October 23, 2014

Melodrama at the Meadowlands

logoby Britt Schramm
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Who had in their office pool that it would only take a season-ending injury to Tom Brady to prevent Patriots fans from suffering the outright recycling of last year’s old tired Something-Gate lines from our good friends in the media?  So, if that was you, you were a big winnah and probably the same prick that created that evil Bernard Pollard Fan Club T-Shirt.  On a personal level and from my eight fantasy football teams, I effin’ hate you.

Another positive (if you could call it that) is that you can take from Brady’s season being shelved is the ever so slight suppression of the media’s unquenchable adulation of Broadway Brett, otherwise known as the Hayseed Dixie of the NFL.  We won’t have to hear countless of times (in that same school kid crushing tone) about how he’s just a good ol’ boy slinging the ball down the field and playing the game how it was meant to be played.  Or what a big kid he is (failing to mention the fact that he decided to hold his breath and threaten to throw a tantrum until the Packers met his demands and trade him after he didn’t get his old job back). 

But, this will be the last time that I will single out Favre as it is the entire team that will be playing the late game on Sunday.

This Week – New York Jets (1-0; In Conference 1-0; In Division 1-0)

Form-Fitting

Last week, the Jets held on to beat last year’s one-win Fins, 20-14.  Sure doesn’t sound like the old QB wasn’t slinging it too much.  Another look at the offensive formations tells the reason behind the relatively low production by the Jets. 

According to the Jets Stream, out of a total of 55 snaps, 29 (53%) had 2WRs, 1TE and 2RBs, which means that NYJ was giving the Fish a healthy diet of dives and blasts using FB Tony Richardson to pave the way for RB Thomas Jones. 

While Mangenius is the type of coach to change it up every week like his former mentor, I can’t imagine that he’ll change it up all that much.  So expect to see this formation about 50% of the time on Sunday.

That’s Why They Call Them Special

It’s another edition of Kicker in the Spotlight as Mike Nugent missed a 32-yd kick on Sunday, got injured and has been replaced by Jay Feely.  This might be a bit of an upgrade over the much-maligned Nugent, who has a decent career FG percentage (81.5%) but seems to be coming up short in the 50+ range (3 for 9 or 33%).  Feely, career-wise, is hitting 41% of his attempts from downtown and hasn’t missed an extra point since 2003 and has only missed 2 singles in 251 attempts.  Don’t be surprised that if Feely returns to his form when he was with the Giants when he scored a 148 pts in ’05, Mike Nugent might be looking for work.

On the return side, Leon Washington, forever the fantasy football disappointment, was the same for the Jets on the real playing field.  He averaged a measly 12.8 yds on five punt returns while only getting a mere 10 yds. on his only kick-off return.  For the Pats to help out the maturation of Cassel, Washington and the return game needs to make this occurrence a trend. 

Chatter Box

This section of Line ‘Em Up will be used to spotlight a heaping sampling of football commentary made by the fan sites and blogs of the Patriots’ opponents for that week.  And for the most part, these “bon mots” will not be found in that hotbed of informed and rational commentary known as the forums.

Eric Edholm of the New York Sun says that “The Jets Smell the Blood in the Water Against the Patriots” :

“PREDICTION: The Jets know this is their chance to make a statement, coming off a four-win season but smelling blood in the water….Jets 24, Patriots 17.”

Nyjetsfan.com Angelo Navedo feels that the Jets’ weaknesses (its young corners) are ones that the Pats cannot expose:

“The Patriots running game is going to have to be phenomenal. The weaknesses in the Jets’ defense are things that Matt Cassel can’t exploit! Rotating runningbacks, wearing down the big men up front, and hoping that Matt Cassel can throw the ball into Randy Moss’ hands a few times for big gains is going to be the only way they can move the chains.”

Lastly, there is a media outlet in New York that is not all that infatuated with all things Favre:

“Last season, Chad Pennington—probably a better passer, given adequate protection, than Favre—was knocked down by either sack or hit on nearly 20 percent of his pass attempts, the worst rate in the league. If that happens to Favre, he won’t hold up till Halloween…..If the Jets don’t win something this year, next September they’ll be faced with a 40-year-old Favre pulling down $13 million of precious salary-cap money. Where will the Jets’ rebuilding plans be then? They’ve mortgaged their future on a quarterback in his John McCain years who combines the intellect of Li’l Abner with the ego of Matthew McConaughey.

But what are they going to do? Cut him?”

Okay, it’s Allen Barra from the Village Voice, but finding this article was proof positive that Favre’s sweat is not an aphrodisiac to sport reporters, columnists and overweight TV commentators.

Coming Up Next Week

It’s a fish fry as the Dolphins are coming to town for the last game before the bye week.  Come back next week to get your first look at the new and improved (that’s right I said improved) Miami team and what you should know before the game on Sunday.

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