Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Prime Destination for DeSean Jackson

 Talent is important in professional sports. Such statements represent the obvious as those without play-making ability don’t last. Lost within our culture though can be too much emphasis placed on athleticism. People who fail to other wise demonstrate proper conduct not mentioning names (cough cough Richie Incognito) are placed on a pedestal. Simply having talents like catching passes should not dictate success alone.
 Now receiver DeSean Jackson serves as an example of how these other factors play a role. He possesses ridiculous speed and soft hands that make for a dangerous play-making ability. Recently when word came down that the Philadelphia Eagles were shopping him, I was surprised. In this climate that puts winning above everything else, rarely do you hear teams getting rid of their best players. Especially given Jackson’s fit in Chip Kelly’s system there was no reason for parting ways.

 Then reports surfaced about off-field issues like work ethic. Even more significantly other sources speculated that the player could have possible gang affiliation. Considering these factors handicapping Jackson’s next destination becomes difficult. The Washington Redskins, a possible frontrunner are attractive only because a chance for “revenge” against Philly. Otherwise this unstable franchise with owner Dan Snyder and uncertainty surrounding RGIII’s long-term durability should be avoided. Coming from California, the Oakland Raiders who have also been mentioned do not bring ideal circumstances.  Landing in buffalo has become equivalent of oblivion. Newly acquired New York Jets QB Michael Vick is one of his close friends. Their relationship along with a familiar presence in OC Marty Mornhinweg offers comfort. GM John Idzik may not be interested but joining forces would benefit Jackson most. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

The Future of Mark Sanchez

Not too long ago Mark Sanchez represented perhaps the next of franchise quarterbacks. A bond between New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his first starting signal caller seemed destined to last for years. You know by now how this pair reached the AFC Championship Game those initial two seasons together. Results of course soured, capped off by Sanchez’s infamous “Buttfumble.” His replacement became Geno Smith, a promising yet similarly mistake-prone player. With 21 interceptions during Smith’s rookie campaign management thought it better to avoid past mistakes.

Veteran Michael Vick’s arrival brings competition that the former USC star never saw in New York. Now Sanchez faces great uncertainty himself. Many experts call 2014’s NFL Draft QB class very deep. While chances may seem limited, he likely gets another shot. Doubts will lingerie though surround a possible capacity for continuing his career. 52 turnovers between 2011 and’12 should create some fear among potential suitors. At the same time, Sanchez has mobility to extend plays, while possessing enough arm strength.
 Decision making must improve. History suggests that this player can make things happen if there is a solid supporting cast. As a backup strictly, the Green Bay Packers make sense along with the possible tutelage of Aaron Rodgers. If Sanchez wishes to start immediately, the Cleveland Browns may make sense. Former Jets defensive coordinator Mike Pettine now is head coach. There defense was solid last year, and looks improved on paper.
 Receiver Josh Gordon has superstar-caliber talent, while tight end Jordan Cameron just needs consistently under center to truly thrive. New addition Ben Tate brings excitement at running back. Signing Sanchez could help Cleveland push an early Draft pick and win some game, while helping a fallen individual regain his confidence.  

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Potential Cinderella: Coastal Carolina

March Madness has arrived, and millions of people filled out their brackets. Of course choosing winners represents an American rite of passage. Office pools usually are the focus offering chances at cash and most importantly bragging rights. Challenging yourself could also bring fun.

Well you most likely know by now how finical mogul/philanthropist Warren Buffett teamed with Quicken Loans to form an inaugural “Billion Dollar Challenge”. All that separates someone from either a lump-sum payment of $500million or 40 offerings of $25million is predicting every game. Sounds easy enough right, but as many mathematicians state your odds stand around 1 in 1quintillian. Chances of cashing in on the Mega Millions or Powerball Jackpots are much better.
One way to at least standout though; chose a major upset.

No top seed has fallen in the first (well, now second round) of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. I want to inform you that each of my three brackets includes 16th Seed Coastal Carolina making history by defeating Virginia Friday night. That would probably sound crazy to many. It definitely doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that this is my Alma matter, right? It does play a slight role in my thinking of course. However, CCU possesses an offensively- gifted Big Three in Elijah Wilson, Josh Cameron, and Warren Gillis.

 Each player averages over 14 points per game. On defense the Chants aggressively attack rebounds while playing at a deliberate pace. While no one would argue that UVA’s ACC Conference trumps Big South competition, the Cavaliers also surprised this season. They are a solid team with no superstar. Though ranking sixth in RPI, UVA could fall if CCU hangs around late.
Sadly two of my brackets have Memphis ending any run in the next round, but Coach Cliff Ellis’ team would probably welcome such an outcome.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Rex Ryan’s Rightful Complaints with NY Jets

Five years ago New York Jets head coach Rex Ryan arrived, transforming their culture. His preference for smash-mouth ball control offense during this period of increased passing defies norms. It is appropriate given the brash personality that he carries. These guarantees have stopped since GM John Idzik took over, but Ryan remains a fiery individual. Given recent struggles that include three straight seasons without Playoff appearances doubters continue to increase.
Despite last season’s strong finish and an earlier contract extension, there are still issues. Idzik’s strategy in pursuing subtle free agent additions clashes with urgency from their coach’s situation. Make no mistake, Ryan’s long-term future remains in doubt. Signing Eric Decker improved the receiving corps, but alone is not enough. This team still has issues at corner have not been addressed while striking out on players like Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. Frustration reportedly builds from Ryan who believes his boss acts too conservative.

 Getting Michael Vick, who supposedly meets with New York this weekend would push QB Geno Smith, more must be done to improve pass coverage and create more plays offensively. In my opinion, a third-round pick for Philadelphia Eagles receivers could be worth risking locker room chemistry. Idzik appears content staying in rebuilding with an 8-8 team that showed promise. No matter what happens look for such power struggle to continue going forward. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Breaking Down Geno Smith’s Potential Competition

After three straight years without making the Playoffs, Rex Ryan’s New York Jets must feel frustrated. Representing one of pro Football’s most passionate fan bases creates even more urgency to obtain better results quickly. Those who were critical of their front office for fielding a sub-par group of receivers understood the many limitations. Despite not having many surrounding quality players quarterback Geno Smith deserves some blame for both his personal struggles, and that three game losing streak that ultimately proved to be New York’s undoing.
Issues remain with staring down receivers while forcing throws into tight coverage. This created too many turnovers but also makes adding a veteran presence vital. I don’t believe in Matt Simms, who has even less experience then Smith.

 Soon to be former Houston Texan Matt Schaub declined in 2013, but may simply need a change of scenery. Michael Vick would be my first choice, but could pursue other avenues in greater hopes of starting next year. No matter who arrives, New York should also draft someone during the middle rounds to create even more opposition. 

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Denver Broncos: NFL’s Team to Beat

The Seattle Seahawks won this past Super Bowl using suffocating defense to rattle opponents. Well their victim Denver Broncos seemed as if they took notes. Seen as “soft” using an air- raid style passing attack, Denver’s usually awesome offensive game disappeared. Defensively way too many big plays were surrendered. In free agency John Elway made huge moves immediately.  Linebacker DeMarcus Ware, corner Aqib Talib and safety TJ Ward all represent upgrades.

Now pair that with Vaughn Miller, and you have a tremendous defensive unit. Champ Bailey’s age made him susceptible in coverage, so their new addition makes sense. Darrelle Revis joining the New England Patriots was a big blow to AFC competitors, and losing Eric Decker to the New York Jets hurt somewhat, but Denver; armed with QB Peyton Manning should now be favored to win Super Bowl XLVIX.   His former team Indianapolis Colts are talented, and there are several contenders. This Broncos team just seems better to everyone else.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

New York Jets: Free Agent Chronicles

Most of my first 25 years of life have been cheering on the New York Jets. Their history as many know includes many ups and downs. After Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Namath led Gang Green to a first Super Bowl victory they have not reached this stage again 45 years later.

 Recently New York came close while QB Vinny Testeverde and Hall of Fame RB Curtis Martin led them to an AFC Championship Game appearance in 1999. Successor Chad Pennington would have been much better if it wasn’t for repeated shoulder injuries. HC Rex Ryan is 0-2 at this point in Playoff action while his team currently has some issues. Secondary concerns linger while receiver represents a major problem. Well yesterday’s Free Agency start saw GM John Idzik continue a subtle, quiet approach.

 There were discussions with veteran Michael Vick who would push and/or mentor Geno Smith. Today wide out Eric Deker has a scheduled visit. He is solid, but may want too much money. Solid db’s like Jairus Byrd are already gone. If former Jet Darrelle Revis joins the archrival New England Patriots, that would be devastating.  So far rumors also include “serious interest” in running back Maurice Jones-Drew. Action must take place quickly for an 8-8 team looking to rise.