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Putting the Hometown Hero Theory to the Test

Posted by Randy Lange on November 5, 2010 – 3:11 pm

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.”

Rex Cetera

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.

E.Smitty’s Cause

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.

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Posted in Randy Lange | 17 Comments »

17 Responses to “Putting the Hometown Hero Theory to the Test”

  1. By Tom Spicer on Nov 5, 2010 | Reply

    The bottom line is this if the Jets dont win these next 2 games at lions & at Browns not split but win both they have no chance of hosting a home playoff game.

  2. By Jim on Nov 5, 2010 | Reply

    Something tells me there will be plenty to cheer about. Home Boys or not, plenty to cheer about.

  3. By scjoe on Nov 5, 2010 | Reply

    I don’t think there is any doubt in any of our minds that all the Michigan raised players will be up for this game a little more then if it were being played somewhere else, but make no mistake about it, this is a Detroit Lion crowd, and it will be loud, and probably more then 90% of those in attendance will be cheering for the Lions, not the home grown players on the opposing team. It is a nice story, but it is just that, a story.

  4. By Jets Fan Tom Since '64 on Nov 5, 2010 | Reply

    I like what Rex does with the captains each game, anything to motivate the guys. Certainly you’re right, Spicer, and if last week’s meltdown starts extending to losing to these kinds of teams, we have more than just home field advantage to worry about.

  5. By GaryC on Nov 6, 2010 | Reply

    If this is rex’s tact to try to get more out of Gholston I am all for it,but talent outweighs anything else and I believe this will be a big disappointment.

  6. By Pranit on Nov 6, 2010 | Reply

    We need a big game from every one….All three phases have to play well to win…Defense and ST better keep their guard up too…the O owes everybody big time from last week….

  7. By paul on Nov 6, 2010 | Reply

    Glad to hear about all the ties our players have to Michigan, maybe it will motivate a few of them! Ofcourse Sanchez has no ties! I hope he can be effective, but from what i’ve seen, I’m not holding my breath! Gholston article in the news this morning, Rex says he sees a long term future for him with the jets!!! Rex is either loosing his mind or leveraging his talent for a future trade! Danny Woodhead had a future here as well! Gholston even motivated in front of family and freinds has been a complete flop! If the jets can trade him off for a draft pick will be far better than letting him walk as a free agent. truth be told he has no future with the jets and rex knows it too!

  8. By mathees on Nov 6, 2010 | Reply

    i miss jenkins

  9. By Joe on Nov 6, 2010 | Reply

    This Jets Defense is over-rated. I see a front 7 that has a Hard time getting to the quarterback – Lions D is one of the worst yet they have more sacks this year then Jets. JETS can’t get off the field against a team that has a good passing game – Revis and Cromartie are hyped as shutdown corners – where are all the int’s and the pick 6’s ? They don’t scare anyone like say Darrel Green or Deon did back in the day. The bad news is if Revis and Cro cover their guys, The slot receiver or tight end or back is wide open!
    Safeties on this team Disappear for long stretches of time. Look at the Steelers – they dont HAVE to blitz to get a strip sack but when they do… BOOM
    I’m a Jet fan living in Michigan – Think we’re still 3-4 players away.

  10. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 6, 2010 | Reply

    Thanks for the honest assessment of the D, Joe. A bit harsh but basically true, especiallly on the pass rush or lack of it and the safeties, and a good corrective to all Rex’s “He’s the best in the league…” garbage.

  11. By Bleedsgreenandwhite on Nov 6, 2010 | Reply

    The matchups this game are going to be interesting, Cromartie on calvin johnson and revis on burleson…or vice versa? lol i would say Cro on johnson just because of the height factor

  12. By charliejet on Nov 7, 2010 | Reply

    Go JETS………………………17 -14 NY !

  13. By charliejet on Nov 7, 2010 | Reply

    Schotty -Use a little common sense here OK ?

  14. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 7, 2010 | Reply

    By the way, I do admire Joe’s honesty in pointing out some weak points about our D. But football is a great game partly because there’s so many ways to look at it, as the old adage about the ball taking funny bounces implies. So just for balance: That Kerry Rhodes-led D of Arizona’s has given up the third-most points in the NFL, while we’ve given up the second-least. And I will agree with what Rex said during the bye week about room for improvement on all counts, not just on D — and the game that came after with the non-existent O sure proved that.

  15. By Matt on Nov 7, 2010 | Reply

    Cromartie will have to do a better job tackeling on Calvin Johson than he normally does. I think the Jets can win a shoot out on an indoor track. I think the vertical passing threat could really come alive this week indoors. Sanchez will have to do a better job with the noise than he did in Denver. The Lions have hung around in every game they have played and it will be incumbant on the Jets ‘D’ to get key stops at the end of the game. Jets win 34-31.

  16. By Mike Jet Vet on Nov 7, 2010 | Reply

    Lets all give a way to go shout out for Big Jenks and Smitty for sharing their time for good causes ..Sounds to me Rex is again giving V-G a pass he has nothing to base his statements, so here’s my thoughts on them lets say V-G does have a good game it will only prove how uninterested in living up to his 1st round status and only perform when it serves himself its been 3 years and counting with no sacks or production to team so I will say again time to move on .. Now Smitty I have twice the faith in him having a good game David Harris doesn’t need any coming home inspiration to show up either does B-Scott C-P or B-E

  17. By Jets Fan Since '64 Tom on Nov 7, 2010 | Reply

    MJV, ya gotta wonder if this game, with Rex’s accompanying praise of VG this week, represents the kid’s last real chance as Jet. Few will remember today or what Rex said beforehand if we don’t finish strongly this year and decide to lose VG in the off-season.

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