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With Favre Gone, Where Do the Jets Go from Here?

Today, it has been reported that Brett Favre has informed the New York Jets that he plans to retire.

Again.

This isn’t shocking.  While Favre had some success in New York, the team tanked in December and blew a shot at the playoffs with a loss against Miami in week 17.

Coupled with that, Favre has been battling against a shoulder injury that may or may not need surgery, while some of his teammates have suggested that Brett’s penchant for throwing interceptions was a significant reason as to why the team finished so cold.

Favre Calls It Quits

Favre Calls It Quits

At least Favre did not drag out his decision. And with a decision now made, the New York Jets can finally move on.

With new head coach Rex Ryan, there are a few options for the team to pursue.

They already have Kellen Clemens, a young quarterback who has seen limited playing time.  He appears to have a big arm, but his potential is completely unknown.

The Jets could also go after a veteran quarterback.  It’s highly unlikely that the Jets would like to give up what’s needed to acquire Matt Cassell.  It’s also highly unlikely that the New England Patriots would want to trade their young quarterback to a division rival.

Jeff Garcia could be available, but Garcia is almost the same age as Favre.  There’s no future in acquiring Garcia, and his style of play is very specific.  Garcia likes to be able to roll outside the pocket–something he wasn’t given as much leeway to do during his unproductive years in Cleveland and Detroit.  Garcia would have to truly fit into a system perfectly, and with a new head coach, it’s hard to know what type of system Rex Ryan prefers on offense.

Jeff Garcia

Jeff Garcia

Then there’s Derek Anderson of Cleveland–an intriguing prospect.  Though Anderson had a disappointing 2008, his 2007 season was off the charts.  He’s only 25 years old, and has a rocket arm.  On the right team, it’s possible he could flourish.  His salary wouldn’t be as high as Matt Cassell, and he could probably be had for a third round pick.  The only sticking point would be that former Jets coach Eric Mangini is now the head man in charge in Cleveland.  Due to the seemingly bad blood between Mangini and the Jets front office, they wouldn’t want to be trade partners with each other.

Other options include Pittsburgh’s Byron Leftwich, Kurt Warner, Kerry Collins, and even Vince Young.

In a year when the quarterback class isn’t as strong–both in free agency and the upcoming NFL Draft, it just might be a seller’s market.

February 11, 2009 Posted by | Features & Opinions, NFL | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Mangini Fills First Head Coaching Vacancy

Word came down today that Eric Mangini–the head coach who was fired just ten days ago from the New York Jets–will become the head coach of the Cleveland Browns.  The Browns were the first team to fire a head coach–the Raiders and Rams notwithstanding–and they are certainly the first team to fill a head coaching vacancy.

Eric Mangini

Eric Mangini

But how good will Mangini be?  Will he really be able to turn around a Cleveland Browns team that has only went to the playoffs once since returning to the league ten seasons ago?

Mangini comes with a bit of baggage, himself.  He was known as a guy who wasn’t good with the media, often excluding them from practices and being very limited in his answers in press conferences.  Mangini also is, of course, the man who ratted out the Patriots in 2007’s infamous “spygate.”

But Mangini has had some success, too.  In just three seasons with the Jets, he went to the playoffs once and was on the cusp of the playoffs this season.

The Future of Winslow and Edwards Uncertain

The Future of Winslow and Edwards Uncertain

Mangini will have his hands full this off-season.  Cleveland holds the No. 5 pick in the draft, and both Braylon Edwards and Kellen Winslow only have one year remaining on their contracts.  Edwards is coming off a horrendous 2008 season, capping it off with blaming the fans for his woes in the city.  And Winslow’s 2008 campaign was marred by invisibility on the field and injury off it.  Winslow reportedly had a staph infection late in the season, and lashed out at former General Manager Phil Savage for not caring about him, stating that Savage treated him like a “piece of meat.”

Whatever the case, the entry of Man-genius to Cleveland will be interesting to watch.  With reports out of Cleveland stating that Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan is tapped by Mangini to be their defensive coordinator, we could be seeing a completely new attitidue in Cleveland this season.

January 7, 2009 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Best/Worst NFL Desicions of 2008

With the New Year right around the corner, let’s look back at a few of the best and worst decisions of the 2008 NFL season.

BEST:

1)  Starting rookie quarterbacks–Choosing to start young guns Matt Ryan and Joe Flacoo truly paid off for the Falcons and Ravens, respectively.  Both players managed the game well, looked poised in the pocket, and limited their mistakes.  Ryan and Flacoo never hit a rookie wall and just may have changed the thought around the league that rookie quarterbacks should never hit the football field early.

2)  Michael Turner to the Falcons–While everyone knew that Turner had great ability, no one knew quite what to expect from Tomlinson’s career backup.  Turner’s decision to go to Atlanta was met with skepticism, as the big man signed with one of the worst teams of 2007.  Seventeen touchdowns later, Turner was the best free agent signing of the 2008.

Matt Cassell

Matt Cassell

3)  Keeping Matt Cassell–A career backup everywhere he went, the Patriots made a great decision in both developing Cassell and not cutting him.  For years, Cassell looked awful in pre-season games, and he was close to being cut several times over the years.  The Patriots were smart in keeping Cassell around, as Tom Brady’s injury proved how necessary it is to have a quality back-up.

WORST:

1)  Not Trading Derek Anderson–This is not hindsight.  The Browns should’ve traded Anderson the minute after the pro-bowl ended.  His numbers last season looked good, but Anderson faltered down the stretch in 2007.  His ineptitude against the Bengals in December of 2007 cost the Browns a playoff birth.  And Anderson couldn’t hit his receivers in the pro bowl–a game that doesn’t allow opposing defenses to blitz.  GM Phil Savage refused to trade Anderson and closed the door on the possibility of a training camp competiton involving Brady Quinn.  Anderson eventually signed a long term contract with Cleveland, and Phil Savage simultaneously signed his own death warrant.

Derek Anderson

Derek Anderson

2)  Jets Release Chad Pennington–Pennington was always a pretty good quarterback.  Not great, but he did a lot of things well and was football smart.  While one cannot argue that his weak arm is better suited in warm Miami than cold New York, Pennington was always good for minimizing his mistakes.  Favre, while certainly a gun slinger, is a turnover machine.  The choice to trade for Brett Favre and subsequently release Pennington came back to bite them in week 17.  It also cost Eric Mangini his head coaching job.

3)  PacMan Jones Gets a 2nd, 3rd, and 4th Chance–This is all on Roger Goodell.  At some point, a man such as PacMan Jones needs to learn that his beahvoir is not acceptable, and that priveleges he has enjoyed in the past will be stripped away due to his reckless behaivor.  Regarding Jones and the NFL, his priveleges were always taken away–but only temporarily.  Whether it’s his dozens of arrests, his fight at a night club which resulted in someone getting shot and paralyzed, or his “incident” with his own bodyguard, it’s clear that PacMan Jones just doesn’t “get it.”  And for someone who acts so stupid off the field, he should’ve forver lost the privelege to suit up and play.

December 30, 2008 Posted by | NFL, Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dead Fish Handshakes and New England Heartbreaks

Better luck in '09 Bill, Love Eric.

Better luck in '09 Bill, Love Eric.

After two years of bitter resentment and an epic rivalry of bad blood, Eric Mangini found a way to keep hated rivals, the New England Patriots, out of the playoffs. In doing so he lost to the Miami Dolphins…and consequently his own job. The former 1-15 Dolphins were able to extend their record to 11-5 and inch above New England to take the AFC East title.

This isn’t another one of StatDrgon’s conspiracy theories. I’m not proposing that the Jets “threw” the game to keep New England out of the playoffs, but I’d like to remark on the incredible coincidence that the future of the Patriots’ season fell to the hands of the New York Jets and Eric Mangini. Essentially, all that New England needed on Sunday was a victory from the Jets. Unfortunately (for New England) the Jets were not able to provide a win for their northeast rivals.

The name Eric Mangini makes Patriots fans shutter. To understand fully, one must be familiar with the history of ill will between the two organizations.

After 5 seasons of coaching with Belichick and the Patriots (2000-2005), Mangini left to take head-coaching position with the Jets. The terms and way that Mangini left sparked a rivalry between the two coaches. Over the next year New England filed tampering charges against Mangini for soliciting (then) current players and assistant coaches to abandon their commitment to the Pats organization and join him in New York. The feud came to a culmination in 2007 when, amidst of a perfect season, the Patriots were accused of videotaping other teams defensive signals. New England was reprimanded $750,000 in fines and the forfeiture of a 1st round draft selection for the following year. The incident, known infamously as ‘Spygate,’ sparked the criticism and condemnation of the Patriots organization and brought up questions of illegitimacy regarding three previous Championship seasons. Eric Mangini was the advocate and spokesman for accusations against Belichick in Spygate 2007. The actions taken by Eric Mangini, at this time, exacerbated the discord between himself and the New England Patriots.

When Tom Brady (QB- New England) went down for the season this year, Mangini must have felt like a kid on Christmas day as the window to the AFC East Title was opened. The Jets posted some significant victories throughout the first half of the season, beating the Patriots in overtime as well as handing the (pre)undefeated Titans a first loss. However, the season fell apart and all hopes of a playoff run were demolished as the Jets lost 4 out of the 5 final season games.

By Sunday the Jets were mathematically eliminated from the post season, however, the game against Miami was significant for Mangini in order to prove worth to the Jets organization. He was not able to do so as the Jets faltered 17-24.

This morning the New York Jets announced that they would be letting Coach Mangini go.

Had Mangini nothing to ‘play for’ yesterday, I would have been sold that losing was a tactic to keep the Pats out of the playoffs and prove dominance over hated rival Belichick.

As rivalry proves to be the driving force for creating exciting drama in sports, I can only hope that Eric Mangini finds a new job where he can effectively crawl under Belichick’s skin again, and vice versa. I would be beside myself with grief if I were not able to witness dead fish handshakes for years to come.

And that’s what the StatDragon is breathing fire about!

December 29, 2008 Posted by | Fantasy Football, News, NFL, Talkin Trash | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Curious Case of Romo’s Favreness

Farewell Favre

Farewell Favre

Jets fan for a day, suicidal by night! One of the many playoff scenarios involved the AFC East. After watching my beloved Pats dispose of the Bills in windy Buffalo, I had the distasteful chore of having to root for the Jets vs. Miami. I wanted neither team to win this game praying for a McNabb miracle tie. Then I heard Brett Favre’s pregame speech to his offense which went something like; “Alright guys, let’s get back to playing the football when we won 5 in a row. No matter how this goes, win or lose, we gotta put our best effort forth and that’s all we can do. Love you guys”. Followed by half his team running back in the tunnel and tucking their balls in their purses. Then Favre mailed it in after his first TD celebration. The guy showed no emotion or grit, while his offense forced me to smash my head into the wall just hard enough to cause blurriness and borderline consciousness. I figured if I had to be a Jets fan, then I had to boo and throw snow balls like the rest of the Zoo Yorkers. One pick, two pick and then pick number three sealed the fate of Mangini and the Pats. Like any New Yorker, I left the game early and found myself watching continuous commercials for Marley & Me. That’s what Brett Favre can do to an afternoon and to the hopes of an 11-5 New England team.

Romo, the new "old" Favre

Romo, the new "old" Favre

Now to the new “old” Favre, Mr. Romo. Tony Romo has become about as clutch as my friend Danny’s attempt to hit on women after 6 hours of drinking. Danny speaks in a German-like tongue, juggles his drinks and falls on the floor. Now that’s Tony Romo in a playoff like atmosphere. He’s the new Brett Favre of our generation. A gun slinger who can fool you 67% of the time but when he needs to seal the deal under pressure, ends up throwing an INT. Going back to my friend Danny, when he needs to seal the deal, he calls the girl a sexy little biatch and falls flat on his face. The female usually runs in the other direction but takes his phone and throws it in the women’s bathroom toilet. It’s crazy the similarities here. Philadelphia trounced the dramatic Cowboys into the ground thanks to Romolicious pulling his best Favre impersonation. 183 yds and 1 Int, Pro Bowl numbers in a win or go home game. All I ask is that Wade Philips now gets fired for his useless, awful attempt at coaching. TO certainly won’t beshedding any tears for his QB anymore. And you better believe Jessica Simpson rids herself of Romo after watching him collapse. After Sunday, Tony’s going to need a new girl and a cell phone. I got a feeling that thing is flushed down the toilet like the hopes and dreams of Cowboy fans everywhere.

Life isn’t measured in minutes, but in moments.

RaginRondo

December 29, 2008 Posted by | NFL | , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments