Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Atlantic City and football trash-talk -- my two favorite things

Back from my midweek hiatus in Atlantic City I now find myself with significantly less money than I had arrived there with, but what else can you really expect when heading to such a popular tourist getaway?

I got burnt on every hand that I was dealt, even when I sat down with my favorite dealer, Sophia. I don't mean to sound cliche but if it wasn't for bad luck, I'd have no luck at all.

Besides losing about a hundo on the tables, I took some time to take a run along the beach. I only ran about a mile and a half but it felt like at least three while trekking through the wet sand. It's a shame Jersey smells the way it does, too (something I noticed while running).

Also, it rained so hard on Tuesday that our hotel flooded. Yes, flooded. The rainfall was so heavy that it also flooded my grandparents car in the valet parking lot beneath the hotel. Grandma made up for it by stealing a ridiculous amount of food from the buffet, though. Props to her.

As for sports, the Jets and Giants squared off on Monday Night Football on ESPN at New Meadowlands Stadium and I must admit, I have undoubtedly missed the trash talking that comes along with every passing football season.

I thought that the Jets first team offense looked strong, besides the Sanchez pick. It looked like he tried to force it in there to his new back (LT) and the ball took a weird deflection and landed right in the Giants newly acquired DB Antrel Rolle. Sanchez rebounded with two straight scoring drives, hitting Braylon, LT, Cotchery and Keller on a few sharp passes.

As usual, the Jets defense looked strong, and left the Giants franchise quarterback with a 3-inch gash on his forehead. I couldn't help but crack a small smile seeing that. In fact, I'm smiling as I type this out, not because Eli got hurt, but because I get the opportunity to watch the Jets defense reek havoc for the next four-to-five months.

We held Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw to a combined 1-yard rushing, and without Revis our secondary still looked strong. AlCROtraz fits in perfectly with Rex Ryan's organized chaos and rookie Kyle Wilson was untested, leaving me a little wary.

Besides that, the Giants may have found Domenik Hixon's replacement in rookie WR Victor Cruz. That kid is dirty and deserved the No. 1 spot on Sportscenter's Top 10. I believe he also deserves a spot on the team, considering his play on Monday night and throughout my observations in training camp.

The Giants ended up winning the game with each teams third-stringers out on the field, but that means squat. I lost a little respect for Brandon Jacobs though, because he had the balls to run his mouth after the game after gaining negative yards against our defense. Or maybe because he denied me an interview when I was covering Giants camp, who knows?

Either way, 2010 should prove to be an exciting year for both New York teams.

Stay tuned...

Oh and Jacobs, next time you try to score from the 1-yard line, don't take four times to do so, or you might find yourself benched...again.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A little Q&A with Giants defensive end Mathias Kiwanuka

I had some time earlier in the day to sit down and interview the Giants starting defensive end as he was getting ready for Thursday's afternoon practice. Here's what he had to say.

PF: How do you think the atmosphere is going to be on Monday night at the New Meadowlands Stadium?

MK: Oh it’s going to be banging. Number one, everybody is going to be excited to be in the new facility because it is definitely first class but you know with the Giants and Jets, it’s always a big game, were excited to play them.

PF: What's your opinion on the new turf? Do you think it has anything to do with Hixon's injury?

MK: It definitely does. Anytime you put a new surface in there’s a little bit of period of adjustment with not just the players, but the people who take care of the turf have to figure out the best way to manage it is. As players we just need to block that out of our head and put our trust in the front office staff knowing that they’re doing everything they can to keep us safe.

PF: Do you think it's a little more broken in now since your last time practicing on it?

MK: We haven't been back on it. I hope so. We haven’t been back on there but I honestly hope so. It was definitely slippery. I think that's the problem with the new turf systems when you put them in. I played at BC (Boston College) when they switched from Astroturf to FieldTurf and it's either too pouros or packed down and you can't get footing, but there's a sweet spot, a middle ground that you have to find. Whether it's limiting or increasing the number of sporting events on there to break it in, I'm not sure.

PF: Are you ready to get back on the field?

MK: Oh yeah, absolutely, I’m ready to play some games, man. This practice stuff is fun but it’s all about playing.

PF: With two weeks of training camp almost completed, in your opinion, how does the defense look?

MK: I think we look great. Obviously it’s a biased opinion but it’s night and day from last year to this year.

PF: Back to that 2007 defense we saw?

MK: Definitely. In my opinion, we’re ready to go.

What happened to throwing tomatoes at people onstange that just plain sucked?

Here's something for all you GaGa and Young Money fans, courtesy of Keith Buckley, lead singer of Every Time I Die.

Found it funny, hope you do too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A look into the last week of my internship experience

It's been a few days since I've had the time to sit down and blog. Actually, I barely have any time to right now, but I'll manage to throw something on here.

As of late I've been in the last week of my internship at The Saratogian, and boy what a week it has been.

Earlier in the week, I covered the New York Giants training camp at the University at Albany. I'm also set to cover them this Thursday and Saturdayas well, capping off my summer internship at the paper. For my article in The Saratogian on Giants camp, click here.

I can't express how great it felt to stand on the sideline watching the team practice. It was a privilege and a blessing to have the opportunity to be a part of that. I also had the chance to speak to Head Coach Tom Coughlin and newly signed linebacker Keith Bulluck (I'll have a story about him on here sometime soon).

Other than covering the Giants, I also covered a Saratoga baseball team and their journey en route to the New York State Little League Championship.

The first game I had the chance to cover them was last Thursday. It was an 11-U Saratoga American baseball game and once they won, I kind of started to cover all of their games from then on. As a matter of fact, I did cover all of their games. It was a great experience to follow a team like that, and to be welcomed with such open arms by the coaches, players and supporters of the Americans. They were unbelievable and very respectful (and it made my job a hell of a lot easier, too). The team made it all the way to the semifinals of the New York State Little League Championship, the farthest any team out of Saratoga had ever made it, and their memorable run to the title is one that Saratoga County is sure to remember. They were eliminated from a Staten Island born team on Tuesday night.

Here's the team hoisting their Section III Championship banner after a seven run, walk-off sixth inning comeback.

Other than that, I've been preparing for the upcoming semester. I'll continue to write and freelance for The Saratogian and I'll also be writing for the sports section in the Albany Student Press. More news on that soon.

Before I go, I want to wish one of my best friends, Brian D., a safe return to his tour in Kuwait. Brian just headed back to his unit and I can't wait to see him trot through those airport doors in November upon his return.

Good luck Bri, we'll all miss you.

In a bit of a somber mood now, so here are some City and Colour lyrics to leave you with:

"All your friends have come and gone, and the sun no longer shines. And the happiness for what you long is all washed away like an ocean's tide. When all the hard times outweigh the good and all your words are misunderstood. When the day seems lost from the start, you must follow your heart."

More later on in the week.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Reaction to the Revis holdout

The Newark Jets have officially pissed me off.

The Jets may seem like an attractive team because of the promise they show, their brash attitude and big names they bring in, but as a Jet fan right now I feel like we're looking a lot like Dan Snyder's Redskins of the past decade.

Revis, you're the man and all, but I've just lost a little respect for you in your decision to hold out. We've already offered you the biggest contract for a defensive back in NFL history as well as short term contract tweaks like Chris Johnson just received and you've still continued to hold out. That's a selfish move and you've made your point the wrong way.

Woody Johnson, you are destroying the foundation you promised to build upon by being disloyal and unable to pay your best player the money he deserves. Without Revis the Jets do not make the AFC Championship last year, let alone make the playoffs. You need to re-asses your way of thinking when it comes to building a championship team and locking down players that provide for you year in ad year out. May I remind you that these are the players YOU drafted and traded up in the draft for. Your core wins championships, not your one year, ex-MVP signings.

You can see this from both sides. Darelle Revis just saw a player in Leon Washington, who wanted to be a "Jet forever" (sound familiar?), go down with a career threatening injury and have no guaranteed money for his family or fallback.

You can also see the Jets' side of the story, too. Entering a season where no guaranteed football will be played in 2011 is scary for a franchise like the Jets, who are already committed to long term contracts commitments throughout the locker room.

I just don't like the way things are looking right now. Let's just hope T-Rich is right:

"In the 16 years of playing football, all the holdouts I've seen have never caused aproblem in the locker room."

Get it together green.