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About Steveg

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  1. Jets offensive lineman James Carpenter is building Pro Bowl season From a distance, you half-expected the man to be an angry, surly S.O.B. who grunted his way through conversations. After all, you’d never actually heard him speak in the nine months since his arrival. James Carpenter has spent this season working in the shadows for one of the league’s most formidable offensive lines. Anonymity is a part of life in the NFL trenches, but the Jets’ left guard deserves Pro Bowl consideration. It turns out that he actually does speak, even if it’s not his preferred mode of communication. “I don’t talk that much,” Carpenter said with a laugh. He plays a position without concrete statistics, which makes it difficult for a fantasy-football crazed fan base to appreciate his standout play this season. Interior linemen are overlooked by the FanDuel and DraftKings crowd. For all the praise heaped on rookie general manager Mike Maccagnan for his free-agent spending spree, getting Carpenter after a couple of pricier options went elsewhere turned out to be a brilliant move. The Jets have already had solid returns on their four-year, $19.1 million investment. “I’m very fired up to have Carp here,” offensive line coach Steve Marshall said. “The way he’s played, he’s certainly a Pro Bowl-type guard. He quietly goes about his business. He’s a guy that deserves Pro Bowl recognition. I hope that comes.” Take the time to study the trenches and you’ll see what others around the league have noticed through three quarters of this season: Carpenter has been dominating opponents. The fifth-year lineman has allowed only five quarterback hits and went the first 11 games without allowing a sack (he gave up his first against the Giants last week), according to Pro Football Focus. “He’s been crushing people,” said right tackle Breno Giacomini, who played three seasons with Carpenter in Seattle. Carpenter, playing between pillars D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold, has helped keep quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick upright for much of the season. The Jets have allowed the second fewest sacks (17) in the league. Carpenter has also been instrumental opening holes for Chris Ivory, the second-leading rusher in the AFC. Rex Ryan made it clear that he believed that Carpenter was “playing at a Pro Bowl level” before the Bills came to MetLife Stadium last month. Carpenter, who joined a line with four returning starters, has infused the right attitude. He might be a man of few words, but his winning pedigree has not been lost on his new teammates. He won a national championship at Alabama before hoisting the Lombardi Trophy with the Seahawks. His message to teammates every day is clear: Let’s just be great. He has a champion’s work ethic and mindset. “He understands what it takes to win and the preparation you have to have to be successful in this league,” said Marshall, who coached Packers Pro Bowl left guard Josh Sitton last season. “You never take anything for granted. He has prepared like that every week… He’s kind of set the tempo in that regard for a lot of our younger guys and even some of the older guys. He doesn’t back off an inch.” Carpenter has learned plenty from Mangold and Ferguson to improve his game. Giacomini has seen clear evidence of growth from the last time they played together during the Seahawks’ Super Bowl season in 2013. “If everybody does their job, good things will happen,” Carpenter said. “So, I just try to lead that way: Do my job the best I can.” At 6-5, 321 pounds, he often gets recognized on the street as a football player, but strangers aren’t quite sure whom he plays for. It’s likely that Jets fans wouldn’t even know what he looks like. Such is life as an NFL guard. “He’s a Wookiee,” Mangold said. “He’s quiet, he’s powerful, he’s loyal as all get-out… and he’s got a lot of hair.” Carpenter’s sheer size prompted his high school basketball coach to believe he’d have a bruising menace in the paint. “That’s what I was supposed to do,” Carpenter said of being a banger. “But I was terrible.” His mean streak has always been reserved for a football field. He plays the way linemen are supposed to play. He plays angry even if he’s rarely angry at any other time during the day. He’s a simple man, who spends his free time with his fiancée. Sometimes he goes into the city to have a good meal. Sometimes he just sits on his couch. “I watch some weird TV shows,” he said. “I like to watch ‘The Big Bang Theory.’ It used to be my favorite.” Carpenter doesn’t particularly enjoy talking about himself, which is understandable given the position he plays. He doesn’t have to this season. His performances on Sundays have said plenty.
  2. I have a feeling that one of Francesa's kids is a Jets fan, so it's probably hard for him to diss them too much.
  3. ..Vlad Ducasse is starting for the Vikings this week.
  4. ..there is a ton of open space to the right or left. If it's 4th and 5 or under, why not have Quigley take off to the sidelines every now and then? Does anyone else notice this?
  5. Sorry, I meant Ivory's !
  6. The play began with Geno Smith in the shotgun, and with Ivory as the lone setback. When the ball was snapped, Jets left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson took a step back as he readied to block Khalil Mack, the outside linebacker the Raiders took fifth overall in this year's draft. But Mack made an inside move and had a chance to blow up the play in the backfield. "It was weird because D’Brickashaw had a great game," Ryan said. "He was outstanding, but on [that] one he whiffed and the guy beat him inside." Mack dived and tried to trip Ivory, but Ivory hurdled his arm. And just as Ivory did this, the Jets' inside linemen—left guard Brian Winters, center Nick Mangold, right guard Willie Colon—all sealed off defenders with a push to the left, with Mangold clearing out inside linebacker Miles Burris. "Chris kept hitting it in there," Ryan said, "and sure enough he hit it quick, so that [Mack] really was a non-factor on the play, where clearly with any hesitation whatsoever he would have blown the play up." As he reached the line of scrimmage, Ivory took a quick step to his right to find a hole behind Colon. After getting past the line, safety Charles Woodson and linebacker Sio Moore were there to greet Ivory. But Jets right tackle Breno Giacomini got to Moore just before Moore and Woodson could get to Ivory. Giacomini effectively took Moore and Woodson out of the play and created a pileup with Ivory right there. Just as this happened, safety Tyron Branch—who had blitzed and was now trailing the play—tried to tackle Ivory from behind as Ivory ran around the pileup. No chance. In the top right corner of the above photo, you can also see wideout Jeremy Kerley throwing a block that helped keep Ivory free. "We had some good blocks obviously by Mangold and Winters and Willie on that, and particularly the inside guys," Ryan said. "But we also had good blocks down the field. Great job by Jeremy Kerley sealing his guy off and then Chris really did the rest." Ivory cut back to his left and had nothing in front of him. He looked back across his right shoulder and then he left shoulder as he crossed midfield. As Ivory got to about the 40-yard line, he raised his left index finger in the air to celebrate, but quickly put it back down. He later admitted he probably shouldn't have done that. There was still work to do. Ivory kept churning, and soon enough, cornerback T.J. Carrie was able to catch him. Carrie finally got a hand on Ivory inside the10, but Ivory was still moving. Carrie dragged him down, but by then Ivory had reached the goal line. There were no flags.
  7. With Sammy Watkins in the division, the secondary had to be addressed. Not to mention a hard hitting Safety is important with the types of TE's out there, ie, Gronkowski.
  8. First round (No. 18): Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State Second round (No. 49): Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech Third round (No. 80): Loucheiz Purifoy, CB, Florida Kiper's analysis: The addition of Eric Decker doesn't diminish the need for playmakers on the offensive side of the ball. Rex Ryan could use a corner (or two), but I'm looking first for a play-right-away option at wide receiver. Cooks can be that guy. He's explosive as a route-runner, reliable as a hands-catcher and a dangerous playmaker with the ball in his hands. I'm going to double down in Round 2, with a pretty good value at tight end in Amaro. He's going to spend most of his time lined up in the slot, but he's an upside upgrade over Jeff Cumberland and gives them the opportunity to create some different looks. In Round 3 I grab Purifoy, who has the natural cover instincts of a player who should be taken far higher, but poor workouts have him available later. Only 24 days till the draft begins.
  9. Just go here and scroll down to the team news:
  10. The football bug bit when I was 10 (1971). The Giants were boring as hell. Joe namath was throwing the ball all over the place and was so much fun to watch. I grew up 15 minutes from Hofstra which was nice for training camp. Ironically, I now live 15 minutes from Florham Park.
  11. The first skirmish in the Green & White numbers wars is over as today we've learned that newly signed WR Eric Decker will wear uniform No. 87 and TE Jeff Cumberland will shift from 87 to 85. Decker wore 87 his first four pro seasons with the Broncos. Cumberland has been a Jet those same four seasons but has bounced around the mid-80s, wearing 86 from 2010-12 and 87 last season. "I reached out to Jeff and asked him how dedicated he was to the number," Decker said after he came aboard as an unrestricted free agent two weeks ago. "I guess we are going to kind of negotiate what we are going to do with the number. Obviously, he has been there for his four-year tenure. Otherwise I will have to find a new home, a new number." Obviously the negotiations were concluded successfully. The other major determination is what number QB Michael Vick will wear. Vick's been No. 7 all 13 of his pro seasons, but that of course is the digit that Geno Smith put on his back for his rookie season as the Jets signalcaller last year. Vick in a conference call last week said the Battle for Seven was over before a shot was fired. "Geno is going to wear No. 7. I'm changing my number," Vick said. To what? "It's undecided. Who knows? I'm going to come up with something in the next week." No word yet and in fact we may not know for a while. What can Vick possibly come up with? Maybe he's conferring with Prince on a symbol rather than a digit. We'll keep you posted.
  12. Per, that graphic appeared momentarily on the Worldwide Leader sometime on Wednesday.
  13. O_O RT @mikefarr44: why does DJax have the Jets logo behind him? is SportsCenter trying to tell me something?
  14. Evan Silva (@EvanSilva) is the Senior Football Editor for Rotoworld's NFL Page, and Josh Norris (@JoshNorris) leads Rotoworld's college football and NFL draft coverage. No. 1 Team Need: Cornerback Silva’s Analysis The Jets whiffed on Vontae Davis, Darrelle Revis, and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in free agency, leaving 2013 first-round disappointment Dee Milliner and underwhelming slot corner Kyle Wilson as Rex Ryan's projected starters. That won't work for a defense that emphasizes press-man coverage on the perimeter. As this year's wide receiver class is brimming with talent and depth, GM John Idzik may have to seriously consider using his first-round pick at corner for the second straight year. Norris’ Options First day option: Darqueze Dennard, Michigan State - Rex likes to use press. Dennard wins in press. It really is a great match. No corner is as physical with receivers within five yards or downfield as Dennard. There were questions about his play speed, which still might be valid after running a low 4.50 forty, but Dennard forces receivers to play at his pace. He does tend to hand fight beyond five yards since there was no illegal contact at the college level. I would much rather have a corner that is too physical rather than one that prefers to keep their distance. Second day possibility: Phillip Gaines, Rice - I stay away from these buzz words, but Gaines truly is a “riser” after missing the school’s largest game of the season against Texas A&M. I liked what I saw out of Gaines in press situations when preparing for the East-West Shrine, and he only continued his positive climb with a stellar workout. Gaines does get tangled up in his own footwork, but Rex could really work with his foundation. Third day flier: Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida - Another defensive back that is more athlete than corner, despite his poor measurements at the Combine. Purifoy generated lots of buzz prior to the season, but he really is not worthy of more than a fifth-round pick at this point. He does have press experience, however, he does not defend the deeper portions of the field well. No. 2 Team Need: Wide Receiver Silva’s Analysis The Jets landed a high-end No. 2 receiver in Eric Decker during free agency, and now need a young prospect capable of developing into a No. 1. Holdover Jeremy Kerley is a solid slot guy, but David Nelson is best suited to a fourth wideout role and 2012 second-round pick Stephen Hill looks like a bust. It's possible the Jets could give Hill one more shot at a prominent role, and use a high pick on a tight end. Either way, Michael Vick and Geno Smith need another pass catcher. Norris’ Options First day option: Odell Beckham Jr., LSU - There is no doubt in my mind that Beckham Jr. is the third ranked receiver in this class, but it would not shock me if he ultimately ended up the best of the group. He was used as a deep threat at LSU, making his home 9+ yards downfield. Beckham Jr. has the skills to win in this area since he combines speed with explosive movements and strong hands to fight for passes at the catch point. His game can expand in an offense at the NFL level. Second day possibility: Jordan Matthews, Vanderbilt - Don’t assume this is a second-round pick, either, as Matthews might be available in the third-round. That is not really a disservice to the Commodore, instead it is difficult to project when the run on receivers will take place. Matthews is quite good at maximizing operable space against off coverage and exhibited strong hands in specific situations. He flashed YAC ability as well, but many long gains were the product of excellent screen blocks. Matthews wastes very little movement and time, however. Third day flier: Matt Hazel, Coastal Carolina - Many FCS products are seen as athletic upside picks. That is not really the case with Hazel, as he already displays a very technically sound game. He consistently hand catches everything in his vicinity and creates separation with animated movements. No. 3 Team Need: Guard Silva’s Analysis C Nick Mangold and LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson are the Jets' only truly bankable O-Line assets. New RT Breno Giacomini is arguably a downgrade from outgoing Austin Howard, while both guard jobs are up for grabs after 2013 third-round pick Brian Winters got pushed around as a rookie. Experiencing an underwhelming free agent market, RG Willie Colon settled for a one-year, $2 million deal to return. Jets offensive coordinator Marty Mornhinweg runs a power-blocking scheme to complement his West Coast passing attack. He needs more push in the trenches. Norris’ Options First day option: Xavier Su’a-Filo, UCLA - The odds on favorite to be the first pure guard off the board, Su’a-Filo has a nasty mentality on the field, going out of his way to find players wearing a different jersey and engage with them. He was forced to play a lot of tackle during his time at UCLA, but Su’a-Filo looked most natural in tight quarters on the inside. This might be a bit early, but we witnessed an early run on guards last year. Second day possibility: Gabe Jackson, Miss State - Jackson is a massive 6’3/333 pounds, but I would stop before calling him a power drive blocker. Instead, Jackson tends to use his huge frame to sustain and box out blockers. Good aiming points and strong hands allow him to keep a grip and control the defensive lineman. Third day flier: Blake Treadwell, Michigan State - Treadwell was not invited to the Combine, which is a shame since I prefer him over some OL who attended. He obviously is not overly powerful or athletic, but Treadwell finds contact through his hands and delivers a jolt to gain a positional advantage. Those active hands allow him to mirror pass rushers as well.
  15. The Minnesota Vikings have signed offensive lineman Vlad Ducasse to a one-year contract according to Adam Caplan ofESPN. Ducasse was a second-round draft pick by the New York Jets and can play both guard and center. Unfortunately, his career never flourished in New York. He made only five starts at left guard for the team in 2013 and was benched in favor of Brian Waters after Week 4. The Vikings have to hope that a change of scenery and position coaches will improve Ducasse's performance but he is no lock to make the the final 53-man roster in 2014.