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Jets' Ryan speaks to LB Scott about fan comments

Jets' Ryan speaks to LB Scott about fan comments

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Bart Scott was once a favorite of Jets fans with his hard hits, big plays and colorful comments.

Now, they're taking shots at each other.

The chatty linebacker has struggled with a hyperextended toe that has limited his production, and fans have made it clear that they're not happy with the team's 4-7 record. A video posted on Deadspin.com showed a group of angry fans screaming obscenities and insults at the players as they walked off the field at MetLife Stadium at halftime of the Jets' game against the New England Patriots last Thursday night.

Scott, when asked about the video, told the Daily News that the harsh fans who yell at you were probably ``picked last in dodgeball all through high school.'' He also told Newsday that they probably couldn't make it through ``a high school practice.''

Well, coach Rex Ryan needed to set Scott straight Thursday.

``You've got to appreciate our fans,'' Ryan said he told Scott. ``Obviously, in the good times it's much easier than in the bad times, so I had that conversation with Bart.''

Blogs and sports talk radio have been hot the past few weeks with fans frustrated with Ryan, general manager Mike Tannenbaum, owner Woody Johnson and just about every player as the Jets appear headed to a second straight season without a playoff appearance.

``What I said I'll stay behind: that our fans deserve better,'' Ryan said. ``And I was the first guy that would say that. With us, what I mentioned to Bart, you have to appreciate the fans. The thing that makes this game so great is the players and the fans, and that's the truth.''

Ryan is speaking from experience after he was fined $75,000 for cursing at a fan last season and received a $50,000 fine for making an obscene hand gesture to a fan at a mixed martial arts event in Florida in 2010.

``I learned from it and I think the team learned from it, we keep our heads down and go right in the locker room,'' Ryan said. ``Obviously I made a huge mistake there. I hope I wasn't the only one that learned from it. Just go in, and people are entitled to what they want to say.''

Scott didn't apologize for his comments Thursday, but appeared to soften his stance.

``Of course, I'm going to protect my team and protect my organization, but I understand that they pay good money,'' Scott said. ``I'm well aware of that. It's freedom of speech. You can say what you want as long as nobody gets physical or puts their hands on you.''

Scott, obviously, isn't OK with everything fans say or do, using the example of hearing about former Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Tommy Maddox once having garbage dumped on his lawn by fans. He also said he read that someone said he'd ``probably be unemployed on the streets'' if he didn't play football.

``I'd like to think that my economic degree would get me some type of job,'' he said. ``There are certain perceptions about athletes whether they're warranted or not. But I know what and who I am and I'm comfortable in my own skin.''

He also pointed out that many players often have their wives, children, family members and friends in the stands during games who are subjected to the negative comments.

``But I guess that's what we sign up for,'' he said. ``We're public figures and we open ourselves up to criticism. That comes with the territory. That's fine.''

Scott wanted to make it clear that the players are not in any way satisfied with losing, and they are just as disappointed by bad losses such as the one to the Patriots on national television.

``We didn't put 40 hours of work coming in here and practicing, going through game plans,'' he said, ``to go out there and embarrass ourselves and let our teammates down and our coaching staff down and let our city down.''

Scott later said his comments from the previous day were just him ``being defensive'' and that fans know who he really is, pointing out the extensive charity work he does.

``You can't judge somebody by the three hours that you see in shoulder pads and helmet,'' he said.

Scott was regularly one of the Jets' top tacklers during his first seasons with the Jets, but ranks seventh (44) this season with less playing time while dealing with his toe injury. Ryan raved about Scott's leadership qualities and how he wants him to be healthy so he can play more often.

``The way he's attacking the run and doing different things, Bart doesn't hurt us,'' Ryan said. ``Let's put it this way: He helps us.''

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2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

2017-18 Wizards roster review: Jodie Meeks

To wrap up the 2017-18 season, we are looking at each player on the Wizards' roster. Today, we evaluate Jodie Meeks' season...

Player: Jodie Meeks

Position: Shooting guard

Age: 30

2017-18 salary: $3.3 million

2017-18 stats: 77 G, 14.5 mpg, 6.3 ppg, 1.6 rpg, 0.9 apg, 0.4 spg, 0.1 bpg, 39.9 FG%, 34.3 3P%, 86.3 FT%, 49.1 eFG%, 111 ORtg, 112 DRtg

Best game: 11/29 at Sixers - 21 points, 4 rebounds, assist, steal, 5-for-11 FG, 3-for-6 3PT, 8-for-9 FT

Season review: The Wizards took a flier on Jodie Meeks last summer in what seemed at the time to be a low-risk contract with a potentially high reward, if he could stay healthy and play to his career norms. They were in obvious need of help at backup shooting guard and three-point shooting for their bench.

Meeks fell short of those expectations for a variety of reasons. Though he stayed healthy for the first time in years, he could not make shots at the clip the Wizards were hoping for. His field goal percentage was not far off from what he posted in recent years, but his three-point percentage was nowhere near the 38.8 percent he shot in his previous four seasons.

Meeks bottomed out midseason, shooting 28.9 percent from three in December and 28 percent in January. Those numbers ticked up beginning in February, but Meeks never fully gained the trust of his coaching staff. He rarely got hot enough to alter games and his best stat-lines often came in blowouts. 

There was a domino effect from Meeks' struggles, as starting shooting guard Bradley Beal had no one to spell him. As a result, Beal logged the fourth-most minutes of any NBA player this season.

For Meeks personally, it was a bittersweet year because staying healthy was no small feat. He had a run of bad luck and finally broke out of it this season. On the other hand, he never made the impact he felt he was capable of and that wasn't easy for a guy joining a new team and a new locker room.

Meeks' 2017-18 season was ultimately defined by more than his shooting woes. First, he expressed interest in a trade in February and did not get his wish. Then, he was suspended for allegedy using performance-enhancing drugs after the regular season ended. He was out for the playoffs and will miss the first 19 games of the 2018-19 season without pay as he waits out a 25-game ban.

Meeks may or may not serve that suspension as a member of the Wizards. He has a player option for next season worth $3.5 million. He has yet to inform the team of his decision, but the expectation is that he will pick it up. Given how poorly his season went and ended, it would likely be the smart move financially for him to opt in and hope for better results next season.

Potential to improve: Shooting percentage, perimeter defense, passing

More player season reviews:

John Wall, PG

Bradley Beal, SG

Otto Porter, SF

Markieff Morris, PF

Marcin Gortat, C

Kelly Oubre, Jr., SF

Tomas Satoransky, PG

Ian Mahinmi, C

Ty Lawson, PG

Tim Frazier, PG

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Want the Stanley Cup? Five ways the Caps can beat the Golden Knights

Want the Stanley Cup? Five ways the Caps can beat the Golden Knights

The Caps stand just four wins away from winning their first Stanley Cup. To get those four wins, however, they will have to beat the Vegas Golden Knights.

Here are the keys to the series that will give the Caps the win.

Figure out how to beat Marc-Andre Fleury

No player has been as important to his team this postseason as Fleury is to the Golden Knights. He is reason No. 1, 2 and 3 why they have made their improbable run to the Stanley Cup Final in the team’s inaugural season.

Fleury’s personal numbers are staggering. Through 15 games, he has a .947 save percentage and has recorded four shutouts.

Vegas has been a middle of the pack team in terms of offense this postseason scoring 2.87 goals per game. They have lost only three playoff games thus far, but, as dominant as they have been, they certainly are not blowing away the competition. Of their 12 wins, ten of them have come with a margin of victory of two goals or less.

This shows you just how important Fleury is to their success. They are not scoring opponents into submission, rather they are relying on Fleury to keep opponents at bay.

Fleury is the absolute key to the Golden Knights’ success. It’s easier said than done, but if the Caps find a way to beat him consistently, Vegas becomes exponentially more beatable.

Win the neutral zone battle

Much of this series will be determined between the blue lines. The Golden Knights are an incredibly fast team.

Just to get to this point, the Caps had to beat two other speedy teams in the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Tampa Bay Lightning. They did it primarily by slowing down the offense in the neutral zone with a 1-3-1 trap. With so many bodies defending in the neutral zone, opponents have struggled to break the puck cleanly into the Caps’ defensive zone. The Caps are cutting off passing and skating lanes, creating turnovers and generating odd-man breaks in the other direction by catching opponents’ defensemen playing too aggressively on the rush.

As fast as the Penguins and Lightning were, however, the Golden Knights are even faster. Will the trap be as effective against Vegas?

Limit obstruction penalties

When playing against a team with speed, penalties often become a major issue. When trying to defend against fast players, if you get caught flat-footed or out of position, this tends to lead to obstruction penalties like tripping and hooking. When a player realizes he’s been beat, he does everything he can to prevent that from costing his team, leading to those type of penalties.

Vegas’ power play has not been lights out by any means with a success rate of only 17.6-percent this postseason, but you cannot continually give the opposition chances to score by frequently having a player sent to the penalty box.

Positioning is going to make all the difference in the world in this series to make sure a player is not forced into taking an obstruction penalty just to slow down the Golden Knights.

Get off to good starts

Vegas is 10-1 in the postseason when scoring first. Their secret to success is a mix between goaltending and speed.

Fleury has been phenomenal in net and the Golden Knights are a quick breakout team. It is very hard to get much sustained offensive pressure against them because once they get the puck, they are going down the ice at a million miles an hour.

Having to play from behind against a team like Vegas is not a recipe for success. Just getting the puck and keeping up with them is exhausting. Having to then find a way to then beat Fleury when he has a lead to protect is all the more daunting.

Strong starts will be vital to ensuring the Caps are not frequently having to play from behind.

Depth scoring

Vegas head coach Gerard Gallant likes to roll his four lines. It makes sense since there drop-off between his top line and fourth line is not as dramatic as it is on most NHL teams.

Consider how this team was constructed. The expansion draft did not give Vegas access to superstar players, but they also did not have to take any fringe NHL/healthy scratch players to fill the fourth line either. They filled their roster with the best players available to them which gives them four lines of much more comparative strength than most NHL teams.

While this means the Caps have a stronger top six, it also allows Vegas to roll four lines and take advantage of other teams’ bottom six.

You can never take a shift off against Vegas. There is no weak line to exploit. The Golden Knights come at you with four lines and relentless pressure and forecheck for 60 minutes.

Washington will probably get more production from its top six than Vegas will, or at the very least it will be a push. The question is what kind of production will each team get from the bottom six? If the Caps have the edge in depth production as well, they will be in good shape.

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