Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cohen's Corner Week 15 NFL Picks

No video this time on the NFL picks, so I am going to straight up write it up right here on the Cohen's Corner blog. So without further adieu let's dive into this week's big games!

Saturday:
Bears (4-9) @ Lions (7-6): It's become a disappointing season for the Lions. With Aaron Rodgers having missed more than half the season, 2017 will be remembered as a missed opportunity for Detroit to jump to the top of the standings. Instead Detroit fell on its own sword three weeks ago when they lost to Minnesota on Thanksgiving Day. The Lions have been awful at home, posting a 2-4 record and really need a win to stay alive in the wild card race. The Bears have played hard all season, but John Fox is going to be fired regardless on January 1. PICK: LIONS 31, BEARS 23. 

Chargers (7-6) @ Chiefs (7-6): Everyone is on the Chargers bandwagon so much that they are a one point favorite on the road in K.C. Let's be honest both teams have been going in opposite directions for some time now. The Chargers are 7-2 in their last night games, while Kansas City is 2-6 in their last eight. The Chiefs snapped a four game losing streak last week with a convincing win over the Raiders, but in order to regain the confidence they had earlier in the year, this is a must have tonight against Los Angeles. Everything is on the line tonight, most notably the AFC West title. Expect the Chiefs D to step up against Phillip Rivers and Company, and look for a statement from the boys in red. PICK: CHIEFS 27, CHARGERS 21. 

Jets (5-8) @ Saints (9-4): This game was a joke before Josh McCown's injury last week for the Jets. It's an even bigger joke this week with Bryce Petty under center. This will be another embarrassment in a season full of them for Todd Bowles' Jets. The Saints need this one badly in order to stay ahead of Carolina and Atlanta in the NFC South; not to mention both the Panthers and Falcons beat the Jets this season. Gotta have it New Orleans. FYI, former Jets special teams coach Mike Westoff is coaching specials for the Saints, expect something big to happen. PICK: SAINTS 48, JETS 10. 

Eagles (11-2) @ Giants (2-11): The Eagles Super Bowl chances took a major hit last week when Carson Wentz was lost for the season with an ACL injury. Still, even with Nick Foles under center the Eagles should find a way to win this one against the hapless Giants. The Giants were supposed to be sparked by the return of Eli Manning and the firing of Ben McAdoo last weeks, and instead turned in a 30-10 defeat at the hands of the Cowboys. This game will be ugly without Wentz, but Philly will do just enough to win. PICK: EAGLES 17, GIANTS 6. 

PACKERS (7-6) @ PANTHERS (9-4): Football season is saved, Aaron Rodgers returns to the lineup for the Packers. After missing more than half the season with a collarbone injury that was supposed to sideline him for the year, Rodgers returns to try to get the Packers into the playoffs. That might be asking a lot considering the Packers have to face one of the league's top defenses this week. Carolina is 5th in the NFL in total defense, and tied for 3rd in the NFL in sacks with 40. This is asking a lot of even Rodgers. PICKS: PANTHERS 23, PACKERS 17. 

RAMS (9-4) @ SEAHAWKS (8-5): The NFC West Championship game, essentially. The Rams are coming off a disappointing loss at home to the Eagles and now hit the road to face the Seahawks in their building with the 12th man at full voice. This will real tough for this young team. If the Rams are for real, they go into Seattle and beat a banged up Seahawks team. Just got a feeling the Seahawks and Russell Wilson are going to come to play Sunday, and I expect them to come away with the victory. PICK: SEAHAWKS 26, RAMS 17. 

PATRIOTS (10-3) @ STEELERS (11-2): So the Patriots lost last week in Miami. Guess this means they are a slam dunk lock to win this week? The answer is yes they are. The Steelers are good, they have tremendous fire power offensively with Antonio Brown and Le'von Bell providing enough weapons for Big Ben, but this is the Patriots they are facing. New England is 8-2 in the last 10 games against Pittsburgh, and have owned the Steelers in games in December and January. While Pittsburgh's defense is ranked sixth in the NFL, they have not played at a "Blitzburg" level all season. Expect Tom Brady to have a lot of success throwing the football on Sunday, and if that's the case it's gonna be a long night for the Steelers. PICK: PATRIOTS 34, STEELERS 24.

COWBOYS (7-6) @ RAIDERS (6-7): When the schedules came out in April, Cowboys at Raiders sounded like a marquee matchup for late December. Instead its two teams with no identity, both trying to keep alive for the playoffs. Of the two team, the most frustrating has been the Raiders. Derek Carr has put together a really disappointing season coming off an MVP-type of season last year, and the team has not figured out how to use Marshawn Lynch at all this year. I don't know what to expect from Oakland, and Dallas is more desperate for a win here. PICK: COWBOYS 27, RAIDERS 23. 

Thursday, December 14, 2017

Yankees Continue to Dominate MLB Winter Meetings

The Yankees have been the talk of the baseball world with their acquisition of Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins, and rumors they are trying to get Pittsburgh's Gerritt Cole and/or Baltimore's Manny Machado. I talk to sportswriter Doug Rush about the latest takes. Listen live below!




Monday, December 11, 2017

Mets looking to trade Matt Harvey

Matt Harvey's days in New York might be numbered. The Mets are busy looking to trade the troubled starting pitcher to a couple of teams during the Winter Meetings, with sources saying those two teams are the Orioles and Rangers.

The Rangers rumor had some legs today. There was a story that the Mets would trade Harvey to Texas for left fielder Jurickson Profar, however Jon Hayman reported that the Rangers don't like the deal. Harvey is due to be a free agent at the end of the year likely complicating things.

But just the fact that the Mets would be willing to trade for Profar, a guy who has a .229 career batting average and a .309 on base percentage says everything you need to know about Harvey's status with the Mets. The Mets don't even care that his value is at an all time low, they want him gone no matter what.

Make no mistake Harvey was awful last year, especially when he returned from the disabled listed and pitched to an ERA of 11.25 in six games. Not only did Harvey lack any command and confidence on the mound, his late night frolicking rubbed a lot of people in the organization the wrong way.

On top of that there has always been a prevailing sense that Harvey wants to sign a major contract with another team. For years, fans felt he would rather be a Yankee than a Met. So you can't blame the Mets for wanting to deal him. However doing so when he has no value is a total waste of time.

The Mets should bring him back this season and challenge him to be the pitcher he once was. Harvey needs a breakout year, and the Mets need a breakout year from Harvey in order to increase his value and trade him this summer for a solid prospect or a solid major league contributor. The divorce is coming, but the Mets can do a lot better than Jurickson Profar.

Rich Get Richer as Yankees Acquire Giancarlo Stanton

The Yankees fooled us all. Nobody expected the Yankees to be in play for Giancarlo Stanton, the reigning National League MVP, who lead all of Major League Baseball in home runs with 59. But during the weekend the Yankees did acquire Stanton, not because they needed him, but rather because they could do it.

 The Yankees had spent a better part of the last couple of seasons convincing us all that they were done with long term contracts that pay out huge amounts of money to star athletes. We thought lessons were learned after the monstrous contracts that were handed down over the years to guys like Jason Giambi, Alex Rodriguez, Mark Teixiera and CC Sabathia. We though the Yankees were going to turn back the clock to the 1990s by winning a championship with a young corps of home grown talent.

 After the dust settled Monday afternoon with Stanton's press conference, it is clear the Yankees are still going to rely on their young talent to take them all the way. But, they will try to win it all with a $265 million man standing in left field this year in the Bronx. And if Stanton decides not to opt out of that contract (a la Alex Rodriguez) by the year 2020, then there is a good chance we will see Stanton here in New York until the year 2028.

The reason the Yankees made this move is because they could. A combination of brilliant and shrewd maneuvering of the salary cap by Brian Cashman made this deal possible. Stanton was due $295 million over 10 years from the Marlins. Fish owner Derek Jeter needed to get Stanton off the team if he had any plans of freeing up cap space to rebuild the team in South Beach. He reached out to the Giants and Cardinals, and had deals with both, but Stanton, thanks to the ridiculous power of the no-trade clause, vetoed both trades putting Jeter in a position where he had no options.

Stanton wanted the Yankees, the Dodgers, Cubs or Astros. Only the Yankees had the ability to move pieces to make it happen.  The Yankees get rid of Starlin Castro's $21 million contract in the deal, which the Marlins absorb, and Miami will also absorb $30 million of Stanton's contract, lowering his annual salary to $22 million. They are also shedding the contracts of Sabathia, A-Rod, as well as Matt Holliday and Michael Pineda this off-season as well, creating more flexibility. Of the players they have under contract, they account for only $120 million, and that includes Stanton's deal. The others are either in arbitration years, or under rookie contracts, i.e. Aaron Judge. As a result the Yankee payroll right now is around $177 million. Don't believe me? Here are the numbers.

The problem the Yankees face is a logistical one. For starters they have eight players who are arbitration eligible this season, including Didi Gregorious, who is due to make $9 million and Sonny Gray who is due to make $6.6 million. If Gregorious continues to play well the Yankees won't want him to walk away, and they'll eventually sign him to a deal.

The same is going to be said one day for Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird. All three players the Yankees have under their control for the next three seasons until arbitration in 2020. At that point, if Stanton doesn't opt out of his deal, things will get really interesting. Eventually a player like Judge is going to want to get paid. After a rookie campaign that produced 52 home runs, the expectations will be that Judge will repeat that feat next season, and if he does a lot of people will want the Yankees to pay him. How the Yankees manage their budgets with Stanton's $265 million deal in the fold and the prospect of having to eventually pay the kids is going to be a drama for years to come.

What the Yankees will have to do, and they are trying to do it already, is clear up cap room.  There are already stories that they are looking to trade Jacoby Ellsbury and his $68 million contract. Ellsbury is due to make $21 million this season, and the Yankees don't want to pay that much for a guy who was relegated to the bench last year. Brett Gardner is another player the Yankees could package in a deal if they wanted to.

Bottom line is the Yankees will be cutting back on paying the aging players that still control roster spots in order to free up money to eventually pay the kids, at least one would think -- unless the Yankees go bananas in the 2019 free agent class which is supposed to be a doozy of a group.

Team Chemistry: The 2017 Yankees had great team chemistry last year. Bringing in Stanton changes the complexion of this team dramatically. Former manager Joe Girardi did a great job when it came to managing all the high octane personalities that existed in the Yankees clubhouse over the years. If he was still here, there would be little discussion about the clubhouse dynamic, because Girardi would find a way. Nobody knows how Aaron Boone is going to managing this team. Nobody knows how he'll deal with superstars, especially two superstar sluggers who play the same position.

Guaranteed winner? Nothing is ever guaranteed. The Yankees should have known that themselves after watching the club win only one World Series in all the years Alex Rodriguez was in town. Those were some pretty wild seasons in the Bronx, and not all of them ended well. The Yankees need to hope that Stanton is the real deal in the playoffs and doesn't choke up on the bat, like A-Rod, or he'll never hear the end of it.

Good for baseball? A trade like this with a MVP player going to a team loaded with MVP talent all over the field is not exactly balancing the playing field in baseball. While the trade is great for the Yankees both financially and in offensive production, it further proves how flawed no-trade clauses are in baseball. Players can hold an entire organization hostage until they get what they desire. That is what happened here with Stanton. He should be a San Francisco Giant or St. Louis Cardinal right now, but instead with the no-trade clause, Stanton killed both deals to get what he wanted to play on the grandest stage in pro sports. While the Players Union will never agree to suspending the no-trade clause and/or player opt-outs, it would benefit franchises more if they had the power over the player. So in a phrase, no, this was not a good day for baseball.

McCown injured, likely done for year in Mile High debacle for Jets

BRONCOS 23 - JETS 0 

It is ironic and fitting in so many ways that on the same week that Todd Bowles announced that Josh McCown would be his starting quarterback for the rest of this season, McCown brakes his non-throwing hand and will likely miss the rest of the season. Jets fans clamoring for Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg finally get their wish.

While McCown proved to be a gamer this season, and it is sad to see a good guy go out like this, it might be the best thing to happen to the Jets, since we will finally see what the two kids have after sitting on the pine all season.

Now is the chance for the Jets to officially end the dilly dally of going with mediocre, never-was and never-will-be quarterbacks and find out if either Petty or Hackenberg has something to offer in 2018. And if not, they can position themselves to get a true franchise quarterback in the draft.

Now is the time.

The Jets quarterback problem was on full display Sunday in Denver, as was the incompetence of their head coach Todd Bowles. Once again Bowles failed to get his team ready to play Sunday against a team that had lost eight in a row.  Sure the Broncos were going to win a game eventually, but this is not the same Broncos team that won a Super Bowl two years ago. This Broncos team is just plain awful, and the Jets made them look like the Broncos of old. This game was non-competive and just flat out boring. If you fell asleep watching this nonsense, who could blame you?

The Jets managed only 100 yards of offense for the entire game. THE ENTIRE GAME!! Against a Denver defense that gave up 35 points to Jay Cutler and the Dolphins last week, and 51 points to the Eagles earlier in the year! The Jets had no game-plan, no clue and no fight in them offensively. That falls on the players as much as it does Bowles and Offensive Coordinator John Morton.

In addition, McCown wasn't just hurt late in the game with the hand injury, he suffered a back injury in the first quarter and Bowles still kept in the game. When McCown walked off the field holding his back, the Jets inserted Petty, who looked good on his first two passes. Then McCown came back onto the field, and threw an interception. Great instinctive awareness by Bowles. McCown should never have been allowed to comeback into the game, but Bowles remained stubborn to sticking with his guy.

It is moments like this that make you wonder whether Bowles should be the long term answer at head coach. All season people have credited Bowles with getting this team to overactive, but they are 5-8, and likely starring at a 5-11 finish with playoff caliber teams the Saints, Chargers and Patriots coming up on the schedule. If the Jets finish at 5-11, they will have achieved the same record as last season, a year that almost everyone considered a disaster.

Does Bowles deserve another chance after winning only 10 games in two years combined? Does he really deserve an extension because the Jets won one or two more games than people expected?

Yes, the Jets have played hard at times, but they have also played like they just didn't care other times. On Sunday in Denver, the Jets just didn't care. It showed in every facet of their performance.

While the Jets 23-0 loss in Denver will not be overly memorable, it might be the game that signals the beginning of a new era in Jetsland, at the quarterback position, and maybe, the head coach.


Revamped Giants Still Struggle in Loss to Boys

COWBOYS 30 - GIANTS 10 

At least for three quarters the Giants showed some life. Of course effort by itself is not enough to win ball games, and that was the case Sunday at MetLife Stadium as the Cowboys stormed past the Giants 30-10 to send Big Blue to a 2-11 record. At the very least the Giants gave a better effort than they had in 11 games under Ben McAdoo this season.

Back in the lineup since the infamous benching that cost McAdoo his job, Eli Manning was good, at least for part of the day. He engineered a 17-play, 62-yard drive that culminated in a field goal to tie the game at three in the first quarter. Later on, he looked like the Eli Manning of old when he dropped a dime in the hands of Evan Engram for a 35-yard completion to the Dallas 21 on a drive that ended in a Manning touchdown pass to Rhett Ellison.

With just two minutes to go before halftime the Giants held a 10-3 lead.

But what started out as a hopeful sign that the Giants would turn things around in just their first game of the post-McAdoo era, things got ugly fast.

The offense went into a proverbial shell, mainly because Manning was continually failed by dropped passes from his wide receivers,  and the fact the Giants were unable to muster anything creative formations by their offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan.

On top of that, interim head coach Steve Spagnuolo watched his defensive unit completely fail him in  the second half. The Giants gave up way too many big plays tot he Cowboys to even think they had a shot in this contest. Every single touchdown the Cowboys had on Sunday was done in four plays or less. That is a case of not only poor tackling, but missed assignments on the part of the Giants.

Perhaps the turning point of the afternoon came on a third and two from Dallas' own 26 yard line, when Dak Prescott found Cody Beasley on a slant, and the speedy receiver did the rest dashing down the sideline for a 54-yard reception. On the next play Prescott went over the top and found his pro bowl tight end Jason Witten for six to give the Cowboys a 17-10 lead.

The dagger didn't come until later in the fourth, when Prescott hit Rod Smith wide open in the flat, and he dashed by a Giants defense that parted like the Red Sea for an 81-yard touchdown to make it 23-10.

And remember Eli Manning playing well? Yeah, that didn't last long either. Manning threw two killer interceptions at the end of the game that sealed the Giants fate.

Inside the numbers: Even though New York had 330 yards of total offense on Sunday, the Cowboys had 450, most of which came in the fourth quarter. The Cowboys 30-10 win over Big Blue solidified a season sweep of the Giants, the first time since 2014 that Dallas has swept New York in a season. Steve Spagnuolo dropped to 10-39 all time as a head coach.

GM Search: The Giants might have their next General Manager in place. Word around the league Sunday is that the Giants are close to naming former Panthers executive David Gettleman as their new GM. Gentleman was with the Giants for 13 years from 1999-2012, and knows this franchise quiet well. However, one has to assume Sunday's game was not a good audition for Manning and Spagnuolo for their presumptive new boss. The Giants could make it official with Gettleman this week.



Monday, December 4, 2017

What we Know after Giants Firing of Ben McAdoo

The fallout from the Giants decision to fire both Head Coach Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese continues to develop as the hours pass on this first Monday in December.



What we know so far:

Kevin Abrams will replace Reese as the team's GM on an interim basis. Like Reese, Abrams has been in the Giants organization for a very long time, having served as the clubs assistant general manager for the past 16 years. Abrams has been the Giants primary negotiator for player contracts, works with college and pro personal departments to evaluate players in preparation for the draft. Who knows what kind of responsibility he will have beyond putting on a good face for the next four weeks as the team looks for a permanent replacement. Giants owner John Mara did say that he would consider Abrams for the job, but is looking outside the organization. 

Erine Accorsi, the Giants former general manger will be involved in the Giants search for a new top football executive and head coach. Accorsi is the man that traded for Eli Manning back in 2004, and had worked closely in the Giants front office from 1994 to his retirement after the Super Bowl season in 2007. 

Steve Spagnuolo will be the interim head coach. Spagnuolo is 10-38 as a head coach from a three year stint with the Rams from 2009 to 2011. He is a very popular figure in Giants history having been its long time defensive coordinator dating back to 2007. He will be given a chance to audition for the full time job over the next month with three divisional games on the docket. Doubt highly that the Giants will make Spagnuolo the full time head coach, but he could make a case to remain in the organization as defensive coordinator. 

Eli Manning: While Mara denied that the Giants were going back to Eli Manning as the starting quarterback, word got around quickly that the Giants would do just that. Eli will be back under center on Sunday against the Cowboys. Mara made no qualms that he wants to win every one of the Giants final four games of the year. Eli Manning gives the Giants the best chance to win. 

Davis Webb: Mara would not be opposed to seeing Webb get some reps when the opportunity provides itself. Don't expect to see him at Manning's expense. If the Giants have a chance to win the game, Manning will play. 

Geno Smith: He will be on the unemployment line very soon. 




Giants Fire Ben McAdoo & Jerry Reese

The Giants have officially dropped the anvil on Ben McAdoo and General Manager Jerry Reese. Both were fired Monday morning just hours after the Giants returned home from their disastrous 24-17 loss to the Raiders on Sunday.

The firing is not surprising, it was just a matter of time, especially after reports surfaced on Sunday that the Giants were planning to make the change within 24 hours after their game. The final straw for owner John Mara was the benching of Eli Manning, a clear power play by both McAdoo and Reese to prove they can win games without the former Super Bowl MVP. Instead, what the dynamic duo of duchebagdom didn't realize is how popular Manning is. A huge groundswell of anger rose out of the benching from fans, media and current and former players that it became obvious that McAdoo didn't have much time left.

McAdoo, who went 13-15 as a head coach over nearly two years at the helm becomes the first in-season firing by the Giants since 1976. At 2-10 it had to be done. Not only was the team playing poorly, but McAdoo had terrible relationships with his players. He suspended Janorius Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers Cromartie because of in-house disputes, and always clashed with Manning through the press.

The biggest relationship faux pas outside of Manning had to be McAdoo's bizarre handling of Odell Beckham Jr. He failed to discipline him after Beckham spent time partying in Miami just days before a playoff game in Green Bay. Beckham followed that up with a horrid performance with dropped passes all over the place, as the Giants got destroyed by the Packers in the wild card game.
Then this season, after Beckham imitated a peeing dog and was taunting fans in Philadelphia, McAdoo did nothing to control his troubled wide receiver. Word was during the season that a lot of players in the locker room took exception to the fact that McAdoo treated Beckham with kid gloves, leading to more clubhouse unrest.

On the field, McAdoo was clueless. His game-plans were uninspiring, and when the team did win games, it was mostly at the expense of the other teams mistakes.

As for Reese, his drafts were truly awful. He failed to address the offensive line issue over the past three drafts, creating one of the worst units in the league. In addition, he failed to find a legitimate running threat to take pressure of Eli Manning, and outside of his spending spree in 2016, did little to improve the team as the years went on. At lot of people believe that when Tom Coughlin was the head coach, Reese never signed players that Coughlin really wanted or needed to succeed. As a result, the Giants were mediocre in Coughlin's final four years at the helm before  he was fired.

Hubris did both McAdoo and Reese in and the Giants will be better off moving from both of them right now.

Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams will take over for Reese on a interim basis. Chances are he will not be the full time replacement. The Giants should go out and find someone who can be dynamic with recruitment and the salary cap. That person does not exist in the franchise.

Steve Spagnoluo will take over as interim head coach.  Spags was a finalist for the head job two years ago, and is a very popular figure in the Giants office. Spags is no stranger to being a head coach, he was the HC of the St. Louis Rams for three years where he compiled a record of 10-38. This is a great opportunity for Spagnoluo to prove he deserves to remain with the Giants either as the head coach or defensive coordinator.

What's next? The Giants will almost certainly look for a general manager, and ideally would like to have one in place before they get a head coach. If Mara and Steve Tisch are smart, they will let the GM pick the head coach. However in recent years we see the coach and GM get hired at the same time more and more, i.e. the Jets with Todd Bowles and Mike Mccaganan.

Head Coach Candidates:
Steve Spagnoluo: The Giants interim head coach is going to get a shot here to prove he should be the full time coach. Wouldn't be shocked if the team plays well under him in light of the McAdoo firing. However, do the Giants want to keep him, especially with his connections to the previous two head coaches? Plus when he got the chance to coach with the Rams, his teams were awful.

Matt Patricia: The Patriots defensive coordinator is one of the hot young candidates on the market. He was interviewed by a number of teams last year. A lot of people like him as a coaching candidate, but let's remember that Bill Belichick disciples usually don't turn out to be great head coaches when they leave Foxboro.

Mike Smith: The former Falcons head coach is currently the defensive coordinator with the Buccaneers. He was 66-46 in seven years as the Falcons coach, and took the team to the NFC Title game in 2012 where they lost to the 49ers. Smith is also a Coughlin confidant, and a lot of people point to similarities between the two. He would be an intriguing hire, especially if the Giants feel they can win right away next year.

Josh McDaniels: Like Patricia, McDaniels is another Belichick disciple. However, unlike Patricia, the Giants better avoid McDaniels at all costs. If he became the coach, the Giants need their heads examined. McDaniels was a total disaster of Ben McAdoo like proportions in Denver years ago. He's been great as the Patriots offensive coordinator, but how much of that greatness is tied to quarterback Tom Brady. McDaniels is a candidate, but the Giants should pass.

Bill Cowher: Ummm, yeah, this is not happening. Cowher is happy in television, but there were rumors years ago that if there was one job he'd consider its the Giants. Perhaps Big Blue's relationship to the Steelers would be a big reason for Cowher's interest. Cowher hasn't coached in over 10 years, and the game has changed a lot since he last coached the Steelers in 2006. Never say never though, because Herman Edwards did leave his cushy TV job at ESPN this week to coach at Arizona State. So anything is possible I guess.


Ben McAdoo Could be Fired by Giants Today. Owners are to Blame for Fiasco

RAIDERS 24 - GIANTS 17 

The clock is now ticking on Giants head coach Ben McAdoo. The embattled coach is in danger of losing his job possibly today after the Giants return home from their 24-17 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The Giants had no answer for Oakland, especially in crunch time. But this game was really all about the play of Geno Smith, who was given the start at quarteraback after McAdoo benched Eli Manning.

Geno was Geno on Sunday. He was ok sometimes, but mostly unspectacular and uninspiring most of the time. He was 21-of-34 for only 212 yards, a touchdown and three sacks. He was not good. Of the 12 possessions the Giants had on Sunday, seven of them were three and two. Two of them ended in a fumble. What made it even more frustrating to watch, the Giants were within shouting distance in this game almost all afternoon.

They trailed 10-7 at the half, and even trailed 17-14 as late as the fourth quarter, but Smith just couldn't get this offense moving. That is on McAdoo, who is a position he can't talk himself out of now. He said Geno Smith gave him the best chance to win, a better chance than a Super Bowl MVP could on Sunday in Oakland against a lousy Raider team, and he came up predictably snake-eyes.

When asked about his job status Sunday, McAdoo wouldn't touch it, saying only that "I'm going to coach this team as long as my key works."

Reports earlier in the day said that the Giants were considering firing McAdoo after the Raider game. Both John Mara and Steve Tisch were at the game in Oakland on Sunday, and both avoided reporters afterwards. As of Sunday night, nothing has happened ... yet. By the time you read this, McAdoo might be a goner.

As much of the blame for this mess belongs on McAdoo, owner John Mara is the one who really is to blame here. He allowed McAdoo to bench his franchise quarterback. He should have had the foresight to know the kind of backlash that would come with such a controversial move, especially when the Giants were not going to rookie Davis Webb.

 Mara has said that he took responsibility for the way the communication between his coach and quarterback was handled, but at this point, firing McAdoo is more of a scapegoat move than anything else. Firing McAdoo on Monday is not going to repair the damage that Mara let happen between the organization and the face of the franchise. If Manning feels he can still play in this league, and the Giatns truly feel he is no longer a viable option for them,  they should just find a suitor and trade him this off-season to any team his desires. I hear the Jaguars would be a prime spot?  -- Tom Coughlin anyone?

If the Giants fire McAdoo on Monday, the fair question should be, why now? Why did the Giants allow him to coach this game in Oakland if they knew that McAdoo shouldn't be the head coach anymore? Why didn't Mara or Steve Tisch act right away last Monday when McAdoo made it official that he was going to bench Eli Manning? Hell, why didn't they fire McAdoo when he brought up the idea to them in the first place?

Shame on the Giants for allowing this mess to metastasize. Firing McAdoo now is only about saving face, while trying to avoid the fear of seeing the Giants play two home games in front of Cowboys and Eagles fans. Guess what, MetLife Stadium will still be filled with Cowboys and Eagles fans over the next weeks. It doesn't matter if the coach is McAdoo, Steve Spagnolu or even Mara himself.

By the way, should the Giants fire McAdoo today, they better make sure that Jerry Reese, the architect of this nightmare team goes with him. There is no reason for Reese to stay for the rest of the month if McAdoo is gone this soon.

Let the rebuild begin.

Jets Show Tremendous Heart in Win Over Chiefs

JETS 38 - CHIEFS 31 

As frustrating as this season has been to watch at times, one things is certain, Todd Bowles' players have his back. It has been easy to think that coming off two disheartening losses to the Panthers and Buccaneers would mean that Bowles would find himself firmly on the hot seat. But as has been the case all year, the players never got the memo that they are supposed to lose.

After falling behind 14-0, the Jets dominated the line of scrimmage against Kansas City, amassing nearly 500 yards of offense, while maintaining possession of the football for 42 minutes. Even the Jets defense was dreadful on Sunday afternoon, the offense made up for it and found a way to get a win against a team that still has a legitimate chance at the postseason.

Josh McCown was brilliant yet again for the Jets. The 38-year old veteran quarterback was 26 of 36 for 331 yards with a passing touchdown and two rushing touchdowns. He was pin-point accurate when he needed to be, and put the team on his shoulders when it needed it the most. Perhaps the best examples of McCown's leadership Sunday came early in the game with the Jets down 14-0. He engineered two long scoring drives, with a couple of big completions to Jermaine Kearse and Matt Forte mixed in, to help tie the game at 14.

Later with the Jets trailing by a point 31-30, he calmly lead the Jets on a 14-play 75-yard drive, and even used his legs on a couple of occasions to avoid some pressures to by time for his receivers. He was just awesome on Sunday.

Jermaine Kearse and Robbie Anderson: Both wide outs were excellent on Sunday for the Jets. Kearse had 157 yards receiving on nine catches, while Anderson had 107 yards receiving on eight catches. They picked apart a Chiefs secondary that added Darrelle Revis two weeks ago. By the way, Revis was a total non-factor in his return to the MetLife Stadium.

Jets Defense: Defensively, the Jets really struggled. They allowed too many big plays to Kansas City, especially through the air. Giving up two touchdowns on just six plays in the opening minutes of the ballgame certainly didn't help things for Gang Green. The D didn't get any better, as Alex Smith was allowed to do whatever he wanted. Heck, Smith even dashed down the sideline for a 70-yard run to the Jets 16 to set up a field goal to give the Chiefs a brief 17-14 lead.

What made matters worse for the Jets is the fact that everytime they had a lead, the defense gave it up. Leading 24-17 with 5:13 to go in the third quarter, the Jets surrendered a 79-yard touchdown pass from Smith to Tyrek Hill to tie the game at 24. Fast forward to the fourth quarter, after New York chewed up chunks of time to score two field goals to take a 30-24 lead, the defense gave it right back to Kansas City. Tyrek Hill had his second touchdown of the day on a 40-yard bomb from Alex Smith to give KC a 31-30 lead.

Were it not for a couple of overthrows by Smith, the Jets defense was prepared to give up the game winning score after when Smith hit Hill again for 40 yards to the Jets 19 with just seconds to play. In short it was a really bad day for the defense. Perhaps the fact that Muhammod Wilkerson, benched in the first quarter and Darron Lee, suspended by the team, had something to do with the units awful play on Sunday.

Chiefs mistakes: The soul reason the Jets won this game was because the Chiefs did something the Jets have been experts in all season, blow the game with stupid mistakes. The entire afternoon was chuck-full of them for Kansas City. First there was the missed field goal by Harrison Butker, who almost never misses, then there was the total implosion by the Chiefs defense in the fourth quarter.

Let me preface by saying that at one point the Jets held the football for over 16 minutes, compared to just a minute and a half by Kansas City in the second half, and the Chiefs were still able to hold the Jets to two field goals. Leading the Jets 31-30, all KC had to do was either force the Jets to kick another field, or stop them entirely and they would have had plenty of time to win the game.

But, nooooooo.

The Jets failed to get the ball into the end zone on three tries from the Chiefs seven-yard line and settled for a Chandler Catanzaro field goal with 3:58 to go in the game. It would have been 33-31 Jets, and with nearly four minutes left in the game. There certainly a good chance Kansas City would find a way to send the Jets to their eighth loss of the year. However, the Catanzaro field goal was waved off by officials after the Chiefs were called for unnecessary roughness. How does unnecessary roughness get called on a field goal?  Don't know, but it did.

The Jets got the football back, this time at the Chiefs one-yard line, and still couldn't punch it in. So the Chiefs decided on third and goal, after McCown threw an incompletion, to draw a holding call on the play giving the Jets another fresh set of downs. Justin Peters infamously picked up the flag and chucked it into the stands drawing another penalty, and was promptly kicked out of the game.

The Jets would finally plow in for a touchdown on McCown's second quarterback sneak of the day to give the Jets a 38-31 lead.

Todd Bowles: This was not a good day for Bowles defense which gave up 474 yards to a Chiefs offense that had disappeared for the past six weeks, but he gets a pass because his players bailed him out all day. The Jets have been in a lot of tight games this year, and had chances to win a number of them. Getting this one against the Chiefs is especially sweet and a nice building block for this team.

Next: The Jets head to Denver to take on the Broncos. Who the Broncos quarterback will be is anyone's guess, but the Jets better be ready for a fight, the Broncos are due for a victory at some point.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Brian Cashman Rolls Dice on Naming Aaron Boone Manager

When the dust settled Friday night on the Yankees naming of Aaron Boone as manager of the New York Yankees there was a collective groan for a majority of Yankee fans on social media. Many decried the fact that Boone has no experience as a manager. Some poked fun at him, saying he will name his ESPN partner, Jessica Mendoza as his bench coach. Others were just upset that Aaron Boone is not Carlos Beltran, Hensely Muelens or even Joe Girardi.

No, Aaron Boone is not the peoples choice to manager of a team that was one win away from the World Series this past season. If anything the decision to go with a guy who has zero coaching experience is a gamble that will be directly tied to the legacy of Brian Cashman.

Cashman was recently named the Executive of the Year for his work building a team that features perennial all stars in Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Greg Bird. It was a deserving award. He helped change the culture a franchise that had been dominated by years of reckless spending, for a new approach of building from within.  Whether or not Boone can get this team there, and keep the arrow pointed upward is going to be the biggest challenge, but considering Cashman's track record of late, he deserves the benefit of the doubt.

Perhaps Cashman and other Boone supporters will point out to the fact that Aaron Boone comes from a baseball family, his grandfather, father and brother all played in the majors. His father, Bob Boone was a manager for the Phillies and Reds in his hey-day. In addition, we have seen a wide array of coaches with next to no experience succeed when the got the head job.

Steve Kerr had no coaching experience when he took over a loaded Golden State team, and they have won two NBA world titles since he has been there.

Bob Brenley went from the broadcast booth to the dugout, and led the Diamondbacks to a world series title in his first year, back in 2001 against ... the Yankees.

Larry Dierker was the Astros broadcaster when he got the managerial job and turned the team into a contender in the late 90s.

Those are just a few examples. But the bottom line is Boone spent the past 10 years of his post-playing career in the broadcast booth for ESPN. He has certainly seen his fair share of baseball games, enough to get an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of different players around the league, but coaching the game is totally different that sitting in a booth and watching.

He has to motivate, illuminate and teach a group of young players that are still learning. He is going to have to guide the team through the cruel months of July and August where losing 5 of 6 can happen at any time. He's going to have to figure out a way to win a division that is incredibly tough with a good Red Sox team that is right behind them. So the pressure will be on Boone from the start -- especially in New York City. If he's not ready for the moment, the fans and media will sniff it out right away. I hope for Boone's sake he knows what he's getting himself in to.

Does Boone deserve the benefit of the doubt? On most teams and in most cities, the answer is yes. But with the Yankees, and the expectations on this team, how Boone succeeds or fails will have a direct impact on the man who hired him.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Open Mike Program: Giant Mess After Eli Manning Benching

On this edition of the Open Mike Program, hosts Michael Cohen and Karen Vankat talk about the Giants insidious decision to bench Eli Manning, putting the blame for the 2017 season on the Super Bowl MVPs shoulders. We take the Giants to task. Listen here!!


Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Benching Eli Manning is one of the Dumbest Moves Ever

Eli Manning's career with the Giants is over. It just isn't official yet. The Giants decided to bench Manning for their Week 13 game at Oakland and start former Jets flame out Geno Smith instead, because embattled head coach Ben McAdoo believes that Geno Smith gives his team the best chance to win. At 2-9.

I don't know what is more disturbing? The fact that Eli Manning got screwed over by the very franchise that he helped carry to two Super Bowl titles? The fact that McAdoo and GM Jerry Reese continues to show their utter incompetence? Or the fact that it sounds like John Mara and Steve Tisch signed off on Manning's benching?

Eli Manning deserved a better fate than what he got on Tuesday from the Giants, a franchise that should be indebted to him for all the work he has done over the past 14 years. No player in the history of the franchise has gone through more, and has done more than Manning has. He overcame a locker room that looked down on him when he was a rookie to becoming one of the sports great winners. And this is the thank you the Giants give him?

Nothing could be more cruel.

Sure the Giants are 2-9 and Manning has played a role in that, but this season was never his fault. Not when the talent around him is one of the worst in the National Football League. He played the last three seasons behind a patch-work offensive line that couldn't stop a nosebleed let alone pass protect. He hasn't had a decent running back behind him since Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs left town, and is without his star wide receiver, Odell Beckham Jr. In short, Eli Manning had no help this year.

Instead Tuesday's benching was a tall tell sign of a secret we all knew, McAdoo hates Eli Manning. He has ripped him publicly in the media all season, and now finally had enough after the Giants 20-10 loss the Redskins last Thursday that he decided to pull the trigger as a way to save his own hide. Unfortunately for McAdoo, he doesn't seem to realize, or care for that matter, that the fans are in Manning's corner on this one. What exactly has McAdoo done in his coaching career to warrant benching a potential Hall of Famer for one of the worst quarterbacks in the NFL?

And why Geno Smith? Smith has been an underachieving failure for his entire NFL career. If the Giants were to bench Manning, wouldn't it make more sense to play the rookie, Davis Webb? Geno Smith proves nothing here. He's a free agent who has no future with the team.

And speaking of Webb, the Giants are sending the message that they do not believe in Webb either.  Which means that Jerry Reese did his best Mike Maccagnan impression last April when he waisted a third round pick on a quarterback the team doesn't believe in.

If anything this lays groundwork for the Giants to potentially draft a quarterback with next year's first round pick. Recently the Giants had scouts at the USC-UCLA game to watch both Josh Rosen and Sam Darnold. But there is a no guarantee that either player will ever match the accomplishments of Eli Manning.

In fact there is no guarantee that either will come out of college.

Rosen is rumored to be a quarterback with a strong personality issue. His teammates do not like him. And he had an injury riddled season this year.  He has a good arm, but way too many red flags. Darnold might be the most overhyped prospect in NFL history, with many comparing him to Andrew Luck after his solid effort in the Rose Bowl last year. But, Darnold has followed that up with a mediocre season where he's turned the ball over 20-plus times. Not to mention, he has shown an aversion to wanting to be drafted by the Browns, Jets and anyone who isn't good. Do the Giants want to invest in someone like that?

The Giants completely botched this. They handled Manning's departure from this team almost as badly as they handled Tom Coughlin two years ago. Remember the Giants made Coughlin announce he was retiring, when in fact we all knew he was fired. Remember the icy moment when Coughlin brushed by John Mara after his exit press conference?

Manning deserved better. He deserved to finish this season out as a starter and play, presumably his last game as a Giant against the Redskins on December 31 and ride off into the sunset. That might still happen, but it will happen under the guise of hatred and contempt between Manning, the Giants and his head coach.

If the Giants are truly done with Manning, they should just release him from his contract. They do that he'll be on the market for all of 30 seconds before someone like Tom Coughlin, who is enjoying a nice resurgence as the general manager of the Jacksonville Jaguars, signs him for the stretch run. In fact, don't be surprised that the next time you see Eli Manning on the field will be in Jacksonville teal and black next August.

Thank you for the memories Eli, you deserve better.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Jets season up in flames after hideous loss to Panthers

PANTHERS 35 - JETS 27

In what has become a disturbing pattern this season, the New York Jets once again proved they are the best team in the NFL when it comes to finding ways to lose in excruciating fashion. Mistakes, penalties, more mistakes and misfortune spelled doom for Gang Green on Sunday in a game that looked ripe for a tremendous upset, the Jets found a way to let the Carolina Panthers slip from their grasp in a disheartening 35-27 loss.


At 4-7 the Jets playoff hopes are all but dead. While the expectations were not for this team to get to the playoffs this season, it doesn't change the fact that this season has spiraled into utter disappointment.

The bottom line is the Jets blew another fourth quarter lead, and when they had an opportunity to stage a comeback, the flushed that down the toilet on more dumb penalties. All of this falls on the shoulders of head coach Todd Bowles, who once again demonstrated he can't get his team ready to play a full 60 minute football game.

Here are some of the lowlights revisited:

1) Austin Seferian Jenkins dropped touchdown in the first quarter. This was as bad as it gets. Jenkins was wide open in the end zone with nobody around him. All he had to do was haul in the pass and the Jets would would have a 7-3 lead. But, no, Jenkins drops the pass from quarterback Josh McCown. What made matters worse for the Jets was the drop resulted in a fourth and one at the Carolina 13. Let me repeat, the Carolina 13-yard line.

The obvious call was to go for it. Instead Bowles settled for the field goal. Being conservative was the wrong thing to do in that situation.

2) Penalties killed the Jets all day. New York leads in the NFL in penalties, and it seems like no team in the National Football League has hurt itself more with dumb mistakes than the Jets. Take for example the roughing the passer penalty called on DeMario Davis with 13:20 to go in the first half. Instead of the play resulting in a first and ten at the Carolina 31-yard, the 15-yard penalty pushed the ball up close to mid-field. Of course Carolina scored a touchdown on this drive to take a 10-3 lead.

If that wasn't bad enough, perhaps the most egregious penalties came much later in the game. First, Jordan Jenkins was called for offsides on a critical fourth and two at the Jets' 32 yard line. Instead of the Jets defense getting off the field, the penalty gave Carolina a fresh set of downs. Oh, and of course, the Panthers scored a touchdown to go up 18-17.

Finally the killer came late in the fourth quarter with the Jets down 32-27, needing a stop to get the football back with just over two minutes to go in the game, and lineman Mike Pennel gets flagged for roughing the passer, as dumb a mistake as any player could make in a critical situation.

3) Josh McCown. A lot of people want to keep talking about how great McCown has been for the Jets this season, and I beg to differ. He has been a turnover machine when it comes to fumbles and critical game-killing interceptions. Sunday's loss was no exception. With the Jets leading 20-18, and with the football after Carolina went three-and-out, the Jets had a golden opportunity to put the game away in the fourth quarter. But no, McCown fumbled the football while trying to throw it away on a sack. Luck Kuechly picked up the loose ball and rumbled home for a touchdown to give the Panthers the lead back at 26-20.

4) Special Teams: The Jets gave up an inexcusable, 60-yard punt return to Kaelin Clay to blow the game open. There is not much more that needs to be said there.

5) Play-calling: As I addressed earlier with regard to the Jets decision to not go for it on fourth and one at the Panthers 13, the Jets play-calling at the Panthers 1-yard line, when still trailing 18-17 was absolutely inexcusable. Instead of running the football up the gut with either Bilal Powell or Matt Forte, the Jets decided to pull plays out of Pete Carroll's playbook. Three plays on the one yard line, all three passes. What in the heck was that? And even after the Jets got hosed on the Austin Seferian Jenkins touchdown that wasn't, they still tried to throw into the end zone. Why wasn't Todd Bowles telling his offensive coordinator to run the ball? Another poor example of Bowles prowess as a head coach, and his lack of understanding of the moment.

5) The officials just hate the Jets: Ok, even as the Jets did everything in their power to lose this game, and succeeded in doing so, the one play a lot people will remember is the Austin Seferian Jenkins touchdown that wasn't. Wait, you mean the one from the Patriots game? Nope, this was a whole new episode of Replay Madness at the Meadowlands. On second and goal from the one yard line, McCown heaved a pass toward the corner of the end zone that Jenkins caught with his fingers and brought into his body for the touchdown. Jenkins rolled on his back with the ball pressed to his stomach, and the officials still called it an incompletion. That is right, even with full control of the ball, the officials called it an incompletion because of some slight movement.

Whoever is reviewing these plays in New York should be removed from his position, because he clearly isn't doing it very well. The horrible reversal marked the third time this year that Jenkins got completely jobbed by the referees on a touchdown catch. While the catch in the Patriots game was at least debatable, there was no debate that Jenkins had a touchdown on Sunday against Carolina. The NFL has to review its protocol for catches, because nobody knows what they are calling anymore.

At the end of the day, it was another horrendous loss for a football team that just doesn't know how to win. Yes, the Jets won more games this year than anyone expected, at least for those who expected 0 to 1 victory this year, but it leaves no excuse to the fact that Todd Bowles can't get this team ready to finish games off. That is a huge indictment, and one that should weigh against him when this season is over.

Friday, November 24, 2017

Giants Offense Stinks It Up on Turkey Day

REDSKINS 20 - GIANTS 10 

Don't pass the gravy to someone in a Giants jersey this Thanksgiving, they might just drop it.

The 2017 Giants have been a lot of awful things this year, but one thing is for sure this offense is just awful. Big Blue managed only seven first downs and a measly 170 yards of offense in a 20-10 meltdown in the Nations Capital on Thanksgiving night, giving their fans indigestion as the Giants record fell to 2-9. More importantly they wasted a tremendous effort from the defense that gave this woebegone football team a shot to avoid total humiliation. 

A lot of Giants fans have been quick to blame Eli Manning for this debacle of a season, even rooting for the Giants to lose out so they can get their hands on one of the over-hyped California quarterbacks coming out of next year's draft. But here are some cold hard facts on this chilly November night. This is not Eli's fault. And Thursday night's 20-10 loss wasn't his fault at all. 

Yes, Manning had only 77 yards passing before he hit Tavarres King on a 27-yard pass in the final minute of the game. And yes, he was sacked four times. But the fact is Manning threw 27 passes on Thursday night and only 13 of them were complete. Why? Because his corps of young receivers couldn't hold onto the football if their lives depended on it. And when they weren't dropping catchable passes, they read the wrong route and Manning missed them entirely. It was the same comedy of errors that has befallen this Giants team all season; the quarterback can't get on the same page with his receivers. It should come as no surprise that Manning leads the league in dropped passes along with Derek Carr of the 4-6 Oakland Raiders and DeShone Kizer of the infamous 0-10 Cleveland Browns. 

Knowing the kind of workaholic Manning is, there is a good chance he had spent plenty of time working with the talent he has around him to get this season turned around. But talent is what the Giants lack on the offensive side of the ball.  The Giants depth at wide receiver and running back is just hideous. Manning was supposed to have Odell Beckham Jr., Brandon Marshall and Sterling Sheperd, not King and Roger Lewis. 

Evan Engram, who was supposed to be the lone savior for this passing attack with all of the above mentioned on IR, was once again non-existent with three catches for 18 yards. Engram had only one catch for six yards last week against Kansas City. What happened to this budding superstar? 

Then there is the offensive line which again failed to pass protect when it needed to, and failed to create the necessary push up front for the Giants to do anything with their running game. 

As a result, the Giants managed only 52 yards and one first down for the entire second half. 

It is hard to believe that the Giants actually had a chance Thursday night, which makes this loss that much more excruciating. For the second straight week the Giants defense played with high intensity and passion. They controlled the line of scrimmage for three quarters of the game, and were all over Kirk Cousins, who was sacked six times. Heck, the Giants led 3-0 at one point, and were even tied at three mid-way through the third quarter. 

With 2:52 to go in the third, and with Washington trying to go up two scores, embattled cornerback Janoris Jenkins stepped in front of a Cousins pass, picked it off and dashed down the sideline for a 53-yard touchdown to tie the game at 10. 

That was the only offense the Giants would see all night --- from the their defense. 

Call it a wasted opportunity. The Redskins would rebound, with Cousins engineering a nine-play, 65-yard drive in over five minutes for the go-ahead touchdown on a tight sideline pass to Josh Doctson to make it 17-10. After the Giants turned the ball over on downs when Manning was sacked on a critical fourth down, the Skins put the game on ice with a short field goal to make it 20-10. 

Just like that the Giants were heading home on a cold Thanksgiving at 2-9. With a season in total disarray every time a player in a Giants uniform steps on the field they are getting a shot to prove they belong here long term. And with each passing week, they continue to prove that the Giants must have a complete overhaul come January. 

Monday, November 13, 2017

Mara and Tisch to Keep McAdoo ... for now

The New York Giants will keep Ben McAdoo around as head coach of the football team.  The Giants are 1-8 and starring at a likely top-5 pick in next spring's NFL draft. The Giants could also be looking at the worst season in franchise history. As poorly as the Giants have played this season, it is not enough for  the Giants to fire McAdoo now.



Plus, this is a franchise that has never liked the idea of firing coaches in-season. They let Ray Handley, Dan Reeves and Jim Fassel all twist in the wind during their final seasons in New York. It will happen again here with McAdoo. The only way the Giants part ways with him is if this team gets totally embarrassed before the end of the month.

Here is the statement below.

Ben McAdoo is our head coach and has our support," the statement reads. "We are in the midst of an extremely disappointing season. Our performance this year, particularly the past two weeks, is inexcusable and frustrating. While we appreciate that our fans are unhappy with what has occurred, nobody is more upset than we are.
“Our plan is to do what we have always done, which is to not offer a running commentary on the season. It is our responsibility to determine the reasons for our poor performance and at the end of the year, we will evaluate the 2017 season in its entirety and make a determination on how we move forward.” 

Ben McAdoo Job At Risk After Giants Plunge to 1-8

49ERS 31 - GIANTS 21 

Put a fork in em. Ben McAdoo's tenure as Giants head coach might be over tonight. In fact, by the time we all wake up Monday morning McAdoo might be cleaning out his office at the Giants Timex Center. Losing is one thing. Losing to a winless 49ers team with C.J. Beathard at quarterback is quiet another.


The Giants once again looked like a team that didn't care. Down 17-13 in the third quarter they played like a team that quit on their coach when he needed them to play at their very best. All of sudden the Giants forgot how to tackle as Beathard did as pleased for most of the day. Later in the third, he sliced and diced the Giants on an 11-play, 61-yard drive that culminated in an 11-yard touchdown run by Beathard himself to give the Niners a 24-13 lead.

Now it was starting to feel like the game was escaping from the Giants. A three-and-out was quickly followed by another Niners score, this one on a 33-yard rush by Matt Berida, who went untouched into the end zone for the score to push San Fran to a 31-13 lead.

Overall the Giants allowed Beathard to tear them apart for 288 yards and two touchdowns through the air. Moreover, Big Blue allowed 186 yards on the ground to a Niners team that was ranked 21st in the NFL in rushing yards. Just embarrassing. Just humiliating.

Want to blame Eli Manning? Go ahead. All he did was throw for 273 yards and two touchdowns inspite of the fact that the team was imploding around him. Yes, Eli had a bad fumble early in the game, but the guy is not the reason this team is playing like a bunch of quitters. He's the only out there trying.

But it doesn't matter who was and who wasn't putting forth the effort on Sunday, because McAoo's time is likely finished.

Principal Owner John Mara was seen pacing back and forth in the owners box. A large scowl could be seen on his face -- as he looked more frustrated than anyone. The Giants are not used to being in this position. Heck when given the chance to fire the likes of Ray Handley and Dan Reeeves, the Giants let them finish out the season first. Firing coaches in season is not the Giants way of business.

But that might change this time. McAdoo is totally lost. He can't motivate his team, his players hate him and bash him in the papers. When asked about Sunday's loss all McAdoo could muster was that he was out-coached and it is time to move on to Kansas City. You're no Bill Belichick, Ben. Give it up.

McAdoo's arrogant personality;
his abrasive way of dealing with players and the media might force Mara and Steve Tisch to make a call they normally don't like making, unless they made that call on the flight back from San Francisco.

If the Giants are to move on from McAdoo after a 1-8 start to the season, who will take over? Steve Spagnoulu has the coaching experience when he was with the then St. Louis Rams, but his defense has been horrible. One could argue that Spags should be fired along with McAdoo. Still, he's the most likely to finish out the string.

Mike Sullivan the offensive coordinator is another possibility. He's been mostly an assistant coach in his career, and has spent all but two years of the past 13 seasons in New York. He jumpstarted the team to its first win when he started calling the offense. Perhaps Sullivan is deserving of taking the reigns should McAdoo be dismissed Monday morning.

We'll find out soon enough.

Bowles back on Hot Seat after Jets meltdown in Tampa Bay

BUCCANEERS 15 - JETS 10

Embarrassing is about the only word that can best describe the Jets 15-10 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.

Inexcusable is another one. It is ironic that in a season where there were next to no expectations for the Jets this season, the one week where the Jets actually were expected to win and put themselves firmly in the playoff picture they spit the bit, playing every bit like the team everyone thought would be 1-15 this season.

The Jets played scared and careless on Sunday in Tampa Bay. They made a Buccaneers defense that is ranked 28th in the entire NFL shut them down over 60 minutes of football sans a Robbie Anderson 38-yard touchdown in garbage time.

While the score was 15-10, it wasn't even that close. It was really 15-3, and had the Buccaneers been piloted by Jamies Winston instead of ex-Jet flameout Ryan Fitzpatrick, it would have been more like 35-3.

The Jets stunk. The Jets offensive line couldn't create any holes for a ground game that was grounded, and held to just 56-yards on 19 carries. That is 2.9 yards per carry in case you were wondering. The offensive line couldn't even block, as Josh McCown was treated like a rag doll by his former teammates who sacked him six times and hit him over a dozen more.

This is not to say that McCown is blameless in the Jets loss. He wasn't accurate with his throws, and tossed a horrific interception in the second quarter; a few of the sacks he took were his fault. But consider this was a Tampa Bay front seven that had only eight sacks in nine games coming in, had six on Sunday, the Jets should be embarrassed.

Furthermore, for the Jets to allow Fitzpatrick to do just enough to beat them was a disgrace in itself. While Fitz wasn't good, he was accurate when he needed to be. He was nearly perfect on a 17-play drive in the first quarter that ended in the Bucs first field goal of the day. Later in the game, with the Bucs clinging to a 9-3 lead, he engineered a 15-play, 81-yard drive that ate up seven and a half minutes for Tampa's lone touchdown to make it 15-3 with 6:05 to go in the game.

Fitzpatrick wasn't spectacular, but he was better than McCown and that is all that matters.

The Jets hideous performance Sunday should rest at the feet of their head coach Todd Bowles, who once again showed why he may not be the right guy to lead this team when the stakes are high. The Jets were unprepared; they acted like a team that had arrived all week, and were falling in love with their press clippings of being an overachieving underdog.

Heck, there was even talk just a week ago that Bowles wold be a coach of the year candidate. Now, it is worth asking if Bowles will still have a job in seven weeks.

Yes, the Jets offensive game plan was horrible, they didn't adjust and that is certainly at the fault of offensive coordinator John Morton. But who is the one who should be overseeing all of those decisions? Bowles. Not only did Bowles look disinterested on the sideline, his inability to take responsibility for this team's preparation speaks volumes.

And yes, Bowles did get something out of this team this season. They showed signs of life that they didn't show at all last season, and he united this locker room for the first time since he got here. But the fact is the Jets have to ask themselves at the end of the season, is Todd Bowles the right man for the job in the longterm. Sunday's loss doesn't help.

The Jets came into this game knowing full well a win put them at .500 going into the bye week. Now they stand at 4-6; their highly unlikely shot at the playoffs are now dashed. The Jets should stop kidding themselves and start looking toward 2018 and the draft. That means benching McCown and giving Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg three games a piece to prove who should still be here when the Jets do in fact sign or draft their "franchise quarterback" in the off-season.

The Jets season is over. Let the evaluation process begin to determine what fate awaits Bowles, McCown and the rest of this football team moving forward.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Ben McAdoo Era Must End After Gutless Effort Against Rams

RAMS 51 - GIANTS 17 

The Giants played like a team that didn't care. If that isn't an indictment of head coach Ben McAdoo, I don't know what is. The Giants were totally outplayed, outclassed and out-everything as the Rams blew away the Giants 51-17, in one of the most lopsided losses in Giants history.

Think of it this way, it was the worst loss by the Giants at home since 1964 when they got blown out by the Cleveland Browns 52-21 at Yankee Stadium. The lasts time Big Blue gave up 50 points in a game, you'd have to go back to 1999 when the Giants got blown away by Brad Johnson and the Washington Redskins 50-21.

That is how epically and historically bad Sunday's effort was.

Perhaps the biggest microcosm of the day came with the Rams facing a third and 33 from their own 48 yard-line. Rams quarterback Jared Goff dumped off a pass to Robert Woods in the flat on a simple bubble screen, and the wide out did the rest breezing by defenders like a hot knife through butter on his way to the end zone to give the Rams a 17-7 lead with 9:26 to go in the second quarter. That's right, a team not only converted on a third and 33, they scored a touchdown on the same play.

Like I said the Giants played like they didn't care. Before anyone could blink it was 34-10 after Goff led a seven play, 75-yard drive to get Los Angeles into the end zone again to start the third quarter. Blink again and it was 48-10.

There is plenty of blame to go around. The defense showed absolutely no effort against one of the top offenses in the NFL. Eli Manning was dreadful, overthrowing receivers and turning the ball over on multiple possessions. But, the one man who deserves all the blame for 51-17 is head coach Ben McAdoo. The same Ben McAdoo who said that the Giants had a great week of practice leading up to this game.

Most coaches are supposed to have the pulse of their team. McAdoo doesn't know what a pulse is if it hit him in the face and laughed. The Giants had a bye week before this game, more than two weeks to correct the ills of a 1-6 start and get the second half of the season on the right foot. Instead the Giants looked unprepared and unmotivated. What's more this was a week with another distraction as McAdoo suspended cornerback Janoris Jenkins for conduct detrimental to the team. That's right a suspension coming out of a bye week! Jenkins is the second cornerback to be suspended by McAdoo this year, earlier in the season Dominique Rodgers Cromartie was suspended for Week 6.

Yet, McAdoo thinks he's leading great practices.

When asked about what he said to the team at halftime of Sunday's meltdown, McAdoo was speechless. So much for being the fearless leader of the New York Giants.

Later in his post-game presser, McAdoo threw the entire team under the bus, suggesting that he would begin evaluating all the players to see which young players can contribute. When asked if Eli Manning was included in that evaluation, McAdoo emphasized "everybody." When asked about his coaches comments, Manning said he wanted to play. Yes, even Manning has had his issues with McAdoo this season. Sunday was the second time that the head coach and quarterback have publicly gone at it.

While Manning isn't blameless for the Giants 1-7 start to the season, it isn't all his fault. He has a skeleton of a football team around him, starting with a horrendous offensive line and ground attack. I am sure Manning wishes he was in a time machine to 2011 when he had Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw in his backfield. That was only six years ago, but it feels like a century ago with the way this 2017 version has played this season.

If the writing isn't on the wall now for owners John Mara and Steve Tish, it has to be soon. While a lot of fans wouldn't mind seeing the team tank the rest of the season to get a high draft pick, the goal of the franchise should be to win as many games as possible to avoid being in the conversation with the Browns and 49ers as one of the worst teams in football. If the Giants have any humility in them, they would fire McAdoo now, tonight, immediately. He should not be allowed to coach another practice or another game for that matter.

The Giants need to move on from McAdoo, they might as well get a head start on the coaching search before someone else does.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Jets Rumble Past Buffalo on Thursday Night

JETS 34 - BILLS 21

Behind a strong running game and suffocating defense, the Jets finally figured out how to close a game on Thursday against their division foes, the Buffalo Bills by the tune of 34-21.

In all honesty though it really was never that close. Gang Green had a lead as large as 34-7 mid-way through the fourth quarter before Buffalo scored a couple of garbage time touchdowns to make the final score look good.

Still the Jets sit at 4-5, well beyond anyone's expectations for this season, and with the way this team battles and competes every week it is hard not to think that the 2017 Jets could end up 8-8, or dare I say, 9-7. What a miracle that would be considering the talent on this team is not at an elite level.

Quarterback Josh McCown was solid again for the Jets. While his numbers didn't jump off the page, he threw for only 140 yards, he was deadly accurate, completing 70 percent of his passes, and, he continues to show why he is the perfect leader for this ball club. McCown isn't flashy, but the man gets this Jets offense and he has done a fine job making all the pieces come together.

The Jets wanted a quarterback who could help develop some of the young talent on this team, and McCown has done that. Early in the contest when a play wasn't available to him, McCown took off a ran for a 10-yard score to give the Jets a 7-0 lead. Coming out of the half with New York already leading 10-7, McCown dropped a dime to Robby Anderson from 25-yards out for a touchdown to give the Jets a 17-7 lead. The touchdown was the third straight game in which Anderson has hauled in a long touchdown score from McCown. Those two are clicking right now.

But beyond McCown's efforts, Thursday's win was all about the defense and running game. The Jets defense manhandled Tyrod Taylor, sacking him seven times, and forcing two fumbles. One of the fumbles was picked up Demario Davis at the Buffalo 10-yard line, which would turn into a Matt Forte touchdown just a couple of plays later to give New York a 31-7 lead. The seven sacks of Taylor were the most the Jets had on an opposing quarterback all season. The unit had been much maligned for its inability to get to the quarterback all season, that was not an issue on Thursday. The Jets truly exposed the Bills as a complete fraud from the quarterback to the offensive line.

Meanwhile, Forte got his wish. After the Jets disappointing 25-20 loss to the Falcons last week, he told the media, and offensive coordinator John Morton that he wanted the ball. The Jets fed him the damn ball on Thursday, and the former Pro-Bowler had his best game of the season, rushing for 77 yards on 14 carries and two touchdowns. Even Bilal Powell, who had been M.I.A. over the past number of weeks made an appearance Thursday. He gashed the Bills on a handful of big runs, including one that went for 51 yards. Powell finished with 74 yards on nine carries.

The victory now gives the Jets two wins in the division. With some extra time to prepare for their next game in Tampa Bay next weekend, the remaining schedule for the Jets is indeed daunting, but with the way this team has played of late, nothing is impossible for them. That is just the way Todd Bowles had drawn it up all year. Give the man credit, he said he would change the culture of the team, and the man -- thus far -- has succeeded.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Astros Earn History, Capture 1st Ever World Series Title

ASTROS 5 - DODGERS 1
HOU Wins World Series 4-3

Well, Sports Illustrated got it right three years ago. The 2017 Houston Astros are indeed Wold Champions.

The incredible Astros squad that captured the imagination of the country with their gritty style of play during the early stages of this Fall Classic, earned their place  in history with a dominant 5-1 win over the Dodgers in Game 7. A series with so many highs and lows, and plenty of offense in between, it was fitting that Game 7 went back to the games roots, pitching.

It was the clever managing of Astros skipper A.J. Hinch, combined with a solid effort out of the Astros pen that delivered the first ever baseball world title to the city of Houston, a city that just eleven weeks ago was devastated by Hurricane Harvey.

Coming into Game 7, the Astros had a team ERA over 4.5 in the postseason. While Justin Verlander had been brilliant all month, the same couldn't be said for the rest of the Astros pitching staff, particularly the bullpen, but that all changed on Wednesday.

Right from the get-go, the Astros made it clear they would not be denied their place among baseball's greatest teams. George Springer, who had been at the forefront of the Astros rebuild four years ago, got the game started with a hard double down the left field line on the third pitch of the game by Yu Darvish. Springer would later score when Darvish was late to first base on a grounder by Alex Bregman to put Houston on top 1-0.

With momentum on their side, Bregman caught everyone by surprise when he stole third base; he would eventually score on Jose Altuve's soft grounder to the right side to make it 2-0.

Houston was not done playing small ball in the seventh game of a series where they dominated with the long ball.  A lead-off walk to Brian McCann and a double by Marwin Gonzalez was soon followed by a RBI groundout by pitcher Lance McCullers to make it 3-0. Finally, Springer reminded the Dodgers why he is the World Series MVP when he smoked a Darvish fastball into the bleachers in left-center field to make it 5-0.


Springer, who was 2-for-5 in Game 7, absolutely owned the Dodgers in the World Series. He hit .379 with an OPS of 1.471 in the seven game series. Five of his six post-season home runs and seven of his nine post-season RBIs came in this series against the Dodgers. Springer earned the Chevy truck.

Meanwhile, Game 7 starter Lance McCullers really didn't have good stuff. He wasn't giving up any runs, but hit four batters in two-and-a-third innings of work. With a 5-run lead in the third inning, Hinch wasn't going to fool around and wait for McCullers to get on track, not now in the final game of the season with everything on the line.


Hinch went right to the pen and brought out his best reliever, Bradley Peacock, who proceeded to jam Yasil Puig on a fly out to center, and struck out Joc Pederson swinging on a wicked curve ball to get out of danger in the third.

A series that had once been a display of two teams out-muscling each other with home runs, had now turned into a chess match between Hinch and Dodgers manager Dave Roberts. Hinch knew that Roberts was going to use Clayton Kershaw in this game, and predictably the Dodgers ace came in to settle things down in the third inning, giving Roberts and LA four shutout innings of work. But Hinch was the one who gambled correctly each time.

Peacock gave the Astros two shutout innings, before Hinch gave the ball to Francisco Lirano in a tight jam in the bottom of the fifth against Cody Bellinger. After Liriano got Bellinger on a ground out, Hinch went back to his pen and brought out Chris Devenski, who was able to retire Puig on a hard liner to first.

Fastforward to the bottom of the sixth, and Hinch rolled the dice again, bringing out Charlie Morton who hadn't pitched since Game 4 in Houston. Most would think that Hinch would use Morton for only an inning or two before going to Dallas Kuechle and Justin Verlander to close it out. But, no, Hinch trusted his guy, even inspite of the fact that Morton gave up a RBI single to Andre Either in the sixth inning. And Morton rewarded his manager's confidence. He would retire the Dodgers in order in each of the final three innings of this ballgame, becoming more and more dominant with each pitch. The ninth inning alone, Morton needed only nine pitches. The final out he got on just one pitch.

The Astros poured out of the dugout onto the field to join in the celebration. 55 years in the making for the city of Houston, and for the Astros front office, it was five years in the making since the club's move to the American League West. It was worth the wait and all the losing, because now, anybody who talks about the Astros will refer to them as World Champions. And with so many young guys under control, they might be there for a while.