Tag Archives: Leon Washington

An amazing dog leads a rescue. Missing Leon already. And a new take on “Go to hell.”

I’ll answer your first question immediately: Yes, it’s entirely possible that you’ll now read one or two more dog-related stories in this blog since, you know, I’ve got me a pooch. A pooch who, by the way, had his first two house “accidents” on Saturday.

Anyway, this story sounds completely made up, and too amazing to be true. But it’s real. Buddy the German Shepherd is the star of Anchorage, AK this weekend, after leading the Alaska State Troopers through back roads to a fire at a workshop.

I don’t know what’s the most amazing part of this story:The fact that the trooper’s GPS failed and the dog just happened to be in his line of sight, or that Buddy led the trooper directly to the house.

Truly incredible stuff.

**You know, as a sports fan you grow emotionally attached to some players on your favorite teams. They may not be the best players, necessarily, but you just love them for their whole careers. I felt that way about Adam Graves on the Rangers, Paul O’Neill on the Yankees, and Chris Carrawell of Duke basketball, to name a few.

On the New York Jets, Leon Washington has been my guy the last few years. I begged and pleaded with the coach at the time to get him the ball out of the backfield more, because every time little Leon touched the ball, good things happen. The running back made people miss, burst through holes in an instant, and was Mr. Excitement on kickoff returns.

He had a bright future. Only Leon suffered a horrible leg injury last year and missed most of the year. His rehab has been slow, apparently, and Saturday, after my beloved Green and White drafted another running back, they traded Leon to Seattle.

I am not exactly to the point of weeping and saying “Say it Ain’t so” or anything like that. But I loved Leon and I will miss him.

**Finally, Joe Posnanski makes me laugh out loud with his little asides in his columns. This one killed me, from a recent blog post of his:

*You know, if you think about it, “Go to hell,” as an expression, does seem a bit over the top, doesn’t it? I mean, you overhear a conversation that goes something like this:

Fan 1: “You really think Kobe is better than LeBron?”
Fan 2: “Of course he is. Look at the four rings.”
Fan 1: “Four rings? Kobe plays nursemaid to Shaq for three of them, and then wins one with a freaking loaded team with Gasol and Odom and Fisher and …”
Fan 2: “Fisher? You think Fisher’s good?”
Fan 1: “I think Fisher’s better than the garbage LeBron has been carrying on his back.”
Fan 2: “You’re crazy. LeBron is never going to win one.”
Fan 1: “Go to hell.”

In this case, a disagreement about the playing ability of two of the finer players in the NBA has led one to consign the other to eternal damnation in an everlasting furnace of fire with wailing and gnashing of teeth. Seems a bit much. Now, if Fan 1 was saying Kobe was better than Jordan, OK, maybe I can see it …

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Jets beat the hell out of the Raiders, a “Little House” spoof, and the Yanks go back to the Series

Jets Raiders Football

For a while in the early part of this decade, it seemed like the Oakland Raiders ripped my heart out every year.

They beat the Jets big, they beat them small. They beat them in the regular season, they beat them in the playoffs. OK, no more Dr. Seuss-like pronouncements. But basically, the Raiders owned the Jets.

That’s why Sunday was so sweet for me, and for, I’m sure, all the Jets fans out there. Sunday, against one of the worst NFL teams I have ever seen, Gang Green beat the ever-loving stuffing out of the Raiders, 38-0.

Except for one horrible injury to Leon Washington, who suffered a broken fibula and about whom a teammate said “I could see blood spurting out. I’ve never seen anything like that before” (lovely), it was a sensational day for the Jets.

They finally did what they should’ve done last week: run, run, and run some more, and throw the ball only when absolutely necessary.

Thomas Jones looked terrific, as did rookie Shonn Greene (though, unlike the Mets’ Shawn Green, I don’t think is Jewish), who replaced Leon Washington.

Mark Sanchez did just enough, though I have no freakin’ idea why he was still in the game to take a couple of hellacious hits late in the fourth quarter. Sanchez was poised, confident, and made the throws he needed to make. And really, that’s all we should ask of the kid. These Jets fans who are ready to throw him out after a few bad games are morons. The kid has now started 23 games since high school.

The Jets defense was outstanding (welcome to the season, Calvin Pace, you of your two strip sacks), and JaMarcus Russell, God bless you for being so awful. He basically gave the Jets their first two touchdowns. I was legitimately sad when the Raiders pulled him.

Losing Leon is a huge blow; his dangerous kickoff returns alone make him a big asset. But with this win, the Jets stay a game back of New England, and have a chance at some Dolphins revenge next week.

Man, this Jets team is hard to figure after 7 weeks: Three straight wins, then three straight losses, now a resounding win. Ask me around Thanksgiving and I’ll be able to tell you if they’re any good or not.

Some other quick-hit thoughts on this NFL Sunday:

**Good God the Saints are explosive. Down 24-3, they scored 43 points in the last two quarters and the last minute of the first half. Forty-three! Couldn’t happen at a better time, against the hated Dolphins. Thanks, Drew Brees. If the 4-3 Jets can beat 2-4 Miami next week at the Meadowlands, that could just bury the ‘Fins’ playoff hopes. Lovely.

**Ah, that’s the Brett Favre I remember from last season. A fumble in the fourth quarter in the red zone against Pittsburgh, returned for a touchdown, then an INT that wasn’t his fault a few minutes later.

**So someone please tell me how JaMarcus Russell is still a starting quarterback in the NFL. If he’s an NFL quarterback, I’m Manute Bol.

**Go ahead, you figure out the Cincinnati Bengals.

pettitte

**As for the New York Yankees, I of course am thrilled to see them finish off those poor-fielding Angeles of Los Angeles, 5-2 Sunday night. It seems like it’s been a lot longer than six years since the Bronx Bombers have been in the Series, but that’s probably just something obnoxious Yankee fans like me think sometimes.

Couple thoughts:

1. This will be a longer post this week, but the Yankee fans’ adoration of Alex Rodriguez is something I never thought I’d see. Much like with Bill Clinton, I’ve always been so conflicted about him, myself.

2. It amazes me what pressure can do to human beings. The Angels were a fantastic defensive team in the regular season. But in the pressure cooker of October, they melted like an egg on a sidewalk in Florida in July.

3. Also, memo to FOX baseball directors: We really don’t need to see a fan reaction shot to EVERY out. And why do we care if Giuliani’s at the game anymore? He hasn’t been the mayor since 2001.

**Finally, I was watching a Rangers game Saturday night through the NHL’s free preview of its Center Ice Package, and the telecast was a “Hockey Night in Canada” production. Always a good time. Anyway, I heard a promo for something that I couldn’t believe was real, but apparently it is.

There’s a Canadian sitcom called “Little Mosque on the Prairie.” Seriously. According to the show’s web site, it’s an internationally-acclaimed comedy about Muslims and Christians attempting to live in harmony in the small town of Mercy, Saskatchewan.

This brings to mind all kinds of jokes in my head (would Laura Ingalls Wilder ever go to Mecca?), but I’m sure many of them would be offensive.

Anyway, here’s a clip of the show, from the first episode: I found it interesting.

A crushing, crushing Jets loss. And a so-so Michael Moore movie reviewed

ronniebrown

Most of this time, I try to entertain or make you think on this blog.

Today, though, today is not for that. Today is for me and the rest of Jets nation to wallow in the feeling of being crushed, and having our guts ripped out.

Fortunately for us, it’s a feeling we’ve come to know quite well. Doesn’t make it any easier to cope with, but we’re used to it.

Consider this my therapy. If it helps you, great. If not, well, I’ll feel better in a few hundred words (I think.)

A loss to the Miami Dolphins is one thing. A loss to the Dolphins on national TV is another. But a loss to the damn Dolphins with six seconds left? After the Jets supposedly “strong” defense allows Miami to march down the field and then score the winning touchdown when Ronnie Brown, who I swear ran for 150 yards Monday (actually only 74), busts in from the 2? Just brutal.

It was a hell of an exciting game, sure. It reminded me of so many classic Jets-Dolphins games from my youth.

And before I start pointing out the bad, I have to point out a few positives: 1, Mark Sanchez throws a hell of a deep ball. It wasn’t a great game for the rookie QB, but he tantalizes us sometimes by showing how good he can be. Those overthrows in the first half and missed reads? All is forgiven after the gorgeous deep ball to David Clowney (welcome to the team, sir) and the perfectly thrown pass to Braylon Edwards.

Man, Sanchez is going to be great once he figures out what he’s doing.

2. Braylon. Wow. I’d call that a pretty good debut! One touchdown, should’ve had another (that was a terrible overrule on his second TD; yes his knee was down but he hadn’t been touched yet!), and he drew a pass interference penalty that set up the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth. I am utterly excited to see what Edwards and Sanchez can cook up after a few weeks of practice. He’s already the best Jets receiver since Keyshawn Johnson.

3. The running game looked a lot better. Still not great, but they got the tough yards when they needed to; Thomas Jones had a little burst, and Leon (who didn’t get the ball enough, again; 11 touches???) Washington looked good, too.

OK, now for the bad. The defense. Just awful. I don’t know which was worse, the run defense of the pass defense. Chad Henne, a quarterback making his second career start, threw 20 of 26 for 241 yards. That’s unacceptable. I understand Lito Sheppard is hurt, but come on. Darrelle Revis and the safeties got burned like fingers trying to take a plate out of the oven without mitts on (OK, that didn’t really work, but go with me here) by Ted Ginn of all people. Ted Ginn, who couldn’t catch a cold the last few weeks.

The pass rush? I didn’t see it. Tackling? Nowhere near as good as it has been; Calvin Pace, in his first game back, whiffed quite a few times on Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams.

And still, as bad as the defense was, they just needed one or two stops on the final drive. To me, the game was as good as over on that 3rd and 10 when Henne hit, I think Camarillo on the pass wide by the sideline for a first down. ONE STOP is all the Jets needed, and couldn’t get it.

I’m not going overboard, though, like many on the Jets message boards I just checked out. Some of those people on there are insane, bashing Rex Ryan and wanting to get rid of everyone and all that idiocy.

Would I have taken a 3-2 record after five games, back on Sept. 1? Of course. But that’s the problem with raised expectations. Once you go 3-0, you’re not supposed to be 3-2.

The Jets will get the defense fixed. I’m confident of that. I’m confident they can beat the two JV teams on the schedule next, Buffalo and Oakland.

But tonight, as I type this in what Frank Sinatra called “the wee small hours of the morning,” I’m just feeling empty, with a bit of bile and one request:

I don’t want to hear the word “Wildcat” for at least a week.

Capitalismpic

*** So I went to see the Michael Moore movie “Capitalism: A Love Story” on Sunday. (By the way, the geniuses at my local cineplex spelled the first word of the title “Capitolism” on the marquee. The epidemic of bad spelling in this country is really staggering).

My verdict? Pretty good, not great. It has most of the Moore-movie hallmarks: Outrage at big shots, some new revelations of unethical business practices (life insurance policies on employees was an eye-opener for me), and some funny bits.

I guess I expected more, though. Problem is, Moore is too famous to ambush anyone anymore; nobody who would make a good “gotcha” subject is willing to talk to him. I also thought the movie dragged a little in the middle, and was a little too “all over the place” at times. We pinballed from topic to topic quite a bit.

Still, it was worth my seven bucks. I just feel like Moore is now acting like the person we all expect him to be, and he’s losing a little genuineness in the process.

Three and oh, my New York Jets keep flying. And a great old Jewish joke at the end

jetsweek3

Well, this is getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

It’s getting increasingly difficult for me to strike my usually pessimistic, gloomy view of my New York Jets.

Yet another Sunday afternoon, and yet another day I leave Houligan’s (sports bar where I watch the games) happy. After a great start, a very shaky 2nd and 3rd quarters, and a terrific 4th, Gang Green beat Tennessee, 24-17.

It was quite different from the first two games, but at the end all I care about is the W. Three and oh. Never, in a hundred years, would I have predicted the Jets would be 3-0 after this brutal early schedule they had.

But hell, maybe after 40 years everything is starting to go right again. Heck, the Jets got two gift touchdowns from the Titans’ returner (or should I say ex-returner) Ryan Mouton, Mark Sanchez didn’t panic under pressure, and they’ve got a quarterback crazy enough to take on defenders while leading with his head. It’s great!

— Let’s start with Mark Sanchez. Love the kid’s poise in the pocket, but hey Mark, bubeleh, next time you’re going to try to run it in for a touchdown, please slide or try to go around the big dude trying to tackle you? This play scared the hell out of us fans (fast forward to about the :32 mark). Still, really bad attempt at a mustache aside, the kid is making all the right moves. Sure he had some mistakes Sunday; the ball slipped out of his hand a few times, and he threw an INT that wasn’t his fault. But he’s making progress every week.

— Big game for David Harris and Bart Scott, the Jets new linebacker combo. They harassed Kerry Collins in the fourth quarter. The D looked shaky for quite a while in the second and third quarters, but you know what? When it mattered most and they HAD to get stops, they did. I love that Rex Ryan throws so many different looks at opposing offenses; three straight weeks now, in the fourth quarter, the opposing QB looked rattled.

–I’m officially concerned about the Jets running game. It’s been three games now, and the O-line hasn’t been opening too many holes. Thomas Jones had two good runs in Week 1 and that’s been it, and Leon Washington hasn’t done much, either.

— Jerricho Cotchery, you rule. Couple of fantastic catches Sunday. Overall, the offense was subpar, but they took advantage of the chances the Titans gave them.

— Tennessee’s receivers totally let Kerry Collins down most of the day. Justin McCareins, where have you gone? Oh wait, he stunk, too.

— Next week is a freebie in my mind. I don’t expect the Jets to go into the Superdome and shut down Drew Brees (though Buffalo did a pretty good job on him Sunday.) Even if the Jets lose that one, they’re 3-1 with two games against Miami, one against Buffalo and one against Oakland the next four weeks. Sounds good to me.

OK, enough giddiness. These are my Jets I’m talking about here. They’ll break my heart again at some point this season. But for now, man this is fun!

Other NFL thoughts:

— Congrats to the Detroit Lions and their fans, as the Leos finally broke a 19-game losing streak with a win over the Redskins. If I’m Washington head coach Jim Zorn, I’m not answering the phone for a few days. It’ll probably be crazy owner Dan Snyder looking to fire him. Great column on the Lions here by the great Mitch Albom.

–HUGE comeback win for the Cincinnati Bengals, HBO’s favorite team. Down 20-9 at home to the Steelers in the fouth, Cincy comes back and wins with a Carson Palmer touchdown in the final minute. Psychologically, Pittsburgh has owned the Bengals, so this one is huge. Who’d have figured Pittsburgh would be 1-2 after three weeks, with two crushing last-minute losses? Check out Cincy Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty (who I always read after Bengals games because even when they’re terrible, he’s wildly entertaining) with a good column here.

— We have two legit opportunities for a team to go 0-16 this year. I don’t have a clue who the Cleveland Browns will be able to beat; they look horrendous. And the St. Louis Rams, well, they’re not much better, especially if Marc Bulger is out for a while.

— Apparently some guy playing QB for the Vikings had a last-second touchdown to win the game. Sorry, I’m still in a Brett Favre blackout. Can’t discuss it.

— The Miami Dolphins’ receivers stink. All of ’em. Man did they drop a lot of passes Sunday in their loss to San Diego. Ted Ginn, especially, can’t seem to catch a cold. Poor Chad Pennington got hurt again, too; I love Chad but he gets hurt practically every year.

— Miami is 0-3, my Jets are 3-0. That’s just beautiful.

**Finally today, for those of you, like me, going without food for Yom Kippur, here’s a great joke from a very cool website called, Old Jews Telling Jokes. It is, well, exactly what it says is: A web site where old jews stand up and tell jokes.

This one is unsafe for work at the end, so maybe turn your volume down if that’s where you’re hearing it:

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Mark Sanchez makes me happy, and maybe the best Federer shot ever

Jets Sanchez Football 

You know, I’m trying to stay level-headed today. I keep telling myself, “It’s only one game, it’s only one game.” Lots of quarterbacks have had one great game. Hell, a journeyman named Scott Mitchell once had three great games, got a huge contract, then stunk up the field for the next two years.

But man, Sunday afternoon my New York Jets’ latest “savior” quarterback had a hell of a debut. A smashing, bang-up debut, one that had all the critics (well, me and every other Jets fan who are conditioned to be critical after 40 years of mostly losing) shaking our heads in wonder.

Mark Sanchez played like a 10-year veteran in leading my beloved Green and White to a stunningly convincing 24-7 win over the Houston Texans, heretofore thought to be a pretty good team. Sanchez stepped up in the pocket to avoid the rush. He made smart, accurate throws. He scrambled when he had to. He held on to the ball when his receivers were covered and he didn’t try to be Superman, forcing a ball into triple-coverage.

In short (which, incidentally, is what I am), he was awesome. The Jets’ offensive line was awesome, giving Sanchez all kinds of time. Leon Washington, who you will soon learn is my favorite Jet, was terrific, too.  Thomas Jones, who did nothing in the first half, had two huge runs in the second half to help salt the game away.

And man, what a start for the Jets defense. They were flying all over the place. New coach Rex Ryan came in with a lot of expectations on him, to make the defense great and blitz and force turnovers and all that stuff he did with the Baltimore Ravens.

Well, so far, so great. The Jets forced two turnovers, harassed Houston QB Matt Schaub into all kinds of hurried throws and sacked him twice, and tackled as well as the Jets have tackled in years. Darrelle Revis, the star DB, completely shut down Texans wideout Andre Johnson.

Very, very satisfying opening win, right up there as openers go with the win at Tennessee a few years back, and the mauling of Seattle in Bill Parcells’ first game in 1997.

The bullies from New England come into the Meadowlands next week. I’m certain Sanchez will make a few mistakes in that one, since Bill Belichick is known for confusing young quarterbacks.

But I really like what I see from this kid; after his one huge mistake, an interception returned for a touchdown, he didn’t get nervous or suddenly make tentative throws; he fired a laser to Dustin Keller on 3rd down on the next drive for a huge first down. The kid seems to have moxie and swagger (Moxie and Swagger, weren’t those two of the dudes in Billy the Kid’s gang?), and you have to love what he showed Sunday.

Couple other quick thoughts on Sunday’s NFL games:

— Poor Bengals. They’re down 6-0 to Denver, finally score with 35 seconds to go to take the lead 7-6, and it looks like they’re going to win. Then Denver hits a miracle play, off a deflection that just happens to land in Brandon Stokely of the Broncos’ hands, and he goes all the way for the winning touchdown.

All I can say is, Bengals fans, I’ve been there.

— Boy am I glad I drafted Drew Brees with my first pick in both fantasy leagues I’m in. Six touchdowns? Yeah, I’ll take that every week.

— Don’t overreact to Week 1, but the Panthers and Browns appear to stink, the Chiefs and Lions may not stink as much as we thought, while Philly and Indy are going to be pretty damn good again.

Finally, check out my penultimate U.S. Open tennis blog here, and watch this amazing shot (below) by Roger Federer in his semifinal win. This was maybe one of the two or three best shots I’ve ever seen Roger ever hit; my jaw hit the floor. Federer later called it the best shot he’s ever hit, and you can tell by his reaction how excited he was.

P.S. As usual, my favorite sports writer Joe Posnanski has written an entire, beautiful column about this Federer shot; check it out here. In it, he makes a fantastic point that I completely agree with: The more you know about tennis, the more you appreciate how amazing Federer is.