Here we Go Again…the NFL 2014 is About to Get Rockin’!

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft.

The new NFL logo went into use at the 2008 draft. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Just as the METS sail out of contention, just when the NBA season still seems long off, just when Indian Summer comes sweltering up the coastline, the NFL comes rumbling back into town for another season of full tilt testosterone smack down! I have to admit it…I AM READY FOR SOME FOOTBALL!

If you’re a JET fan there’s plenty of reason for optimism.  The offensive and defensive lines should be really solid.  In the case of the defense, the entire front seven appears ready to take a huge step forward.  They could be the single biggest reason the JETS make the playoffs in 2014,  if they do.  Right now I’m leaning towards a playoff run but it definitely won’t be easy.  The patriots still tower over the division.  The Dolphins look improved and even the Bills will field a capable team that should have more success than last year’s version.

 

Some keys to a successful season for the Green & White are pretty obvious.

 

 

1-Geno Smith must continue his growth and ascension as an NFL QB. He must above all else protect the football.  Make the right throws with accuracy when the moment presents itself and use his feet when the opportunity arises.

 

 

2-The aforementioned defensive front seven must play to their capabilities.  The “Sons of Anarchy”, Wilkerson, Richardson and Harrison need to play like the wild disruptive forces they can be. Throw in large doses of David Harris, Calvin Pace, Jason Babin and especially Quinton Coples, and suddenly you have the makings of a pretty good defense.

 



 

3-The defensive backfield needs to be competent. Not necessary they play lights out nut they need to limit the many long playes that plagues them last year.  The safety positions are manned by the emerging Calvin Pryor and a steady group of vets.  I don’t think they will be as bad as the media is making them out to be.

 

4-IN GAME COACHING!  The JETS staff needs to improve their halftime adjustments.  Last year they were improving and hopefully that will continue in 2015.

 

 

5-RUN THE ROCK! The JETS have a running game that could very possibly land them in the top 5 of the league. Chris Johnson, Bilal Powell and Chris Ivory…a formidable three headed monster that can combine for over 2000 yards.  The JETS have a young QB…facing some of the game’s greats early in the season…they’re going to need to control clock and run the rock!

 

 

 

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NY METS not far from contention…if they make the right moves!

Harvey…Wheeler…deGrom…Niese…Gee…Syndergard…Colon…Montero…this MONSTER rotation or some version of it, could conceiveably have the NY METS in championship contention the next 10 years.

 

 

 

Mets Logo

Mets Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The Relief pitching can also be on a higher level with a healthy  Parnell, a rapidly improving Edgin, Mejia and Familia. But as is usually the case with this team, they face critical decisions that need to be made in the next 6 months if they truly expect to contend and be a force in the National League going forward.  These are the times when GM’s make their names. Sandy Alderson has the chance to build a serious contender if he can make the right moves.

 

 

 

Sandy Alderson

Sandy Alderson (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

But to get, you must also give.  It’s been a foregone conclusion that Colon would be traded for a bat.  But like many such conclusions, specially when it comes to the METS, it is usually a resounding who knows?  The deadline came and went and he’s still here.  Maybe insurance if Harvey isn’t completely healed from his surgery next season?  But with all of their strengths in the pitching area,  to get the bats they desperately need The METS are going to have to part with some of these guys.  Hopefully Sandy Alderson can get some great value without giving away the entire farm.

 

The METS need a shortstop who can field and hopefully hit a bit.  They METS need a big bopper in leftfield who will strike fear in opposing pitchers,  A 310 hitter who will smack a whole bunch of doubles in spacious CitiField and hit at least 30 home runs. I know that’s asking a lot.  They can also use a guy that can play a credible third base, or even first to back up Wright and Duda and give these guys a rest from time to time? With the very strong pitchingresiding in their minor league system,  the METS should have no problem landing the bats they need…but of course these are the METS after all and anything is possible.

 

I would imagine with the great depth of young players in the METS minor league system, Daniel Murphy,  as much as I like his grit and toughness,  will probably be somewhere else next year.

 

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

It’s a shame that a guy who works that hard and keeps his nose clean; a guy who made his first performance as an All-Star this year,  won’t find a long term home in Flushing.

 

Next year’s free agent class will be heavy with starting pitching so it may be in the Mets best interests to trade for,  rather than chase, the bats they need.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Kale…Easy to Grow and Good for You!

I’ve been growing kale for several years.  This vegetable is really easy to grow, the bugs seem to ignore it and the harvest is usually quite abundant.  We do two different types.  These shots were taken in our plot late July. The usual kind you see in the grocery store is the curly leaf kale.

photo

 

The other type we grow is the red winter or Russian kale, which has large flat leaves with jagged edges.  It grows a lot larger than the curly leaf type, up to 3 feet high. We don’t do anything particularly exotic to grow the kale.  We use an organic fertilizer, we mulch with horse manure and whatever else the town provides at the organic gardens and we water several times a week.  Occasionally I see small white flying insects on the leaves but they don’t seem to be injuring the plants in any way. I was them off with the hose.

photo

WIKIPEDIA describes KALE thusly…

Kale or borecole (Brassica oleracea Acephala Group) is a vegetable with green or purple leaves, in which the central leaves do not form a head. It is considered[by whom?] to be closer to wild cabbage than most domesticated forms of vegetables.

The species Brassica oleracea contains a wide variety of vegetables, including broccoli, cauliflower, collard greens, and brussels sprouts. The cultivar group Acephala also includes spring greens and collard greens, which are extremely similar genetically.

We plant the seeds early in the spring as the KALE likes the cool weather. We’ve used seeds from several sources including Burpee.com, Home Depot and the local hardware store. We sow directly in the ground.  There’s no need to start them indoors.  It takes a few weeks for the plants to get rolling but once the leaves appear they grow with a regularity that we can never keep up with. We cut the leaves from the bottom of the plants which allows the top leaves more room to grow and reach the sun.

We add the kale to asian inspired stir frys, stews, soups and as a side dish with a simple garlic and oil recipe.  We freeze quite a bit of the leaves and we have it all winter.

WIKIPEDIA describes these culinary uses for KALE.

Kale freezes well and tastes sweeter and more flavourful after being exposed to a frost. Tender kale greens can provide an intense addition to salads, particularly when combined with other such strongly flavoured ingredients as dry-roasted peanuts, soy sauce-roasted almonds, red capsicum flakes, or a sesame-based dressing. When combined with oils or lemon juice, kale’s flavor is noticeably reduced.[3] When baked or dehydrated, kale takes on a consistency similar to that of a potato chip. Curly kale varieties are usually preferred for chips. The chips can be seasoned with salt or other spices.

I paint kale with canola oil, onion powder, garlic powder, spicy hot sauces, soy sauce and nutrtional yeast, and then bake for a couple of hours at 200-250 degrees to make tasty kale chips.  In addition we always add fresh kale leaves to our smoothies.

The World’s Healthiest Foods web site (whfoods.com) talks about the great health benefits of eating Kale.

  • Kale can provide you with some special cholesterol-lowering benefits if you will cook it by steaming. The fiber-related components in kale do a better job of binding together with bile acids in your digestive tract when they’ve been steamed. When this binding process takes place, it’s easier for bile acids to be excreted, and the result is a lowering of your cholesterol levels. Raw kale still has cholesterol-lowering ability—just not as much.
  • Kale’s risk-lowering benefits for cancer have recently been extended to at least five different types of cancer. These types include cancer of the bladder, breast, colon, ovary, and prostate. Isothiocyanates (ITCs) made from glucosinolates in kale play a primary role in achieving these risk-lowering benefits.
  • Kale is now recognized as providing comprehensive support for the body’s detoxification system. New research has shown that the ITCs made from kale’s glucosinolates can help regulate detox at a genetic level.
  • Researchers can now identify over 45 different flavonoids in kale. With kaempferol and quercetin heading the list, kale’s flavonoids combine both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory benefits in way that gives kale a leading dietary role with respect to avoidance of chronic inflammation and oxidative stress.

Give a kale a try.  It’s tastes good…and it’s good for you!

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Thoughts on NY Jet Great…Joe Klecko

I am a lifelong New York Jet fan so I must admit that my feelings towards Joe Klecko are colored by my allegiance and fan-dom.  That said, #73 was undoubtedly one of the greatest, if not the greatest defensive lineman of his era.

 

New York Jets logo

New York Jets logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

English: Wayne Hardin and Joe Klecko at Temple

All of the hyperbole fits Joe Klecko.  Tough. Physical. Fearless. Smart. Courageous. Here are  quotes from Joe’s contemporaries.  Hall of Fame center Dwight Stephenson, in describing Klecko as a “great defensive lineman”, considered him one of the two best interior linemen he had ever faced. Hall of Fame tackle Anthony Munoz said about Klecko, “In my 13 seasons, Joe is right there at the top of the defensive ends I had to block, up there with Fred Dean, Lee Roy Selmon and Bruce Smith. Joe was the strongest guy I ever faced. He had perfect technique — hands in tight, great leverage. My second year, 1981, we went to Shea and beat the Jets, 31-30, but he was such an intense, smart player, I knew I was in a battle. He was the leader, the guy who kept that unit together.”  Hall of Fame guard Joe DeLamielleure added that “You can’t think of his ten year period without him. I had to block Joe Greene and Merlin Olsen when I was playing and, believe me, Joe Klecko was equal to those two guys. If Joe Klecko had played one position for ten years, he’d have been considered one of the top two or three players at that position, whichever one it was. There’s not another player who went to the Pro Bowl at three different positions. You take a defensive end and put him at nose tackle and he’s just as good there, that’s a great player. We need to get Joe Klecko in the Hall of Fame.”[7]

Joe Kleck was THAT good.  I have been a season ticket holder since Klecko’s second year with the JETS and I watched his play from the stands for many years.  I was always amazed at the tenacity and fierce aggression he showed at all times. This is the ONLY man to make the Pro Bowl at three different DEFENSIVE positions. (Frank Gifford is the only other person to make the Pro Bowl from three positions) That is a pretty incredible accomplishment.  He basically created the nose tackle position and had an astounding 7.5 sacks in his first year manning that spot.

 

2008 Pro Bowl

2008 Pro Bowl (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There were instances when he was injured and yet he managed to make play after play to lead the Jet defense. I remember a game in the old GIANTS Stadium when Klecko cut his hand on the helmet of one of the defensive players…I think it was safety Darroll Ray. There was blood all over the carpet and all over Klecko’s uniform.  He ran off the field and into the locker room and moments later Klecko reappeared with his hand in a wrap and continued to play and play very well.  We later found out that the cut was pretty bad and that Klecko had multiple stitches before returning to the game.

Let’s look at the stats.

24 sacks ( this stat was not an official statistic in the beginning of Joe’s career) He had numerous seasons with many sacks and many game changing plays. He had 9 fumble recoveries. He was the NEA NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1981.  That year as a member of the “SACK EXCHANGE”, he lead the league in sacks with 20.5. He was the PFWA Defensive Player of the Year in 1981. He was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Year in 1981. Joe was elected to the Pro Bowl in 1981, 1983, 1984 and 1985.  He was named All Pro in 1981 and 1985.  The JETS retired his number 73 and placed his name in the RING OF HONOR at the Stadium.

Joe Klecko was a warrior and a leader. In my opinion he belongs in the Football Hall of Fame.

 

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