Rex Ryan is a true believer in the power of the hometown hero.
You knew that if you considered why he designates many of his players as team captains for certain opponents. And he’ll have a bunch of guys with Detroit and Michigan ties going out to midfield at Ford Field on Sunday before the opening kickoff of the Jets-Lions game.
“We’re very well aware of where guys are from,” Ryan said. “I had an old football coach who told me he really believed in the hometown-hero type of thing. We had a running back who never played, then eight games into the season he put him in there, rotating in the backfield with the starter. ‘Why are you playing this guy?’ ‘He’s from this town.’ The guy goes out and rushes for 120 yards. Whoa! Ever since that time, I bought into that.”
Ryan had another example from his Baltimore coordinator’s career. In 2006 the Ravens were heading to New Orleans to play the Saints. That just happened to be near the hometowns of DBs Dawan Landry (Ama, La.) and Ronnie Prude (Shreveport). In that game Landry had two interceptions, Prude had one and each returned a pick for a TD in the Ravens’ 35-22 road win.
Ryan is planning on getting a similar hometown boost for his Jets against the Lions.
“I think the guys are excited to have Bart [Scott] going home,” he said, “and David Harris and Braylon [Edwards] and Vernon [Gholston]. Calvin Pace was born in Detroit. I think he lived there till he was 3 so he doesn’t remember much of it. Eric Smith, he was from Ohio but he went to Michigan State.”
Ryan is attuned to all his players, none more so than Scott, but one guy he’d really love to see have a career day is Gholston.
“The fact is, when I made the comment about ‘Well, the best defense in the National Football League is coming to your town,’ that was based on a comment a reporter made on Vernon Gholston,” Ryan further explained, saying the remark was detrimental toward Gholston. ” ‘You’ve got no idea. This guy’s a good football player, he really is.’
“That just kind of burned me a little bit. Vernon’s not that guy. He’s an excellent football player and he’s part of a great defense. And we’re happy he’s here.”
Needless to say, Ryan also knows that Gholston still doesn’t have a sack in 39 regular- and postseason pro games and that fans’ perception of him won’t change until he comes up with some major production. But the coach believes there’s a chance for all those guys who are going back to the neighborhood this weekend.
“I’m telling you, there’s something to it,” he said. “So I’m expecting big games from Bart, David, Vernon and Braylon. Anytime you go back home, you want to do something special.”
S Brodney Pool returned to full practice today after his head-banging collision with Darrelle Revis late in Thursday’s workout. The four players on the Jets’ injury report all practiced full today and all are probable for the game.
The Jets spent their last two days of practices in their fieldhouse at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. They’ll be playing indoors on Sunday, their 14th indoor game since 2000. They’re 8-5 in previous roofed games, their most recent being last year’s 1-1 split in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. … Gholston’s fulfilled 77 ticket requests for Sunday’s game for friends and family. …
Another Michigander Seen
It’s a shame thinking about what could have been in this game for Kris Jenkins, who also hails from Ypsilanti, not far from Detroit. But Jenks is still overlooking everything, including in Times Square, as the attached picture shows.
Kris is currently starring in a PSA for MillionTreesNYC, an environmental initiative undertaken by Mayor Bloomberg that has a goal of planting 1 million trees in the city by 2017. The PSA is being shown on the Clear Channel SpectacolorHD Digital Billboard at 47th and Broadway every hour for the next two weeks.
Eric Smith is another who’s got those Michigan ties and another Jet who was busy with his charitable endeavors recently. On Oct. 26 the Jets safety and special-team standout was hosted by the New York After-School All-Stars at a site visit with middle school children at I.S. 192 in the Jamaica section of New York.
Smith toured the after-school activities and followed that by sharing some life experiences and discussing paths to success, then a Q&A and finally a photograph/autograph session with the students in the school auditorium.
The event marked the beginning of a partnership between Smith and the “Touchdown vs. Shutdown” program. He’s donating to the charity on a per-tackle basis during this season, with the donations helping the After-School All-Stars provide after-school programming to at-risk youth in the New York area.
Tags: Bart Scott, Braylon Edwards, Brodney Pool, Calvin Pace, Detroit Lions, Eric Smith, Ford Field, Kris Jenkins, Rex Ryan, Vernon Gholston
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