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Archive for the ‘Jews and football’ Category

 

JFL Report, Week 2

Posted on: September 18th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Mitchell Schwartz played all 53 offensive downs plus another five (17 percent) on special teams as the KC Chiefs improved to 2-0 after beating the visiting Philadelphia Eagles, 27-20.

Ali Marpet lined up for all 71 offensive plays for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who beat the visiting Chicago Bears, 29-7, to gain their first victory.

Nate Ebner was not active for the New England Patriots (1-1) , who beat the host New Orleans Saints, 36-20.

And no, Tarik Cohen of the Bears is not Jewish. Just as the Chicago Tribune, who asked me.

 

JFL Report: Week 1

Posted on: September 12th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Are you ready for some football? I’m not. Every year I tell myself I’m really going to pay attention and bone up on the teams and players, and every year I just get older. Maybe this is finally the time. Some people complain that the football season is too long, opening the door for more injuries. Here’s an idea: Don’t start it until after the World Series. That way there’s no inter-sport competition. Of course, I also think the baseball season is too long and that post-season should never go past mid-October.

Schwartz and Alex Smith celebrate a touchdown against the New England Patriots during the fourth quarter. Photo by Christopher Evans/Boston Herald

The New England Patriots began their season on an uncharacteristic note: with a loss. They fell to the visiting KC Chiefs in a runaway on Thursday, Sept. 7, by a score of 42-27. Mitchell Schwartz played every down on offense (69) plus another six (16 percent) on special teams for the victors. Some football wonks believe the Chiefs are Super Bowl contendersNate Ebner was not active for New England due to a shoulder injury; he had been listed as questionable prior to the game. Team owner Robert Kraft announced the Kraft family will match up to $1 million in funds donated to the American Red Cross in support of the Hurricane Harvey Disaster Relief Fund.

Ali Marpet and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers had the mis-timing of being scheduled against the Dolphins in Miami. That game was postponed.

The new guys — Gabe Marks of the NY Jets and Adam Bisnowaty of the NY Giants — did not make the final cut for their respective teams. On the bright side, they were signed to each club’s practice squads. See here for an explanation of just what that can mean. Bisnowaty had originally been waived but the Giants apparently change their mind. Not so lucky: quarterback Michael Bercovici, who was cut by the Los Angeles Chargers.

And no, Tarik Cohen of the Chicago Bears is not Jewish. Then again, neither is Julian Edelman (at least not according to the Jewish Sports Review), but some of us keep “claiming” him as such.

So that’s it, as far as Jewish NFLers go to this point. No Taylor Mays, no Erik Lorig, and, of course, no Geoff Schwartz. A shande. Especially since all the active MOTs are not in the marquee positions, so they won’t have much written about them unless something fantastic or tragic happens. Maybe Marks and Bisnowaty will get the call at some point.

Catching up

Posted on: July 5th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

As you no doubt know, there has been a marked drop-off in posts here in the past few months as I looked for a job. Finally got one, which also impacted the time I have for blogging. I won’t go into details now, but suffice it to say it’s not a normal nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday schedule. I could be working 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. on day and 4 to midnight the next. Basically all I have time for is the Jewish Major Leaguer updates but I hope to get a handle on all this soon.

Actually let’s start now with a bit of catching up.

Probably the biggest news of the off-seasons is that the NJ Devils parted ways with Michael Cammalleri, who holds the record among Jewish NHLers in terms of points scored. The 35-year old left-winger made his debut in 2002 with the Los Angeles Kings so it’s fitting that he has rejoined them for what might be his last hurrah, signing a one year-$1 million contract. In between, Cams has played for the Calgary Flames, Montreal Canadiens, Flames again, and Devils. In 890 regular season contests, he has 287 goals and 326 assists for 613 total points, so that 600 plus a bar mitzvah.

Right to PlayIn other hockey news, Zach Hyman kept himself busy with author appearances for his kids’ books, The Bambino and Me and Hockey Hero. The center is entering his third season with the Toronto Maple Leafs; perhaps, as he is a restricted free agent.

Jason Zucker, the Minnesota Wild’s star forward, co-hosted the ninth annual Champions for Children Celebrity Golf Classic with Vikings’ tight end Kyle Rudolph late last month.

Let’s just keep going, shall we?

In the NFL, Nate Ebner got this season review on the New England Patriots website. he’s still getting mileage for his rugby performance at the last Olympics. The Pats Pulpit portion of the SB Nation family deemed him the best tackle on special teams last year (although they might be a wee bit biased). A similar portion of SBN that focuses on the Arizona Sun Devils posted this article about former QB Mike Bercovici, now a member of the LA Chargers (wow, does that sound strange). The Tampa Bay Buccaneers are expecting a bigger role from newly-designated center Ari Marpet, but Adam Bisnowaty isn’t getting that kind of love from the NY Giants as he prepares for his first camp.

Over on the hard court, Omri Casspi gets his big break? He signed with the world championship Golden State Warriors for what Ha’aretz, one of the leading newspapers in Israel, described as “only a modest $2.1 million.” Wish I could be so modest. Casspi split time between three teams last year, so four clubs in two seasons has to be some kind of record, at least for Jewish players.

According to the Jerusalem Post, Gal Mekel‘s “career has been on a downward spiral since he was cut by the Dallas Mavericks.” He was recently dismissed by Maccabi Tel Aviv.

I think that about gets us caught up on the recent older news. I’ll be posting about the Maccabiah Games, of course, and whatever is going on in Wimbledon in the days ahead. Stay tuned.
 

Mish-Mashing (Trying to catch up)

Posted on: May 15th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Things have been a bit hectic of late, what with looking for a new job and dealing with the release of the new book. So here’s a quick look back and what we (meaning I) have missed over the last several days.

Yes, the NFL draft is over, but wait — there’s more.

Posted on: May 4th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Adam Bisnowaty, an offensive lineman from Pitt, was the only Jewish player selected in the recent NFL draft (sixth round by the NY Giants), but that doesn’t mean he was the only Jew signed.

As stated in a previous entry, the NY Jets snatched up former Washington State University wide receiver Gabe Marks immediately after the last round. Bob Wechsler, author of Day by Day in Jewish Sports History and constant source for the Korner, wrote to let us know that three more MOTs put their name on the dotted line (is it really dotted anymore?). They are:

 

Image result for Anthony Firkser Image result for Brandon Kublanow Svmmpeehjpsxandzkbuz
Anthony Firsker Brandon Kublanow Mitchel Kirsch

If Firsker makes it, he would join QB Ryan Fitzpatrick in what would have to be a relatively small club of Harvard alums on the same team. Only 38 players from that school have played in the NFL.

It’s up to you, Bisnowaty and Marks

Posted on: May 1st, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

Adam BisnowatyIf they can make it there, they can make it anywhere. I’m talking about Adam Bisnowaty and Gabe Marks, a couple of  landsmen who were signed by the New York teams over the weekend.

Bisnowaty, a 6’6″ and 304 pound offensive lineman from Pitt, was the final pick by the New York Giants and 202nd overall selection. He went in the sixth round, which was held on Saturday.

From NFL.com:

Four-year starter with plenty of toughness. Appeared to struggle with an athletic decline in 2016, which could be due to his injury history.

In a phone booth, Bisnowaty can handle himself with pure brawn and power, but once he’s forced to play in space, his athletic limitations become more pronounced. He’ll likely have to move to the right side, but athletic opponents will always cause him problems. His ceiling could be as a low-end starter while his floor is fighting for a roster spot within a couple of years.

Washington State Cougars wide receiver Gabe Marks (9).Wide receiver Marks signed with the New York Jets following his record-setting career with the Washington State Cougars. Although he was not selected in the draft, the Jets must have thought enough of him to grab him immediately after the final selection had been made.

According to a story in the Seattle Times, Marks went undrafted because, among other things, NFL teams thought his PAC-12 statistics were “inflated” and he lacked “standout measureables.” In other words, the “undersized” Marks (5’11”, 189 pounds) was ranked lower than a lot of other wide receivers.

Here’s hoping they both make it. That way there will always be a MOT at the Meadowlands.

There’s a draft: Jews and the NFL

Posted on: April 26th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

The NFL draft begins tomorrow. It’s amazing how much of a media event it’s become over the past few years, worthy of prime time/daylong coverage by ESPN and the NFL network.

I’ve been holding back on a lot of the football Google alerts I’ve been getting lately because, well, frankly, I think the NFL gets too much coverage when it doesn’t deserve it. But bowing to the inevitable, here we go.

Adam Bisnowaty

Adam Bisnowaty

Wither Pitt offensive tackle Adam Bisnowaty? According to CardiacHill.com, “NFL.com has him as a fifth rounder.”

Gabe Marks

Gabe Marks

And what about Gabe Marks, late of Washington State? How will his shtick play in the big leagues?

UCLA QB Josh Rosen isn’t ready for the draft…yet. Now a junior, he missed most of last season with an injury, but he still garners a lot of attention.

As far as established JFLers go, Ali Marpet is slated to move over to the very responsible center position, which football pundits think is a good idea and which he is greatly looking forward to. And Mitchell Schwartz looks forward to a great year with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Are you ready for some football? (I’m not)

Posted on: March 20th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

When did football become a 365-day-a-year thing? Seems like they’re really pushing to keep it in the limelight just as the NHL and NBA are heading into their post-season and baseball is about to begin. Attention hogs.

Now that Geoff Schwartz is no longer playing, look for a lot more analysis and commentary, like this one in which he opines that his brother Mitchell’s team, the Kansas City Chiefs, should acquire Tony Romo, the quixotic QB for the Dallas Cowboys. Mitchell’s thoughts are closer to home.

He wasn’t picked for the Pro Bowl, but New England Patriots special teams star Nate Ebner picked up honors as “International Rugby Player of the Year” by the Samurai International RFC.

How long before Gabe Marks, formerly a star at Washington State University, joins the pro ranks? Seems like he’s got the interview thing down, although he might have to tone things down a bit as a rookie.

Marks may have some company in the NFL in Adam Bisnowaty, an offensive lineman previously with Pitt.

 

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Shalom, Geoff Schwartz

Posted on: February 22nd, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

In this case, I’m using the word for both “goodbye” and “peace.”

It should not come as a giant surprise that the former Giant (and Panther and Viking and Chief) has announced his retirement. He did not play last season and only appeared in  13 of 36 games for New York over his two seasons with them due to an unfortunate series of injuries.

Image result for geoff schwartz familyOne of the things Jewish football fans appreciated about both him and his younger brother Mitchell — who is already being recognized as one of the best at his O-Line position — was how they embrace their religion. They were frequent guests at Jewish day schools and JCCs and earlier this month, they were among a group of local personalities inducted into the Southern California Jewish Sports Hall of Fame. I found it charming that their recent joint memoir, Eat My Schwartz: Our Story of NFL Football, Food, Family, and Faith, started off with the family celebrating Hanukka. Sweet.

Geoff wrote about his decision on SBNation. I’m sure he’ll do well; he spent the past season as an analyst for several on-line and broadcast outlets. And despite all the enjoyment he and his family have received through the sport, I can’t help thinking they’re kind of glad he’s getting out while he’s young and in relative good health.

Mazel tov, Geoff, and thanks for the memories.

Image result for geoff schwartz family

Because there’s no real off-season for football…

Posted on: February 16th, 2017 by Ron Kaplan

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