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.