Monthly Archives: October 2009 - Page 2

Jets Fall to Bills in OT

After staking themselves to a halftime lead the Jets failed to score in the second half and eventually lost to the division rival Bills in overtime. Mark Sanchez had an atrocious game throwing five picks and failing to complete even 40% of his passes. The Jets defense rebounded but couldn’t keep the Bills offense down when it mattered most, and this without starter Trent Edwards playing most of the game. With this loss the Jets have now lost three straight games and their chances of a playoff berth are diminishing.

Defensively the Jets did not play that poorly. A week after letting Miami charge down the field on them the Jets managed to hold the Bills to 3 points in the first half. They did allow 140+ yards on the ground in this game but that came off of a 3.4 yard per carry average. The big blunder for this team was allowing the long strike to Lee Evans for a touchdown taking away the Jets lead, something they would not get back for the rest of the game. Ultimately I thought this unit played well and while it was against a weak opponent the blame can not be placed on the defense. The only thing they could have done better was get more takeaways as with the offense not getting it done a defensive score could have won it.

Regardless of what the defense could have done better, if the offense had performed decently well the Jets would have easily picked this game up. They had over 300 yards on the ground with an average of 8 yards per carry yet still threw the ball close to 30 times. With the presence of a running game and a legitimate number one receiver in Braylon Edwards Sanchez should have had a better performance. I know he is only a rookie but if he is going to start he can not have performances like this. What we said about him earlier in the year was while he wasn’t lighting the league on fire he wasn’t getting turnovers either. He got into that trouble here and it cost the Jets a game. If this team wants to see the postseason he is going to have to rebound, he has shown that he has the ability now he just needs to cut down on mistakes and hopefully show improvement as the season goes on.

This team started out the year hot and really looked to have the ability to make it into the postseason despite a rookie qb and a rookie head coach. Now the chance of that is looking slim. Mark Sanchez, while not being terrible, has regressed each of the past couple weeks, something you don’t want to see, and more importantly this team has not been able to put a complete game together to stop this losing streak. They have lost three games in a row, two to divisional opponents. A good team does not allow these upset games to happen especially after dropping two the previous two weeks. I worry about this team’s mental toughness as it has not been able to get out of this funk and instead appears to be a worse team each passing week. Kris Jenkins is now on IR, a big hit to the defense, and this is yet another thing this team has to rebound from. This coming up game is as much of a must win game as there can be this early in the season. If the Jets lose to the Raiders dropping four in a row they can kiss their playoff chances good-bye.

First recorded EZ Connection episode online!

Click the link and enjoy:
EZ Connection #1

Giants Defense Non-Existence, Lose 48-27 to Saints

In what was supposed to be a game of two powerhouses the Saints easily disposed of the Giants dropping 34 points on them before the first half ended. The Giants offense played alright but got off to a slow start and had two bad turnovers. With the defense giving up a touchdown on almost every one of the Saints possessions the Giants quickly found themselves out of this one. The Positives were very few as the Giants left New Orleans 5-1 suffering a humiliating 48-27 loss.

We will start out on offense as there were some good things we can talk about. For the first time all season I thought the Giants running game looked good. Jacobs might have had his usual runs for no gain, but the offensive line did a lot better opening holes and Jacobs had a pretty nice day looking more aggressive than he has been in the past, and Bradshaw again looked great. The passing game was a different story. Early on they were getting some nice short completions but instead opted to go for some strikes further down the field. This seemed to be a good strategy as the receivers got open but Manning was not on target. This might have been due to the injury but whatever the case was they missed some long passes and before they regrouped they were out of this game. When the Saints started to build a lead the Giants slowly abandoned the run and with the Saints blitzing the Giants pass protection broke down a bit. It was not terrible but Eli was unable to get into a rhythm and got noticeably agitated, highlighted by him lecturing Bradshaw after a missed assignment. The offense was not terrible but I dislike the game plan they had going in. I understand they believed they could have gotten some deep passes but that is not the Giant’s strength. They would not keep up with the Saints in a shoot-out and would have done better if they slowed down the game and used their running attack that was working well. It was not the worst strategy and if the defense showed up I would probably be singing a different tune but I just think the Giants should know their identity by now and stick to it. They won a Superbowl with it and went 12-4 last season.

Defensively the Giants were abysmal, and that is if I am being nice. I can not remember the last time the Giants looked so useless on defense. This seemed to start with the coaching and then translated down to the players. First off we will discuss Bill Sheridan. Going into this season my biggest fear was how he would perform as defensive coordinator. Going back a few years Tim Lewis was the defensive coordinator and the unit seemed to always under-perform despite having tons of talent, evidence by the fact that a season after his dismissal the unit vaulted up to the top 10 eventually winning a Superbowl. When Lewis was let go his assistants were kept, those including: Mike Waufle, Peter Guinta, and Bill Sheridan. Now I do like these guys as position coaches, with Waufle being one of my favorite coaches on the Giants staff, but none of them seemed especially qualified to be a coordinator, especially Sheridan. I mean even as a position coach, what linebackers have gotten better after joining the Giants? There is a reason this team signed Boley in the offseason and that is because none of their picks or signings have worked out, and that goes back to Sheridan. Yes he was coaching under Spagnuolo but he was also under Lewis so I just don’t see what made him so qualified for the position. The only two competent offenses he has faced: the Cowboys and Saints have torched the defense. Going into this game it seemed the Giants had the same game plan they ran too many times under Lewis. There was almost no blitzes, something never seen under Spags, and too many zone defenses. Brees had all day and the receivers easily found the holes in the zones. There was also a quote from a player saying they guessed wrong constantly on Saints plays saying, they guessed run when it was pass and pass when it was run. This all goes back to coaching. In addition C.C. Brown had a terrible game but I don’t think anyone thought he was that great of a player as third stringers were outplaying him in preseason. Shouldn’t the coach do his best job to hide the weaknesses of the defense? The Saints came into the game with a plan of attacking the safeties and Sheridan had no answer. You would think he would have gone into the game trying to hide the weaknesses of his secondary instead of letting the Saints expose it. Moving past Sheridan, this loss is not solely the blame of coaching as the players looked pitiful as well. Osi was going up against a back-up and could not get any pressure. The entire defensive line was outplayed by the Saints. Corey Webster was even abused in coverage some time. Coaching or no coaching C.C. Brown was horrible and the linebackers could not cover Shockey. It was a horrible performance, one the Giants can not repeat if they want to be Superbowl champions.

Next week they play the Cardinals, another offensive minded team and they better respond. We will see if they make adjustments as a good team does not get embarrassed twice. A loss here and their season is in serious jeopardy. They still have a very talented team and a Superbowl winning head coach so they can still turn things around. Ultimately it was one loss and we have to remember this team is 5-1 coming off two impressive seasons, they should put this game behind them and go back to playing Giants football.

Islanders Season Outlook 2009-2010

Better late than never right? Enjoy the season preview.

Every member of Islanders Country must have let out a collective exhale on June 29, 2009. After playing his number one overall draft pick close to the vest (unlike the Detroit Lions’ approach to drafting Matthew Stafford), Islander’s backup goalie-turned-GM Garth Snow stepped to the podium. Within seconds, John Tavares was the Islanders’ first overall pick since Rick DiPietro in 2000. After one of the richest draft classes in recent NHL history (the Islanders would not have made a mistake drafting powerful defenseman Victor Hedman (no. 2 overall, Lightning) or Matt Duchene (no. 3 overall, Avalanche). But, the majority of Islanders fans wanted Tavares, for his projected 50+ goal talent. (Watch this and believe: Sure, some thought Hedman, who projects to be a Chris Pronger-type defenseman, would be a better fit and bring back memories of venerated Isles hall of famer and former captain Denis Potvin. But, the majority, and the Isles’ brass, saw a Mike Bossy in John Tavares.

Tavares is surely the new marquee player on the island, joining budding star (and former first round pick) Kyle Okposo, fantastic free agent signing D-man Mark Streit, and (if ever healthy) the 15-year contracted franchise goalie, Rick DiPietro. The Islanders, finishing last in the league last year, look for this year to be another notch in coach Scott Gordon’s rebuilding belt, although the increasingly young team feels like it can compete for a playoff berth, barring the massive injuries that ravaged the team last year.

The biggest key to a potential Islanders playoff appearance this year hinges on Garth Snow’s two biggest off-season signings, goalies Dwayne Roloson and Martin Biron. With the addition of Roloson and Biron, when DiPietro returns healthy, the Islanders will have three number one-caliber goaltenders. After Yann Danis and Joey MacDonald (two more than capable backups, but not starters) played the majority of the games in net for the Islanders last year, Roloson, who led the Oilers to a Cup appearance, and Biron, a big-time goalie who, at times, has shined in Buffalo and Philadelphia, promise to fortify the net.

On defense, the Islanders sport a similar look to last year’s squad, with highly underrated, but oft-injured Radek Martinek and “the fantastic fourth,” Freddy Meyer (IV) returning. Another veteran who suffered a rash of injuries, Andy Sutton, and his 6’6 frame return to the blue line. Leader, veteran, and old-time-hockey-style defenseman Brendan Witt makes a return, as does 25-year-old Bruno Gervais, who has inherited a larger role with last year’s mid-season trade of Chris Campoli. Coming off a 56 point campaign, the Isles’ only all-star from last year, Mark Streit looks to be a team leader in goals, assists, and in the locker room. A healthy Streit means an above average-special teams player and a fantastic power play quarterback. Although Coach Gordon hasn’t used him much so far this season, 23-year-old Jack Hillen could be the quarterback on the second PP unit and offensively gifted d-man the Islanders hope for him to be.

Newly minted captain, veteran Doug Weight anchors the senior circuit, along with assistant captain Richard Park and a poor-man’s Sean Avery, Jon Sim. Otherwise, the Islanders’ forwards are mostly homegrown or have spent time in the Islanders minor league system. The rebuild of the Islanders takes shape with the already dynamic Tavares and Okposo flanking Weight on the first line. Last year’s first round pick, sometimes underwhelming, sometimes passing machine Josh Bailey (at only 20 years old) centers, prospectively, Blake Comeau, in and out of Gordon’s doghouse (for some reason unbeknownst to most Islanders) and Islanders’ veteran and perennial 25 goal threat and physical force Trent Hunter. When, and if, healthy, darling of the Islanders’ non-first round picks Frans Nielsen provides a reliable, young center with lots of upside. Richard Park brings grit and potentially 15-20 goals, while Jeff Tambellini, a scoring machine in the AHL, needs to prove his ability to score in the NHL. If not, this could be Tambellini’s last year on the island.

Skilled Sean Bergenheim has consistently been an enigma for the Islanders—he has the skill to score over 30 goals if he can stay out of the penalty box. Nate Thompson, a waiver claim from last year is not a great offensive force, but provides toughness, along with Tim Jackman on the fourth line. Jon Sim will also see action on the fourth line, but may see time with the likes of Tavares and Weight after a nice finish in Bridgeport after a disappointing season last year with the Islanders. Matt Moulson could be a sleeper for this year’s team. Already fostering good chemistry with Tavares, this former L.A. King is still only 25 and showed a nose for the net in the preseason. Rounding out the crew is deke specialist and trickster Rob Schremp picked up from Edmonton before the season on a waver claim. Schremp, like Tambellini has shown a flair for goal scoring in the AHL, but needs to prove himself on a higher level. Coach Gordon has said he will receive chances as a top six forward. Finally, the yo-yo man (barring injuries) between Bridgeport and the NYI is Joel “The Wrecker” Rechlicz, who only has played about two minutes per game no matter at what level. This fighter, though, has caught the eye of the coaching staff, which is high on his upside. Look for The Wrecker to pummel some opponents and perhaps have the speed and offensive upside of an Eric Godard type.

For the Islanders to be competitive, a few things have to go right. They must further adopt Gordon’s “overspeed” coaching method—one that has proven successful on the AHL circuit. They will, by the coach’s estimation, not out-skill anyone (yet) but they can outwork them. With solid defense, good goaltending split between Roloson and Biron (for now) and some offensive spark from others beside Tavares and Okposo, the Islanders may have a fighting chance to scrape out a playoff appearance.

By: Zach

Rangers Advance to 6-1

Wow are the Rangers that good or did they just get really lucky tonight. The Rangers started out the game well but lost momentum completely in the second period and never got it back. In fact they only had one shot on goal in the first period, yet they remarkably won the game 4-2 against a good LA Kings team.

So far this season this team has looked a lot better than the team that started 5-1 last year. As mentioned previously the big problem for the Rangers last year was their ability to score goals, well this season that has been a non-issue. They have had a ton of guys contributing with Prospal a good pass away from getting the hat trick last night. So far the signing of Gaborik has been a great one, granted the only concern was injury and it has been just 7 games. He has given them an offensive identity and a difference maker in crunch time. The powerplay has been fantastic this season scoring in their limited opportunities against the Kings.

Defensively they have been better than I thought, they still have lapses and struggled greatly against the Kings but Del Zotto and Gilroy have been really impressive at not only getting the puck out of the zone but scoring from the blue line. Now with the defensive struggles against the Kings you would think they would have scored more goals, but that is where the Rangers true leader showed his worth. Lundqvist played remarkable making some amazing saves and racking up 34 on the night. With the way the Rangers have been playing they needed great play from their goaltender and they have gotten it. He has played lights out so far and if that continues they should be a possible Stanley Cup finalist.