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Slauson Boldly Takes Aim at Starting LG Job

Posted by Randy Lange on May 13, 2010 – 1:48 pm

Matt Slauson does not look at all like a man on the hot seat. The second-year guard stood in the middle of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room on his way to the shower (tastefully clothed, of course) and talked calmly and coolly about the opportunity that could be ahead for him in the coming season.

"Right now I’m listed as a starter-slash-backup because I’m competing for a starting job, obviously with Vlad," said Slauson, "Vlad" being second-round rookie Vladimir Ducasse and "job" being the left guard spot vacated with the departure of veteran Alan Faneca. "I don’t know how things are going to play out, but I know know this opportunity and I plan to make the most of it."

But shouldn’t this young man be nervous? The Jets’ offensive line, which had been intact for two full seasons, gained recognition in 2009 as one of the NFL’s best units as it helped pave the way for the league’s No. 1-ranked rushing offense. And now there’s an opening.

Yet Slauson’s quiet confidence has several sources. The 6’5", 315-pounder isn’t exactly new to surviving and being adaptable in the football spotlight, having started 32 games combined at three different positions (RG, RT, LT) at Nebraska.

And his head coach for his first three seasons at Nebraska is the same as his line coach for his two seasons as a Jet: Bill Callahan. "He’s the best in the business," Slauson said. "I know how he works, he knows how I work."

Then there was his rookie NFL campaign, when he saw limited action on the line but got a lot of guidance from starting guards Faneca and Brandon Moore.

"I learned a lot playing behind Alan and Brandon," he said. "I was able to pick their brains and see how things were supposed to be done."

Slauson has a good idea how things need to be done off the field. He was named the team’s sixth Hampton Award winner, which goes to the rookie "who acts most like a pro in the locker room" and is friendly, courteous and neat.

And on Wednesday he just made his first "solo" hospital visit to see the kids at the Goryeb Children’s Hospital at Morristown Memorial near the team complex.

"I really enjoyed that a lot. I just love visiting the kids," he said. "When I was growing up, I’d kill to meet a football player — college, pro, it didn’t matter. Big, mean, nasty guys. But then I found out that most offensive linemen are nice guys off the field."

So Slauson’s got the split personality part down, because he seems to be nasty and mean enough on the turf to make a big run at this opening in the starting lineup.

"I’m very confident. As long as I do what I can do, I know I have a really good chance," he said. "The cards are going to fall where they will, and hopefully I’ll be on top of the deck."

Revis Up Front in Leadership Role

Darrelle Revis noted the loss of two top locker room men this year in Faneca and Thomas Jones. So have his coaches, who are suggesting strongly that No. 24 step boldly into the breach.

And this is no problem for Revis, although he said he’s working on finding a leadership balance that suits his personality as well as the needs of the team.

"I’m still working on being more vocal," he said at his locker. "My thing is I try to lead by example. But i think it’s more of a demand from the coaches for me to be vocal. … We’re all grown men here. I don’t want my teammates to look at me as a guy who harps all the time. I always try to lead by example."

Revis is getting some work as a leader this offseason since he assumed the captaincy of one of the four "teams" in coach Sal Alosi’s strength and conditioning program.

"The first week we were negative 300 points," he said. "One reason was Kris Jenkins was talking back to Sal. I met with Kris and said, ‘Let’s just be accountable. You’ve got to help me, too. You’ve been playing for nine years and this is my fourth year. Help me do my job better.’ He hasn’t been talking back to Sal since."

Thus, Team Revis has shot back up the standings.

Contractual Language

Both Revis and center Nick Mangold said their agents are in preliminary talks with the Jets about contract extensions. Revis said today his agent has been speaking to the Jets "for a while," while Mangold said his representatives "talked last night and we’re moving forward with the process."

And Jason Taylor’s Number Is …

A lot of football fans on either end of I-95 are curious to know what uniform number LB Jason Taylor, the longtime Miamian, will line up in as a Jet, since Bryan Thomas has almost as much tenure as the Jets’ 99 as Taylor had as the Dolphins’ 99.

We hear JT will, perhaps appropriately, don No. 95 for the Jets’ OTA practices that begin next week at the AHJTC. However, Taylor is only taking this number out for a test drive. His number is not yet etched in stone and he could change it before training camp.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 49 Comments »

49 Responses to “Slauson Boldly Takes Aim at Starting LG Job”

  1. By Big Mac on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    if I were the person giving out numbers Jason T gets 91,
    half of his #99 the 1 for first year Jet.

  2. By Row on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Revis, just do what Rhodes did before Rex got here …Offer 100 bucks a turnover in practice and concentrate on the positives. Remember that hitting matters. We need a safety with some “pop”! Guys will run their mouths regardless. Diggs must be allowed to have a chance at the starting job. Too many times Leonhard was ran over instead of saving a TD. No one has criticized him. The whole season and he has 1 INT and 5 PD’s. Even Rhodes beat that as a part timer. Go Jets

  3. By MIKE on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Slauson has a great opportunity here at starting LG. If you don’t think that Bill Callahan has it the back of his mind to play Slauson this year you maybe out to lunch. Slauson played for Callahan for 3 years and Callahan was more than likely a bug in Mr.T’s ear when drafting him. 2011 Starting OL, Brick LT, Slauson LG, Mangold C, Moore RT, and Vlad RT.

  4. By BriGuyinFL on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    That’s what daddy likes to hear. Slauson needs to step up and into the starting role. I knew they could not release Faneca without having a better back up. I liked the pick up of this kid out of Nebraska and now its time to show that you can take out some linebackers in live action. Go get em Matt!! Lets get some good stuff going into training camp. Randy, I ain’t the grammer police but wow, did you proof read your article : P

  5. By Hogan on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, if you know, what games did Slauson apear in last year, and how did he look? I know I saw him at TB, and others but its hard to tell on my non-hidef tv, and anouncers almost never mention something as trivial as who is on the field.

  6. By Ira on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    uncle joe, Don’t worry there will never be a blackout for any Jets game. This will all work out in the end one way or the other.
    Revis is the man and if his fellow teamates follow in his work ethic and the way he is they will all be winners like Revis is.
    Slauson i really do belive has the edge on Vlad right now and i thinks its going to be a good competition in camp between the two. Hope they can get Nick’s and D’s contracts resolved. They have both earned what is due them. GO JETS!!!!

  7. By Randy Lange on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    BriGuy, thanks for so lovingly pointing out an error. I fixed the bad lede sentence in the fourth graph. Anything else catch your eye?

  8. By Randy Lange on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Hogan, Matt Slauson was inactive for 16 of the Jets’ 19 games last season. He played special teams in Games 12 and 14. In his only OL action, he played well from what I could tell in a relief role at C and G at Tampa Bay.

  9. By Tom Spicer on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Row, this may be the first time we have ever agreed Leonhard got ran over a bunch of times. The only reason I never said anything was unlike Kerry Rhodes at least he didnt avoid hits & he trys to tackle guys. To his credit thou he did have a broken hand 4 a good part of the year. Smith, Diggs, Leonhard & Pool the four of them should battle for the 2 spots. I was watching Jet nation & Ray Lucas said Pool hits like a truck & Greg Buttle said Pool is a hitting machine I cant wait 2 c him in action

  10. By Ira on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    uncle joe, You have to feel better now. I told you there was NO way there would be blackouts. Either they will sellout the stadium or the Jets will take care of the unsold tixs according to reports. Nothing to worry about. And it really doesn’t matter if Slauson or Vlad gets the start. In Callahan we trust.

  11. By Hogan on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Thanx Randy, Your the best.

  12. By MikeOxbig on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    people always forget or sleep on Matt Slauson. If he turns out to be a big talent then the 09 draft (albeit meager in quantity), will have been very efficient. 3 out of 3.

  13. By Randy Lange on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Hogan, how can I be the best when you’re the best? Especially for Sunday tailgate menus.

  14. By Hogan on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Tom, you are spot on in that Leonhard getting run over was because of the broken hand. I rember seeing him not able to wrap up and screaming why is SMITH not in there.

  15. By Donal on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Let’s not forget the other OL on the roster. If one or more of them proves to be a sleeper and can eventually make the team or the PS then we should be set for the future.
    OG– Keith Buckman–6’5″ 321
    OG–Charlie Tanner–6’3″ 305
    OT–Matt Stommes–6’6″ 311
    OT–Dan Gay–6’4″ 303
    OT–Michael Turkovich–6’6″ 301

  16. By Hunter on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Who cares about Taylor’s number it could be -99 for all I care as long as he can play exceptionally well thats all I care about

  17. By Lenny from Florida on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Randy, Any news as to whether the Jets mini camp on June 14-16
    will be open to the public as it was last year?? thanks.

  18. By Stephen on May 13, 2010 | Reply

    Hey Randy, What number will Eric Ainge be wearing? I saw a Holmes Jersey in the store the other day with #10 on it, so I assume he’s officially taken it from Ainge. Any word on what Santonio gave Ainge in exchange for the number?

  19. By Rickie New York on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    It’s really good to see the Jets working on deals for Revis and Mangold – two true core players that are the best at their respective positions….. HOWEVER, there is one more guy reaching the end of his rookie deal THAT THE JETS MUST RE-SIGN: DAVID HARRIS!!!!!! He is OUR ray lewis. He IS one of the top 5 or 6 L.B.’s in the entire nfl and doesnt get nearly the credit he deserves. Alot of people think it’ll be hard to sign all 4 of our top stars, no offense to Brick – but HARRIS MUST BE NEXT!!!

  20. By Jets Fan Tom Since '64 on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    I really appreciate the piece on Slauson, Randy, and I hope it inoculates some of the folks who post furiously on this site every time we unload some vet who’s asking for too much money, demanding to be treated as if he’s in the prime of his career, and so on. When some guy bombs out over three years like JaMarcus Russell, I get the fans going crazy. When we unload a vet G who gave up the most sacks in the NFL to give a shot to a young G molded by our great O line coach, I don’t get it at all.

  21. By Randy Lange on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Stephen, Erik Ainge will wear uniform No. 3 this season. I have no information on the deal Santonio Holmes and Ainge struck so that Holmes can wear No. 10.

  22. By Randy Lange on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Lenny, plans for the public and the minicamp will be available soon on this site, but I don’t have any details for you today.

  23. By uncle joe on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    I think HitMan Harris is great but for some reason I feel he could be on the outs.I think although Rex loves his play,he is not vocal at all,which is something a middle linebacker needs to be.If Wesserman steps up this year,I could see the Jets tendering Harris with a 1st rounder and trading him.Especially if Harris is looking for Patrick Willis(50 Mil for 5 years) money.You can’t pay Scott and Harris.Plus I worry about Harris’ durability.

  24. By Mike Jet vet on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Tom 64 its called fan favorites not to mention the loyalty they feel for those players good or bad .usualy in 90% of those cases after said players leaves especially if his replacement does well all is forgiven and forgotten in no time all all

  25. By Jets Fan Tom Since '64 on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    I agree about fan favorites, MJV, especially the part about when the replacements do well, that’s what I’ve been saying you’ll see once McK, Conner, and others actually get on the field. Still, it surprises me that with all Jets fans have been through, some of them still go off so easily. I mean, it’s not like we’ve won big so many times that we can afford to rest on our laurels.

  26. By Anthony-Nyjet57 on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Slauson is a pretty good player I would like to see him get the gaurd spot and next year replace Woody with Vlad but we will see what happens.

  27. By Rafael on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Get Revis’ deal done Trader Mike!!! DO NOT, let this guy feel cheated in negotiations. He WILL NOT HESITATE with signing with his HOMETOWN STEELERS. I would love to see Darrelle stay a Jet for his entire career. I Love Hitman Harris as well, but LB’s can be replaced easier than a true legit cover corner. As long as it’s not a completely bogus deal that holds us back from signing our other guys. But i’m sure Revis will sign a deal around 60 or 70 Million, not necessarily a $100M contract.

  28. By scjoe on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Both Revis and Mangold deserve extensions, that is a no brainer. Harris and Brick should not be to far behind. I think Slauson starts at LG by default, but he better be looking over his shoulder at Vlad often. As for Taylor? I hope he is wearing that 99 jersey this year, just NOT with the Jets! Just can’t see myself cheering for this guy, even after a sack. I say release Taylor and sign A Thomas.

  29. By Gary C on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    I agree with Ricky, that the jets need to keep Harris over Ferguson if it comes down to that.Woody has played enough positions along line to take Ferguson spot if need be until Vlad developes,he’ll get experience playing right side.You also don’t need to be vocal leader to be linebacker.you lead with your play.

  30. By Jets Fan Tom Since '64 on May 14, 2010 | Reply

    Must say I’m hearing a lot of the “same old (worry-wort) Jets” in all this talk of who has to be re-signed for a zillion dollars by yesterday. If you don’t think the brass knows what it’s got in the players we’re talking about, you’re in dreamland. Best exhibit I can offer to back that up is the $10 mil, 2-year offer they gave Leon before his deal was up. If they’ll give that to a scatback/KR, I’m not worried about what they’ll give every-down stars like Revis, Mangold, Brick, Harris…

  31. By Rickie New York on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    Gary C – David Harris is one of the key pats of that defense. Revis and Harris are the two guys who make that thing go – Revis makes great w.r.s disappear and Harris smashs anything that moves. As for saying Harris isnt vocal enough for Rex – thats just silly because ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS which would make Harris (our leading tackler every year by ALOT) the loudest and most vocal guy around. Especially being his 1st yr in the system – his production was far better than the other l.b.s!

  32. By Rickie New York on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    I am starting A MOVEMENT RIGHT HERE – RIGHT NOW – ALONG WITH MY OTHER JET FANS…. TO ASK THE JETS – PLEASE SIGN DAVID HARRIS. True we cant pay Revis and Mangold top money and then give Harris a Patrick Willis size deal. I’d say Willis is the unquestioned number one. What I could see is a deal close o that of Demeco Ryans of the Texans – who is a simular player to DH with a simular impact for his team. Harris is a 100 plus tackle EVERY YEAR, gets sacks & in Tampa made the bucs 1st pass an Int!!!

  33. By Rickie New York on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    I apologize for the multiple posts, I dont mean to monopolize the blog but this is just a subject that I am so fired up by – IT MEANS EVERYTHING TO ME. I can stand to see some guys come and some guys go… but the CORE guys, OUR guys, the ones WE DRAFTED. We have to keep those guys , and while deals for Revis & Mangold are underway which Im glad of, WE HAVE TO SIGN HARRIS. INTS, FF’s, SACKS, and more hits than you can count, a hitting machine that is the biggest impact guy on defense.SIGN HARRIS

  34. By scjoe on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    Jets are in a tough spot re: contracts of the “big four” we all know who they are. But lets not forget that BE, SH, and if I’m not mistaken, Cromartie as well, are all in their last year of their contract. I think it goes with out saying that they need to lock up Revis, Mangold and Harris, sooner rather then later, and God help us if Brick, SH, BE or Cromartie turns out a pro bowl year, who do we franchise and who do we sign at that point? I will agree with tom64 that the FO probably knows that.

  35. By Gary C on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    To Ricky, you misunderstood what I said about Harris being a vocal leader.he doesn’t have to be a vocal leader at all. that is overrated.His actions do speak louder.I can do without Bart Scotts talking all the time.

  36. By larry on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    Hey randy I know the Jets are prepared to move on from Marquez Douglas, but has he been signed by another team, and if not do you think we’ll bring him back?

  37. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    Yeah, scjoe, I don’t know where this seeming assumption that we’re going to let our best players go is coming from. Fallout from losing TJ and Faneca, who were NOT our best players? Maybe it’s in Jets Fan DNA from when we lost Riggins, even though he was determined to take the fortune the Redskins gave him? I’d rather focus more on the play on the field than agonize over who’s gonna get paid what. We don’t have the balance sheets anyway or know who they may have their eye on, i.e. another K.

  38. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    Extra props to Gary C. on Scott. So far he’s done a lot more talking than playing at some very unfortunate times. That idiotic “How dare you?” post-game interview came right before the D collapsed vs. weak teams like MIA and JAX, not to mention great ones like NE. For all the trash talk on this site about MS, SH, AC, etc., I’d like to see a little more frank assessment of Scott, I don’t care how much Rex loves him. And I’d certainly open the wallet for Harris faster than I would for him.

  39. By Randy Lange on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    larry, I have not seen that Marques Douglas has signed with another team. He’s obviously a Rex Ryan kind of player, but I don’t know if the Jets would bring him back if he remains unsigned.

  40. By Gary C on May 15, 2010 | Reply

    To Jet fan Tom, thanks for the accolades concerning Scott. I am beginning to wonder if he looked good because he was next to Ray Lewis.I give him this year to improve or go with the kid Cummings.A linebacking core of westermann, harris, cummings and pace doesn’t look to bad.Time for Jets to start melding some younger guys into the linebacking corp.

  41. By Old Rogue on May 16, 2010 | Reply

    Rickie NY said: “Harris is a 100 plus tackle EVERY YEAR” — Sorry Rickie, – I like Harris as much as the next guy, but he has yet to have a 100 tackle season. Not that there is anything magical about 100 tackles. ––– Randy, slightly off subject, but where do you guys work? I mean where is your office located? Just curious.

  42. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on May 16, 2010 | Reply

    Gary C., yeah, early on when I saw who they weren’t afraid to match Scott up with, I thought, whoa, this guy must be some kinda athlete! Only later when I saw him nowhere near either his man or the ball on some big plays did I start to wonder. And no question he had support on BAL on a level that he doesn’t quite have here as of yet. Get ready to be pilloried a la the Faneca move for letting Scott go in favor of younger guys in a year or two even if he doesn’t play up to his potential, though.

  43. By JOHNNY A on May 16, 2010 | Reply

    I am not 2 sure what all the beating up on Scott is for? He was steady and sure, he was ovrpaid, but we knew that going in when he was brought here. He’s a consistent player, 2. And he helped infuse a new attitude on the DEF. I like the guy a lot, as a player and a character. Besides, u guys wanna’ rip someone on the def. who is not carrying his wieght??? Try looking at Bryan Thomas! I sat n watched that draft when they needed a safety n Ed reed was still there, but they took thomas instead!

  44. By Randy Lange on May 16, 2010 | Reply

    Rogue, our desks are located on the second floor of the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, just one floor above the players and coaches.

  45. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on May 17, 2010 | Reply

    JOHNNY A, sure we have guys more worthy of criticism than Scott. I just applaud Gary C.’s courage in pointing out that so far his mouth is a bit more dominant than his play on the field. He was sold to us as practically Ray Lewis and while I get that Rex’s 1st-year pickups to anchor the new D were a little like picks in an expansion draft, he didn’t really perform as we were told he would. But I’m willing to give him another year or 2 unless some young guy pushes him out, like happened with TJ.

  46. By Al Mack on May 17, 2010 | Reply

    I think BT will do the right thing and lend his 99 to JT, maybe for a couple of bucks but as long as it gets done, it would be the right thing to do. Can’t wait to see JT suited up in old number 99. I think he is going to remind the older Jet fans of Gastineau, big, tall, lanky, speedster to the QB. I expect big things from JT and the 2010 D. As long as they stay relatively healthy they will have to watch out for the State Prosecutor’s for punishing their opponents.

  47. By JOHNNY A on May 17, 2010 | Reply

    Tom64; I hear ya’! I have to tell ya’, though; I think what you see with him is what u get. Scott’s gonna be an 80plus tackle guy, with some big hits. He’s not gonna score a bunch of td’s on turn overs, unless he’s in the right place at the right time, really. kinda’ like he was when his shot at free agency came up. it’s important for us as fans to not expect more from a guy because he all of a sudden signs a mega contract. Bart’s a leader and he is solid, but he’s not even our best ILB!

  48. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on May 18, 2010 | Reply

    That’s funny about Scott’s “being in the right place at the right time” as much with free agency as with plays on the field, JOHNNY A. But I think you’re right, we should probably scale it back on the expectations, if Scott is solid and we keep getting better at LB things should be more than okay. Looking forward to seeing if guys like Westerman, Reamers, and some guy named Gholston they keep talking about can become factors other than on ST this year.

  49. By ICO on May 18, 2010 | Reply

    If Jason Taylor changes his middle name from James to something that starts with an “E”, I might then think about accepting him as a Jet…but he is no #99.

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