Posts Tagged ‘defense’

Colts vs. Jets

January 24, 2010

I can’t believe all the talk about the experts picking the Jets over the Colts today.  I’m not saying it’s a lock, but I’d say there’s an 80 percent chance the Colts will win, and chances are they’ll win something like 31-13.

It’s bizarre how many people on ESPN are picking the Jets.  They are completely one-dimensional (the Jets, not the people picking them) — they are a very good rushing team but they have no passing game at all.  Their defense is good but not great.  It’s way overrated.  They finished 9-7 and they might have finished 8-8 or 7-9 if the Colts and the Bengals were going all out in the final two games.  The Houston Texans finished with a 9-7 record too but at least theirs was legit.  The Steelers and the Falcons also finished with 9-7 records but like the Texans didn’t make the playoffs.

Rex Ryan’s act is wearing a little thin.  He’s way too arrogant.  This is a passing league and the Jets can’t pass.

As for the Colts, they only have the best quarterback in the league, great receivers and though the rushing attack ranks near the bottom of the league, Joseph Addai and Donald Brown are solid backs.  Addai had 13 total touchdowns this year.  The defense is also solid, led by Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis.

I attribute all the attention to the Jets to three factors:

1.  In our society everything that has happened more recently has a much greater weight than everything else because we have such a low attention span.  You can have a great relationship for a year, then the final month is bad and that’s what is remembered.  This applies even more so in the world of sports.  The Jets have played three good games in a row.  (It also applies in politics, which is one of the reasons our system is so messed up).

2.  When teams have weaknesses, it makes their strengths seem even greater.  The Jets have no passing game, so a good running game and a good defense become a great running game and a great defense. This works in reverse too.  When teams have one great unit, other units get overlooked even if they’re very good.  The Colts have a great passing game, so even though the defense is very good, it gets overlooked.  But the Colts’ defense is probably just as good as the Jets’ defense.*

3.  The Jets are from New York and the media and fans are just pumping them up too much.

I have been wrong before of course — I never thought Brett Favre would have such a great year.  I still think he’ll throw a few interceptions either against the Saints later today or in the Super Bowl.  He’s had an unbelievable year but it doesn’t change the fact that for most of his career he was overrated and threw way too many interceptions.

*So here’s how this works:

Jane is really great in math (say a 9.5 on a scale of 1-10) but merely good (8) in English and science.

John is good in English (8) but terrible in math and science (4). Because John is so much better in English than the other subjects, people assume he’s better than Jane in English. Because Jane is great in math, people forget that she’s also good in English.  In reality, both Jane and John are equally good in English – it just seems that John is better because that’s all he’s good at, and Jane is good at other things too.

So the Jets and Colts have equally good defenses, but it seems like the Jets’ defense is better because overall they’re a weaker team.  The Jets’ defense is the best part of their team while the equally good Colts defense isn’t the best part of their team.

It’s an oversimplification of course, but it works.

Let’s also remember that the Colts’ defense may feel slighted with all the attention going to the Jets’ defense, giving the Colts’ defense extra motivation, while the Jets’ defense may take it for granted that they’ll play great.  Finally, all the people picking the Jets takes some of the pressure off the Colts.  (I know this analysis is full of intangibles, but I don’t have the time or the need to look at all the matchups).

Plus, it’s Peyton Manning vs. Mark Sanchez.  Colts 31, Jets 13.

Wizards Games – The People You See

December 17, 2009

I got stood up last week.  I was supposed to meet a date at Clyde’s near the Verizon Center.  I left a message to say I’d be 15 minute late but when I got there she was gone.  Oh well, she was 40.  A little too young anyway.

So I decided to go to the Wizards-Celtics game.  That worked out better anyway.  It’s always interesting to see who you see at a Wizards game.  First I saw ESPN Legal Analyst Roger Cossack, who also used to work for CNN.

Then I saw the guy who is probably the greatest Bullets fan ever.  I told him I recognized him from games going back 30 years.  Back in the 80s, when the crowds were a little sparse and quiet, he could be seen jumping up and yelling his lungs out.  He’s a tall black guy, probably in his mid-50s.  I told him the Wizards should change their name back to Bullets and go back to the red, white and blue uniforms.  He said that’s what his father used to say.

Me with Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers

Then I thought about Robin Ficker, a controversial Bethesda lawyer who used to heckle the opposing team so badly that they would move their seats onto the court during timeouts.  I don’t know what Ficker does as a lawyer, but the heckling was great.

Then I saw Redskins cornerback Carlos Rogers and got a picture with him using my phone.  I told him the Skins would have a good year next year.  He was cool.

Then I recognized Rod Davis, a guy who played basketball for Gaithersburg High School in the 80s.  I thought of how I tried out but didn’t make the team, and how nobody can understand that I didn’t play since I I’m 6-5, but I grew late.  Then I thought about how people must not respect basketball players, because they think the only thing a player needs is height.  There were 1000 boys in that school, so I would have had to be in the top 1.5% in order to make the team – the best or second best player out of every 100 boys.  But I was in the top five tennis players out of 1000 there.

Then I saw CNN’s Wolf Blitzer at his usual spot.  He’s a big Wizards fan.  Then I thought of a story I heard about CNN’s John King.  About five years ago he was playing for CNN in a softball game against AOL.  The word was, the game got kind of contentious.  So when King scored the winning run, he (reportedly) said, “You’ve got mail, bitch!”  I always thought that was kind of funny.

It also made me think of the late Tim Russert, who was a big Wizards fan.  I thought of how he was a really great reporter, but was very unfairly biased against Hillary Clinton and for Barack Obama.  Along with many other members of the media, he swayed the election from Hillary to Obama.  Anyway, then I thought of Russert’s son Luke, who got a job as a reporter for MSNBC and was pretty bad when he first started, but is actually an extremely knowledgeable reporter about Congressional issues now.

Then I wondered what was new with CNN’s Lisa Sylvester, my ex from 5 years ago, now that the Lou Dobbs show is gone. Hopefully it’s a move up, but I don’t know because I don’t watch CNN.

Then I snuck down to the expensive seats.  I thought of how during the two years Michael Jordan played for the Wizards, I successfully snuck down to the lower level 12 out of 13 attempts, and I almost always had another person with me.

I made it to the 9th row near the corner of the court.  I looked over about 10 seats to my left, and in the 10th row was Sportsradio 980’s Andy Pollin.  I thought of the time in the early 90s when I worked for the station and I did some live reports from Bullets games.

Then I thought of how Wizards owner Abe Pollin (a distant relative of Andy) died recently.  He did a lot of great things for the city including building the Verizon Center with his own money.  I thought about how the area around the Verizon Center is packed with restaurants and bars, and how people new to the city probably think it has always been that way, but that ten years ago many of the buildings around the arena were abandoned and there wasn’t much activity there.  I thought of how amazing it is that the Caps are now the toughest ticket in town, and that’s partly because of the Verizon Center.

As for the Wizards – Celtics game itself, the Wizards lost 104-102.  The Wizards don’t deserve much ink.  I thought about how I’ve been a huge Bullets/Wizards fan for 30 years, but I actually want them to lose this year.  Why?  They didn’t try their hardest last year.  The tone was set when Gilbert Arenas, out for the year with an injury, said it might be good if the Wiz had a bad record so they could get a top draft pick.  The Wizards also hired an interim head coach last year, Ed Tapscott, who had never been a head coach except for a stint at American University in the 1980s.  So by not going all out, by not trying 100% all the time, the Wizards didn’t try to win.  You can’t just turn it on and off like that, and the effort isn’t there this year.  95% isn’t good enough.  The Wizards need to make some moves and get some players who will give a better effort, especially on defense.

Then I thought about the blog I wrote last year about the Wizards not giving 100%: 2009/02/15/tell-it-like-it-is-stephen-a-smith/.  You should read it.  It’s pretty good.  This one too – it was about hiring Jeff Van Gundy to coach the Wizards so they could start playing some defense. 2008/12/03/hire-jeff-van-gundy-to-coach-the-washington-wizards/.