Better Gang In 2011?

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              As we closed up the NFL season, for New York fans, it was not the fairy tale ending we all have hoped for from both the Jets and the Giants. For the “G-Men” the season started so bright with talks rumbling about a possible Jets/Giants Super Bowl. Then the wheels just broke off as Manning and the Giants struggled towards the end of the season. There has been a lot of speculation about the safety of coach Tom Coughlin’s job, and if he is still the man for it. It’s almost accurate to say if the Giants don’t make the playoffs this year, the front office may be looking towards a new direction. What may be unfair is that if the Giants come out the gates slow, a portion of the finger-pointing will go on the shoulders of Coughlin. However, on the flip side, a positive note for Giants fans is how many times we’ve heard the whispers of a Tom Coughlin firing, and the team had responded with three-or four-game winning streaks. As we approach the off-season, the Giants must fill in some gaps they have at the moment due to free agency. Arguably, the Giants most talented receiver is Steve Smith. Smith is a free agent this year and will loom large to the Giants offense should he go elsewhere. Smith’s season ended early due to torn cartilage in his knee just after missing games due to a torn pectoral muscle. Another free agent player to keep your eye on is running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Bradshaw rushed for over 1,200 yards on 276 carries and has proven to the Giants sparkplug Brandon Jacobs.

           As for the New York alongside Jets, well, heartache hit Jets nation once again as “Gang Green” again came one game short of the Super Bowl. The Jets may have a bigger problem than their fellow neighbor Giants. The Jets have  17 free agents this year. As we all heard Rex Ryan say at his last press conference, the goal still remains bringing the trophy to the Empire State. One interesting “eye-opener” to reminisce on before the Patriots dominated the decade of the 2000’s with trophy after trophy, the Patriots had many winning seasons, but never big-time playoff victories. As chemistry built, Bill Belichick came along and brought in a winning attitude and did it with a quarterback no one knew at the time. Who would have thought that a quarterback who was drafted in the 6th round (199th overall) in the 2000 NFL draft would become a top quarterback in the league. How beautiful sports can be. Mark Sanchez has taken his team to two trips to the AFC Championship in just his first two years as Jets QB. So if the Pats can do it, why wouldn’t the experienced Sanchez and the Jets get not benefit them? Not a lot of quarterbacks can say they’ve done that in their first two seasons.

         So for now, all we can do is be patient and hope the NFL and the NFLPA (National Football League Players Association) can come to a fair and long-term collective bargaining agreement. The current deal expires 11:59PM March 4. Other headlines to watch is the scenario of Chad Ochocinco/Johnson. It is clear he wants out of Cincinnati, but do the Jets want him? Former Giants receiver Plaxico Burress is set to be released from prison June 6. The Steelers, Jets and Giants appear to be interested in the 34-year-old. Burress was sent to jail back in 2008 for shooting himself with a handgun at a night club. According to former players and his attorney, Plaxico is in great shape and looks forward to returning to the NFL this season. In my opinion, the Jets must win their division this year. Let’s see how we do in a home game in the playoffs. Here are some of my “stays and goes” for the Jets in free agency.

Santonio Holmes: Staying: reasoning: He is a big-time player and can impact a game at any time. I think he stays with the Jets.

Kris Jenkins: Staying: Even though he has not played much in the past two years, he’s still 6-4 360 lbs, and if healthy can fill in a lot of space and puts pressure on the opposing quarterback.

Braylon Edwards: Going: Even though he is a dynamic receiver, the DUI charge during the season may have affected his play down the stretch. I look for the Jets to let him go and perhaps pursue Chad Ochocinco or even Plaxico Burress.

Antonio Cromartie: Staying: He is still a good cornerback alongside Darrelle Revis, if he can improve playing the ball on cross-routes he’ll be another cornerback quarterbacks won’t throw to.

Shaun Ellis: Going: He has been a great asset for the Jets for many years, however, he’s too old and perhaps as far as defensive tackles go, it may be time to go younger.

LaDanian Tomlinson: Going: I really don’t expect him back. Even though he ran the ball effectively at the start of the season, his gas ran out at the end of it.

Brad Smith: 50/50: With Brad Smith, it can go either way. He was very valuable in the “wild cat” package of the Jets, but how much dollar signs does he want is what it will come down to.

Sports Notes: (Baseball) More problems for Yankee pitching coming? A much lighter C.C. Sabathia has the option to opt out of his current 7-year $160 million dollar contract after this season, will he do so? He’s apparently keeping a small window open. (NBA Basketball) According to reports, there is another proposal trade that may land Carmelo Anthony in New York. The Nuggets will get Raymond Felton, Danilo Gallinari, Eddy Curry and a first-round pick for Carmelo Anthony and Chauncey Billups.

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