32 Teams in 32 Days – New York Jets

Football season is just around the corner, which means we will be commencing our 32 Teams in 32 Days special, where we examine every team in the NFL in just 32 days. we will be starting with the AFC East, specifically the New York Jets. Every year the New York Jets faithful get hyped up for a chance at the Super Bowl and every year their dreams get crushed, especially last season when they failed to even reach the postseason, luckily their head coach, Rex Ryan knows a lot about FOOTball.

2011 Record: 8-8
Result:
Did Not Qualify for Postseason
QB:
Mark Sanchez, 308/543 (56.7%), 3,474 Yds, 26 TD, 18 Int, 78.2 Rating
Best Offensive Target:
Shonn Greene, 1,054 Yds/253 Att (4.2 Yds/Att), 6 TD  
Best Defensive Player:
Darrelle Revis, 52 Tackles, 21 Pass Deflections, 4 Int, 1 TD
Important Offseason Acquisitions:
Tim Tebow QB, Chaz Schilens WR,
Laron Landry S, Quinton Coples DE, Jeff Otah T, Yeremiah Bell S, Hayden Smith TE
Important Offseason Losses:
Ladanian Tomlinson RB, Plaxico Burress WR,
Derrick Mason WR, Jim Leonhard S, Donald Strickland CB, Brodney Pool S,
Jamaal Westerman DE
Head Coach: Rex Ryan

After 3 tough losses, to the Eagles, Giants and Dolphins to end the season, the New York Jets finished with a record of 8-8 and failed to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2008. They were led by Mexican-American quarterback, Mark Sanchez. Sanchez had a decent year, but struggled at times, especially when it mattered most.

They had a very busy offseason, mostly because of the media attention surrounding Tim Tebow more than any of their other moves they made in the off-season. But before we get to that lets talk about some of their other acquisitions. They added safety Laron Landry who should be able to give the Jets everything Jim Leonhard gave them, without the injury trouble. They were also able to trade for T Jeff Otah, who should be able to help their O-line, which allowed Mark Sanchez to be sacked 39 times last season. One of the more interesting move the Jets made was to sign Hayden Smith who has never played a snap of American Football in his life, however the Aussie Rules Football star could give the Jets the blocking TE they so desperately need, and if not, they can always ship him back to Australia. They also added S Yeremiah Bell, WR Chaz Schilens and drafted DE Quinton Coples in the first round of the draft. And of course, they added Tim Tebow, the “savior” of the Jets. Realistically, he’ll play on the Punt Blocking team, and get put in for a few snaps under center in running situations. After all the only reason they picked him up is because Rex Ryan likes QB’s who are good with their feet. However, imagine how insane things would become if Sanchez gets hurt or struggles badly, Tebow takes over and takes them deep into the playoffs.

They also lost some pretty good talent in the offseason as well, including Ladanian Tomlinson, a top 10 back of all-time, retired in the offseason, he wasn’t a huge factor for the Jets last year, but he certainly helped. They lost WR Plaxico Burress who get arrested after he stabbed himself in the arm, no wait… apparently he’s a free agent, my apologies. They lost Jim Leonhard who played pretty well, but had trouble staying healthy. They were also unable to bring back minor, but important factors for the team: WR Derrick Mason, CB Donald Strickland, S Rodney Pool and DE Jamaal Westerman.

In the coaching front, Rex Ryan will enter his 4th season as Head Coach for the New York Jets, The defensive guru who loves to play mind games has brought his team to 2 AFC Championship games in his first 3 years with the team. The biggest new face in the coaching staff will be Tony Sparano, who spent almost 4 years as head coach of the Miami Dolphins, he will take over as Offensive Coordinator for the Jets. They’re also brining in new Offensive Line and Defensive Line coaches, as well as 2 new Assistant Strength and Conditioning coaches.

I predict a decent year for the Jets, I think they will just miss out on a playoff spot (maybe by a tiebreaker). Assuming the New York Jets fans don’t get too restless for Tebow, I predict about the same production we saw from Sanchez last year, maybe a bit better. I predict Shonn Greene will have almost identical stats to what he had last year, but with a few more touches. I also believe with the loss of Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes could go back to the Santonio Holmes of Pittsburgh and have a great season, but this will cause Dustin Keller’s stats to drop off. It doesn’t appear Revis will holdout, for now anyway, he will be thrown at even less, and his stats will reflect that.

2012 Prediction: 9-7
Result: Will Not Qualify for Postseason
QB: Mark Sanchez, 292/503 (58.0%), 3,598 Yds, 25 TD, 15 Int, 84.4 Rating
Best Offensive Target: Santonio Holmes, 1,094 Yds/78 Rec (14.0 Yds/Rec), 7 TD
Best Defensive Player: Darrelle Revis, 43 Tackles, 18 Pass Deflections, 2 INT, 0 TD
-Vernon Smells

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30 Teams in 30 Days – Colorado Rockies

Ahhh the 2007 Rockies’ season. Who would’ve thunk it? The no-names of the league went on a championship run. The team that no one gave a chance proved themselves to be champions of the NL. The Rockies had a more than abysmal 2011 however finishing 4th in the West with a meager 73 wins. Can the Rockies rebound in 2012? Will there be a repeat of 2007′s “Rocktober”? And can the Rockies make another Cinderella run? These are the questions that should be at the back of everyone’s minds as we look forward to the 2012 season.
2011 Season
Record: 73-89

Finish: 4th in NL West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jhoulys Chacin (Don’t worry I have absolutely no idea how to pronounce this name either) 11-14, 3.62 ERA, 150 SO
Top Hitter: Troy Tulowitzki (Believe it or not but I can pronounce this name!) .302 AVG, 30 HR, 105 RBI
Manager: Jim Tracy
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Jeremy Guthrie RHP, Casey Blake 3B, Chad Tracy 1B, Jamie Moyer LHP (How is he still alive, let alone playing professional baseball), Marco Scutaro SS, Michael Cuddyer RF, Ramon Hernandez C, Tyler Chatwood RHP
Important Offseason Losses: Huston Street SD, Chris Iannetta LAA, Mark Ellis LAD, Kevin Millwood SEA, JC Romero STL, Kevin Kouzmanoff KC, Ty Wigginton PHI, Ryan Spilborghs CLE, Clayton Mortenson BOS, Matt Lindstrom BAL

Now the 2012 Rockies are a new look team from 2011. But unfortunately this is not necessarily a good thing (nor is it a bad thing), along with gaining a ton through a front office gone wild, the Rockies also lost a lot. I would say all that they gained exactly equaled what they lost, which is surprising, usually a team improved from the season before or got worse. Now I won’t keep you guys for a while because we all know what article is up next aka the moment you’ve all been waiting for (I’ll give you a hint it rhymes with Ain’t Trouis Ardinals) but in all honesty I’m not sure how the Rockies will do in 2012. I mean one can assume that their record will be almost identical to lasts, but 2011 was disappointing for the Rockies so I doubt you’ll see them doing worse. They had some key acquisitions that added depth to both their hitting and pitching, but by the same token lost some depth to both their hitting and pitching. Knowing that there aren’t many Rockies fans out there (sorry to the few that exist!) I’m going to have to cut this article short so we can get to our grand finale. Rockies fans look forward to a… well unpredictable 2012. P.S. this might be the last year we see Todd Helton.. that would be a big loss to the league losing both Helton and Chipper.

Prediction
Record: 76-86

Finish: 4th in West
Playoffs: None
Top Pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie 15-14, 4.01 ERA, 177 SO
Top Hitter: Todd Helton (just because it’s probably his last season) .289 AVG, 29 HR, 107 RBI
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-Simple Jack

30 Teams in 30 Days – Cincinnati Reds

After a great year in 2010, which landed the Reds their first NL Central title since 1995, the Reds disappointed a lot of people last year. Despite having 2010 NL MVP, Joey Votto (who just so happened to attend my high school back in his youth), they couldn’t even reach the .500 plateau. Let’s recap.
Cincinnati Reds
Record: 79-83
Finish: 3rd in NL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Johnny Cueto 9-5, 2.31 ERA, 104 SO
Top Hitter: .309 AVG, 29 HR, 103 RBI
Manager: Dusty Baker
Important Offseason Acquisitions: Mat Latos, Sean Marshall, Ron Mahay, Dioner Navarro, Ryan Madson, Wilson Valdez, Willie Harris, Ryan Ludwick, Jeff Francis
Important Offseason Losses: Francisco Cordero TOR, Ramon Hernandez COL, Edgar Renteria FA, Dontrelle Willis, Edinison Volquez, Yonder Alonso SD,  Travis Wood CHC

There were high hopes for the Reds in 2011 after a great 2010, but with the amazing years the Brewers and the Cardinals put up, the Reds didn’t have a chance. Joey Votto (CANADIAN)! got some heat last year, which I didn’t quite understand, I know he had a drop-off from 2010, but he still hit over .300, he had 29 Jacks and over 100 RBI’s. The real problem lied in their pitching, they finished exactly 20th in the league in ERA, WHIP and SO. It was mostly their Starters, besides Cueto and Leake, their Starting Pitching was horrendous, I mean, just look at the stats, of their 5 pitchers with 13 starts or more (not including Leake and Cueto), their Starting Pitching finished with an ERA of 5.00 on the dot. That is unacceptable. They had a decent Bullpen and a decent offensive attack, but their Starting Pitching lost them a lot of ball games. The Reds certainly went after improving that in the offseason, with the addition of young stud, Mat Latos. The 24 year old right-hander has shown great promise, posting an ERA of 3.37 in his first 72 big league starts. They also added veteran lefty, Jeff Francis (also CANADIAN!), who once had great potential, being selected 9th overall in the 2002 Draft, but was never able to live up to expectations, posting a career 4.78 ERA as a starter, the Reds may try to use him in a relief role this year, seeing as he’s already made 3 relief appearances for them in the Spring. So, I believe their Starting 5 should be greatly improved this year, with the hope of continued success from Cueto, Leake and Latos, and then if they can get improved years from Bailey and Arroyo (who had two successful campaigns before struggling last year), they could even be considered a somewhat dangerous starting rotation at times. Their bullpen should be improved a bit with the additions of Marshall and Mahay, but with them parting ways with Cordero, they brought on Madson to take over the closer role, unfortunately it was just announced that he will miss the whole year due to Tommy John surgery, so they’re going to have trouble finding saves from time to time, having established closer. Their offense has lost a little fire power in Alonso, Hernandez and Renteria, but it should still be a very dangerous offensive group. Ultimately I think the Reds will fall short of the Cardinals and the Brewers once again (despite their losses of Prince and Pujols). I just don’t see this team being able to compete with them. However, they are still young (28.0 yr old average) and I believe that they’ll be a threat in this division for years to come.

Prediction
Record: 82-80
Finish: 3rd in NL Central
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Mat Latos 14-9, 3.06 ERA, 197 SO
Top Hitter: Joey Votto .311 AVG, 31 HR, 108 RBI
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-Vernon Smells

30 Teams in 30 Days – Texas Rangers

The last 2 seasons for Rangers fans have to have been the most heart-breaking seasons to have ever existed. Losing in the World Series to the Giants in 2010, and to the Cardinals in 2011. I’ll let you know how I think they’ll do this year, but first, let’s recap 2011.
Texas Rangers
Record: 96-66
Finished: 1st in AL West
Playoffs: Lost in World Series……… again
Top Pitcher: C.J Wilson 16-7, 2.94 ERA, 206 SO
Top Hitter: Mike Napoli .320 AVG, 30 HR, 75 RBI, in just 113 games
Manager: Ron Washington
Important Acquisitions: Joe Nathan, Yu Darvish, Brad Hawpe
Important Losses: C.J Wilson LAA, Michael Gonzalez FA, Darren Oliver TOR, Matt Treanor LAD, Darren O’Day BAL

“In to right, well hit, back at the wall, it’s off the wall. 1 Run scores, Here comes Berkman. Freese has tied it. 7-7!!! Unbelievable” That moment still gives me chills, and it is probably one of the greatest sports moments in a long while, but Rangers fans don’t feel that way. It was their second straight trip to the World Series, and in 2011 it looked like they had it won…..twice. Right up until Freese hit a 2 out, 2 strike 2 run triple in the 9th to tie up the game. Then in the 10th the Rangers put up 2 more runs, but the Cards came back, including a 2 out, 2 strike, RBI single from Lance Berkman to tie up the game. In the next inning, the 11th, David Freese hit a walk-off home run to force a game 7, which the Cardinals promptly won. I cannot imagine the pain that Rangers fans must have felt. However, apart from those moments, last year was a great season for the Rangers. They won the AL West by 10 games, they made it to the World Series and they probably shoud have won it.  They had unbelievable production from the bats, they had a good bullpen and a lot of their young starters played surprisingly well. This season will be a much bigger question mark and will depend on a lot of things. They lost their star pitcher to the rival Angels, along with a few key pieces to their bullpen. The talent they gained has mystery written all over it. Starting with Yu Darvish, the Rangers paid a hefty sum for this Japanese pitcher, who has never played a game in the MLB, no one has any idea how effectively he’ll be able to pitch in the MLB. They also signed an aging Joe Nathan, after being one of the best closers in the league year after year, Nathan had Tommy John surgery, and missed the entire 2010 season, he then struggled in 2011, posting just 14 saves and a 4.84 ERA. I assume he was brought in to take over the closer role so that they can finally move Netali Feliz to the Starting rotation, something they’ve been talking about doing since he took over the closer role in 2010. That move right there adds 2 BIG questions: Will Nathan be able to regain his form? and how will Netali Feliz fare as a starter?  Their bullpen has lost some major pieces and I don’t expect it to be nearly as good then in years past, plus their rotation is still very young and missing it’s star (C.J Wilson), so we have no clue how good it will be. We also don’t know how they’ll be with the bats. We know they’ll be good, but how good? Can Hamilton rebound after an injury plagued season? Mike Napoli, who if he had of played the whole season was on pace for 43 Home Runs and 107 RBI, to go along with a .320 AVG. However, this came out of nowhere, so how do we know that he can repeat? Michael Young, who’s now 35 years old, hit a whopping .338 last season (the highest of his career), can he come even close to putting up the same numbers this year? Not to mention, the Angels now have a very good team and will be competing with the Rangers for the AL West. This is by far the hardest prediction I’ve had to make so far. I feel they could range anywhere from 80 Wins to 100, so I guess I’ll go smack dab in the middle and say they’ll be a 90 Win ball club, sacrificing the Division, but still taking one of the two Wild Card spots.

Prediction
Record: 90-72
Finish: 2nd in AL West, 1st in Wild Card Race
Playoffs: Eliminated in ALDS
Top Pitcher: Yu Darvish 16-8 3.14 ERA, 226 SO
Top Hitter: Josh Hamilton .318 AVG 31 HR 109 RBI
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-Vernon Smells

30 Teams in 30 Days – Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

This article was written by Simple Jack, not Vernon Smells, as the web site may suggest. The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim…..Wait are they still called that? I don’t even know anymore. Well anyway the LA Angels will be one of the most interesting teams to watch going into the 2012 season (if you know what I mean. Ahem, Albert Pujols). Anyway here’s how they stacked up in 2011.
Los Angeles Angels 
Record: 86-76 (6 game improvement from 2010)
Finish: 2nd AL West
Playoffs: N/A
Top Pitcher: Jared Weaver, 18-8, 2.41 ERA, 198 SO
Top Hitter: Mark Trumbo (Seriously?), .254 AVG, 29 HR, 87 RBI
Manager: Mike Scioscia
Important Acquisitions: Albert Pujols, Albert Pujols, CJ Wilson, Albert Pujols, Chris Iannetta, Albert Pujols, Jorge Cantu, LaTroy Hawkins, Jason Isringhausen, Jorge Cantu and of course Albert Pujols
Important Losses: Jeff Mathis TOR, Tyler Chatwood COL and not Albert Pujols

The Los Angeles Angels had a disappointing season in 2011. The once perennial power of the 2000s failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year and watched their division rival Texas Rangers make it to the World Series two consecutive years. It’s been 10 years exactly since the Angels knotted their last and only World Series title, and based on the moves they have made during this free agency it looks like they’re determined on making another title run. The Angels finished the 2011 season struggling, 11 games before the season ended they were only 3.5 games out of a playoff spot. Throughout much of the second half of 2011 they were within striking distance of the Rangers, most of the time within 2 games or less, however the Angels just couldn’t get over that hump and capture the division title. But 2012 will be a new era for the Los Angeles Angels and will be a year for them to most definitely assert themselves a powerhouse in the league and a force to be reckoned with. With arguably the strongest starting rotation in the majors which includes Jered Weaver (a competitor for the Cy Young in 2011), Dan Haren, newly acquired CJ Wilson, Ervin Santana, with Jerome William most likely assuming the role as the fifth starter. To put this rotation in perspective, in 2011 none of these pitchers had an ERA above 3.70 , four were below a 3.40 ERA, and two were below a 3.00 ERA. Together they post a combined record of 65-37 in 2011. The Angels starting pitching core is most certainly stronger and has more depth than any other aspect of their team (which considering their addition of you know who is saying a lot). The Angels pulled off the biggest free agent acquisition of the 2011 offseason and probably the biggest one since Alex Rodriguez signed with the Rangers back in 2000, with their signing of Albert Pujols. There really isn’t anything more to say. Along with signing Pujols the Angels were able to retain their core of strong hitters, despite most of whom posting a poor 2011, still have potential to return to prominence in 2012, who include Howie Kendrick 2B, Alberto Callapso 3B, Vernon Wells OF, Torii Hunter OF, Erick Ayber SS, Mark Trumbo 1B, Kendrys Morales 1B and even Bobby Abreu OF (well maybe not so much him). The only weakness that may be in store for the Angels is their bullpen. Without an established closer or setup man and some new faces such as LaTroy Hawkins the Angels bullpen has a lot of adjusting to do (but hey, who needs a bullpen anyway when you have 3 guys who can go 8 innings?). Anyway, I foresee the Angels will be a powerhouse in 2012 and in years to come and most certainly post one of the best records in the league.
Prediction
Record: 98-64
Finish: 1st in AL West
Playoffs: World Series Appearance
Top Pitcher: Jered Weaver, 21-6, 2.63 ERA 214 SO (Cy Young Winner)
Top Hitter: Albert Pujols, .314 AVG, 41 HR, 126 RBI (MVP candidate)
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-Simple Jack

The Prince Fielder Sweepstakes

It has been well documented all off-season that Prince Fielder is ready to leave his house of cheese in Milwaukee and find a new place to call home. Many have examined the possibilities of where he may end up, unfortunately no one has examined the most important issue for Prince. Food. Prince Fielder is 5’11″ and 275 lb. You don’t see anyone wondering why he’s averaging 40 Home Runs a year in his last 5 seasons, but the big man needs to eat. The last thing we need to see is Prince going to the Natinals (Nationals) or San Francisco, I hear they eat salads for dinner there. He’d be lucky to hit 20 dingers. He needs a place with really greasy, fatty foods. I will examine 3 different teams Prince should consider before making his decision.

Prince Fielder strutting his gut

1. Chicago Cubs. We all know Chicago is known for there extremely greasy and delicious pizza, they also make one good hot dog, if Prince really went to town, he could easily have his second 50 home run season of his career. Not to mention if he ever goes hungry during a game, he could always run, excuse me, waddle on down to the outfield fence and chew on the ivy at Wrigley.

2. Boston Red Sox. Boston really knows how to eat. They make great chowder and baked beans. Prince would of course make friends with soon-to-be eating buddy David Ortiz. Boston is also the home to one of Americas biggest pasta brands. That brand is of course, Prince. Coincidence, I think not.

3. Philadelphia Phillies. Philadelphia is home to the greasiest, most artery clogging food on earth, the Philly Cheese Steak. Who needs steroids? Prince could live off of these for a year and break Barry Bonds record of 73 home runs with ease. He may die at 35, but it will all be worth it.

Philly Cheese Steak

Clearly, Prince has a tough decision in front of him. I wish him luck wherever he may end up, as long as it’s not the Yankees.

- Vernon Smells