Sunday, March 8, 2009

NY Jets: Free Agency Review

Key Additions: Bart Scott, Jim Leonhard, Lito Sheppard

Key Subtractions: Brett Favre, Laveranues Coles, Mike Nugent

Key Retentions: Tony Richardson

Rex Ryan is making his impact already on the defense side of the ball. Bringing in two former Ravens, Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard, Ryan is sending a message to the team and to the league that the Jets defense has designs on being as good and as physical as the Ravens.

The good news is that Ryan may have the personnel to do it. Yes, Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are not here, but the Jets defense is loaded with talent.

Revis and Rhodes have alsways been studs and now they have replaced two marginal performers with potential All-Pros in Leonhard and Sheppard. On paper this secondary is as good as any in football. That should take pressure off the front seven, but I'm not sure they need pressure taken off them.

On the inside Bart Scott partners up with David Harris. These two big, physical linebackers should be able to control the middle of the field, opening up the pass rush for Calvin Pace, Vernon Gholston, and Bryan Thomas. The key to the defense is Kris Jenkins. If he can stay healthy and stay fresh for the whole season, expect big things from this Jets team. The Jets would be wise to sign or draft someone to take some snaps off his hands because he clearly wore down as the season went on.

The problem for the Jets is on the offensive side of the ball. Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff? I'm not exactly confident. Add to the mix that these QBs have lost a reliable target in Coles and you have to wonder how the Jets are going to score points.

Looking forward, I still think the Jets need a veteran QB to help in case these youngsters implode. Second, the Jets need a reciever. The draft is deep in WR, but it's hard to rely on rookies.

NY Giants: Free Agency Review

Key Additions: Chris Canty, Rocky Bernard, Michael Boley

Key Subtractions: Derrick Ward

Key Retentions: Brandon Jacobs, David Carr

The Giants have made an obvious effort to add to the front 7 on defense. Last season the Giants lost Michael Strahan and immediately thereafter Osi Umenyiora was lost for the season due to injury. Players like Justin Tuck stepped up, but fatigued by the end of the year. In order to have a dominant defense, you have to have depth and the Giants have added that.

We knew the Giants couldn't keep both Jacobs and Ward so they stuck with their number 1 back this off-season. Bradshaw has a much better chance of replacing Ward than he does Jacobs. The Giants should be wary of giving Jacobs a long-term contract because running backs don't fare well when they get to be his age.

Overall, I like what the Giants did. You can never have too many athletes on defense. I'm not sure how Canty will fit in, considering the Giants already have Tuck, Osi, and Kiwanuka. That being said, expect the Giants defense to give opposing team a lot of different looks. The Giants won the Super Bowl due to the strength of their front 7, so they are rightfully reinforcing it.

The Giants still need to figure out their WR situation. It's a deep WR-Draft, but rookie WR often struggle. We'll see where the go from here, but I suspect Plaxico will be back.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Another Great Marbury Clip

This clip must have been funny when it first aired. But now in hindsight it is much better. According to Marbury, Isiah Thomas is "a man's man."
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My favorite quotes are "I shoot to win because I shoot to win. And that's it." and "I want to create jobs for everyone on this Earth."

I recognize this is a long clip. But please at least watch the last minute. Bruce Beck is a joke.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Marbury Waived

Goodbye Stephon Marbury.

What a disaster the Marbury era was. More than anything it is such a disappointment. A native New Yorker with all the skills to be great, I always wanted Marbury to one day be a Knick. Now I'm so glad he's gone I can't express it in words.

At least he made this contribution:

Monday, February 23, 2009

Knicks' Playoff Chances?

The Knicks need to avoid losses like the last one to the Raptors 110-100. The Raptors aren't very good and I think they wouldn't mind giving up on this season.

The reason the Knicks lost? They can't win on the road. Currently 7-20 on the road, things will have to change if they are going to make a playoff push.

The good news is they have 5 of their next 6 games at home against mostly beatable opponents. If the Knicks can go 5-1 or 4-2 it will show a lot about their potential to make the playoffs. Anything less and things will be tough.

Right now they are only 3.5 games behind the Bucks who do not have Michael Redd. In expect the Bucks to fade down the stretch and don't look now but the Pistons are in free fall mode. I bet they won't make the playoffs. That means all the Knicks have to do is catch the Bulls or the Nets and not let anyone skip them. It starts in the next game versus the Pacers.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Where 2010 Happens?

This video is a bit dated, but overall very good. Can Lebron save the Knicks?



Either way the Knicks are on the way to being saved. Obviously getting Lebron would be unbelievable, but even if they can only secure Chis Bosh or Amare Stoudemire plus a perimeter player, they are going to have a chance to be very good in the near future. In the meanwhile, we have a team we can root for to make the playoffs. It's nice to have some basketball to care about. In time, the Garden will return to form and stop cheering for opposing players. The Isiah Era hasn't fully be washed away but it's fading fast.

Jim Calhoun Gets Heated

Jim Calhoun doesn't appreciate a reporter's suggestion that he should make less money given the state's financial situation. Calhoun pretty much owns this guy.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Knicks Make Some Moves

The Knicks didn't make the moves I expected, but I'm pleasantly surprised with what they were able to accomplish. They improved their team in the short term without adversely altering their ability to pursue free agents in 2010.

1. Trade Jerome James, Tim Thomas, and Anthony Roberson to the Chicago Bulls for Larry Hughes.

The contracts cancel out here because James and Thomas come off the books after next season and so does Hughes' contract. In the meanwhile, the Knicks get a shooting guard that can step in and help them immediately. When disciplined, Hughes can score on defend. He'll help prevent opposing shooting guard from scoring 61 points at MSG. I'm not a huge Hughes fan, but he should help a lot as the Knicks try and make a playoff push. It goes without saying, good riddance to James and Thomas.

2. Trade Malik Rose to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Chris Wilcox.

Someone explain to me why the Thunder would do this. First, the send back Tyson Chandler because he has been injured. Getting Chandler for Wilcox and Joe Smith was a steal in my opinion, so they must believe he is seriously injured. Then they turn around and trade for Malik Rose? The contracts for Rose and Wilcox come off ater this year, but Wilcox still has upside, while Rose is finished. This should add some additional muscle and athleticism to the Knicks front court.

I think both Hughes and Wilcox will do well under D'Antoni. I didn't think the Knicks were a playoff team before, but now I think they have a very good chance.

Walsh continues to prove he's a pretty shrewd GM. I think the Knicks are finally in good hands.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Trade Deadline Looms

The NBA trade deadline looming, so let's take a look at what the local teams might do:

KNICKS

The Knicks would love to unload one of their longer dated contracts, namely Eddy Curry and Jared Jeffries. There is probably no interest in Curry and who could possibly want Jeffries?

At the same time the Knicks have two very marketable commodities in David Lee and Nate Robinson. Both are playing great basketball right now and could really help a playoff team. Why would the Knicks trade these players? Both a restricted free agents after this year. Someone will offer them contracts past 2010 and the Knicks may lose them for nothing. At this point Donnie Walsh needs to evaluate if the Knicks can get more now or via a sign and trade this summer. To me the sign and trade is a big risk.

No one will trade for Stephon Marbury unless they are looking to unload a contract, but this scenario is pretty irrelevant because the Knicks won't take a big contract back.

If the Knicks do anything they will have to move either Lee or Robinson. In order to make it worth it to them, look for Walsh to try and force either Curry or Jeffries on whichever team wants Lee or Robinson. It sounds like nothing is going to happen, but I wouldn't count anything out. Before people scream about trading Lee and Robinson, remember the D'Antoni effect. Everyone puts up bigger numbers under D'Antoni and thus have inflated value. If the Knicks can get back a 1st round pick plus some cap relief, they will make a move.


NETS

The Nets appear to be actively shopping Vince Carter. One rumor had them dealing Vince for Tracy McGrady but that's likely dead due to McGrady's injury (plus why would you want McGrady). Portland is also a possible destination for Vinsanity, but I personally don't think they need him. There's to much potential for corruption there. The Cavs claim to be out of it, but if they can convince NJ to trade him for Wally-World's expiring contract how could they pass up on that? Carter would be a nice complement to Lebron and take a lot of the scoring pressure off. A backcourt of Mo Williams, Vince Carter, and Lebron James would present a lot of match-up problems for the Cavs rivals.

My guess is the Nets sit tight and try to make a playoff run. Unless blown away, the Nets will sit back.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Jets Interested in Michael Vick?

With Favre retired there are rumors that the Jets may pursue Michael Vick. I will never root for the Jets to win another game if they do this.

The guy is a disgraceful person. It's sickening what he's done and at some point that has to count for something.

I know he's gone to jail and we are supposed to forgive him. But before you do, re-read the stories about what he did and see if you can. I certainly can't and I won't forgive the Jets either.

Nate the Great Wins the Dunk Contest

They call him Krypto-Nate now that he took down Superman. In an eventful dunk contest Howard and Robinson stole the show with their Superman vs. Kryptonite theme. Howard has really put this competition back on the map, but I suspect he'll sit out next year. Lebron is saying he'll be in it next year, which will make it a must see event.

For Knicks fans, it's nice to have something to cheer for. Check out some of the dunks below.

Goodbye Brett

I haven't written about this yet because it was so expected that it was barely news-worthy. Brett Favre ended his illustrious career and I fully expect him to stay retired. Last time it was pretty obvious he still had an itch, but this time he sounded pretty tired.

It's sad to see such a great career fizzle out, but the Jets are better off. The cap relief was a must and now they can move forward. Look for them to sign a veteran such as Jeff Garcia or Byron Leftwich to pair with Kellen Clemens this season. Sounds Rex will have to bring it on defense to me.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Selig Should Be Ashamed

How is Bud Selig saying things like this:
"While Alex deserves credit for publicly confronting the issue, there is no valid excuse for using such substances, and those who use them have shamed the game."
How Selig can say this with a straight face? He's done nothing while this whole travesty occurred. He let Barry Bonds who was obviously juicing break the sports most hallowed record. Is Selig pretending like he didn't know about this? Bud Selig shamed the game by letting the Players Union and greed destroy the history of the sport. I can't say for sure that he knew players were juicing, but he certainly should've been able to figure it out considering how many players have now been caught.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3902907

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A-Rod Interview

Alex Rodriguez's message was clearly, I did it, I'm sorry, and I'm a great player without it. I'm not sure if I'm being naive, but I believe him when he says he only used it from 2001-2003. But whether Alex likes it or not, you can't be the greatest of all-time if you are a cheater.

This has become a familiar tune:

1. Everyone was doing it and you needed to do it to keep up
2. I did it to help my team
3. I'm sorry to the fans

This is all old hat by now. But what I took from this interview that really struck me is what A-Rod didn't say. He almost said it. He almost said that baseball knew this was going on. That Selig, the owners, the players, the teams all knew it was going on. That's the even bigger story here. Selig's head has to roll. He can't take on the players or the players union because he was an accomplice. We need a new commissioner who can try to turn the page.

Here's the bulk of his interview. Wait for the long pause towards the beginning where you can see he wants to blame baseball. He wants to blame baseball for letting this happen. I think he wanted to say that he knows he is the most talented player in baseball. He was scared that players worse than him would be better than him if they took steroids and he didn't. Alex can't live with not being recognized as being the best so he did it. That's what he wants to say.

http://video.aol.com/video-detail/sc-exclusive-alex-rodriguez-interview/303336011


I believe Alex is a great player with or without steroids. I don't group him with Bonds who's career might have been over several years earlier if he didn't use steroids and he continued to use steroids even after everyone knew. But the fact remains, a cheat is a cheat is a cheat. I can't ever look at him the same.

This is pretty comical....

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A-Rod? More like A-Roid

I don't know why I'm surprised but it's out that A-Rod used steroids in 2003 and probably before then and after. Jose Canseco has been proven right once again. He said A-Rod used steroids and here is the news. Why doesn't anyone believe him? I know he's a joke and the most legitimate thing he's done since leaving baseball is star on VH1's the surreal life, but he's been 100% dead on about everything he has said. Everyone he has called out has been guilty. We all thought he was exaggerating when he said 80% of the players use steroids, but I'd bet that number is dead on.

This really sucks for a lot of reasons. Most notably because the best player in the sport is a fraud. Part of the reason we could ignore Bonds breaking the home run record is because we knew A-Rod would break it. But now what's the difference?

The great thing about baseball is history. Who hasn't heard stories about Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, etc. Forty years from now who are we going to tell stories about? Even those not explicitly implicated we'll always have to doubt how great they truly were. And those who we know didn't use steroids will not have the MVPs, batting titles, home runs titles, etc. that they deserve and signify greatness. The biggest crime of all this is the destruction of baseball history. The Black Sox, Pete Rose, whatever else you can think of pale in comparison to the magnitude of this cheating. It will no doubt destroy the game for many fans and lead everyone to question the integrity of our so called heroes. I love baseball too much to turn my back on the sport, but they certainly do make you want to abandon it.

Isn't it time we impeach Bud Selig? The guy is a complete joke. I understand no one is jumping at the job, but anyone would be better. His incompetence is only rivaled by his negligence. He's destroying our nation's pastime with each day he is in office. The Players Union ought to be ashamed of themselves as well. They knew this was going on and did nothing. What a disgrace. Lucky for them we expect so little from them this is hardly a surprise.

As for the Yankees, what can you do? Recognizing that everyone uses steroids, you can't punish the guy. Just tell him not to do it again. Unfortunately for us fans, the last 15 years of baseball are basically meaningless. Everyone we thought was great we should erase from our memory. We'll have to wait until the next generation of players to rebuild the sport.