It’s the time of the season for heavy opinions. And the Jets, with their high-profile activity in free agency since Feb. 29, are drawing lots of attention from the opinionated.
Many like what the Green & White have done. Some are not happy. One word that’s been mentioned here and there is "desperation."
We’re all entitled to our opinions, of course, but desperation? I just don’t get that.
The Jets have identified areas that needed to be strengthened this off-season. Unrestricted free agency is one of the several ways to fortify a roster. The pro personnel department highlighted players who would be good additions to the program. The organization has the money and the cap room to get a number of deals done. There will be enough left over to sign the draft picks, even if one of them is No. 6 overall or even higher.
This approach can be described many ways. But how again is it desperate?
Other opinions have involved the climate at the Jets’ complex, and that specifically head coach Eric Mangini has developed a reputation for running "tough" training camps and practices in his two years at the helm and that this could scare away top free agents.
That doesn’t appear to have been the case this free agency season. Guard Alan Faneca was asked about that issue on his conference call with reporters last week and he didn’t sound scared at all
"I had heard, but, if anything, it swayed me to it," Faneca said. "I’m not the kind of guy who is going to make a decision to run from a difficult situation. If anything, it swayed me in this direction, to know that the work ethic was in place to go win games.’
And fullback Tony Richardson recalled a few coaches in the Tough Practices Hall of Fame that he’s worked for over the years when Eric Allen, my newyorkjets.com comrade, asked Richardson about the coming workload.
"Part of my background with my father being in the military and my sister serving — my dad being a Vietnam Vet and my sister being a Desert Storm vet — I’ve never shied away from work," he said. "Anything worth having is worth working for. I remember coming into the National Football League under Coach [Marty] Schottenheimer and we had some grind-it-out practices. Coach [Dick] Vermeil’s whole philosophy was we need to put the work in on the field.
"So for me, even at this point of my career, I’m not going to shy away from work. You put that time in and it will give you advantage out on the field on Sunday."
It’s true that some Jets players in the last two years have been vocal about the degree of difficulty to Mangini’s practices. A lot have also supported the coach. But to anyone with a question about his approach, he would probably answer as he did toward the end of his first training camp as the Jets’ football boss in late August 2006.
"It’s a brutal season, it’s a brutal league, and competition is brutal," Mangini said back then. "The key thing is to prepare for that the best way you can. Everything we’ve done here is simply designed to help us win and compete."
Jets equipment director Gus Granneman has his hands full these days, with all the players coming and going, regarding the assignment of uniform numbers. At the moment we can pass on three numbers that have been assigned, two to new players and one to a guy who wanted a change.
Richardson, who’s been No. 49 in his 11 seasons with Kansas City and the last two with Minnesota, will also be No. 49 as a Jet. DT Kris Jenkins, who was a lucky 77 in seven seasons with the Panthers, will continue to wear 77.
And DT C.J. Mosley, who was 96 in his one Minnesota season in 2005 and 95 the past two seasons with the Jets, continues to slim down and will wear No. 69 this year.
More numbers to come as they are finalized.
Honors for the Veep
For those who like to keep track of the Jets’ front office, you should know that Matt Higgins, the Jets’ senior vice president of business operations (and my boss), was recently recognized in the prestigious 40 Under 40 list, class of 2008, compiled by Crain’s New York Business. You can check out Matt and his profile here.
Flight Crew Application
As you may be aware from our story last week, the New York Jets Flight Crew is expanding from 10 to 22 members for the 2008 season. And the Flight Crew and director Denise Garvey are now accepting applications from aspiring candidates who want to audition for the Crew.
The deadline for applications to the Flight Crew prep classes is April 4, the deadline for audition applications only must be postmarked by May 9, and the preliminary audition round will be May 17 at the Jets’ Hofstra University practice bubble.
Tags: Alan Faneca, C.J. Mosley, Eric Mangini, Flight Crew, Gus Granneman, Kris Jenkins, Tony Richardson
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