Tag Archives: Tim Tebow

Headlines 1/11/2013

copelandThe Knicks were without Carmelo Anthony last night in Indianapolis and predictably the offense faltered.  Tony Williams of the Star Ledger writes that that’s either glass being half empty or half full if you’re a Knicks fan. Frank Isola of the Daily News writes about the exercise in futility that was the Knick offense last night.  George Willis of the Post writes that maybe the Knicks have lost their swagger entering a seven game home stand.  Nate Taylor of the New York Times writes that it wasn’t just the missing Carmelo Anthony and his 29 points per game and his usual brilliant late game shooting, but it was just the Knicks missing in general.  Jared Swerling of ESPNNY.com writes among his notes about Marcus Camby’s injury that sidelined him for most of the game.

There was a time in that game that the Knicks were capturing some of that momentum.  They were up 4 after being down most of a very sloppy game, and then the Pacers went on a 13-2 run and it felt like a 28-2 run.  It felt like an enormous lead that this team just could not overcome because they didn’t have their best player on the court.  But let’s add on, that the Knicks haven’t had their best players on the court all season.  Their best team is still sitting on the bench wearing tailored suits.  Yes, Carmelo Anthony wasn’t in the building last night but also consider that primary point guard Raymond Felton is out for another four to five more weeks.  The Knicks best perimeter defender Iman Shumpert is now only beginning live practices.  Rasheed Wallace, another veteran center, was out because of a recurring foot issue that has him day to day.  Amar’e Stoudemire is only beginning to round into form.  

Last night people began wondering if the Knicks were as good as the early season start or if this recent rough stretch was in reality who the Knicks were.  I am willing to say that the Knicks are somewhere in the middle.  One thing I will say is that when healthy this team can go against anybody.  They have the veteran leadership.  They have the bigs to control the paint.  They have the defensive mindset in a half court game.  They play the style of basketball that wins in the postseason and in the end, that’s what this team’s ultimate goal is.  To win in May and June.  Playoff seeding be damned, had the Knicks not gotten off to that fast start, who knows where in the standings they would be.  Thanks to Miami losing they didn’t lose any ground so they remain a half game back of number one seed Miami, but Indiana has to be a real threat.  They added a ton of size to their team and the difference between last year’s team and this year’s team is Paul George.  

It makes the alpha dog status of this team an interesting one when Danny Granger returns.  The Pacers don’t have a top 10 player on their team but they have several excellent pieces.  George is showing signs that he could be their go-to guy.  He still doesn’t have a consistent enough shot, but his perimeter d and his otherworldly athleticism make him a candidate with further room to grow and improve.  He’s the kind of guy that will only get better and oh by the way he’s only turning 23 this May.  

A line up that I saw last night that worries me is the Jason Kidd, Tyson Chandler, Amar’e Stoudemire, JR Smith and Steve Novak.  While Novak isn’t a terrible defender, Amar’e has been a liability on that side of the ball and Kidd gets beat consistently by the quicker point guards.  Its only his hands that make him a threat to poke the ball away from an offensive player running right by him.  He still has the quickness and strength to poke balls away when they aren’t secured.  I understand its to give the Knicks the most amount of shooters, but Amare and Tyson can’t create their own offense so teams play zone and never have to stray too far away from their guy.  If you were to replace Novak or Smith with Prigioni, this gives you two ball handlers who can run dual pick and rolls.  A play they may want to run is Pablo/Kidd coming from the top of the arc and working their way down while getting two screens from both Amar’e and Tyson, as soon as the bigs start to roll, only one big can rotate back to their original man leaving one guy with the point guard while allowing a big to have a mismatch.  Either a lob to the open big to set up a roll to the basket or a bounce pass would suffice.  Now, what happens if someone else rotates to the basket to prevent the easy dunk?  You now have whomever was standing at the corner three locations running behind their man and the big can quickly pass it to him for the easy lay up.  That line up needs as many ball handlers and offensive creators as possible due to the limitations of Chandler and Amar’e to create offensively.  

Once Amar’e gets his stuff together (ie: his 15-18 footer that he was routinely knocking down in 2010), and gets more acclimated to the pace of the game (which he should be by now), the Knicks won’t feel as crippled by the fact that both are primarily pick and roll players.  The Knicks just can’t let Amar’e play center and allow teams easy buckets in the paint and offensive rebounds by the dozens.  Amar’e just does not box out well (he admitted he was never taught), and you can’t let a defensive liability to be left out there without any protection.  Funny thing is, if Rasheed Wallace had been in both games, I think the Knicks win both.  Not kidding you at all.

With the blank entry list to the Baseball Hall of Fame thanks to the suspicion of steroids use by many of the first timers on this year’s ballot, baseball followed that announcement with this: the Players Union and Major League Baseball agreed to expand HGH testing.  Andy McCullough of the Star Ledger writes that the plan is to monitor testosterone levels to note any changes to them in players.  Michael Schmidt of the New York Times writes that this is another way for baseball to argue that it has the strictest testing of all the four major sports.  Both stories spoke of the NFL’s hesitation in blood tests for HGH in season.  This comes a day after a story revealed that Junior Seau was in fact diagnosed with a degenerative brain disease named CTE that is caused by repeated blows to the head perhaps due to his years playing football.  According to this NYTimes report, out of 34 cases that the researchers at Boston University have examined where the subject died, 33 were found to be linked to CTE.

Dr James Andrews, Mike Shanahan RGIIIIt was an unusual day for science in the sports landscape.   I wouldn’t describe baseball as reeling from the aftershock of not inducting anyone to the Hall of Fame, but the numerous empty ballots certainly created a buzz in the sporting community.  Performance enhancing drugs are an ever changing market.  One day its anabolic steroids, the next its something more subtle that alters a player’s ability.  Tomorrow it will be a substance that is virtually untraceable.  I’m willing to bet that every year we will read about two or three more athletes that continue to feel that they can cheat the system and get away with it.  Until the sports world has universal Olympic testing prior to every competition, how can a team not feel they were cheated by somebody who came into a game all “juiced up”.  Obviously that kind of testing will never happen but baseball will always have this stigma attached to it thanks to the almost two decades long period of not caring to do anything about the problem.  

Football on the other hand has a very very serious problem.  I’ve said for years now that Roger Goodell’s legacy will be linked to how he contains or doesn’t contain the concussion issue and player safety.  Those who think that he’s not doing enough will ask for more measures of reeling in the violence.  And there will always be those who feel he has done too much to risk the primal nature of the game that makes it what it is.  I’m of those that believe that you play football knowing the risks.  The hits just keep getting harder and tougher the bigger the players get and the faster they come to hit.  But players continue to compete knowing the risks.  There’s no place in the game for HGH considering how big these guys are and how physical this game is, but don’t try and convince me that Goodell’s stance on this issue isn’t driven by his fear that if he doesn’t do anything the lawsuit by former NFL players contending that the NFL does very little for its former players will make the NFL pay a huge hefty sum.  Goodell has implemented rules and barriers to use in court to say that the NFL is doing its level best to not compromise player safety.  One of the biggest issues that I saw in a report for HBO’s Real Sports series was a story done by Andrea Kremer in which the NFL was asking players to sign a waiver agreeing to free the NFL of any kind of lawsuit before taking a painkiller called Toradol which acts as a numbing agent.  The Players Union is asking players NOT to sign the waiver which continues the back and forth of this issue.  Neither side is willing to be fully on board with the player safety issue as the NFL is trying to lead everyone to believe and its being done with the intention of trying to avoid any further legal hassles in the future.

My opinion is, the NFL is a dangerous sport.  Junior Seau’s case is one that will never change.  Players play injured.  Players go in when they aren’t supposed to, ask RGIII.  The sport almost demands a player to play through and to show the teammates their individual toughness.  The fact is, the risks aren’t being explored in game situations and are only being asked after the fact.  After a game has been played and the player has taken a few extra lumps on top of the lump that caused the injury.  Players do this all the time in the NFL but they do so under their own recognizance.  That’s where team doctors or medical officials need to step in and be authoritative when they demand a player’s removal from a game.  If Dr. James Andrews, the most renowned name in orthopedics, can’t have his professional opinion taken seriously enough then what shot does any other medical official have.  Its a dilemma that won’t go away and good for the NFL that it doesnt!

Hal Steinbrenner calmed Yankees fans fears a little in this Ken Davidoff report saying that the $189 million figure is just a number and doesn’t represent an end all figure if the Yankees aren’t seriously contending for a World Series in 2014.

Sammy Sosa is just weird, on his Pinterest page.

John Clayton of ESPN.com writes that several teams will have a difficult time in reshaping their roster, especially the Jets who are currently $19.4 million over the cap and Dallas who are currently $18.2 million over.  The Giants sit at $4.7 million over.

Gary Meyers of the Daily News writes that Tim Tebow doesn’t have a prayer of having a starting gig in the NFL.

 

 

 

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Jets post game reacts vs. the Steelers

Did one for the Giants, and now here it is for the Jets.

The Jets (1-1) lost to the Pittsburgh Steelers (1-1) at Heinz Field Sunday.  Here is the boxscore.

STORYLINES:

1. The Jets started off the game hot, but then, what had happened was…  We don’t know.  The first drive of the game seemed like it was a continuation of last week where the Jets ran off to a 21-0 start before Buffalo could tighten the laces on their shoes, and yet on Sunday, the Jets failed to gain any momentum after their first two drives that resulted in 10 points.  Why?  Having two completions to a WR after the first quarter sure won’t help, the first coming at the :22 second mark of the 4th quarter with the game over with.  Some poorly thrown passes by Mark Sanchez to relatively open players won’t help either.  The fact is, after the first two drives the Jets stalled and Sanchez was afraid to throw down the field when he had opportunities to do so.

The Jets were playing this game without Darrelle Revis but the Steelers were playing with Troy Polamalu.  Both teams were without significant players to their defense and yet it seemed like the Steelers, with each passing second, gained more and more momentum and strength.  The Jets, particularly Sanchez seemed confused by the varying blitz packages that Steelers’ legendary defensive coordinator Dick Lebeau threw at him.

There were times when the offense just didn’t seem to have a flow.  They ran the ball effectively and yet couldn’t take advantage of it with the play action pass which is where Sanchez is most effective.  Sanchez’ footwork is something I’ve always lauded.  He has excellent balance and has an ability to sell the fake very well and incorporating more trick plays into the game plan could help take advantage of one of his strengths.  I’m not saying that the Jets should turn into a gimmicky offense but, let’s be real, didn’t they do that by bringing in Tim Tebow?

2. They have Roethlisberger for a sack….no they don’t.  Sanchez’ opposite, Ben Roethlisberger, does a few things VERY well.  Two things in particular were on display on Sunday.  His ability to elude defenders is by now a staple in every team’s scouting report.  And yet, teams can’t help but try and tackle him like a normal QB who doesn’t possess the ability to slide away from danger or the kind of awareness that Ben has.  This has helped mask terrible offensive lines throughout the last 6 years that he has had to play behind.  He’s able to extend plays and any defense that has to cover receivers for an extended period of time become vulnerable and it allows the Steelers to pick up so many first downs.

Many would regard those plays broken plays but at this point, you have to consider re-naming that in Roethlisberger’s case because he becomes more comfortable when the pocket breaks down.  He always manages to shift his body around so defenders can’t get their arms around his body.  Its not that he has world class speed like Vick or even his elusiveness, its that he’s so big and weirdly configured that defenders end up wailing at his hips and no one is going to grab hold of him there to bring him down.  This affords Steeler receivers to not just break from their route, but sit in areas of the zone that is not being covered.  Mike Francesa said this Monday and I want to echo it, most people figure that the Steelers are a run first team, but they transitioned from that almost 4 years ago when Bruce Arians became the offensive coordinator and are now an excellent passing team.  It was only this year when they drafted two linemen early in the draft that they addressed the weakness of their offensive line.  They scored huge with Maurkice Pouncey but otherwise its a patchwork line that will be an area of concern moving forward.  The team relies on Ben’s ability to avoid pressure because he sees so much thanks to the line, and Ben routinely makes plays when in that kind of danger.  Its as if he loves the pressure and  his teammates never get frazzled when the play breaks down because at this point its becoming second nature to deal with it.

His other great trait is his ability to make it 3rd and manageable.  So many QB’s forget that and lose sight of game situations and managing the game.  Big Ben is NOT one of them.  When he has 2nd and 10 he goes to his check down which create 3rd and short.  Execution is simple when you’re asking your receiver to go up the field five yards and turn and get a pass.  Its also very tough to defend without being called for a penalty.  Here’s also why its important to Pittsburgh’s offense and any offense: when you have speedy recievers like Pittsburgh you could be vulnerable to the double move and no one recovers from that.

By putting the team in a manageable 3rd down situation, they can go with a short pass or a run play.  They sometimes go deep in that situation too thanks to the speed on the outside of their receivers.  But Ben gets them to those positions thanks to his shiftyness and his ability to manage the situation.  When you can get in a 3rd and short in any decent offense you will convert more often than not, and Ben is right to play the percentages and get his team in that position.  On Sunday he did that time and time again.

3. What exactly IS the Jets passing game?  The story coming out of preseason was that the Jet offense couldn’t score points.  Then they dropped 48 on the Bills and the team got a good laugh at the expense of all the critics that had given them a hard time.  But against a top flight defensive unit (and that’s more on reputation nowadays), the Jets were abysmal.  We can talk about Mark Sanchez’ numbers for the game but the fact is, his receivers weren’t doing him any favors.  After the first drive where he went 4/5 for 80 yards, Sanchez went 6 for 22.  That’s like the QB-who-shall-not-be-mentioned was playing.

Two plays crystallize what went wrong.  On the very next drive, during the 2nd quarter,  with 13:04 left on a 1st and 10- Stephen Hill was one on one vs. Ryan Clark.  Sanchez threw a good ball but Ryan Clark got his hand on Hill’s hand and Hill couldn’t open his hands to get the throw.  Yes, that technically isn’t Hill’s fault but its a case of anything that can go wrong, will.

Three running plays later, Sanchez rolls to this left, play actions, and then turns and runs to his right and tries to throw off balance to Santonio Holmes who is open in the end zone.  Naturally he throws it above his head.  Sanchez had enough time to stop, set his feet and make a confident throw into the end zone but he never did that probably figuring that he would not have that kind of time to make that throw.  Again, I love Sanchez’ foot work when he rolls out and his fake, they are above average, but basics like throwing on the run and knowing that to begin with, he isn’t the most accurate of quarterbacks increases the degree of difficulty on that play for no reason.  Stop and gain balance and throw OR, tuck it and run for another first down.  Just like Ben doesn’t try to make crazy plays, Sanchez has to learn that skill.  Its a very difficult talent to grasp and Sanchez is still finding it difficult to do so.

What the Jets need to do is get them running slant patters and quick out patterns.  When Ben Roethlisberger came out of college he wasn’t given this huge playbook to learn, and make reads from a complex offense.  He was put in positions to succeed and he was coached up well.  You can blame coaching but its also putting your players in a position to succeed and the Jets did Sanchez no favors by completely reversing the course of this team by going from ground and pound to the air show.  They seemingly have come back to a combination of both creating this weird hybrid that scored 1 TD this entire preseason and then scored a whole bunch in the first regular season.  In week 2, they looked like they were building momentum but the Jet offense went to sleep and made some critical errors.  Both self inflicted and those out of their control.  Those things happen but it happens to the Jets alot which would lead me to believe that maybe they aren’t good.

4. What offensive player needs to step up? Can Step up? In my preview I put Jeremy Kerley as the guy to watch for the Jets this year and I stand by that selection for two reasons.  One, I think he can be another security blanket for Mark Sanchez, just like Dustin Keller is.  He is the guy I’m looking at to do that for the Jets and I think he can this team’s Wes Welker.

The player that stuck out in that game was Bilal Powell who many had expected to separate himself.  The worst kept secret is that they want ANYONE to step up in that second RB slot other than Joe McKnight who has been a colossal disappointment.  McKnight was supposed to be the  change of pace back but he hasn’t performed the way that the Jets would like and so they would love Powell to step up in his stead.  Powell will be important.  Austin Howard is the final player that needs to step up.  His play in week 1 was great, limiting Mario Williams to “where the heck is he playing?” status.  But going against Lamar Woodley and co is a whole other challenge that he should not feel he flunked.  He did well at times and others he looked like a guy who only had one career start.  Howard is still a better option than Wayne Hunter was so there’s nothing to be dismissive over his performance on Sunday.  He will need a few more games to get his feet set in the right places but there’s enough tape there now to see that he will be fine which for the Jets is a huge relief.  If he stays healthy, Austin Howard will be effective as the season wears on and he gets more reps.

4. Missed Opportunities- Forget all the missed tackles on Roethlisberger, the missed opportunities on defense that they had were also huge.  Here’s a sequence that took place during the 3rd quarter:

3Q, 9:45

1st and 10- Roethlisberger tries to throw it to Jerricho Cotchery and David Harris turns and bats his pass, ALMOST intercepting it.  A second later with that throw, and it would’ve been picked off.

9:40

2nd and 10- The Jets tackle Jonathan Dwyer for a 6 yard loss thanks to Muhammad Wilkerson’s ability to get a great push against Max Starks.

8:53

3rd and 16,

Roethlisberger slips away from a would be sacker.  Steps into a heave and Mike Wallace stops on a dime and frees himself from Antonio Cromartie and catches the ball while putting both feet inbounds to complete the catch.

Two plays and the Jets seem to get great momentum and the very next they get beat for a touchdown.  It shows Roethlisberger’s strength and what makes him special and why the Jets can’t afford to take a single play off.  But plays like the David Harris ALMOST interception are plays that you HAVE to make against Ben because you will pay.

 

NOTES:

– The Jets schedule reads as such, @Miami vs the Dolphins and then home for the 49ers and Texans.  I know after week 5 is when you want to make conclusions about a team but it will be extra true for the Jets as they face, arguably, two of the best teams in the NFL .  The Niners and Texans coming to Metlife will help but let’s be realistic.  Heading into week 6 vs the Colts the Jets should probably be 2-3.  So is Sunday’s game a must win for the Jets?  Yes.  The Jets must win.  Starting the season 1-4 will be tough if the Jets have any aspirations to make the playoffs.

– Shonn Greene is one of my favorite runners because he reminds me of how Brandon Jacobs used to run when the Giants were a great running team.  Tough, physical and never afraid of contact.  But he has two or three runs in which he goes head first into a defensive player and winds up missing three or four plays in succession and make you wonder if that style of running won’t affect him in the long run.  Perhaps those are the conversations the Giants had with Jacobs that eventually made him soft at the line and had him start to dance and tippy toe around the line of scrimmage, but the Jets have to hope that he can keep his health and be smarter about how he finishes runs off.  There’s no problem with going down if you know you will get hit.  Trying to run through everything won’t work and Greene needs to be taught that if he wants any longevity in the NFL.

– Safety seems to be an area of concern for the Jets.  Last year, the Giants used Antrell Rolle as a nickel corner and Deon Grant as a linebacker to pick up the tight end closer to the line of scrimmage, and it seems like the Jets are employing that strategy with Laron Landry and Yeremiah Bell who often times play in the line of scrimmage.  Bell is their best deep cover safety and that isn’t exactly a good thing for the Jets because last year Brodney Poole did a poor job for them and they still haven’t found a guy yet that gives them that back end support.  Perhaps Antonio Allen is that guy but the Jets had better hope he comes of age very quickly because the Patriots loom and there are plenty of big play threats coming up on their schedule.  Remember, they still have the Patriots twice.

– I know this is almost a “duhhh” statement but without Darelle Revis, the best defensive player in the NFL in my opinion, they were vulnerable in the passing game and it showed.  After the first quarter, the Steelers realized that Landry couldn’t cover anybody and he was in there more so to hit guys after the catch because it wasn’t like he could pass defend.  The Jets shouldn’t need Revis on Sunday to beat the Dolphins but it bears watching if they bring Revis back for this game because it will tell you how important the Jets view Sunday’s game at the Dolphins is.  Remember, the Jets destroyed Buffalo and they HAVE to win all the games that they are favored in because they face some difficult tests this season because it looks like the NFC West, at least in the early going, is a much improved division and no cake walk and if the Jets don’t get their offensive issues figured out, that schedule that many thought would help the Jets get to the playoffs may not be as easy as we all once thought.

GAME BALL

Goes to Ben Roethlisberger who continues to play effectively despite a terrible offensive line.  The Steelers were excellent defensively without Troy Polamalu and James Harrison, and the offense keeps doing its thing whether it be running or having those excellent group of receivers.

 

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Daily Rounds 12/19/2011

After being away for two days, I come back to you to bring you Tebow down to earth, the Jets and Giants limping into their showdown on Christmas Eve.  The Baron Davis experiment.  And some fun links to get you through yet another Monday.  ENJOY!

On a day where neither team could ill afford a let down game, BOTH New York area football teams gave their respective fan bases the kind of game that can come back to haunt

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them in their quest to make the playoffs.  The Giants lost at home to the Redskins 23-10 while the Jets got blown out in Philly 45-19.  Gary Meyers said yesterday’s performance was indicative of so many Tom Coughlin teams.  They face the indignity of elimination at the hands of the Jets if they win and the Cowboys beat the Eaglehan city-wide pride.  If that’s not enough for you, in yesterday’s post game press conference Antrell Rolle called out his teammates who didn’t partake in practice during the week and Tuck answered by saying “its easy when you do it with another man’s body”.  

Here it is for Giant fans.  Win the next two games and there’s no discussion.  The Giants will win the division.  Lose next week and then beat the Cowboys and hope the Eagles lose one of two and they win the division.  EITHER WAY, that week 17 matchup comes up to be huge.  I dont know what to say about yesterday’s effort by either team but I will say this.  I’ve never been a fan of Antrell Rolle and the microphone together, but yesterday he said something that needed to be said.

I get that Justin Tuck is hurt and if he is.  If he’s really hurt, then he needs to sit out some games.  Tuck has shown me NOTHING through the last six games that he’s played that would lead me to believe he has much of anything in the tank and that’s probably due to his neck stinger.  He’s been called out all year by former teammates and now by current ones.  That has to be troubling to the defensive captain and frankly, I dont care.  Tuck has been sensitive and sissy like when it comes to addressing concerns regarding his health.  Look, I’m not a medical expert but if he’s really hurt then he needs to be handled that way.  He needs to sit out and not take up space.  He’s a valuable member of the defense but NOT at 60% which it looks like he’s playing.  Offensive linemen are handling him on one on one situations and yesterday’s game he was being tossed aside like a rag doll and the Giants were not getting any kind of pressure.  No Osi, and virtually no Tuck which leaves ONLY JPP as the real threat for the defense and he again was the only guy who seemed to play like he cared.

Rolle’s astute observation aside, this coverage unit is a liability at this point.  They were horrendous in tackling as well.  Prince Amukamara fell for virtually every single move that any receiver he was facing was throwing at him.  The kid will get better, but he was being burned at every available turn and deserved the half time benching knowing that this was basically a game they HAD to have.

IF the Giants and Jets won yesterday, Saturday’s game may not have meant as much.  The Giants have had plenty of games like that where they could’ve won.  They were on their way to victories over Seattle, the Niners and the Eagles.  Three wins that IF they had back, they could’ve clinched the division by last Sunday.  But the Giants have not played a full game where all three facets of the team have come together.

Speaking of three facets of the team not coming together, the Jets got beat up and down by the Eagles who by the way aren’t done in the NFC East race either.  SHOULD they win out and all three teams wind up with an 8-8 record, yes it will be the Eagles winning the division by virtue of a better divisional record and making all the experts look like geniuses.  Thankfully there is a very remote chance of that happening but yes, that CAN happen.  So don’t rule it out completely.  In fact, I think that’s probably the most likely scenario given how the Eagles absolutely HANDLED the Cowboys in their first meeting and how the Eagles have looked in the past two weeks: you know like the dominant team everyone expected them to be.  Either way the biggest take away from this game for the Jets: they had better fix the secondary immediately.  I mean the third level where the safeties are.  Brodney Poole is a liability in coverage and they have NOBODY there to match up with the tight end.  David Harris doesn’t have the speed and Bart Scott has quietly had one of the worst seasons of his career.  The Jets will have to figure that out quickly.  They are now in a tie for the Wild Card.  The Jets control their fate.  Win out and they are in.

All in for Saturday.  It will be interesting to see how this goes.

In the other major game yesterday, the Tim Tebow led Denver Broncos were brought down to earth by competition that they were not better than yesterday.  The Patriots, coupled with the Jets loss, also clinched the AFC East crown for the 9th time in 11 years.  What happened?  Greg Bedard says that the defense, which sunk to depths they didn’t know existed, changed the course of the game.  Dan Shaughnessy said that it was just routine for these AFC assassins.  Tebow time didn’t get a chance to start up thanks to a few costly turnovers says Don Banks of SI.com.  Judy Batista of the New York Times said that yesterday restored order to conventional wisdom that says that Tim Tebow and the Broncos can’t be successful.  Woody Paigesaid that despite the luck that seemed to hover over the Broncos for the last two months wasn’t there at Mile High, the Broncos still received help thanks to a poor showing by the Raiders who lost a lead and the game against the Lions.  Mark Kiszla of the Denver Post hit the nail right in the head when he said

AP imagesAP images

“while Tebow has earned the right to operate this team in 2012, the offense must evolve to the point where Denver can play more than one way.”  Finally, Mike Silver of Yahoo Sports said it best: Tim Tebow learned a valuable lesson at the hands of the master.  

Look, nobody’s a bigger fan of this guy than me.  As a football fan I’ve never seen anything like Tim Tebow.  I think that goes for everybody else.  But I saw this coming a mile away.  But those who want to point to Tim Tebow as the reason they lost may want to think again.  Yes, this showed that Tim Tebow can NOT keep up with a high flying offense.  This showed that unless they work out his throwing motion and develop him more as a pure pocket passer, the Broncos won’t be able to sustain good performances against good teams.  But let’s forget all that for a minute.

In a span of 9 offensive plays, the Broncos fumbled three times.  Twice they were recovered by the Patriots and they scored 10 points off those turnovers.  One of the fumbles also resulted in a three and out which wound up being a field goal.  That’s thirteen points that the Broncos GAVE the Patriots.  Take those points away, and its 16-14 heading into the half.  Then you put that seven on the board from the third, the Patriots are up 21-16 heading into the fourth quarter.  Imagine that game going into the fourth quarter with Tebow just a touchdown away from winning it.  You have to entertain the possibility because when the team is close, they believe.  They have unending faith.  That’s what I’ve seen from the Broncos in those fourth quarters.  They have undying faith that they will win the game and so that quarter could’ve gone either way.  If the Patriots had gained the momentum and not put that 20 spot in the second quarter, the Broncos and Patriots go into that fourth and it turns into a different game.  Who knows, the Patriots may have won but yesterday was not a shoot out.  No.  Yesterday was not about Tom Brady and the Patriots scoring more points than the Broncos by just sheer machine like efficiency.  No, it was the Broncos giving them opportunities deep in their own territory and now giving the offense a chance by keeping it close.

Most teams in the NFL won’t do that and can’t recover from that.  And that in the end is the point folks.  Let’s start looking at this team from a reasonable point of view.  Let’s not differentiate them and put them in a different class.  That they are not.  The premise behind that is wrong and is what gives talk show heads so much to talk about.  Yes, everybody is different in their own special way.  But Tebow should not get more credit for running this unconventional (by pro-standards) offense anymore than Tom Brady gets overvalued in my estimation for the Patriots Super Bowl victories.  Yes, he won them but let’s be real, he never led touchdown drives to win games, he led drives that ended up in field goals and Adam Viniatieri kicked the Patriots into history.

The fact is, this is JUST another NFL quarterback.  He’s JUST another second year QB.  And that’s how he should be evaluated.  Free from the emotion of what he represents.  He’s a great story but every story has an end.  Was yesterday the end?  I dont know.  Tebow has proven that he can answer the critics and the critics have no answers for the way he seemingly pulls games out.  No one can dispute ths 7-1 record but most want to dispute the fact that he is a viable NFL Quarterback.  But they are looking at him from the narrow minded view point of traditional drop back passers like Tom Brady.  And that’s how they should be.  There is no comparative player in this generation.  Even the Fran Tarkentons weren’t built like Tebow.  No way could Fran ever have pulled off that 9 yard TD run that Tebow pulled off in the first quarter.  But if the Broncos ever needed a wake up call from this hallucinogen that the Tebow saga has had them on, this was it.

Brady was simple.  Brady was precise.  Brady was everything we expected.  He was probably the anti-Christ in this game but he was the anti-dote for the Broncos.  They need to wake up from this dream that everyone has been swept up in.  Yes he’s a great player but there’s work to be done and now most are beginning to see it.  There’s a game against Buffalo next week IN Buffalo that will surely have people ranting and raving about him again.  The Bills have packed up and gone home and then they finish off the season against the Chiefs.  Those perfect season ruining Chiefs.  They are in the drivers seat thanks to the Lions beating the Raiders in comeback fashion.  The Broncos need only win out and then its the playoffs and if Tebow has proven ANYTHING is possible.

But yesterday was their first taste of something real.  Every week seemed to have something set up so that they would be victorious.  The Bears minus Cutler and Forte.  The Vikings minus Adrian Peterson. The Jets minus an offense and oxygen to the head on that final play.  The Broncos had victories seemingly served up and give them credit, they accepted the hand outs and rode the wave.  But anyone who didn’t see yesterday’s game coming was drinking heavily from the communion wine.  Tom Brady was not going to let Tebow have the crown and all the fun.  Brady reminded us all that it takes more than just one man to win games.  He passed, he scored and the entire Patriot team came together for that win and now they stand at 11-3.  Masters of their own fate and able to win out and get that first round bye.  Of course they will need Pittsburgh to lose tonight.  But yesterday was a dose of reality for a Bronco team that needed it desperately.

If the Broncos want to win, it will be imperative that they improve Tim Tebow.  He has all the intangibles and he’s got all the stuff that people like you or I can’t see or explain.  Now its time to see tangible results.  Things that can help the argument:  Tim Tebow is a good NFL Quarterback.  Lord knows that most Tebow-supporters have prayed for that day to come.

Baron Davis will join the New York Knicks and make it official by today.  Marc Berman says that the initial diagnosis of 8-10 weeks was meant to scare off teams that may have bid for the Baron’s services.  Knicks medical staffers took a look into his medical reports and decided that he would be able to play in about a month.  Davis only wanted to play for three teams: his hometown Los Angeles Lakers, the Knicks and the Heat.  All three of those teams would NOT have been able to bid during the amnesty auction due to their cap situation.   Also contained within this report is that the Knicks still have the veteran’s minimum of $1.4 mil to dangle and perhaps Al Thornton will be a good fit as they have spoken to his representatives.  In this report, Berman (who’s been the biggest news scooper this side of Alan Hahn for Knick fans) also says that Spike Lee began to plant the seed early on for Tyson Chandler’s free agent welcome to New York.  Mitch Lawrence is a little less than enthused by the Baron Davis signing, saying that it speaks more to what the Knicks don’t have than their trust in what Baron Davis DOES have.  

I’m in the latter category.  The Knicks have a solid core.  Yes, I don’t like Mike Bibby because he’s a liability on defense.  Then there’s Toney Douglass who’s a liability on offense.  Then there’s Imam Shumpert who outside of one impressive preseason game has nothing to show for himself.  And so the Baron Davis experiment begins albeit only by around MLK day as the Knicks are telling it.  The Knicks are a promising team.  They have a front court that makes others drool but their second team is a huge question mark and in a shortened season where they will need to rest their guys especially Amar’e for long stretches on those tough back to back night games which will be early and often, the hope here is that something pans out from that second group.  They will be counted on.  Which is why teams that are 8-10 deep are probably assured of the most success while teams that are top heavy will find the road the hardest.

The Knicks are top heavy.  Unless they get some scoring from Bill Walker and Bibby turns back the clock some, and the rookie shows more than just flashes in a preseason game, the Knicks will be woefully thin and they will be forced to play games where they will need huge performances from their superstars to maintain.  The Knicks don’t have that much size but if what we saw from Jorts Harrleson is true, then the Knicks may have some depth on the other end.  D’Antoni after the Nets game made a very interesting point: Carmelo Anthony may be their best passer.  Which tells you what you need to know.  The Knicks will lean more on Anthony to lead the team.  Amar’e is the heart and soul of this team and we give him that.  He’s the guy who came to NY when no one else would.  He led the renaissance last year.  But Carmelo is by far the best player on the team and he needs to take that next step in his evolution.  Running the offense through him will be better and give the Knicks more opportunities.  The best pick and roll I saw from the Knicks was the one he and Amar’e ran and that’s the kind of easy offense the Knicks can have when those two superstars are working in tandem.

I will get more into that in my season preview on Friday.

But this move was made, in my opinion, more as an indictment of what we don’t have than what we do have in the back court.  Baron Davis comes with huge question marks, bad back not included.  There are questions of chemistry.  Of work ethic.  Of motivation.  His defensive ability.  Of his overall ability declining.  But talent like his comes along rarely.  When motivated, Davis is a beast.  A threat to throw down 20 points dish out thirteen assists including four or five wow alley oops to willing partcipants: Amar’e and Melo (though you may want to add Shump to that list because he looks like an athletic freak too).  BUT the big question is which Baron will show up and how often will good Baron be the one that puts on the uniform and how long this love fest will last.

I’m not holding my breath.  My hope is that Toney Douglas improves as the season progresses and Shump has a monster season and proves the Knick draftniks right when they drafted him so that Davis’ presence will only be peripheral and not in the main view of the Knicks vision which currently is on a championship.

Howard Beck of the New York Times says that a New York rivalry can be revived at the drop of a Dwight, i mean Dime should the Nets make a huge acquisition themselves.  The Clippers deal for CP3 shows how quickly a city can come alive for that. 

Mark Heisler wrote one of the funniest mock letters to Donald Sterling pleading with him NOT to mess this up.  

Sending out a Praise God for the news of Celtic Jeff Green who had an aortic aneurysm treated thanks to a last minute check up.  The condition will sideline Green for the season, an unfortunate set back but wonderful news considering what could’ve been had they not discovered it.  

Ben Bolch looks at the fascinating life that IS Metta World Peace.  Thug.  Humanitarian.  Bench player for the Los Angeles Lakers.  

Just click this link Lebron Haters and enjoy.  Thanks Dallas Fort Worth Telegram.  

 

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