Thursday, March 26, 2009

News and Notes From the Locker Room

Just got out of the locker room after our first off-season player access. As an aside, this access was never provided under Eric Mangini, so it was a refreshing turn of events.

The off-season program started last week and every player has been here with the exception of Thomas Jones who is unhappy about his contract.

I was able to not only connect with some of the old veterans (D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Brad Smith, Kris Jenkins, Darrelle Revis, Kerry Rhodes, and on and on), but with many of the new guys, all of whom seem beyond happy to be with the Jets.

Bart Scott, who we had spoken to several weeks ago on the phone, has already become a go-to guy for the media. And for very good reason. Incredibly friendly, funny and easy-going, as well as a really good talker. I can tell you it will be a fun season with him.

Scott discussed the focus right now, which is mostly to build team chemistry. He also talked about how he has become a "translator" for the other guys on the defense, since he's one of the only players who knows Rex Ryan's system inside and out. As a matter of fact, Scott joked that he knows the system better than some of the coaches.

I was also able to speak with Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, two more really personable guys. Sheppard who left the Eagles under less-than-pleasant circumstances, seems really excited and told me that he's looking forward to "re-establishing his role."

After spending his first three years in Indianapolis, Strickland spent a year with the Eagles (where he played with Sheppard) and then the last three in San Francisco. A native of San Francisco, Strickland grew up one block from Candlestick Park so it was a great stint for him there.

However, New York holds its own draw for him, Strickland's girlfriend, a New York City native is about to take the bar here so things are falling into place all the way around.

We have another session in a little while. I'll get back to you then.

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