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Mike Devlin and Flagstaff Foothills Memories

Posted by Randy Lange on July 23, 2013 – 11:03 am

Mike Devlin has a long history as a football man. Before he began his coaching career with Toledo, the Arizona Cardinals and, since 2006, the Jets, he played the game in the trenches: three years with the Bills, four more with the Cards.

Coach Dev has more than a few reminiscences about Cardinals camp at Northern Arizona U. up in the hills of Flagstaff.

“Yeah, there’s been some,” Devlin said. “My last year in Arizona [1999], there was a car accident and offensive linemen Ernest Dye and Lester Holmes were injured. The team really didn’t bring in anybody else on the line that summer. There was eight of us and we went the whole training camp, two-a-days in pads, the whole spiel. That stood out to me, just surviving that.”

Then there was a somewhat strange former Arizona teammate from the 1998 camp.

“One day he’d be reading Tolstoy, the next day he’d be reading the Bible, the next day the Koran,” Devlin said. “I remember us saying, ‘We’ve got to get this guy. He’s out of control.’ But then you eventually learned that’s just how he us.”

That player, of course, was the idealistic young safety, Pat Tillman, who left the NFL for the U.S. Army in 2002 and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan two years later.

But perhaps the most rewarding camp story Devlin had came after what he said was the Cardinals’ equivalent of the Jets’ Green & White Scrimmage.

“I took my series, then I legitimately jumped in the car with my pads on and went down the hill two hours from Flagstaff to Phoenix. I made it on time to see my Hallie born,” he said of his daughter’s birth. “She’s my camp baby. Julie, my wife, will tell the story that once I got down there I fell asleep during the whole thing.”

Mike and Julie are the parents of four and Mike has moved back in as the Jets’ full-time offensive line coach after coaching tight ends and assisting on the OL for several years. He loves life now as a coach but he misses a few of those elements of being a player in the NFL.

“You remember the camaraderie, the time in the locker room before you’ve all got to go out there for the grind, complaining about the coaches and everything else before you go out there,” he said. “That’s what you miss when it’s all said and done, the huddle.”

Now Devlin is helping to huddle up the Jets O-linemen as they all set out to write their own training camp stories at SUNY Cortland beginning this week.


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32 Responses to “Mike Devlin and Flagstaff Foothills Memories”

  1. By IRA on Jul 23, 2013 | Reply

    Great story about Coach Devlin and his daughter. I have a lot of confidence that Devlin will do a great job with the OL.
    If the offense is going to have any success at all this year it will start with the boys on the OL. They play well then the Jets offense will play better than people think.

  2. By ronbo on Jul 23, 2013 | Reply

    GUY’s, I think Mr. Devlin has his work cut out for him.Other than Mangold and maybe Brick there is not a lot to work with in this group. No questions Winters offers hope for the future as he is young,strong and willing. His problem is how quickly can he pick up the nuances of the guard position and adapt to the higher level of competition in the NFL.As for Colon & Peterman, who knows what we get out of them? Colon is returning to the met area where he grew up so hopefully he has the incentive to play well and hard. Peterman is 31and coming off a disappointing season which is why he was available so how much do we expect from him? As for Austin Howard this is a make of break year for him so the the incentive should certainly be there ? cont-

  3. By ronbo on Jul 23, 2013 | Reply

    continuation- As for the young guys Cambell was a college DT trying to make the conversion to OT? Likely a practice squad candidate! And Mr. Oday who fell in the draft because of his poor showing at the Senior Bowl and NFL Combine is another likely practice squad guy.So for all the ground & pound pundits out there advocating we rely heavily on the run game in spite of the fact we hired a pass happy o/c to supposedly run a modern offense like the rest of the NFL teams , how likely is that this is gonna work out? Please, think about it before you answer.

  4. By Jersey Rich on Jul 23, 2013 | Reply

    Seems like its been forever, but… Are You Ready For Some Football???

  5. By IRA on Jul 23, 2013 | Reply

    Cundiff is no surprise. It worked last year with Brown keeping pressure on Folk all summer and Cundiff will do the same. My feelings are Folk wins this job.

  6. By kk on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Randy, why the holdup on the signing of the last two picks. It’s so much easier now with the slotting you would think this should have been done a long time ago. Hope this isn’t a harbinger of things to come with these two!

  7. By Tom "Section 124 Row 20" Spicer on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Ronbo, Winters & Oday will at least be on the active roster & not the practice squad. We need a backup tackle & guard. Winters might even start.

  8. By IRA on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Ronbo,
    I disagree with you on Howard. Yes he gave up 10 sacks last year but he was very strong as a run blocker. I would love to know how many of those sacks he didn’t have TE help.
    I think Howard did play well last year with room to grow. He has great size and i think with a year under his belt he will be solid this year.
    Randy,
    Just curious any knapsack restrictions at camp this summer?

  9. By IRA on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Ronbo, As for MM he has been around a long time and i am sure he will tailor his offense around the talent he has. He is not going to try and fit a square peg in a round hole like some coaches do. I have been saying it all offseason expect a lot of passing to the RB’s and TE’s.
    GO JETS!!!!

  10. By Ronbo on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    The kicking game is the least of our concerns.At this point who cares? I’m wondering who is gonna open the holes for the running backs and who will protect the QB when he goes back to pass?.After that I’m wondering who is gonna catch the few on target passes that come their way? And of course the question of the day is who will be throwing those passes? And we havn’t even gotton to the questions on D! Yes boys and girls, this pre-season promoses to be a very interesting time to those of us who root for the NY Jets.

  11. By Ronbo on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    KLECKO FAN & MJV, Randy was nice enough to pass a message along to TOM64 and he was gracious enough to respond to me. Thankfully his health is not the issue as some new govt regulations are forcing him to put in much longer hours with his business so he simply does not have the downtime to contribute here on Randy’s blog. He also mentioned that it was getting too contensious here as well so for the time being he’s takeing a break. I am hopeing he has a change of heart as the season unfolds and he cant resist the urge to communicate with us Jet loonies here on Randy’s Radar. Frankly, agree with him or not he was always a good contributor here and I for one hope he re-joins us at some point soon.

  12. By scjoe on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Ron, spot on about the O Line. So many unanswered questions, seems unlikely all will be answered on a positive note. What’s worse, same can be said about most of the rest of the roster. Think about it, unanswered questions about the O line, the QBs, the RBs, the WRs, the TEs, That just about covers the entire offense. On the D, questions about the safety’s, the LBs and lets throw in the CBs for good measure. Seems like it was a decade ago when this team went to back to back conference championship games don’t it?

  13. By kk on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Sources saying Braylon is back if so good. All I know is this kid played hard for the Jets and can be a tutor for Hill. Remember he supposedly had the dropsies and can be a vet in Hill’s ear.

  14. By Tom "Section 124 Row 20" Spicer on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    From Rotoworld “The Jets are currently putting free agent Braylon Edwards through a physical and are on the verge of signing him. If the Jets pass him, he’ll immediately step onto the practice field and compete for snaps at New York’s thinnest position. Santonio Holmes’ recovery from Lisfranc surgery remains behind schedule, and there are serious doubts about whether Holmes will be ready for the season opener”

  15. By Tom "Section 124 Row 20" Spicer on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    From Daily News “Jets OC Marty Mornhinweg downplayed reports about Geno Smith’s up-and-down spring and insists the second-round pick is “way ahead of the pace of a normal rookie.” “I think Geno’s close,” added Mornhinweg. “I don’t think he’s there yet. But he’s close to being able to get into a game and function at a high level. So our whole challenge — and his challenge — is that first preseason game.” The Jets open the preseason on August 9 against Detroit. Early reports indicate Mark Sanchez has a lead in the QB race, but Smith can’t be ruled out yet. “

  16. By Frank on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Re-signing Edwards is a no brainer many of us have been calling for that since the end of the season. There is no way Holmes will be ready for the opener I am saying right now he might not even play this season. If he does he will be a shell of himself and won’t contribute much.
    Hopefully another good receiver will be cut during camp we still need another deep threat guy. We need speed!!!!!!!

  17. By Frank on Jul 24, 2013 | Reply

    Rondo I am not worried about the O-Line we FINALLY have enough bodies to find the right mix. Moore is still out there and if things don’t work out and Colon proves he is too damaged to play anymore it wouldn’t surpirse me if they went after Moore. I don’t think its likely but ceratinly a possibility.

  18. By ronbo on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    IRA, for the record there is no reason for you to disagree with me concerning Howard as I simply stated he has a lot of incentive to play hard and well.This is his big shot to solidify his starting spot.I in no way was being critical. SPICER, I’m glad you have so much confidence in Oday but the guy did 12 reps of 225 at the combine after being brutally criticized at the Sr.Bowl for being an “underachiever
    at Virginia.Dude, I stand by my practice squad prediction but hope to be proven wrong.FRANK, having a lot of bodies is all well & good.But the questions I posed remain valid, how many of these bodies are NFL quality? I reiterate, we don’t know
    as most of these guys are either unproven rookies or not yet established young vets.We shall see

  19. By ronbo on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    S.C.Joe, thanks, and I agree with your complete realistic team assessment as well.This time of year is a lot of fun as we are all excited about the events that are about to unfold. I’m seeing the usual positive spin about the O-line and Braylon’s return and all that rah-rah stuff and that’s cool. We should pull for our team to do well,I get that.For me experience has taught me to take a more analytic approach and when I look at this roster I simply see too many question marks at to many positions to get overly excited i prefer to let Ira,Spicer and Jet Fan Frank lead the cheers and I will be happy to give them the credit and admit I was wrong if things turn out well for our Jets.Win or lose I will always be a Jet fanatic!

  20. By Chicago Bob on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    We need to be realistic about what is coming up – there is going to be a lot of new faces on both sides of the ball which is way overdue. Rex and Mike T. let this team get old and slow and this should have started a lot sooner. If they had gone about this properly, we would not have so many new holes to fill however it is what it is and lets deal with it. I still don’t think this season will be the train wreck some people envision. Granted, it may take some time with all the new faces and new offensive schemes however if this team can play halfway decent football thru 12 games, the remaining four (Raiders, Panthers, Browns & Dolphins) are all winnable games. Sorry gang, still not sold on Miami – let’s see them play a few games first.

  21. By SQUIRREL on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Glad to hear about Braylon. It shows the teams hand in the QB competition a little bit . the staff knows that mark has a great rapport with Braylon. as soon as braylon was in last year mark showed flashes of his better play. mark is a comfort guy. get him out of his comfort zone and he is a deer in head lights. Cotchery and Edwards were his security blankets and when they exiled those 2 mark lost his mojo. not saying that he was ever that great because he wasn’t. but the roster moves did not help. I would like to see Mark start and do well enough that he may become tradable even if for a later pick. he’s a broken egg here but might pan out somewhere else.

  22. By scjoe on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Chicago Bob, exactly! We have to be realistic, and I think I am, but it still all comes down to the “questions” Normally, if a team enters a season with this many unanswered questions at this many critical positions, it does not have a good outcome. The QB position has been horrendous, is it any better? The WR position has been atrocious, is it any better? Ditto the TE position, the O Line. The RB position has been sub par at best, has it gotten better? “New faces” don’t always mean upgrading the old faces. I think the Dolphins “new faces” are far superior to the NYJ “new faces” on paper anyway. I like their chances to win the division.

  23. By scjoe on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Ron, re: 64? He is right, it does get a little contentious around here at times, but what 64 has to remember is, he was a big part of that as well!

  24. By SQUIRREL on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    also here’s my mets/jets comparison. Jets seem to be doing know what the Mets started a few years ago and seems to be working for them. Getting younger, getting rid of old/bad cap hits, and keeping a few veteran guys around with good locker room mentality. its not as frustrating watching the mets knowing that they are building on something. I just hope in a year from now I can say the same thing about beloved Jets.

  25. By Mike Jet Vet on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Ronbo I agree Tom64 and Myself when at it plenty, We started out very tight here at the radar I believe even before you arrived, He does contribute , We started to slide from his one sided closed mined opinions on Rex along with certain players, Who were intricate part of this teams success in 2009-10 , I’m sure you were a party to what we went at it about.I agreed with many of his comments and admitted it here on the radar, Problem he would never admit to being wrong flip flopping on issues Scjoe will attest to what I’m saying< Sorry Ronbo I will stand up for what's right FAIR AND BALANCED my friend fair and balanced, he sometimes to prove his point went in a different direction, That said I always like Tom 64 still do

  26. By danny on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    Ronbo I actually feel pretty good about the O line. Yes 10 sacks Howard let up last yr but as a first time starter and with Sanchez holding the ball to long he should def improve on that this yr. I like Colon he has proved he is a heck of a lineman when healthy so yes he must stay healthy but worst case if he does go down we have Peterman who I believe is better then Slauson. I love Winters so if he does indeed crack the lineup with him and Colon at the Guard positions, Mangold, Brick and Howard I think our O line can be a solid group. Also with the west coast offense the ball should be out of the QB’s hands much faster then last yrs Sparano embarrassment. BTW Dawon Landry is a solid safety so stop ppl with were in bad shape at safety

  27. By danny on Jul 25, 2013 | Reply

    I feel we improved at WR with Braylon and Tone coming back. Kerley another yr under his belt and Winslow at TE can make plays as he has proved in the past. Can’t say we didn’t upgrade at RB because even if Powell starts, he to me is a upgrade from slow butter finger Green. I love Ivory so hopefully he stays healthy. I think MS will start the season and I think he will do better in MM offense and a stronger O line but I do want Geno to take over eventually because even if MS plays better he’s not the answer. The Defense got younger and faster. No worries for me like some at LB and safety. I think Davis will do a good job and be a upgrade from old slow Bart and hopefully a young guy steps up to play next to Vet Landry. New season

  28. By ronbo on Jul 27, 2013 | Reply

    Danny, quite frankly I would expect nothing less from you.That’s what I love about your posts,there always positive.That said, please remember i didn’t say our o-line stinks or anything like that. I just pointed out that no matter how positive you guys are, the fact remains there are a lot of” if’” amongs’t this group. The Lions were even happier to get rid of Peterman than we were to unload Slauson and Moore who is actually considering retirement as no teams are knocking down his door.And as much as we expect Winters to emerge as a future star he still has to do it. So any positive opinions anyone here wants to express are fine.But they are not yet fact! Like you I am hopful but unlike you I am sheptical as I have been fooled to many times

  29. By ronbo on Jul 27, 2013 | Reply

    MJV, oh yeah, I wasn’t pointing any fingers at anyone in particular as like you, me and 64 went at it plenty. I’m not excusing myself in any way. Just trying to point out the fact that we could probably make our points in a less contentious manner and still enjoy a good debate. And no need to apologize for standing up for what you think is right because as men ,that’s what we do! (no matter how wrong we may be ( lol!) S.C.Joe, No question 64 was in the middle of his share of the back & forth,but I definitely think this blog is a lot more fun when he is with us. It would be the same if you or Spicer, Ira,MJV Jet Fan Frank,Klecko Fan or any of the regulars left.(Like Bennett!)

  30. By danny on Jul 27, 2013 | Reply

    Yeah I understand Ronbo I have been fooled many times too but the only thing to do as a fan at this time of the year is hope and try to be positive that things will work out as planned. If we can’t do that what’s the point of being a Jets fan LOL

  31. By danny on Jul 27, 2013 | Reply

    As for 64 when I first started on this site I had some good battles with 64 and he does come off as a know it all but that’s good you need guys like that on here to make things interesting. He does bring a lot of knowledge being a fan for so many yrs as he’s a older man so I wish 64 would come back on here. He may be cocky but he was not as cocky or insulting as JOE CAPS who thank god is gone LOL. Hopefully 64 comes back because guys like Ronbo or SC Joe have strong opinions but just like 64 or anyone else it’s only our opinions which mean nothing except for on this site. You can tell 64 is good ppl so come on back we miss you here.

  32. By ronbo on Jul 29, 2013 | Reply

    DANNY, you did a great job summing up the 64 thing.I could not have said it better! Thanks bro…

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