Two big stories in your sports pages this morning, and they’re both about coaches trying to connect with young players.
Yesterday, after an 0-16 start, the Nets finally canned coach Lawrence Frank, sparing him the ignominy of entering the record books with the rest of the team last night, as they tied the record for season-starting futility by losing number 17 in L.A. Both of your tabloids run the news across the top of the back cover, which is about all you can expect for such an unsurprising move. The Post says “NYETS DROP AX ON FRANKS,” so I guess they’re adopting that “Nyets” joke as the team’s new moniker. I had assumed it would just be for stories that actually involved Mikhail Prokhorov, the Russian oligarch and presumed new owner, but the Post’s coverage doesn’t really have much to do with him. In fact, it’s the Daily News‘ Mitch Lawrence who bemoans Bruce Ratner’s penny-pinching tenure, and contrasts it with the glorious profligacy Prokhorov might bring. “Rubles will be no object,” Lawrence writes.
Naturally, the Jets are not to be outdone–and the back covers belong to them, although your tabloids take two different tacks. The Post goes with the team-concept: “DREAM TEAM” over a photo of cornerback Darrelle Revis. It’s something of a triumph for Revis and the defense, since I, for one, never expected a corner to see any wood on a team with Rex Ryan and Mark Sanchez.
So it’s up to the Daily News to give the people what they want: Sanchez, over a headline about how he passed this week’s test with “FLYING COLORS.” This might actually come down to tabloid one-upsmanship over who broke what. The Daily News trumpets the fact that they broke the story of Rex Ryan using a color-coded wristband system to rein in Sanchez, which really does seem to be the story of the game, although you wouldn’t know it from reading Post. Only Steve Serby–who, it should be noted, also floats the idea of bringing back Chad Pennington as a backup–talks about it in the Post, while the Daily News covers it about like, well, Revis on Steve Smith this week.
Basically, Ryan tells Sanchez when to be cautious and when to be reckless, using the same colors–red, yellow, green–that one might encounter at a stoplight. Sanchez makes it sound much more cryptic; he tells the papers that the system is too complicated to explain, and if he did explain it, it might give an advantage to other teams. Gary Myers says Sanchez got the green light, but it would seem the light was stuck on red most of the game: Sanchez went 13 for 17 on mostly short passes, with only one pick. If that on-field performance inspires some tepid confidence, his postgame pressers continue to perplex with quotes like these, as reported by Rich Cimini:
“You can’t make chicken soup out of chicken dung,” said Sanchez, messing up the axiom.
“The code works. It’s almost like telepathy between the three of us.”
“It’s like the DaVinci Code,” Sanchez joked. “I’ll send you a crypt text.”
But the quote of the morning goes to Bart Scott, who, when asked about Sanchez’s rebound, appears to have forgotten the intense coverage of both his quarterback and his coach shedding tears at various points this season. “Come on, he’s a football player. He better get his (butt) up. I expect that. There ain’t no crying in football.”