Back To Football: Upcoming Week’s Timeline

Here is what to look for…

Today – Free agency list will be distributed and the league will announce that teams can have 90 man rosters for training camp.

Tomorrow – Trades and free agency begin, including team’s having the ability to sign undrafted free agents, their draft picks, their own free agents, and other team’s free agents. Players can enter team facilities.

Wednesday – Some teams begin reporting to training camp.

Thursday – Players can be cut starting at 4 PM.

Friday – Transactions can be filed to the league office and become official starting at 6 PM.

Sunday – Jets expected to report to training camp in Florham Park, New Jersey.

August 15th – Jets open pre-season in Houston on Monday Night Football.

A few other nuggets from around the web

TOJ at Gunaxin with a quick look at what to remember about all 32 teams

Rex Ryan welcomes fans back to football with a short video

Apparently, Rex dropped a gem of a speech to team employees today, where he said “the Giants talk about the past, but the Jets talk about what we’re going to do in the future.”

ESPN Chicago is reporting the Bears are interested in Brad Smith

Let the bidding war for Santonio Holmes begin

NFL Is Back!

I never use exclamation points in articles, as part of my belief that men should never use emoticons or exclamation points when typing or texting…but I have to break that belief because the NFL is back and I, like all of you, couldn’t be more excited.

The reported timeline for the upcoming week is still a bit up in the air, but I will update this post when the finalized version is released. It is expected that teams can begin negotiating with free agents tomorrow, with all contracts becoming official on August 2nd. The Jets are expected to report to camp this Sunday, with their pre-season opener set for August 15th at Houston.

The road to the Super Bowl finally begins…

Calm Before The Storm: Final Thoughts On Jets Free Agency

I won’t publish a “NFL is Back” post until it becomes official (probably around noon today) with a finalized timeline for the rest of the week. Yet, from everything we are hearing, things are about to start getting nuts…maybe even today. 

A few final thoughts –

1. Wide Receiver – Santonio Holmes remains the Jets top priority but if the Washington Redskins drive the price up to a ridiculous number, Mike Tannenbaum shouldn’t hesitate to move his focus to bringing back Braylon Edwards. The Jets have too many other areas to address to waste resources and time in a bidding war with Daniel Snyder’s endless pockets. If the Jets are going to sign a free agent, I think it ends up being Randy Moss.

2. Secondary – It is worth taking a run at Nnamdi Asomugha, even if it remains a long shot. Antonio Cromartie returning is also starting to seem like a long shot, which means the Jets could have to focus on getting Brodney Pool and Drew Coleman back, along with finding a veteran free agent corner.

3. Offensive Tackle – It sounds like they plan to work something out with Damien Woody but if not Wayne Hunter remains a viable fallback option. The key is making sure at least one of the two is brought back. It would be insane to just hand the job to Vladimir Ducasse without having a veteran to compete with him.

4. Defensive End – Unfortunately, I could see Shaun Ellis being too pricey considering the Jets other concerns. However, Trevor Pryce is a good fallback plan.

5. Other Considerations – Even though I would like to see them add another linebacker, we haven’t heard anything tangible about the Jets having interest in picking up a Matt Roth, Manny Lawson, or Antwan Barnes. Hopefully, they can find some support for the position, especially if Bryan Thomas is forced to be a cap casualty.

TOJ Sunday Video Clips: Lockout Ending Edition

It sounds like we will have an official end to the lockout tomorrow, starting a frenzied week of finalizing votes and preparing for the league year to kick off this Saturday. Football is on the way back, so that calls for a nice collection of video clips and links to bring your Sunday to an end –

Mark Sanchez 2011 Highlight Film

Locker Room After Beating New England

Game Winner

Still Gets Me Everytime

No Hard Knocks This Year? Watch TOJ’s Version Instead…

TOJ writing staff getting after it this week

In The Hours Of Waiting: Heat Waves and Missed Opportunities

It is a cool day in New York. With the past four days temperatures ranging from 94 to 105, most of lower Manhattan has taken to the garbage filled East River, taking refuge in the shady waters under the FDR. The NFL has teased us again. Perhaps the season will not come until September. Will a lack of pre-season have any effect on fans? Of course. Fathers will be forced to actually take part in preparing their children for the school year. Fans will not be constantly checking Wikipedia to see exactly who all these strange statless players flashing across our screen are. There will be injuries by the hundreds. Plays will fall apart, leaving defenses with stats that rival the ’85 Bears.

I have come to conclusions about baseball, understanding the utter callousness I put on display in a recent article regarding the oldest sport known to modern man. I have come to love baseball. But it is a love the professor who studies malaria has for his petri dish. It is not a love that translates to the casual fan. It is a scientist’s love, made for the weird and the lover of all things slow. It is bird watching with sponsors.

I have been mostly shocked that the Yankees are somehow competitive without a serious number two starter. We have been living on the concoctions of voodoo doctors, seeing how the bullpen is one of the most randomly hashed together staff of veterans and rookies, it is a shock we have remained at the head of the AL Wild Card race. Derek Jeter hit 3,000 with the entire HBO film crew trying not to fly out of their seats. The movie is in the works.

Money and power. Divorces, death and war all over the country. It is summer, and so we all try and push that out of the way. I am planning a trip to Montauk next weekend, which will hopefully be devoid of cable news, NY Times and the opinions of other human beings on sports and politics. You can only watch highlight express so many times before the faces all seem to blur into one lawyer/former agent ranting about the divide between players and owners.

Where can I go on the Jets without sounding like a hopeful fool or a hopeless cynic? Let’s keep Cromartie and Holmes. I know we need Edwards, but I can take Cotchery and Jeremy Kerley as the smaller faster Dustin Keller. We have four running backs. I feel ok. Let’s also keep Ellis and Woody. Veteran lineman are a must for any team with risk at the linebacker or receiver position. Kris Jenkins is gone, but he is still on my Madden ’10 team, which is all I care about at this point. We may even have enough money to keep Brodney Pool and Eric Smith around before we take a first round linebacker or safety next year. Scratch that, knowing Tannenbaum, he will steal someone completely insane for a 1st and a 3rd round pick.

NBA lockout is causing some unusual craziness. Nobody needs that much practice that isn’t 18 years old. Going overseas will be the biggest mistake any star NBA player can make. The venues are garbage, the rewards are relatively small, and the teams you will play against wouldn’t make the sweet sixteen of the NCAA championship. Dwight Howard may have an ego, but when you score 50 3 nights in a row, the inkling of maximizing potential against the “best in the world” does not seem to be a valid argument. There is a reason Dirk Nowitzki did not stay in Germany.

When something regarding the lockout resolution comes to fruition, I will have something somewhat meaningful to say. Until then, I will be waiting for the dew point to drop below 65, and for Drew Rosenhaus to send me my case of 5 hour energy.

New York Jets: What We Learned This Lockout

I am thoroughly exhausted of hearing about “close” the NFL Lockout is to being over…will it end in the coming weeks? Probably…or maybe we will just get 8 more Michael Silver articles about how close they are, followed by an article 12 hours later about how far apart they are. Regardless, let’s run down what we have learned so far this lockout from our New York Jets —

1. Mark Sanchez is a busy man…even when football isn’t going on

I don’t know how this guy manages to organize multiple off-season camps, participate in NASCAR events, hang with Larry David, attend Harry Potter premiers and Broadway shows and get caught in some weird love triangle with the girl from Heroes and Scotty McKnight…but the guy has a full schedule. Regardless of his off the field ventures, it appears that at this point Sanchez has truly solidified himself as a leader of this team.

2. Sione Pouha is handy with a camera

His “Life of Lockout” YouTube series was an entertaining look at himself and the team the past few months. Personally, I thought the episode that featured “Camp Lockout” was the best one as it gave tons of footage of the team working out together and then competing in paintball. It does genuinely feel like there is very good chemistry with this current roster, so let’s hope Mike Tannenbaum can keep as much of it together as possible.

3. Wide receivers create contentious debate

Whether it is disagreeing about whether the Jets should bring Santonio Holmes or Braylon Edwards back, or who the top choices for replacements should be if one of them leaves, it is hard to find any consensus among fans. The Jets have been linked to names like Randy Moss, Plaxico Burress, Steve Smith, Chad Ochocinco, and Terrell Owens in the past months. If I was a gambling man, I’d say Holmes ends up coming back and the Jets sign either Moss or Burress to a short term deal to replace Edwards. Hopefully, I will be wrong and the team can find a way to get both Holmes and Edwards back.

4. Rex Ryan won’t stop guaranteeing a Super Bowl

Rex Ryan is going to guarantee the Jets are going to win a Super Bowl before every season, so just get used to it. He also published an interesting book this off-season, which provides plenty of trash talk for the upcoming year, especially to the New York Giants. Who doesn’t miss Rex these days?

Fast and Furious Free Agency On The Way

The latest reports on the NFL Lockout involve a tentative resolution being agreed upon on July 21st. In that scenario or really any scenario at this point, a frantic period of free agency will begin, which should truly separate the league’s best and worst front offices.

I would think most New York Jets fans should feel comfortable with Mike Tannenbaum pulling the strings, considering the success of the team since he has taken over as GM. Expect many teams to overpay for big name veterans in the opening days of free agency and for the more patient front offices to be rewarded with a few under the radar signings at very good market value.

There is a rumor floating around that the Washington Redskins have a strong interest in Braylon Edwards, which is about the worst news any Jets fan who wants Edwards back could hear. The Redskins are notorious for paying out lavish contracts to veterans and will likely drive Edwards price out of what Tannenabum is willing to pay, especially with Santonio Holmes likely a higher priority.

You would think Edwards would rather compete for a Super Bowl in New York than field one hoppers from John Beck on a mediocre Washington team but money talks and how much of a hometown discount would he really take?

Pro Football Focus recently compiled this list of the top 51 free agents (I strongly disagree with the ordering of these players but it does provide a good reference of who is available) and this list of bargain free agents. A few thoughts on how some of these available players could fit with the Jets —

  • I don’t see them making a big offer on an elite free agent that isn’t one of their own. The top priorities should be keeping Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, and Edwards and to a lesser extent Shaun Ellis, Brodney Pool, and Damien Woody.
  • A few middle of the road free agents I could them considering are linebackers Matt Roth or Manny Lawson, both could be options to improve depth and the pass rush, especially if Jason Taylor doesn’t come back.
  • If Antonio Cromartie leaves, I could see them adding a veteran corner…if Jonathan Joseph ends up being too pricey, Chris Carr or Richard Marshall could be solid alternatives.

Also don’t forget the Jets still need to work out a long term deal with David Harris, to finish off taking care of their “Core Four.” It is hard to see this getting done before the season starts with how much madness will be going on, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets weren’t afraid to visit the issue after week one considering the circumstances.

TOJ Weekend Poll & Other Jets Notes

Click here to vote if you are happy with the Jets moving training camp from Cortland to Florham Park

Personally, I am…only because it is a substantially easier commute, which I am guessing is the case for the majority of Jets fans. However as Rex Ryan always says, there is a benefit to getting the entire team away for a few weeks where they can only focus on football. We will have to see if it impacts how the Jets start the season.

Mark Sanchez is being politically correct by saying he wants all the Jets free agents back but you have to think the young quarterback is prioritizing Santonio Holmes and Braylon Edwards well above anyone else. Perhaps he could restructure his contract to help make that happen.

In case you were wondering, I still rank the Jets top FA priorities in the following order: Santonio Holmes, Antonio Cromartie, Braylon Edwards. You can’t sign two receivers before a corner on a defensive minded team and Holmes should be the priority over Edwards. After those three, I would focus on getting Brodney Pool back to solidify the secondary, Damien Woody to secure right tackle, and Shaun Ellis to mentor Muhammad Wilkerson. I have already resigned myself to Brad Smith leaving.

The Abyss Of The NBA Lockout

TOJ at SB Nation New York on the just how ugly the NBA Lockout could get

A few other NBA notes…

1. Yao Ming announced his retirement today. It is shame he could never reach his potential in the NBA because of health concerns. He still was an important international figure for the league but we will always have to wonder how good he could have been at 100 percent. Let’s hope another big man, Greg Oden, can eventually find a way to stay healthy on the court.

2. I love this quote from Knicks second round pick Josh Harrellson “I’m gonna protect our star players. Amare, Melo, and everyone. I will be there and have their back.” … that is the type of attitude this team needs.

3. It has been exactly a year since LeBron made “The Decision”…you have wonder what would happen if he could do it all over again.

100 Days And Counting: The Nightmare of the NFL Lockout

I’ve heard talk of shortening the baseball season. Please don’t do that. I need something to sleep to. Baseball is the old man’s game, Played by people who generally have little to no personality. How can you have a personality on a baseball team? A fist pump after a strikeout? Not flashy enough. An occasional dirt kicking at the umpire? Why don’t we mic up the managers when they go out there for a good verbal throw down? Cliff Lee is about as exciting as Bingo at the Community Center, and I’ve never actually heard Roy Halladay speak…that’s baseball in a nutshell. If anyone still thinks Ozzie Guillen is edgy or interesting…I’ve walked through the Lower East Side and heard more truth, insight and rage in less time.

50 game NBA season? Maybe I can actually watch the Nets get themselves out of the running by game number five. Boy, that first week is going to be a blast though. I can predict with certainty that Indiana, Memphis and Oklahoma City are going to take big steps forward. There will be ten teams that have the potential to win the whole thing: angry Kobe, revenge of D-Rose, rise of Durant, the long sad story of Dwight Howard and the gondola singer that is Stan Van Gundy. the NBA may be one of the few sports that could actually benefit from a shortening of the season.

Football. It is hard to even type out. I’ve played so many hours of Madden my fingers begin making audible and hot route ps3 controller movements when I am sitting on the bus. I can’t do it anymore. every game brings me to tears (of joy or sadness I have yet to determine).

There are certain conclusions I can draw about what has happened so far in the off-season. The Bengals will never be good, not with their current owner at least. I would rather watch Cincinnati at the college level. Terrell Owens is done. Tiki Barber is a smiling joke who thinks using the term depression rights all the supreme wrongs he has committed throughout his miserable post football existence. The Giantswill yet again put out a defensive line that makes grown men feel like children, even if Osi isn’t there.

Sometimes I dream of a Jets/Giants Christmas Eve game, freezing at the Meadowlands, 10 below zero, screams coming from every direction, and then it happens: Woody Johnson and the Mara family come out to the 50 yard line, microphones in hand and begin to explain why there will be no game after the coin toss. The lights go dark. “revenue sharing model…cost efficiency with regard to player/owner incentives…rise in advertising and broadcasting costs.” It is a two hour speech and at the end, the players walk back to the locker room, handcuffed to each other as to not even throw a pass or run the ball. There is silence all around. There will be no more fun.