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More Losing

September 20, 2020 at 6:03 pm
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Well, today was my name day, and my birthday gift from the Giants and Jets were two more losses.

Pretty depressing.

In many ways, a replay of last week.   The Jets were terrible, just awful.  Awful offense, awful defense.   The 49ers scored a Td on the first play of the game with an 80 yard run from scrimmage.   That never would happened if Jamal Adams was still in green and white.   Every game, every play, letting Adams go looks worse and worse.   Sure, sure, you can say maybe the Jets will pick up some future Hall of Famers with those draft choices.   Maybe, perhaps, mayhaps.  But it won’t happen.   Adams, however, is a sure bet to go into Canton if he keeps playing at this level the rest of his career.  Sadly, he won’t go in as a Jet.  Oh, and letting Robby Anderson go is looking pretty bad as well.  Darnold has no one to throw to.   If they keep playing at this level, Gang Green will be competing for the #1 overall pick in the 2021 draft.

The Giants lost too, of course.   But just like last week, it was a much better loss… if any loss can be considered good.   Danny Jones committed too many turnovers, and of course the loss of Saquon to injury was devastating.  For the game, the season, and maybe for Big Blue’s future.   He was and is the best player on the team.   That being said, despite the turnover and the injury, the Giants hung tough and were in the game right up to the final play.   One more completion from Jones, on the last play of the game on the Bears goal line, and we’re talking about a come-from-behind victory instead of a second loss.   But… sigh… it did not happen.   So both the New York teams are 0-2.

Oh, and the fake crowd noise continues to be annoying.   Especially when the guy in the booth dialed up a chorus of BOOs from the “home town” crowd in Chicago on a penalty that went New York’s way.   Come on, NFL.   That is so stupid.  What’s next, a laugh track?

Anyway… life is meaningless and full of pain.   At least where football is concerned.

(Yes, that’s a lot of other misery going on outside the stadiums, but I will save that for another post).

((Comments allowed, but only for NFL football.  Off topic comments will be trashed)).

 

Current Mood: grumpy grumpy

Lose One, Lose One

September 15, 2020 at 1:24 pm
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The NFL season has begun.   The strangest NFL season of my lifetime, maybe of anyone’s lifetime.  Teams playing in empty stadiums, to the sound of piped-in crowd noise.

The empty stadiums are a necessity in the midst of our pandemic, of course.   That needs to continue to keep everyone safe.

I could live without the fake crowd sounds, however.   The whole cool thing about playing before a crowd is the reactions of the fans… the roars that greet a good play by the home team, the groans and curses that greet a bad play, or a good one by the visiting team, the boos that rain down from time to time.  Trying to replace that with some guy in a booth twisting dials just adds an element phoniness we do not need.   Let them play in the quiet.

The Jets played on Sunday… and lost to the Buffalo Bills, 27-17.

The Giants played on Monday night… and lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers, 26-16.

But scores can be deceptive.   The Jets game was not nearly as close as the score would indicate.   The Giants game was much closer than the score would indicate.   The Jets were never in their game, not for a second.  The Bills beat them every way a team could be beaten.   Gang Green’s offense was terrible and their defense was worse.   You kind of had to expect the D to stink, since they traded away their best player (Jamal Adams) for some magic beans.  You hoped the O would be better, since this was the third year for Sam Darnold, who was drafted third overall and thought by many to be the best QB coming out of that year’s class.   Clearly he is not.   The Bills Josh Allen outplayed him from start to finish, and down in Baltimore Lamar Jackson is setting the league on fire.   The Jets could have had either, but chose Darnold instead.  More and more, that is looking like a bad decision.   An even worse decision was hiring Adam Gase as coach.  The team was not ready to play.   You can blame the coronovirus and the lack of a pre-season, sure, except the Bills had the same handicaps, and they looked just fine.    The Jets may need to clean house AGAIN.

The Giants, on the other hand, were right in the thick of the things from opening kickoff to the moment Dan Jones threw that awful interception in the end zone.  Aside from his two INTs, however, Danny Dimes looked very good.   Way way better than Darnold, though he has been in the league only half as long.   Big Blue’s defense impressed as well.   They came hard after Big Ben all night, hit hard, hung tough.  Pittsburgh stacked the line to shut down Sasquan Barclay and New York’s run game, daring Jones to beat them… and he almost did.   That 19-play drive was a thing of beauty till the end, and the bomb to Slayton was lovely to watch as well.   This was the first outing for new head coach Joe Judge… and a definite upgrade over what we saw under Pat Shurmur.   I don’t know how many games the Giants can win this year, but I see hope.

A loss is a loss is a loss, of course… but some losses are better than others.

A few wins down the win, in these bleak and bitter times, would do wonders.

((Comments allowed here, but ONLY about NFL football.   ALL OFF TOPIC COMMENTS WILL BE TRASHED)).

 

Current Mood: gloomy gloomy

It’s Not Easy Being Green

July 31, 2020 at 8:38 am
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Life is hard when you’re a Jets fan.

Kermit knows the truth.

The New York Jets, having not won a SuperBowl since 1969 or been in the playoffs since 2010, often have very high draft picks.

Sometimes they select a bust.  In those cases, the players are cut.

Sometimes, however, they get a really terrific premium talent, the kind of generational player you can build a contender around.  In those cases, the Jets get a few years out of the player… and THEN trade him away.

For more draft picks.

Which they then use to select more players, who will either be busts, or terrific players.

Who will then be traded away.

For more draft picks.

Darrell Revis.   Chad Pennington.   And now Jamal Adams.

If Sam Darnold turns out to be a franchise quarterback, an All Pro player, a future Hall of Famer… one wonders where they will send him, and what draft picks we’ll get.

If he turns out to be a bust, of course, we’ll keep him… just until we draft the next franchise quarterback.

The New York Jets.   Building For The Future Since 1969.

 

Current Mood: discontent discontent

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Virtual Drafts and Computer Football

April 28, 2020 at 2:47 pm
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I had a few nice days watching the NFL Draft.   Both the Giants and Jets did quite well, I think.   Not many exciting skill players drafted for either team, admittedly, but they both picked up building blocks to fortify their offensive lines, which I think is key.  Games are won and lost in the trenches.  Of course, even though the talking heads have all been busy “grading” each team’s picks, no one will really know anything for a year or two.   The history of the draft is littered with sexy “can’t miss” college stars who totally flamed out in the NFL.  See Vernon Gholston, Blair Thomas, Eric Flowers.   The list is long.   So… proof, meet pudding, let’s wait and see.   But I am hopeful.

What was really fascinating this year was the format.  Instead of thousands of screaming fans gathered together in New York City or Chicago or (as planned this year) Las Vegas, and the draftees parading up on stage to get a hug from the commissioner and a jersey, the NFL went virtual.   But that was fascinating in its own way.   We got to see the homes of the coaches, players, and talking heads, from Kliff Kingsbury’s palatial digs to the commish in his basement man cave to the very modest apartments of some of the young men being drafted, we got to see their families, their pets, the pictures on their walls…

… and their bookcases.   For whatever reason, a lot of the commentators  sat in front of bookcases.   I could not help peering at the titles on their shelves, being a writer and all.   Alas, I failed to spot any copies of my own books on anyone’s shelves.  But Marshall Faulk seems to be a big fan of Harlan Coben, and on other shelves I spotted Edgar Allen Poe and Philip Roth.   A lot of football books too.   Many ex-players and coaches had ONLY football books visible behind them.   Which still trumped the guys who owned bookcases, but (seemingly) no books.   Just pictures, trophies, footballs.

I hear that next year, if COVID-19 is no longer a factor, the NFL may combine elements of this year’s draft with the traditional format.   That would be cool.  This was the most viewed draft in history.   Maybe because the country is desperate for SOMETHING sport-ish to watch.

I was impressed at how well the virtual draft worked.  Very few technical glitches… though the time lapses were noticeable from time to time, as commentators waited to make sure the previous speaker had finished.   This bodes well for the forthcoming virtual worldcon, I think… hope… pray.   It proved it can be done.   Of course, ESPN and the NFL channel have considerably more resources and expertise than fandom, but still…

It still remains to be seen whether we will actually have an NFL season this year.  Which puts me in mind of a story I wrote back in 1971, called “The Last Super Bowl.”   Eventually it saw print in GALLERY magazine, surrounded by naked Girls Next Door  (none of them actually lived next door to me, I should hasten to add).   Computer sports were still a dream back then (PONG would not appear in my local bar for several more years), but they were coming, so I donned my prognosticator’s hat and predicted that by the far future year of 2014 computerized football would have become so much more exciting than the real thing that actual football would go extinct.

Well, that didn’t happen.   Turns out we were wrong about the flying cars, the household robots, the cities on the moon, and a whole lot of other things as well.   Never mind about that, though.

Maybe this is the year that my predictions come true.   If the virus does not relent, and we have to cancel the 2020 NFL season… why not go with an ALL VIRTUAL season instead?  We know who is on each team, we know who they drafted, we can MADDENify the entire league and play out the schedule week-by-week on television, with SFX and animation.   MADDEN has the player stats.   The actual coaches can sit by their own computers and call the plays and the defenses.   The play-by-play announcer and the color guy can sit by their screens and do the commentary, just as if they were talking about a real game.  And we can all watch our favorite (virtual) teams.

Hey, the networks need something to televise, after all.   And all us hopeless football addicts need something to watch, besides reruns of SuperBowls past.   And maybe, if we go all computer, the Jets will finally get back to the SuperBowl.   I wrote “The Last Super Bowl” only two years after their last (and only) appearance, as it happens… and I put them in that bowl, against the Green Bay Packers.

 

Current Mood: mischievous mischievous

Hope Springs Eternal

April 22, 2020 at 2:52 pm
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… in the National Football League.   Even for beleaguered Giants and Jets fans, like yours truly.

The annual NFL Draft starts tomorrow, and I’ll be watching, as I do every year.   This will be a strangest draft since… well, forever.   In the past decade or so, ESPN and the NFL network have made the draft a huge televised event, with thousands of fans in attendance and top college players being flown in from all over the country to enjoy their moment of glory when their names are called.    Not this year.  Thanks to Covid-19, there will be no big party in Las Vegas, no green room crowded with hopefuls praying they won’t slide, no stars-of-tomorrow parading up on stage to get a jersey from Roger Goodell.  The teams will all be working from their own war rooms, or maybe virtually, and the players will be at home.

Considering that the draft began many decades ago with a bunch of guys sitting at card tables and shuffling index cards, maybe this is a throwback year.   When you stop to think of it, it is amazing that the NFL has made a huge televised extravaganza of a show where something significant happens every ten to fifteen minutes or so.

The Giants, courtesy of the truly dismal season they had last year, get to pick fourth.   If their season had only been a little MORE wretched, they might get to draft Chase Young out of Ohio State, who is widely regarded as the best player in the draft.  Alas, he will probably be snapped up by the Redskins, who pick second.   There is a lot of buzz about this year’s quarterbacks, but the G-Men got their new young signal caller last year when they picked Daniel Jones, so they won’t be playing that game… though their GM has stated that he is open to trading down if someone really wants to jump up to grab Tua or Herbert (Burrows will probably be gone with the first pick, to the Bengals).  If Big Blue stays put, Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both have them drafting the linebacker out of Clemson, Isaiah Simmons, a defensive stud.   Other mocks show them taking an offensive tackle instead, to protect Daniel Jones.   There are four good ones in this draft, it seems.   The ideal outcome, for me, would be for the Giants to grab Simmons with the fourth pick, and get one of those big tackles at the top of the second round… assuming one drops that far.   That may be too much to hope for, however.  And knowing the Giants, they are just as likely to go a different way entirely and surprise everyone, as they did last year.

The Jets pick eleventh, since they had a somewhat better (losing) season.   The mock drafts are all over the place for them.  Then again, by the time you reach eleven, all the mocks are worthless anyway.   All it takes is one team zigging when the “experts” have them zagging, and everything below that is up for grabs.   Myself, I think Gang Green should grab a wideout.   There a bunch of good ones coming out this year, and the Jets lost Robby Anderson, their best receiver, in free agency.  Sam Darnold needs someone to throw to.

Beyond the draft, though, the real question is whether or not we are going to have an NFL season at all in 2020.   Yes, training camp is months away, and the season openers even further out… but if the coronavirus is still raging unchecked by then, packing tens of thousands of fans into a stadium is a recipe for disaster.   As much as I love my NFL Sundays, I hope the NFL will do the prudent thing if the virus has not abated by then.   Life may be meaningless and full of pain for Jets and Giants fans, as I have asserted many a week these past few seasons after watching my teams lose and lose and lose… but it is still life.   And as Tyrion Lannister once said, life is full of possibilities.

((I am going to turn comments on for this one, but only for talk about the draft and the NFL season.   Off comment posts will be deleted)).

Current Mood: hopeful hopeful

In the Fish Bowl

November 23, 2019 at 6:59 am
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A couple of months back I did a long Skype interview with NFL star Chris Long, a star with the Rams, Patriots, and Eagles.

It was a lot of fun, a long free-ranging talk about all sorts of things.

And now it’s up on YouTube, in five parts.   Check it out.

 

 

Current Mood: satisfied satisfied

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The Shame, the Shame

November 4, 2019 at 12:28 pm
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Watching Adam Gase coach the New York Jets makes me wonder where Rich Kotite is, now that we really need him.

There is no future for Gang Green with Gase coaching.

Lure Bill Parcells out of retirement.   Bring back Rex Ryan.   Get Jim Harbaugh out of Michigan.   Make a play for Lincoln Riley.  Please, please, please.   Anything, anyone.   I cannot bear the shame.

 

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Sic Transit Gloria Eli

September 17, 2019 at 2:54 pm
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This weekend’s NFL games were more agony.

The Jets are down to their third string quarterback.

And the Giants, as of this morning, are benching Eli Manning.

I hope the new kid quarterback does well.   But I must confess, it looks premature to me.   I would rather Daniel Jones sat on the bench for a year to learn, as Patrick Mahomes did in KC.

Yes, the G-men are 0-2 so far… but let me point out that they were also 0-2 in 2007, the year they upset the undefeated Patriots to win the SuperBowl.

But the die is cast now.

((Comments allowed, but ONLY on NFL)).

Current Mood: sad sad

sigh

September 8, 2019 at 7:22 pm
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A new season of NFL football has begun, and…

Life is meaningless and full of pain.

The Giants game went more or less as expected.   Saquon was incredible as ever, Eli played well, but OBJ was sorely missed and there was no defense.   Kid QB looked sharp when the game was over, but not sharp enough to be thrown to the wolves next week.   Eli should play.

The Jets collapse was inexcusable.   How the hell could management have let our Pro Bowl kicker walk?  If Sam Darnold is the new Namath, he sure didn’t look like it.

I think another long dark season looms ahead.

((Comments allowed, but ONLY on NFL football))

 

Current Mood: sad sad

Day One

April 26, 2019 at 1:36 pm
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Okay, the first day of the NFL Draft is in the books.   The Jets had one pick, the Giants had three.

Gang Green took Quinnen Williams, the monster Alabama defensive tackle, with the third pick overall.  Lots of analysts had ranked him as the best player in the entire draft, so he seems a good get.   Still… if it had been me, I would have taken Josh Allen, the edge rusher.   The Jets have not had an edge rusher worth his salt since… could the last one have been Mark Gastineau?  Surely not.  Maybe John Abraham.   The thing is, they need sacks and QB pressures.   And they already had a monster defensive tackle named Williams (Leonard).   Now they have two.   I hope it works out.   The main thing is to give Tom Brady nightmares, though, and I am not sure Quinnen will do that.   Time will tell.   Overall, though, a very solid pick.

The Giants, on the other hand…

Daniel Jones from Duke at number six?   Yes, they need a young quarterback to groom as Eli’s successor.   But Dwayne Haskins was right there.   Why not him?  I don’t follow college ball, but by every measurable Haskins is way better than Jones.   Jones threw 52 TDs in three years at Duke, Haskins threw 50 in one year at Ohio State.  Within fewer interceptions.   Against much tougher opposition.   Dave Gettleman must have seen something in Jones that no one else could see.   But even if you accept that, taking him at six seems insane.   He would have been there at 17.   Why not take Josh Allen or one of the other defensive studs at 6, and Jones at 17?   Makes much more sense.   Who else was going to nab him?  The Skins?   The Skins preferred Haskins, that was common knowledge.   Everyone in the world except the G-Men preferred Haskins, so far as I can see.

And then we got to number 17, the pick the Giants got for Odell.   What did they pick there?  A huge 342 pound defensive tackle out of Clemson.  Very very strong, they say.   Not going to get a lot of sacks, but terrific against the run.   Who does that sound like?   It sounds like Snacks Harrison to me.  Who the Giants cut in mid-season because… ahem… “all he did” was stop the run, he didn’t get sacks.   After his release, Big Blue spent the rest of the season getting gashed by runs right up the gut.   Had to fix that.   So to fill the Snacks hole, we draft Young Snacks.   All it cost us was a Hall of Fame receiver.

The Giants did trade up late in the round to get a third pick, which we used on a cornerback.   Supposedly the best CB prospect in the draft.   That was good.  They need good cornerbacks in the worst way.   Maybe this kid will help.

Neither the Giants nor  the Jets have a second round pick today.

Big Blue has a couple in the third round, and more later in the draft.   I hope Gettleman can find some gems.   Because right now, the team looks a lot weaker than the one that entered the 2018 season, and that squad finished 5-11.

((Comments permitted, but ONLY on NFL football and the draft))

Current Mood: depressed depressed