Friday, January 13, 2006

Divisional Playoff Picks

If last week proved one thing, it’s that I’m horribly average at picking NFL games. A 2-2 weekend left me even in the bank, and realizing that despite what Bill Simmons says, there is no formula for playoff success, especially in the first round.

But then I got to thinking more, and have decided that 2-2 is certainly below average. Anyone with a modicum of NFL knowledge should be able to pull off a .500 gambling record. I would think somewhere around 60 percent is average, and you’d have to crack the 75 barrier to be considered “good.” Over the course of my NFL gambling history (which dates back to 2002), I’ve usually broke relatively even. Sucks for me.

I can participate in some more self-deprecation, or I can start my picks. I don’t know many of you personally, but I’m sure I can guess what the obvious choice is. Home team in caps, and I won’t predict the score.

INDIANAPOLIS (-9) over Pittsburgh
I four paragraphs of narrative on this game, and just deleted them all. Why? Because I had originally picked Pittsburgh. I was defying Bill Simmons’s Playoff Manifesto (which didn’t work all that well in the Wild Card Round) and picking a road team to cover, rather than thinking they can win outright.

Don’t get me wrong: I don’t blindly follow Simmons’s advice, or anyone else’s for that matter. But the more I thought about it, the more I read about it, and the more how I saw the “experts” were picking, the more I’m leaning towards laying the points.

The reasoning is simple. There is only one Troy Polamalu in the Steelers secondary. If there were two or three guys like him, Manning might have found himself in quite a pickle. But Troy can’t blitz, step up into a robber, and cover the deep ball all in the same play. The rest of the Steelers secondary more than likely won’t be able to handle the trio of Colts receivers. The only way the team stands a shot is if they completely shut down Edge James with six in the box, which is highly unlikely.

My final factor in picking the Colts stems from a hot rumor that began Monday morning. Supposedly, Chad Johnson got into a skirmish with wide receivers coach Hue Jackson and took a swing at Marvin Lewis (Pro Football Talk is updating as they hear new information). Basically, the premise is that the Bengals blundered the second half as a direct result of the incident. I don’t know how accurate that is, but it seems logical.

If that helps explain ‘Burghs scoring in the second half, I’m willing to bet they won’t be able to keep it up against a team that isn’t amid locker room controversy. It’s shaky information, of course, but it’s not like this is the only factor I’m considering. It merely solidifies the needle on the Colts side.

SEATTLE (-9) over Washington
I can’t thank Washington’s defense enough for last week’s win in Tampa Bay. Or maybe I should be thanking the Buc’s crappy offense for forking the ball up. In either case, I thought taking Washington was a safe pick, and I was right.

This week, I think Seattle is an equally safe pick. Washington’s D won them the game last week, essentially scoring both touchdowns and stopping the Bucs on offense (which may or may not have caused them to break a sweat). But replace Chris Simms with Matt Hasselbeck and Carnell Williams with Shaun Alexander, and it’s a completely different game. I doubt they’ll turn the ball over three times.

I’d go into more detail, but it’s wholly unnecessary. If anyone thinks Washington is going to win, or even cover, please leave your reasoning in the comments section.

New England (+3) over DENVER
I can just see this one playing out much like Denver’s game with Indy in last year’s playoffs. Plummer has been good, even great at times this season, but we all know his kryptonite is the playoffs. I trust that Belichick will have a solid game plan here of containing the flats to help negate Jake and Tatum Bell, which leaves the middle the only problem. The Pats have a solution to that, though, and his name is Teddy Bruschi.

On the other side of the ball, the teams match up well. The Broncos have a solid linebacker core, with Al Wilson, D.J. Williams and Ian Gold, allowing them to rush Brady and keep a guy on Ben Graham, who is a serious threat anywhere on the field. Deion Branch should be blanketed by Champ Bailey all game, but that leaves David Givens, Tim Dwight (turning into a viable Brady target), Bethel Johnson, and Andre Davis covered by lesser corners, though rookie Domonique Foxworth is settling in nicely.

I don’t know why I’m going into such detail here, since I explained last week that I’m betting on the Pats until they lose.

CHICAGO (-3) over Carolina
This is my brain-buster of the week. I want to pick da Bears, but I really can’t think of adequate justification. Sure, their defense was stellar this year, the No. 2 team in the league – and the No. 1 team remaining. Problem is, Carolina was No. 3, No. 2 remaining. So it boils down to offensive capabilities, and Chicago’s numbers are skewed there because they had Kyle “Uh Oh” Orton tossing the ball most of the season.

I could break down all the match-ups, but I don’t think it will do any good. Logic would point to Carolina, since they have a more potent offense than Chicago. Last week, I went against all logic and picked the Giants over the Panthers. Well, I’m going to predict that I was a week early with that kind of pick.

1) Carolina seems the logical choice
2) The three “experts” in the Star Ledger all picked Carolina.
3) Carolina is a road underdog for the second straight week

So I’m picking Chicago. And if Carolina foils me again this week, I’ll certainly take them over Seattle in the NFC Championship (and of course, Seattle will probably stomp them, thus proving me the biggest idiot ever).

Quick Update
I can't believe I forgot that the Panthers, a warm weather team, are playing in Chicago. Then again, it's going to be 41 degrees in Chicago on Sunday, which is probably around the temperature in New York last Sunday. But it's still a factor, and I'm glad it works in my favor.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Not That Anyone Cares...

It only makes sense: one year after I graduate from Rutgers, the football team heads to a bowl game and the basketball team actually looks like a basketball team. Sure, I’m an alum and can still bask in the relative success, but now I have to pay to get into games. Not only that, but I have to call around to friends down there and see who’s going and who can get me a student guest ticket ($12), because everyone under 30 should be sitting in the students section.

Last night’s overtime loss to Villanova actually has me slightly excited. This wasn’t like the close loss to Syracuse last year, where the Knights were up 18 at the half, only to see eight points shaved off that lead in 45 seconds in an eventual loss to the Orangemen. That time, Quincy Douby fired a three that would have won the game at the end, and it rimmed out. This time, Jimmy Inglis launched one from straight on, and opened some nighttime banking hours for OT. In case none of you are familiar with Inglis, he’s 6’9, 250, not your prototypical 3 shooter (I tried to find a pic, but he’s kind of an obscure player).

So they took they No. 3 team in the nation to OT in a respectable fashion. The next three for Rutgers are DePaul (8-5, 1-1), No. 11 Pitt (12-0, 1-0), and Cincinnati (13-3, 2-1). Normally, the team would be lucky to get even one win out of that sequence, but this year seems to be different. While beating Pitt will be a daunting task, DePaul is very beatable, as is Cincinnati as they have lost starting forward Armein Kirkland for the season.

Of course, the team is light years from an at-large bid, but we’ve just started conference play. If the Knights can stick out a few wins against their Big East rivals, they will be able to climb the ladder quickly. I’m not predicting an at-large bid or anything, but surely they could head back to the NIT, where they lost to Michigan in the finals in 2004 (with an assist going to home court advantage in the tourney).

Adding to my elation over the basketball team, CBS SportsLine did a nice write up about Lance Thomas, a top recruit this year who hails from New Jersey. Normally, top in-state prospects bolt for greener pastures since Rutgers basketball doesn’t have the ring to it that Duke does. But there is an outside chance Thomas could land with the Scarlet Knights.

I don’t want to get over excited here, because in all reality, it’s probably not going to happen. This is typical Rutgers: get us excited and let us down. For evidence of this, see the Insight Bowl.

The question is: why would Thomas ever pick mediocrity in Rutgers over greatness in Duke? The simple answer is that he would be the leader at Rutgers, undoubtedly the best player on the team. He’d have a year of playing alongside newly born superstar Quincy Douby, and then the team would be his.

The team is also filled with young talent. Two freshmen currently start for the Knights, guard Anthony Farmer and forward JR Inman. Jaron Griffin has shown potential, giving the Knights three viable freshmen. Add to that sophomores Ollie Bailey and Dan Waterstradt (both not getting their share of PT for reasons unbeknownst), and there is a bit of incentive for Thomas.

Of course, they’d have to recruit a few other guys in subsequent years to complement him. But that might not be as daunting as it sounds.

If Thomas chooses Rutgers, New Jersey recruitniks say four of the state's top available prospects could follow: senior point guard Eugene Harvey, junior wing Corey Stokes, sophomore center Samardo Samuels and sophomore guard Ashton Gibbs. All but Harvey are potential McDonald's All-Americans, and Thomas has played with all four of them -- Harvey, Stokes and Samuels this season at St. Benedict's, and Gibbs two years ago at Scotch Plains High.


NIT this year, the Big Dance next year? Don’t build me up Rutgers, baby, just to let me down.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The Case for Jeff Bagwell

Bagwell, Astros Nearing Crossroads
Just about every TV show has done an episode about premature retirement. And now Jeff Bagwell is living it. There is speculation that the Astros are trying to nudge the slugger into retirement, so that they can collect a hefty insurance policy on his $17 million contract.

This irks me to no end. Maybe it’s because I have a particular attachment to Bagwell. Back in fourth and fifth grades, I was huge into baseball cards, as were a few buddies of mine. We bought packs, went to collector stores, traded, and even used our crap cards as poker chips. It was during this time that Bagwell was beginning his career. Lo and behold, I had pulled two of his rookie cards (Topps and Donruss) out of packs.

Ever since then, I’ve been a fan of Bagwell. I was ecstatic when I heard he would be on the World Series roster to act as a DH in Chicago. And my heart sunk when he was schooled by rookie Bobby Jenks (you all remember that strikeout, right?).

A few weeks ago, the Astros signed Preston Wilson, and I speculated that it did not bode well for Bagwell. The ‘Stros already had three outfielders in Lance Berkman, Wily Tavares, and Jason Lane. Wilson provides no upgrade over any of these guys, and it’s doubtful that he was signed as a bench player. The likely scenario: Wilson to left, Berkman back to first, Bagwell’s future up in the air.

I understand the Astros motive behind this orchestration. They obviously want an efficient team, and getting Bagwell’s salary off the books is a priority. Should Bagwell decide in Spring Training that he can’t go on, the Astros can still collect on their insurance policy (covers all but $1.5 million of Bagwell’s 2006 salary). But they want to get this issue resolved now so they can pursue other transactions that will benefit the club.

Problem is, Bagwell is in no way ready to hang it up. "Nothing is going to keep me from attempting to play baseball next season," he said. "Nothing."

"There's no question in my mind I can hit," he said. "It's whether or not I can throw for a full season. Everything has gone exactly the way I thought it should. I'm getting stronger. Am I able to throw 120 feet? No. Am I making progress? Very much so."

First off, let me note that I love it when athletes and celebrities ask themselves questions and immediately give the answers. It’s like Donald Rumsfeld: “Do we have full armor on our humvees? No. Have we taken steps to insure that armor will be on there in the future? No. Have we thought about the issue heavily? Yes.”

I digress.

My initial reaction to the situation was that the ‘Stros should look into dealing Bagwell to an American League team, where he can serve as a full-time DH and a part-time first baseman. Problem is, there isn’t a team out there that will take on Bagwell’s contract. Plus, the $15.5 million insurance policy expires at the end of this month.

Still, the Astros could eat $10 million and dish him elsewhere, freeing up $7 million in flexibility. And, if the Astros truly intend to nudge Bagwell into retirement, they would probably accept a package of mid-level prospects, considering Bag’s injury and age.

I’m no GM, so I have no idea how Tim Purpura is going to handle this situation. But, if I was in that situation, I’d certainly move towards a trade. It appears that the Astros have no intention of using Bagwell this season, so moving $7 million of his contract for a few prospects isn’t a terrible idea, considering the three possible outcomes.

Outcome No. 1: Bagwell stays healthy, plays the season, and contributes to the Astros, costs them $17 million.
Outcome No. 2: Bagwell decides he can’t hack it during Spring Training or early in the season, team does not collect insurance policy.
Outcome No. 3: Bagwell is traded along with $10 million to an AL team. Astros have an immediate $7 million to help solidify the team.

Of course, there is a fourth option, and that’s Bagwell retiring within the next few weeks. I just don’t see that happening, unless the Astros bribe Dr. James Andrews to exaggerate Bagwell’s condition. I don’t know much about bribes, but I would consider it illogical for the top doctor in his field to compromise his position by taking a bribe. Aren’t bribes usually taken by second and third-rate fellows, like Richie Cunningham (the Congresman, not the character from Happy Days)? Then again, more absurd things have happened.

Houston needs to get moving on this situation. Either they’re sticking with Bags or they’re dishing him. You can’t just force a guy with a resolve like Bagwell’s into retirement. He’s obviously amped to get out there and prove he can hit, if at least for one more season. So you either make the decision to stick to him, or you cut your losses and see if anyone else wants him.

And quite honestly, the Yankees should. No, this isn’t me playing the typical Yankees guy, wishing for every superstar in Major League Baseball to make his way to the Bronx. I bolded a few statements up there for a reason. Imagine the Yanks adding Bagwell’s bat to their lineup at DH. Imagine him being able to spell Giambi twice a week. Take a gander:

Damon
Jeter
Giambi
A-Rod
Sheffield
Matsui
Bagwell
Posada
Cano

Obviously, the price would be the determining factor, but I really can’t see the Astros asking for much. How valuable is a 38-year-old first baseman with a degenerative shoulder? Certainly the Yankees can put together an adequate compensation package (read: 25-year-olds playing Advanced-A ball).

Even if he’s not traded to the Yankees, I want to see Bagwell around for 2006. He’s working harder than ever to just play out that last year of his contract and deserves better treatment than this. You all sided with the grandfather in TV Show X when he was being forced into retirement by his company, and now it’s time to side with Bagwell.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Quest for the 2008 Roster: Trenton & Columbus

Just when you thought I had forgotten, I’m back with what looks to be the final installment in the Quest for the 2008 Roster. I’m going to hit Trenton and Columbus in one swipe, since many players fluctuate between these two levels frequently during the season.

Leading off the segment is a man whose name has been mentioned countless times: Kevin Thompson. He led the Thunder in batting average, OBP, and slugging percentage last year, and was flipped between there and Columbus a few times. His averages from each league:

TeamABAvgOBPSlgIso-DIso-PAB/SO
Thunder313.329.432.565.103.2364.60
Clippers209.249.335.359.086.1104.64


The main problem with Thompson is that he’s already 26. He’s no geezer, but you would normally see a major leaguer ready before the age of 26 or 27. His build doesn’t help much either, standing at 5’10, 185, which just happens to be the same size as me.

Though he was faced with a smaller sample size in Triple-A, Thompson didn’t prove much of anything during his tenure with Columbus. He’ll get the nod there to start the 2006 season, and who knows, maybe he can be a viable option off the Yankees bench in years to come. At this stage of his career, it may be the best he can hope for.

Another 26-year-old on the radar is Shelly Duncan, a 6’5 first baseman with some pop to his bat. His 2005 in Trenton:

ABAvgOBPSlgIso-DIso-PAB/SO
537.240.323.490.083.2503.84


So he’s a big swinger, frequently mashing the ball or striking out, all while maintaining a decent walk total. He’ll start the season in Columbus, but there are a few younger first basemen nipping at his heels. Duncan, as I see it, is a career minor-leaguer.

But why am I talking about guys with no future? Isn’t the point to find guys who could be assets to the Yanks in the future, not lead weights? I just wanted to demonstrate that I’m not merely hyping up everyone in the organization. There are guys with big numbers that I don’t feel are going to make it because of other factors (age, transitions to higher levels, striking out at a ridiculous pace). But from now on, I promise to stick to the guys I’m going to follow this season.

In an effort to save space and words, I’m going to list everyone’s stats before doing my commentary thing.

PlayerLevelABAvgOBPSlgIso-DIso-PAB/SO
Melky CabreraAA426.275.322.411.047.1365.92
MelkyAAA101.248.309.366.061.1186.73
Bronson SardinhaAA503.258.338.398.080.1404.37
Eric DuncanAA451.235.326.408.091.1733.31
Mike VentoAAA501.291.365.445.074.1545.22
Wil NievesAAA380.289.313.395.024.10610.0


Let’s start at the top. Yes, Melky was a ball-masher in Trenton, but his premature promotion to the majors may have had a lingering effect, hence his numbers in Columbus. Word around the media is that his failed stint in NY has motivated him, and that he’s tearing up the Dominican League. His Isolated Power number figures to go up, as guys who are 21 years old tend to add some bulk at this phase of life. But his Isolated Discipline worries me, since I’m slowly learning that this is not an acquired trait. True, not every major league starter has to walk 80 times a season, but taking a pitch is an invaluable skill for power hitters.

The next name may be unfamiliar to some. Hell, it was unfamiliar to me when I first saw it, as my first reaction was, “a guy named Bronson? Guess we have to compete with Boston any way we can.” His raw numbers aren’t perfect, but his isolated marks beg for consideration. He’s only 22 years old, which is always a boon with prospects. Obviously, he’ll be a fun one to follow, since he certainly could make significant progress this year, whether with Trenton or Columbus. The downside for his 2008 potential: yet another outfielder. With Matsui and Damon still under contract at that point, many of these prospects may find themselves stuck in the minors or playing for other teams by that time.

Do I really need to get into a schtick on Eric Duncan? We all know he can hit the tar out of the ball, and any Yankees fan is privy to his Arizona Fall League MVP award. They say he’s starting the year at first base in AAA, so we’ll get to see him tested rather quickly. I just wish they’d nurture him just a bit more and start him in Trenton. But what do I know?

The final two names were plucked from the Columbus roster, and while I don’t see a real future for any of them, I figured I’d at least mention them. Mike Vento saw a few ABs in September, and could be an injury fill-in should one of the outfielders go down. Other than that, he’s probably going to sit in Columbus for the remainder of his career.

Nieves is interesting, mainly because he’s an outcast of the Angels system. His numbers are far less than stellar, but 1) he’s a catcher and 2) Derrick Turnbow and Bobby Jenks are also Angels rejects. Sure, the latter reason means absolutely squat for Nieves’s actual potential, but it’s nice to mention. Who knows, though. Maybe he’ll blossom in the next year or two, but that’s doubtful, considering he’s 28 and has little major league experience. But there’s always wishful thinking. Never overestimate the power of wishful thinking.

I’ll list the stats for two pitchers, since the rest of the “prospects” consist of guys like Sean Henn, Jorge DePaula (who will NEVER amount to anything), and Colter Bean.

PlayerAgeLevelIPK/9BB/9HR/9ERA
Matt DeSalvo25AA149.09.124.040.483.02
Matt Smith26AA54.29.713.790.332.80
Smith26AAA27.210.734.23.992.60


Smith looks like the better prospect, since he’s a lefty reliever (always a help for any team). His numbers translated well from AA to AAA, except that he let up three dingers over 27.2 innings in Columbus. However, that could just be him adjusting to the higher level of play. This notion is reinforced by his increased walks per nine total. We’ll see how he reacts to an entire season of AAA, and possible a call up to the big show in the case of an injury. The signings of Mike Myers and Ron Villone may impede Smith’s progress this year, but they’re geezers and he’s the young buck. Look for him in 2007.

DeSalvo is a righty starter who could also see some time up in the majors after Jaret Wright goes in for shoulder replacement surgery. I’d advocate him over Jorge DePaula 100 times out of 100, but I’m not so sure Torre and Cashman agree. In any case, DeSalvo will surely be a starter in Columbus this year, and hopefully he can make the leap like Smith did last year.

Well, I’m just breathing hot air now, so I’ll wrap up the Quest for the 2008 Roster. I’m trying to work out a system for organizing the two dozen or so players I’m going to track this season, so you can easily see their progress on the main page of the website. You can read Baseball America’s thoughts on the issue here, though they spurn some of the prospects I find most enticing. I’ll also be posting updates from those folks as I see them regarding these players.

Monday, January 09, 2006

Fire Bradway

For a web site dedicated to baseball in general and the Yankees in specific, I’ve been doing a lot of rambling about football lately. I guess the playoffs are contagious.

Last week, I was ranting about the Jets letting Herm Edwards walk to the Chiefs for a measly fourth round draft pick. So I started thinking about it more, and I was hit with a revelation: there’s a guy who makes these decisions! Why don’t we start scrutinizing him?

Well, he has been scrutinized during just about every year of his Jets tenure, which began in January, 2001. He has conducted five amateur draft proceedings for the Jets, and while we all laud his selection of Jonathan Vilma in 2004, he has drafted only one Pro-Bowler – Santana Moss, and that was for the Redskins.

Speaking of the Redskins, it seems a while ago, but remember when they nabbed Lav Coles, Chad Morton, Randy Thomas, and John Hall right from under our noses? Remember when Bradway thought he had matched the ‘Skins offer sheet for Morton, only to lose out on him because he didn’t match the voidable years?

Remember him taking Bryan Thomas with the Jets first rounder in 2002, despite the presence of Shaun Ellis and John Abraham? I hate to nit-pick on hindsight, especially when it comes to the NFL draft. But seriously, look at who was still on the board when the Jets picked: Ed Reed, Napoleon Harris, Lito Sheppard. The most notable name there is Sheppard, since Bradway intended to pick a CB in the drat, but instead signed Donnie Abraham.

Let’s go over this once more, so it can sink in. Bradway needed a CB, but drafted a DE, a position at which the Jets already had two starters. Not only that, he passed up on a future Pro-Bowl CB in Sheppard, not to mention a solid LB in Harris and a future All-Pro in Reed. I’ll forgive the latter two on account of hindsight. But to need a CB and not draft Sheppard seems a shaky decision at best.

Since we’re on the draft, it’s only applicable to mention 2003, when we all remember Bradway exchanging the 13th and 22nd picks for the No. 4 pick in order to select Dewayne Robertson. Don’t get me wrong, I think Robertson is a fine defensive tackle. But he certainly hasn’t lived up to his hype as the next Warren Sapp, which was the whole reason for trading up. However, Bradway gets half a pass here, mainly because that draft was riddled with busts. But for effect, Troy Polamalu was around for the 13 pick (though it’s doubtful he would have had the foresight to draft Eric Steinbach, Rashaen Mathis, or E.J. Henderson with the 22nd pick).

And then we have the 2005 draft, in which the Jets didn’t have a first round selection. Why? Because Bradway thought that a backup TE was more important. Of course, I’m working on hindsight here, too, but why did the Jets feel the need to make that swap? They could have just drafted Heath Miller with that pick if they wanted a TE. Sure, it would have precluded them from taking Nugent, but I don’t think that’s all that important a pick. I won’t decry it like many Jets fans, since I think Nuge has a future in NY. But I’d also like Pennington to have a guy like Heath Miller to throw to.

I’ve already mentioned Bradway’s biggest off-season blunder, but he has plenty mini-blunders to help supplement his record. Like in the same year, when be brought in Curtis Conway to replace Coles. Do I even need to provide commentary on this one?

Or how about Pennington’s monster contract extension right before the opening of the 2004 season? Sure, New York was slowly falling in love with Chad, but Bradway forced the issue. He dedicated star quarterback cap space to a guy who had started just 23 games, sat out six games of the previous season, and accumulated a meager 63.6 passer rating in the games he did play (13 TDs, 12 INTs).

Because of that, the Jets can’t even think about taking a quarterback with the No. 4 pick in the 2006 draft, since too much of their cap is appropriate for QB already. Sure, they would be legally allowed to select Matt Leinart should he drop to four, but the cap implications of taking a QB with the fourth pick would be detrimental to the already cap-strapped Jets.

The cap is also impeding the team’s ability to sign John Abraham to a long-term contract. Remember how the Jets slapped Abe with the Franchise tag last winter, citing his injury as cause for concern? And remember how they just wanted him to get through a full season before inking him long term? Well, he’s had his healthy season, but I can’t see the Jets nailing him down. Once again, misappropriated cap dollars will lead to this inevitability.

So that means the Jets will, in all likelihood, slap the tag on Abraham once again, but this time will be more receptive to trade offers for him. Other teams, knowing the Jets situation, won’t be offering much. Who would blow a first rounder on a guy who will be tag-less come August? It would be a second rounder at best, and there is no argument in the world that can convince me that a a second round pick is equal to John Abraham.

But those are the kinds of decisions you force yourself to make when you can’t manage a salary cap. In fact, Bradway’s financial decisions have been so poor during his tenure that I’m convinced that Knicks GM Isaiah Thomas had a sit-down with Bradway before taking his job at MSG, where they discussed the merits of hurling money at problems.

This whole Herman fiasco has just been the nail that popped the pimple for Bradway. Why, when there are seven coaching vacancies, would you let your perfectly good coach walk for a mere fourth rounder? And to make matters worse, Bradway is probably going to make a dumb decision on the next coach, like bringing in Jim Haslett. Yes, because when you can hire a coach who has had considerable talent and no results during his tenure in New Orleans, you do it every time.

So really, other than drafting Vilma, Terry Bradway hasn’t done a whole lot of good as the Jets GM (and the Jets fans made that one a no-brainer for him). You could go as far as to say that if the Jets had more competent men making the personnel decisions, Herm may have flourished as a coach. A good GM would have looked around the league, seen the current crop of coaches, and realized that it’s slim pickins. Hence, he would have worked out some kind of extension for Herm, rather than get all pissy like a chick and let him walk.

Terry Bradway must be fired. Problem is, the Jets brass won’t come to this realization until after he screws up the 2006 off-season, which will be integral to any future success of the team. We’re about to revert back to late 80s/early 90s Jets, and it will be all Bradway’s fault.

Appendix
Terry Bradway’s first day selections as Jets GM:

2001: (1) Santana Moss – traded for a guy Bradway let walk
            (2)LaMont Jordan – let him walk
            (3) Kareem McKenzie – let him walk

2002: (1) Bryan Thomas – bust
            (2) Jon McGraw – traded for next to nothing
            (3) Chris Baker – whoa, an actual starter, though if he was starting in                           2005, why did Bradway trade for Doug Jolly?

2003: (1) Dwayne Robertson – not quite a bust, but no Warren Sapp
            (2) Victor Hobson – starter
            (3) B.J. Askew – may start next year, but clearly not a starter-caliber                          running back

2004: (1) Jonathan Vilma – we’ve been over this one. Bradway’s finest hour
            (2) Justin McCariens – okay, it wasn’t the pick, but this is who the Jets                         swapped their No. 2 for. Completely not worth it.
            (3) Derrick Strait – jury is still out, but we could find out soon, since he                     conceivably could be starting in 2006 (if Bradway is smart and cuts                       David Barrett)

2005: (1) Mike Nugent – traded our first rounder for a kicker
            (2) Justin Miller – will be starting in ’06, so we’ll get to see if he can                         overcome being a dick
            (3) Sione Pouha – team needed a NT to replace Jason Ferguson, got a                         guy who sucks. Smrt.

UPDATE: I was just sent this link, which is a much more detailed version of what I'm talking about. Though, the authors of this research report make a case against Edwards, and are probably happy with receiving just a fourth rounder for him.

Picks

I just want to take this paragraph to acknowledge my indefensible 2-2 record this weekend. I was riding high on Saturday when Washington and New England came through, but Sunday was detrimental to my gambling record. And I have no excuse, since I basically said that all logic points to Carolina beating New York, and I picked New York anyway. Oh, and I forgot that the Bengals that were playing the Steelers were THOSE Bengals. My condolances to Carson Palmer.

9-2? Wishful thinking.