Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:48 pm

Post #1: 6:14 pm Quote | Report Violation
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I?m surprised it took this long, but the Yu Darvish to MLB rumors may have just officially kicked off right along with the new year. A Sports Hankook (Korea) report, relying on a Japanese source (Sports Nikkan), says that the Yankees plan to nab Darvish following the 2008 season.

The report goes on to say that the Dodgers, Mets and Cubs have also made ?love calls to Darvish and that the floor of negotiations is something along the lines of what Daisuke Matsuzaka was able to command during his posting extravaganza in 2006.

Analysis: Well, why the heck would Darivsh want to sign with the Yankees when he can make nearly $2 million big ones playing in Japan? If the Dice K signing is the ?floor,? I shudder to think what the ceiling might be. Dice K?s signing could be made to look like peanut shells. Given Darvish?s dominance of the NPB at such an early age (21) would $12-$15 million per year be out of the question?

Not to be a killjoy, but it should be noted that this is a Korean newspaper reporting something posted (blogged) on a Japanese newspaper?s Web site. While I?m of the opinion that both sources are reputable in and of themselves (Sports Nikkan was first to report the L.A. signing of Kuroda), the implications of this rumor are too big to not warrant further checking before we hustle

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/

Darvish off to New York.
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Sorry, if this has already been mentioned....but I didn't see anything on it, and I had no idea such a player existed in Japan.

He's 21 years old, and has the following over the past three seasons:

2005: 5-5 94.1 IP 52 K's 3.53 ERA

2006: 12-5 149.2 IP 115 K's 2.89 ERA

2007: 15-5 207.2 IP 210 K's 1.82 ERA 12 complete games

He could be available in the 2008 offseason. He's coming off a season where he won the Japanese Best Starting Pitcher Award.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:50 pm

Darvish cant be posted for a while. Ridiculous report.. This is FakeÖ.

There arenít rules to being posted. A player can be posted when the team holding his rights decides it wants to post him. We can argue whether itíll happen or not until weíre all blue in the face, but no one really knows. Itíll happen when the Ham Fighters decide the value of posting him exceeds the value of his staying in Japan.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:52 pm

He has 6 years left in Japan, they aren't posting him anytime soon

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 4:59 pm

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Quote:
Originally Posted by DaBrick Wall View Post
Yes they do. And they shouldn't. It's called panicking. If Minnesota wants to take Boston's crap offer then that's their problem, not the Yankees.
No, actually it is the Yankees problem.

A rotation of:

Josh Beckett
Johan Santana
Daisuke Matsuzaka - I expeect a Josh type bounce back in 2008. One year to acclimate.
Curt Schilling
Wakerfield/Lester/Bucholz

That is a pretty formidable rotation.

If your point was to not sell the farm for Johan that is a good point. However, if the Twins are leaning towards a 'crap' offer from the Sox, the Yankees have to get involved.

The Sox gave up 120 fewer runs then the Yanks. Getting Johan 32+ starts to replace Julian Tavarez' 23 starts is a no-brainer.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:03 pm

Bucs will pressure Eli alot. How do Eli will handle pass-rush from Bucs ? When Manning struggles, this offense struggles and his inconsistency in the passing game is probably the biggest obstacle the Giants will have to overcome in order to advance. His best weapon, TE Jeremy Shockey, is gone for the season and backup TEs Kevin Boss and Michael Matthews are not good options. Without Shockey the Giants may use more multi-receiver sets and this forces Manning to depend too much on his wide receivers. Also, the Giants best deep threat, WR Plaxico Burress, has been slowed for weeks with a nagging ankle sprain. Look for Manning to attack Tampa Bay's Cover 2 defense with wide receiver Amani Toomer over the deep middle because of his good size. Toomer may attack out of the slot, where he can get behind the linebackers and split the safeties. This also allows Burress to run slants and crossing routes in the zone cleared out by Toomer.

The Bucs will try to rush four and drop seven into coverage, but against a physical Giants offensive line it will be difficult to collapse the pocket. If Manning has time to throw, he will face seven defenders in zone coverage that are very good at jumping routes. Manning will need to show patience and accuracy to attack this disciplined defense.

Giants defense weakness is vulnerable inside, so the Bucs will attack up the middle. If the Giants are forced to bring a safety into the box, that could spell trouble because they are thin at that position because of injuries. If the Bucs offensive tackles can turn Giants defensive ends Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora to the outside on run plays, it could lead to some success on off-tackle plays, which puts pressure on undersized middle linebacker Antonio Pierce to make plays in space.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:12 pm

BIG BLUE WON'T BUC-KLE UNDER
FEARLESS GIANTS SWAGGER INTO PLAYOFFS

http://www.nypost.com/seven/01012008/sports/giants/big_blue_wont_buc_kle_under_56511.htm?page=0



January 1, 2008 -- This is the third consecutive season the Giants have headed to the playoffs, each time gearing up for an NFC wild-card game, but to listen to those involved, this particular team is far more ready and capable of hanging in as opposed to summarily getting bounced out.



"Our swagger and our confidence make a difference this year," linebacker Antonio Pierce said yesterday.

"When we make up our mind I think we can beat anybody," Michael Strahan said. "Our question has never been talent, our question has always been from just execution and making up our mind we're going to win the game. When we've done that we've been successful.

"Our mindset, that's what I feel about this team. Very talented, we can go as far as we want to go as long as we make up our minds we want to continue to play we'll continue to play and beat anybody."

The team the Giants have to beat on Sunday is the Buccaneers, who as the No. 4 seed in the NFC, clinched a playoff berth after 14 games and then rested many starters the past two weeks to finish up 9-7 after back-to-back losses. The Giants (10-6) this weekend travel to sunny Tampa fresh off one of the most uplifting losses they ever have experienced: Being beaten by the unbeaten Patriots 38-35 has been characterized as the positive momentum boost they said they needed.

Two years ago, the Giants entered the postseason after finishing atop the NFC East at 11-5, but played without all three starting linebackers against the Panthers. Eli Manning, completing his first full season as a starter, clearly wasn't ready for his first playoff action and the result was a 23-0 setback that had Tiki Barber stating the Giants were "outcoached."

Last season, the Giants needed Barber's 234 rushing yards in the final regular season game at Washington to squeeze into the postseason with a meager 8-8 record. The Giants went to Philadelphia, once again battered by injuries. Manning played a strong game, but the Giants lost 23-20 on a David Akers field goal with no time remaining.

"Last year it was kind of as if we made the playoffs, but we had to really back in there, really push to get in there," said Strahan, who missed last year's stretch run with a foot injury. "This year we had to win the game against Buffalo to make sure it was a reality, but it's not the same way. I think we're a lot healthier, even though we lost a few guys the other day. It just seems like the team's attitude is a lot better, the team's focus is a lot better. We feel we definitely have an opportunity to keep on advancing this season, as opposed to last season, where we got into the playoffs and hoped we could hang."

All season, the Giants have insisted their approach was vastly superior to that of the past few years, that their chemistry in the locker room, relation ship with Tom Coughlin and belief in each other made this team more re silient and cohesive. They proved that point by going 7-1 on the road and by not fracturing during the recent strug gles of Manning and the offense.

"I think we have dealt with controversy and dealt with things that are happening during the season better this year than in the past," Manning said. "We have kept the things that go on in the locker room between the players and the coaches and not let them venture out and make it a public knowledge of everything that is going on, whether you are frustrated or whatever is happening."

As expected, the Bucs, playing at Raymond James Stadium, are slight favorites. Just as expectedly, the Giants could not care less.

"I've been trying to tell you guys from day one this is a different mentality, a different character on this team, nowhere near what '06 was like," Pierce said. "We've had this mentality for a while. We've really been anxious to get to this point where we're at, we feel more confident than we were last year and the year before. All around, we feel confident and sure of ourselves."

paul.schwartz@nypost.com

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Cowboys, Packers share top spot

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:18 pm

Cowboys, Packers share top spot

By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider

Updated: January 1, 2008

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/insider/news/story?id=3175066

Maybe the glamour offenses are in the AFC, but the best defenses appear to be in the NFC. A pair of NFC teams top Scouts Inc.'s rankings of the playoff defenses. Dallas, armed with the top linebackers, and Green Bay, which features one of the best DB units, are tied for the top spot.

Scouts Inc. ranked the 12 playoff teams by position on a scale of 1-12, with one being the best. After adding the points, here are the overall results, with lowest score being the best.

Also, you can read the individual position breakdowns here:

Free Defensive Line | Linebackers | Defensive backs | Special teams

Getting Defensive
Team DL LB DB Total
1. Dallas Cowboys 5 1 6 12
1. Green Bay Packers 6 4 2 12
3. San Diego Chargers 4 2 7 13
4. New England Patriots 2 8 4 14
5. Indianapolis Colts 11 6 1 18
5. Seattle Seahawks 8 5 5 18
7. Pittsburgh Steelers 9 3 8 20
8. Tennessee Titans 3 7 11 21
9. Tampa Bay Buccaneers 12 9 3 24
10. New York Giants 1 12 12 25
11. Jacksonville Jaguars 7 11 9 27
12. Washington Redskins 10 10 10 30

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:19 pm

Cowboys top list, but a surprising name at the bottom

By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/insider/news/story?id=3175347


Updated: January 1, 2008



In the playoffs, it's often the special teams that decide the games. Dallas and New England are set, but there are some surprising names at the bottom of Scouts Inc.'s special teams rankings.

1. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys have one of the best kicking tandems in the NFL with punter Mat McBriar and kicker Nick Folk. McBriar's high, long punts enable the Dallas punt coverage unit to get downfield and make the tackle. Meanwhile, Folk is having a dream rookie season with solid field goal accuracy and exceptional distance on his kickoffs.

2. New England Patriots
The Patriots' special teams have a variety of returners who can contribute at any time, including Ellis Hobbs, Wes Welker, Kevin Faulk and Troy Brown. All have the big-play capability to score on returns. New England's coverage units gave up some big returns in the second half of the regular season, but special teams coordinator Brad Seely will solve the problem before the playoffs begin. Plus, LB Larry Izzo still is one of the best special teams players in the NFL.

3. San Diego Chargers
A good special teams unit begins with a good specialist, and the Chargers have just that. Kicker Nate Kaeding didn't have as many field goal attempts in the regular season as he has had in the past, but he still achieved an 87.5 percent efficiency rating. Punter Mike Scifres is averaging 46.4 yards per punt and has Pro Bowl special teamer Kassim Osgood as one of his gunners covering kicks.

4. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks can cover kickoffs behind the powerful leg of kicker Josh Brown. Seattle also has a solid returner, Nate Burleson, who is a threat to go the distance any time he gets the ball; he scored on both a punt return and a kickoff return in the regular season. A variety of special teams core players (including LB Kevin Bentley, CB Jordan Babineaux and LB Lance Laury) effectively contribute in all phases.

5. Green Bay Packers
Kicker Mason Crosby has performed well. He has a strong leg, going 3-of-5 from 50-plus yards and putting the ball deep with a lot of hang time on kickoffs. He gives the other core players, such as CBs Tramon Williams and Aaron Rouse, enough time to get downfield and disrupt the return. However, the Packers have some punt-protection issues that need to be resolved before the playoffs begin.

6. Tennessee Titans
Pro Bowl kicker Rob Bironas is having an outstanding season. He kills the ball on kickoffs and is accurate from all over on field goals. Tennessee isn't as strong as it used to be in its return phases, and that is one of coach Jeff Fisher's concerns. Tennessee will have to figure out a way to give its offense better field position in the playoffs.

7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers' special teams always have been known for their fast coverage units (due to the makeup of their fast defense). This year, Tampa Bay's kickoff return unit has given its offense plenty of good field position, a trend that should continue in the playoffs. Kickoff return man Micheal Spurlock has picked up where the injured Mark Jones left off, sparking the whole return team.

8. Washington Redskins
The Redskins need to clean up some punt-protection problems. In the meantime, kickoff returner Rock Cartwright is a north/south runner who is able to break tackles and give the Redskins good field position. WR Antwaan Randle El has the punt return duties and is capable of a big return at any given moment. Kicker Shaun Suisham has had plenty of field goal attempts this season and has done an adequate job of putting points on the board.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars have one of the most underrated special teams units in the NFL this season. Kicker Josh Scobee is healthy and performing well. In addition, Jacksonville's returners, Dennis Northcutt and Maurice Jones-Drew, are dangerous athletes who are able to go the distance.

10. Pittsburgh Steelers
One could argue the Steelers' special teams unit is worse than the Colts' because the Steelers can't cover kickoffs or punts well. However, they do have a good returner, Allen Rossum -- that is, when he's not fair-catching the kick. He is a dangerous kickoff returner who can quickly bend his returns sideways and get up the field.

11. New York Giants
The Giants need to improve their return phases for the playoff run. Their coverage units are pretty good, with WR David Tyree playing the role of special teams demon. He is an aggressive player, relentless in his pursuit of ball carriers, which is exceptional for a wide receiver. Punter Jeff Feagles is reliable, but his punts don't have the same hang time and distance they once did.

12. Indianapolis Colts
Before everyone starts wondering why we ranked the defending champions last -- especially when they have one of the best kickers in NFL history, Adam Vinatieri -- look at the other phases. They have been inconsistent for a long time. Both the kickoff coverage and punt coverage units allow big returns. And one punt return for a touchdown by TJ Rushing is not enough to rank this team higher. Besides, even Vinatieri isn't having his best season.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:20 pm

Ware, Ellis lead the outstanding Dallas linebackers

By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider


http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/insider/news/story?id=3174956
Updated: January 1, 2008


Scouts Inc. has ranked the linebackers from all 12 playoff teams, and the Cowboys sit atop the rankings, while a pair of AFC teams round out the top three.

1. Dallas Cowboys
DeMarcus Ware and Greg Ellis are prototypical 3-4 outside linebackers who come off the edge with premier speed and acceleration. Ware and Ellis have 14 and 12.5 sacks, respectively. On the inside, the Cowboys are led by Bradie James, who has a rare combination of athleticism, instincts and intelligence, and who led the team with 101 tackles during the regular season.

Run To The Super Bowl?

The league's stingiest defense has made the playoffs every year since 2000, but that doesn't guarantee postseason success.
Defenses that allowed fewest yards per game
(Since 2000)
Year Team YPG Postseason
2007 Steelers 266.4 ???
2006 Ravens 264.1 Lost in divisional playoffs
2005 Buccaneers 277.8 Lost in wild card game
2004 Steelers 258.4 Lost in AFC Championship game
2003 Cowboys 253.5 Lost in wild card game
2002 Buccaneers 252.8 Won Super Bowl
2001 Steelers 258.6 Lost in AFC Championship game
2000 Ravens 247.9 Won Super Bowl
2. San Diego Chargers
Like the Cowboys, the Chargers are led by their 3-4 outside linebackers. Shaun Phillips and Shawne Merriman have combined for 21 total sacks on the season, and both must be accounted for in pass protection on every snap. On the inside, Stephen Cooper and Matt Wilhelm are above-average athletes who have tallied 108 and 97 tackles, respectively, on the season.

3. Pittsburgh Steelers
The Steelers are led by ILB James Farrior, who is an adequate athlete with great instincts and superior technique. Farrior has lost some of his speed during his 11 years in the league, but he makes up for it with impressive recognition skills. OLB James Harrison continues the Steelers' tradition of linebackers who terrorize quarterbacks on the blitz. As a whole, this is an active unit that will come at opponents from all angles.

4. Green Bay Packers
Pro Bowl ILB Nick Barnett brings an excellent combination of coverage skills and ability to play the run. Second-year WLB AJ Hawk brings a nasty temperament and an all-out attitude to the field and is extremely instinctive, while SLB Brady Poppinga is better going forward than dropping into coverage but plays with high levels of effort and intensity.

5. Seattle Seahawks
MLB Lofa Tatupu is a quality athlete with a nose for the ball, and his effort and intensity carry over to the rest of the defense. WLB Julian Peterson continues to play at a Pro Bowl level, coming off the edge and getting after the quarterback. This is an athletic unit that plays a fast game.

6. Indianapolis Colts
The Indianapolis linebackers are on the small side, but all possess great instincts, speed and athleticism. MLB Gary Brackett leads a unit that is not all that great when taking on blockers but runs well and can find the ball quickly. This is a scheme-oriented group that needs protection in order to run freely to the ball.

7. New England Patriots
The Patriots have the oldest corps of linebackers in the league, but they posses an innate sense of how to work as a unit and make plays. ILB Tedy Bruschi is the heart and soul of the defense, and what Bruschi lacks in speed and athleticism, he makes up in intensity and understanding. OLB Mike Vrabel also is having an excellent season as a pass rusher off the edge.

8. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers are led by MLB Barrett Ruud, who defines the term "overachiever." Ruud lacks top agility, explosiveness and fluidity, but he makes up for it with instant recognition that helps him get to the ball. The Bucs have extremely athletic OLBs, Cato June and Derrick Brooks, who run well but need to be protected. Brooks is the emotional leader of the defense and still plays with a great motor after 13 years in the NFL.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars
MLB Mike Peterson is an extremely athletic linebacker who possesses rare speed, and while he missed most of the second half of the season, he hopes to be ready by the time the playoffs start. He can diagnose plays quickly and fill run lanes or drop into coverage with equal effectiveness. Even if Peterson is out, the Jaguars will hardly miss a step, moving OLB Daryl Smith to the inside. OLB Clint Ingram also is athletic, but like the rest of the group, he is most effective when protected.

10. New York Giants
The Giants are led by slightly undersized MLB Antonio Pierce, who can struggle when taking on blockers but knows how to get to the ballcarrier and is extremely active. WLB Kawika Mitchell moved from the inside to the outside when he arrived from Kansas City, and it is a more natural position for him. He is more effective going forward than he is dropping into space, but like SLB Reggie Torbor, he lacks premier instincts and technique.

11. Tennessee Titans
OLB Keith Bulluck, who has played at a Pro Bowl level since arriving in Tennessee as a first-round draft pick in 2000, has prototypical size, speed and instincts. MLB Stephen Tulloch brings good straight-line speed and can deliver a good blow when tackling. Overall, this athletic group relies more on speed and agility than raw strength and power.

12. Washington Redskins
This collection of productive veteran linebackers brings a lot of instincts and football smarts to the defense. They are led by MLB London Fletcher, who, despite his short stature, has played at a high level each of his 10 years in the league. SLB Marcus Washington has returned to form after a knee injury at the end of the 2006 season.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:21 pm

Giants' sack-masters are the best postseason D-line

http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/insider/news/story?id=3175027

The New York defense started to gel during a Week 3 win over division rival Washington, and the Giants haven't looked back. They lead the league with 53 sacks, thanks in large part to the trio of DEs Osi Umenyiora, Michael Strahan and Justin Tuck. The overall talent of the group makes it hard for opposing offensive lines to concentrate on a single player. Many offensive coordinators have to adjust their protections and keep extra blockers in to counter this outstanding defensive unit. This front four also is stout against the run, yielding only 97.7 yards per game.

2. New England Patriots
New England's defensive line is one of the most underrated in the league. The combination of NT Vince Wilfork and DEs Richard Seymour and Ty Warren is formidable for any offense to contend with. This group doesn't mark up big sack numbers but is excellent at collapsing the pocket while allowing fewer than 100 yards per game on the ground. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees has great flexibility with the rest of the unit due to the consistent production of his front line.

3. Tennessee Titans
The Titans' defensive front is one of the best in the league when DT Albert Haynesworth is on the field. Haynesworth missed some time in the regular season due to injury, but Tennessee still ranked fifth in the league in total defense (298.1 yards per game). DE Kyle Vanden Bosch is excellent versus both the run and the pass, while Antwan Odom has had his best year as a pro on the opposite side. Defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz's 4-3 scheme relies heavily on Haynesworth to collapse the pocket and to anchor the middle versus the run.

4. San Diego Chargers
The Chargers' defense is a talented unit anchored by three down linemen in the trenches. At 6-foot-2 and 350 pounds, NT Jamal Williams is one of the better defenders in the league when it comes to holding the point. Williams' strength and short-area quickness draw many double teams, which frees up other defenders. Defensive coordinator Ted Cottrell's base 3-4 scheme also uses two underrated ends, Igor Olshansky and Jacques Cesaire. Olshansky shows great hand use and leverage as a run-defender, and is active as a pass-rusher.

5. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys use an aggressive 3-4 scheme led by three physical defenders up front. This defensive line can be imposing because all the players weigh more than 300 pounds and DE Chris Canty uses his 6-7 frame to gain leverage versus the run and disrupt the passing game. All three frontline players use their hands well to disengage the ball against the run and get opponents off balance against the pass. Their sack numbers aren't impressive, but they are stout against the run, giving up 92.1 yards per game. Most opponents have to get their rushing yards on the outside, since the middle of this defense is rock-solid.

6. Green Bay Packers
The Packers employ an aggressive 4-3 scheme that uses a variety of interior stunts and twists. DTs Ryan Pickett and Corey Williams anchor the middle, with Williams the better athlete while on the move. Green Bay rotates three defensive ends on a regular basis, depending on down and distance. Aaron Kampman is excellent versus the run and the pass, while Cullen Jenkins is best as a run-defender and Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila is a better pass-rusher. Kampman and Gbaja-Biamila have outstanding hand use and are quick to pressure quarterbacks; they have 21.5 sacks between them.

7. Jacksonville Jaguars
The Jaguars' defensive front consistently has been one of the better units in the league over the past six seasons. When Marcus Stroud and John Henderson teamed up in the middle of Jacksonville's 4-3 defense, they forced offenses to test the perimeter in the running game and collapsed the pocket in the passing game. Even without Stroud, who ended the season on injured reserve, the Jaguars allowed fewer than 100 rushing yards per game. Defensive coordinator Mike Smith will utilize several defensive ends, but Paul Spicer has been the most disruptive.

8. Seattle Seahawks
The Seahawks' defensive line has flown under the radar but is one of the better fronts in the league. The best-known player is DE Patrick Kerney, who finished the regular season with 14 sacks. Kerney has great length and strength as a perimeter defender, and often needs extra attention to be kept at bay. Two talented youngsters, DE Darryl Tapp and DT Brandon Mebane, have played well next to six-year veteran Rocky Bernard. As a result, defensive coordinator John Marshall doesn't have to overextend the rest of the defense.

9. Pittsburgh Steelers
Veteran defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau has been able to continue his run of success with his 3-4 scheme by using a variety of stunts, twists and blitz packages. This unit is anchored by talented NT Casey Hampton, who draws many double teams because of his disruptive power and short-area quickness in the middle. This group's numbers on the stat sheet are not too impressive, but they are one of the reasons the Steelers are ranked as the No. 1 overall defense in the league.

10. Washington Redskins
Washington's defense has been banged up much of the season but has played well down the stretch. Defensive coordinator Gregg Williams uses a base 4-3 front, and DE Andre Carter is his marquee player. Opposite Carter is an effective technician, Phillip Daniels, while the interior is anchored by two solid run-stoppers, Anthony Montgomery and Cornelius Griffin. Williams likes to use a variety of stunts and twists up front with pressure packages that use a lot of movement by his down linemen. This group has gotten better as the season has progressed.

11. Indianapolis Colts
Tony Dungy's defense is built on quickness, speed, instincts and physical play. The Colts' defensive line is somewhat undersized but still very active with a variety of stunts and pressure packages. However, the loss of DE Dwight Freeney has hampered this unit's progress. DE Robert Mathis is a force as an outside pass-rusher, while DT Raheem Brock is a versatile interior defender.

12. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Veteran defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin has put together another fine unit for the Buccaneers. The middle of the line is anchored by two athletic but somewhat undersized DTs, Chris Hovan and Jovan Haye, who play with great intensity and are productive due to their great technique and leverage. Kiffin's front has talented rookie first-rounder Gaines Adams and 13-year veteran Kevin Carter on the perimeter, and backup DE Greg White has been a pleasant surprise with eight sacks on the season.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:22 pm

Colts, Packers, Bucs tops among playoff secondaries

By Scouts Inc.
(Archive)
Insider


http://insider.espn.go.com/nfl/playoffs07/insider/news/story?id=3175197


Updated: January 1, 2008


The Colts have toiled in the Patriots' shadow in the AFC this season, but according to Scouts Inc., the Indianapolis defensive secondary is second to none among all playoff teams.

1. Indianapolis Colts
You might think the sum of this secondary is greater than its individual parts, but there are some excellent players in this group. SS Bob Sanders is a known commodity and one of the best defensive players in the league when healthy. He is a game changer and a nasty physical presence. The Colts also have two young players who fly under the radar: CB Marlin Jackson and FS Antoine Bethea. Both have come on in a big way this year and have bright futures in the NFL.

2. Green Bay Packers
No team in the league asks more of its cornerbacks than the Packers do of Al Harris and Charles Woodson. Green Bay employs a great deal of man-to-man coverage, and Woodson and Harris excel in those situations, even though Harris isn't having his best year. The safeties, however, are very inconsistent. SS Atari Bigby flies around the field and makes plays in the running game, but he is a liability in coverage. Harris and Woodson make up for a lot of the deficiencies at safety and are the most important components of this overall excellent defense.

3. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
The Buccaneers' secondary is exceptional for their system. It is not a high-profile group, but CB Ronde Barber is making a case for himself as a future Hall of Famer with an outstanding body of work over his career. FS Tanard Jackson is one of the best safeties you don't know yet, but you'll hear about him soon enough. This secondary is particularly good at taking away its opponents' No. 1 receivers, which could pay big dividends in the postseason.

4. New England Patriots
CB Asante Samuel is a great player and the kind of corner quarterbacks need to be fearful of when choosing where to throw the ball. Samuel jumps routes extremely well and can quickly turn the ball around and take it to the house. S Rodney Harrison is known for being as tough as nails and showing infectious leadership, and he surely will step up his game in the postseason. This group certainly benefits from the fact that the Patriots so often play with the lead, but the Patriots' defensive backs are experienced in big games and won't flinch when the chips are down.

5. Seattle Seahawks
CB Marcus Trufant is getting his hands on the ball with regularity and has become one of the top corners in the league. Trufant is a difference maker and should only get better. The Seahawks also have very good cornerback depth to handle multiple-receiver sets. Seattle revamped its group of safeties over the offseason and should be quite happy with the results. Deon Grant and Brian Russell are intelligent and understand where they need to be, showing the difference that defensive backs coach Jim Mora has made for the Seahawks.

6. Dallas Cowboys
The addition of FS Ken Hamlin has been instrumental in the improvement of the Dallas pass defense. Hamlin has upgraded what was possibly the Cowboys' weakest position a year ago with a Pro Bowl-caliber performance. CB Terence Newman also ranks among the elite players at his position and is a special athlete. Anthony Henry is a fine second corner but sees a lot of action with Newman on the other side. SS Roy Williams is a liability in coverage but is a killer against the run and should stay near the line of scrimmage.

7. San Diego Chargers
The safeties are not flashy, but they are solid, and rookie Eric Weddle is a star-in-waiting. The real story, though, is CB Antonio Cromartie, who replaced Drayton Florence as a starter near the middle of the season. Cromartie has quickly turned into a special player and finished the regular season with a league-high 10 interceptions. Cromartie's athletic ability and natural playmaking skills are off the charts, and Florence has turned into a decent sub-package player.

8. Pittsburgh Steelers
If CB Ike Taylor had even decent hands for the interception, he would be a potential Pro Bowl corner. He is tall, very fast and beginning to come into his own as a cover man. Deshea Townsend is an underrated but solid veteran cover man. And senseless guarantees aside, FS Anthony Smith is a lights-out hitter and should have a bright future if he can temper his aggressiveness. Star SS Troy Polamalu has had a down year by his lofty standards but remains a do-it-all difference maker who can change a game very quickly.

9. Jacksonville Jaguars
First-round FS Reggie Nelson has improved as the season has progressed, and it is no accident that the secondary as a whole has followed suit. Jacksonville has a good set of starting cornerbacks in Brian Williams and Rashean Mathis. Williams is tough and physical but can be exposed deep, while Mathis has a long build with great speed and big-play capabilities.

10. Washington Redskins
While Sean Taylor's murder might have galvanized this team and certainly could be a reason for its late-season resurgence, he is missed tremendously on the field. The losses of Taylor and CB Carlos Rogers (injured reserve, knee) have left the Redskins without two very talented players. CB Shawn Springs is getting up in age but still is performing well, while veteran Fred Smoot is too inconsistent. At this point, though, Washington is lucky to have Smoot. Rookie first-round S LaRon Landry is too aggressive at times, but he brings attitude and clearly is on his way to becoming an excellent safety.

11. Tennessee Titans
This is an aggressive secondary that isn't afraid to lay the lumber. It also benefits from an outstanding pass rush. While this secondary lacks star power, CB Nick Harper and SS Chris Hope have been solid recent free-agent signings. First-round selection Michael Griffin has played cornerback and safety in his rookie season, and has the look of a player who will be an impact defender in the near future.

12. New York Giants
There is some young talent in the Giants' secondary, but overall, this area is a weakness for New York. The secondary would be exposed further were it not for the Giants' outstanding pass rush. First-round CB Aaron Ross looks like a keeper and is a great blend of size, toughness and speed. More seasoning, specifically in the playoffs, should do him a lot of good.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Tue Jan 01, 2008 5:23 pm

I would believe he's a power righty, just coming into his own.

One major plus... he's 21 YEARS OLD!!!

http://www.japanesebaseball.com/players/player.jsp?PlayerID=1890

However, unless he has another breakout year, he's not on Matsuzaka's level statistically.

Mastsuzaka had a 5:1 k/bb and Igawa had a 4:1 k/bb in their final years, and they both had all sorts of problems commanding the ball here because the size of the ball is different & it's more smooth. Matsuzaka had to limit his supposed 6 pitch image arsenal & Igawa's best pitch was his change and he couldn't command the thing all year.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:10 am

Why would they post him? In Japan you need 10 years of service time before becoming a free agent, so Darvish would have 7 more seasons to play in Japan before being allowed to come to the US as a free agent. Unless they can get like $65million I canít see why theyíd post him this early in his career.

Thatís exactly why they would post him.

Admittedly, they would lose revenue via ticket sales, as Yu is essentially a Japanese superstar. However, itís generally accepted that Yu at age 21 is more talented than Matsuzaka was at the same age. This would mean that the Ham Fighters can expect a posting fee well northward of Dice-Kís $51.1M. In a league where a $4M salary is steep, thatís a huge amount of money. Perhaps even enough to cover the ticket sales the Ham Fighters would lose as a result of posting Yu.

The variable in all this is Yu himself, Iím afraid. In various interviews Darvish has made it clear that he does not plan to leave Japan any time soon for ďgreenerĒ pastures. However, as always, money is the best negotiatior. Weíll see if Yu has the same sentiment when he stands to make upwards of $12M a year.

#
RollingWave says:
January 1st, 2008 at 11:21 pm (Reply)

Unless the parent company runs into some serious finanial trouble or Yu Darvish demand to be posted i donít see how heís comming anytime until a few years into the next decade.
#
DanElmaleh says:
January 1st, 2008 at 11:34 pm (Reply)

I wonder how many keeper leagues Darvish gets drafted in this year?
#
dan says:
January 1st, 2008 at 11:37 pm (Reply)

I posted this on MVN before, since they posted the youtube videoÖ.

ďHe doesnít throw hard at all. If he hit 90 at all, it was once or twice. He seems to only throw 2 pitches, that 89 mph fastball and a pretty good slider. This was from 2006, so he could have added some heat, but if this video is what weíd be getting, Iíd have to say that Iím not impressed.Ē

Its like a 4-5 minute highlight reel, and his fastest pitch, if I remember correctly, was at 148km/hr (roughly 91-92 mph, I made a mistake in my original post). Most were at 88-89 mph. Velocity isnít everything, but at first glance he doesnít seem like anything to write home about.
#
Marcos says:
January 1st, 2008 at 11:43 pm (Reply)

Kei Igawa part 2

1.
dan says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 12:09 am (Reply)

Thatís what Iím thinking. Except Darvish doesnít even throw with his left arm to make up for his seemingly lacking ability.

By the way, Iím not a scout, so I could be horribly wrong about his actual pitching ability. But I think that I, as well as most people reading this, can watch someone and see whether or not heís good. If heís good and someone knows it for sure, then please correct me.

#
daneptizl says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 12:10 am (Reply)

dan, you need to check your math because he sat at around 145-6 km/hr which would be about 91, hitting 150 km/hr or 93 mph.

1.
dan says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 12:31 am (Reply)

Right, I know. My original post (in italics) had incorrect math. After that, I said that 148km/hr is roughly 91-92. Using a .62 multiplier its 91.76mph, using .622 multiplier itís 92.1 mph. My italics post used .6 incorrectly, what follows that used .62

#
Adrian-Retire21 says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 12:34 am (Reply)

No one say Kei Igawa.Remember people knew Kei Igawa was a #3 uy in the N.L.Then the Yankees had Igawa pitch in the best hitting lineups division in baseball.

This kid is only 21 and is already nasty.
#
iYankees says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 1:27 am (Reply)

According to Darvish Watch (check http://thebronxzoo.wordpress.c.....e-pitcher/), Yu hits the mid to low 90ís with his fastball (91-95?), and does have a plus slider AND curve (although, they may exaggerate, because his slider looks a lot better than his curve).

He was a phenomenal pitcher last year (a little over 100 hits in 200+ innings) but does have some control issues. He does have the tendency to get a bit wild with his breaking stuff and he does experience first inning meltdowns (a la Jaret Wright?)

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:12 am


In 2009, to the Yanks?

I hope it's alright I bumped this thread...not the best source, but I'm looking for any piece of news this time of year.


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post Yesterday, 05:15 PM
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How do they plan to negotiate with a guy who has to be posted?


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post Yesterday, 07:34 PM
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Exactly. There's no reason why they'd rush to post him now. They'll wait just like Seibu did with Matsuzaka. We wont see Darvish for another 6 or 7 years

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post Yesterday, 10:58 PM
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Good to see even a half Iranian player making an impact professionally. Just setting the stage for Iranians to dominate the game of baseball in the near future. Praise be allah!


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post Today, 12:20 AM
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Actually, I'd love to see that if only to maybe push DH3 off baseball forever.


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post Today, 02:08 AM
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Anyone have a scouting report for this kid? Does his four seamer really only top out at 146 km? [91 MPH is it?]

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:14 am

UOTE(Twistaeffect2008 @ Jan 1 2008, 06:53 PM) *
Anybody with a pair of eyes would be interested in that kid. Darvish has awesome stuff.

to be fair, we said far more than that about Matsuzaka. The result of his first big league season involved a ton of pitches, his inability to make it out of the 6th inning, and his 4.5 ERA (roughly an entire 2 runs greater than his 2006 ERA)


lol, you come back with a bang.

The Japanese league is no where near the offensive level that MLB is. The most talented offensive position players in the world are playing in the MLB while guys like Shane Spencer are regulars in Japanese line ups.

I understand that. When Matsuzaka was still a Seibu Lion and people were basing their views on a load of YouTube video's, many felt he would be a league ace. While some may still argue that his stuff in impressive (he needs a lot more control if he wants to hear me say that), his overall results were a great disappointment from the $100 million dollar man they thought they were getting.






Darvish has a lot of Matsuzaka in him, or it could also be that this is how Japanese pitchers are taught to throw. Iím not sure, I donít see a lot of Japanese games but just looking at the way their hitters stride to the ball ala Ichiro, Matsui, Iwamura etc I could see this being true.

But anyways, I like his mechanics, he starts off slow and but then is very quick to the plate and totally uses the ďstep over the imaginary lineĒ technique of getting the extra MPH on his stuff. Similar to Matsuzaka.. different arm angles though..



[Side note the highest I saw his fastball be was 146KM..if Iím converting this correctly it should be around 91 MPH.. someone double check this please]

Also there is no way we see him in MLB before 2011.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:19 am

Nobody anticipated Matsuzaka's actual contract to be so reasonable though. The total amount they ended up spending was about on par with what it was anticipated he could receive, although half of it was not subject to the luxury tax. It ended up being a solid investment, primarily because the Red Sox had Boras by the balls and he knew it. That's why opinions have changed.

Posted by: achilles17 | January 01, 2008 at 05:24 PM

His blood type is A.

Posted by: thecubsdontcatchtheball | January 01, 2008 at 05:29 PM

"His blood type is A."

I thot that was a v funny post. Back to my point...

I predicted Matsuzaka would be vazquez on this board last year, and if u look at the numbers, i made a pretty damn good prediction.

my prediction for darvish is john maine. They are the same pitcher.

Posted by: bsox21 | January 01, 2008 at 06:40 PM

"my prediction for darvish is john maine."

I guess that means he should probably just stay in Japan.

Posted by: themfightnwords | January 01, 2008 at 07:08 PM

"Yu's father is Farsa Darvish, an Iranian businessman who has no penis,"

Eh?

Posted by: Merloni's Salami | January 01, 2008 at 08:40 PM

How many 21 year old Japanese Prodigies do you think there are?????

Yankees do need just a little help with their pitching, but i dont know about this guy though

21 years old, be a good prospect though?

Posted by: ChicagoWhiteS0xFan | January 01, 2008 at 08:44 PM

"Yu's father is Farsa Darvish, an Iranian businessman who has no penis"

rofl. Where did you get this quote from?

Posted by: themfightnwords | January 01, 2008 at 08:50 PM

Darvish keeps a blog, sorta:
http://darvish-yu.jp/en/fromdarvish.html

Posted by: romansempire | January 01, 2008 at 08:59 PM

"Yu's father is Farsa Darvish, an Iranian businessman who has no penis,"

He has something in common with Arod then.

Posted by: SierraM | January 01, 2008 at 09:35 PM

metsrule08i dont know what your are talking about... chek it out, his 2007 k/bb ratio was more like 4/1 not 1.8....

i can see a good pitcher in that video.... i dont know about the numbers.... in that video there is something that stands out above all things.... that strike zone in japan is HUUUUGGGEEEE

Posted by: gemf89 | January 01, 2008 at 10:20 PM

i also like the delivery a lot.... its not quite like the other japanese pitchers that have come here... it's more fluid

Posted by: gemf89 | January 01, 2008 at 10:22 PM

gem, his delivery looks fluid because they ain't 6-5 tall and lanky. Tomo ohka and okajima don't look so fluid do they? They ain't half persian who scored himself a 19 yo jap "idol" aka starlet and got her pregnant either.

He recently "renounced" his iranian citizenship and declared himself Japanese. See what money does? even a guy with a rich sugar daddy from an "axis of evil" can play baseball in Japan, one of the most xenophobic yet industrialized country in the history of mankind. His dad probably flew in, bought a jap wife (probably loved his money too) and used benjamins as his fingerprint when he passed custom. Ain't this a ball?

Posted by: Hanky the Wanker | January 01, 2008 at 11:24 PM

Oh... unless he is randy johnson- he doesn't look like he will be durable. Body built is like a tall Kei Igawa. not that I am comparing their stuff.

Posted by: Hanky the Wanker | January 01, 2008 at 11:27 PM

Putting aside the recent spate of racist comments (go ahead and hate the Iranian government, just not the people, like most foreigners do with the US these days), there's little chance Darvish gets moved over here anytime soon. The Fighters aren't one of the clubs in dire financial straits right now. They'll hang onto him, then probably flip him in a posting deal when he's a year or two from free agency if they decide he can still bring a Matsuzaka-sized windfall.

Posted by: CJax33 | January 01, 2008 at 11:28 PM

To all the crazy number posting fee people I seem to remember the posting system does have one rule to make it only about 90 percent corrupt. That being the contract offered has to at least exceed the posting fee itself. If that is the case even at 75 mil a team would be investing Santana money in the kid.

Posted by: walkoffblast | January 02, 2008 at 12:17 AM

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:20 am

The point is that the Sox overspent at 6/103 with Daisuke, who got ace money, but did not pitch like an ace.

The risk of Darvish outweighs the reward. Think about the risk here - you are talking about committing over 100 million dollars to a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the majors and is 22 years old! You don't pay 100 million for potential and upside - you pay that much for proven major league success. If Clay Bucholtz was posted today, how much would you pay for the right to sign him? How about Philip Hughes, who has dominated in AAA (a level comparable to Japanese baseball)? Or any other prospect really? 100 million dollars is an insane amount of money to spend on a prospect. I'd much rather spend that money on someone like Santana or Sabathia.

Dice-K woulda looked pretty good in our rotation this year. Over 200 innings pitched in 32 starts, a .730 OPSA and 201 Ks. Considering this team's pitching woes down the stretch, the would have been worth every penny he had cost the Mets.



The point is that the Sox overspent at 6/103 with Daisuke, who got ace money, but did not pitch like an ace.

The risk of Darvish outweighs the reward. Think about the risk here - you are talking about committing over 100 million dollars to a guy who has never thrown a pitch in the majors and is 22 years old! You don't pay 100 million for potential and upside - you pay that much for proven major league success. If Clay Bucholtz was posted today, how much would you pay for the right to sign him? How about Philip Hughes, who has dominated in AAA (a level comparable to Japanese baseball)? Or any other prospect really? 100 million dollars is an insane amount of money to spend on a prospect. I'd much rather spend that money on someone like Santana or Sabathia.


It should be noted that despite all the talk that Matsuzaka would garner tons of revenue through endorsements in Japan... he only brought in around 900,000... the original number people were guessing was closer to 6 million per.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:23 am

Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Will There Be Darvish Mania In 2008?

http://modernrooters.blogspot.com/

It is rumored that the Yankees, Dodgers, Mets, and Cubs are all interested in Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. I think it's a little early to start the hoopla over a pitcher who will be available after the 2008 season at the earliest, and may or may not be posted by his team. But for now, I'll play along.

Yu Darvish hails from the Pacific League of Japan, the more difficult of the two leagues because it uses the designated hitter rule. On the other hand, Darvish's home stadium the Sapporo Dome, is one of the largest parks in Japanese baseball. Koshien Stadium has traditionally been the most pitching friendly park in Japanese baseball. But the newly built Sapparo Dome's left and right field walls are more than 13 feet further, it's centerfielder wall more than 6 feet further. And the Dome's outfield wall is nearly 20 feet tall all around.

If Darvish is posted, which is pure speculation at this point, it will be interesting to see what kind of a posting fee and salary that he'd command. That will depend on a few factors. First of all it will depend on Darvish's 2008 season. He won the Sawamura Award last year (the equivalent to the Cy Young Award in MLB) in his career best year. If he has a similar year next year, he'll likely command a much higher salary and posting fee than Daisuke Matsuzaka. If, however, he reverts to his career averages, his posting fee likely won't be as much. Darvish's value could also depend on how Daisuke Matsuzaka and Hiroki Kuroda translate their success in Japan to success in the majors next year.

Here's a quick comparison of Darvish and Matsuzaka. I'll look at their last two years in Nippon Professional Baseball, so as to avoid Darvish's rookie year.

Darvish in 2007 - 207.2 IP, 1.82 ERA, 0.83 WHIP, 5.33 H/9, 2.12 BB/9, 9.10 K/9
Matsuzaka in 2006 - 186.1 IP, 2.13 ERA, 0.92 WHIP, 6.67 H/9, 1.64 BB/9, 9.66 K/9

Darvish in 2006 - 149.2 IP, 2.89 ERA, 1.28 WHIP, 7.70 H/9, 3.85 BB/9, 6.91 K/9
Matsuzaka in 2005 - 215 IP, 2.30 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, 7.20 H/9, 2.05 BB/9, 9.46 K/9

As you can see, Matsuzaka has better walk and strikeout ratios, even when compared to Darvish's best year. But Darvish's 2007 season was statistically better than any that Matsuzaka has ever posted. As of now, I'd say both are rather similar talents. Matsuzaka is the more proven of the two but both are young and both won the Sawamura Award in their age 20 seasons. Darvish is also six years younger

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:25 am

The pros and cons of Boston dealing for Santana

http://www.soxandpinstripes.com/


My opinion hasn't changed. If the Red Sox can acquire Johan Santana for Coco Crisp, Jon Lester, Jed Lowrie and Justin Masterson, they should make the deal. My feelings about including Jacoby Ellsbury or Clay Buchholz in a different package to land Santana have reversed. The upside of Ellsbury and Buchholz are too high to send either to another team.

The Santana trade talks plot seems to change on a weekly basis. Now, media reports indicate that the Twins are once again attempting to sign Santana to an extension. He is signed for 2008 at $13 million. If you were not skeptical about the media before December, your opinion surely changed when the deal of Crisp, Lester, Masterson and Lowrie for Santana was supposedly sealed at the winter meetings but never materialized.

There are pros and cons regarding a Red Sox deal for Santana.

The pros:

* A one-two punch of Josh Beckett and Santana would be one of the most formidable duos in modern baseball history.
* Santana will be 29 when the 2008 regular season begins. Beckett and Daisuke Matsuzaka will both be 27. Buchholz will be 23. Imagine how long that rotation could dominate.
* If the Twins accept the aforementioned deal that was supposedly agreed upon at the winter meetings, the Sox can add Santana without subtracting Ellsbury or Buchholz.
* If the Sox acquire Santana, the Yankees will have an extremely difficult time reaching the World Series as long as Beckett and Santana remain healthy.

The cons:

* Devoting seven years and at least $140 million to a pitcher who is 29 and has already accumulated 200-plus innings in four consecutive seasons is certainly a risk. How healthy and effective will Santana be when he is 34 and 35?
* How would Beckett react to Santana, who would make two times as much as the Red Sox ace?
* If the Sox acquire Santana, would that make Theo Epstein and John Henry less likely to pick up Manny Ramirez's $20 million for 2009?
* Santana is dominant, but what if Lester, Lowrie and Masterson develop into solid big leaguers, as they likely will?

Epstein is not faced with an easy decision. Though it is arguably a win-win situation for the Sox if they get Santana, and if they keep Lester, Lowrie and Masterson, both options could hurt Boston. They could acquire Santana, and he could have a career-ending or career-threatening injury while Lester, Lowrie and Masterson emerge as All-Stars in Minnesota. They could also see Santana go to the Yankees, Mets and Angels, and the key prospects in the proposed deal could flop.

If Boston does not make the trade for Santana, Crisp will undoubtedly be traded for a relief pitcher, a reserve corner infielder, a fourth outfielder or a backup catcher. The Sox will also likely ship Julian Tavarez to a National League team, and there is still the possibility that Lowrie could be dealt to Colorado (perhaps with Tavarez) for left-handed reliever Brian Fuentes.

January is here, and spring training is just around the corner. The Hot Stove League is still not over.

In closing, here are a few points to consider when reading my columns on Sox and Pinstripes:

* Yes, I do not care for the Yankees. I do not like anything the New York Yankees franchise represents - arrogance and a sense of entitlement demonstrated by pompous primadonnas in the owner's box and on the field.
* Yes, though I respect baseball history and the Yankees instrumental place in that history, I enjoy when they lose.
* Yes, I am particularly enjoying the current state of baseball, which has Boston on top and the Yankees searching for their first World Series title since 2000, which is a long drought for a team that has so many financial advantages over even the Red Sox, Cubs, Mets, Angels and Dodgers.
* That said, even my most opinionated columns are just that - my opinion. Those of you who are regulars know that I don't resort to personal attacks on players, managers, front office personnel or readers. Just because I write a column that criticizes the Yankees and/or Yankees fans does not mean that I dislike them personally. I am able to separate my sports opinions from personal opinions. You should do the same. Whether it is related to sports, politics or another subject, a blog is a forum for communication, debate, discussion and entertainment. We are not always going to like or agree with each other's viewpoints. That is the beauty of blogging, and living in America. So, in the future, when I write a column touting my desire to unload every piece of sports memorabilia in my collection related to the Yankees, and when I bash the Yankees for yet another post-season failure despite having the most substantial payroll in baseball, feel free to disagree with my opinion, and offer a reason why, instead of taking it personally. After all, this is a blog devoted to baseball's greatest rivalry. We won't always see eye to eye.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:26 am

I agree about the trade if the Sox just lose those four. It would be a swap of lefty starters and three other players the Sox don't need short range. A St. Paul paper is where those names surfaced. A Minneapolis paper's blogger, not prone to "shock and awe",last said the Twins were leaning towards signing Johan, again.

I'd like to see Lester go to the Mets or Phillies.I can watch all games of those teams, most in HiDef. Can't help but like the kid fighting Cancer.

Need to know Santana's record at Fenway to give my opinion on his value to the Bosox.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:30 am

More like, by selling your Yankees merchandise you know you'll be making the most money than if you sold any other team's merchandise.

The only thing that lacks class is a fanbase who doesn't know how to handle winning gracefully:)

Posted by: Vince | December 31, 2007 at 03:32 PM

Vince, as a Yankees fan, you should have first hand knowledge about lacking the ability to win gracefully;)

Posted by: rip | December 31, 2007 at 03:53 PM

That seems a little hateful, Jeff, albeit funny...happy New Years to you, Vince every other reader/contributor to this great site.

Posted by: DRM | December 31, 2007 at 03:54 PM

I'd sell mine too except I never figured out how to thumb through the cards and not damage them. I have a substantial collection of cards from the 70's that are all dog-eared. There were a couple of things I could recite: my Hail Marys and player statistics.
Somehow my Fisk rookie (with Cecil Cooper and Mike Garman) stayed out of the fray.

Posted by: Casey | December 31, 2007 at 04:03 PM

RIP, just goes to show you're no better than us in terms of class, which means selling cards makes no sense, except for the financial benefits of course.

I actually have a somewhat funny story about that. I have this next door neighbor who does NOT follow baseball at all. One day she came up to me and was like "I know you know a lot about baseball, would you mind looking through my dad's baseball collection that he left stored with me, I don't know what these are worth"


Let me just say this: Her Nolan Ryan rookie cards were the low end of value in that collection.

Posted by: Vince | December 31, 2007 at 04:56 PM

Wow. I think everyone needs to relax. I was being light-hearted. No, I don't care for the Yankees. I actually dislike everything they stand for - arrogance, entitlement, etc. Yet I was mostly just having fun poking at the Yankees. First, just because I am selling Yankees cards does not mean I am not a graceful winner. Actually, one doesn't have to do with the other. I have found, for the most part, Sox fans are winning gracefully. We deserve 2004 and 2007, just as Yankees fans deserve to be served a heaping helping of humble pie. The Sox are the top franchise in Major League Baseball right now, and as Sox fans we should savor every moment.

That said, my post was just a light-hearted jab at the Yankees. I will tell you that Yankees cards and memorabilia are no more valuable than those of other teams. Every team has items that are valuable, such as the autographed Tony Gwynn rookie.

I am serious when I say that I don't want any Yankees cards in my collection, just as I do not draft any Yankees players in fantasy baseball, and I don't purchase Yankees hats and t-shirts. Does that make me hateful? No, it just makes me a die-hard Red Sox fan who does not care for the Yankees. I can be objective when required as a baseball writer, but I don't have to be objective about what I collect and wear! This is a rivalry, after all.

Posted by: Jeff | December 31, 2007 at 06:27 PM

Casey, I have been reading up on how to get baseball cards graded by PSA or Beckett. When you do that, it enhances the amount for which you can sell them. I have many cards that are encased in hard plastic, others that are in unopened packs (like the A-Rod card when he was with Single-A Appleton in the Mariners organization and some that are in soft plastic sheets. My Fisk rookie is in mint condition.

You mentioned that Cecil Cooper is one of three players on the Future Stars card that is considered Fisk's rookie card. Funny thing. When I was at the winter meetings in early December, I was in the bathroom washing my hands when up stepped Cecil Cooper. A guy standing next to me who was from the Boston Globe told Cooper that he was his favorite player growing up. Cooper grinned and said, "I figured that Jim Rice would have been your favorite player. He was the man."

Regarding Vince's friend who has a stockpile of Nolan Ryan cards, I bet most of her cards are from the 70s. A card dealer recently told me that there are a lot of good cards from the 1971 Topps set. I have cards here and there from 1970-1974, but from 1975 on, I have either complete sets or near complete sets. Ironically, you can get more money separating individual cards from sets than selling the set as a whole. I have a lot of Thurman Munson cards, for some reason. Perhaps I should contact the guy who writes the blog, Thurman Munson Belongs in the Hall of Fame!

Posted by: Jeff | December 31, 2007 at 06:38 PM

One more comment about whether or not Red Sox fans are handling their team's good fortunes gracefully. It is understandable why Sox fans would want to gloat even a little to Yankees fans. Many Yankees fans - not all, but many - are the prototype of the arrogant, pompous baseball fan that has given the Yankees a bad name nationally. For years, they were not content just enjoying their World Series titles, but they felt the need to dig at the Red Sox for being close but not close enough.

Now the roles are reversed. The Sox have won two World Series in four years, and despite all of their financial advantages, the Yankees have not won it all since 2000. I don't know whether Vince is a gracious winner or not. I have known him through baseball blogs for just a year and a half now, and the Yankees have not done anything significant in seven years. I know a lot of Yankees fans, many, including Vince, who I consider good people. Yet I have every right to enjoy and savor the current state of baseball, which has the Red Sox on top and the Yankees looking up. There is no need to apologize for that, and no need to apologize for Yankees fans eating humble pie.

I, for one, am not going to take this for granted because I have followed baseball long enough to know that there will be seasons like the Red Sox of 2006 just as there will be seasons like the Red Sox of 2004 and 2007. It is just good to know that there will not be another drought for the Red Sox that will even remotely come close to 86 years. I believe in the Curse of A-Rod (that afflicts any team for which he plays) now that the Curse of the Bambino is over!

On another note, Happy New Year to everyone! Now that the week between Christmas and New Year's Day is reaching an end, I will once again post daily on Sox and Pinstripes. Spring training is just a little more than six weeks away!

Posted by: Jeff | December 31, 2007 at 07:00 PM

Sorry Jeff,

All I have to say is "good ridence."

Posted by: BobK | December 31, 2007 at 11:18 PM

Jeff, I knew you weren't being "hateful." Poor choice of words on my part.

The 2004 championship was about vengeance, vindication, and release. The 2007 title was about cementing a legacy of greatness. The Red Sox are currently the premier franchise in baseball, and that's an awesome feeling. The Yankee fan who still brings up Bucky Dent, Aaron Boone, or anything related to the 86 year drought does so at his/her own expense. Those bullets just bounce off us now and make the perpetrators seem desperate and obsessed with holding on to something that is no more.

Posted by: DRM | December 31, 2007 at 11:34 PM

lol. Bob, I think you mean, "Good riddance." If you are upset over anything that has been written above, then you certainly do not have thick enough skin to experience a season of discussion, banter and debate about Sox and Yankees baseball on Sox and Pinstripes. Regardless, have a great new year.

DRM, I agree with your description of 2004 and 2007. Any heartbreak we have suffered as Red Sox fans - whether it is Game Seven of the 1975 World Series, Bucky Dent in '78, Game Six and Game Seven of the 1986 World Series and Aaron Boone in 2003 - doesn't seem to matter anymore. It is part of the history books. That was then and this is now, and I am thankful that Theo Epstein is the GM and John Henry is the owner. I know the Sox won't win it every year, but they are well-positioned to be a legitimate World Series contender year after year for several years to come.

Posted by: Jeff | January 01, 2008 at 12:14 AM

OK Jeff. Thought you would spin that as your feeling for the cards. Glad to know you meant to be light-hearted.

Posted by: BobK | January 01, 2008 at 12:41 PM

BTW Congrats on your Steelers making the playoffs. Not sure that's an accomplishment in your opinion.

Posted by: BobK | January 01, 2008 at 02:06 PM

Happy New Year to all! I am so excited that spring training is 6 weeks away! I cannot wait to get started on baseball again. It seems like forever since we've seen the Red Sox play, doesn't it?
I too believe in the curse of ARod...I really believe when all is said and done the Yankees will regret taking him back...he is a bad apple, did anyone see him on 60 Minutes a few weeks ago? I really cannot stomach the guy.....
Go Red Sox 2008!!!!!

Posted by: LMT | January 01, 2008 at 03:37 PM

The curse of A-Rod is an intriguing thought, but if he really does stay with the Yanks for the next 10 years he is sure to have a ring or two on his hand when he retires. I don't like to say that, but what are the chances the Yankees won't win in the next decade, especially when it's already been 8 years since their last crown?

Yes, I'm thrilled that in just 2 short months I'll be watching the Sox take the field for the exhibition season, but the novelty of those games wears off so fast for me. The one good thing about this idiotic Japan trip is that it will trim about 2 weeks off our spring training.

Posted by: DRM | January 01, 2008 at 04:01 PM

Would A-Rod have been a curse in a Sox uni in 2004? Or just continued the Babe's? Really dodged a bullet there!

Posted by: BobK | January 01, 2008 at 04:13 PM

Bob, I've been pondering that ever since the end of '04. I have all the respect in the world Alex's talent, but I've never been sorry he didn't land here...and every year a different team proves you don't need him to bring home the trophy, which is why his salary can never be justified, in my opinion.

Posted by: DRM | January 01, 2008 at 06:05 PM

Well, the Rangers never had a chance to win, but they were responsible for the outrageous salary. And, I guess the Mariners record of regular season wins right after A-Rod left says something. Not sure what! I don't get the different team reference DRM.

Posted by: BobK | January 01, 2008 at 06:52 PM

Oh wait. You mean all the winners that never had him at all.

Posted by: BobK | January 01, 2008 at 06:56 PM

Jeff,

Do you really think Munson belongs in The Hall? Or was that some kind of light-hearted jab? What uni would Gossage wear?
Bet Brett's statue could still take him deep.

Posted by: BobK | January 01, 2008 at 07:09 PM

DRM, I could not agree more. I cannot fathom why ARod is making the money he is...and really not coming through when it matters.....he can hit all the homeruns he wants, but when he chokes in the playoffs, like many of them did, it really does not matter in the end. I have always believed he is overpaid, and not worth the extra baggage and drama he brings to that team. But...they brought him back, so they have no one to blame but themselves in the end. I have never been sorry he didn't come here.

Posted by: LMT | January 01, 2008 at 07:49 PM

Jeff, your inner compulsion to be an anti yankite means this has now crossed bounds of acceptable behavior.

I am afraid I am compelled to report you to the SPLC and Wiesenthal Center.

I have never had such feelings about any of my Red Sox cards, keeping even now my Frank Malzone, and my 1960 Tom (ex Yankee) Sturdivant.

My ecumenical zeal now includes a Johnny Damon jersey for my 2 week old grandson in Marblehead.

Surely you can pull back from behavior and find it in your heart to keep those Ryne Duren cards close.

Posted by: epaminondas | January 01, 2008 at 09:29 PM

Epaminondas, perhaps you were joking when you called me a racist for selling all of my Yankees cards, but I removed that sentence because racism is not a laughing matter, especially for people who have experienced it.

Bob, I am on the fence about Munson, but I did not say he belongs in the hall of fame. There is a Yankees blog called Thurman Munson Belongs in the Hall of Fame. That is what I was referring to.

DRM, you are probably right. Chances are, the Yankees will win a World Series in the next 10 years. Still, I believe that, even for a team like the Yankees, it is detrimental to devote so much money to one player. The Mariners were better once they moved on from A-Rod because they were able to add a few players with his salary. I would rather have two or three solid Major Leaguers than one superstar. I am very thankful that A-Rod landed in NY and not Boston. As flighty as Manny Ramirez is, he is much better to have on your team than A-Rod.

Posted by: Jeff | January 01, 2008 at 09:46 PM

OK Jeff,

You don't upset me, just amuse me. You've said that is mutual.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:30 am

# Mike Says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 8:52 am

He has 6 years left in Japan, they arenít posting him anytime soon
# jackson Says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 9:18 am

Never say never. DannP broke it down pretty well I think, if a team makes it worth the HFighterís while anything can happen, and like he said no one really knows.
# River Ave. Blues Ľ Yuís on first? Says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 11:33 am

[Ö] eyes ó and checkbook ó on 21-year-old Iranian-Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish. Darvis, according to East Windup Chronicle, is already one of the most dominant pitchers in the NPB and could command upwards of $12 million a [Ö]
# A.S. Says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 11:49 am

I agree with DannP too. Itís a longshot, but everyone has their price. You canít just write it off. Whoís to say the Yankees wouldnít do something crazy like pay a 100 mil posting fee. 150? 200?
I think this could blow the lid off the whole posting system. Darvish is getting paid 1.75 million to do a job he could do for $15 mill in another country. It raises all kinds of issues, both economic and cultural.
Boras threatened to sue the NPB during the Matsuzaka fiasco. I think we could see something wild like that happen. Iím planning a future article on the topic.
# MY BASEBALL BIAS - A BIASED LOOK AT THE NEW YORK YANKEES Ľ Who Yu? Says:
January 2nd, 2008 at 4:02 pm

[Ö] more on this story at East Windup Chronicle. This entry is filed under Japanese Players. You can follow any responses to this entry through [Ö]

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:37 am

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/2008/01/01/2008-01-01_chris_baker_turns_up_the_heat_for_new_de-2.html?ref=rss

Wednesday, January 02, 2008
Chris Baker turns up the heat for new deal after career year

BY RICH CIMINI
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Tuesday, January 1st 2008, 4:00 AM

Laveranues Coles isn't the only Jets receiver who wants a new contract. So does TE Chris Baker, who set a career high with 41 catches.

Baker, who has two years remaining on a four-year, $6.6 million contract, revealed his intentions yesterday as the team packed up for the offseason. Baker, 28, wants to finish his career with the Jets and he's looking for some long-term security.

"Hopefully, we'll get something done this year," Baker said.

Strong safety Kerry Rhodes, coming off his second consecutive strong year, also is in line for a new deal. Rhodes confirmed that his agent has begun preliminary discussions with the Jets. Rhodes is due to become a restricted free agent after the 2008 season, but he's one of their top young players and it makes sense to lock him up, as they did last year with WR Jerricho Cotchery.

"I like the organization, I like the head coach, I like the GM - and that's not sucking up," said Rhodes, due to make $520,000 in 2008.

BACK TO SCHOOL: Secondary coach Mike MacIntyre is leaving to become the defensive coordinator at Duke. There will be some staff upheaval in the coming days and weeks. Eric Mangini also must replace special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff, who is leaving for health reasons. Defensive coordinator Bob Sutton likely will be fired.

DEFINITE DROP: WR Justin McCareins is a sure bet to be released in the coming months. He finished with only 19 receptions and he's due a large roster bonus in March.

"Obviously, there's a good chance that things will change for me," he said.

PICK 6: It's official: The Jets will pick sixth in next April's draft. ... NT Dewayne Robertson removed the nameplate above his locker. Hmmm. His cap number balloons to $12 million in '08; the Jets almost certainly will try to rework his contract. Interestingly, Mangini raved about backup NT Sione Pouha, calling him one of the bright spots of the season. ... Mangini also praised DE C.J. Mosley, DE Shaun Ellis, RB/KR Leon Washington, Baker, C Nick Mangold and rookie LB David Harris. "I didn't realize he could rush the passer that effectively," Mangini said of Harris, who shared the team lead with five sacks. ... Mangini declined to shed any light on the Jonathan Vilma situation, except to say Vilma and Harris could both play inside linebacker at the same time in the 3-4 scheme.- Rich CImini
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R.M.E. Jan 1, 2008 1:51:43 PM Report Offensive Post
Before the Jets start handing out extensions, remember; a. Byron Thomas b. They were 4 and 12 and c. Byron Thomas. Mangini failed to shed any light on the Jonathan Vilma situation. The Jets clearly need to think outside the box. Try this, the Bears found a strong safety and turned him into not only one of the best linebackers in history, but one of the best Chicago Bears linebackers in history. I have seen Jonathan Vilma run stride for stride in pass coverage with Randy Moss. How about a slimmed down Vilma converted to strong safety? Imagine a John Lynch like player on the Jets for the next 12 years. It could work. There is no one more intelligent, hard working or with more character than Vilma. As of now the Jets are simply replacing their best defensive player (a 4-3 linebacker) with their best defensive player Harris (as a 3-4) linebacker and when you are as talent thin as the Jets; incremental gains are not the basis for a long march.

asphaltninja Jan 1, 2008 3:55:22 PM Report Offensive Post
Chris Baker has mountains of potential, too bad Brian Schottenheimer is a moron that doesn't know how to use him or coordinate an offense period.

iamthejosh Jan 1, 2008 5:26:57 PM Report Offensive Post
get rid of baker! give him more money? for what? yes he caught a lot of passes but it was because our QBs simply checked down to him all the time because they needed to get rid of the ball fast because our OL stinks. keep that ryan kid. he is a beast.

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:40 am

Eric Mangini knows Jet turnaround in 2008 starts with him


http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/2008/01/02/2008-01-02_eric_mangini_knows_jet_turnaround_in_200.html

BY RICH CIMINI
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Wednesday, January 2nd 2008, 4:00 AM
Eric Mangini says he must be a better coach next season for the Jets to rebound from a 4-12 season. Appleton/News

Eric Mangini says he must be a better coach next season for the Jets to rebound from a 4-12 season.

On Monday, Eric Mangini looked up at the crowded room and, in a rare moment of openness, described himself as a "work in progress" and thanked those in attendance for bearing with him during a "bad season."

No, this wasn't a mea culpa to the team. He was addressing the media, making a self-deprecating reference to his dry news conferences.

A good coach recognizes his shortcomings. Now the Jets' coach must take the same approach to the more important aspects of his job - like figuring out ways to win football games. In the aftermath of a bitterly disappointing 4-12 season, Mangini acknowledged that he must be a better coach in 2008.

"There were a lot of close games ...that could've turned on a handful of plays, but that's my responsibility to find a way that we can turn those handful of plays into our favor," he said. "And that's what I need to do a much better job of, figuring out a way to take those five or 10 plays ...and make sure that we're coming out on top.

"You never want to be in a situation like this," Mangini continued. "The key thing is, what can you learn, what can you take away and how can you make sure it doesn't happen again? Ultimately, it's my responsibility to figure out a way to improve the team."

Mangini, hailed by some as a "Mangenius" after last season's unexpected playoff appearance, faces a critical season in 2008. With two years remaining on his original four-year contract, he can't afford another disaster. Starting Wednesday, he and GM Mike Tannenbaum will work tirelessly to fix the Jets.

Aside from resolving the major personnel issues, namely the quarterback quandary, Mangini must take a hard look at some of his coaching practices. After two seasons, some alarming trends have developed.

For the second straight year, the Jets started slowly and didn't achieve consistency until after the bye week, when the coaching staff had a chance to make adjustments. Mangini's record after the bye is 9-6 and 5-12 before it, raising questions about whether the team is properly prepared coming out of training camp.

Once again, the Jekyll-and-Hyde personality was especially noticeable on defense. Some players suggested the game plans were too conservative early in the season, that things didn't start to click until the coaches trusted them and took an aggressive mentality.

Despite a slight improvement - the Jets finished 18th in total defense, up two spots from 2006 - Mangini may opt for a fresh approach. Coordinator Bob Sutton is thought to be in trouble.

Another explanation for slow starts could be the demanding training camp. Players hinted that Mangini's camp was too taxing, that it drained the team. He didn't let up during the season, and that, too, is a philosophy that should be scrutinized.

For the second straight year, the Jets struggled to run the ball (19th) and stop the run (29th). Is it lack of talent or scheme? Defensively, Mangini seems married to the 3-4 even though he doesn't have a pure nose tackle. One of the criticisms on offense is that the coaching staff does too much, incorporating power and finesse schemes into game plans, instead of trying to master one.

Once again, the Jets struggled in the fourth quarter. They were outscored, 124-73, a big reason why they went 3-7 in games decided by seven points or less. A common denominator? Blame the offense. In six of the seven losses, the Jets topped the 20-point mark only once.

Dropped passes by Justin McCareins and Jerricho Cotchery loomed large in losses to the Ravens, Redskins, Browns and Patriots (a 10-point loss). Late interceptions by Chad Pennington were crippling in losses to the Bills, Bengals and Giants (11 points). The line struggled almost every week.

In a season of 2,027 offensive and defensive plays, the Jets were undermined by a "handful" that went the wrong way, according to Mangini. Some might call it a loser's lament; to Mangini, it's his challenge.

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Kellen Clemens hungry to get better

Post  RedMagma on Wed Jan 02, 2008 2:41 am

Kellen Clemens hungry to get better

BY RICH CIMINI
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/football/jets/2008/01/02/2008-01-02_kellen_clemens_hungry_to_get_better.html

Wednesday, January 2nd 2008, 4:00 AM

Kellen Clemens has identified at least one area he hopes to improve upon in the offseason - his eating habits. "Your nutrition, I learned the hard way, can greatly affect your performance," he said Monday.

Clemens, listed at 6-2, 223, took a pounding in his eight-game debut as an NFL starting quarterback. He wants to return next season in better shape, better equipped to handle the rough stuff. He believes a better diet will help.

"You have to manage your diet so you have a good amount of energy to sustain you," he said. "At the same time, you don't want to just load up on sugars because you peak, then crash."

Better pass protection might help, too.

Clemens finished with a league-low 60.9 passer rating, the seventh-lowest rating in the NFL since 2000.

TE Chris Baker, for one, believes Clemens can be a productive starter.

"Hopefully, we can get more pieces around him and cement the offensive line because he can do some pretty good things," said Baker, claiming the criticism of Clemens was unfair because of his inexperience and the situation he stepped into.

ON DEFENSIVE: Eric Mangini's decision on defensive coordinator Bob Sutton could be influenced by the availability of two potential replacements - Raiders coordinator Rob Ryan and his brother, former Ravens coordinator Rex Ryan, who was fired on Monday with the rest of Brian Billick's staff.

Mangini has spoken highly of both Ryans, especially Rob, who is under fire and could be dismissed today. Rex is expected to interview for the Ravens' head-coaching vacancy, but he could be on the Jets' radar if it doesn't work out in Baltimore.

If the Jets ended up with Rex, it could enhance their chances of signing Ravens LB Terrell Suggs, believed to be on their free-agent wish list

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Re: Rebuilding Falcons piece by piece

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