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

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 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 <> 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 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