Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Three Jets going to the Pro Bowl

The NFL announced this year's Pro Bowl roster tonight. In comparison to last year when the Jets had a league-high seven players, only three were selected as starters this year. That honor goes to Alan Faneca, Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis. D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Thomas Jones and Bart Scott were selected as first alternates. David Harris and Shaun Ellis are second alternates.

This is Faneca's ninth consecutive selection, and all nine have been as a starter. For Mangold and Revis it's two in a row, and the first start for both.

Although this is number nine for Faneca, he is just as excited as the first one. "I think it's a great honor," he said. "It never gets old. It's something special to be asked to go."

Faneca was disappointed that more of his teammates were not named as starters, especially Jones and Ferguson. "Thomas (Jones) not being on there is very surprising," Faneca said. "He's a guy that should be on there."

Mangold echoed Faneca's feelings. "Not to see TJ's number called is disappointed." As for his own selection, "It's an amazing thing. I'm just amazed that the fans and the coaches and the players put me in there over some amazing centers."

For Revis, this was a validation for him that his work both the off-season and during the season has paid off. "It was one of my personal goals to get back to be one of those type of caliber players," he said. "I'm just trying to be the best that I can be."

Sunday, December 27, 2009

A win and they're in

They slayed the dragon. Of course, the dragon lost some of its firepower when Peyton Manning was taken out, but a win is a win. Here are my thoughts on that - I don't like when teams bench their starters. I understand why they do it, but your players should play. That said, the Jets have nothing to apologize for. They beat the team they played, nobody asked Indy to sit their guys, that was their decision.

And, Mark Sanchez managed the game well throughout, against both starters and backups. He seemed calm and focused and hey - no interceptions and none of that diving head first thing that he likes to do.

The defense played like the defense we expect to see. Are there any superlatives left that have not yet been used for Darrelle Revis? He held Reggie Wayne, the league's fourth-leading receiver to a grand total of three catches for 33 yards. (Yes, I know Wayne was taken out of the game too, but still).

How about defensive end Marques Douglas who had a heads up play, getting a touchdown off Calvin Pace's strip sack of Curtis Painter. It was the ninth year veteran's first touchdown of his career.

So, now it's official, the Jets win and they're in. The league of course, jumped on this exciting scenario right away and have flexed the Jets from the original 1pm start to the Sunday night game at 8:30pm. Night games aren't my favorite to work, but nobody asked me - and on the plus side, the traffic is usually pretty light at the George Washington Bridge at 2am. Unless they're doing construction, but let's not think about that right now.

Should be an interesting week as the Jets try to contain their excitement and say all the right things. Then again, this is Rex Ryan and Co. and they're likely to say anything. God love 'em.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Up next: Indy; and team hands out annual awards

Big game this weekend. Huge. Nobody panic. Rex Ryan has been joking all week about how he would really like Peyton Manning not to play. Probably not really a joke. This is going to be the biggest challenge the Jets have faced and a big part of that will be the mental challenge of facing an unbeaten team with the game's best quarterback at the helm.

The veterans I spoke to said they're not intimidated, and while I do believe that, I know they know they have a mountain to climb. But hey, stranger things have happened. Like in that Giants - Redskins game on Monday night. What was going on there? But, I digress.

The locker room has been pretty upbeat, partially the holidays, but they're all excited about playing this weekend knowing the playoffs are still within their grasp. Hey, it can't snow inside the RCA Dome.

Sanchez is back to his happy-go-lucky self although he's got to be chomping at the bit to get out on the field and try to clean up some of his issues. When I asked him about still going head first, he quickly pointed out that he had "halfway" tried a slide last week. Two knee braces will once again be part of his uniform.

Team announced its annual awards today. Darrelle Revis was named team MVP, which was pretty much a no-brainer. Yesterday, Revis was awarded the even-more prestigious "Good Guy" award by the Jets media. Revis is always available, always pleasant and always offers interesting insights.

Other awards were:

Ed Block Courage Award - David Harris
Kyle Clifton Award - James Dearth (the staff votes on this one, it is their "good guy" award)
Marty Lyons Award - D'Brickashaw Ferguson (an award for charitable works "given from the heart)
Dennis Byrd Award - Thomas Jones (his second consecutive year winning this for being the player who most inspires his teammates).

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sanchez improving; Help others for the holidays

Mark Sanchez practiced almost fully today for the first time since he injured his knee by diving in the last game against the Buffalo Bills. He looked pretty normal at the part of practice (at least for a guy who's now wearing braces on both knees) the media is allowed to watch. Rex Ryan said he received no setbacks from yesterday's outing and, in fact, seemed better.

Ryan is still waiting to announce a starter. I think he might be gun shy from the last time and he also doesn't want to create a situation that might further endanger his franchise quarterback. That said, I think Sanchez will be the starter on Sunday against the Falcons.

Couple of other things - Jets and Giants are putting in a bid to host the 2014 Super Bowl at the Meadowlands. All I can say to that is, I'm glad the press box is inside. Right now the NFL requires the temperature of a location not to be lower than 50 degrees. Clearly the Meadowlands can't guarantee (or frankly even hope for) that. We'll see.

Also, the Jets are doing their annual coat drive at this Sunday's (December 20th) game. This will be part of the Jersey Cares Coat Drive. They are looking for new or gently used coats, which will be collected at the gates. If you aren't going to make it to the game, but are interested in donating, you can check out www.jerseycares.org to find other donation locations

The Jets will be donating $1000 to the New York Cares Coat Drive as well. If you are interested in donating through them, you can check out www.newyorkcares.org.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Get out the vote!

Hey Jets fans, if you want to see your favorite players in the Pro Bowl, you better start voting. Guys like center Nick Mangold and cornerback Darrelle Revis are way down on the list of votes received and others, like running back Thomas Jones, linebacker David Harris and left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson haven't even cracked the lists yet.

This is odd given that Jones ranks seventh overall in the NFL in rushing, Harris is the league's fourth leading tackler and every defensive end he plays against names Ferguson as one of the game's top left tackles.

Both Revis and Mangold have seven guys with more votes than them at their positions.

Fan votes account for one third of the total, which is pretty significant.

You can go to nfl.com to vote. Polls close on December 21st.

The Sanchez situation, and some roster moves

A computer hard drive crash was almost the end of me last week. However, now I'm back. Not quite as ticked off as Mark Sanchez who was seething yesterday after learning that not only would he not start, but he would not even travel to this weekend's game in Tampa.

Rex Ryan described Sanchez as "mad as a hornet" when he heard. I asked Sanchez if that was accurate and he replied "That's about right." His mood yesterday fluctuated between anger and pouting, but I'm assuming somebody will set him right. I would also think there's a good chance he'll be back next week when they face the Falcons at home.

In addition, despite questions about it, Sanchez not playing is in no way a punishment. If Ryan could play his starter, he would.

Sanchez was nowhere to be seen today in the 30 minutes of media access during practice. Only person on the sideline was offensive lineman Rob Turner who has a knee injury and was riding a stationary bike.

In other news, Alan Faneca was sent home sick. With Rob Turner out, this isn't the best news but one would have to assume that Faneca will probably be back to play on Sunday.

Additionally, the team placed Larry Izzo on injured reserve. Izzo has been a special teams standout throughout his career with the Dolphins and the Patriots. He has not made quite the splash this year and we'll have to see if this is the end of the road for him or if he'll try to come back next year.

The team has signed center Michael Parenton and linebacker Josh Mauga, both of whom were on the team during training camp and were waived during final cuts in September.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Rhodes to Take a Seat

OK, So the New England game didn't go all that well for the Jets. While some are shouting for Mark Sanchez to be benched - or at least given a breather - it is a veteran member of the defense who will sit instead.

Safety Kerry Rhodes was removed from his starting role by Rex Ryan. Fourth-year veteran Eric Smith, also a special teams standout, will go in his place.

In the locker room today, Rhodes admitted it was tough to deal with and that coming to work this morning was not the easiest thing to do. He said that last night all sorts of things crossed his mind, along the lines of whether he should even continue playing if he wasn't helping the team.

However, he has described his benching as a "like a little kid in time out." Both he and Ryan expect him to regain his starting job. In fact, Ryan today said he was "banking on" Rhodes responding in a positive way and Rhodes indicated he has every intention of getting his job back.

Then there's Sanchez. Ryan has avowed over and over again that Sanchez is the starter. Personally, for whatever it's worth, I would have taken him out in the fourth quarter of Sunday's game. If for no other reason than to give him a chance to catch his breath and get his equilibrium back. Whether or not they think Sanchez gives them the best chance to win, he has been going a million miles an hour since training camp and maybe throwing Kellen Clemens in might have been good all the way around.

Sanchez is a good rookie quarterback and from all evidence he has the potential to be a great quarterback but he's still finding his way. That's what being a rookie is all about - sometimes you need a break to process what's happening.

In separate and unrelated news, a shout out to my friend Brandon for exhibiting exceptional water cooler prowess earlier today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Even When It's Grim, There's Fun to Be Had

Rex Ryan walked into today's press conference, paused, and set a box of tissues down on the podium in front of him as the media in the room burst out laughing. This was of course a reference to reports that Ryan was in tears when speaking to the team on Monday.

He then brought out a statement, which he read purposefully in a monotone - to more laughter. "New England's pretty good. Any questions."

Ryan made no excuses for the events of Monday. "I'm always going to be myself," he said. "It's more passion than it is anything."

This certainly was in keeping with the personality we've seen from him since he arrived. While maybe some of the "swagger" has toned down - "The losing will take [the swagger] from you a little," he said today - Ryan is still the same guy.

The problem is, is the team still the same team? With four losses in the last five games, fans are having trouble believing it, in spite of the insistence of the coach and his players that they are. The losses of NT Kris Jenkins and RB Leon Washington are still being felt.

Speaking of those two, while we haven't yet seen Washington, we ran into Jenkins as we headed into the locker room after Ryan's press conference. He was on crutches, with a brace on his left knee following surgery for the torn ACL. He was in good spirits, smiling and joking, as is typical of Jenkins and said he was doing great. Unfortunately, he won't be able to contribute again until next year.

Monday, November 16, 2009

The story behind Ahmad Carroll's release

The release of cornerback Ahmad Carroll was a little perplexing given that he has generally been considered to be a pretty solid special teams player. However, one of my sources told me today that behind the scenes, Carroll's attitude was a problem.

Basically, Carroll mouthed off a lot including to the coaching staff, had a negative attitude and would sometimes not turn in required weekly tests.

With the steady improvement of CB Marquice Cole, the team felt that Carroll had not only become expendable, but was more of a hindrance than a help.

Basically you can compare this to someone being fired for insubordination.

Jets Waive Ahmad Carroll

The Jets just announced they have waived CB Ahmad Carroll. The Jets signed the 2004 first-round pick before the 2008 training camp. Not sure what has transpired here, although he has become useful really only on special teams although he was inactive the past two games.

Will be interesting to see who the Jets replace him with on the roster.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

They Didn't

Another "frustrating" and "heartbreaking" (two words several Jets used when I spoke to them) loss. For a brief moment it looked like the Jets might pull it out when they went up 22-21, before falling 24-22.

One of the greatest pieces of clock management I've ever seen was that last series, where running back Maurice Jones-Drew took a knee right before crossing the goal line in order to run out the clock. "On the first play, I should have kept it on the front side," he told me after the game. "Then [the coaches] came over to me and said 'we need you to take a knee so we can just get out of here.'" Nice job.

I asked him how hard it was for someone in his position NOT to run into the end zone when it's right there in front of you. "It's tough because you want to score, but you want to get a win," he said.

As for the Jets locker room, this was not a happy place. Guys were very deflated. DE Marques Douglas, one of the player who described the game as "heartbreaking" said "We let ourselves down. We have to improve." Problem is, they need to improve fast, the clock is ticking.

Mark Sanchez stepped up to the podium for his post-game press conference holding a sheet of paper, which he placed in front of him and then proceeded to read from. They were his thoughts and reactions to a lot of the different plays that were of significance. When he was done someone asked if he was taking questions and he said, "sure but I think I covered everything."

One thing about him is, he is a professional and did answer numerous follow-up questions totally politely.

The Jets go to Foxboro next Sunday. Hmmmm.

Will They Or Won't They....

With the Jaguars and Jets both at 4-4, both teams have acknowledged that this game will be like a playoff. It is a must-win for both.

Coming off their bye week, the Jets have gotten healthy with only LB Vernon Gholston sidelined due to injury and unfortunately, he has not made a significant impact yet, so this is not a big loss.

Recently re-acquired Justin Miller is inactive. Special teams coach Mike Westhoff has had to do a lot of reconfiguring with the loss of Leon Washington. He will be happy to get Brad Smith back today.

WR Jerricho Cotchery should also be back at 100% so the Jets will finally have both of their #1 receivers on the field together.

RT Damien Woody has battled several injuries this season - a foot and a knee and this week was listed with a lower back problem. It would take a lot for this guy to sit he is active and will start.

The Jets have their work cut out for them facing Maurice Jones-Drew. The run defense is going to have to bring not just their A game, but their A+ game. The team has talked for weeks now that all of their problems are fixable and correctable. Proof will be in the pudding today.

QB Mark Sanchez ran the scout team for his high school team (Mission Viejo, CA) during the bye week and worked on some of his own plays with Bob Johnson, his high school head coach.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

No Hot-Dogging This Week, On or Off the Field

With the big win against Oakland under their belts, it's time to see what the Jets can do this weekend against the Dolphins, who pulled the rug out from under them three weeks ago.

It looks like Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith will both be back so that's good news for the offense, especially with the loss of Leon Washington. Bart Scott, who, according to Rex Ryan, did something to his MCL is also likely to play as is Shaun Ellis (knee and foot). Cornerback Lito Sheppard will be out, but at this point the Jets have what seems like dozens of DBs on the roster so they should be able to compensate there.

Leon Washington's absence is being felt, especially "behind-the-scenes." He is an important guy in the locker room and both players and coaches have mentioned that his loss there will be as impactful as on the field.

However, the Jets are pretty amped up for the Dolphins rematch. One of the players joked with me that Vince McMahon - the wrestling guy - ought to come out at the beginning of Sunday's game with his "Are you ready to rummmbbbllleeee!"

But, according to every player I spoke to, their focus is solely on them - what they do, not what the Dolphins are going to do. The biggest problem they had during those losses was poor communication and missed assignments so their goal is to pay attention only to their individual responsibilities and not get distracted by anything else.

The Jets are anxious to get this win first and foremost because it's a division game, but also because it will send them into their bye week on an up note.

Hot Dog-gate has calmed down (is it just me or was that a wee bit blown out of proportion?) and if you haven't heard, Mark Sanchez went and donated 1000 hot dogs and hamburgers to a local soup kitchen.

One guarantee I can make for this game - no one will be eating anything on the sideline.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Ihedibgo and Murrell Won't Play on Sunday

You were always told that fighting generally doesn't solve anything and this holds true in football as well. After getting into it with a couple of the Bills during a kick-off return and throwing punches that were clearly caught on camera, CB James Ihedigbo (who was ejected from the game) and LB Marques Murrell were both fined $5,000 by the league and they will both be inactive on Sunday.

Following the game, Rex Ryan said he would do something. That 'something' is that those two players will not play. Given the injuries that the team is dealing with, they really can't afford to have two healthy guys not playing. However, Ryan doesn't stand for that kind of behavior no matter how much he may need those players.

Ihedigbo got into a few altercations with his own teammates during training camp and has had some lighter run-ins during the season. We'll see if this has an impact of having him pull back a little bit.

Otherwise, things in the locker room are as you would expect. The mood is much better than after the game on Sunday, but there's definitely a more reserved feeling, especially among the defense than there has been in weeks past. It's clear that everyone knows they need a win this weekend against Oakland.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Post-Mortem

The best I can come up with after today's game is...yikes. From the looks on the faces of the players in the locker room immediately following the game, they may have had additional thoughts.

It was interesting, when we got into the locker room about 15 minutes or so after the game ended it was deadly silent. Some guys were sitting at their lockers just looking at the floor. Others were in small groups of two and three clearly discussing and reviewing what had just transpired. I haven't seen that kind of reaction in that locker room in a long time. In years past, it was very even-keeled.

Thomas Jones, who set a franchise record by rushing for 210 yards couldn't have cared less about that. As he said, "I could have run for two yards, we lost."

As an aside, I will add that Braylon Edwards has been nothing but accommodating and professional since he arrived. He seems to have stepped right into a leadership role without eclipsing any of the other veterans.

In addition to real concerns about what happened and why, the team has some major issues with injuries right now. Rex Ryan said Kris Jenkins' knee is probably "severe." If that's the case, they are going to have some big shoes to fill - literally and figuratively. When Jenkins is on the field, it takes two guys and sometimes three to contain him. Do the math, that leaves you with 10 vs. 9 - or 8. Much better odds.

With Jerricho Cotchery and Brad Smith out, and Damien Woody now with a foot and a knee injury, there could be some problems on offense too.

One thing I think Brian Scottenheimer and Matt Cavanaugh (the quarterbacks coach) will undoubtedly be working on with Sanchez is containing his emotions. He's a rookie and he's talented, my hunch is they will get that on track.

And, just when you thought Oakland - who the Jets face next week in Oakland - would be a sure thing, they go and knock off the Eagles.

It's going to be some week in Florham Park.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Cotchery Gives Back

On a slightly more upbeat note, Jericho Cotchery is hosting an event at ESPN Zone in New York's Times Square next Monday night (October 19th) at 7:30pm. Cotchery has his own foundation - The Cotchery Foundation - and the event is to raise money for the Pride School in East Orange, NJ and Six Citizen Schools in Harlem, Brooklyn and Newark, NJ.

CBS sportscaster Sam Ryan will be the auctioneer at a live sports memorabilia auction and Joe Benigno from The Fan will offer commentary.

Cotchery is one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet so if you want to meet him in person, as well as some of his teammates from the Jets, you should check out the event. There's more information on his website: www.cotcheryfoundation.com

The Morning After

At 11:45pm last night I'm pretty sure I heard a very loud "Yikes" echoing from Jets fans everywhere. Rex Ryan had a slightly stronger reaction.

"It was a complete embarrassment by our defense and by me, obviously we need to prepare better," he said right after the game and added the same thoughts on a conference call with the media today.

Yup. Miami put up more than 400 yards of total offense; something clearly went wrong. However, Ryan said today he is confident that the defense will bounce back. It was especially odd given that the team got LB Calvin Pace back, which should have helped. Especially since on offense Braylon Edwards was able to make a huge impact after only five days with the team.

In the meantime, as of 1pm, Ryan has yet to go home since arriving back in New York at 5:30am, trying to figure out what happened and start to prepare for the Bills who handed the Cleveland Browns their first win on Sunday.

We'll see what else people have to say as the week goes on.

As a side note - Mark Sanchez has been nominated once again for Rookie of the Week.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Braylon Edwards is ready for Monday Night

So, the whole New Orleans thing didn't go that well. It happens - especially when you have a rookie quarterback. Each week's a different lesson for Mark Sanchez. At some point he will stop holding the ball four feet away from his body. And will stop cut blocking. You know, one thing at a time.

This week it's Monday Night Football. And there's the little matter of a new wide receiver in town. Yes Jets fans, Braylon Edwards is here. Thus far with the media, his demeanor belies the off-the-field issues he has been a part of over the years. He has been friendly, funny and mild-mannered. We'll have to see how everything plays out.

He has talked several times about his frustrations and how this is a fresh start. There have been questions about all the dropped balls he had last year. One player I spoke with who is friendly with Edwards attributed it possibly to a lack of focus on his part as he may have been distracted and drawn in by some of the celebrity opportunities that have been dangled in front of him and which he has taken part in. Photo shoots, parties, etc.

The fact is, when he plays well, he's great. The Jets are clearly hoping that the Braylon Edwards they just signed is that Braylon Edwards.

As for Edwards, he is ready to start on Monday night. "I just need to stay with Mark (Sanchez)," he said. "Stay on his page. See how he likes to call plays. His hots. His sights. Get a feel for what he likes to do. Then I can roll from there."

After arriving early afternoon yesterday he left the complex at 9pm and was back at 7am today.

Other things to watch for on Monday night - right tackle Damien Woody seems to have a pretty badly sprained ankle. I would look for Wayne Hunter to start in his place as Woody has not practiced. Lito Sheppard is back at practice, my guess is he will play. Donald Strickland was out today, that's looking like he'll be out another week. Everybody else seems mostly in one piece.

Let's see if the Jets can hold back the Miami running game.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Darren Sharper steps up

After numerous refusals from the New Orleans Saints players, veteran safety Darren Sharper has graciously agreed to do the weekly conference call.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The New York media is just not THAT scary

Preparation has begun for the New Orleans Saints who the Jets will visit on Sunday. Of course, it's not just the team who has to prepare, the media does too. As part of that preparation, every Wednesday the media from each team has a conference call with the opposing head coach and one of the players - usually the quarterback or another player of similar stature.

Thus far Drew Brees, wide receiver Marques Colston and former Jets linebacker Jonathan Vilma have all refused to get on the call with us. I find it funny, but also perplexing. I mean, they're 3-0 just like the Jets. What's the problem? I cannot remember this ever happening before.

I'll let you know if anybody eventually agrees to talk to us.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

There went the Titans

You've got to hand it to them, this team finds a way to win. For a few minutes it looked as though the momentum may have changed enough to let the Titans win, but Rex Ryan and his guys were not going to let that happen. Jets fans, your team is now 3-0.

Once again, Mark Sanchez looked experienced beyond his years, but was also helped out tremendously by some turnovers as well as key plays by Jericho Cotchery and Eric Smith, just to name a few.

What stands out most to me this year, is how much fun the Jets are having. Obviously, it's easy to have fun when you're winning, but the mood in the locker room is much different than in the past few years.

It's been a long day so if you want to check out my post-game story on cbssports.com, you can find it here: http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/story/12274247.

Up next are the New Orleans Saints who will host the Jets next weekend at 4pm.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Here come the Titans

It was pointed out to me yesterday by an unnamed source that I have not blogged since before the Patriots game. Oops, my bad.

Things seem to be rolling along nicely for the Jets at the moment. A great win for them over New England last week in a game that could have gone either way - and in the first half seemed to be going the wrong way. Everyone talked about the adjustments that were made at halftime being the key. I would say that's actually something important to take note of. Every team tries to make adjustments at halftime - half the teams end up losing anyway. I think it speaks well of both the coaching staff and how plugged into the system the players are that those adjustments worked and immediately led to a change in the game and a win.

For those of you panicking about the Mark Sanchez injury - don't. Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer actually chuckled when asked about Sanchez being on the injury report. Clearly this is the team being overly cautious after the Brett Favre debacle.

The real issue this weekend might be the loss of cornerbacks Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland. Sheppard's got a calf strain, Strickland's got a pretty bad ankle sprain. Sheppard told me he feels better "every hour" so that might end up being a game-time decision. Rex Ryan said yesterday that at this point he doesn't expect Strickland to play.

The Jets have a lot of DBs, and this week's focus is on the running game, but you don't want to lose two of those guys at once.

Speaking of the Titans running game, it will be interesting to see what happens against wide receiver Chris Johnson. Ryan and defensive coordinator Mike Pettine both pointed out yesterday how much he has improved this year and he was already pretty good last year. Kerry Rhodes called him the fastest guy in the NFL. The team will have their work cut out for them.

I would keep an eye on Kris Jenkins. He got the wind knocked out of him last week, but is also listed on the injury report as having a back problem, which cropped up in week one. If the Jets lose him for a significant amount of time, that will hurt them.

Looking forward to seeing Titans center Kevin Mawae, who was of course with the Jets until Eric Mangini arrived, and who is still doing his thing after all these years.

The Jets will be wearing their throwback NY Titans uniforms this weekend so it will be the Titans vs. the Titans. Let's hope that doesn't make for any unfortunate turnovers.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Now the Accolades

It turned out to be quite a successful outing in Houston. The team was in fine spirits yesterday and already looking ahead to the Patriots, who looked a little weird last night. I'm just saying.

Mark Sanchez looked like he might be the real deal, but we'll have to give it a little more time to make a full decision. However, the NFL just announced that Sanchez is a finalist for Rookie of the Week - 18 of 31 for 272 yards a TD and an INT. Pretty good.

Running back Thomas Jones is also a finalist for Player of the Week with 107 total yards on 20 carries with two touchdowns.

You can't overlook the defense, which came out of the gate with guns blazing. And that was without Shaun Ellis or Calvin Pace.

With an overall performance like that you have to tip your hat to the coaching, their game plan came together nicely.

It will be interesting to see how this new-look Jets matches up with New England on Sunday. Houston was touted as a good team going into last weekend, but as one player I spoke with yesterday said, "they certainly didn't look like it."

Rex Ryan was careful about his critique of Vernon Gholston's play calling it "up and down." Clearly, while Gholston has made some progress, he's nowhere near where they want him to be. At this point though, they have enough weapons on defense so that Gholston won't hurt them, but can only help if he can get better.

As for the wide receiver by committee thing, Chansi Stuckey got the start and so far that looks like it worked out pretty well.

Rex is imploring fans to come out and be as loud as they can at the Meadowlands on Sunday. Given the fact that the game is being played on the second day of Rosh Hashana, I'm curious if the stands will be full. We'll see.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Game Day!

Well, Game One is finally here. The Jets are, of course, in Houston - with a lot on their plate. Rookie head coach, rookie quarterback and two defensive starters out on suspensions.

In talking to the players this week, they all seemed genuinely confident going into this contest. Sanchez's biggest challenge might just be keeping calm in the first quarter. I saw a Tweet from Darrelle Revis yesterday that they were sitting on the plane together and Revis said Sanchez was "talking my ear off." Very funny.

It's probably a good thing that the team is opening in Houston. The temperature was down to 65 degrees in New York the other day and Sanchez, the southern Californian, was wearing a ski cap. They might need to think about getting him some battery-powered, hunting socks for the Bills game.

Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace are serving their suspensions so this is going to be the first real test for Vernon Gholston. When I talked to him a couple of days ago he told me "I know when I'm on point I can be one of the best players out there." Rex Ryan has been openly supportive of Gholston from day one, which has to have added to Gholston's confidence. We know he can rush the passer, but this defense will expect a lot of different things from him - especially without Pace in the game.

We'll also get a look at what the real plan is for the wide receivers. There still seems to be a hue and cry over the fact that the Jets don't have a deep receiving corps. With Dustin Keller serving basically as their number two receiver, it will be interesting to see how things with Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith and David Clowney start to fall into place.

I get asked a lot if the Jets are still looking for another receiver. You would have to think that if somebody appropriate became available, they would go for him.

Lastly, the running game is going to make a much stronger appearance this year. You can count on seeing a ton of Thomas Jones and even more, Leon Washington. Finally.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Jets Practice Squad Announced

The Jets have just announced their practice squad. All of these guys were with the team during training camp.

The eight players are: RB Jehuu Caulcrick, DB Emanuel Cook, LB Kenwin Cummings, Keith Fitzhugh, WR Marcus Henry, DT Matt Kroul, OT Ryan McKee and TE Jack Simmons.

However, again, from what I'm hearing, I am expecting there to be some changes here by Tuesday.

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Feel-Good Story is Over

Well, this year's potential feel-good story is over. One day after being signed to the active roster by the New York Jets, running back Danny Woodhead was released. He could still be signed to the practice squad, but with the way things are going, there's no way to guess.

From what I hear, a few guys who were told by the team that they would be signed to the practice squad were told today that that was not going to happen. At least for now.

In addition to Woodhead, the team released OL Mike Kracalik, LB Brendan Renkart and punter Reggie Hodges.

Punter AJ Trapasso was signed along with FB Jason Davis, TE Matthew Mulligan. The Jets also traded an undisclosed draft pick to the Lions for quarterback Kevin O'Connell.

Plus, don't forget, Shaun Ellis and Calvin Pace each start their suspensions and do not count on the active roster. One guy will be cut when each returns.

I would expect some additional news over the next two days.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Jets Make Final Roster Cuts

The Jets have announced their final roster cuts. As I Tweeted earlier, running back Danny Woodhead made the team. Also, as expected from early in camp, rookie free agent Jamaal Westerman out of Rutgers earned a spot as well.

Here is the list of those who were released:

TE Kevin Brock
TE Kareem Brown
TE Jack Simmons
RB Jehuu Caulcrick
FB Brock Christopher
OL Stanley Daniels
WR Britt Davis
WR Marcus Henry
RB Anthony Kimble
T Nevin McCaskill
OT Ryan McKee
C Michael Parenton

Injured Reserve:

WR Aundrae Allison


CB Rashad Barksdale
LB Kenwin Cummings
DL Matt Kroul
DE Zach Potter
DL Ty Steinkuhler

and K Parker Douglass


DL Shaun Ellis
LB Calvin Pace

With Jehuu Caulcrick it most certainly came down to a decision between keeping him to backup veteran Tony Richardson or keeping Woodhead who really shined during camp and the preseason. In addition, rookie running back Shonn Greene is already on his second injury so they may have wanted some insurance there. If he clears waivers,look for Caulcrick to be signed back to the Jets' practice squad.

As for the tight ends, the writing was on the wall when the team signed veteran Ben Hartsock, although it is mildly surprising that they let all three of the others go.

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Revolving Door at Punter and Schotty's Take on the Wide Receivers

The Jets punting travails continue and today they waived Ken Parrish, who they signed in the middle of training camp after waiving TJ Conley. They signed Glenn Pakulak from Kentucky who will now battle Reggie Hodges for the job.

The Jets also waived linebacker Josh Mauga.

Questions also linger at the wide receiver position with many on the outside at least wondering if the current receivers can do the job for the Jets this year. With Jericho Cotchery designated as the number one guy, Brad Smith, Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney are competing for the number two spot. What the Jets don't have is a big, tall, physical guy - except of course for TE Dustin Keller who they frequently use in that role.

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer expressed his confidence in the unit. "I think we can win with these guys," he said. "I think we're going to have a really solid group and we're pretty deep."

It's also no secret that Jets plan to run the ball. A lot. Thomas Jones, Leon Washington and Shonn Greene (who is now dealing with a rib injury after spraining his ankle in camp) as a group provide the team with a lot of options - which they especially need with a rookie quarterback under center.

Jets at Giants tomorrow night. It's supposed to pour rain. Rex Ryan does not expect the starters to play in the second half and he promises we will finally get to see QB Chris Pizzotti, the team's number four guy who Ryan refers to only as "Harvard." Yes, that's where he went to school.

Says Ryan, "He's got to go in there. He deserves it. He's a hard working young man and who knows, maybe we'll work for him one day."

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Want to Join the Jets?

With QB Mark Sanchez now ensconced as the starter, things might start to get back to normal. Stay tuned.

However, in other news, the Jets are doing a couple of interesting things that fans can take part in. Today is the last day of Jets Fest at Florham Park (practice starts at 11:50am) and at 3pm, the Jets are going to unveil special Titans uniforms in honor of the 50th anniversary of the original American Football League. Several players will take part including Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes, Bart Scott, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Nick Mangold, Dustin Keller and Jericho Cotchery.

Then, the team has cooked up another idea in conjunction with Fan Appreciation Day. which is scheduled for October 18th when they play division rival Buffalo Bills. One fan will be selected by the Jets to suit up and lead the team out of the tunnel and onto the field at the start of the game that day. To apply, fans can go online to www.jointhejets.com.

What exactly is the team looking for? Joey Clinkscales, Vice President of College Scouting, laid out the very important qualifications. "Specifically we are looking at cheering decibel levels, out-of-chair vertical leap and, of course, a passion for tailgating."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

It's Official - It's Sanchez

Well, the decision has been made. Sources have confirmed that Mark Sanchez will be the Jets' starting quarterback. Jay Glazer of Foxsports.com first reported the story.

While this was starting to look like where the team was heading, the timing is a bit of a surprise. Many thought Kellen Clemens would be given the job if Sanchez didn't really distinguish himself right away, but it looks like they went the other way.

Through the preseason, neither quarterback really made the case for being a starter so it seems that the team has decided that since Clemens wasn't able to separate himself, they would go with the rookie who, as Rex Ryan has stated openly, is the future of the franchise.

The team has practice today so I'll check back in later after we get a chance to talk to Ryan and the players.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

More from Rex

Lots of chatter regarding Rex Ryan's comments in this morning's press conference regarding his outspokenness, especially when it comes to other teams and coaches. I was sitting in the room and my personal opinion was that he was talking in generalities about all of his opponents, using the Patriots as a jumping off point.

So, while I normally don't post transcripts, I am posting the entire answer to the question he was asked that started the furor so that you can decide for yourself:

On if he his comments will be different once games start…

I mean, I probably won’t call out Channing Crowder again. That’s one thing I probably won’t do because that really got blown out (of proportion). I’ll pick on a kicker or something (laughter). No (it’s not a concern). I’m going to be true to myself. I don’t mean to be disrespectful. I’m not trying to be disrespectful. When I said that about (Bill) Belichick, I’m just letting him know I’m not intimidated by him. He’s got the same position I have. We’re both head coaches in this league. He just happens to have a hell of a lot of Super Bowl rings. I don’t have a win and I appreciate you pointing that out (laughter). I understand that. We’re not going to just tiptoe our way through this thing. You don’t win and beat a Bill Belichick-coached team by tiptoeing up there. We’re going to be ourselves and I’m going to be myself and that’s just the way it is. How much more motivation are they going to get by putting a quote from Rex Ryan on their wall saying I believe in my football team and that I’m not going to be intimidated by a coach or anybody else? If that’s where you’re going to draw motivation from, hell, we’re probably going to kick your (butt) if that’s the case (laughter).

Monday, August 17, 2009

A #@!&%! Interesting Ryan Press Conference

It is the dog days of summer. A brisk 87 degrees right now and without a cloud in the sky it feels way hotter than that. An almost-three-hour practice this morning has left my eyes burning, and yes I was wearing sunglasses. Fortunately 30 SPF sunblock saved the rest of me. Second practice is at 4pm. Yikes.

Rex Ryan was in rare form this morning, even for him. The conversation turned to him facing the Ravens for the first time and he went off on a tangent about how the team has given former Pro Bowl defensive end and Ravens Ring of Honor member Mike McCrary's number to a rookie who "hasn't proven sh*t." Yup, the press conference was being streamed live on the Internet.

PR Director Bruce Speight's eyes briefly rolled back in his head as he clutched the wall behind him. As the room burst out laughing, Ryan tossed a "Sorry Bruce" his way.

On a more serious note, DE Shaun Ellis has been suspended for the first game of the season and fined whopping $100,000 in addition to that. With LB Calvin Pace already suspended for the first four games, this is starting to make a bit of a dent.

Kris Jenkins, who has been rehabbing his calf for the last two weeks finally could take no more of working with head strength and conditioning coach Sal Aloisi (apparently quite a task master) and walked off on his own to the locker room, got dressed and headed out to practice. He was stopped from doing anything more than participating in position drills, but it seemed a huge relief to him nonetheless. To quote Jenkins, "I spazzed out and walked out there. There are worse things than pads and his name is Sal!"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Comings and Goings

With Rex Ryan none to pleased with the punting in Friday night's game, the Jets waived punter T.J. Conley and have signed Ken Parrish. He will now compete with Reggie Hodges for the job.

In addition, the team waived J'Nathan Bullock a converted basketball player from Cleveland State and signed linebacker Joshua Mauga from Nevada.

A Film Session with Rex

Coach Rex Ryan walked into his post-practice press conference this morning and announced he was taking us (the media) into the team meeting room to watch some film of Friday's game against the St. Louis Rams.

So, we barreled through the press conference and off we went. The meeting room is in another building, some distance from where we were, so transportation was necessary. A battalion of golf carts was on hand, but Rich Cimini of the Daily News and I grabbed a ride with Ryan in his very big truck. PR Director Bruce Speight made a great read and hopped in with us. Can't leave reporters alone with the head coach.

How much fun is this guy? And very enlightening. He ran through about a dozen different plays on defense, offense and special teams pointing out small details - both positive and negative - about what various players had done in the game and what made them important. He ran the tape backwards and forwards numerous times on each play, pointing out the nuances.

The best part for us (or at least me) is that any opportunity to become further educated about what we have to watch and write about is invaluable. All of it underscores how passionate Ryan is about what he's doing and how willing he is to share everything about this team with everybody.

It remains to be seen if they will win, but sign me up for more of these film sessions!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Back in Cortland. Couple of Guys Get Cut

Greetings once again from Cortland. Returned today after a whirlwind three days back in New York for the Hofstra practice and last night's game against the Rams.

Speaking of which, Rex Ryan was less than pleased with the play of his backup defense. I would like to be a fly on the wall in that meeting room.

The Jets just announced they have waived two players - coincidentally, their two Ivy Leaguers - QB Chris Pizzotti from Harvard and wide receiver Paul Raymond from Brown. The writing may have been on the wall last night for Pizzotti since he was never put into the game.

The team signed guard Dennis Conley (to the best of my knowledge he is no relation to punter T.J. Conley but I'll get right on that). Conley played for Hampton University in Virginia starting 30 of 37 games he played in.

Kind of interesting that the two players who were waived were offensive players since Ryan's beef was with the defense. We'll have to see what happens in the next few days. The first official cut-down isn't for another couple of weeks.

In any case, Mark Sanchez looked great last night in his one series. Even he was surprised that Brian Schottenheimer called that pass for his first play. Pretty fun. I assume he will get more time next week when they go to Baltimore. Kellen Clemens looked pretty good as well. The battle rages on.

No access today, but practices start up again tomorrow and go through Friday morning. We'll see what transpires.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Injuries...and the Newest Addition to the Jets Family

A good time was had by all at Hofstra last night as the Jets had their final practice before their first preseason game tomorrow at home against the Rams.

A bunch of minor injuries will cause several starters to be on the bench including three of the starting o-line. Nick Mangold, Alan Faneca and Damien Woody will all be held out of the game dur to their various injuries. Mangold's been dealing with a bruised knee of some sort, Faneca broke the middle finger on his left hand a few days ago and Damien Woody was hit in the head earlier this week during nine-on-sevens and has been sidelined since.

In addition, Darrelle Revis won't play as the team wants his hamstring to be 100% before they put him in any jeopardy. Kris Jenkins will also be a bystander as there's no way the team will put him on the field before his calf is completely healed. There has been a rotation at his position and it will be interesting to see how those guys do in a real game.

Some happy news, Wallace Wright returned after a couple of days away from camp. He was excused to be with his wife for the birth of their first baby - a boy named Trey. Mother and son are doing great. Father is beaming.

Rex Ryan has been quite complimentary about Wright of late. Saying he's had an "outstanding" camp. For his part, Wright told me that he's really excited about this year because he's getting more of an opportunity to show his skills at wide receiver in addition to special teams. While he'll probably end up as the number four, he's putting up a good fight. He already has great chemistry with Mark Sanchez.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Back From Cortland, for A Minute

Just returned back to town after 13 days in Cortland. Lots of laundry to do - especially since we have to go back up there on Saturday for the remainder of camp after the Rams game Friday night.

In any case, don't forget about the Jets practice at Hofstra tomorrow. The time has been moved up slightly to 5:45pm. Jets Fest will open at 3pm.

Blast from the recent past. Remember Joe Kowalewski? The fullback/tight end from Syracuse who was with the Jets in 2006 and 2007 signed today with the Dolphins.

The Jets announced yesterday that they are doing a lottery program in conjunction with the state of New Jersey. Wayne Chrebet is the program's ambassador. The entire press release is below as I am way too tired at the moment (and fighting a raging head cold) to trust myself to pull out all the salient facts.

Jets Fans Can Get Lucky and Win Season Tickets For a Decade in New Stadium

Team and New Jersey Lottery Announce Wayne Chrebet

As Ambassador of New Instant Ticket Program

The New York Jets, the New Jersey Lottery, Governor Jon S. Corzine and State Treasurer and Sports and Exposition Authority Commissioner R. David Rousseau today announced an extension of their partnership that will now include a new Jets-themed instant lottery ticket and the chance to win several once-in-a-lifetime Jets-themed prizes. Cash prizes for "Jets Football Fantasy" range from $5 to $100,000 for a single winner. One lucky second chance winner will win lower bowl season tickets in the New Jets Stadium for a decade. "Jets Football Fantasy" is expected to hit store shelves in early September.

Jets legend - and New Jersey's own - Wayne Chrebet has signed on to be the primary 'ambassador' for this partnership. Wayne becomes the first former player in the League to take an active, high-profile role in supporting a joint instant lottery venture between a State lottery and a League franchise. In addition to promoting "Jets Football Fantasy" in radio spots, print ads and at appearances throughout the state, Wayne will also host some lucky "Second Chance Drawing" winners at a Jets home game in one of the luxury suites.

Other winning experiences include being "Team Owner for a Day" - traveling to an away game on a private jet, pregame sideline passes, premium seats, access to the Jets post-game press conference and a meet and greet with Jets Chairman and CEO Woody Johnson. Over 400 first-prize winners will receive $300 Jets Shop Gift Cards, redeemable online atwww.jetsshop.com <http://www.jetsshop.com/> or at the brand new flagship store on 50th and Madison Avenue in Manhattan. All non-cash winning tickets can be submitted to New Jersey Lottery for the second chance drawings.

"Partnering with a storied franchise like the New York Jets promises great things," said New Jersey Lottery Acting Executive Director William T. Jourdain. "The Jets have a special place in the hearts and minds of countless New Jerseyans, and we're very pleased to be able to work with them to give something back to their fans."

“This partnership will go a long way toward supporting the many worthy programs funded through the New Jersey Lottery while also giving Jet fans a chance to dream about some great NFL prizes,” said State Treasurer R. David Rousseau.

Governor Corzine also noted that Jets fans aren't the only ones who will win with this new game. "Each ticket a Jets fan purchases goes to support kids in K-12 education, students in New Jersey colleges and universities, our state's veterans and the developmentally disabled, to name just a few beneficiaries of Lottery support. As fans support their favorite team, they provide support for young and old New Jerseyans alike in communities throughout the Garden State."

"We are excited to partner with New Jersey Lottery to offer our fans not only a chance at winning substantial monetary prizes, but unique Jets experiences not offered anywhere else," said Jets Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Matt Higgins. "We're pleased that Wayne Chrebet will be the first former player in the league to support such a program, helping to generate excitement and interest in what is also the first NFL-themed instant ticket launched in New Jersey. Although the tickets will be sold throughout the state, fans won't have to travel far to give the game a try - the Lottery has arranged for Jets Football Fantasy to be available at the Meadowlands on gamedays."

"Calling New Jersey home and being a member of the Jets family, I think this is a natural fit for me," said Chrebet of becoming the spokesperson for this new venture. "I hope Jets fans see a lot of winning this year with the Jets Football Fantasy Instant Ticket and on the field, too, with new head coach Rex Ryan."

Monday, August 10, 2009

Thunder, Lightning and A Little Tornado Warning

It is pouring rain with lightning and, yes, a tornado warning, so the Jets were forced to cancel this afternoon's practice after 30 minutes. This was made slightly more amusing by the fact that the organization spent almost two hours drying the grass field with a helicopter so that the players could tackle. Oh well.

This morning's practice looked pretty good. After having a not-so-great day yesterday, Kellen Clemens made a comeback completing six of 10 in 11 on 11s. Mark Sanchez was four of 12.

The Jets will wrap up the first leg of their Cortland trip with tomorrow's practices. The team then heads to Hofstra for a practice on Wednesday night followed by the game on Friday against the St. Louis Rams. Clemens has been named the starter but it has not been determined yet what the breakdown will be between he and Sanchez or if Sanchez will get any reps with the ones.

Injury-wise, a bunch of guys are dinged up and being held out. Nick Mangold is out with a knee, as is Donald Strickland. Neither has any ligament problems so these are minor. Kris Jenkins is still rehabbing his calf and Tony Richardson is coming back from a hip pointer. Richardson was given permission to go to Canton for the weekend to be on hand for the induction of his former Kansas City Chiefs teammate Derrick Thomas. Darrelle Revis, who strained a hamstring, participated in individual drills but nothing else.

Tomorrow's schedule is for a regular practice in the morning and a special teams practice in the afternoon although it remains to be seen if Rex Ryan will change that to a full practice after having to cancel the one this afternoon.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

More from Cortland

Day eight of Jets training camp is in the books with QB Mark Sanchez having had his first significant time with the ones during the morning's practice. Sanchez looked sharp and efficient, moving the ball well. Clemens continues to be up and down, he worked with the ones in the afternoon.

Nobody has distinguished themselves yet but it is fair to say that Sanchez is gaining on Clemens.

Clemens will be the starter on Friday when the Jets return to the Meadowlands for their first preseason game against the St. Louis Rams.

Rookie Shonn Greene is still coming back from an ankle sprain but he seems to be getting better and is back in practice.

Darrelle Revis tweaked his hamstring this morning and was held out of practice this afternoon as a precaution.

Kris Jenkins is still rehabbing his strained calf.

The crowds in Cortland have been huge. There were 6100 people on hand for the Thursday night scrimmage and what looked like a couple of thousand this morning and afternoon. Looks like a lot of people from the New York area have made the pilgrimage upstate.

Otherwise, the defense is looking pretty solid, but of course the question remains as to how they will match up to their competition once the season starts.

Now, back to the food. In addition to the trips to Doug's Fish Fry, a lot of us have set up camp at a bar/restaurant in town called Hairy Tony's. Great atmosphere and really great food. The owners (George and Tony) are native New Yorkers, which adds to the fun.

Three more days and then we all head back down to New York where the team will hold its annual Family Night at Hofstra on Wednesday, August 12th at 6pm.

Monday, August 3, 2009

It's All About the Food

Between practices up here in Cortland. An exciting morning with three separate fights. Breaks up the monotony but you hope you don't see too much of that.

Kellen Clemens had his best day thus far with a 13-play drive before getting picked by Revis. Who else? At this point, he's probably a little ahead of Mark Sanchez - and should be.

We're on a lunch break eating this amazing food from Doug's Fish Fry that we ordered in. The owner, Mark Braun, in addition to being a huge Jets fan (the place is fully decked out in Jets paraphernalia) and a really nice guy, has the most amazing food. We've been over there a few times now. I'm not normally a big fan of fried food, but his fried scallops are out of this world. The rest of the press corps is drooling over the numerous other things on his menu. If you're going to be in town for camp, check it out.
Mark Sanchez was talking up a Mexican restaurant here in town called Garcia's, maybe we'll check that out tonight! (Suddenly this seems to have turned into a restaurant review...)

As for the football end of things, Rex Ryan's reaction to questions regarding free agent Tight End Richard Owens leads me to believe that Owens may have already turned in his playbook. They are going to need to find somebody soon at this position. They've got to have two reliable tight ends. Kareem Brown is still getting adjusted so it would certainly help if they could get another veteran in there.

I'll keep you posted.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Jets Camp - Day Three update

Hello from Cortland. So far, just as wet and rainy as it was in New York. I'm starting to get used to having wet feet all the time.

As for the Jets, things are rolling along. The team has been working on an artificial turf field while they wait for the grass field to get into shape. The only problem with that is that Rex Ryan doesn't want them doing any tackling on the artificial field so that part is going to have to wait. No timetable but Ryan says, "Sooner rather than later."

The quarterbacks both have good and bad moments. Mark Sanchez is still noticeably behind Kellen Clemens, but that is to be expected. Sanchez is still not only adjusting to the NFL, but is still learning the system and the playbook. His footwork however is great.

As for Vernon Gholston, Ryan is his biggest cheerleader and if Gholston plays the way Ryan assures us that he can, that will be a huge shot in the arm for the team who is going to be minus Calvin Pace for the first four games.

As I talked about on one of my CBSSports.com reports, Ryan made a really interesting comment about rookie free agent Jamaal Westerman, a defensive end from Rutgers, basically indicating that the guy will make the team.

More later and you can follow everything moment to moment on CBSSports.com: http://bit.ly/15sYFu

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Everyone Accounted for in Cortland Except....

Well, everybody has arrived in Cortland safe and sound, with one exception. Leon Washington has not shown yet. Rex Ryan seems fairly confident that he will show up and indicated he has spoken directly with Washington several times throughout the off-season.

He would not confirm or specify if or what any punishment (fine) might be for Washington so we will have to wait and see when this situation gets straightened out.

Thomas Jones did show. Nothing else to tell you there.

Calvin Pace spoke to the media regarding his upcoming suspension. The league notified him at the end of last season, but did not make it public until several weeks ago. Pace said that the supplement he took was something you can still buy over the counter and is something he has taken for a while because it used to be on the list of supplements that were allowed. "It was a workout supplement that I had previously taken before [the NFL] banned substance list changed. I lapsed and I take full responsibility for it.

Otherwise everybody seemed quite happy for camp to finally be getting underway. Lots of talk about creating a close-knit team.

On the rumor front, have not been able to get any further information about the situation with wide receiver Matt Jones who has supposedly received some interest from the Jets along with several other teams. I spoke with his agent who would tell me only that there is interest but nothing concrete to talk about yet. I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Off to Camp...and CBSSports.com

Heading north in the morning in preparation for the opening of Jets camp on Friday at SUNY Cortland. I won't tell you how much stuff I've packed as it is a bit embarrassing.

But enough about my luggage. There should be some interesting things to watch out for right off the bat. The Leon Washington negotiations continue, although I would think it's more likely than not that he'll be there for the first practice. The fine per day is pretty steep - I think around $7K. So that, combined with the fact that the Jets front office supposedly puts a lot of stock in good faith gestures both point toward the Pro Bowler being there.

What will happen with Thomas Jones should be entertaining. If he shows, which I'm sure he will, we undoubtedly won't get a thing out of him. He's incredibly reticent with the media under even normal circumstances.

Curious to see how big of a crowd Calvin Pace draws. This will be our first opportunity to speak with him since the league announced his four-game suspension for using a banned supplement. He is always friendly and accessible so I imagine he will make himself available and answer any and all questions.

Then there's Vernon Gholston. Rex Ryan named him the starter at least while Pace serves his suspension so there certainly will be a lot of eyes on the second year player who many people still have many questions about.

Should be fun to see how rookie running back Shonn Greene progresses - great runner, not-so-great hands thus far. We'll see how that goes.

In the meantime, you can also find me on CBSSports.com this season. Starting on Friday (July 31st) I will be the Jets correspondent for a new section called RapidReports which are available in every team section.

Talk to you from Cortland!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Jets 2009 Training Camp Schedule

The Jets released their training camp schedule today. From Friday, July 31st - Tuesday, August 11th and then Sunday, August 16th - Thursday, August 21st, the team will be at SUNY Cortland in Cortland, NY.

The schedule is as follows (ST indicates a Special Teams practice at that time):

7/31 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/1 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/2 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/3 9:00 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.(ST)
8/4 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/5 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/6 Green and White Scrimmage: 7:00 p.m.


8/8 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/9 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/10 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/11 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)

8/12 Family Night Practice at Hofstra University: 6:00 p.m.


8/14 Preseason Game against St. Louis Rams: 7:00 p.m.


8/16 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/17 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/18 8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/19 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/20 8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/21 8:15 a.m.

Team Breaks camp at SUNY Cortland

8/22 Practice at Florham Park, NJ: Time TBA


8/24 Preseason Game at Baltimore Ravens: 8:00 p.m.


8/26 Practice at Florham Park, NJ: Time TBA
8/27 Practice at Florham Park, NJ: Time TBA


8/29 Preseason Game at New York Giants: 8:00 p.m.
9/3 Preseason Game against Philadelphia Eagles: 7:00 p.m.

Generation Jets Fest and Jets Shop hours:
Practice Generation Jets Fest Jets Shop
8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. 7:30 a.m.-Noon
2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m. 7:30 a.m.-Noon
2:00 p.m.-5:00 p.m.
8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. 7:30 a.m.-Noon

2:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. 7:30 a.m.-Noon
2:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m.
Green and White Scrimmage 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
Family Night Practice at Hofstra University 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m. 4:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.

Note: Generation Jets Fest will not be open Aug. 11 and 15-21 and Jets Shop will not be open Aug. 20.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jets Sign TE Richard Owens

On the heels of the release of Bubba Franks yesterday, the team announced today that it has signed veteran tight end Richard Owens. Owens, who was out of football in 2008, was originally signed as a rookie free agent by the Vikings in 2004. He spent 2004 - 2006 with the Vikings and then signed on with the Rams where he played 14 games in 2007.

Owens attended the University of Louisville, also the alma mater of Kerry Rhodes.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Bubba Franks Released

The Jets just announced that they released 10-year veteran, tight end Bubba Franks. After a not-so-stellar season when he only played eight games due to injury, the Jets re-signed Franks in May. He did not participate in OTAs or mini-camp, which Rex Ryan indicated was due to Franks recovering from "a knee thing." Originally the team thought he'd be ready for training camp.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Pace Suspended Four Games for Violating Policy on Performance-Enhancing Substances

Word just came that New York Jets linebacker Calvin Pace has been suspended for the first four games of the upcoming season for violating the NFL policy on performance enhancing substances.

Here is the statement from Pace:

"This is a situation that resulted from an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained a substance that I did not know violated the League’s policy. I am responsible for what I put into my body and I should have paid closer attention to the League’s guidelines. I regret that this has happened and apologize to my teammates, the entire Jets organization as well as the fans. Hopefully, this does not distract from our ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl."

And here is the statement from the Jets:

"We respect the League’s decision and look forward to Calvin’s return for our Monday Night game at Miami."

Pace's suspension officially begins on September 5th so he will be allowed to participate in all practices - meaning training camp - and all preseason games prior to that.

This was a mild surprise because Pace is both a smart player and a smart guy. We don't know yet where he got whatever it is he took, although it was clearly stated that it was something over the counter. I just got off the phone with another player on the team who theorized that Pace most likely took something on the recommendation of someone he trusted and just didn't check every single ingredient in whatever it was he took.

As soon as I find out more, I'll let you know.

Right now, third-year veteran Marques Murrell is listed as being behind Pace on the depth chart, but this is also an opportunity for Vernon Gholston to step up.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Training Camp Opening Dates Announced

Training camp in Cortland inches ever closer. We got official dates from the NFL today. Jets rookies are scheduled to report on July 27th with veterans reporting on July 3oth. (My sources tell me that veterans will be allowed to drive up in their own cars, the rookies will go as a group, presumably on a bus. But, I digress.)

The Jets have not yet sent out their schedule, but my assumption is that if veterans report on the 30th, then the first practice will be on Friday, July 31st.

With all three of their draft picks - Mark Sanchez, Shonn Green and Matt Slauson - signed, we will avoid any drama in that area. Instead we get to focus solely on the quarterback competition.

The Jets are currently in the pre-training camp period of signing extra guys to bring up with them. In the past two days they've claimed wide receiver Mario Urrutia and cornerback Rashad Barksdale off waivers.

Barksdale went to SUNY Albany and spent last season on the Giants practice squad after originally being drafted by the Eagles in the sixth round of the 2007 Draft.

Urrutia attended Louisville and was a seventh round pick by the Bengals in 2008. He spent all of last season on their practice squad.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

My Training Camp Roster, Not What You Think

Defensive Line & Linebackers - Workout clothes. Need to be able to get down and dirty and take a beating

Kickers/Punters/LS - Outerwear, hats and rainwear. You never know when you'll need them but they need to be reliable and ready to go when you do.

Running backs & Wide receivers - shoes. No way you get anywhere without them. The better they are, the further you can go.

Special Teams - Toiletries. No matter what you think, you just can't live without them.

Offensive Line - the undergarments. The foundation for everything else. One false move and everything else falls apart.

QB - Socks. Good ones will last a lot longer than bad ones. Best when they go well with the shoes.

DBs - Tops: YOu can never have too many good ones and they help offer different looks

Full Statement re Stallworth's Suspension

I rarely deviate from Jets news, but wanted to post this press release from the NFL regarding its indefinite suspension of Donte' Stallworth, who was sentenced recently to a whopping 30 days in jail after being convicted of killing a pedestrian, 58-year-old Mario Reyes, while driving drunk in Miami Beach.

It's absolutely mind-boggling that the NFL has taken a harsher (and completely appropriate) stance than our judicial system. Only 30 days in jail for killing somebody? No words.

Anyway, here is the press release that the NFL has issued:

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell notified Donte’ Stallworth of the Cleveland Browns today that he is suspended indefinitely without pay from the National Football League, effective immediately.

Following are excerpts from Commissioner Goodell’s letter to Stallworth:

  • “The conduct reflected in your guilty plea resulted in the tragic loss of life and was inexcusable. While the criminal justice system has determined the legal consequences of this incident, it is my responsibility as NFL Commissioner to determine appropriate league discipline for your actions, which have caused irreparable harm to the victim and his family, your club, your fellow players and the NFL.”
  • “The conduct that led to your conviction plainly violates both the Personal Conduct and Substances of Abuse policies. Either provides me with full authority to take appropriate disciplinary action against you, including a fine or suspension without pay, and to impose appropriate conditions on your continued participation in the NFL. In this case, there is ample evidence to warrant significant discipline under both policies.”
  • “There is no reasonable dispute that your continued eligibility for participation at this time would undermine the integrity of and public confidence in our league. Accordingly, I have decided to suspend you indefinitely, effective immediately. In due course, we will contact your representatives to schedule a meeting with you, after which I will make a final determination on discipline. Pending my final determination, you will not be permitted to visit the club’s facility or participate in any team activities.”
  • “Everyone associated with the league derives tremendous benefits from participating in our game and from the extraordinary support we receive from the public. With these benefits comes, among other things, the responsibility to conduct ourselves in a lawful and responsible way, with no entitlement to or expectation of favorable treatment.”

Under NFL policies, all NFL employees recognize that alcohol-related violations of law will not be tolerated and that they will be held accountable over and above any sanctions imposed by a court of law. This accountability to the NFL for alcohol-related violations of law includes discipline in the form of major fines and suspensions without pay. The level of discipline is significantly increased in cases involving aggravating circumstances and/or repeat offenses.

In addition to a comprehensive testing and treatment program for substance abuse, the NFL and NFL Players Association have extensive education and prevention resources available to players and all other league and club employees. One of those resources is a "safe rides" program used by most clubs to provide players and other employees with alternative means of transportation if they have consumed alcoholic beverages. Commissioner Goodell notified all clubs earlier this year that there will be increased emphasis on addressing DUIs and other misconduct.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Keller Speaks About His Almost-Mauling

By now you've probably heard or read about Dustin Keller's near-death experience at the hands (or teeth) of a pitbull while walking in Brooklyn yesterday.

The good news is Keller (unlike many others who have been injured, maimed and killed by these dogs) escaped unscathed and is able to make light of it - sort of. If you know Keller, this is his MO with pretty much everything. Getting him to be serious is no easy feat.

I was able to catch up with him earlier today and he told me the following about what happened,

"I had just had brunch with a friend when it happened. My first reaction when I saw the dog chasing me was to out-run it, which isn't normally likely for someone, but my adrenaline was pumping at such a high level that I believe I would have left that monster in the dust. I saw that I was right by that 12-foot fence and when I jumped on and was hanging on for what seemed like my life I couldn't believe how high I was. I just held on for a little and while that was very scary, the height was almost more shocking than the fact I was attacked by a crazy pit bull!"

Fortunately, all's well that ends well. And you can now add Keller's vertical leap to his other athletic talents.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Off-season Doings

The Jets have called it a wrap until training camp begins (somewhere around July 31st) in Cortland, NY. The mood across the board is upbeat and guys are actually looking forward to camp. Strange but true.

While things are quiet on the team front, coaches and players are getting out and about on their own. Tomorrow afternoon (Sunday, June 14th), between 2 - 5pm, Rex Ryan is going to head to the Jets' old stomping grounds of Long Island to appear at Verizon's My Fios home video contest in Eisenhower Park in East Meadow (just down the road from Hofstra). He'll be available to fans to chat and sign autographs. Check it out and say hi to the new coach!

On Monday, June 29th, The D'Brickashaw Ferguson Foundation is holding its first dinner-dance fundraiser at the Swan Club in Glenwood Landing on Long Island. Ferguson's foundation awards scholarships to deserving students in the communities around Freeport, NY where Ferguson grew up.

The foundation is also expanding its efforts by providing funds to help with local food banks and clothing drives as well as various charitable efforts of local churches. The foundation's motto: "Building Communities One BRICK at A Time."

To see if there are still any available tickets (they are $140 each) you can call 631-860-1021.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Mini-Camp Day Two

Day Two of Mini-Camp was fairly uneventful until the end of the day when I learned from a league source that the Mark Sanchez contract was a done deal. Actual terms of the deal - which were first reported by Rich Cimini shortly after we ran the basics on Sirius - are five years with $28 million guaranteed.

Meanwhile, the aforementioned quarterback and his top competitor for the starting job, Kellen Clemens, both had OK days. When I asked Clemens to assess himself today he made a face and said, "Not great, not terrible." OK, it's June. The Jets just need to hope the mediocrity doesn't become a habit.

Rex Ryan's goofy war of words with the Dolphins' Channing Crowder goes on. Ryan seems to be enjoying himself. Again, it's June. Somebody's going to actually win that battle in the fall...

Kareem Brown made a big splash today with several impressive catches. He beat out Jim Leonhard and Ahmad Carroll on two separate plays and even Ryan acknowledged that the recently converted tight end had a "huge day."

Safety Eric Smith is raising some eyebrows. After three interceptions yesterday, Ryan today called him, "pretty darn impressive." He also commented that Smith has "really taken off. He just keeps getting better." Good news since the mantra among defensive coaches everywhere is that "you can never have too many good DBs."

Lots of work on the gadget plays today. Seemed like everybody on the roster took a direct snap practicing the now-popular "Wildcat."

After speaking withe media yesterday, Leon Washington was not around in the locker room today and Thomas Jones has still not made himself available at all. However, at least both are back and practicing. The Jets better hope that both show up in training camp, as Leon Washington has left the door slightly open to the possibility of a possible boycott on his end.

I asked several players, Donald Strickland, Smith, and Clemens, among others, if there was a big difference between the work in OTAs vs. Mini-Camp. The consensus was other than the extra practice each day, no. The offense and defense have both been installed and now it's just fine-tuning, which will continue in training camp.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Another Jets OTA, Another Weird Collision

A bit of a letdown today with the absence again of Leon Washington. However, this time, no boycott was involved. Washington's fiance, Charity, gave birth to their son Noel and Rex Ryan whole-heartedly supported his running back's decision to skip practice.

In fact, Ryan cited the greatest regret of his coaching career as missing the birth of his second child due to attending a practice. It was, however, a well-intentioned faux pas. Ryan, at the time a member of his father Buddy's staff in Arizona didn't want people to think he was taking liberties being the head coach's son.

Practice itself offered up yet another weird collision. Ahmad Carroll, covering wide receiver Paul Raymond on a corner route slammed into secondary coach Dennis Thurman who, inexplicably, was standing in the middle of the pattern and didn't move out of the way fast enough. Thurman made the most of his moment, arms and legs spread wide as he lay prostrate on the ground. In typical Thurman style, he then got up laughing.

Then there's the update on last week's collision victim, David Harris. I'm told Harris actually had two teeth knocked out by Jim Leonhard's helmet, but they were somehow put back in (any dentist out there want to explain how they do that?). In any case, Harris - who already wears braces - is being held out of all contact for the next couple of weeks to ensure full healing.

Otherwise things are status quo. No significant changes, although both Kellen Clemens and Mark Sanchez continue to look more comfortable. Even Erik Ainge had a good day, completing some nice passes and looking a little more solid.

Ryan is thrilled to have both Washington and Thomas Jones back describing it as a "great one-two punch" that the defense has to deal with. He touted rookie Shonn Greene as well, musing that the fourth quarter could end up being Greene's quarter, where he will get the "dirty yards."

As for an overview of what this time of year really means, I talked to D'Brickashaw Ferguson who offered up this analogy, "This is like reading the prefix of a book. We haven't gotten into the book yet."

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

OTAs...With Leon Washington Tomorrow

Headed out to OTAs tomorrow. It will be interesting to see who gets the bigger crowd - Leon Washington or Mark Sanchez. I'm not holding out hope that Thomas Jones will show up in the locker room, but knowing Washington, I fully expect to see him.

In other news, apparently running back Danny Woodhead's group won today's New York Jets team golf tournament. This may be killing Jay Feely who is a scratch golfer and whose group came in second. I'll let you know.

Anything anybody wants to know?

Friday, May 29, 2009

Grant Michael Clemens

Baby Boy Clemens has arrived. Grant Michael Clemens joins dad Kellen, mom Nicole and sister Kate.

Nicole went into labor yesterday during OTAs causing Kellen to go sprinting for the locker room before practice had ended.

Congratulations to the Clemens family.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

OTAs - Weekly Update

Busy day today out at Jets OTAs. Practice was going along nicely when David Harris got clocked in the mouth by safety Jim Leonhard who was going full speed on a punt return. Harris was standing on the sideline, without his helmet on, when Leonhard's helmet slammed into him. First reports were that he had lost a couple of teeth, but according to Rex Ryan that didn't happen and he should be OK.

Then with a couple of minutes left to go in practice, Kellen Clemens took off for the locker room at a dead run. His wife Nicole had called to tell Clemens that she had gone into labor. This is the Clemens' second child. We know it's a boy, we don't know the name yet (I will pass it along when I find out), and he joins older sister Kate.

As for the football portion of things, the defense was, by their own admission, a little under par from their past few outings - although those of us watching thought they still looked pretty darn good. Leonhard described it as, "One of those days. We gave up too much in the red zone."

The offense is still finding its way a little bit but has improved. Sanchez is getting more comfortable although he threw a bunch of incompletions and had a ball picked off. However, he seems to be making progress.

"Everyday it's getting better," he said. "There are little things I'm starting to do now that kind of keep our defense off guard a little bit. I'm getting more and more comfortable as the days go on and that's the way I want it to be."

We may be almost done talking about the GQ piece, just one question about that today.

As for Kerry Rhodes, he did speak to the media and all of the questions were regarding, or alluding to, the recent allegations that a woman was raped in his home. So he answered seven of eight questions by saying "It's a pending legal matter and I can't really talk about it."

Rhodes at least showed up. Running back Thomas Jones who was at practice for the second straight day did not make an appearance during the more-than-one hour that the media was in the locker room. Jones has never gone out of his way to be available so this wasn't a huge surprise, but certainly disappointing.

Leon Washington was again a no-show although as I've said before, I will be surprised if we don't see him at the mandatory mini-camp in two weeks.

By the way, hats off to running back Jehuu Caulcrick who managed to get changed with little fuss in spite of the horde of media impeding his progress at his locker. Caulcrick and linebacker Brandon Renkart have the questionable luck of having their lockers sandwiched between Jones and Sanchez.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

David Clowney Hosts Football Camp

Props to David Clowney who is putting on what promises to be an amazing football camp on Saturday, June 6th back home in Palm Beach County, Florida.

Clowney put the whole thing together himself, contacting individual high schools in the area that he grew up in to see if they would be interested in getting their players to participate. At this point he has players from 10 different schools taking part.

An area with an enormously high crime rate - with one of the highest murder rates in the state of Florida - Clowney knows first hand the challenges of getting out of that environment and wanted to offer his support and guidance to show these young people that opportunities do exist.

As young as he is (23), it speaks to the reputation he has already built among his fellow players when you see the list of those who will be helping him out: From the New York Jets - D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Vernon Gholston, Stanley Daniels, Kareem Brown, Mike DeVito and Wallace Wright, along with Chad Pennington and Eric Green of the Dolphins, Abram Elam, now with the Browns, LaMarr Woodley of the Steelers, Al Harris of the Packers, former NFL receiver Antonio Freeman, Eric Green, Vince Hall of the Bills, and Sinorice Moss of the Giants.

The players will run the camp that will teach a variety of elements including not only football work, but information about proper nutrition along with a session especially for parents regarding the college scouting process.

When you have a minute, check out Clowney's website.