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.