Let Me Down Easy….They Stopped The Bleeding In New York And Somehow Rewrote The Birth Of Tragedy

“Man can believe the impossible, but can never believe the improbable”

– Oscar Wilde

BREAKING NEWS: There are riots erupting in front of the Garden…Knicks fans are calling for D’Antoni’s head. I can hear the chants from the Village…they want it hung from the rafters of MSG, mustache and all. They are products of their environment you see, spoiled by the defense of the Jets…Sorry, let’s stick to basketball…it’s been so long…no trades…free agency…stasis…visions of the Arctic Circle……..

Is it a waste of time to try and write about the NBA Playoffs while watching the NBA Playoffs? That’s a meta question indeed.  As per the writer’s contractual obligations, I must perform. Even under duress of utter boredom.

Tim Duncan is on my television. He is not dunking, he is not driving, just standing around, waiting for someone to shoot. I am attempting to watch the Spurs with some sort of excitement. It is not easy, as I am continuously waiting for Duncan to get a block and run it down the court for a glass shattering dunk…I am trying. Lord I am trying.

In my previous article I meant to discuss the vortex of doom surrounding NY sports teams as a result of Steinbrenner’s deal with the devil, which would cost all other teams championships, playoff wins etc…yet I refrained for fear of being right. So what happens? Billups shoots his knee cap off into the front row, Stoudemire has his back go out on him and Carmelo has to play with a bunch of dudes that wouldn’t even see the floor on a team like Boston or LA. On a scale of difficulty, I would crank this one up between trying to talk your way out of a DUI (Braylon!) and convincing your girlfriend that the playoffs are more important than the series finale of Glee.

Knick Fans: Calm down you Fanta looking freaks. It is my personal belief that we should give D’Antonio a shot next year. Then boot him off to the swamps if we can’t at least get a 4 seed.

Let’s see what this system of offensive insanity can do with all three stars having some actual time to get together and work out some sets, defensively and offensively. No one cares to think how hard it would be if you lost your two most important players in a playoff series against the three sages and the goblinboy (does Rondo look like Willem Dafoe or am I crazy?) especially when it is a point guard and a power forward/center hybrid who could make Kevin Garnett look like an old man on the post up. Although when Billups is aging and Stoudemire’s knees are as reliable as an Alfa Romeo on a cross country road trip, there may not be time left for such experiments.

All things must pass however, D’Antoni is off to go alligator hunting, OKC should give Denver one last beat-down. The Spurs look like a team being fitted for burial suits, the Bulls will live and die by the ankle of Derrick Rose.

The Magic have looked out of sorts except for Dwight Howard’s facial hair (No More Smiles), and I think the Hawks have proved that 3/4 stars (Johnson, Smith, Horford) can get you out of the first round when the other team goes 1 for 243 from 3. Dallas looks slow and old despite Dirk, although I hope they advance to have their it handed to them by the Lakers. Lastly, the Sixers outwilled the Knicks to at least get one win. That’s like watching the fat kid pass you in the annual mile run in middle school. It leaves scars you can’t see.

End of the Year Ramblings On Knicks; Other 1st Round NBA Thoughts

There was only one team swept in the first round of the NBA Playoffs, your New York Knicks. Then again, there was only one team running out a backcourt of Roger Mason and Antony Carter in crunch time. Yes, the Knicks have an the injury excuse to fall back on. No Chauncey Billups. A banged up Amare Stoudemire but in the end, they are only excuses.

The Knicks should have won both game one and two. Unfortunately, they still haven’t learned how to execute when it matters the most. They then made the mistake of patting themselves too hard on the back for playing tough in Boston and decided to lay down in front of their home fans for games 3 and 4.

We know this: Toney Douglas isn’t the point guard of the future. Landry Fields hit the rookie wall harder than anybody in recent memory, throwing the 2-guard position into question and the Knicks still need another big body or two to be taken seriously as a contender.

The Knicks are back to being relevant, which is nice. Yet, the grace period is over now. One and done in the playoffs isn’t going to cut it anymore…not with two players like Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire.

Other round one thoughts —

– You have to respect the effort being put forth by both the Philadelphia 76ers and Indiana Pacers. Neither team will win their series but both have given teams substantially better than them everything they can handle.

– Yes, Atlanta has exceeded everyone’s expectations but I also do think Orlando is a good match-up for them. Maybe I am not giving them the respect they deserve but I don’t think they are a serious threat to Chicago in round two.

– Portland/Dallas has been a physical, entertaining series that should end up going to seven games. Everybody has defended their home-court so far, which bodes well for the Mavericks who have shown they deserve more respect than they received before the playoffs started.

– The Western Conference is wide open. I guess you could say Oklahoma City is probably the favorite right now with how bad the Lakers have looked but Memphis is going to be a handful for the Thunder in round two, if they finish off San Antonio.

NFL Draft: How Will Jets Rivals Handle Round One?

Despite not winning the division, the New York Jets have been the AFC East team to go the furthest in the playoffs the past two years. So yes, I would say New England and certainly Buffalo and Miami are chasing them. Here is a quick look at where the Jets divisional rivals are picking in round one and what type of talk has been surrounding those picks —

Buffalo Bills – #3

There is plenty of speculation about the Bills drafting their quarterback of the future, whether it ends up being Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert depending on how the board breaks. Texas A&M outside linebacker Von Miller has also frequently been tied to the Bills. I have a tough time seeing them pass on a quarterback. This franchise badly needs a shot in the arm and either Newton or Gabbert could supply that.

Miami Dolphins – #15

Running back Mark Ingram was a popular pick for awhile but there are now questions about whether he is really a first round talent. The more recent speculation has been that Miami will officially end the Chad Henne era by taking a quarterback, specifically Ryan Mallett. If they decide to ignore their skill positions, center Mike Pouncey would be a safer pick and would help boost their inconsistent offensive line.

New England Patriots #17 and #28

We know New England won’t hesitate to move around the first round but if they stay put, their defensive and offensive lines have been rumored to be the target areas. Cameron Jordan, a defensive end from California and Boston College offensive tackle, Anthony Castonzo have been popular picks. There has always been some chatter lately about them targeting Mark Ingram if the Dolphins decide to pass on him.

Draft Week Arrives: Uncertainty Surrounds Jets

Round one of the NFL Draft is only a few short days away and despite having an idea of what direction we think the Jets will go in, position wise, the 30th selection in the draft remains very up in the air. Will the Jets…

  • Address their defensive line by adding Muhammad Wilkerson if he happens to fall to them or by taking Phil Taylor despite his the injury concerns? Could they add a five technique like Cameron Heyward?
  • Improve their pass rush by taking Akeem Ayers, Justin Houston, or Brooks Reed to play outside linebacker? Ayers has been a popular pick  for the Jets the past few months, yet Reed is becoming a hot name and shooting up many draft boards. Houston has questions about his motor and consistency, which should make the Jets gun shy considering that whole Vernon Gholston thing.
  • Surprise everybody and ignore their defensive front seven in round one and add to their secondary or maybe reach for a wide receiver. Cornerback Jimmy Smith would be intriguing if he fell to 30 and Rahim Moore is the best safety on most people’s draft board and he should also be available. Wide receivers Leonard Hankerson and Jonathan Baldwin would be reaches but the Jets could be feeling a little desperate with Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and Brad Smith all free agents.
  • Disappoint all the fans who show up Thursday night and trade out of the first round. Mike Tannenbaum might want to trade back into round two to acquire more picks and then look to target somebody like Stephen Paea or Jabaal Sheard.

The Jets front office is rarely predictable. Regardless, you would assume this will be a defensive heavy draft for the Jets who need to get younger and improve their depth at all three levels. You would also think the Jets want to leave this draft with at least six players, if not more considering they have only made seven selections the past two years.

TOJ Forums Now Live!

An important public service announcement…as you can see at the top of the website, we have a new page “TOJ Forum” which is at the link http://turnonthejets.com/forum … Thanks to our good friend Randy Field and to our terrific HTML designer Will Horton (www.ramsherd.com), we now have a full message board embedded into TOJ. The home page you will see when you go to the forum link is the Jets home page. However, as you can see at the bottom, you can discuss any NFL team or topic, MLB team or topic, NBA team or topic or anything else that you see fit.

The group of people who started this message board at “BringIt2USports” were a collection of some of the most insightful fans on the ESPN Jets fan message board and always provide interesting discussion and commentary on the team. I encourage you to do what I am about to do, create a user-name and join the discussion!

http://turnonthejets.com/forum

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #13

Our last pre-draft edition of the 12 pack, which keeps chugging along, lockout or no lockout. Read on for thoughts on the Jets draft plans, schedule, a few other random observations, and plenty more. Get your weekend started off right with the TOJ 12 pack —

1. The more I think about Mike Tannenbaum’s unnecessary praise of Marcus Dixon, the more think there is no way Shaun Ellis is coming back next year. If that is the case, the Jets better draft two defensive lineman next week because they will be beyond thin at the position, especially if Trevor Pryce decides to stay retired. Mike DeVito and Sione Pouha are steady, solid players but the Jets badly need an infusion of youth and pass rush ability from their down lineman.

2. I think the best case for the Jets at #30 is Muhammad Wilkerson falling to them. Out of all the players who might be available, he has the best chance to be an absolute force on Rex Ryan’s defense. Phil Taylor is a good fallback option but the latest reports about a chronic condition in his food are concerning. I am thinking Cameron Heyward is a safer bet for the defensive line if Wilkerson is off the board at #30.

3. I doubt Jimmy Smith’s character concerns are high enough to merit him falling anywhere near #30 but if he does, you know Rex Ryan is going to be pushing hard for him. Smith has top 10-15 talent and pairing him with Darrelle Revis would make parting with Antonio Cromartie easier to digest, so the Jets can turn their financial focus to the offensive side of the football where Tannenbaum will somehow try to get both Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards back.

4. I am still not sure why the NFL decided to put Jets vs. Giants on Christmas Eve, instead of the season opener on 9/11. I am also not sure if it is worth worrying about the NFL schedule at this point, considering we could be missing a chunk of games…a thought which is so infuriating that I need to stop writing this paragraph before I start hurling expletives.

5. Considering how up in the air the Jets wide receiver position currently is, I’d be shocked if they didn’t spend one of their middle round picks on one. I don’t think Brad Smith will be back. Santonio Holmes status is suddenly more up in the air than expected and Braylon Edwards won’t be easy to bring back either.

6. The NFL can spin it however they want but the draft has lost some of it’s buzz because of the lockout. Maybe it is because we know we are headed back into the off-season silence after next weekend passes but summer is starting to inch closer and it appears the two sides remain as far apart as ever.

7. The Jets badly to improve their overall depth at the linebacker position. Right now their top backups are Jamaal Westerman, Josh Mauga, and Lance Laury. They have been fortunate on the whole with injuries the past few years, but they are leaving themselves perilously thin if something happens to one of their starters.

8. The Jets schedule is certainly no cakewalk but I am not sure if it as hard as some people are making it out to be. There is no reason they shouldn’t be able to start 3-0, which gives them a cushion to work with during the middle part of the schedule. The only gripe I have is flying them across the country for a Thursday night game in Denver after playing a Sunday night game against New England. Who knows if Renaldo Hill will be able to help us out again this time?

9. I am really thinking there is a very good chance the Jets will trade down, which will make for many unhappy fans in attendance Thursday night but if nobody is jumping off the board at 30, it is the right move.

10. I doubt the New York Knicks can come back and win their series, especially with how banged up Amare Stoudemire and Chauncey Billups are. However, I expect them to take game three tonight because of the environment at Madison Square Garden and because of how Carmelo Anthony played in game two.

11. How I think the rest of the NBA first round will play out — Bulls and Heat will finish off their sweeps. The Hawks edge out the Magic in seven. The Grizzlies shock the Spurs in seven. Lakers win in a tough six. Blazers come back to win in seven and Thunder take it in five.

12. Weekend video clips, draft edition —

Late Round Prospects For Jets

We have been paying a lot of attention to whom the Jets are going to pick with their first round selection, but one guy cannot account for all of the Jets needs. Mid round picks are essential for the development of a championship team. With the Jets not having a second round pick, the need to land quality players in the later rounds is even bigger.

The first late round prospect we will look at is Chykie Brown (pronounced shock-ey) who  is an athletic cornerback from the University of Texas.  There is little doubt that he would be a project for Dennis Thurman, but some believe his athleticism should be enough for the Jets to take a chance on him.  His long arms and athleticism make his ball skills the strongest part of his game.  However, he does not have the best awareness on the field and can sometimes be thrown around a little by bigger receivers, on top of that, he does not offer much in terms of run support.  Going into a draft with Rex Ryan at the helm, cornerback is always an option, especially this year with uncertainty around who is coming back and who might change positions in the Jets secondary.

On the other side of the ball, the Jets might be looking to improve their wide receivers.  One guy who the Jets could take a look at is Austin Pettis.  Pettis is a tough, hard-working player who the Jets could move into the slot position.  He is more quick than fast as he ran a 4.56 40 at the combine but had a combine best 20 yard shuttle at 3.88.  He has good hands andsome big play potential, however he seems to be a one-speed player who lacks the ability to consistently separate from NFL man coverage.  Personally I think the Jets needs for a receiver is overstated, but it definitely wouldn’t hurt to roll the dice on a hard working player. 

Back to defense, the Jets might be wise to pick up a safety sooner than later and that guy could be, if he falls, Ahmad Black from Florida. Coming out of a program like Florida, Black has played in big games and should be able to handle the pressures of playing football in January.  He was very productive in college and is able to read the QB eyes and keep the play in front of him.  Black has the athletic ability to play center field in a Rex defense and is much more comfortable in that role than playing press man to man.  Black has the potential to be a productive player at the next level, he is one of the better safety’s in a weak class and the Jets would have to get him in third round if he even drops that far.   

The last guy we will look at is Mississippi State linemen Pernell McPhee.  Rex has shown the ability to be able to get production out of average talent at the defensive line position.  McPhee is best against the run; he uses good leverage at the point of attack and is able to get into the backfield.  Against the pass, he isn’t quick enough to get around the edge and to consistently get to the quarterback.  He does have a bull rush which was effective in college, but he will need to expand his pass rushing skills if he wants to stay on the field in the NFL.  It might be tough for him to transition to the 5-technique but there is nobody questioning his motor so if picked, hopefully he will work to get better.