Considering I am 26 years old and have spent all of those years I can remember as a New York Jets fan, there should have been no rational reason to be excited for last night’s game. Yet, there I was rushing everybody through our Fantasy Football draft in Atlantic City so I had enough time to get properly set up to watch August football. There is always another layer of excitement when a new, highly drafted quarterback is making his debut start.
In the pre-draft process, I wasn’t the biggest Geno Smith fan. However, I liked the value of getting him at #39 and was relatively encouraged from the summer he had put together. My hope was that he would play an efficient, turnover free game and flash some of the arm strength and athleticism that made him a first round prospect in many people’s eyes.
I decided to play a little blackjack prior to kickoff and then have them switch the nearest TV, which was playing Buffalo/Washington, to the game at 7 PM. I could gamble. Enjoy my complimentary beverages and watch football. God Bless America, right? I had visions of doubling down, watching the dealer bust, looking up to see Geno throw a pretty 75 yard touchdown pass, throwing up the ROC sign and then having Kate Upton join me at the table to tell me how much she loves and appreciates the work we do at Turn On The Jets.
Jack. 8. Stay. Dealer is showing a 3. OK! Dealer flips over a 10. Dealer flips over a…8? Eh. 5. 6. Dealer is showing a 4. Double Down? Yes, please. 8? Here we go. Here comes the momentum. Dealer flips over a 8. She wouldn’t dare flip another…8? Ok, so now we are down a quick 3 hands. Let’s just get one. 9. That’s my number! Dealer has a King and she is checking….insurance? Never. Checking…Ace. Welp.
Who wanted to play blackjack during the game anyway? I could saddle up at the bar with a drink, eat some free pretzels and just concentrate on those Geno touchdowns. It was 6:55. Bartender? Can you please flip over to Jets/Giants? This is New Jersey after all.
“Sorry sir. We don’t get ANY New York channels or the NFL Package. Cost cutting move. We have the NFL Network and I think when Bills/Redskins are over, they might flip into some Jets highlights if you are lucky.”
Terrific! Thank you Philadelphia metro market and Golden Nugget Hotel. I should have taken the blackjack and lack of broadcast as omens for the game. I trudged back to the room to meet some of my friends, all of whom are Giants fans. I was going to be Twitter monitoring this game on my phone, which meant looking down at my Droid every 5 seconds like a 15 year old waiting for his first girlfriend to text him back.
Jets 3 and out. David Wilson 84 yard touchdown. Pass me one of those Budweisers, would you?
Geno Smith completion. Penalty. Penalty. Penalty. Penalty. Did I mention that the Giants have looked like crap this summer? This doesn’t matter since they have won 2 Super Bowls in the last 5 years, I am properly reminded.
TOUCHDOWN?! Jets Twitter is ablaze. Geno has “the look”, he is in “complete control” out there, like a seasoned veteran. 5/7 on his passes with the quick answer touchdown pass. Look at how he is banging his chest. SWAG! CONFIDENCE! Show those doubters. I’m throwing up my ROC sign. It is new era.
Who scored? Ben OBOMANU. Not a single person in our room recognized the name after I yelled it out. I told them to check the remaining player stickers on our fantasy board to find him…shockingly he wasn’t there. You needed to pen in Benny O if you wanted to draft him.
I relaxed a little bit. My friends and I debated which night club we wanted to stand line in to pay an egregious amount of money to enter. Ten guys in button downs talking about how they can’t believe somebody took Vernon Davis in the fourth round, every group of females dream.
I checked my phone. Interception? Ut-oh. Well, it sounds like it wasn’t fully Geno’s fault. Ryan Spadola should have fought harder for the football, so says some people on my TL. Why are we are playing somebody from LEHIGH in the first quarter, anyway…I say to my friend who played linebacker at Lehigh. I can be a jerk during Jets games.
(2 hours earlier I was talking to my same friend and telling him in great detail how Spadola was the next Wayne Chrebet and I was just so proud to see somebody from our alma mater make it in the NFL. He then reminded me I went to Lehigh for 1 year for Graduate School and played football at Muhlenberg, which was D-3, not D-1AA like Lehigh and that was my alma mater….those Patriot Leaguers…so smug).
Ok, let’s see how Geno responds. The Giants punted back already? How about that Jets D waking up finally? 16 yard screen pass to Chris Ivory. Nice. Geno to Ivory has a nice ring to it. Incompletion to Kellen Winslow. Oops. Now INTERCEPTION? Again? Jets Twitter is again ablaze. “Brutal” throw. “Terrible decision and accuracy…poor response to his previous interception.”
1 quarter down. 2 interceptions. The jokes are starting to pile up from the Giants fans. They are circling like vultures. A little more time passes. Let’s just get through this half without any more turnovers, eh Geno? Even up that stat line with another touchdown.
I look down. That can’t be right. They are talking about his other interception. He didn’t throw another one already, DID HE? Justin Tuck? Another quarterback who is getting intercepted by defensive lineman? Three interceptions. Jets Twitter is nearing meltdown mode. #FreeMcElroy. #FreeSanchez. (Just Kidding, Jets fans would never say that), #FreeSimms #FreeTEBOW…#GenoBall sounds dead already to the masses.
Halftime arrives. I get a text from a “friend”
“Just thought u should know the text I just got from ESPN…Giants lead the Jets 10-7 at halftime. G. Smith (NYJ) 11 of 25, 134yds, 1 TD, 3 INT”
Look at those numbers. 44% completion percentage. After starting 5/7 with a TD, he went 6 for his next 18 with 3 INTs. No more ROC signs for right now.
We head downstairs and continue the vicious Atlantic City cycle of losing money, paying too much for drinks, and watching Bachelorette parties who drove 83 exits down the Parkway stumble around in oddly coordinated uniforms.
The Giants backups are in on defense. Geno Smith is going to stay in. Let’s see if he can answer in any way coming out of the half with the competition dialed down a bit. Sure enough the Jets go right down the field. Touchdown Bilal Powell. Geno went 3/3 on the drive for 50 yards. Is that all for him? Maybe the Jets will have him leave on that high note and let Matt Simms finish up the game.
After a long Giants drive, Geno is going to play into the 4th. That is okay. Let the young pup keep learning. What is this notification?
Safety?…He stepped out of the back of the end-zone…he pulled an ORLOVSKY?! Nobody I am around even believes me when I tell them. That will end the night for Geno. A little over 3 quarters. 4 Turnovers and a hair over 50% on completions. And now here comes…Mark Sanchez…with 11 minutes to go in the fourth quarter? Who is blocking right now? Isn’t Sanchez likely starting week one, since Geno clearly needs a little more seasoning?
As if Jets Twitter hasn’t been ablaze enough. Now Sanchez is hurt. Here come the jokes. Here come the snide comments. Here come the people calling for Rex Ryan’s head. The game drags on with Matt Simms making some plays and of course people starting to call for HIM to start week 1 because of course they are.
The game ends and now I am reading something about Rex standing sideways. It sounds as if the wind is being taken out of every Jets fan sails. People want to start Smith. People want to start to McElroy. People want to start Simms because he carved up the Giants 4th stringers. People feel bad for Sanchez. People are laughing at Sanchez.
Why can’t we just have a normal pre-season game? I would have been happy with 15/22 for 150 with a TD, and a INT from Geno and a healthy Sanchez leaving the game. I didn’t need the ROC signs and Kate Upton sitting with me, I wasn’t asking for that much!
Later that night, at the previously mentioned overpriced nightclub, I ran into an old friend from high school who said they heard I had a website and asked what it was about.
The New York Jets? Like the football team?
Yes, the New York Jets.
Good luck with that man, good luck with that.
ANYWAY. I did get to watch the pre-season game this morning, twice actually. Thank you NFL.com! A handful of observations…
1. Overall, Geno looked like a rookie who is simply not ready to start as of right now. There were positives. There were times he got into rhythm and made some nice strikes in the intermediate passing game but overall he was skittish in the pocket, locked into one receiver too frequently and had three inexcusable turnovers. The one interception on the attempt to Spadola was partially his fault but his receiver didn’t help him out there. The other two were 100% his fault and the safety was an ugly, ugly mistake.
2. Spadola was too weak on that interception but beyond that played a terrific game. He has locked up a roster spot and will be a factor on offense this year. It was another strong night for Ben Obomanu as well, who had 3 receptions for 56 yards and a touchdown and remains a special teams contributor. I’m not sure how Braylon Edwards makes this team, especially now since Santonio Holmes is on the active roster.
3. Damon Harrison had a nice bounce-back game. He struggled against Jacksonville last week and I Tweeted before the game about what a downgrade he was from Kenrick Ellis. Well, Harrison shut me up with a strong all-around performance with 7 tackles and 2 TFLs. I saw after the game that he had Favorited the Tweet. I will be Tweeting negative things about all Jets players before the next game in hopes of continuing this trend.
4. Sheldon Richardson is going to be a special player. We are starting to really see glimpses of how talented and versatile he is.
5. Somehwere right now, Kyle Wilson is getting called for pass interference and waving his finger…
6. The Jets had 29 carries for 39 yards…yes, I’m starting to get a little worried about the running game. It looks like Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory will be platooning, at least until Ivory can really get rolling because he isn’t there yet. The starting offensive line was pretty solid in pass protection but the push in the running game isn’t consistently there.