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:

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.