World Series MVP and a second ring with the Giants.

Some have said that he took a step back this season, but he still struck out a career high 251 batters. He is the ultimate intimidator. He will spend much of his time in the low 90s on his hard stuff, and will mix and match a 75-78 mph curveball just to keep hitters honest. But it is his delivery that is so deceptive. Bumgarner will come out of his motion with the baseball pointed toward first base, and then drop his arm across his body, fooling hitters. He's done it throughout his career --- and has been real good at it.

Syndergaard is no slouch. A winner of 14 games and a 2.60 ERA, Syndergaard is the Mets most consistent pitcher, and even lone survivor. Considering all the injuries to the Mets pitching staff this year, Syndergaard, along with Bartolo Colon are left standing. What's more remarkable about Syndergaard's performance this year is he has spent a big chunk of this season pitching with bone spurs in his elbow. He will have surgery once the season ends. The injury a tell-tale sign that pitching in a long postseason run last season certainly took its tole on the Mets flamethrower.

Yet, it still hasn't stopped him from dishing out heat in the upper 90s. That is the one advantage he has coming into this game, his arm. He will try to zip that 99 mph fastball and 96 mph changeup past a Giants team that hit .258 as a team and .218 with runners in scoring position and two out.

If the Mets have an advantage in this game against Bumgarner it is their unpredictability. That can be their undoing as well. The Mets feature a lineup with a redeemed Jose Reyes, a streaky Jay Bruce, and a once forgotten James Loney. Throw in T.J. Rivera, who has played a decent second base in the absence of Neil Walker, and Rene Rivera who is the best of a poor catching corp, and you have these 2016 Mets.  Plus, the team has gotten tremendous and surprising power from Asdrubal Cabrera (23 HR) and Curtis Granderson (30 HR).

Yoenis Cespedes, of course is the straw that stirs the drink. He hit 31 homers this season, and must have a great night against Bumgarner if the Mets are to have a chance. Against Bumgarner, Cespedes is hitting .300 with only 1 RBI in 2016.

At the same time this is a Mets that is incredibly streaky. They hit only .246 as a team, and .225 with runners in scoring position. There have been times this year that they just didn't get enough offense (much like the Giants) to make up the difference.

At the end of the day this game will be determined by one thing and one thing only, whether or not these two starters dominate as many expect. This game has the earmarks of a low scoring 1-run ball game. The team that flinches first will win.

REMEMBER to listen to the Mets-Giants postgame wrap up on Open Mike via blogtalk radio tonight at 11 p.m. ET/8 p.m. PT. Michael Cohen and Michael Saltzman will break it down. LISTEN LIVE!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Jets look inept in loss to Seahawks


The Jets season might be on the brink of collapse. Nobody said it would be easy when the schedule came out with the kinds of opponents the Jets had to face this year. Going through Cincinnati, Kansas City, Seattle, Pittsburgh, Arizona, and Baltimore to start 2016 was not going to be easy.

But as the old saying goes, it is how you play that determines the kind of season you'll have. So far at 1-3, it has been nothing but frustrating. Frustrating from the standpoint that New York lost three games that had they played better, they may have won.

And once again Ryan Fitzpatrick was at the center of attention for all the wrong reasons. The quarterback threw three more interceptions on Sunday, two of them leading to the game clinching scores for the Seahawks as Seattle ran away with it 27-17. The three picks now gives Fitzpatrick nine interceptions in his last two games, which ties a Jets franchise record for interceptions in that span. The last man to do that was Joe Namath in 1970.

Fitzpatrick was bad on Sunday, no question. He completed 23 of 41 his passes, but never looked comfortable in the pocket. The Seahawks who normally rush only four down lineman in most of its formations were in Fitzpatrick's kitchen all afternoon. They hit him six times, sacked him four more times, and never allowed him to stay comfortable in the pocket for long.

That being said, like the game in Kansas City last Sunday, not all of the blame can be pinned to the quarterback. The Jets defense was truly awful on Sunday, especially the secondary. Russell Wilson showed no signs of dealing with a serious knee injury. He looked fluid in the pocket, and threw bullets all over the field. Considering he was playing in a knee brace, Wilson's performance was impressive -- heck, he was absolutely dominant.

Wilson shredded the Jets for 309 yards and three touchdowns. He connected with his receivers all day. He was hitting guys in tight coverage on the sideline, and was not afraid to throw into the heart of the Jets secondary. Why not, when nobody on the Jets defense is willing to step in front of a pass and force a turnover? Wilson couldn't have been more on point.

Seattle's opening scoring drive in the early stages of the second quarter was a microcosm of the entire day for the Jets defense. Wilson hit Jimmy Graham on the sideline for 27 yards on second and 11 on the first play of the quarter. He later connected with Doug Baldwin for 16 yards to midfield. Two plays later Wilson connected with Baldwin again for 38 yards down the sideline to the Jets 10. Seattle finished the drive off when Wilson threaded the ball between three Jets defenders in to the hands of CJ Spiller for the touchdown.

Speaking of Jimmy Graham, he absolutely killed the Jets. The Pro Bowl tight end had six catches for 113 yards. He was unblockable and undeterred in his decimation of the Jets secondary. He and Wilson put on a true clinch.

While Wilson was carving up the Jets, the Jets offense was sputtering. Of the seven possessions for New York in the second half, only one of them resulted in a score -- a bizarre play that shouldn't have been allowed when the Jets scored in garbage time on a fumble by Ryan Fitzpatrick. The other possessions resulted in either punts or interceptions.

The turning point of the game came at the start of the fourth quarter when Fitzpatrick threw a ball right into the hands of Richard Sherman for the interception. Seattle quickly turned the turnover into points when Wilson connected with Christine Michael for a six-yard touchdown to blow the game open at 24-10.

Fitzpatrick would throw two more interceptions, one with a little less than six minutes to go in the game on the first play of a drive at the Jets 20. Seattle converted it into points to make it 27-10. The final pick came at the end of the game to ice it for Seattle.

While the Jets won't say it publicly, the trust and belief in Fitzpatrick has got to waning. He has been horrible this season, and is making the Jets look foolish for giving him $12 million guaranteed with each passing game. The question is going to be how much longer with the Jets stay with Fitzpatrick?

Sure he is getting paid a lot of guaranteed money, but the Jets are at a point now where they can no longer afford to pile up losses. A lose in Pittsburgh looks like a sure thing, which would drop the Jets to 1-4. Two weeks from now they play in Arizona (1-3), against a team that has failed to match its own expectations this year as well. Do the Jets have to be 1-5 before they make a change? 1-6? If the losing continues, and Fitzpatrick is at the center of it, the change is coming.