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Rex: Several Reasons for O’Connell Waiving

Posted by Randy Lange on August 31, 2010 – 12:02 pm

Rex Ryan had a few simple reasons for why the Jets waived quarterback Kevin O’Connell today. At the top of the list …

“We’re getting closer to Baltimore,” the Jets head coach said at his daily news conference this afternoon. “Quite honestly, the more things we put in, we don’t need that information going out.”

It’s a long-standing NFL tradition, certainly not invented by Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini or Rex Ryan: Bring in a player for a week or a month or even a season to help provide intelligence off the field while providing competition on it.

But with Ryan’s coaching staff installing the offensive and defensive game plans for the season opener against the Ravens on Sept. 13 (while prepping the twos and threes for their preseason finale at Philadelphia on Thursday), he figured the less O’Connell has to pass on to his next team about the Jets, the better.

But Rex wants O’Connell to play long and prosper.

“This gives him an opportunity for some teams who are looking for quarterbacks,” Ryan said about waiving the third-year signalcaller ahead of Saturday’s final NFL cutdown to 53 players. “I was pretty high on him. He’s a big, smart, athletic guy. But at the end of the day we went with Kellen, who’s maybe not as tall or as pretty but who outplayed him. That’s why we quite honestly chose him.”

Clemens, Ryan amplified from Monday’s remarks, was going to be on the Jets unless another team had been interested in allowing the Jets’ second-round pick in 2006 to come in as its starter.

“I would’ve traded him. I told him I would do the right thing for him, if someone was going to give him an opportunity to be a starter,” the coach said. “But he was going to be on this football team.”

O’Connell was originally a third-round pick of the Patriots in the 2008 draft out of San Diego State. He was waived by the Pats last summer, Detroit signed him, then the Jets traded with the Lions for him on Sept. 6.

O’Connell was inactive for all 19 games last season, although he was listed as the Jets’ third QB for four games — Games 2 and 10 against New England, Game 13 at Tampa Bay and the AFC Divisional Round Game at San Diego.

This preseason he made his only appearances as a Jet. He played against the Giants and the Panthers in the first two games and did not appear against the Redskins. His final preseason passing numbers were 8-for-16 for 70 yards, two INTs, no sacks and a 22.4 rating.

Pace Prognosis

It remains to be seen whether some unofficial initial reports of Calvin Pace missing 4-6 weeks from Monday’s foot surgery pan out, but they were not the official prognosis and Ryan offered a cautiously optimistic forecast for the OLB’s return to action.

“He’s doing really well. … The doctors seem to think the surgery was really successful. They’re very excited about it,” Rex said. “But we’ll see how it happens, no infections and all that kind of stuff. We feel confident he’s going to definitely miss the first week. We’ll see about the second week. I’m not sure.”

Newest Jet: Ricky Foley

The Jets, who have been intrigued by Larry Taylor’s contributions this preseason, have gone back to the CFL by way of Seattle when they were awarded LB Ricky Foley on waivers from the Seahawks today to fill their available 75th roster spot heading into the Philadelphia preseason finale.

Foley, from York University in Toronto, was a Canadian league star, a first-round pick of the British Columbia Lions in the 2006 CFL draft who became a Lions starter last season.

Although he was with the Seahawks most of this year, he has one other NFL connection. In 2006 he spent time on the offseason roster of the Baltimore Ravens, whose D-coordinator at that time was none other than Rex Ryan.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 43 Comments »

43 Responses to “Rex: Several Reasons for O’Connell Waiving”

  1. By Mike Lesko on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply


    Can you tell me (all of us) why Sanchez is never in the shotgun? In the ‘Skins game as soon as Brunell came in we went shotgun. You’d think with Mark’s need for time think through the check-downs that the gun would give him a moment or two more. Thanks.

  2. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Okay, let’s learn from this one. Why did we pick up this guy in the first place? Just for the alleged gold mine of information he was gonna give us on the Pats? Why did we throw away a draft choice on him when we had just traded up for a QB, still had Clemens, had Pizzotti who I bet was just as good as O’Connell, and most of all had never given Ainge a chance? And you guys are gonna say I’m just cranky today, but can someone explain to me what Rex is talking about with keeping four tight ends? Is it just because the fourth one doubles as a backup long snapper? I hope so even though that still seems like at least one too many.

  3. By Ed in Tucson on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    I never understood why we traded for a 4th QB last year, specially with B Smith on the roster. I also don’t get the Brunell signing. Mentoring is what coaches are supposed to do. Roster spots are precious & should be used on players who can contribute on the field. Carry 2 QBs BS & sign A Thomas for help @ LB. KC is better backup than Brunell. Go Jets!

  4. By Fish Hunters on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    He’s been in the shotgun this preseason and last season. Don’t put a lot of stock in preseason “anything”. Everything is pretty much vanilla in the preseason.

  5. By BeenWaiting42Years on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    This was to be expected as O’Connell could not seem to adjust very well to NFL game speed, even against 2’s and 3’s. He never looked quite in synch while I was up in Cortland either. So what is the next shoe to drop? A new backup QB to be signed into the mix? Stick with Sanchez, Brunell, Clemens and B. Smith? The ressurection perhaps of a post 8 game suspension clean and sober Erik Ainge… Stay tuned for the next episode of “As The Jets Do Barrel Rolls”…..

  6. By Row on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Mark Sanchez is just not getting it done, Mike. I think making the offense shotgun based would just declare pass to the defense. O’Connell has heart. Good luck to him. Kellen needs to be the #2 or even needs to take some of #6’s snaps to make sure Sanchez stays honest. Progress over personal relationships is key. It was the fall of Mangini.

  7. By Steve O on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Brunell didn’t look like a seasoned QB. After Thurs game, I’m sure they will realize they cut the wrong guy. By the way, what’s Vinny doing these days???

  8. By Kenny P on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Looks like Clemens stays. Good move. I wouldn’t be surprised if Brunell is released as a player but kept around, just in case, as a QB coach in some way. Opens another roster spot with keeping two FB’s and 4 TE’s. Besides, don’t forget Brad Smith could always be our 3QB on the team. I believe we haven’t seen the shotgun for the same reason we haven’t seen any wildcat formations. Most NFL teams are extremely vanilla in the preseason which is why you shouldn’t read much into the final scores as well.

  9. By MARKG on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply


  10. By GaryC on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    this management team has proven how little regard they consider draft choices,like the old redskins.time will come when the jets cupboard will be bare when these vets can no longer play and they will be longing for draft picks they no longer have.

  11. By Mark Sanchez on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Your mean…

  12. By JetFan6 on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Good move. Kellen is best equipped to take the reins for a game or two under the “don’t loose” scenario.

    Can we please use the open roster spot to get DR in! Enough of the posturing for us to find ourselves 0-2 and rolling over to his demands or going 2-0 and having him crawl back in severely damaged goods!

    Find the middle ground!

  13. By fred rosenberg on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Brunell’s a waste …I agree that mentoring should be left to the coaches,
    and a back-up q-back should be just that: a capable replacement who can move the team and has the necessary youth and skills when called upon to run the offense. Clemens is the guy – the ideal No. 2 at this time.

  14. By Chris K on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Randy,( or Anyone who knows ) Please tell me what the Jets traded for O’Connell? I can’t find that information anywhere. Thank you.

  15. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Chill OUT, Row! Sanchez got it done last post-season better than any QB we’ve had in almost our entire history. I’m not thrilled with the pre-season O but it’s still pre-season. And if you’re so hung up on pre-season, how come you haven’t answered my post about how the Chiefs’ three younger, better RBs would seem to have already reduced TJ to the most expensive backup RB in the NFL? (While LT, as you point out, has proven himself worthy of the starting job.) And how Leon’s “ahead of schedule” recovery is, judging by pre-season stats, a huge disappointment? (10 for 35 so far).

  16. By drich on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Mark Brunell has no business being on an NFL field anymore. The Jets should look at Jeff Garcia to back up Sanchez. At least he can still make some plays if called upon.

  17. By uncle joe on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Denver might cut Alphonso Smith,the corner that they traded a first round pick to draft last year or the year before. I wanted the Jets to get this guy and would love it if they could somehow get him off waivers if he does indeed get cut. I would also love 2#1s and 2#2s for Darelle MEvis.

  18. By george on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    i think rex is doin a great job we have had nothin to root for and last year we go to the afc championship so sit back and wait before complaining and as for revis i think the he is just being greedy just cause al davis over pays his players does not mean we should GO JETS

  19. By john on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    I think I trust this coaching staff and it’s decision making over anyone posting comments here…..BUT there have been some head scratching moves. If the Jets had signed Bulger instead of Brunell, that would make a little more sense to me. Brunell has not been impressive and at 40 how long would he last if Sanchez did go down? The pre-season games are not game planned for so I wonder how much that messes up Sanchez? He hasn’t seen all the little tricks defenses do, especially in a cover 2 which the Jets don’t play. Washington played a trap on the TE last week and Sanchez didn’t recognize it, if the Jets were game planning they probably would have gone over this with Sanchez and he might have realised what was going on and gotten the ball to LT. As Bart Scott said about not game planning, you play by your instincts and Sanchez’ instincts are still developing…….I would think the coaching staff would realize this and they are just letting Sanchez learn the hard way, otherwise you have to prepare him a little better in the preseason.

  20. By Deep on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    @Jets Fan Since ’64 Tom dude i don’t know what you smokin but snchez almost lost our whole season for us. the D and the run game is what got us into the playoff’s.with that being said sanchez played alot better in the last 4 game’s, so i thought he would look good this year, but boy was i wrong. I hope he can get it together. I liked KC better then him, and said last year if they want to draft a QB go with jose freeman. And come on KC got killed for not making a miracle happen when he got his 8 starts. i mean if the team was talented has it is now, KC would have took us to Superbowl last year. Im gald mike T didn’t release KC.

  21. By Mike Jet Vet on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Here we go again wasted moves at the most critical time 1 week 2 weeks be4 the opener sign a player let him go trade for players let them go I truly hope this is not all to make room for Revis . Tom 64 Sanchez is not ready or just inept to his surrounding I said from the beginning a 16 game underclassmen would need time to adapt to the NFL can’t just throw him to the lions ..Clemens will not win games Brunell is finished period …. say what you want Ainge Clean and sober is the ticket I wish Rex would give this kid after his suspension or whatever a real shot

  22. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Deep, the big mistake you make is thinking that becoming a championship-caliber NFL QB is easy. Your other mistake is pulling a Row and acting like the pre-season (in which the Lions were 4-0 the year they went 0-16) means that much. If becoming a great QB was so easy, KC might at least look composed and confident in the pocket by now. Sanchez had a typical rookie QB year with two exceptions — three amazing opening games before they had tape on him and three clutch performances in the post-season. That got us as far as we did as much as anything else, especially considering that our statistically great but not always game-winning D (thanks, Gregg from California) let down a few times to bad teams (MIA, JAX). I’ll agree more with MJV as to Sanchez not being as ready as he might’ve been had he stayed at USC another year, which is one of the reasons I didn’t think we should’ve picked him. But we did and we gave him the job and he’s shown way more so far than KC ever has, so the jury’s out for another year or two in my book.

  23. By GaryC on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    I have been flagged a couple times and I did not use one f bomb, ok, lets try to keep it nice and orderly.first sounds a little like George Allen paranoia if that is why the jets let o’connell go. Are we really to believe Brunell has made this team.Siding with a 39 year old who will never get better against a player who can get better.does make you wonder if jets did pickup o’connell just to get info on patriots.

  24. By BillsJets on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    First thing – Sign Revis, Second – Jets need to wear their Gang Green Jerseys – No more of the throw back Jersey. third thing – The Jets still need one good receiver, and they need to start Hartsock over Keller at TE. Lastly the Jets need to go back to 4 down linemen on D, you can still blitzes the crap out of the other team, but the 3 man rush just doesn’t cut it. Ellis on the left end, Taylor on the right end, Devito, and Jenkins at DT and Kroul coming in when they need rest, and Gholston coming in when the DE’s need rest.

  25. By scjoe on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Ditto 64Tom and Ed in Tucson, why did they give up a #7 for this guy last year with 3 QBs already on the roster? Perplexing! But it was a step in the right direction, next should be Brunell, that would make KC #2 by default, not a great position to be in when your #1 is looking shaky at best. I suspect Mr T will be watching the waiver wire night and day to try to remedy what I for one believe is a critical situation. If they can’t fill a need that route, don’t rule out a trade. It isn’t ideal to pick up another QB this late in camp, but just look at what we have now.

  26. By Mike Jet Vet on Aug 31, 2010 | Reply

    Bills Jets…. I have one thing to say about your comment I quote ,..start Hartsock over Keller at TE next go back to a 4-3 !!!!!!!!!WHAT!!!!!!!!!! this was the # 1 defence in all of football last year you are aware of that right ? I do like Hartsock as a blocking T-E but catching the Ball over Keller man I want some of what your smoking .. Yes your right Tom 64 I’m sorry to say he’s here and now we’ll have to deal with the sophomore growing pains most Rookie QB’s go though

  27. By Ed in Tucson on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    Chris K, The Jets gave up a 5th round pick for O’Connell.

  28. By Miguel A. Ramirez Jr. on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    the lack of football knowledge in these comments astound me…what i do not understand is how anyone can make a statement off of preseason perceptions.

    its a joke.

    Mark Sanchez has a high ceiling; for a Quarterback who only started 16 games in college, and 16 games (not including the playoffs he made in his ROOKIE year), he has 32 regular season games in his entire career as a signal caller both college & NFL included, so please, spare me the nonsense about going to a shotgun formation.

    He has a stronger arm than what was initially thought by scouts, fluid mechanics and incredible precision on his throws; its a fact that he would have had more touchdowns if his receivers did not drop balls.

    @BillsJets: GO BACK TO THE 4-3?…you my friend are on the wrong website.
    Never has a single REX RYAN coached defense been rated lower than the TOP FIVE in OVERALL DEFENSE.

    Rex Ryan came into New York with technically the same personnel, (albeit Bart Scott and Jim Leonhard), in his rookie campaign as a head coach his starting nose tackle goes down for the season, loses his starting OLB for a fourth of the seasonm yet he still manages to have THE NUMBER ONE RATED DEFENSE IN THE ENTIRE LEAGUE.

    & you’re talking about regressing to a 4-3?!

    please see yourself out of this website, we are done here.

  29. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    Ed, I read yesterday that the pick for O’Connell has been downgraded to a #7 in the 2011 draft. So we already start at least one pick down for no good reason at all, though I’ll admit that the 7th pick is basically meaningless these days. (Back when there were 18 rounds or so, it meant something.) Miguel, thanks for restating some important facts about Sanchez that people seem to have forgotten since last January or so. As for starting Hartsock and going to a 4-3, I have to wonder if that stuff wasn’t supposed to be funny or maybe just Row on acid. Just kiddin’ ya, Row, but ya gotta admit you’ve had some pretty out-there suggestions now and again.

  30. By GaryC on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    jet fan tom, I don’t get your meaning when you say a 7th round pick does not mean anything today as opposed to when they had 18 rounds.seems to me if you lose a pick in a 7 round draft unless you make deals you will only have 6 compared to 18. you need to make less mistakes with a shorter draft. Jets must be cutting back on scouts,saying they don’t need draft choices,they must think every free agent coming down the pike will want to play for Rex,just like Revis wants to.

  31. By Ray on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    I would be willing to bet we have had more undrafted free agents make the team than 7th round picks.

  32. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    Ha, funny about Revis “wanting to play for Rex,” GaryC! Yeah, I don’t like dealing away draft picks, I like getting more of them. I just meant pretty much what Ray means, that when there are so few picks there are gonna be a lot of good players left after the draft. I think it was Randy who explained to us last year that the NFL and the players agreed on less picks because that allows more players to strike their own deals outside of the rookie contract structure, which makes sense, too. If you can get a Donovan Warren or a Cory Reamer as a UFA rather than a pick, I guess it can save a team some money. Which reminds me, what is up with Reamer? Haven’t heard his name in awhile, and Rex was so high on him at the start.

  33. By GaryC on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    I see your point jet fan tom, but also take into consideration you have to get those players who are undrafted to come to you as opposed to drafting them like in the old days they were basically yours unless they wanted to play in Canada.

  34. By Mr.Green on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    It’s amazing to see how many KC fans there are this year. Last year I was one of the only ones supporting him. Everybody wanted him cut. Also if Revis doesn’t sign and this team falters we should trade him to the worst team in the league for 2 #1s. He is putting himself above the team. His uncle, Shaun Gilbert, who sat out a full season is the bad influence on him. He should realize that if a new bargaining agreement isn’t reached he may be losing 2 or more seasons in his prime. Even if he sign now I will never be a fan of his.

  35. By Corkas on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    Hey everyone forget the preseason. Isn’t it designed to iron the kinks out. So what the O has done nothing, do you really think Rex and the other coaches are standing around saying “Don’t worry it will be right on game day”? No. they’re working things through seeing what plays Sanchez, LT, SG etc are more comfortable with, trying new things that may or may no work. This is how you win seasons. Work hard make mistakes, take chances learn! Even a jets fan from Oz can see that. Play like a jets and cheer like a jet!!!!!!!

  36. By artie from howell on Sep 1, 2010 | Reply

    Tucson Ed…you’ll see Thomas (so Taylor doesn’t wear down)…but not till the second week of the season. If He doesn’t start the season on the roster, they basically only have to pay him for the weeks he’s on the team. If he’s cut…he’s off the books and they’re not responsible for the rest of the salary.
    Wouldn’t expect anything else from a team that cut Faneca and Feely and Dearth for a combined savings of about $3Mil. I hope these moves don’t come back to haunt us…

  37. By D-Money on Sep 2, 2010 | Reply

    Clemens should be # 2 and if it ever comes down to it, which i hope it doesn’t is he will be # 2. Brunell is God AWFUL!!!!!!!!!!

  38. By BillsJets on Sep 2, 2010 | Reply

    History fellas, take a peek out there on the internet one day and look up, the best NFL defenses of all time, and I’m seeing 4-3 (Pittsburgh Steelers Iron Curtain) for example. Hey, I’d buy a used car from Rex Ryan too, he’s a good seller of the 3-4, but it doesn’t work, remember – The best NFL Defenses of All time, take a look, and for all you amateur Jet fans, I have been a fan since ’68, so don’t beat up on a Jet Fan, disagree if you like, but the Jets won’t go know where with the 3-4 defense, ask Peyton Manning.

  39. By Anthony on Sep 2, 2010 | Reply

    Sanchez will be okay, its only the PRESEASON PEOPLE. I think he will still make mistakes the kid has only been in the NFL for 2 years. Nonethe less the JETS NEED TO GET REVIS back. That is my biggest concern the only issue I am seeing a lot of is inability to stop the pass. any can’t wait for opening day. J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS

  40. By scjoe on Sep 3, 2010 | Reply

    BillsJets, why don’t we ask Peyton Manning about the 4-3 while we are at? Seems to me he has had a lot of success going against that set. Now, correct me if I am wrong but didn’t that 3-4 outplay ALL other defenses in 2009? I am talking 2009 NOT 1975! Hasn’t there been a couple of Super Bowl winners over the past ten years or so who ran the 3-4? Do you believe that the team who won it all last year with their 4-3 won it all because of their defense? Just a few of the many questions to ponder in your spare time BillsJets.

  41. By Hostyle QB on Sep 4, 2010 | Reply

    Yes alittle too vanilia for me. The offense is looking sorry. i have never been a fan of Martty passing scheme. If Sanchez is not getting it done (and he’s not) then it time to get another QB in there. Hey Leinart is on the market! I’m a True Jets van but it’s not looking to good on the offensive (passing)side.

  42. By StevenM on Sep 5, 2010 | Reply

    I have been probably the hardest on Kellen Clemens, since he showed little after being drafted, but I will be the first to admit my mistake, as this year, he has the best preseason of all 4 QBs we have. I believe he should be traded so he has a chance to start, unless something happens to Sanchez, as I would prefer clemens to Brunnell.

  43. By Grantham on Sep 6, 2010 | Reply

    Hostyle QB,

    Leinart? Stop with the madness. Revis is back, Sanchez will be fine. J-E-T-S, JETS, JETS, JETS!

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