Monday, January 25, 2010

Rex Ryan Turns His Swag On

I’m upset. I’m not upset because the Jets lost, they played well and lost to a better team. You could not ask for more from a 9-7 team with a rookie quarterback. I’m upset because it’s over.

The term “same-old-Jets” gets thrown around this team so often. For the fans, it has come to mean the Jets will get your hopes up and then just when you think everything is going well they will stab you and lose. You hear it so often. After the 2004 playoff loss to Pittsburgh there were cries of “same-old-Jets.” We heard them in 2008 when the team started out 8-3 and finished 1-4 and missed the playoffs. The reality for Jets fans was quickly becoming the belief that this team would always let us down. But that would all change in January 2009.

Rex Ryan came in as the new Jets Head Coach with swagger and a plan. Ryan came in talking, saying the Jets won’t back down from anyone, saying the Jets were the team to beat, and that the Jets would win a Super Bowl during his tenure as Head Coach. YEA RIGHT!

The first step was getting the players to buy into his system, it didn’t happen overnight, but it happened. The hard part was getting the fans to buy into Rex’s swagger. He said the term “same-old-Jets” didn’t apply anymore, that this was a new team with a new attitude. Why should the fans believe him? We had no reason to believe him, but then the season started.

The Jets were 3-0. More importantly the Jets were fun to watch. Specifically their defense was fun to watch. When was the last time the Jets had a defense that was fun to watch? We had a rookie coach and a rookie quarterback walking around with a swagger; really, the two of them were a match made in heaven.

The Jets started the season 3-0, now all of a sudden they’re 4-6. Sanchez had a hot start, then he started playing like a rookie, and now he was REALLY playing like a rookie. Well it was fun while it lasted but these are the same-old-Jets.

But that’s where Rex Ryan brought his swagger, he didn’t give up, he took a larger role in the offense and the development in his rookie quarterback. More importantly he didn’t let his team stop believing. At this point the Jets were playing ugly football, and watching the games was, well it was like the way watching a Jet game used to be, ugly football and waiting for the other shoe to drop. Then the Jets lost an ugly game to Atlanta, they were all but eliminated.

Just when we thought the Jets were eliminated from the playoffs something crazy happened. If four (it actually might have been more I don’t remember) teams lost their games in week 16 the Jets would control their own playoff destiny. Win the last two games, and they’d be in. Miraculously every team the Jets needed to lose lost, now we just had to beat the unbeaten Colts. When we first looked at our schedule back in April we knew there was a chance the Colts would have nothing to play for and may rest their starters, as a nice holiday gift for the Jets, the Colts gave us Curtis Painter who gave us really bad play and a win.

Following the win against the Colts it suddenly started happening. The players had now fully bought into Rex Ryan, and now the fans were too. We believed we would make the playoffs, and then we believed we could make a run in the playoffs. Rex was still running his mouth and saying things that we thought were a little too far fetched, but then he was turning out to be right. Suddenly we all believed what he was saying; the swagger Rex carried was rubbing off on the fans. Suddenly not even Jets fans were throwing around the “same-old-Jets” phrase anymore, we truly believed times were finally changing.

So I’m upset that the run is over. Rex Ryan has made watching Jets games fun again. The games are exciting, the defense is once again fun to watch, not only that but the fans carry the swagger that even though no one believes in us we knew we would win. Rex Ryan has changed the whole outlook of the franchise, there is optimism floating around the Jets for the first time in god only knows how long. It’s upsetting because we can no longer watch this team week in week out.

It’s fitting that we lost to Peyton Manning and the Colts. After the game I got a text from a friend saying “AP Coach of the Year Peyton Manning?” I almost believe Manning should get the award. I honestly believe that of the four teams in conference championship games the Jets were the second best team. I really believe they would beat both the Saints and Vikings. I do not think any coach could have figured a way to beat our defense; therefore we would shut down both the Vikings and Saints. On the other hand, I never doubted that Peyton Manning would be able to figure out our defense. I think he is the only person on the planet that could figure it out. So it’s not so much the sting of losing, we lost to who I believe is the only person who could have beaten us. Peyton Manning, not his coach, not any other coach in the league.

The unfortunate part is that this run is over, but for the first time in a long time Jets fans feel that this run is just going to start right back up again in week 1 next season. We have some improvements to make, but we have the perfect piece at the center of the table. A man who is not only a great football mind, but a man who had the power to bring a swagger to a franchise hasn’t had any in 41 years, and a fan base who thought they were doomed for a lifetime of failure.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Kaeding Didn't Choke: It Was Written.

I spent this past Monday morning driving from Boston back home to New Jersey. One of the perks of this road trip was that for the first time I got to experience the much talked about WEEI Sports Radio in Boston. Those guys can only be described as “special.”

When I got in the car they were debating who Patriots fans should be rooting for in the AFC Championship game. Should it be the division rival Jets, or should it be the team they’ve been battling this past decade the Colts. The guy on the air finally settled on the Jets for three ridiculous reasons. The first was that if Peyton Manning loses to the Jets who were a number 5 seed in the playoffs it would settle the Manning vs. Brady argument and Brady would be better (That is the worst logic I’ve ever heard. There is no argument there, Manning is better, who cares what Brady has done in the playoffs, you want proof just watch film of the two of them). The second reason for rooting for the Jets was this way the Colts will not win the Super Bowl and then in everyone in Boston could have fun watching either the Saints or Vikings destroy the Jets in the Super Bowl. (That’s right because obviously if the Jets defense is good enough to stop the Chargers and Peyton Manning on the road in back to back weeks they obviously are not good enough to stop either the Saints or Vikings on a neutral field.) Yes this guy gets paid to think like that, there is hope for me yet.

He then moved on to talk about how the Jets should not even be here and that they are only here because Nate Kaeding choked last week. I’m not totally buying into that. Was it really Kaeding’s fault for missing three field goals on Sunday?

Lets first look at the numbers. Yes Kaeding was the most accurate kicker in football during the regular season, but going into the game against the Jets he was 3 for 6 in his career in the playoffs. That’s right; Kaeding was only a 50% field goal kicker in the playoffs. Even Shaun Suisham hits more then half his field goals. This was not as much of a joke job as just the norm with Kaeding, when the big moment comes he shrinks. You could have said the same thing about Peyton Manning until 2005 when he won the Super Bowl.

Getting away from the numbers let’s look at the situation Kaeding was put in. Did you see the field on Sunday? It looked nice didn’t it? Well did you also see how many people were slipping and losing their footing in the first half? Forget about Jim Nantz working the announcer’s jinx to perfection on that first kick (though a very big thank you to you Jim). The whole first half people were slipping when trying to make cuts on almost every play. When it’s hard to plant your feet it is not exactly easy to set your feet for a field goal. This was not an easy field to kick on, yes, Jay Feely hit all three of his kicks but his first extra point came dangerously close to missing. This was not an easy field to kick on.

I don’t think anyone is holding the second field goal against Kaeding. It was a last second 57-yard field goal that would have tied his career long. It was defiantly not a sure thing.

Now lets get to perhaps what was the most important (and perhaps his worst miss) kick of the game; Kaeding’s last field goal. Kicking in the NFL is more mental then anything. It’s all about confidence. Nate Kaeding was the most accurate kicker in the NFL, he defiantly had confidence. That is until he got rattled. When Kaeding came marching onto the field for his third kick his face looked like he was thinking, “I know I can do this, I’ve done it before, I SHOULD be able to do this.” Anyone who has played sports knows that there is no room for “I think,” “I can,” or “I’ll try,” there is only room for “I will.” Nate Kaeding did not have the “I will make this kick” look on his face. Already, even before the kick he had lost the battle. Even after his third miss he had a chance to make an extra point, he came out with an “I will make this extra point” look on his face, and he put it right down the middle. It was all about confidence with Kaeding and after 2 misses he had a moment of doubt, and when kicking field goals is a mental game, a moment of doubt is all it takes to screw up.

The Chargers were going to miss that kick as soon as Kaeding trotted out on the field without the swagger a kicker needs. Head Coach Norv Turner should have seen the lack of confidence his kicker had and sent the offense back out to go for the first down. The look on Kaeding’s face said it all “I should be able to do this,” not “I will do this” and when you saw that look, you knew he was going to miss.

With all that being said opposing kickers are 0-5 on field goals in the playoffs against the Jets. Maybe Indy should be thinking there just might be a higher power here and that they shouldn’t even tempt fate by using their kicker. Maybe I should keep my mouth shut before I give them an idea and see the Colts score a touchdown on a 4th down play.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Mets Have Terrible Medical Team

Carlos Beltran getting surgery on his knee is perhaps the least shocking story I’ve heard in a while. All I could ask is why not get it sooner?

The Mets are upset about Beltran’s surgery remained adamant that he did not need surgery. I’m pretty sure the Mets have already lost all their credibility when it comes to injuries. The Mets have easily the worst medical team in the major leagues. This is a team that had a concussed Ryan Church fly on an airplane, then pinch-hit in a game, only to sit him down 6 days after the injury. This is a team that made Carlos Delgado fly from New York to San Francisco just to have his knee evaluated, and then they made him fly back to New York.

The funny thing is the Mets still don’t think Beltran needed surgery. Hello! His knee has been bothering him since he hurt it midway through last season when he said he needed surgery!

I will always refuse to trust the Mets medical staff as they have mishandled many injuries over the years. The Mets are a poorly run organization and until they clean house of the entire front office and put in some sort of structure this franchise will stay in a spiral of mediocrity.

Monday, January 4, 2010

This Needs To Be Brought To Everyones Attention

I couldn't really figure out why the link wasn't actually working, and I'm tired so just paste that into your browser.