Insanity

ESPN ran a story yesterday that the New England triumvirate of Kraft, Belichick, and Brady is about to fall apart over internal strife. Today the New York papers are suggesting that Belichick will come and coach the Giants as a result of that.

Let’s start with the ESPN report. It makes Tom Brady look like an egotistical athlete who cant handle getting older.  Does that sound familiar?  That’s what almost every star athlete wrestles with at the end of their career. How that would break up the Patriots is beyond me. But let’s just play along, let’s say Belichick is at the end of his rope and wants out. What happens then?

Sure, the Giants make sense. He fondly remembers his time here and he even owned a brownstone in Park Slope up until a few years ago, but beyond that think of all the obstacles that would remain.

First, Belichick would need to be willing to put his legacy on the line. This is not a small point. Right now, he is probably considered the greatest coach in NFL history. He is considered a football genius. Now, he very well may be both of those things, but he also might be one of the luckiest guys ever because Tom Brady is the greatest QB ever and Belichick got lucky with the 199th pick in the draft. This is all debatable, but right now not worth discussing. Now if Belichcik left New England and flopped here in New York, that would put a major dent in his legacy. And if he came here and won, would it really do more for his legacy?  In short, what’s the upside to coming back here?

Second, even if he did want to take the risk, the Patriots are not going to just let him walk out the door. Their initial demand will include the #2pick in this year’s draft plus a lot more picks in future drafts. The Giants can’t pay that price and expect to be able to rebuild successfully.

Third, the timing won’t work. Unless Belichick is so disgusted with everything in New England that he would take the unprecedented move of leaving his job before the Patriots played their playoff game, this cant happen. The Giants need to hire a coach in the next week or so, waiting for the Patriots to compete their playoff run to take a chance that Belichick would become their coach is crazy. All the good candidates would be gone by then and the Giants would be in the worst position possible-forced to pay whatever price New England wants for Belichick because there would be no plan B at that point.

So count me out on the whole idea. Unless Bill steps to a podium in New England in the next few days with a cocktail napkin that says, “I resign as HC of NE” Then things would get ineteresting.

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Here’s to 2018!

2017 gave us some great sports moments from an amazing Super Bowl comeback, to a fantastic World Series. What will 2018 bring?  Here are my predictions.

January

Oklahoma survives a nail biter against Alabama to win the National Championship.

In the pro game Pittsburgh edges New England on a last minuet field goal to face Minnesota in the Super Bowl

Bonds and Clemens get into the Hall of Fame along with Chipper Jones

February

The Vikings win the Super Bowl

MLB hands down five 50-Game suspensions for sexual misconduct by its players

Vince McMahon announces the return of the XFL

March

Michigan State, Duke, Wichita State and Arizona State get number one seeds in March Madness

The MLB season opens to weather-related chaos

April

Michigan State cuts down the nets with a win over Duke

Tiger Woods plays in the Masters, but doesn’t factor as Jordan Spieth runs away with it

The Knicks make the playoffs and lose in the first round, the Rangers don’t

May

The expansion Las Vegas Golden Knights make history by advancing to the Finals in their first year where they face Tampa.

The Celtics return to the Finals against Golden State.

June

Tampa wins the Stanley Cup while Golden State cuts the nets down again

July

The Yankees are mired in mediocrity at the break three games under .500 and ten games behind Boston.  Minnesota has the best record in baseball

August

After running off a bunch of wins, the Yankees trade for Zach Grienke to fortify a shaky rotation

Jordan Spieth falls just short of the grand slam finishing sixth in the PGA

September

The Giants open the season with Eli Manning under center

Boston, Minnesota, and Houston win their divisions in the AL.  Washington, Chicago, and Colorado in the NL  Cleveland and New York are the wild card in the AL with Atlanta and LA in the NL

October

Houston meets Washington in the World Series with Washington winning it all.

The Giants finish October with a winning record, San Francisco is undefeated.

November

The Rangers fire Vigneault.

The Giants go into a tailspin and bench Eli for their number one pick, Josh Rosen

December

Five teams finish the NCAA football season with perfect records throw ing the playoffs into chaos.  Alabama, Oklahoma, Clemson, and Ohio State make it while USC doesn’t.

San Francisco and Jacksonville clinch the number 1 seeds in the playoffs

A blogger in Brooklyn vows to do better in 2019

Happy New Year!

 

 

Bye-Bye Brooklyn

Reports are that the Islanders have won the bidding for the right to develop a new arena on land adjacent to Belmont Park. While it isn’t unclear how long it will take to build the arena, this clearly means they will be leaving the Barclays Center very soon.

Hockey in Brooklyn just didn’t work and there are two main reasons why. First, this is Ranger country. The Islanders have a loyal following, but it isn’t in Brooklyn. Second, the arena is a terrible place for hockey. It’s asymmetrical and there are seats that don’t let you see the entire ice. That combination of forces led the Islanders to look for a new home.

The amazing thing is how many new sports facilities have been built this century in the local area. Every major sports team has either gotten a new building, or had their entire arena gutted and rebuilt. We’ve also added a soccer stadium and have another team looking to build one somewhere in the area. By my count, that’s six new buildings in about 15 years with a seventh on the way. Atlanta just built a new football stadium to replace one that wasn’t even 25-years old, so we may see more building in the near future. I hope everyone enjoys paying taxes.

Another Mistake

The Giants almost got it right today, firing McAdoo and Reese, but then John Mara muffed the easiest part- he said it’s up to interim coach, Steve Spagnuolo, to decide the starting QB Sunday.

That is just incredibly stupid. The Giants did the hard thing yesterday, benching Eli, why go back and revisit that decision?  And don’t give the decision to Spags, he is going to think short term because he wants to turn a temporary gig into a long term one. If he can finish the year 2-2, he just might convince the Giants to hire him as the next head coach.

Davis Webb has to start Sunday and he has to start the rest of the season. The Giants have four games to see what he is made of and they can’t keep hiding him on the inactive list. Start him Sunday, and see what happens. It doesn’t matter if he isn’t ready, the Giants have to see him on the field.

The last time the Giants picked in the top-5 they traded up for Eli. There are a few QB’s at the top of this draft that could warrant a selection. But not before the Giants find out about the player they selected in the third round last year.

If…

There are all sorts of reports that the Giants will fire Ben McAdoo tomorrow.

I cant defend McAdoo at this point. For a supposed offensive genius, it is damning that the Giants have never scored 30 points in a game under his management. Add in the appearance that the team has quit on him and you can’t argue with the idea of letting him go. But, to do it now, and to do it without firing Jerry Reese at the same time, would be ridiculous.

Reese gets credit for the last Super Bowl, and he gets partial credit for the previous one,  but that doesn’t excuse the past five years. Tom Coughlin was forced out and that was Reese’s mulligan. If McAdoo, the coach he hired, is going to be fired, the Giants need to clean house completely and part with their GM.

That’s not the way they typically do business, but firing one without the other would be a joke.

The First Move of 2018

The Giants announced today that Geno Smith will start at QB on Sunday. Eli Manning was given the opportunity to start and then give way to Smith and possibly Davis Webb, but chose to let Smith start.

This is the responsible move for the Giants to make, but they are going to take a lot of crap for it. Eli is the face of the franchise and hasn’t started every game since taking over from Kurt Warner in the middle of the 2004 season. Smith is perceived as a failure for his disastrous tenure with the Jets.

But here’s the thing, the Giants and nobody knows what Smith really is. He was a 2nd round pick and had some success. The team needs to get a good look at him before deciding what they want to do. They also need to get a long look at Davis Webb and with five games left, they will. That’s what these games have to be about, figuring out the future. And while they won’t say it, if Smith or Webb shows ability, they will be QB1 next year, not Eli.

This isn’t a day for happiness or sadness.  We can simply take grim satisfaction in the knowledge that the Giants did what they had to do today

 

How Bad Can This Get?

The Giants have never lost more than 12 games in a season, but a quick look at the schedule suggests that “achievement”could be surpassed this year. They have eight games left, and after this Sunday against the winless 49’ers, every opponent, save the Raiders, is .500 or better, and the Raiders are a decent team that isn’t playing like one right now.

Lets say they win this week. Not a great bet, but this is the one game they clearly should win. Where does their next win come from?  At home against KC the following week?  I doubt it. On the road in Washington Thanksgiving night?  Almost certainly not. On the road in Oakland? I don’t think so. At home against Dallas and Philly?  No and no. On the road in Arizona Christmas Eve? Again, not likely. At home against Washington in the season finale?  Yeah, I could see that. Add it up and I have them finishing 3-13.

The real question is what would happen then?  The Giants almost never fire people, but a franchise record for losses would have to end in firings, right?  What I suspect is that Jerry Reese is already a goner and Ben McAdoo has the remaining games to save his job. The bar isn’t high. Finish the year with 3 more wins and I bet he comes back under a new GM. He would have two seasons left on his contract and with a major rebuild commencing, he would face a make or break 2018.

 

Now What?

A few weeks ago I speculated that the Giants should get Davis Webb going if they’re entered the bye at 0-7. They managed to make it 1-6, but injuries have made the idea of using Webb a bad one. You can’t properly evaluate a quarterback if he doesn’t have any NFL-caliber receivers to throw to and that is pretty much what the Giants are looking at.

On Sunday, the Giants used Lewis, King, Rudolph, and Egan at wide receiver. This group came into the game with less than 25 catches combined for their careers. Not surprisingly, it didn’t go well. Eli found Engram at tight end a few times before Seattle realized he was the only receiving threat out there and double-teamed him. We know that Sterling Shepard should come back, which will help, but barring another wide receiver coming in, would you want a rookie trying to make this work?

I don’t think so as it would most likely destroy his confidence and tell you nothing.  If I were the Giants, I would listen if a team like Jacksonville wanted to trade for Eli.  If that happened, put Gene Smith in and see if the rookie receivers can develop into somewhat competent players.  Then put Webb in and see what he’s about.  The year is lost and the team is hurt.  That’s a deadly combination.

 

 

This Could Be Ugly

I am going to say that Carmelo scores more than 30 points tonight. It’s a conservative guess because most people think he might get 50, but he is going against Porzingas, which is not a great matchup for him on either end of the floor. One thing is for sure, Carmelo will be motivated to get revenge on the Knicks.

Beyond tonight, this is going to be a painful season as there are really very few reasons for optimism. But, you can also make the case that winning is the last thing the Knicks should be concerned with. They need to get another high draft pick and hope they can find the right guy. The NBA changed the lottery rules, so finishing last isn’t the priority, but finishing in the bottom three should be. (The new rules give the bottom three teams, the same chance to get the top pick- 14%)  A good draft pick is about all we have to look forward too. On the plus side, we at least have our draft picks, a big change from recent years.

That’s the sad reality of the Knicks these days. We are rooting for draft picks.

A Bit of Pride

That’s a nice win on national TV that is absolutely meaningless unless they win at home next Sunday. Let’s talk then.