Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Now I want it all

Here we are, one victory from a return to the AFC Championship game.  We were last there during the 1998 season, under the guidance of Bill Parcells and the emergence of Vinny Testaverde who stepped in for Glenn Foley and never looked back.  He went on to have one of the best years of any QB who put a Jet uniform on.  He threw 29 Touchdowns and only 7 picks, it was amazing.   The Jets had a 10-0 lead in Denver in the 3rd quarter after a blocked punt by Blake Spence was followed by a 1 yard touchdown run by Curtis Martin.  After that, Denver took over.  Elway marched Denver down the field for a touchdown and the normally sure handed Keith Byars and Curtis Martin lost fumbles, which were just 2 of the 6 turnovers the Jets had that day.  They lost the game 23-10, and dreams of a return trip to the Super Bowl ended. 

Here we are, 11 years later, hard for me to believe it's been that long since that AFC Championship game in Denver.  Some may say the Jets are playing with house money.  Some may say that anything the Jets do from here is gravy.  They have a rookie quarterback.  The Jets have a rookie head coach.  They have a rookie running back by the name of Shonn Greene who stepped up after the Leon Washington injury and had a huge game against the Bengals this past Saturday.  It's all nonsense.  You never know when you might get back here.  Yeah, despite what Rex Ryan  says, the Jets are an underdog.  I say so what.  Now is the time, this is not playing with "house money", you have to cease the opportunity.  The Jets have arguably the best defense in football this year, statistics say it's number one.  They have the best cover cornerback on the planet.  Darrelle Revis; who has shut down the likes of Andre Johnson, Randy Moss, Steve Smith, T.O., Ochocinco and anyone else who has come his way.  He will have another big test this week in Vincent Jackson, but I think he's up for yet another challenge and another receiver will find himself lost on Revis Island.

Am I setting myself up for more heartbreak?  Jet fans will remember 2004 quite well.  We were an underdog team, backed ourselves in to the playoffs big time that year.  We had a chance to clinch a spot on the final Sunday of the season.  We lose an overtime game to the Rams and finished the season at 10-6 after a 5-0 start that year.  Luckily, shortly before our game ended, the Steelers who had nothing to play for that day beat the Bills and we squeaked in to the playoffs despite the loss.  We went into San Diego and beat the Chargers.  We went into Pittsburgh and had them beat as well.  Unfortunately our kicker missed two kicks that would have won the game for us and our coach didn't help matters out by getting ultra conservative making the kicks longer than they should have been. 

The opportunity is right in front of this football team.  If the Jets can do what they do best, run the football and play defense.  If our rookie QB can make good throws when called upon and protect the football; there is no reason the Jets can't go into San Diego and win.  Now is the time. 

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Here we go again

Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in again.  The season looked over several times this year, but this past Sunday the Jets caught break after break after break, now the question is when does it turn around and bite all Jet fans in the rear end.  Miami needed to lose, we got that as the Texans beat them 27-20.  The Jaguars needed to lose, our nemesis, the Patriots, took care of that.  The Steelers beat the Ravens, thus meaning that at kickoff  at 4:15 against the 14-0 Colts in Indianapolis, we controlled our own destiny. 

On to the game against the Colts.  The Colts were leading 15-10 and right around the 6 minute mark in the 3rd quarter after the Jets punted, Manning did not put on his helmet, instead rookie quarterback Curtis Painter, from Purdue, trotted on the field along with many other Colt backups who came in the game.  Colt fans are outraged, Jet fans felt elated.  I don't care how the Jets won it, the bottom line is they outscored the Colts 19-0 after Manning left the game and went on to a 29-15 victory over the previously unbeaten Colts. 

So what happens now?  We have a date on Sunday night in prime-time on NBC against the Bengals.  A team that probably won't have anything to gain, other then maybe a chance to move from the 4 seed to the 3 seed.  However, if the Patriots beat the Texans on Sunday afternoon the Bengals will be locked in to the 4 seed.  It is likely that the Bengals will not play their starters, if they do I expect a quarter or two at most.  Another reason the Bengals might not go all out is due to the fact that if the Jets do win, we will have a rematch between the Jets and Bengals on Wild Card weekend in Cincinnati.  This is a similar scenario for the Jets.  Back in the 2001 season they needed a victory in Oakland to clinch a wild card spot, they beat the Raiders in Oakland on a game winning field goal by John Hall which setup a re-match the following week in the first round of the playoffs against the same Raiders.  The outcome the following weekend wasn't as pretty as the Raiders beat the Jets 38-24.

As a Jet fan, I'm waiting for the heartbreak, the heartbreak wouldn't be a playoff loss.  The heartbreak would be losing to a Bengals team and all of their backups, and trust me, I can see it happening.  So how will this play out?  I do know this, this franchise once again has me all pumped up for a big game, and I wouldn't be shocked if that hope came crumbling down next Sunday night. 

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Bronx Reunion

It started with bringing back Nick Johnson, who oddly enough was traded for Javier Vazquez along with Juan Rivera and Randy Choate, after the 2003 season.  After just one year in the Bronx and a great first half which earned him an All Star spot, Vazquez was dealt after a poor 2nd half performance in 2004.  Now part of the reason he was dealt was to acquire future Hall of fame pitcher, Randy Johnson.   The 2004 Yankees lacked a true ace and that was a huge part as to why they were so quick to deal Vazquez after just one season. 

The deal will send Yankee outfielder Melky Cabrera along with left handed pitcher Mike Dunn to the Atlanta Braves.  The Yankees also aquire left hander Boone Logan in the deal.  Vazquez easily had his best season of his career last year in Atlanta.  He went 15-10 with a 2.87 ERA and struck out 238 batters in 219 innings.  Of his four seasons spent in the tougher American League (2004: Yankees, 2006-2008: White Sox) his best season came with the White Sox in 2007.  He went 15-8 with a 3.74 ERA and struck out 213 batters in 216 innings. Vazquez is in the final year of a three year contract.  He will be paid 11.5 million dollars this season. 

The deal now brings speculation that there will be another move for the Yankees, this time for a left fielder.  With the Johnny Damon contract talks at a stall, Melky Cabrera was slated to start in left.  On the current roster Brett Gardner appears to be the option in left, but look for the Yankees to add a more proven player.  They could re-visit talks with Damon, but they appear to be far apart when it comes to years and money.  Jason Bay and Matt Holliday appear to be way out of the price range for the Bombers.  One person to keep their eye on would be Mark DeRosa.  He can play all infield positions and both corner outfield spots.  Last year between St. Louis and Cleveland he hit .250 with 23 HRs and 78 runs knocked in.  He is a local kid as well, he grew up in New Jersey and went  to Bergen Catholic High School. 

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Shame on me, Jets.

Why did I waste my time?  Why did I get so excited after a few wins against the Bills, Panthers and Bucs?  Did I really think this team was going to make the playoffs?  Hey, we even got some of the help we needed today as the Titans beat the Dolphins in overtime in Nashville.  Oh well, it's all for not now and I sit here feeling like a lover of mine has cheated on me and left me all alone.  It was a game the Jets controlled for what felt like 59 minutes of the game.  Problem was they couldn't muster up any points beyond the touchdown pass from Sanchez to Edwards.  A botched field goal attempt on a bad snap.  A missed field goal by Feely.  A blocked field goal.  A personal foul penalty on Thomas Jones that moved the Jets out of field goal range after a first down.  The bottom line, the same old thing from this franchise that has been torturing me for a good 25 plus years it seems like.

The defense was stout all day, but on the final drive they gave up a touchdown on 4th and goal, needing a stop to seal the win.  Now they certainly are not to blame, they were great all day and the offense failed to deliver a knockout punch and they certainly had plenty of opportunities to put this game away.  Six of the seven Jet losses this year have been in heartbreaking fashion, boy they love toying with their die-hard fans this year.  I'm truly not sure how much of this I can take.  Trying to figure out what I can do to take my mind off the disaster that was the Jet game today.  Maybe I can find some re-runs of Jersey Shore on MTV to help ease the pain.  I told a friend of mine a little while ago that I was done, I've had enough and I can't handle anymore of this from this franchise.  I can't count the times I've said that in the past.  It's the same old song and dance from me.  Like my friend Rob just said, less than 2 months until pitchers and catchers report.  Until the next heartbreak, see you later Jets. 

Friday, December 18, 2009

Nick Johnson back in Pinstripes

You can come home again, just ask Nick Johnson.  He was drafted by the New York Yankees in the 3rd round of the 1996 amateur draft.  In 2002 and 2003 he shared 1B and DH duties with Jason Giambi.  He was dealt after the 2003 season to the Montreal Expos along with Juan Rivera and Randy Choate for Javier Vazquez. 

What Nick Johnson will bring to the table is a career OBP of .402.  If this does indeed spell the end of Johnny Damon in New York, he would be a good replacement in the two spot of the Yankee lineup.  He lacks the speed of Damon but he doesn't strike out a whole lot, he's going to put the ball in play and he has a great eye.  He'll definitely be a better fit in the two spot than Granderson would be. 

Your main concern for Nick Johnson will be injuries.  He broke his hand with the Yankees in 2003. He broke his cheek bone in 2004 when he got hit in the face with a baseball. In 2006 he had a collision that led to him breaking his femur.  If he can remain healthy the 1 year deal at 5.75 million dollars that the Yankees gave him would be a bargain.  Welcome home Nick Johnson, glad to see you back in the Bronx. 

Monday, December 14, 2009

Blockbuster Deal

Reports are swirling that Roy Halladay and his agent are held up in a Philadelphia Hotel and a deal to send him from the Blue Jays to the Phillies appears imminent.  A twist to this deal according to Jon Heyman of and MLB Network is that it is a three team deal involving the Mariners as well and that Cliff Lee will be heading from Philadelphia to Seattle. 

Roy Halladay is regarded as one of the best pitchers in all of baseball but Cliff Lee has been doing his best to at least try to join that discussion.  Lee was 4-0 with a 1.56 ERA in the postseason with the Phillies last season after coming over from a trade with the Cleveland Indians last July.  This potential deal may benefit the Mariners the most who can now boast a top of the rotation which will have AL Cy Young runner up Felix Hernandez and October Ace of the Phillies, Cliff Lee.  The Phillies did get one of baseballs best pitchers, but their rotation behind Halladay will be a huge question mark. 

In other baseball news, it appears the Red Sox are on the verge of locking up John Lackey to a 5 year 85 million dollar contract.  This deal will give the Red Sox a very formidable top of the rotation which will include Beckett, Lester and Lackey. 

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Yanks begin talks with Damon

The Yankees have nailed down their Center Fielder in Curtis Granderson.  They have re-signed veteran lefty Andy Pettitte to a one year 11.75 million dollar contract.  Now they have begun negotiations with free agent Left Fielder Johnny Damon.  It is widely speculated they would like to bring Damon back for less than the 13 million dollars he made last year and they would also prefer it to be a 1 or 2 year deal at the most.  Bobby Abreu re-signed with the Angels for a two year deal worth 18 million dollars, a contract of that nature does seem more than fair for Damon.  The Yankees now have the luxury of controlling the negotiations since the trade for Granderson.

It is also widely speculated that if the Yankees can't come to terms with Damon, they will target free agents Mark DeRosa and Mike Cameron.  Johnny has stated how much he would like to remain a Yankee, if this is true he will have to be willing to give a discount to stay or at least take less years than he might get elsewhere.