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Archive for the ‘Jews and football’ Category

 

JFL, Week 10

Posted on: November 13th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan No Comments

Nate Ebner played 22 downs on special teams (76 percent) for the New England Patriots in their 41-16 win over the host Denver Broncos. He made one tackle. He had been nursing a sore shoulder. The Pats are 7-2, first in the AFC East.

Marpet_Cleats for a Cause.pngAli Marpet played at 71 snaps at center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their 15-10 win over the visiting NY Jets. The Bucs improve to 3-6 but are still last in the NFC South. Here’s an example of Marpet as mensch.

Mitchell Schwartz and the KC Chiefs (6-3, first in the AFC West) had their bye week.

Given the woeful performance of the NY Giants, would it be that far flung a notion to give offensive lineman Adam Bisnowaty a chance to play in a regular game, as opposed to burying him on the practice squad?

Josh Rosen update: The UCLA QB has come under fire for his mental and physical toughness. Of course, his team rushes to defend him so I don’t know — not following college football — how much of the whispers are true or false. but things are looking up: in his latest game, Rosen led the Bruins to a 44-37 win over the visiting Arizona State Sun Devils, throwing for 381 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. He also scored on a one-yard run. Is there a bowl game in Rosen’s future? And what, if anything, would that do for his chances in the NFL draft?

Move over, Robert Downey Jr. There’s a new Iron Man

Posted on: October 31st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Image result for mitchell schwartz chiefsImage result for iron manAccording to this UPI.com story, when Cleveland Browns tackle Joe Thomas had to come out of a loss to the Tennessee Titans last week, that made Mitchell Schwartz of the KC Chiefs the “Iron Man”at that position. Thomas, an 11-year veteran for former Teammate of Schwartz’s,  left the game with a torn triceps. Thomas played every offensive snap of his NFL career before the injury, spanning 10,363 snaps over 167 games since 2007.

Schwartz has played every snap of the first 87 games of his career for the Browns and Chiefs. His streak of 5,891 snaps puts him a little more than halfway toward Thomas’ mark. That pace puts Schwartz about 66 games away from matching the streak, or about four-plus seasons. Here’s hoping he stays healthy in general (unfortunately his brother Geoff suffered several injuries that eventually ended his career), but the record would be nice, too.

There is something of a resemblance, don’t you think?

JFL Update: Week Eight

Posted on: October 31st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Defensive back Nate Ebner appeared in 21 special teams plays for the New England Patriots in their 21-13 win over the visiting Los Angeles Chargers. The Pats are 6-2, first place in the AFC East.

Ali Marpet took all 67 snaps at center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. who lost to the visiting Carolina Panthers, 17-3 to fall to 2-5, fourth (last) in the NFC South)

Mitchell Schwartz was on the field at right tackle for all 62 of the KC Chiefs’ offense and played another six downs (22 percent) on special teams. The Chiefs beat the visiting Denver Broncos last night, 29-19 to improve to 6-2, first in the AFC West.

Image result for mike bercoviciFinally, the St. Louis Cardinals signed quarterback Mike Bercovici (right)  to their practice squad, the team announced Tuesday. Bercovici played at ASU from 2011-15 and was the team’s starter throughout his senior season. He was a member of the Chargers’ practice squad in 2016 and ’17, and he had a stellar preseason performance against the Cardinals in 2016.

In the college ranks, UCLA Bruin Josh Rosen was forced out of a 44-23 loss to the #12 Washington Huskies on Saturday. According to the LA Times,

The severity of Rosen’s injuries was not immediately known and he was scheduled to be re-evaluated Sunday. An absence of any duration would be crushing. Rosen missed the Bruins’ final six games last season with a shoulder injury and his team went 1-5.

Rosen entered the game leading the Pac-12 Conference in passing yards and total offense. He finished the game against the Huskies having completed 12 of 21 passes for 93 yards and a touchdown.

For what it’s worth, Rosen was listed as the best quarterback on Mel Kiper’s Big Board.

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JFL Update, Week 7

Posted on: October 23rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Nate Ebner appeared on 15 special teams plays (75 percent), assisting on one tackle as the New England Patriots (5-2, first in AFC East) beat the visiting Atlanta Falcons, 23-7. The two teams faced each other in the last Super Bowl, won by the Pats, 34-28, in overtime.

Mitchell Schwartz was in on all 62 offensive snaps at tackle plus another 6 (19 percent) on special teams as the KC Chiefs (5-2, first in the AFC West) lost a controversial one to the host Oakland Raiders, 31-30.

Ali Marpet was on the field for all 72 offensive plays at center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-4, fourth (last) in the NFC South) in their 30-27 loss to the host Buffalo Bills.

UCLA QB Josh Rosen had a good game, piloting his team to a 31-14 win over the Oregon Ducks on Saturday. Rosen was 12-36, 266 yards, and two touchdowns. UCLA is 4-3, 2-2 in conference.

JFL Update, Week 6

Posted on: October 16th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Ali Marpet played all 70 plays at center as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers fell to 2-3 (Last in the NCF South) following their 38-33 loss to the host St. Louis Cardinals. The Bucs scored 27 points in a valiant comeback attempt, but they couldn’t overcome a 24-0 halftime deficit. Marpet made one tackle after his quarterback threw an interception. He had been listed as questionable for the game because of “illness,” which seems like a real catch-all category.

Nate Ebner appeared in 20 plays (80 percent) for special teams as the New England Patriots won a controversial game against the host NY Jets, 24-17, to take sole possession of first place in the AFC East. Tom Brady set the NFL record for regular-season victories by a quarterback (187). From the ESPN story:

After Stephen Gostkowski’s 28-yard field goal made it 24-14 50 seconds into the fourth quarter, New York appeared to make it a one-score game again on its next possession as Austin Seferian-Jenkins took a short pass from McCown and reached over the goal line for a 4-yard touchdown .

But officials reviewed the score and said the video replay showed that Seferian-Jenkins slightly lost control of the ball when Malcolm Butler nudged it loose as the tight end was crossing the plane of the goal line. Seferian-Jenkins didn’t regain control until after he had stepped out of bounds, resulting in a touchback — despite the ball never hitting the ground. That gave the Patriots back the ball, with the Jets’ sideline irate.

Mitchell Schwartz and the KC Chiefs blew a 23-7 halftime lead and took lost their first game of the season, 42-34 to the host Houston Texans. Schwartz played all 77 offensive plays and another eight (25 percent) on special teams.

In the college ranks, QB Josh Rosen and the UCLA Bruins (3-3) lost to host Arizona 47-30. From the ESPN story:

Rosen, the nation’s leader in passing yards and total offense entering the game, threw for 219 yards but was held without a TD pass for the first time since the 2015 season. His three interceptions hurt the Bruins, the first was picked off by Jace Whittaker in the end zone early in the second quarter and the second was returned 42 yards for a touchdown by Whittaker, also in the second.

The Wildcats sacked Rosen five times in the second half, four for freshman Kylan Wilborn.

“I just didn’t play well at all,” Rosen said.

Suffice it to say, this game did not do Rosen’s Heisman Trophy chances much good.

JFL Update: End of Week 5

Posted on: October 10th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Mitchell Schwartz and the KC Chiefs improved to 5-0 (first place, AFC  West) after beating the host Houston Texas in a 42-34 barn-burner. Schwartz, starting at center, was on the field for all 77 offensive plays plus another eight (25 percent) on special teams.

Nate Ebner combined on two tackles as the New England Patriots (3-2, tied for first in the AFC East with the Buffalo Bills and NY Jets) beat Ali Marpet and the host Tampa Bay Buccaneers (2-2, tied for third in the NFC South), 19-14. Sorry, I don’t have the play breakdown for this one so can’t report how much time each spent on the field.

Adam Bisnowaty is technically not on the NY Giants roster — he’s on the practice squad — but he was one of three members of the team

According to an AP story:

A group of New York Giants football players who have protested during the national anthem have visited with Newark police officers and high school students.

Damon Harrison, Mark Herzlich and Adam Bisnowaty met with police officers and students on Monday to discuss systemic racism and make donations.

Members of the Bronze Shields, the Newark Police Department’s African American officer’s association, showed support for the protests. Bronze Shields president Sgt. Levi Holmes says the group understands players are “taking a knee to object to the different injustices that happen in the country.”

The players and police officers visited football teams at Central High School and Weequahic High School. The players donated $10,000 to each school for new equipment.

On the college scene, Josh Rosen threw for 372 yards and one touchdown as UCLA beat visiting Colorado on Saturday, 27-23. UCLA is 3-2, second in the Pac 12 – South. Could he really be in the running for the Heisman Trophy??? Either way, where does he stand for an upcoming NFL draft?

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 30: UCLA (3) Josh Rosen (QB) throws a pass during a college football game between the Colorado Buffaloes and the UCLA Bruins on September 30, 2017 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA.(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

JFL Update, Week 4

Posted on: October 3rd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

https://kckingdom.com/wp-content/blogs.dir/220/files/2013/12/7694520.jpgThe Kansas City Chiefs remain unbeaten (4-0) after field goal with four seconds left on the clock sealed the deal in a 23-20 win over the visiting Washington Redskins. Mitchell Schwartz was the starting right tackle and played on all 76 offensive downs plus another six on special teams. The Chiefs have the highest score differential with +43 and a large part of the credit has to go to the offensive line.

Ali Marpet was the starting center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and appeared on all 64 offensive downs as the Bucs (2-1) beat the struggling and visiting NY Giants, 23-20 in overtime. With the Giants at 0-4, largely in part to a sluggish offense, why not promote Adam Bisnowaty from the practice squad? What could it hurt?

Nate Ebner made another tackle as part of the New England Patriots’ special teams unit, but it didn’t prevent them from losing 33-30 to the visiting Carolina Panthers. Ebner was on the field for 22 plays, 79 percent of the Pats’ defensive time.

As mentioned in previous entries, I don’t really follow the college gridiron but I make an exception for the exceptional QB Josh Rosen, who beat visiting Colorado on Yom Kippur, 27-23. Rosen threw for 372 yards and one touchdown as UCLA broke a two-game losing streak to move to a 3-2 record. Did Rosen fast, as some other Jewish college players have in the past? Don’t know. But Noah Seligman post this piece about former Wisconsin Badger fullback Matt Bernstein, who had a career day while recovering from his fast in 2004. Gabe Carimi did that, too

Of course, it’s probably harder for football players to take off for the Day of Atonement than any other sport. I can’t do the math, but between the college and pro ranks, most games take place Friday, Saturday, or Sunday (yes, I know about Monday Night Football — which are played on both Mondays and Thursdays now), so there’s only a few days it could actually be a conflict. On the other hand, since there are much fewer games than other sports, each one can have a major impact on the outcome of the season. Where you play on the field can make a difference, too. I did a story for the NJ Jewish News several years ago about a Jewish punter who said he felt pressure to play on Yom Kippur because there were no real substitutes for his position.

Not a football issue, but Omri Casspi choose to sit out of the pre-season opener for his new NBA team, the Golden State Warriors, because it fell on the holy day. Not exactly taking as dramatic a stand like Koufax (first game of 1965 World Series) and Greenberg (during a tight pennant race in 1934), but it’s better than all the Jewish Major Leaguers did as their season wound to a close.

Pardon the Interruption but there’s a now almost Daily (Show) of politics into sports

Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

A brilliant performance last night by Trevor Noah on The Daily Show. Not surprisingly, he took on the whole Trump-NFL business in great detail and biting wit. Here’s a sample:

The opening monologue was even better:

One of the comments that really stuck out for me: “Just so we’re on the same page, when Nazis were protesting in Charlottesville, Trump said, ‘some of these were very fine people, very fine people. And aren’t we all Nazis really? Aren’t we all, huh, in some way?’ But then when black football players protest peacefully by taking a knee during the anthem, he calls them sons of bitches who should be fired?” Noah also pointed out that if Trump was really upset about disrespecting the flag, why wasn’t he outraged by the Confederate flag waved at rallies?

In addition, the Sept. 25 episode of Pardon the Interruption began with a four-minute segment about . It’s not unusual for co-hosts Tony Kornheiser (Jewish) and Michael Wilbon (African-American) to differ on issues. Wilbon said he was amazed that players should feel the need to protest in 2017. Kornheiser — citing his own heritage — noted that Wilbon’s ancestor probably came to America as slaves while “his people” came willingly, most likely because other countries did not want them. Kornheiser said he thought the flag and anthem should be respected but fully agreed that the tenets of the United States say that we have the right to free speech and it’s our right to protest.

I heard about this Facebook post by Dan Rather on PTI and thought it was worth pasting in its entirety.

It’s football Sunday, and I have a pit in my stomach, and a sickening sense of deja vu. Who knows what the day will bring?

I do know the source of my disquiet. It is the stench of bigotry as a demagogue stirs the potent cauldron of racial division. I want to say, this is so unnecessary. We have so many other things we should be worrying about. But of course now this is real, and it must be called out. This is an age when no one can be neutral. To remain silent in the face of race-baiting is to be complicit. And I have seen the cost of complicity. It is ugly.

On Friday night, and then in a chain of tweets (what else) President Trump targeted African American athletes for provocation and ridicule. He has called into question their Americanness, as he called into question the Americanness of his predecessor President Obama. Perhaps what is saddest about this moral cowardice is that Mr. Trump may derive some political gain from these attacks amongst his supporters, but he fails in the test of leadership. Big time. For a President to be doing this – pouring gasoline on the embers of racial resentment – is really unspeakable. Instead of trying to reduce the potentially explosive emotions about race, he is trying to exacerbate them for his own gain.

I have seen this game plan before. My mind is transported across the decades. I hear the adjective “uppity”, and much worse. I see the mouths of authority curl with disdain and mutter “what do you think you’re doin’, boy?” – the last word spit out in disgust.

I feel time click into rewind, to when African Americans weren’t thought of as being “smart” enough to play quarterback, to when there was a “gentlemen’s agreement” amongst college basketball coaches to the total number of African American players on the court. Backwards still to all-white teams, and all-white leagues. I remember Jackie Robinson, and a time before someone of his skin color dared to think he could earn a living as an athlete in the United States.

I know this history. And so does Donald Trump. He understands how salient the trope of the “angry black man” is. It was said of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and other now-revered leaders of the civil rights struggle. It is so ingrained in our history that it can become resonant even in those who say they aren’t bigoted. So Mr. Trump plucks at it. He knows that he can use the American flag as a symbol of division and not unity. So he sows that thought.

I grant that there are many who are offended by players taking a knee during the National Anthem. That is their right, as it is the right of those who protest to have their speech protected. This is how we discuss our differences peacefully in a democracy. But calling out these players as S.O.B.s (but using the actual profane words) who should be fired, that’s a pointed attack on our Constitutional rights. And it is summoning the dark shadows of centuries of racial stereotyping. Let’s just say I have seen plenty of white S.O.B.s in sports who have been given awards rather than pink slips.

President Trump is not trying to win over the majority of the American people. He wants to animate his base and bask in its approval. Will his supporters in Congress continue to stand by in tell-tale silence? Will his donors, including some of the owners of professional sports teams?

We are not a nation of majority bigots. The strident ranks of the intolerant can be overwhelmed by enough people agreeing that this is not who we are, or who we want to be. Mr. Trump’s cheers can be drowned out by a chorus of justice.

And one final thought, we have seen these distractions before. As Mr. Trump dominates the news cycle over race, as he issues bellicose threats to North Korea, one wonders what bombshells may be brewing in the Russia investigation, which seems to be gaining speed and scope.

Here’s how events were covered by the Jewish press:

By the way, among the Jewish owners who showed solidarity with the players by linking arms during the Anthem that I know of: Brad Snyder (Washington Redskins) and Arthur Blank (Atlanta Falcons). Did I miss anyone?

Jewish Sports Review review

Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Image result for jewish sports reviewAs I mentioned in the previous entry, recently received the latest issue of JSR which includes:

  • College Football Previews (D-I, II, and III)
  • NFL Preview
  • Pro Hockey Review (2016-17)
  • College Soccer Reviews (men and women)
  • Sports Shorts
  • A recap of the 2017 Maccabiah Games
  • A list of women’s top performances in track& field

The Jewish Sports Review is a must for any true fan of, well, Jewish sports and is only available in print edition. I keep hoping that will change. Can you imagine an outlet that keeps track of these people and issues on a daily basis? If you look at an issue and see how many athletes that would include, you’d understand what a Samson-ish undertaking that would be. I tried to make Kaplan’s Korner that kind of source when I was working at the NJ Jewish News (did I mention it was named blog of the year by the New Jersey Press Association in 2015?), but since that was only a portion of my job description, it was impractical. These days it’s even more difficult, since I actually have to work for a living now.

For further information about JSR, call 310-838-6626 or send an e-mail to shel@jewishsportsreview.com.

JFL Update, Week 3

Posted on: September 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

More news off the field than on, thanks to Trump’s recent screeds about lack of respect in sports, particularly, the NFL. Maybe this was an elaborate collaboration between the President and the NFL to boost sagging ratings, since so many would supposedly tune in to see what would happen? Yes? No?

It’s not the purview of this blog to deal with politics, but when they intrude on sports, that’s my opening. I think that 95 percent (at least) of the stuff that comes out of Trump’s whatever (to use one of his phrases) is BS designed to garner him the attention he evidently needs like plants need sunshine. Okay, that’s it for me…for now.

Anyway…

The Kansas City Chiefs improved to 3-0 following their 24-10 win over the host LA Chargers. Mitchell Schwartz was the starting right tackle and appeared on all 53 offensive plays plus another five (19 percent) on special teams. According to at least one source, however, Schwartz’s play was one of the disappointing factors in this one. On the other hand, there’s praise as well.

Image result for geoff schwartz espn radioAs for his brother, Geoff, who retired after last season, he the co-host of a football related talk show in Sirius Radio’s NFL Channel, #88, which can be heard every Saturday from 4-8 pm PST.  Geoff (photo at right) is also one of a group of co-hosts who rotate on ESPN Radio (espnradio.com), wrapping up the day’s NFL activities. And no, that doesn’t mean the spin in their chairs.

Ali Marpet played every snap (53) behind QB as the new center for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1-1) in their 34-17 loss to the host Minnesota Vikings. He was flagged for a five-yard, false start penalty.

Nate Ebner made his first appearance of the new season, contributing to a tackle for the New England Patriots (2-1) in their 36-31 win over the visiting Houston Texans.

COLLEGE

Not really a big college football guy. I went to a D-III school and unless you have some relationship with a school, why bother? But Josh Rosen, a junior QB for UCLA, seems to be something special, although there’s some controversy over just how good he is. UCLA is 2-2, with home wins over Texas A&M and Hawaii followed by consecutive road losses to Memphis (by just three points) and Stanford. Rosen ranks 29th in the country in Quarterback Ratings and is garnering at least some attention from NFL scouts.

According to the latest issue of Jewish Sports Review, in addition to Rosen, these are among the D-I players to watch:

  • QB Neven Sussman (Junior, Albany)
  • Offensive tackle Jordan Lewinsky (Senior, Drake)
  • Receiver Joe Fine (Senior, Bryant)
  • OT Zach Novoslesky, (Junior, West Michigan)
  • OL Kyle Ritz (Junior, Akron)
  • Center Jack Singer (Junior, UNLV)
  • Placekicker Morgan Ellman (Senior, New Hampshire)
  • Placekicker Oren Millstein (Sophomore, Columbia)
  • Placekicker Josh Pollack (Red shirt Junior, Arizona)
  • Placekicker Jack Soslow (Junior, Pennsylvania) So-slow? Not a great name for an athlete.
  • Punter Jordan Dascalo (Senior, Eastern Washington)
  • Punter Max Pedinoff (Senior, New Hampshire)

Good lucks, boys. Make us proud.

   
 

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