THE POCONOS – I’m hung up on Hard Knocksand the Jets right now, the most interesting team in NY area sports by far. What else am I gonna do, write about the Yankees and Mets? A lot of jaded Mets fans are predicting a similar doom for Gang Green, but I’m not so sure. This team looks like they’re having fun and there is no shortage of talent. The first episode did not disappoint.
The episode hit on most of them, but it of course focused on the controversial QB.
Coaching – the episode opened with a strange Robert Saleh metaphor about the crow being the only bird that is dumb enough to attack an eagle. The unperturbed eagle simply carries the crow to a height it can’t handle and it falls off and dies.
It’s not a terrible metaphor I guess. If teams are dumb enough to come at us, they’ll pay the price. But it might’ve worked better if there wasn’t an NFL team actually called the #Eagles that wears the exact same colors and plays down the road from them. Also, I’m not sure the Jets have achieved “only a stupid crow would take us on” status yet. If they were the defending champs looking to repeat, it would have made more sense. Some of the players looked confused.
I give Saleh credit for trying but I think the jury is still out on this guy. His sideline antics in the preseason game would not exactly be described as “poised.” He seems like a guy who still can’t believe he got this job.
O-line: This still stands out as the position group that can sink this ship the quickest. Aside from an injury to the QB1, that is.
–Payton Comments: not much here outside of the public response. I was hoping for some behind-the-scenes fireworks and counter insults.
–Young stars: Garret Wilson and Sauce [Gardner] got a lot of time.
Wilson seemed like a bit of a crap-talker at the beginning, (“how that grass taste?”) but then seemed thoughtful and a bit nerdy off the field. This guy is going high in Fantasy Drafts and I want him.
Sauce was all business. He went back to get his degree (with Nick Van Exel, oddly) and doesn’t seem to have a huge personality.
These two guys battling it out in practice was worth the price of admission. And so was the coaching staff yelling in near masturbatory glee “you two are gonna make each other great.” Easy fellas.
Not much of Quinnen aside from a few clips and nothing on Breece Hall’s rehab.
Zach didn’t disappoint either. The guy seems downright relieved not to be starting and spoke about how things got worse every week last year. The Jets did not handle that QB situation well at all.
A highlight was when Rodgers instructed Wilson on where to throw it in a preseason game over the headset. Is that legal?The play connected for a long gain and made Wilson’s night. Rodgers’ ability to see the game was on full display. He also seems genuinely interested in helping Zach get better.
But the marquee star was Aaron Rodgers, of course. From the moment he walked on to the field for his first practice, serenaded by hopeful fans, the excitement was electric. The clips of him talking plays through with the coaching staff and other QBs were riveting.
The utter glee and awe on the faces of these massive, bad-ass dudes was something to see. The “he’s nothing like he’s portrayed by the media” quotes were endless. You have to take it with a grain of salt but it sure looks like the man is well liked.
This is why QB is the most important position in sports. No other position comes close. The man has instantly given this team credibility and has turned them from mediocre to legitimate.
I can see why there are naysayers. They play in a brutal division and a much more competitive conference. The man is 38-years-old and has a patchwork O-line. They have a rough schedule, especially to start. Things could definitely go sideways in a hurry. But they’ve got a chance. It should be fun.
PS: I loved all the shots of players telling Rodgers how young they were when he started playing. The Method Man cameo was fantastic.
Ben Whitney comes from journalistic stock. Aside from his brothers, rumor has that his great-great grandfather was the youngest brother of Eli Whitney and covered the earliest "rounders" games. Big Ben is also another New York Rugby Club player/pal of Different Matt, Short Matt and Junoir Blaber. He likes film noir discussions, has twin girls and took up ice hockey after retiring from rugby.