Heat in the 90's, humidity on the rise, thunderstorms and lightning fill the weatherforecasts, yep IT'S TIME FOR FOOTBALL HERE IN THE NEW YORK / NEW JERSEY AREA!
By now both local NFL teams have opened up their training camps to get ready for the 2012 regular season. The Super Bowl Champion New York Giants return to the confines of Albany for their summer sessions and the Talk Bowl Champion New York Jets return to upstate Cortland after a year's absence.
As usual the Giants go about their business without any blaring sounds or controversies as Big Blue attempts to repeat and win its third Super Bowl in 5 years.
There has to be major concern with the injury suffered by CB Terrell Thomas in the first week of camp. Thomas, who was attempting to return from a season-ending ACL injury last year, has at press time re-injured the tendon again. It is feared he may be lost for the season and a 3rd surgery may indicate the end of a career. Thomas had the same injury while in college at USC.
Otherwise, so far so good at Camp Coughlin. The Giants have few holes in their lineup and not many true competitions for playing time exist. With the departures of Mario Manningham and Brandon Jacobs there are opportunities at wide receiver and running back. Hakeem Nicks will also miss most of the pre season games at wide reciever as he returns from an injury as well.
One other sore spot might be on the defensive line where versatile backup Dave Tollefson has departed to Oakland via free agency. Tolly was well used allowing Osi Umeniora and Jason Pierre Paul as well as Justin Tuck to rest on the sideline. With the injury to Thomas all eyes will be focused on Prince Amoukmarra, last year's number one draft pick, as he steps up this year.
For the Champions of Talk, aka Gang Green, aka the New York Jets, this is time to put up or shut up. No more super promises from Rex Ryan. No more bragging about "almost" making it to the super bowl.
There are major challenges for the Jets. Perhaps the biggest is on offense with changes at running back and wide receiver compounded by the fact that the Jets have made a quarterback controversy by acquiring Tim Tebow from the Broncos. This is clearly a move showing lack of confidence in Mark Sanches. And while we have said before we like Tebow the man, as a quarterback the jury is still out as to if he's of NFL caliber.
With the Jets, the bigger issue is always what is going on off the field and in this case Rex Ryan, the head coach, can't keep his mouth shut. Vowing not to predict a super bowl finish this year, Rex promoted himself as the best defensive coach in the NFL. Who cares? Rex win something, let the critics say how good you are...or aren't.
We will be watching as the exhibition season opens next weekend, but with the Mets season over and the Yankees heading for the post season again we will be looking at our pro football teams closely during the pre season. Opening day is 5 weeks away.