The Week That Was: The Jets Get Their Quarterback

      The Jets have needed a young franchise-caliber quarterback for years and it was apparent that the team’s recent tandem of Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg (the latter never even played a down in a regular season game) weren’t the answer.

      That’s why a lot of Jets fans at the beginning of last season were rooting against their team to win too many games because that would hurt their 2018 draft position. Their strategy was what I would dub as “Stink for Sam”. It would be worth the short-run pain for their team to land who they thought was the best college quarterback in the country, the University of Southern California’s Sam Darnold.

      Apparently Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan felt the same way. The Jets ‘5-11 record was only bad enough to land them the sixth spot in the draft and he knew that Darnold would be selected by one of the five teams in front of him. He found a trading partner with the Indianapolis Colts who were willing to trade their #3 spot for a collection of second-round picks that the Jets had accumulated.

     Having the third pick is not the same as having the top draft spot so the Jets still needed some luck.

     They were fortunate that their neighbor and MetLife Stadium co-tenant, the Giants, were unwilling to think about a future after Eli Manning and thus selected Penn State running back Saquan Barkley who Big Blue general manager Dave Gettleman envisions to be the second coming of Jim Brown.

      The Cleveland Browns held the top spot and no one had any idea what they were going to do which was in keeping with that woebegone NFL franchise. In the week before the draft the stock of undersized Heisman Trophy QB winner Baker Mayfield seemed to suddenly rise. I wouldn’t be surprised if the Jets were pumping up Mayfield in the hopes of conning the Browns. In any case, the Browns went with Baker.

     Since the Jets’ last franchise QB hope, Mark Sanchez, also was a USC alum, comparisons between Darnold and him were inevitable. Before injuries took their toll, Sanchez was pretty good as he led the Jets to back to back appearances in the American Football Conference championship game where they lost to superior teams, the Broncos and Steelers. Darnold is a bigger guy and has a better arm. He should be fine but he should spend this year with a clipboard in his hand watching Josh McCown lead the Jets offense..

    Baker Mayfield will quickly learn that being chosen first may not be best. Aside from the Browns’ ineptitude, Cleveland isn’t New York in terms of endorsement deals. The latest examples are Yankees slugger Aaron Judge doing commercials for Pepsi while his teammate, the dapper Didi Gregorius, is part of Bloomingdale’s latest print campaign.                      

     The Jets drafted Beach Channel High School alum and University of Connecticut defensive lineman Folorunso “Foley” Fatukasi in the sixth round of the draft.

      Given all of the injuries that occurred to the Mets’ starting staff over the last twelve months it is understandable that Mets fans were far more concerned about health than they were whether Mets starters could still dominate opposing hitters.

     While both Noah Syndergaard and Jacob deGrom have lived up to billing, the other members of the “Five Aces Club”–Steven Matz, Zack Wheeler, and Matt Harvey have not. Harvey was so ineffective that Mets manager Mickey Callaway sent him to the bullpen Harvey understandably was not a happy camper and in prototypical form stopped talking to the media for two days.

     Sandy Alderson couldn’t have been too happy as April came to a close with his two biggest free agent pitching signings during the off-season. Reliever Anthony Swarzak has been on the disabled list for most of the season with a left arm oblique injury while Jason Vargas, who broke his left non-pitching hand in spring training, was activated over the weekend. Alderson probably wished that he remained on the disabled list after watching Vargas get pummeled by the Padres in San Diego Saturday night.  

     Former Yankees shortstop great and current Miami Marlins owner Derek Jeter did a good job maintaining his sunny disposition during his interview last week with Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s “Real Sports.”

     It would have been a better story had Gumbel also interviewed the Marlins’ majority owner Bruce Sherman who has deliberately stayed under the media radar as he happily allows Jeter to be the public face of the troubled franchise.

     One of the intriguing aspects of Mike Francesa’s decision to return to WFAN roughly four months after saying that he would be leaving the station was listening to an interview his longtime chief competitor, Michael Kay on ESPN Radio, conducted with Francesa’s former partner, Chris “Mad Dog” Russo. The two conversed about their Arbitron ratings battles from back in the day and whether Francesa would be the same dominating force for WFAN that he was before. I’ll discuss the Francesa-WFAN soap opera more in my next column.

     North Carolina for some reason does not yet have a Major League Baseball team. On the other hand North Carolina does have the NFL’s Carolina Panthers, the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, and the NHL’s Carolina Hurricane. It also has great mountains in its west for hiking and more than 300 miles of Atlantic Ocean coast for swimming surfing, and fishing.

     The Hickory State’s travel bureau, NC Tourism selected a pair of musicians from Jackson Heights, Zac Zinger and Tomo Akaboshi, to visit the state and experience its charms for ads that will run in print, online, and on television in selected markets.

      Last week’s Editor Showcase, which is a quarterly event for the media, highlighted healthy snacking. Among the new quick food choices were Eggland’s already peeled hard-boiled eggs that can be eaten eight out of the package; Naturipe, the California-based fruit company that is celebrating its centennial has different bite-sized fruit combinations in ready-to-serve packaging; and Lifeway is now making the yogurt-like kefir in cups in addition to its popular kefir beverages that are sold in the dairy sections of supermarkets.

     At the semi-annual TTPM (Toys, Tots, Pets & More) showcase, Wowwee, which has produced the sophisticated MiP line of robot toys will be introducing a new adult board game in August titled “What’s That Smell?” that will humorously test one’s olfactory senses. Some of the smells are pleasant while there are a few odors that are not to state it diplomatically!

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