Monday, September 27, 2010

Coming Off the Mount...

Another entertaining affair between the New York Jets and the Miami Dolphins tonight on NBC's Sunday Night Football. No surprise there, honestly.

Jets win 31-23. Believe me, it wasn't an easy victory.
Credit: Yahoo! Sports

While the Jets walked away (
despite the WORST EVER attempted shovel pass from the Sanchize) with a HUGE win on the road (more on that later); the big story surrounding this game, with just cause, was the week Braylon Edwards had.

From early Tuesday morning...


NEW YORK -- New York Jets wide receiver Braylon Edwards was arrested Tuesday on charges of driving while intoxicated after officers pulled him over because his SUV had excessive tinting on its windows, police said.

Officers on the lookout for vehicle violations like excessive tinting or missing registration stickers pulled over Edwards' Land Rover on Manhattan's West Side at about 5:15 a.m. ET and noticed a strong smell of alcohol, chief NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said.

Edwards was given a breath test at the scene and another at a police station. His blood alcohol level was .16, twice the legal limit, officials said. There were four other people in the SUV at the time.

Note: It was announced, late in the week that Edwards would NOT be suspended for the game. There is precedent for this ruling, too. Instead, he was suspended for the first quarter. And yes, he was in the first play of the second quarter.


From late Tuesday evening...

Jets G.M. Mike Tannenbaum said in a conversation with the Associated Press that Edwards would be active for Sunday night's game against the Dolphins, although he wouldn't start. It will be up to Rex Ryan when and if Edwards plays. Greg Aiello of the NFL points out that the CBA does not allow teams to suspend or deactivate players for DUI arrests per CBA rules.

As for Mr. Edwards' performance tonight? 2 receptions for 87 yards and 1 TD. One of them a 67 yard touchdown was on the first play of scrimmage the Jets had after trailing the Phins 17-14 mid-way into the 3rd quarter, giving them a 21-17 lead. Edwards' other catch was a key 3rd and 10 reception - inside Dolphins territory - for (do the math, Clement) 20 yards on what would be the Jets final drive of the game (a TD drive giving them an 8-point lead, their margin of victory). Edwards
also was highlighted by Michaels/Collinsworth for a key seal-block on a 20+yard LT run (remember him?) and a costly tripping penalty inside the redzone (just lazy blocking on his part, if you ask me).

As for the situation at-hand; as I see it, there are three issues I'd like to address surrounding this Edwards-situation, aside from the game's result (
which was very pleasing, but very tough to watch, for me personally).

Issue #1: What Edwards did was wrong. In fact, it was flat out dangerous.

Not a genius statement. But one that needs to be stated.

Now, I'm not opposed to Edwards doing jail time for his DUI, no matter what the circumstances were when he was pulled over (tinted windows, not poor driving). DUI/DWI is a
very serious crime. However, I don't want to compare what he did to what Donte Stallworth did, either. Two different outcomes, fair or not, and the two crimes can't be compared fairly. Nevertheless, I also don't believe it's okay for Edwards to "get off" because "other players often get off". However, I also don't think it's fair to demonize ONLY Edwards - even if it's in the news this week - as the only NFL athlete to be guilty of DUI. He deserves as much of a backlash as anyone else who has been found guilty of the crime.

Which leads me to...

Issue #2: Should Ronnie Brown have been sat out week 1 for his DUI this past March?


Ronnie Brown had a DUI arrest of his own this past offseason (in March). Does that mean Miami should've "sent a message" by suspending him for the first game of the season? Is a DUI more of a crime, in the eyes of an NFL team, during the season than it is during the offseason? Does it show more or less or the same amount of recklessness? You tell me.

Many question whether Braylon Edwards would've been suspended if the Jets were playing the Bills - as opposed to the 2-0 Dolphins; which is a fair question. Nevertheless, why does Ronnie Brown not see any official team discipline - in terms of quarters/halves/game(s) missed? Is it due to the "timing" of his crime? I also don't want to demonize Brown, who hasn't had any trouble with the law since the arrest, mind you.

If you ask me, both should've been suspended for at least 1 game. Although you may clearly point out to me that I have the foresight of knowing Edwards played, scored a big TD (made a nice block, too), and the Jets won.

Which leads me to...

Issue #3: It's impossible to expect a fan to leave his loyalty, right or wrong.

Many of you may think this post is just a ploy for me to explain why it was "okay" for Edwards to play tonight. WRONG. Instead, it's me addressing an issue that a fan struggles to address. I have to step off the mount, and realize I'm completely conflicted over the situation/suspension (and ecstatic over a big win).

I'm not much of a fan of Mike and Mike, although - since Mike Greenberg is a noted, avid Jet fan - I did seek out their opinions this week on the Edwards situation. Surprisingly, Greenberg and Golics' words spoke to me quite a bit. (Listen to the video above.)

I started to realize that I've riddled plenty of Steeler fans for their QB's recent actions in a bar bathroom with an undergrad, reminded Laker fans about Kobe's night in Denver with a certain hotel employee, and been mocked endlessly (and justifiably) for Yankee first baseman Jason Giambi's "apology" over proven-steroid use.

Is it my fault, or anyone else's, as a fan, that players we openly root for are found guilty of crimes? No. But if I choose to support them, as I did Edwards during his long TD run (which admittedly had more to do with Jason Allen s-s-slipping on his butt), then I'll take some justly deserved criticism.

But a "fan" is still a fanatic. So you take the good with the bad...and move on.
Much like how you treat ego-maniacal, yet extremely talented wide receivers.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

If Anyone Cared About Baseball Beyond the Yankees and the Saux ...

... someone would raise a stink about Jose Bautista and potential engagement with performance-enhancing drugs.  Tonight, Bautista hit his 52nd HR of the season.  When visiting Baseball Reference, you'll notice that he has surpassed his prior season high by ... 36 home runs. 

In his six prior seasons, Bautista had slugging percentage and OPS highs of .420 and .757, respectively.  Fast forward to this season where those numbers ballooned up to .622 and 1.005 entering tonight's play.

When I see these stats, I can't help but think of former Oriole stalwart Brady Anderson, who hit 26 more dongs (total: 50) and slugged 170 points higher than any other season.

But few care about baseball.  And even fewer care about PED use in sports.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We're Back .... and The Detroit Lions Need A Left Tackle

This spring, the Detroit Lions were wavering on whether to take sure-fire stud Ndamukong Suh or draft for need and reach for an offensive tackle.  Not only did the Lions take Suh, but they also did not select an o-tackle until the fourth round (Jason Fox).  Had I been in Martin Mayhew's position, I would have selected Suh, but my second pick would have definitely been an o-tackle.  Definitely.

As a result, this happened.  If you're going to invest 72 million clams into a player, the smart money is on protecting his blind side.  Even the Rams protected their investment by drafting Rodger Saffold (and already had Jason Smith).  Instead, the Lions went with Jeff Backus, and Julius Peppers effectively separated Matthew Stafford's shoulder.