Joe Namath was surrounded by a few dozen of his former New York Jets teammates and was again — as always — the center of attention.Broadway Joe held court at MetLife Stadium on Sunday as part of the team's 50th anniversary celebration of the franchise's only squad to win the Super Bowl. And Eric Ebron Jersey Stitched
, the former Jets quarterback thinks the fans won't have to wait another 50 years to see another title.Not even close."I'm as optimistic as I could possibly be," Namath said a few hours before the Jets' game against the Indianapolis Colts. "Really, I think all of us are pulling for the Jets to win a championship, mainly for the fans, as well as the players and all. Over the years, players come and go, ownership changes, coaches change, but the fans have been there since '63, and all of us would love to see the fans get another championship."The Jets have been searching for a franchise-type quarterback since the glory days of Namath. Several players have had their moments over the years, but the team hopes it has its guy — finally — in rookie Sam Darnold.Namath has met Darnold and spoken to him a few times, and thinks the youngster has lots of promise. But, he warns, it's not just about the quarterback."I like what I saw of him in college and what the coaches have had to say about him and his teammates, yeah, I like him," Namath said. "But you know it takes up front, outside, two sides of the ball. It's a team game. Sam will be good. You just need all the pieces to fit, though. You've got to have a complete team."When a reporter suggested that it takes time to build that for most teams, Namath laughed."You know, 50 years is enough time Youth Ryan Grant Jersey
," Namath said. "Fifty-one, 52, they should be getting it done in the next few years."The Jets are 2-3 and looking to win consecutive games for the first time in more than a year. They're still building for the future, and Namath declined to give his full thoughts on this year's squad."If I really said what I thought, I would be misinterpreted, so I'm not going there," he said. "I'm pulling for them. Let's just leave it at that, you know? They're going to keep improving and don't say a team can't beat another team. On any given day, the Jets can beat anybody. We've got to see what happens today."Darnold and the Jets defeated the Colts 42-34, with Jason Myers setting a franchise record by kicking seven field goals.Namath was also asked about the other quarterback in town, Eli Manning, who is struggling through a tough season as the Giants are off to a 1-5 start. There have been suggestions that the 37-year-old Manning could be nearing the end of his career. Namath, who spent his final NFL season with the Los Angeles Rams in 1977, knows what it's like having to deal with the difficult decision of having to call it quits."It depends on the guy, depends on the dude, you know?" Namath said. "Eli, if he's coming to that time and they talk about it, I bet you he handles that better than 99 percent of the dudes that come to the end."Namath, who famously delivered on his Super Bowl guarantee and beat the then-Baltimore Colts in 1969, was thrilled to be spending time with so many of his former teammates such as Don Maynard, Emerson Boozer, Earl Christy and John Schmitt who helped lead one of the biggest moments in pro football history.The team was honored during a halftime ceremony at midfield Ryan Grant Jersey Stitched
, and a green and white banner that reads "Super Bowl III Champions" was unveiled near one of the top sections of the stadium."It's a joy," Namath said of being with some of his former teammates. "It's sincerely a joy. It's like you've not been apart. Guys you haven't seen for years, it's like normal. It's, like, comfortable.'Stampede Blue Q&A: Who will lead the Colts in sacks? Q: Who do you think will lead the Colts in sacks this year? Do the Colts finish with more total sacks than our opponents?A: It’s super early but I’ll say Jabaal Sheard. Margus Hunt is a smart choice here in that he’s been far more productive at defensive end than I would have predicted and because I believe he can move inside to defensive tackle and stay on the field more than most others on the team. More snaps means more opportunities so it isn’t a stretch to think that he ends up setting the pace.The reason I choose Sheard is because he is a more natural pass rusher. He certainly isn’t going to push to lead the league but he is a player who got hotter as the year went on in 2017. As the rest of the defensive line becomes more disruptive and gets off of the snap violently, Sheard will benefit from rushing off of the edge and stunting inside. I expect that his production will start picking up and Hunt will come back to earth a bit.As for net season total in sacks for versus sacks allowed, I will say that my answer relies upon health. Assuming Quenton Nelson, Ryan Kelly, Matt Slauson, Braden Smith, and Joe Heag can all remain healthy throughout the season, there is a reasonable chance. The quicker the team has Anthony Castonzo back at left tackle and Denzelle Good competing at right tackle, the better I like the odds. It helps that the line will have made it through the toughest part of the season schedule in terms of defensive line talent after the first quarter of the year. I’ll say that the Colts will have more net sacks than they give up in 2018 if the defensive line continues to get off at the snap the way they did against the Redskins.Q: Do we have an actual WR2 or are we going with a WR2 by committee?A: Ryan Grant is the WR2. He is our possession receiver who keeps the chains moving and find ways to get open on short routes. With that said, this offense doesn’t lend itself a great deal to the same kinds of labels as there might be on offensive skill players in other offenses. Who is RB1? Who is RB2? What determines that? Just carries? What about when and how the player is used?We have the same issue with wide receiver and tight end. Jack Doyle is clearly TE1 because he’s on the field much more than the others. However, Eric Ebron has been the most effective pass-catching TE this season. Does that makes him TE2 or WR2? I still give the label to Grant but answering that question in this offense isn’t particularly easy.Q: Besides Nelson/Leonard, who will be the best player from our 2018 class?A: Considering that Cain was lost for the season with an ACL injury, Tyquan Lewis is on the injured reserve, and Reece Fountain is working some things out on the practice squad, it’s a pretty difficult projection. However, I think that Jordan Wilkins could very well earn the “lead back” responsibilities in his sophomore season. Mack and Hines can be the change of pace players while he stays in the game for the vast majority of snaps and creates balance. I really like his running style, his patience and vision, and I think he can continue to improve if he has more time behind this offensive line Youth Matt Slauson Jersey
, particularly if the line gets healthy.Q: Can Ballard quiet some of his harsher critics if this yea’rs rookie class plays well?A: I think any NFL general manager will quiet critics when their rookies play well. However, I think Ballard’s job is broader than just how the rookies play or develop. I think he will be judged primarily on the development of the team overall and an identity that fans can get behind.Every player who outperforms expectations, no matter how acquired, will help Ballard quiet critics. Here are a list of players who likely are giving Ballard some breathing room and driving some of the confidence for the future:DE/DT Margus Hunt, LB Darius Leonard, CB Kenny Moore, CB Nate Hairston, TE Eric Ebron, OB Quenton Nelson, RB Jordan WilkinsThere are certainly other players who could be included here but each of these players is here because Ballard brought them here. Each has outperformed any reasonable expectations to this point in their Colts careers. There are 4 draft picks and three free agents in that small list.Q: What positions do you think the Colts will target in the 2019 draft?A: It really depends on Ballard’s approach to free agency. The only Colts wide receivers under contract in 2019 are T.Y. Hilton, Deon Cain, Reece Fountain, and James Wright. Chester Rogers will be a restricted free agent. Honestly, the projected free agent wide receiver class isn’t particularly inspiring. I could see him grabbing multiple wide receivers.I believe Ballard will continue concentrating on the trenches. He will likely look to bring in a player or two to represent the future at each offensive tackle spot. He will also likely look at a pass rushing prospect early on if one is available. Finding another true animal at linebacker would also create a potentially potent situation for the defense. Imagine pairing Darius Leonard with a similar impact player at the position. At this point in the season, the team needs look far better than what many would anticipate. I would place edge rusher, wide receiver, linebacker, and offensive tackle at the top of the list. Which of these positions, if any, are addressed in free agency? That will likely determine Ballard’s emphasis in the draft.