Adrian “All Day” Peterson is coming to town Monday night and Bart Scott plans on laying out the welcome mat for the Vikings’ talented running back.
“These are the type of games I live for,” Scott told me this week during our latest installment of “Four Quarters” on newyorkjets.com.
Scott, now 30 and in his ninth professional season, remembers a poignant conversation he had with his father while playing collegiately at Southern Illinois.
“My dad asked me, ‘Do you think you can tackle Ricky Williams?’ And this is my dad and I’m like, ‘Dad, you’re insulting me right now,” Scott said. “I’m like ‘I’m not afraid of anybody.’ ”
The 5’10”, 230-pound Williams was the total package coming out of Texas many moons ago, possessing game-breaking speed but also the willingness to drop his helmet to run you over. Scott, who signed on as an undrafted free agent with the Baltimore Ravens in 2002, didn’t become a defensive regular until ’05 and has produced five consecutive seasons of 100 or more tackles since then. He can still recall how it felt when he and Williams collided for the first time.
“I got the opportunity about three or four years into my career to do it and I got the tackle,” he said. “I tasted Ricky’s power — I tasted it and I loved it and that’s football.”
Peterson (6’1”, 217) is another back who relishes contact. He probably doesn’t even know where the boundary is because “All Day” brings a defensive approach on offense.
“There are only a very few violent runners in this game. Adrian Peterson I would say is a bigger version of Ahmad Bradshaw. He is going to scrap and fight for every inch and that’s what you love because I know I have to bring my ‘A’ game and I can’t wait to taste his power,” Scott said. “I’ve been waiting for this matchup my entire career. It will be great to see how I measure up and meet him in the hole and let’s see whose feet can keep chomping.”
The Vikings had a bye in Week 4, but Peterson’s 392 yards paced the NFC through three games. He also has become more of a receiving threat, catching 13 balls out of the backfield. And Peterson, who turned the ball over on six of seven fumbles last year, has not yet put the ball on the floor.
Brett Favre and Randy Moss will receive plenty of headlines this week, but if you’re a purist, keep your eye on No. 57 in green and No. 28 in white. Scott was asked to describe that moment of impact that is only days away.
“There comes a point where you have to say, ‘Is it worth it?’ I’m always going to say it’s worth it and I’m always going to embrace it,” he said. “I’m not going to slow down — you’re going to have to carry me off the field before I slow down. If you knock me on my butt, I’m going to come even harder the next time.
“I’m not going to come in there timid. Some players may slow down and go timid, but I’m not. I’m going to go in there the next time, you can spin me around and I’m going to say, ‘We can do this all day, baby.’ I love it.”
Before the interview commenced, Scott talked about his latest project of paying for a new set of bleachers that were stolen from Southeastern High School, his alma matter, in Detroit. It was in that city that Scott learned to play a physical, Midwestern brand of ball.
“You really have to be a man in there. If you’re not a physical guy, a violent guy, people are going to exploit that. Even at a young age, we didn’t have the screen passes and things,” he said. “It was 24 Power, 45 Power, you had a sweep to both sides and most teams had a trap play.”
The weather forecast looks good for Monday night at the NMS, but Detroit’s Scott doesn’t worry about it. There’s a 100 percent chance of him meeting Adrian Peterson and that’s a beautiful outlook.
“You have the elements anyway, the snow, the rain, the cold weather, so you had to be tough mentally and I think that’s what helped me develop into the type of player I am now,” he said. “At the base and root of things, all I know is physical football. I am not going to shy or run away from any type of contact.”
Next week Santonio Holmes will join the “Four Quarters” rotation. LaDainian Tomlinson, Jim Leonhard, Bart Scott and Holmes are all scheduled to appear on the Web program four times throughout the season, once a month. Encouraging fan interaction as well, the Jets have created a new email address —firstname.lastname@example.org — so viewers can write in and select comments and questions that will be read and answered on air.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Bart Scott, Minnesota Vikings, Monday Night Football, New York Jets
Posted in Eric Allen | 5 Comments »
It is truly “Go Time” for Calvin Pace.
After suffering a broken right foot in the Jets’ third preseason game, Pace will see his first regular-season action Monday night at New Meadowlands Stadium as the Vikings pay a visit.
“I’m just ready to go. To be honest with you, I’ve never looked forward to a week of practice compared to this week,” he said today. “I want to take as many reps as I can take.”
Telling reporters that he’s “91.5 percent,” Pace is feeling healthy and attempting to get his football rhythm back.
“It’s not necessarily the foot — it’s kind of the sense of just getting back into football,” he said. “It kind of has that feel of offseason when you come back and start OTAs. Kind of like ‘Man, I never played football before.’ ”
Friday will mark six weeks since Pace has appeared in a game. He practiced on a limited basis last week but the team concluded that it would be better if he got one more off before returning to action.
“I think the extra time and not playing Sunday helped me out and the good thing is we have a long week,” he said. “We don’t play until Monday, so every day I’m getting more treatment and practicing is going to help me, getting the feel of going against some other guys and running around.”
On the same day it was announced that the Vikings had secured a deal for WR Randy Moss, Pace reminded media types that RB Adrian Peterson, who’s averaging 131 yards a game on the ground, is a unique talent.
“He’s in a league of his own. It’s him and Chris Johnson right now. He has power and speed,” said Pace just days before he officially rejoins the Jets’ fourth- ranked rush defense (74.8 yards per game). “He is a guy you have to get everybody to the ball. Watching the Lions game, they stopped him and stopped him, and then he took one 80. He has that type of ability.
“It’s going to take a full game. It’s not necessarily you’re going to stop him for three quarters and think we’re good. And then in the fourth quarter, he might explode. We have to really key on him and get a lot of guys to the ball.”
The Jets have racked up eight sacks through four games, but their pass rush will get a boost from a performer who led the Green & White with 15 sacks combined in 2008-09. Vikings QB Brett Favre, who has been dumped behind the line six times, is not a threat to scramble and his line has had trouble protecting him at times.
“He’s going to stand there in the pocket and take a hit to make a big play,” Pace said. “When we get there, we have to make it count.”
Moss is the vertical threat the Vikings have sorely missed during their 1-2 start. Favre and company are averaging only 14.3 points a game and their passing game is ranked just 24th at 185 yards a contest.
“I wouldn’t doubt that the first play would be a bomb to Randy, but we’ve seen him before,” said Pace. “It’s not like he’s a guy we haven’t faced. He’s been in our division, we play him twice, so I think guys are pretty glued in on what Randy’s capable of.”
Jets Nation knows what Pace is capable of, too. An outstanding athlete, he’s a versatile outside linebacker who will rush the passer, drop in coverage and mix it up in the run game. And the wait to see No. 97 making plays once again is almost over.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Brett Favre, Calvin Pace, Minnesota Vikings, Randy Moss
Posted in Eric Allen | 13 Comments »
The second half opens with some razzle dazzle that we saw the AFC special teams work on during the practice week. Leon Washington fields the kickoff at his 7, then flips to the Titans’ Michael Griffin.
The play looked better in practice. Griffin gets to the 41 but there’s holding on the Dolphins’ Ronnie Brown at the 26, so it’s first down at the 16. Thomas Jones gets three carries for 12 yards but the AFC has to punt.
The defense holds and Feagles punts a third time to Washington. This one is inbounds and Leon fields at his 10 but can spin away from the coverage and is taken down after a 2-yard gain by Zak DeOssie, who (1) is the Giants’ long-snapper, so he floored it downfield, and (2) is the son of former Jets LB Steve DeOssie. Small world, eh?
After Kerry Collins is intercepted, the Giants’ Eli Manning proceeds to hits the Falcons’ Roddy White on a slant past Darrelle Revis for a 26-yard gain to the AFC-44.
But Revis gets payback two plays later. Manning goes for the Cards’ Anquan Boldin down the right sideline with Revis in blanket coverage. The throw is inside and Revis comes down with the one-handed interception in the end zone, not unlike the pick way back in the season opener to seal the win over the Dolphins. Nice pick, Darrelle.
But it goes for naught. Minnesota DE Jared Allen blows past LT Joe Thomas for a strip-sack of Collins, which Allen recovers at the AFC-10. On the next play, the Vikes strike twice as Adrian Peterson bursts off right guard for the TD to give the NFC its first lead of the day at 17-14.
Washington gets a kickoff return but he’s hemmed in so this time he tries a backpass to Michael Griffin that doesn’t look as planned as the first-half flip to Griffin and the Americans start their drive at their 13.
After a three plays lose 3 yards and a delay-of-game is called, Shane Lechler has to punt from his end zone. All he does is launch a 65-yard punt, the third-longest in Pro Bowl history (all three punts are by Lechler) to get the AFC out of trouble.
Washington can do nothing with Feagles’ punt, which hugs the sideline, but Leon then turns it on out of the backfield with a darting 20-yard run, the longest rushing play for either side so far, to get the ball to the 31.
That run sends the AFC, with Jay Cutler at the offensive controls, on a 13-play, 89-yard drive that gives them back the lead back, 21-17. The score comes on more razzle-dazzle, as Cutler takes the snap and pauses briefly to hand the ball to Ravens FB Le’Ron McClain through McClain’s legs — a reverse center snap. As most of the offense moved right, McClain bulled left for 5 yards and the score.
But the Nationals were up to the task. Eli Manning led a half-field drive to a perfeclty placed fade to the 6’3" Larry Fitzgerald over the 5’10" Cortland Finnegan to retake the lead. The Americans couldn’t move, the NFC tacked on two more John Carney field goals, and the 30th and last Pro Bowl in Hawaii (at least for a year or two or three) ends with the NFC winning, 30-21.
I’ll have one more Radar entry in a few hours. I talked with all six of the Jets who played in this game and so they’ll all have a few more things to say before they work their way back to their homes and then on to North Jersey and the Atlantic Health Training Center to begin the off-season strength and conditioning program next month.
And check the multimedia page of newyorkjets.com because we are attempting to put up some of the Jets players’ postgame remarks in an audio interview format on the site on Monday. For now, aloha from Aloha Stadium.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Darrelle Revis, Leon Washington, Thomas Jones
Posted in Randy Lange | 4 Comments »
Eric Allen and I have been working diligently, in between posting our daily stories and Radar entries, to get Jets Radio up and running. And we’ll give you a double dose of Internet programming this week in advance of the Jets’ season opener at Miami.
"Paving the Way with T-Rich" will be available on the newyorkjets.com home page and the multmedia home page this afternoon. It’s the second show that fullback Tony Richardson and Allen have put together and the first of T-Rich’s weekly endeavors during the season. This week’s show will be available Thursday but the plan is to have "Paving the Way" ready to roll out every Wednesday afternoon.
On today’s show, Richardson as always talks about many topics that have affected the Jets — the season opener ahead, the competitive advantages of the new Atlantic Health Training Center, Richardson’s journey to Washington for the funeral services for NFLPA director Gene Upshaw, and blocking for then-rookie Adrian Peterson’s NFL-record 296-yard rushing day for the Vikings last year.
Friday evening, EA and I will unveil our first "Jets Two-Minute Drive," a preview of the upcoming game that will be prominently displayed on our site through the day of the game.
Each week we’re planning to bring in a special guest and this week we’ll have one of the very best network analysts in the game, Phil Simms, who will be calling the game along with partner Jim Nantz for CBS on Sunday. Simms provides his provocative views on Brett Favre, Chad Pennington, and the effect of all the new players and the new building on the Jets’ 2008 prospects.
We hope you’ll try give our radio shows a listen along with continuing to give our stories a read every week during the Green & White season that’s about to erupt in just three days.
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Eric Allen, Jets Radio, Phil Simms, Tony Richardson
Posted in Randy Lange | 16 Comments »
The Jets’ postgame locker room Friday night was not a happy place. Players weren’t suicidal, nor should they have been. But they were this side of ticked off, which is what you’d like to see in a team that has a healthy self-image yet still fell at home to the Minnesota Vikings by 37-20.
"One word? It stunk. That’s the only word you get," said LB Jonathan Vilma, who actually used another S-word to describe the experience. "It is what it is. We have to be glad it’s not the regular season. All we can do is get better."
"As an individual, I don’t think it’s concern," Chad Pennington said of his feelings about the game after he completed nine of 10 passes, just as he did vs. the Vikings in the ’05 preseason — although two of those completions were to Vikings defenders Darren Sharper and Chad Greenway, who took the picks for touchdowns. "It’s a disappointment and a want-to, to just get it fixed."
One thing that most irritated the defense were a few nice Minnesota runs, none nicer than rookie Adrian Peterson’s burst out of CB Andre Dyson’s tackle attempt near the line for a 43-yard gain. It was the longest preseason run yielded by the Jets since the Giants’ Tiki Barber went 54 yards in the 2002 preseason and the second-longest run given up in any game, pre- or regular season, in the Meadowlands since ’02 behind Willis McGahee’s 57-yard TD bolt for the Bills last December.
"I don’t think that was a scheme issue," head coach Eric Mangini said, "as much as it was an execution issue on the perimeter."
It was also a Peterson issue. Barton, who again was active at the point of attack, admired what the Oklahoma rookie brought to New Jersey.
"I thought he as really impressive. He looked good. I’m sure the Vikings are happy with him," Barton said. "I think he’s a lot faster than I imagined him to be." Peterson finished with eight carries for 70 yards, including a muscular 3-yard TD burst that made it 21-6 in the second quarter.
The solution is simple, although not necessarily easy, said LB Eric Barton.
"First of all, do not panic," Barton said. "Watch the tape and fix what you did wrong. There’s no other options. Work harder and hopefully next week we’ll play better. … We’ll be all right."
"I think things weren’t as bad as they looked," said safety Erik Coleman, who ranged well to break up a long ball intended for Troy Williamson early in the game. "There are some things we need to work on. But we’re not accustomed to giving up plays like that. Even though it’s the preseason, we demand nothing but the best out of each other."
No one was in the mood to look ahead to the next preseason game, against the Giants next Saturday night.
"It starts with Sunday," Pennington said, referring to the next training camp practice for the Jets back at Hofstra. "Our practices aren’t like other people’s practices, normal practices. They throw a lot of stuff at us. … Whatever Coach has in store for us, we’ll be ready. He probably has a few tricks up his sleeve for us this week, and we’ll motivate ourselves."
"The Giants? It’s definitely too early to talk about the Giants," Vilma said. "We’ve got to work on the Jets."
Tags: Adrian Peterson, Chad Pennington, Eric Barton, Jonathan Vilma
Posted in Randy Lange | 33 Comments »