Beat Writing Is Going To Die…And Is Already Dead, Respectively

I sit in bed watching ESPN on my Ipad, which is amazing, first because I am lazy and like to spend my first waking hour contemplating what sort of insane trouble college football is in, and second because I am one of three people in America without HDTV. I am giddy, giddy at the fact that beat writers in LA are going to be freaking out over Andrew Bynum’s trust comments. And freak out they do. One writer actually threatened to go down to Staples Center and give the team an inspirational speech a la The King’s Speech…”We will overcome this hurdle, we will move forward, with grace..with determination and with the heart of a champion still beating inside us”

My advice to freakout beater? Get a drink. It is around cinco de mayo and you shouldn’t be dwelling on things like the Lakers getting knocked out of the playoffs, even though it is your job, a soon to be over job. Shoot out an article about the sunset in Los Angeles and let the chaos ensue. Dirk reigns, even though I called them the laughing stock of the NBA due to Mark Cuban but old Mark has finally shut it and I wear will wear leeches and flog myself while typing a formal letter of apology.

Beat writers. My advice to aspiring beat writers is that you should, for the most part, strike journalistically while the iron is hot. Imagine being a beat writer for the Cavaliers after Lebron? The Mets? The Panthers? Well, the Panthers will be interesting until Cam Newton finds his way out but for the most part, beat writing seems to be a slog after the first few years. Very few franchises are continually intriguing, or continually great. If you live long enough, you may see something great, or you may have a heart attack after a preseason game and drive off a bridge.
My generation has ADD, there will be no more beat writers by the time we are through. No one wants to get up everyday, look at the same millionaires or soon to be millionaires while you contemplate refinancing your three bedroom house, and write about them in a scowling, jealous rage or the stale praise of a book reviewer.

How can you gauge style if you don’t have variety? I’ve seen more than one beat writer drop dead at their desk because their wife accidentally texted them when they meant to text their boss about their after work rendezvous while a story comes over the AP wire about some new rookie just got signed for $5 million, the brain can’t handle such karmic madness.

ESPN will become a socialist enterprise. No one wants to hear about fast break points from a 300 pound fat guy, like that guy on the couch who predicts football games for ESPN, you will be first chubs. They will allow only the physically fit to report on sports and beautiful girl next door types like Michelle Beadle, who could tell me I have terminal cancer and I would still look for a way to ask her out for a drink. Has anyone noticed the sort of serfdom most radio hosts at that network are subject to? Working 20 hours straight, 1pm radio show, 11pm sportscenter, 6am radio show, 6 PM Sportscenter…

Athletes are strange creatures. Study them like you would a fetal pig. At a safe distance. Remember that if they are forced to write an open letter about the state of their team going forward, most people would be embarrassed to read it. You are the writer. You are the one who writes the story. Get a little crazy. Own history. And stop reading other beat writers and copy and paste from the Surrealist Manifesto at any chance you get, give construction workers a little arts and culture at 5am on the Long Island Rail Road. They might just look out the window and wonder if they are dreaming…

Getting To Know Your Jets Draft Prospects

Highlights of a few players the Jets could end up with at number 30 in the NFL Draft…Also, listen in at 8:30 tonight to hear TOJ talk Jets draft strategy on Backfield Radio.

Akeem Ayers, OLB, UCLA

Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia

Phil Taylor, DT, Baylor

Stephen Paea, DT, Oregon State

Marvin Austin, DT, North Carolina

Brooks Reed, OLB, Arizona

Cameron Heyward, DE, Ohio State

12 Pack Of Jets Off-Season Thoughts – Edition #10

Come scoop up your weekly 12 pack and on the way follow Turn On The Jets on Facebook and Twitter.

1. Hanging Chad – What a shame to hear about Chad Pennington tearing his ACL while playing basketball this off-season. I really thought he might find a chance to start somewhere as a bridge to a younger quarterback. It might be hard for some to remember but Pennington was considered the second coming of Joe Montana by everyone in this area during the 2002 season and the franchise quarterback who would finally take the Jets to a Super Bowl. He never quite made it, mostly because of injuries and partly because of Doug Brien. However, Pennington did provide some great moments, including two improbable playoff runs in 2002 and 2006, and two playoff wins. Can we sign this guy up to be our quarterback coach? Sorry Matt Cavanaugh and Mark Brunell…oh wait, Brunell is actually our backup.

2. Draft Thoughts – The draft is less than a month away and if I had to guess I would say one of the following will be the Jets selection at #30 – Phil Taylor, Akeem Ayers, Justin Houston, or Cameron Heyward. I’d be stunned if they don’t draft a defensive lineman or outside linebacker and also anticipate a better chance of them trading down, than trading up.

3. No More Jenks – It sounds like Kris Jenkins days with the Jets are truly over, as he stated in an interview this week that the playing surface in the New Meadowlands would likely prevent him from signing a new deal with the team. Overall, the Jets got one dominant season out of Jenkins in 2008 and then not much else. Regardless, TOJ wishes the big fella the best of luck wherever he ends up next year. This development is only more incentive for the Jets to spend an early draft pick on a defensive lineman.

4. New York Knicks Thought – Despite all the appropriate pessimism around the team now, they are going to make the playoffs, and they are likely going to play either Boston or Miami. Personally, I think they can take Miami in a 7 game series because of how they match-up and because I think the Heat will be tight because of all the pressure on them. Boston would take care of business, probably in 6 games, against the Knicks but that doesn’t mean it wouldn’t be an entertaining, physical series.

5. Random Jets Offensive Predictions – Wayne Hunter will beat out Vladimir Ducasse for the starting right tackle job…Joe McKnight will have at least 25 receptions next year…Dustin Keller will have 10-15 more receptions, 200-250 more receiving yards, and 2 more touchdowns (if Braylon Edwards doesn’t return).

6. The Terminator – I am anxious to see John Conner in the starting fullback role next season. You would think after spending a season learning behind an accomplished veteran like Tony Richardson, he will be ready to have a productive year considering his physical ability. There isn’t a team in the league who won’t have a tough time stopping Shonn Greene running downhill behind Conner, especially with the Jets talent on the offensive line.

7. Doubt It – Despite some talk about a potential return, I have a very tough time seeing Jason Taylor in a Jets uniform next year. The guy looked completely washed up by the time the playoffs started last year and never really brought the punch to the Jets pass rush that the team was hoping for. They badly need to get younger at linebacker.

8. AFC East Thoughts – Even though we have Darrelle Revis, I am a little concerned about New England packaging all those picks they have and moving up to grab one of the elite receivers in the draft…There is no way Cam Newton gets past Buffalo if he is on the board at #3, sorry Ryan Fitzpatrick…I don’t think anybody in the Jets organization is worried about Miami potentially making a trade for Carson Palmer this off-season, let them go from a young mediocre quarterback to an old mediocre quarterback.

9. April 6th – Circle your calendars and open your law books…big day in the ongoing lockout.

10. Big Money Veterans – You have to think the Jets are looking for more production out of their big money, veteran linebackers: Calvin Pace and Bart Scott. The two of them simply didn’t make enough game changing plays last year, considering how much they are being paid.

11. Sanchez – What are fair statistical expectations for Mark Sanchez in year three? The most important thing is for his completion percentage to get substantially closer to 60. You would also think he should be able to get right at 4,000 yards and crack 20 touchdowns. If he can throw over 20 touchdowns and complete near 60 percent of his passes, you can deal with 12-14 interceptions.

12. Weekend Video Clips – Pennington Edition

A Brief TOJ Rant On The Lockout

Everybody out there who is a fan of the NFL has obviously been dismayed by the events of the previous few days. A decertification. A lockout. An April 6th court hearing. A hopeful injunction on that date. A request for players to boycott the draft. Plenty of uncertainty on how the 2011 NFL season is going to shape up, in terms of free agency, off-season workouts, and scariest of all, missed games.

I can’t sit here and claim to know the ins and outs of this legal situation, especially as it keeps evolving. Similar to most of you, I have followed the case the best I could from the various mainstream media sources and similar to all of you, I am disgusted and disappointed.

How can a league which is thoroughly dominating every sport in this county in every way possible and that has never been more popular, go and mess it up?

My sympathy lies more with the players than it does with the owners but that doesn’t mean both sides haven’t made mistakes. The petty back and forth through the media hasn’t helped the situation, and the foolish suggestion by the NFLPA for incoming rookies to boycott the draft is a shame.

All I know is that I want a NFL off-season back as soon as possible, which from my understanding means rooting for injunction on April 6th.

I am going to keep covering the New York Jets and the NFL under the assumption that at some point in 2011 there will be football games. There is going to be plenty of hypotheticals considering we don’t know yet how free agency and trades will be handled. I will keep commenting on the labor negotiations when applicable and always link the most updated information on our Facebook and Twitter account, but for the most part I will keep writing about the actual game of football, not injunctions, decertifications, or other legal topics.