Friday, Sep. 11, 2009

New York, New York

Interesting off-seasons for both New York teams have resulted in more questions than answers. The biggest: Which New York team is entering the season in better shape? The Giants have lost Plaxico Burress to prison, Amani Toomer to Kansas City (which subsequently dropped him) and Derrick Ward to free agency; David Tyree, he of the heroic helmet catch that kept the Giants in Super Bowl XLII, was cut from the team Sept. 5. But the squad looks solid defensively, faces a cakewalk schedule and has a steady (albeit expensive) quarterback in Eli Manning. The Jets, meanwhile, are starting from scratch yet again with the departure of the still unretired Brett Favre, but new coach Rex Ryan has impressed his players — a roster that includes talented running backs Thomas Jones and Leon Washington and rookie QB Mark Sanchez. Sanchez's preseason success has Jets fans speaking of him in the same sentence as Joe Namath, the only man ever to lead the team to the Super Bowl. If the USC product can meet the more reasonable expectations of a 9-7 season — the same record as Favre's — it might just be good enough to get the Jets into the playoffs.