Tebow Time hits the AFC East

636524.jpg

Tebow Time hits the AFC East

Yesterday afternoon, Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets.

Then he was untraded.

Then late last night, after a brief refractory period, the Broncos were ready to go again. This time, they asked Where's it going to be, Tim: New York or Jacksonville? And because thats an insanely easy question, he picked New York.

So now it's official: Tim Tebow plays for the Jets.

Im not going to say that its weirder than Peyton Manning playing for the Broncos, because thats just about as weird as it gets. Manning spent 14 years in Indianapolis. To quote the great Wong and Owens, "That's all we know!" Meanwhile, Tebows run in Denver spanned only 14 regular season starts.

Still, in two years, Tebow generated enough hype and attention to last two lifetimes. Love him or hate him, Tim Tebow became legend. And the idea of him making the move to the Meadowlands, and thanking his Lord and Savior from underneath that green and white striped helmet doesn't quite make sense. It's unnatural. Like if AC Green had joined the Jail Blazers. Or the Pope enlisted in the Hell Angels.

To this point, there's been some back and forth on exactly why the Jets brought Tebow into town.

Some believe that New York was motivated entirely by the PR side of things. As if all the good vibrations that surround Tebow will erase the negativity that's running rampant through that franchise. But that seems like a failed premise.

Remember when you were a kid, and your Mom would yell at you to make your bed?

When I was growing up, I was the king of trying to fool her with the old "comforter over the messy sheets" move. You know, you'd leave the sheets and blankets all crumpled up, but perfectly lay the comforter on top so it it looked like nothing was wrong?

Yeah, it never worked. And if that's what the Jets are trying to do with Tebow to drape his crystal clean image over the franchise and just hope that no one notices all the other crap then they'll fail too. But instead of being yelled at by their mothers, Mike Tannenbaum and Rex Ryan will lose their jobs.

On the other end of the spectrum there are some people who believe that this move was actually fueled by football.

After all, it's been reported that the reason Tebow picked the Jets to begin with is because they were the team most interested in Tebow the player, as opposed to Tebow the Holy Man. That they revealed plans for option and Wildcat formations and sold him on the idea of being a legitimate part of New York's offensive attack.

How will this work? Well, read this interesting post from ESPN Stats & Info, and you'll see that developing a quirky role for Tebow doesn't make a ton of statistical sense for the Jets. At the very least, it will thoroughly confuse things.

This for a team that's already more confused than David after the dentist.

So in the end, what do we make of this move here in New England? How do we react to the fact that Tim Tebow and every bit of the unprecedented absurdity that comes with him has been suddenly injected into the AFC East; into the fiercest, most storied and complex rivalry in Patriots history.

Personally, I love it. If for anything, because it just serves as another reminder of how quickly things are spiraling out of control down there.

I mean, let's face it: This time last year, the Jets were the toast of the AFC East. They'd just embarrassed the Pats in the postseason, made back-to-back AFC title games (while the Pats hadn't won a playoff game in years) and only appeared to be getting better.

As a Patriots fan, as much as it sucked to admit it, you feared the New York Jets.

These days, you barely recognize them.

Bart Scott is on his way out. Mark Sanchez is a mental mess, and can't get along with his train wreck of a No. 1 wide receiver. Shonn Greene's all right, but he's hardly the frightening every-down back that we feared he'd become. Dustin Keller is consistent and still improving, but he'll also be 28 years old in September. The time for him to make the leap is quickly running out.

In 2009, the Jets ranked first in points allowed. In 2010, they ranked sixth.

Last season, the defense ranked 20th in the NFL, and they've failed miserably in trying to get back on track. Most notably, they whiffed on signing safeties Reggie Nelson and Jarred Bush and had to settle on Laron Landry who appears to have lost his mind, and was recently cut by the Redskins to make room for Brandon Meriweather.

Read that last part again.

Brandon Meriweather.

On the sidelines, Rex Ryan doesn't know what hit him. In the aftermath of last year's disaster, he's tried changing his tune to that of a more humble, less outspoken coach. But he is who he is. It's too late to change his approach. At least as long as he's in New York. Up in the front office, Tannenbaum is strapped for cash, and running out of time and the means to turn the ship around. He and Ryan are both feeling the pressure. They know that something has to happen. You get the sense that they're starting to panic. That they're suddenly just grasping at straws

Case in point: They just traded for Tim Tebow!

Will he make the Jets any better? Probably not. In fact, chances are that the whole situation will just makes things worse. But for now, all we can say is that Tebow's arrival in New York has taken what was already going to be a bizarro NFL season, flipped it on its head and thrown it into a blender. Not that the NFL's ever lacked in the drama department, but next year's going to be wild. Peyton in Denver? Tebow on the Jets? It's hard to believe it's real.

But you better believe the Pats will be ready. And thanks to their own relatively well-known QB, now with an extra seven million dollars of cap space.

Maybe the Jets want to borrow some cash?

Then then could finally afford what this team really needs:

A few hundred sessions with Dr. Drew.

Rich can be reached at rlevine@comcastsportsnet.com. Follow Rich on Twitter at http:twitter.comrich_levine

With injury in his past, Malcolm Subban is looking toward future

bruins_malcolm_subban_092215.jpg

With injury in his past, Malcolm Subban is looking toward future

BOSTON – It’s not really ever a banner day for any red-blooded, red-light hating goalie when he surrenders four goals in a game.

But perhaps that bottom line is softened a little bit considering when it’s also the first game of the preseason. It may also be drastically mitigated by the fact, in this case, that it was the first time Malcolm Subban guarded the space between the pipes since taking a puck to the throat that fractured his larynx last February.

That traumatic injury left Subban unable to speak for days and gasping for air while being rushed to the hospital for emergency surgery.

It was a tiny victory simply for the Bruins goalie prospect to be back on the ice at all and a much bigger one once Subban had made 31 saves while largely under siege in a 5-1 loss to the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden on Wednesday night.

The 22-year-old admitted a little rush in net while the Red Wings were buzzing all around him for 35 shots on net through his two periods of work, but there was also happiness at simply being to back and building up for another season in the Bruins organization.

“It was great to finally get back out. Obviously, [I was] really rusty. To be honest, I felt – not so much the goals even, but just shots in general, especially in the first, obviously nerves had a little bit to do with it,” said Subban, who was 14-8-5 with a .911 save percentage and 2.46 goals-against average last season in Providence. “But it was the first time in a long time I could say that I felt not up to speed. I feel like usually I’m overplaying stuff, too fast. But, I felt today like practice is a lot different than a game.

“In the first, I thought I was a little behind the play. That starts to open up holes like my post coverage and stuff. A little rusty there, especially on the third goal, I’ve got to clean that stuff up. Other than that, I thought I played pretty well in terms of straight shots. We practice all that stuff. I’ve just got to keep working on that end. Hopefully, I can move forward and build on that. I think it’s a great game to build off, for sure, for myself and the team.”

The goals allowed showed some on defense, but also some of the rust in their goalie: Subban lost sight of the puck behind the net on the second goal and Steve Ott was able to fire a quick shot past him on the short side before he could recover his bearings. 

The third goal was also a post coverage issue with Luke Glendening scoring on a late-reacting Subban, which is usually one of his real strengths. So, there is work to be done, but Subban also shut down a number of breakaways in the second period behind a leaky defense and stopped over 30 pucks before he gave way to young goalie Dan Vladar.

That’s considered more than an honest night’s work in the first preseason appearance for any goaltender, and surely for one playing his first game in seven months.  

“I think it was [a good outing for Subban]. He faced some quality scoring chances out there, and the ones that went in probably he’d like to have back, you know,” said Bruins assistant coach Joe Sacco. “But overall, I think when you look at his overall performance for the two periods he played pretty solid for us. He made some big saves, some timely saves and moved well in there. I think for Malcolm, you know, despite the score, I think he had a good night.”

Perhaps most encouraging: the middle Subban brother made a key save at the end of the first period with a puck off his helmet after Detroit had scored twice in a span of 19 seconds.

The stop with Subban’s head gear was probably the best sign of the night that he’s over last year’s traumatic injury and there isn’t going to be any shell-shocked goaltender situation with him.

So, did the injury cross his mind even once during his 40 minutes of work?

“To be honest, no. I owe a lot of credit to my players and these guys on the team in practice and stuff. I really haven’t had to worry about [taking another puck to the throat], getting hit,” said Subban, who now wears a neck guard after eschewing that particular piece of equipment prior to the injury. You’ve got some pretty good shooters in here; pretty accurate shooters. But, yeah, to be honest, I never really thought of [the fractured larynx], it never came across my mind.”

One thing that’s definitely been on Subban’s mind in camp is his contract situation and knowing full well he’s in the last season of his entry-level deal with the Bruins as a former first-round pick. He now has both Anton Khudobin and Tuukka Rask in front of him in the NHL and he’s looking at a fourth straight season in the AHL with the P-Bruins.

It might have been a different story for the talented goalie prospect if he’d finished last season in the same hot streak he was enjoying at the time of his injury. Perhaps he’d be the guy prepping to be Rask’s understudy this season. Instead, the ill-timed larynx injury pushed the Bruins to opt for an established backup in Khudobin and sign him to a two-year deal that could conceivably lock Subban in Providence for a couple more seasons.

So, now Subban is playing for his future, whether it’s with the Bruins, or with another team looking for a young No. 1 goaltending prospect just now entering his prime after refining his technique and going through some character-building adversity.

“I had a hard summer of workouts and skating, so I feel good. I’m not going to hold myself short. I understand that this is my contract year and the last year of my contract, so I’ve got to have a good year regardless of where I am. I’ve just got to play awesome,” said Subban. “Obviously you want to sign again, and you want to be a part of the organization. You want to be a huge part of it and a valued asset.

“So, what I’m looking forward to proving right now is that the last three years helped me, and that I’ve improved since my first year, and that I want to be here [in Boston].”

It will certainly be interesting to see what happens with Subban within the B’s organization over the next season.

The Bruins regime that initially drafted him 24th overall back in 2012 is now gone. Subban still has value to an NHL team, particularly a Canadian one, scouring the market for a blue-chip goalie prospect. The organization is also going to be forced to expose a quality goaltender or two in the Las Vegas franchise expansion draft after this season. That could mean a new work address, or a new spot opened up within the B’s goalie depth chart, for Subban.

All of these could be possibilities for Subban, but it all starts with him pouring everything he’s learned over the past three years and dominating the AHL before he pushes for his first extended look at the highest level of hockey. 

'Big, mean, physical back' Blount wins AFC Offensive Player of the Month

patriots-legarrette-blount-081916.jpg

'Big, mean, physical back' Blount wins AFC Offensive Player of the Month

FOXBORO -- The first three weeks of the season really couldn't have gone any better for LeGarrette Blount. 

He leads the NFL in rushing with 298 yards, and he's scored four times in three games as the Patriots have relied more on the running game in Tom Brady's absence. For his efforts, he's been named the AFC's Offensive Player of the Month. It's the first time he's earned an Offensive Player of the Month award, and it's the first time a Patriots player has been given the honor since Brady won it in September of last year. 

Blount was one of the keys to victory for the Patriots in their Thursday night win over the Texans as he ran for 105 yards and two scores. Patriots coach Bill Belichick lauded Blount for his performance -- especially his performance in the fourth quarter -- in the postgame locker room celebration. With that performance, the Patriots have called more running plays than any other club in the league (108), and Blount leads the NFL in carries with 75, one more than Houston's Lamar Miller. 

Blount is averaging 25 carries per game, which is 9.5 more than his previous career-high, which he recorded back when he was a rookie for the Buccaneers in 2010, and it's 11.2 carries more than his average last year. He could be in line to be a significant part of the game plan yet again during the final game of Brady's suspension Sunday against the Bills.

"Just a big, mean, physical back," Bills coach Rex Ryan said on Wednesday. "That’s how he runs, that’s how he’s always run."