Mar 122013

Mike WallaceWe will continue updating this article for the next few days until may of the top tier free agents have landed. Some may get their own article, but this spot will keep track of the major comings and goings of players as the free agency period begins.


Tuesday, March 12

– Prior to the start of free agency today, the Jets released defensive tackle Sione Po’uha, who had a base salary of $4.9 million for the upcoming season, creating $3.8 million in cap space. No word yet on whether or not he is expected to re-sign at a lower price.

– The Panthers released linebacker James Anderson, whom they had overpaid for last season to the tune of 5 years and $22 million.

– The Chargers released tight end Randy McMichael.

– The Rams released safety Quintin Mikell, and have now parted ways with both starting safeties from last season.

– Word is that Wes Welker is still waiting to hear the Patriots’ first contract offer before free agency begins.  Tom E. Curran suggesting it is hard for the Patriots to know what the market for Welker will look like, but Welker is likely to wait for offers to increase his leverage. The soft market for wide receivers doesn’t help the Patriots. The Colts and Broncos may well rival the Patriots for Welker’s service. The Pats are risking not making the highest offer to Welker, and it might come back to bite them. Perhaps the Patriots are heading in another direction? One thing is for sure… Bill Belichick has ice water in his veins.

Tony Gonzalez looks like he is heading back to the Falcons.

– The Texans have released receiver Kevin Walter.

– The Vikings have re-signed receiver Jerome Simpson for one year. Meanwhile, the Steelers are giving Plaxico Burress another shot (drum roll).

– Safety James Ihedigbo has re-signed with the Ravens, insuring another year of him being able to drop to the ground in pain after every play.

– Linebacker Larry Foote has worked out a deal to stay in Pittsburgh. Linebacker LaMarr Woodley has also agreed to restructure his contract.

Santonio Holmes has worked out a deal to restructure his contract and remain with the Jets.

– Cornerback Antoine Winfield has been released by the Vikings.

– Running back Beanie Wells released by the Arizona Cardinals.

– The Rams reach a deal to keep defensive end William Hayes in St. Louis.

– As expected, the Eagles have released cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha from their famous “Dream Team”

– Prediction 14 minutes before free agency begins, though not a stunner. Wes Welker is not returning to New England, and the Patriots don’t appear too concerned about losing him, despite numbers that put him on a path to the Hall of Fame.

– Giants sign cornerback Aaron Ross, who did not have to wait for free agency to begin as a result of being released by the Jaguars and going unclaimed.

– Vikings keep tackle Phil Loadholt just before free agency begins.

And now free agency begins…

Paul Kruger looks like he is headed to Cleveland… major surprise that the Ravens couldn’t get this one done. New word is that he has officially signed.

– The Bengals re-sign defensive end Robert Geathers.

– The Broncos steal away guard Louis Vasquez from the Chargers.

Mike Wallace appears set to make $13 million a year with the Miami Dolphins.

– Tight end Delanie Walker agrees to a deal with the Titans.

– The Bills have cut quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. I guess that prank phone call caused some embarrassment in western New York. Talk about addition by subtraction.

– The Chiefs have agreed to a deal with tight end Anthony Fasano.

– The Alex Smith to Kansas City trade is now official.

– Are the Colts set to steal both Talib and Welker from the Pats? A tweet from the Colts’ bizarre owner seems to go in this direction.

– Former Bills guard Andy Levitre headed to Titans on a six year deal.

– Or is this what Irsay was talking about? The Colts have reached agreement with offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus. Does he really merit that many exclamation points?

– Quarterback Chase Daniel agrees to terms with Chiefs.

– No, this is why Irsay is excited. The Colts have agreed to terms with cornerback Greg Toler. It’s a good move by Grigson.

– The Colts are on a roll. Linebacker Erik Walden has left Green Bay to join the Colts. Good moves by Indy, even if they aren’t sexy.

– Ah, the Colts did steal a Patriot! Guard Donald Thomas is headed to Indy.

– Punter Sav Rocca is staying with the Redskins.

– Elvis Dumervil now appears willing to take pay cut from Broncos; the two sides are apparently negotiating according to Ian Rapoport.

– Another Ravens loss: Linebacker Dannell Ellerbe reaches agreement in principle with Miami Dolphins.

– Colts make it five Day One signings as they pen linebacker Lawrence Sidbury from the Falcons. Busy day for the Colts.

Taking a dinner break now… will be back later.

Back from a long dinner break, and lots more has happened…

– Safety Darius Butler will be remaining with the Colts.

Martellus Bennett has landed with the Bears, with the tight end signing a four year deal.

– The Ravens signed defensive lineman Chris Canty to a three year deal.

– The Vikings re-signed fullback Jerome Felton to a three year deal.

– The Dolphins dumped linebacker Karlos Dansby, who started all 16 games last season playing with a torn biceps muscle and racking up 134 tackles. Ouch. They added linebacker Phillip Wheeler and re-signed safety Chris Clemons.

– The Rams are poised to sign the coveted tight end Jared Cook, formerly of the Titans.

– The Eagles get into action by signing former Patriots’ safety Patrick Chung (good riddance) and former Panthers’ linebacker Jason Phillips, as well as tight end James Casey from Houston.

– The Eagles keep it coming with former 49ers nose tackle Isaac Sopoga and former Rams’ cornerback Bradley Fletcher.

– The Raiders released receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey and safety Michael Huff.

– The Chiefs have stolen away a Jets’ favorite by signing defensive tackle Mike DeVito.

– Apparently Warren Sapp doesn’t think much of covering Bill Belichick on the NFL Network. Or maybe he just doesn’t think.

– The Browns get another one with the signing of defensive tackle Desmond Bryant.

The pace is slowing down a little at 8:30 pm Central, but there may still be a few transactions before the end of the night. In the meantime, the free agents that we are waiting to see what transpires with on this thread include (in no particular order):

Cliff Avril (Det / SEA)
Wes Welker (NE / DEN)
Jake Long (Mia)
Greg Jennings (GB / MIN)
Aqib Talib (NE)
Dashon Goldson (SF / TB)
Osi Umemyiora (NYG)
Steven Jackson (StL / ATL)
Ed Reed (Bal)
Danny Amendola (StL / NE)
Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (Phi / DEN)
Sebastian Vollmer (NE)
Connor Barwin (Hou / PHI)
Adrian Wilson (ARI / NE)
Andre Smith (Cin)
Cary Williams (Bal / PHI)
Brian Urlacher (Chi)
Dustin Keller (NYJ / MIA)
John Abraham (ATL / NE)

– Last one for tonight – offensive tackle Sam Baker is staying with the Falcons, signing a six year deal. See you tomorrow!

Wednesday, March 13

A few early tidbits before the action begins again in earnest.

Wes Welker and the Patriots are described as very far apart on terms, with the Patriots maintaining an offer on the table. It will be interesting to see how this develops between now and the weekend.

– The Redskins signed defensive tackle Kedric Golston to a new three-year contract on Tuesday.

Will Smith and Jonathan Vilma are taking big pay cuts to stay in New Orleans.

– The Chargers signed former Eagles tackle King Dunlap to a two year deal.

– The Browns signed free agent linebacker Quentin Groves, who played in Arizona last season.

– The Jets housecleaning is in full swing. And even with Revis likely on his way out of town, it didn’t stop the the Jets from restructuring the contract of cornerback Antonio Cromartie. Baby Mamas should beware.

More to come as the day develops!

– The Ravens have just released safety Bernard Pollard. Is he worth a look in Foxboro?

Mike Giardi is tweeting that Wes Welker drew some attention, and those offers have impacted negotiations with the Pats. Expect the Patriots to move on and find a new slot receiver.

– The Lions have re-signed cornerback Chris Houston.

– The Broncos have guaranteed the salary of Peyton Manning for the next two seasons.

– Linebacker Manny Lawson has signed a multi-year deal with the Buffalo Bills.

– Some very interesting chatter about where Wes Welker may be going. Due to the source I won’t share where, but this is going to be a very interesting thing to watch. Plus I am going to lay $5 on my info.  I know, I know… big spender. :-)

– The Steelers have signed quarterback Bruce Gradkowski to a three-year deal.

– The Jaguars have waived wide receiver Laurent Robinson one year after signing the former Cowboy to a huge deal.

Wes Welker’s agent has described the Patriots’ offer to the wide receiver as “laughably low.” Sounds like all sides are ready to move on.

– The Giants have signed kicker Josh Brown.

– Former Colts’ receiver Donnie Avery is joining the Kansas City Chiefs.

– The Ravens have re-signed offensive guard Ramon Harewood.

Reggie Bush is the new lead back for the Detroit Lions.

– Word is that the Patriots offered 4 year, $32 million to Wes Welker and the Welker camp is unhappy. Suitors may be down to the Broncos and Pats, though I am hearing there are two dark horses, at least one of which has made a better offer than New England.

– The Arizona Cardinals agree on a one-year deal with former Steelers’ running back Rashard Mendenhall.

– A big one is off the market; the Rams have signed offensive tackle Jake Long to a contract. Update: Correction; an offer has yet to be made or accepted (as of 1:56 pm Central).

– It looks like the Broncos are working hard to get a deal with Wes Welker done today. I’m going to lose my five bucks.

– The Detroit Lions have added safety Glover Quin, formerly of the Texans; this is a big upgrade in their secondary.

– The Buccaneers have signed former 49ers safety Dashon Goldson to a five year deal.

– The Jaguars signed former Bears free agent linebacker Geno Hayes to a one-year deal.

– The Wes Welker to Denver deal is looking close to done.

– The 49ers have agreed to a contract with former Chiefs defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey.

– The Titans have reached agreement on a three-year, $10 million deal with former Jets’ running back Shonn Greene.

– According to WEEI, Wes Welker’s camp has brought the Broncos’ offer back to the Patriots to give New England a chance to match. My guess is no, but this shows where Wes’ heart really is.

– The Broncos announce one-year deal with linebacker Stewart Bradley.

– Running back Lex Hilliard has signed a one year deal to stay with the Jets.

– Cornerback Drayton Florence has agreed to a one year deal with the Panthers. It looks like the corners are now going to start to go.

– Defensive tackle Samie Lee Hill has reached agreement on a three-year, $11.4 million deal with the Titans.

Wes Welker has agreed to terms with the Denver Broncos. Clearly, the Patriots declined the offer to match. It is only a two year deal, so it must be coming down to guaranteed money. Waiting for the details.

– Details on Wes Welker… it is “only” two years, $12 million. Must be fully guaranteed, and it must be that the Patriots set a value for the position and would not exceed it.  Sounds like the Patriots had already determined that Welker was no longer “Plan A.” Patriots have yet to make major moves, but it’s in the air. The next couple of days should show us the Pats’ off-season approach.

According to Greg Bedard, Patriots initial offer to Wes Welker was two years and $10 million with incentives. Albert Breer accurately notes that the Pats likely see Aaron Hernandez and Wes Welker as redundant, and Hernandez is much younger and at least as difficult to cover. This deal underscores how much the Miami Dolphins, who have agreed to shell out $30.55 million over five years for Brian Hartline, overpaid for a number two receiver.

– Quarterback Drew Stanton signed a three year deal with the Arizona Cardinals. Here’s hoping they don’t trade for Tim Tebow.

– The Broncos have signed former Jaguars defensive tackle Terrance Knighton.

OK… time for another dinner break… and to make sure I move the Wes Welker to the back of my closet.

– The Oakland Raiders signed linebacker  Kaluka Maiava and defensive tackle and defensive end Pat Sims, as well as defensive end Jason Hunter.

– The Arizona Cardinals signed cornerback Jerraud Powers and safety Yeremiah Bell.

– The Seattle Seahawks have landed defensive lineman Cliff Avril, who provides an instant upgrade to the Seahawks’ pass rush.

– Not waiting long to respond to Wes Welker’s deal with Denver, the Patriots have signed wide receiver Danny Amendola to a five year, $31 million deal,, with $10 million guaranteed.

– The Titans signed linebacker Moise Fokou, formerly with the Colts.

– The Broncos complete a successful day by reeling in cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie on a one year deal.

– The Colts have signed former Jets free agent safety LaRon Landry

That’s all for tonight…. more to come on Thursday!

Thursday, March 14

I’m expecting today to be a little bit slower as the agents and teams take a breath and assess where they are, and as remaining players line up visits with teams.

– Former Seahawks’ running back and return man Leon Washington will visit the patriots, who just lost their punt returner yesterday (what was his name again?). Washington has also been connected to talks with the Bucs.

– Cornerback Derek Cox has signed a four year, $20 million deal with the San Diego Chargers.

– Running back Chris Ogbonnaya will be staying in Cleveland, agreeing to a two year deal.

Greg Jennings will be visiting the Minnesota Vikings, who seem to be the front runners (along with Green Bay) to land the veteran wide receiver.

– A mystery suitor for Wes Welker has been revealed by Adam Schefter.. the Tennessee Titans. I rather suspect we will learn of one or two more teams in the coming days.

Great article from Mike Reiss details that Wes Welker went back to the Patriots with the Broncos’ offer, only to be later informed that the Patriots had already made a commitment to another player (Danny Amendola).

– The Chiefs have released Matt Cassel. Is a homecoming a possibility in Foxboro?

– The J-E-T-S are trying to build leverage by suggesting that they are not actively trying to trade Darrelle Revis.

– The Panthers are keeping quarterback Derek Anderson for another year.

– Cornerback Sean Smith has found a new home in Kansas City, agreeing to a three year deal.

– It turns out that the Patriots signed Danny Amendola on Tuesday, a full day before the Wes Welker drama took place. Anyone else think the team hadn’t already decided to move on?

– The Redskins and offensive tackle Jeremy Trueblood have reached a deal.

Kevin Kolb is about to be released by the Cardinals, and his next destination appears to be the starting quarterback of the J-E-T-S.

Ricky Jean Francois has agreed to a four-year, $22 million deal with the Indianapolis Colts.

– The Vikings have landed quarterback Matt Cassel, who was just released from the Chiefs.

– The Eagles have added cornerback Cary Williams and safety Kenny Phillips .

– Cornerback Keenan Lewis has agreed to terms with the New Orleans Saints on a five year deal.

– The Falcons have landed running back Steven Jackson to replace Michael Turner in Atlanta.

– Linebacker Connor Barwin leaves Houston for Philadelphia and a six year deal.

– The Patriots have landed kick returner and running back Leon Washington.

– The Buccaneers have signed wide receiver Kevin Ogletree.

 Friday, March 15

We’ll wrap this thread up with a recap of last night’s signings and some look at today.

– The Jets are close to signing running back Mike Goodson. UPDATE: Goodson has signed.

– Defensive end Michael Bennett has agreed to a one year, $5 million deal with the Seattle Seahawks. The 49ers may be an early favorite for the Super Bowl, but right now they appear to have serious competition to win the NFC West.

– Former Vikings’ linebacker Jasper Brinkley has agreed to a two year deal with the Arizona Cardinals.

– John Elway says that defensive end Elvis Dumervil’s salary is “out of whack.” From a business perspective Elway is right, but does anyone seeing a change of location coming for the pass rushing star?

– The Jaguars re-signed cornerback Antwaun Molden to a one-year veteran minimum deal.

– The Rams have re-signed defensive end William Hayes and defensive tackle Jeremelle Cudjo.

– The Bears re-signed defensive tackle Nate Collins to a one-year contract.

– Former Bears’ linebacker Nick Roach has joined the Oakland Raiders.

– Adam Schefter is expecting cornerback Aqib Talib to return to the Patriots, as the cornerback market is not drawing the same dollars it was just a year ago.

We’ll keep updating the list presented at the end of Day One, but we will only be posting updates for bigger news the rest of the way out.

– OK, this is worth an update. According to PFT, the 49ers are in “serious discussions” with cornerbacks Nnamdi Asomugha and Charles Woodson.

– The Patriots have signed former Bills’ wide receiver Donald Jones.

– Tight end Dustin Keller has joined the Miami Dolphins, who appear to be cementing second place in the AFC East.

Kevin Kolb is being released in Arizona. Is New York next?

– Cornerback Kyle Arrington has re-signed with the Patriots and a four year deal.

– Running back Danny Woodhead has signed to two year deal with the San Diego Chargers.

– Offensive Lineman Willie Colon has joined the Jets.

– Safety Louis Delmas has signed back on with the Detroit Lions.

– Defensive end Matt Shaughnessy has a one-year deal in Arizona.

– Huge drama surrounding Elvis Dumervil. Dumervil agreed to a salary reduction but the paperwork did not get filed on time by his agent. The Broncos were seven minutes late filing, and Dumervil has been officially released. The release, along with Welker’s new deal, has just created a cap problem in Denver. The Broncos can likely still work out a deal, but they now have a huge financial mess on their hands. UPDATE: The release creates $4.87M in dead money for this season, meaning Denver will be hard pressed to bring Dumervil back. Question: Why are teams in a multi-billion dollar industry still relying on fax machines?

– While fax machines are being flung out windows in Denver, defensive end John Abraham officially becomes a member of the New England Patriots.

– Eagles announce they acquired wide receiver Arrelious Benn, a former 2nd-rd pick, and 7th-rounder from Tampa Bay for a 2013 6th-rounder and 2014 conditional pick.

– Wide receiver Brandon Gibson is now a member of the Miami Dolphins.

– Running back Justin Forsett has agreed to terms with the Jaguars.

– Big news breaking that the Patriots have signed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet, which is undoubtedly front-loaded with case. The cap-strapped Pittsburgh Steelers now have a chance to match the offer. It’s been a big day for the Patriots.

– The Cardinals agree to terms with cornerback Antoine Cason on a one year deal.

– Safety Adrian Wilson has signed a three year deal with the New England Patriots. Right now Bill Belichickk is looking like a salary cap genius.

– Big news in Minnesota… the Vikings have signed wide receiver Greg Jennings away from Green Bay.

– The Jets signed defensive tackle Antonio Garay to a one year deal. That’s two good moves in the same day, Jets’ fans.

– The Ravens signed defensive lineman Marcus Spears to a two year deal.

Saturday, March 16

– Per Adam Schefter, the Patriots have not signed wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders to an offer sheet… yet. They are mulling over the possibility. That may be a cap issue, or it may be an issue of whether or not they believe they can fit Sanders in with Lloyd, Amendola, Jones, Gronk, Hernandez, and Balllard. The Pats have also been quiet on the re-negotiations with Lloyd, so that may be part of the calculus.

– Hearing that something is likely forthcoming on cornerback Aqib Talib’s return to the Patriots. All is still quiet on the Sebastian Vollmer front.

Nov 162012

I’ll say at the outset that this article can be claimed to be the football equivalent of beating a dead horse; thus the title and the South Park graphic. But as someone who predicted the demise of the Jets a full year ago, I can’t help but look at the events that have unfolded recently in the New York Jets’ locker room and conclude that my article just after the launch of this website was prescient.

Not that the article was a huge stretch, but any objective observer of the New York Jets could have concluded that this was a team headed quickly towards a cliff, and Rex Ryan was driving with a blindfold on. But then Rex said it was ok because he had painted a pair of eyes onto the blindfold, which by his judgment meant he could see. Alas, the Jets’ front wheels have now gone over the cliff, and the rest of the clown brigade is poised to follow their clueless fearless into the abyss.

Recent events

So what has happened of late? For those who have not been paying attention, the Jets were coming off of pounding the Indianapolis Colts 35-9 and then put forth a solid effort before falling apart late against the Patriots in a 29-26 overtime loss. Since then the Jets’ dysfunction has soared, with a bye week being sandwiched by a 30-9 loss to the Dolphins and a hapless performance against the Seattle Seahawks, where the Jets’ offense managed 218 yards of total offense in a resounding 28-7 thrashing. Immediately following the loss to the Seahawks, Head Coach Rex Ryan could be seen teary-eyed, though he would not confirm crying in front of the players  after the loss. Rex than came out in defense of Mark Sanchez as the starting quarterback of the New York Jets, and why wouldn’t he? He traded Drew Stanton, the only real quarterback on the roster, to the Colts after Stanton asked for a trade in light of the Jets trading for Tim Tebow. Thus, the Jets sacrificed the backup quarterback position on their roster in order to secure someone who could best be described as a gadget player. And they did so without even having the slightest flipping clue about how to utilize said gadget player. While Tebow has made a handful of plays this season, the Jets’ use of him has been a failure of epic proportions, as his appearance for a few plays is episodic, often contrary to the flow of the game, and in some cases has disrupted what little rhythm Mark Sanchez was putting together. As I said at the beginning of the season, the Jets’ coaching has far greater belief in their own abilities than they deserve, and that starts with Rex Ryan.

After the loss, some of the Jets’ players tried to create the ultimate silver lining behind their last place 3-6 record by proclaiming that at least the locker room this season is free of the tension that ripped the locker room apart during the Jets’ three game losing streak to close the season out at 8-8 while missing the playoffs. But… wait for it… the Jets then went and created some of the drama they claimed to be free of. Matt Slauson got it started by stating that Sanchez was the Jets’ best quarterback by far, which is far more an indication of how bad the Jets’ quarterbacks are as a group than it is a vindication of Mark Sanchez. “It’s not even close,” Slauson said. “All the other quarterbacks know it. I have all the confidence in Mark. We don’t really have a choice… We have Greg (McElroy) . . . and we have an athlete..”

Other, unnamed players were more blunt about using Tebow, saying that the former miracle worker from Denver is “terrible” and is a “wildcat guy” rather than a quarterback. Another raised the question of whether or not using Tebow was relying on miracles to win. Still another raised questions about the receiving corps that Sanchez is throwing to, referring to the players as “garbage.” That’s right… no divisiveness in this locker room.

Predictably, Ryan had to get the back of Tim Tebow following those comments, making the argument that players making comments without using their names were acting cowardly. Ryan said he addressed the Tebow comments with his players and thought that the incident was bringing the team together as a unit. “I think this team is coming together,” Ryan said. “Could this galvanize it? I don’t know. Maybe so. This team, in my opinion, is not going to be pulled apart by outside people. I think inside the walls we are going to (be close).” Mind you, this is coming from the same coach who admitted losing the “pulse” of the 2011 locker room after acting like there was nothing wrong during the course of last season.

The next day Tebow admitted feeling frustration and sadness after the comments of other Jets’ players were made and published. To Tebow’s credit, he kept the spirit of his comments positive, talking about what he could control and how he tries to improve. But there has been no secret in recent weeks that Tebow was growing frustrated in his limited role.

Shonn Greene then opened up a can of worms when he told Mike Silver of Yahoo! Sports that it was time for Tim Tebow to run the offense. “You feel bad for Mark, but at the same time you want to win games. We’re not here to protect people’s feelings. If you want to win games, you’ve got to try something. If somebody’s not getting the job done, you see if somebody else can do it. It’s the same with coaching, or any position. You don’t mean to belittle someone or say ‘he sucks.’ That’s just the harsh reality.” Stunningly (or not), Greene later tried to walk those comments back in an interview with Manish Mehta.

Since then Bart Scott and Antonio Cromartie have defended themselves against allegations that they were unnamed sources in the article. Scott took exception to LaDainian Tomlinson’s belief that he was one of the sources,   while Cromartie also took exception to the comments of a “retired player” and asserted that he (Cromartie) was not a cowardly person. Mayhaps he is and mayhaps he ain’t, but this is coming from the same guy who is crowing that the Jets are going to the playoffs this season. And Scott doesn’t exactly have oodles of credibility after threatening a reporter earlier this season.

Perhaps the only thing that made sense this week was when two former Jets, Wayne Hunter and Kellen Clemens, came out and shared how happy they were to be in St. Louis, on a team that has a “great quarterback situation” and none of the drama of the Jets’ locker room.

UPDATE (11/17): No sooner do I publish this article does Mike Tannenbaum come out and defend himself for trading for Tim Tebow. I won’t update this article after every chucklehead on the Jets comes out, but it is very clear that this ridiculous soap opera is going to continue until there is a regime change.

Where is this headed?

If you have not read the article “Here Comes the Collapse“, please note that while I didn’t get each game right, I had the Jets nailed exactly at a 3-6 record heading into this week’s contest against the Rams. I had the Jets ending up at 7-9, but looking at the injuries, the pathetic offense, and the overrated defense, I am thinking that 7 wins might have been optimistic. While the schedule is moderately “easy” the rest of the way out,  the Jets simply don’t look good enough to contend. The playoffs are about as far away from reality as the thought of Tim Tebow succeeding as a starting quarterback in the NFL.

The Jets are capable of going 2-2 in their next four, with likely losses to the Rams and Patriots, and wins over the Cardinals and Jaguars. Chalk up road losses to the Titans and the Bills, and a home win against the under-performing Chargers, and the Jets might well go 6-10 this season, one game worse than I had predicted.

Unless the Jets recover and go on a serious winning streak and make the playoffs, big changes appear to be in store for the Jets. They have a handful of talented players on both sides of the ball, but the number is not what Jets’ fans once thought it was. Mike Tannenbaum seems to be a failure as the Jets’ GM, and changes must start in the front office with respect to the evaluation of talent. Quinton Coples has turned out to be a great find, but the Jets’ defense has fallen to 17th in the league (6th against the pass and 30th against the run). Perhaps it’s the fact that the defense spends a lot of time on the field (31:51), but more likely it is simply that they overrated their own talent, particularly in stopping the run. Yes, Revis’ injury has hurt the defense, but it is the responsibility of the front office to make sure that team depth provides effective replacements.

On offense the loss of Santonio Holmes has hurt the team’s offensive production, but it would not have been much better with Holmes, though he amazingly is still second on the team with 20 receptions. The rest of the receivers, described within the team as garbage, are certainly not players who would be starting on most other teams. Dustin Keller has been up and down, and Greene has racked up 567 yards, but with only 3.7 yards per carry; “ground and pound” has been an illusion in New York made worse by the fact that the arch-nemesis Patriots have developed a far superior running game. At quarterback, Sanchez has been a disaster with a 52% completion rating, 10 touchdowns to 9 interceptions, and a passes rating of only 70.4. The Jets need better talent on both sides of the ball, and the talent has deteriorated over the past two seasons.

Next on the list is the head coach. Rex Ryan is a solid defensive coordinator, and he should know his limits. He is too erratic to be in control of 53 men for the entirety of a season, and seems to have no clue as to how to get a team to buy into a shared vision and plan. He may not have come to New Jersey to kiss Bill Belichick’s rings, but he would have been wise to learn the lessons that Belichick did in his coaching style with the Patriots, and how much it differs from his days in Cleveland. Can Rex Ryan be a good head coach? Maybe, but it’s not going to be happening at the head of the three ring circus of the Jets. His cardinal sin, in my view, was living and dying on the fate of Mark Sanchez, and then agreeing to peddle away the backup spot to a gimmick. Such a move should have sealed the fates of both Tannenbaum and Ryan.

Finally, the most obvious change that must come is at quarterback. Perhaps the answer is to be found in the draft, or maybe in free agency, but both Sanchez and Tebow have to go. Let Greg McElroy fight for a spot on the roster, but otherwise the Jets have to clean house at this position. Doing anything less invites another losing season in 2013.

As I have said before, as a Patriots’ fan I actually prefer better competition in our division, because it makes my favorite team a better club. But the Jets are not holding up their end of the bargain, and it is going to take significant change in New Jersey before this team gets back to being competitive. In the meantime, the circus surrounding the Jets is a sad reminder of the team that could have been.

Oct 012012

Last week we asked how many wins you expect the New Orleans Saints to tally this year. Most of those who voted (62%) thought the Saints would have an impressive recovery and bounce back to win as many as 9 games, but not make the playoffs. Personally, I’m with the contingent that thinks that the Saints will only pick up between 4-6 wins, given a porous defense and a less than adequate offensive line. The Saints are now down to 0-4, with a tough game coming up against the Chargers next Sunday night. One person thought the Saints would rebound to win at least 10 games and make the playoffs, and we’d like to thank Mr. Brees for taking our poll. :-)

Poll #7: How many games will the New Orleans Saints win this season?
7-9; they’ll recover, but not enough to make the post-season (62%, 13 Votes)
4-6; too many problems to be a competitive team (24%, 5 Votes)
0-3; this team is a mess (10%, 2 Votes)
10-13; Drew’s right – they are fine and will storm through the rest of the regular season (4%, 1 Votes)
Total Voters: 21

Poll #8: What is the biggest cause of the Jets’ current woes?
This week’s poll focuses back on the AFC East and the New York Jets. After scoring 48 points in Week One, the Jets have scored only 33 points in the subsequent three games for 81 total points. Their showing against the 49ers was abysmal, and they are without Darrelle Revis for the season and Santonio Holmes for the moment, while Mark Sanchez has looked every bit of the “yet another failed USC starter” in two ugly losses, and even in their win over the Dolphins. It’s no wonder Rex Ryan wants his team to stay away for a couple of days while he polishes up his resume…er… works with his coaches to correct the problems. So this week’s question is… what is the biggest cause for the Jets’ current woes?

Your choices:
– The Jets’ lack of a starting quarterback
– The offensive line
– The defensive line
– Poor coaching
– All of it; it’s a mess
– What are you talking about? The Jets are 2-2 and will be just fine

Please note that if you vote for Option #6 that we will assume your first name is either Mark, Tim, Rex, or Bart.

Jun 082012

Happy Friday, everyone!

It’s a slow day on GiR; it seems lots of our folks are already away for the weekend, and day jobs have kept the rest of us from attending to our other website duties. Please note the new artwork that is accompanying this column, which is courtesy of my 12 (nearly 13) year old daughter. We are both big fans, so it is only fitting that GIR should accompany our site.

NFL shorts:

1. Rob Gronkowski got an offer he couldn’t refuse. The Patriots rarely rip up rookie deals, but Gronk has so clearly outplayed his rookie deal that the patriots wanted to be sure that he didn’t hit the open market anytime soon. For his part, Gronk is taking the sure money now. It’s possible that he could have gotten more elsewhere if he was allowed to hit free agency, but it’s also possible that another injury to Gronk might limit his effectiveness and cost him a lot of money down the road. The Pats protected themselves with a $10 million escalator, but that is an issue for another day, or another few years. In this case, both sides can claim a win.

2. For the record, Darrelle Review wants you to know that he wants to retire as a Jet. As long as the Jets allow Revis to hold them hostage with constant re-negotiations. So what Revis should have said was, “I want to retire a Jet, as long as the organization keeps kissing my butt.”

3. Ocho got cut because, after all this time, he still didn’t know the playbook.

4. The Saints finally have a new offer on the table to Drew Brees, and some have suggested that a deal is imminent. That’s a good thing, because I am still trying to figure out how and why the organization has taken this long to pay the man.

5. Santonio Holmes threw a tantrum in practice. Get your popcorn ready.

Quick GiR notes:

1. I hope people got to read the introduction from Rat’s Widow. My soon to be spouse has decided to join us, and I couldn’t be happier. It should bring a completely different perspective to this site, and maybe even attract other football widow/ers.

2. Just a reminder that I am moving my base of operations next week, so Wednesday through Friday may be light days. I’ll still be on and moderating posts, but may not be able to chime in much during that period of time.

3. We are still in a slow football period, as training camp is still down the road, and football news is usually slow. However, the lockout of NFL officials promises to dominate summer conversation, and I know we will be paying close attention at GiR.

4. We will also be introducing some new writers soon. Like Gandhi but Taller is busy writing, as is Flip Stricland. Two other people are planning to join the team and last night a third (and… gasp… a Jets fan!) expressed interest. The list continues to grow.

5. Finally, if you are reading our site, please share this with others, and please like us on “Facebook.” Social media and word of mouth is our biggest draw for the initial launch, though I will be posting Facebook ads as the summer goes on.

Have a great weekend, and keep checking back for more new pieces from our contributors.