Monty Python’s Flying Circus often used to open with the phrase “And now for something completely different …” And that also applies to the Bills wideouts that Darrelle Revis and the Jets will see on Sunday at New Meadowlands Stadium.
The WR depth charts for the Bills these days? Steve Johnson and Naaman Roosevelt on one side, David Nelson, Donald Jones and Paul Hubbard on the other.
“It’s a new thing for me as well, and for the secondary,” Revis said after today’s final practice of the week at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “Their whole receiving corps has changed. Usually it’d be Roscoe Parrish, Lee Evans, [Josh] Reed, those type of guys. Now when you look on the film, it’s totally different.”
But Revis is ready to sight-adjust from Evans and Parrish, both of whom are on IR, to Johnson, who leads the Bills with impressive numbers — 77 receptions, 1,001 yards, 10 TDs.
“Steve Johnson, he’s doing a great job,” Revis said. “He’s their go-to guy. They look for him all the time. So I think it’ll be a good matchup.”
For as long as he’s in there. But keep in mind that Revis (hamstring) and fellow CB Antonio Cromartie (groin) were both listed as limited in today’s team drills and questionable for the game. Head coach Rex Ryan said at his New Year’s Eve news conference that there’s a chance both starters could go or both could sit this one out before the playoffs start next weekend.
“There’s a good chance of that,” Ryan said. “If that happens, then the other guys have got to step up and go. There’s a chance, if they’re not feeling well, that it would make sense to have them healthy for the playoffs. We’re not ruling them out, but we’ll see how that goes.”
The Bills, meanwhile, are listing Nelson and Jones as out after both missed the week of team drills. So it may well be a game of attrition when the Jets DBs match up against the Bills WRs. But as Revis said:
“As of right now, I’m playing. It’s up to the coaches and what they want to do, if they want to switch some guys out or not. But I’m taking this week as a regular week and preparing for the Buffalo Bills.”
And their 2010 go-to guy.
Labor Day for Slauson
Right guard Matt Slauson was back at practice and in the locker room and looking only a little scraggly after going through one of the toughest Wednesday-Thursday sessions of his life — helping his wife, Cami, give birth to their first child after a one-day-plus labor.
“It was awesome — the longest day of your life with the best ending,” said Slauson, now a 24-year-old daddy. “The 28 hours was tough but as soon as he was born, it was amazing.”
Cami began labor at 5 a.m. today, delivered Montgomery James Slauson — who will be known as Monte — at 7 a.m., then convinced Matt on a pot of coffee and no sleep that he should go to this morning’s meeting at 8:50.
“Monte’s 7 pounds, 4 ounces and his 40 time is 4.2,” said Slauson. “I didn’t have a chance to see his length but I was told he’s very tall and has enormous feet.”
Does that make him a candidate for the NFL trenches some day just like Pop? “He might be a swimmer,” Matt countered.
Mark Sanchez remains as he was last week at this time — limited at practice but probable for the game and plugged in as the Jets’ starter by Ryan, although the coach said of the possible stint for his second-year QB, “I don’t believe it will be long.”
S James Ihedigbo and T Damien Woody are listed as out for this game. DE Shaun Ellis also didn’t practice, S Eric Smith was limited, and both are doubtful for the Bills. Other questionables besides Revis and Cromartie are NT Sione Pouha and Trevor Pryce.
For the Bills, the QB situation is a little different as Ryan Fitzpatrick didn’t practice this week with a knee injury suffered against the Patriots and his availability will be a gametime decision.
“I feel OK,” Fitzpatrick told buffalobills.com today. “I haven’t done a whole lot. I’ve done the walkthroughs this week and a little bit of throwing the ball around. I’ve been hitting the treatment pretty heavy and putting some extra hours in there to do everything we can to get this thing healthy.”
If Fitz can’t go, the Jets will face No. 2 QB Brian Brohm, who would be making his first start of the year and second of his career. Besides Fitzpatrick, Nelson and Jones, G Cordaro Howard was declared out by Bills coach Chan Gailey, while seven other players on the injury report are probable.
Ryan on the possibility of 5’8″, 170-pound CB Isaiah Trufant seeing action Sunday and in the playoffs: “This young man has some talent. His brother [Marcus] obviously has talent in this league. His change of direction, all that kind of stuff, is phenomenal. The thing is, he’s little. He looks like he’s on some high school team but he’s one of the smaller kids on the team. But on the practice field he goes up against Braylon [Edwards], he’s competitive. So we’re still looking. We owe it to our football team to do what it takes. If that means this young man’s up in the playoffs, we’ve got to find out.”
Ryan on Buffalo NT Kyle Williams, a Pro Bowl first alternate: “That guy is one of the best inside players in football. We’ve definitely got to get him blocked. Fortunately we have good guards and centers. But he always plays like his hair’s on fire. He’s not surprised by any blocking patterns, he dominates consistently, and I’m happy he’s getting the recognition.”
Every Little Edge Helps
Ryan continued to insist today that “Shoot, we want to win this game,” even though there’s only a small chance the Jets could get the fifth seed with a win plus four other outcomes on Sunday. But is a victory in your last regular-season game important for getting off to a flying start in the postseason? Yes, actually.
Since the NFL realigned to eight four-team divisions in 2002 and changed its playoff formula for each conference to four division winners and two wild cards, teams that went into their wild-card game off a Week 17 loss were 10-10 (.500) while teams that went in off a victory were 24-20 (.545).
Not much of a difference, but if we include the first-round-bye teams as well, the effect is more pronounced. Teams that lost their last RS game before their first playoff game are 14-20 (.412) and teams that win their last game are 34-28 (.548).
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Buffalo Bills, Darrelle Revis, Isaiah Trufant, Matt Slauson, Rex Ryan, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Steve Johnson
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