The Jets announced tonight that they have reached an agreement in principle to sign safety Brodney Pool.
Pool, a potential restricted free agent, was not tendered by Cleveland, so the Jets won’t owe the Browns compensation.
After trading Kerry Rhodes to the Arizona Cardinals last Saturday, the Green & White moved quickly to pick up another safety. The 6’2", 210-pound Pool had four interceptions last season in Cleveland and has totaled 11 over the course of his five-year career. A second-round pick out of Oklahoma in 2005, Pool started 49 games for the Browns and has 34 career PDs.
It was Pool’s end zone hit on TE Chris Baker with 59 seconds to play in the Jets’ Game 8 at Cleveland in 2006 that was not called a forceout by officials and as a result secured the Browns’ 20-13 victory.
Tags: Brodney Pool, Chris Baker, Cleveland Browns
Posted in Eric Allen | 49 Comments »
I saw a few strange things on the way to my Cortland Stadium pressbox perch. On the walk over, in the short distance, I saw goalposts moving. From up above, I saw newly lined sod, ready for large men in cleated shoes to jump up and down on.
Dream sequence? No, the Jets’ move to the Cortland grass field is on.
The goalposts were being moved into place. Today’s practice will be held on the field behind the pressbox and the stadium turf field on which the Jets had held their first eight practices over the first four days of training camp.
The feature of this morning’s show will be the first short-yardage/goal-line drills of camp. To borrow a phrase head coach Rex Ryan used from his past to describe Monday’s feisty practice, more “Rock-‘Em-Sock-‘Em Robots.”
S Kerry Rhodes has already tweeted in on the subject this morning, saying:
tyson vs. holyfield = Jets practice yesterday today its gonna be Ali vs. Frazier lets see who wins the short yardage day. O or the D???
For those keeping score on the field and at home, the new number on the field is No. 86, TE Kevin Brock, acquired on waivers from Carolina late Monday. Tribute to Chris Baker? No, that was the number that Brock, the Rutgers product, wore while with the Panthers.
We’ll be back around noon with the morning practice wrapup. Keep track of the practice’s highlights by following us on our Twitter account, http://twitter.com/nyjets. Today Kyle Richardson (whose tweets will be preceded by his initials, KR:) will start out providing the blow by blow.
Tags: Chris Baker, Kerry Rhodes, Rex Ryan, SUNY Cortland, training camp
Posted in Randy Lange | 11 Comments »
Bubba Franks’ 2008 was not the highlight of the venerable tight end’s career. Even Bubba said so.
"I got hurt pretty early, so I was kind of like a fan. I had to sit back and watch," Franks told me last week after an OTA practice. "I disliked sitting on the sideline or even standing. It’s something I really never had to do. Then all of a sudden you’re on the sideline pretty much watching the rest of the games.
"That just didn’t sit well with me. So I’m back here for unfinished business. I’ve got work to do . I’ve got a lot of things I need to prove."
It’s hard not to like Franks. He’s not afraid to converse in a vernacular that fans understand. A lot of players back away from talk about unfinished business and proving things. Franks embraces it.
And why not? The Franks we saw last year was not the Bubba of his first eight NFL seasons with Green Bay. His six catches and 47 yards were both career lows. He had no touchdown catches in a season for only the second time.
Then there was his health. In six of his first seven seasons, he rarely came off the frozen tundra. But last season, after injuring his hip on a slip in Game 6 at Oakland, he sat out eight of the last 10 games, getting in for about 20 plays without a catch in each of the December Buffalo and Seattle games.
Despite the understated debut in Green & White and his supposed venture into unrestricted free agency, there had always been a hint that he was coming back. For instance, his stall in the Atlantic Health Training Center locker room was never dismantled. Franks confirmed to me that he was figuring all along to return for Year 2.
"I was coming back all along. It was just a matter of I had to do some training down in Miami, clean up a couple of loose ends here and there," he said. "Then when they told me to come up here, I’m here. We had already discussed all that. I knew I was coming back."
The cleaning-up, head coach Rex Ryan said last week, involved another body part besides Franks’ hip.
"Bubba has a little thing with his knee. We don’t think it’s serious. Obviously we wouldn’t have signed him if that was the case," Ryan said. "The thing I’m really impressed with is the kind of leader he is, a charismatic guy. You can tell that his teammates really like him and he’s really a pro. Ed Reed called me about him, and he’s a guy whose opinion I value, and he certainly wasn’t wrong with Bubba."
That’s why Franks will probably continue to watch the Jets play some more from the sideline through the rest of OTAs and the June 9-11 full-squad minicamp, then begin practicing again at the start of training camp. For now, after the departure of Chris Baker for points northeast, he’s tutoring the rest of the team’s tight ends, a young lot consisting of second-year man Dustin Keller, newly converted Kareem Brown and undrafted free agents Andrew Davie, Rob Myers, Jack Simmons and J’Nathan Bullock.
"Most of them don’t know too much about the position. They’re young, just coming in now," said the grizzled vet. "Plus you’re only as strong as your weakest link. They’re going to be a part of this core group. We’ve got to be pretty close. They’re a bunch of good guys. Some of them area little more talented than others, but I think it’s all going to come down to how quick they can pick up the offense.
"You can’t really show what you’ve got until you know what you’re doing."
Franks knows what he’s doing and what he’s about, even though, as I kidded him, this will be his first NFL season without Brett Favre as his quarterback, whether as a Packer or a Jet.
"It’s definite. He’s not going to be back, so this’ll be my first year without him," Franks said with a chuckle. "I don’t know how it’s going to feel, but hey, we’ll see what happens."
Tags: Brett Favre, Bubba Franks, Chris Baker, Dustin Keller, Ed Reed, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 10 Comments »
The Jets released Chris Baker in February and the Patriots wasted little time scooping up the veteran tight end.
“I was kind of surprised," Dustin Keller said this week. "It’s always the Jets and the Patriots going at it, but I think it’s going to be a great fit for him. I think he’s going to do well. Every time he played against them, he had a good game. He’s going to be in that stadium [Gillette] every week, so it’s going to be really good for him.”
We’ll never know if the Jets would have preferred to keep Baker at a more cap-friendly number, but it was Keller’s emergence as a rookie that made any release possible. Keller became a Brett Favre favorite and finished with 48 receptions while Baker has averaged 21 catches over his seven-year career.
The 24-year-old Keller says Baker proved to be a good mentor.
“When you go from a college tight end to an NFL tight end, of course guys are a lot faster. He helped me with my spacing on routes and sometimes my footwork, which I learned from Bubba [Franks] also,” Keller said. “ He played with Kellen [Clemens] and Chad [Pennington], so when I first got here he told me what they normally do.”
Baker (6’3”, 258) was a solid run blocker and his contributions could be missed in that department. Keller, a bit smaller at 6’2”, 245, is on a mission to prove he can be more than just an adequate blocker.
“I definitely want to prove people wrong. It’s something I like — I like people to say I can’t do something,” he said. “At every single level, I’ve competed, so I’m going to continue to do that.”
The Jets have a new head coach in Rex Ryan, but offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer has returned and TE coach Mike Devlin is also back for another season. So Keller won’t have to learn a new system and he has already established a relationship with his position coach.
“I became more comfortable with the offense as the year progressed,” Keller said. “I worked on blocking with Coach Devlin on hand placement and footwork and things should get better from here on out.”
Keller, who is always a matchup problem because of his speed, says he’s trying to get up to 250 to “become more of a full-time guy.” Since Laveranues Coles also left via the free agency route, Keller’s first -year catch total ranks second among the Jets’ returning pass catchers. He figures to be counted on even more in his sophomore season and has begun getting reps in with the Jets’ quarterbacks.
“Kellen and Ratty are both looking really good out there right now," he says. "We throw twice a week and both of them have been putting the ball where it needs to be, so we have a nice little competition.”
Tags: Brett Ratliff, Bubba Franks, Chris Baker, Dustin Keller, Kellen Clemens, Rex Ryan
Posted in Eric Allen | 55 Comments »
The shopping season is under way.
Redskins owner Dan Snyder made the first splash in the NFL’s free agency/trading period with a huge contract for the enormous Albert Haynesworth. Can’t say anybody is surprised that Snyder once again opened up his wallet to the reported tune of seven years and $100 million with $41 million guaranteed for the interior lineman.
Haynesworth, one of the game’s finest defensive tackles who racked up 8.5 sacks last season, has never played more than 14 games in a season. And only hours before the Haynesworth acquisition, the ‘Skins retained corner DeAngelo Hall to a six-year deal with $23 million guaranteed.
While the Jets haven’t officially announced the signing of FB Tony Richardson, various media outlets have reported that the Jets have agreed to terms with the 37-year-old veteran. Richardson was a tremendous asset in the Green & White’s ninth-ranked rush attack, helping pave the way for Thomas Jones’ career-high 1,312 yards and first Pro Bowl appearance.
New York’s AFC representative will continue to be active though. NFL Network reporter Adam Schefter wrote this morning that “the Jets are expected to spend $8 million per year on [Bart] Scott.” And the National Football Post has reported that Scott "has just finalized a multi-year contract."
Scott, 28, would fill a need for a hole at Will ‘backer for the Jets as the team decided to let Eric Barton explore free agency. The 6’2”, 240-pounder, who was credited with 82 tackles a season ago, is familiar with Rex Ryan’s defensive system and is five years younger than fellow Ravens free agent LB Ray Lewis.
If the Jets land Scott, they could then turn to the interior line to fill a hole with the release of RG Brandon Moore. Many people also think it’s only a matter of time before the Jets add another Raven in S Jim Leonhard, a favorite of Ryan from their days in B-More.
According to Schefter, the Patriots have been busy. They apparently have signed not only veteran RB Fred Taylor but also former Jets TE Chris Baker. While the Jets have a special receiving threat at the position in Dustin Keller, they might look at beefing up tight end for the run game in either free agency or the draft.
Once we get any official news from GM Mike Tannenbaum, we’ll let you know. And if you’re scoring at home, the NFL cap increased this season to $127 million (from $116 million) and there is also a $107.7 million floor.
The NFL sent out an official free agency release in the wee hours this morning with all the names of this year’s unrestricted free agents. Here is the list of the Jets’ 13 UFAs:
|Name, Pos||Name, Pos||Name, Pos|
|Eric Barton, LB||Jay Feely, K||Hank Poteat, DB|
|Ahmad Carroll, DB||Bubba Franks, TE||J.R. Reed, DB|
|Jesse Chatman, RB||Ty Law, DB||Tony Richardson, RB|
|Laveranues Coles, WR||C.J. Mosley, DE||Cody Spencer, LB|
|Mike Nugent, K|
Tags: Adam Schefter, Bart Scott, Chris Baker, Jim Leonhard, Ray Lewis, Rex Ryan, Tony Richardson
Posted in Eric Allen | 60 Comments »
Here are a few more points that GM Mike Tannenbaum made during his Friday news conference at the NFL Combine in Indianapolis. One question had to do with the free agency/draft timeline and how that affects a team’s decisions. Mike T referred to a former Jets GM and the 2007 draft to explain the process.
"We talk about it all the time in the office. Terry Bradway and I have had a lot of philosophical discussions about that," Tannenbaum said. "Really, what I think you are driving at is the structure of the contract. Sometimes, you’d love to sign guys in free agency and then something better comes along and you’d love to move on but you’ve made a two-year commitment.
"Those are real calculated risks that are tough calls. From where I sit, those are as tough decisions as you have because it’s the bird in the hand versus the two in the bush versus we think there is a reasonable risk here that we could improve this position in the draft. Personally, I like to go into the draft with as much flexibility as possible because you just never know what is going to happen."
To illustrate that point, the GM recalled how the Jets traded up with Green Bay in Round 2 of ’07 for the 47th overall selection, which they used to select Michigan LB David Harris.
"Every projection we had, he was going in the bottom of the first. When he was there in the second round, we went up to get him," he said. "We never thought in our wildest dreams that we would walk out with [Darrelle] Revis and David Harris in the first two rounds, but we had put ourselves in position that we could take advantage of that opportunity. As best we can I would like to put us in that situation. But it’s never perfect."
Tannenbaum also was asked about the quarterback situation. Like a true GM, he didn’t rule out bringing in a veteran but he had nice things to say about all three of the QBs on the current roster and the competition that’s ahead.
"Philosophically, something that Rex and I believe in is the best players will play and if and when we have opportunities to improve the team we will do that regardless of position," he said, adding, "Those three quarterbacks we have on the roster right now we feel good about.
"Kellen [Clemens] started eight games and actually played very well against Rex’s defense.
"Going back a year ago, Brett Ratliff I believe was No. 1 in passer rating in the AFC in the preseason last year. [Ratliff had a 122.6 rating to Drew Brees' 124.0 rating for New Orleans]. You have to take that within the context of it was just preseason, but one thing I have to say about Brett Ratliff is as well as he played in the preseason, nobody in our building was surprised given how hard he had worked and how much he improved.
"I’ve been on record that Erik Ainge was drafted because his uncle is the GM of the Celtics and we have a lot of great Celtics gear. Erik has done a lot of great things as well. His meticulous preparation in helping some of the other younger players play this year was remarkable, in particular Dustin Keller. I think Erik Ainge had a meaningful impact on our team this year, despite the fact he did get hurt and had some other little bumps in the road, but I am really glad that Erik Ainge is with us."
Tannenbaum stressed that Ainge will have every opportunity to compete for playing time with Clemens and Ratliff and that the competition is "really fun" to watch from his GM’s office.
"There will be a great story this year. We just don’t know how that story is going to be written. Like a year ago, no one knew who Brett Ratliff was. Now again, he has to go out and earn it, but there are reasons to be encouraged."
Chris Baker knew something was in the wind the day after the end of the season when Eric Mangini had been let go and I asked him what was ahead.
"I don’t know where I’ll be," he said. "We’ll have to see in a few weeks."
It’s been more than a few weeks, and Baker finally has found out that for his immediate future, he’ll be looking for work after the Jets released him late Friday.
C-Bake was and is a likable guy and a good tight end with good blocking skills and frequently magical hands. But in a sport with 16 games rather than 82 or 162, bad timing can be killer.
In Baker’s best season, 2005, he averaged 15.0 yards on each of his 18 catches, the best by a Jets TE since Johnny Mitchell’s 16.2 a dozen years earlier. Trouble was, Baker broke his foot in Game 8 during a 4-12 season. His best full season was ’07 when he had 41 receptions for 409 yards — during another 4-12 season.
This past season? His numbers were down as rookie Dustin Keller emerged with 48 catches, most by a Jets TE since J-Mitch’s 58 in 1994.
Baker, like LBs David Bowens and Brad Kassell, released a day earlier, could return. But for now he’s Green & White history and we wish him the best.
Alexander has asked me twice about the Jets’ blitzes over the first and second halves of last season. I delayed updating my info on that stat for a while but, spurred to action, I have completed my inputting and I can tell you that (as perhaps you suspected), the Jets’ pass pressure wore down as the season wore on.
I’ll do you one better, Alexander, and break it down by quarters of the season. Keep in mind the tabulation of the blitzes (defined as sending five or more defenders on a pass play) are not official (they come from my own video review and not from any team sources):
|Span||Pass Plays||Blitzes||Blitz %||Blitz Sacks||Blitz Sack %|
Tags: Brett Ratliff, Chris Baker, Erik Ainge, Kellen Clemens, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, Terry Bradway
Posted in Randy Lange | 25 Comments »
Ty Law’s not the only Jet whose achy, breaky joints and muscles we’re concerned about heading toward the team’s flight to Nashville in a few hours.
In fact the whole Jets team (except for Law) went from playing the St. Louis Rams on a Sunday to taking on the Patriots four nights later to "resting" for more than a week before tackling the Titans on Sunday, 10 days after their last game.
I asked a few players around the Atlantic Health Training Center locker room on Friday how they felt this week. Specifically, has physiological equilibrium been achieved? Do they feel the same now as they would have had they played Sunday-Sunday instead of Sunday-Thursday?
For the most part, the Jets said they felt strongly both ways.
"I feel pretty much the same as usual," tight end Chris Baker said. "If I was going through any kind of injury, it might be different. But aside from that, there’s not much of a difference. It does balance out."
"Yeah, it’s all right," said linebacker David Bowens, who’s kind of the human epitome of "all right." "I feel super-fresh today. Last week I was a little sore Thursday morning. The flip side of it was, when we got back and practiced Wednesday of this week, I was still sore, even with the days off. Then yesterday’s practice was good. The soreness went away fast."
Fellow ‘backer Calvin Pace said he just didn’t think the timing of the games mattered to him. He’s just sore as always this time of year.
"My body’s not bad, but you’re going to definitely feel the wear and tear of the season," Pace said. "It’s tough, man, it’s tough. The worst I ever felt, though, was when I played special teams and I really wasn’t playing that much defense — that’s a suicide mission every time."
Different opponents, Pace added, bring different challenges for the body.
"This game ahead’s probably going to a more physical game," he said, "whereas Arizona was just ‘air it out.’ "
DT C.J. Mosley, who had one of his best games as a pro (five tackles, a sack and his first two-PD game) with extended playing time on the sub packages’ front line, wasn’t buying the six-of-one-half-dozen-of-another theory.
"Me personally? I don’t feel the same as usual. Definitely on the bad side," Mosley said. "You wake up in the morning and you’re like ‘Wow!’ You look at the clock and say, ‘Please, just five more minutes.’ "
Yet he’s on the mend. He has no choice. Head coach Eric Mangini scaled back the few practices before the Patriots game but he cranked the tempo back up, often to the beat of "Rocky Top," which the Jets will hear quite a bit at LP Field on Sunday.
"I’ve been in the hot and cold tubs, doing the contrast thing," Mosley said. "Definitely one of the things Coach Mangini has been preaching this week is to keep doing the things you usually do as far as preparation and taking care of your body."
Guard Brandon Moore is another of the guys who said he’s always sore.
"At practice, we didn’t have pads on but it’s still moving and hitting, it’s cold out on the field and you’re a little tight."
Yet Moore said he felt the five-day break before returning to practice this past Wednesday was a good thing. He also said, "I actually love a short week. I wish we could do more."
I couldn’t tell if Brandon was joking or not. But one thing’s for sure. If the Jets keep playing as they have been recently — six wins in seven games to take sole possession of first place in the AFC East — more short weeks will be ahead in their future schedules.
The three Jets who were up for sponsored NFL awards this week were also-rans.
The Diet Pepsi Rookie of the Week award didn’t go to TE Dustin Keller for his New England pass-catching heroics but to Denver LB-FB Spencer Larsen, who became the first Bronco ever to start on offense and defense in the same game in the road win over Atlanta.
The GMC Sierra Defensive Player of the Week went not to LB Eric Barton but to Pittsburgh LB James Harrison in the Steelers’ unique 11-10 win over San Diego. And Eric Mangini took a backup role in the Motorola NFL Coach of the Week running to Green Bay’s Mike McCarthy after the Packers’ 37-3 thumping of the Bears.
But never fear. I suspect we’ll have more Jets nominees over the last six weeks of the regular season.
You may have heard that Tennessee is juggling its secondary in advance of the Jets’ visit. Injured CBs Eric King and Reynaldo Hill were both listed Friday as out for the game and have been placed on IR. To fill in, the Titans have signed veteran Tyrone Poole and promoted Tuff Harris from their practice squad.
If Poole does a "Ty" and plays against the Jets on Sunday, it will be the fifth opponent he’s played for against the Green & White. He’s played for Carolina, Indianapolis, Denver and New England against the Jets, most recently with the Pats for the 2003 home-and-home series.
Tags: Brandon Moore, C.J. Mosley, Calvin Pace, Chris Baker, David Bowens, Ty Law
Posted in Randy Lange | 28 Comments »
Buffalo has been known for its bad weather over the years, but today looks like a beautiful day in the Western New York woods for a pivotal AFC East game between two long-time rivals.
The Jets and the Bills are warming up now for their 1 p.m. kickoff under bright sunlight and in mid-40-degree temperatures. The notorious winds of Ralph Wilson Stadium are coming and going. The wind strips on the goalposts are fluttering, the team flags atop the stadium whipping. The wind could play a part in this game, especially as the temps start to drop in the second half.
TE Chris Baker is loosening up in 7-on-7 drills and looks ready to go after his hip flareup kept him out of the Chiefs game. On the other hand, that injury came up shortly before kickoff so we’ll keep you posted.
On the other hand, TE Bubba Franks (hip) is inactive for the second game, LB David Harris (groin) didn’t even make the trip to Buffalo, and S Eric Smith’s concussion has him listed as IA as well.
David Bowens is expected to start for Harris on the inside. Rookie Dustin Keller and perhaps Robert Turner again will work alongside Baker at TE. And it looks as if Abram Elam will start alongside Kerry Rhodes at S, although David Barrett, inactive last week, is active for this one and you’ll remember he did start one game at S at San Diego.
Besides the injured players, the Jets’ inactive list includes K Mike Nugent, WR David Clowney, CB/KR Justin Miller and newly signed RB Marcus Mason. Brett Ratliff is the third QB for the eighth game this season.
Who else is active? S James Ihedigbo, just signed from the Jets’ practice squad, is up, as is veteran CB/S David Barrett, who was inactive last week, as is Jason Trusnik, the LB who had been on the PUP list since the start of training camp.
Buffalo’s inactives: RB Xavier Omon, CB Ashton Youboty, starting RG Brad Butler, T Demetrius Bell, starting WR Josh Reed, starting DE Aaron Schobel and DT John McCargo. Gibran Hamdan is the third QB.
The Bills’ announced lineup changes Duke Preston ahead of Melvin Fowler at C, Jason Whittle at RG, rookie James Hardy at WR and Ryan Denney at Schobel’s RDE spot.
The Jets are in their white jerseys and green pants today. They’ve lost four in a row in that combo, including two weeks ago at Oakland. But their last win in white/green was a big one, by 38-10 over Brett Favre and the Packers at Green Bay.
Ron Winter is the referee. It is Winter’s 10th game as the ref for a Jets game, beginning with the 44-6 rout of Indianapolis and then-rookie QB Peyton Manning at the Meadowlands in 1998. The Jets are 6-3 in those previous nine Winter games, including 2-1 when it’s Jets-Bills.
Kickoff is less than a half-hour away. It would be great to be able to say the Jets and the Bills are both 5-3 and, awaiting the outcome of New England’s game tonight at Indy, could be tied for first place in the division. We’ll see.
Tags: Brett Favre, Bubba Franks, Buffalo Bills, Chris Baker, David Bowens, David Harris, James Ihedigbo, Jason Trusnik
Posted in Randy Lange | 7 Comments »
Today’s news conference with Eric Mangini provided a lot of news, big and small.
On the injury front, Mangini played it down the middle, as you’d expect, about the prognoses for TEs Chris Baker and Bubba Franks, both with hip injuries, and ILB David Harris, with a groin injury.
"That whole group of guys, we’re going to see where they are through the course of the week," the head coach said this morning. "Baker, that was really a scratch no one anticipated, us or him. That to me is a really good example of injury situations. You think a guy is all set to do everything he can, you go through the whole process, and he can’t go. On the flip side, guys who all week look like they have no chance of playing, they go in on Sunday."
But as for the tight ends, Mangini was upbeat about the contribution from rookie Dustin Keller vs. the Chiefs when suddenly he and Robert Turner were the first two available TEs on the depth chart.
"Dustin played a lot more reps last week, and I’m not afraid to play him more than he has to this point," the coach said. "He’s made good progress and he’s taking more of a role there as a true tight end than maybe he had in the past when we had Bubba and Chris, three guys to choose from."
As for Turner, Mangini said, "he’s our secret weapon. Word’s out on him now, so I don’t know if we’ll be able to throw deep to him."
That was in jest, but Mangini was asked seriously about James Dearth, the long-snapper who is a tight end by scrimmage trade. Was he available for KC. Will he be available if needed, say, at Buffalo?
"James has played tight end, yeah. He can do some things, he has done some things in the past," he said. But he added, "That snapper position, that’s one of those things that you really don’t miss it till it’s gone. Then you really, really miss it. You’ve got to weigh the cost/risk."
The coach addressed an important point when he was asked the same question Laveranues Coles was asked last week, about injuries in general but about concussions specifically: What happens when the team tells a player he’s cleared medically to play but the player doesn’t feel right.
"We’re not going to force someone who feels he’s at risk of injury to play. It’s never that type of process where it’s one-sided, we say this, you say that, your feedback’s not important," Mangini said. "It’s much more of a cooperative process. One thing I like about our approach and our guys is that they are a part of the process. They give good feedback and we take that feedback and make sure we’re making good decisions."
Active Roster: Additions, Subtractions
Following up on the announcement Tuesday that Erik Ainge and Jesse Chatman were placed on IR, Mangini announced two additions to the 53-man roster: S James Ihedigbo has been signed from the practice squad, and RB Marcus Mason has been signed from the Baltimore practice squad.
Mason (5’9", 215) is an interesting addition. A first-year back in Washington’s training camp the past two summers, the former Youngstown State back ran wild for the Redskins in the 2008 preseason. In five games, he rushed for an NFL-leading 317 yards on 66 carries and also led the league with 373 yards from scrimmage. Against the Jets he had nine carries for 55 yards.
"He’s a guy we liked right at the end of training camp," Mangini said. "We didn’t put in a claim, knowing Jesse would be back in four games, but we liked a lot of the things he did in the preseason. This is an opportunity to bring him here, get to know him, put him in our system and see what he can do on teams and at running back."
Ihedigbo, of course, is the free agent from UMass who’s been with the Jets for two seasons. He had a preseason interception to thwart a Redskins red zone opportunity in August.
Another news development is that LB James Trusnik, who saw action as a rookie free agent last season but has been on the Physically Unable to Perform list since the start of training camp, begins to practice today and thus starts the 21-day window during which the Jets have to decide whether to activate him or IR him.
And LB Brandon Renkart returns to the practice squad.
Players of the Game
Mangini announced the team’s award winners out of the Kansas City game: Offense — WR Laveranues Coles; Defense — Kerry Rhodes; Special Teams — Leon Washington and Chatman; Practice Player — Robert Turner.
Update: For those keeping score at home, Ihedigbo will wear the same No. 44 that he sported in the preseason. Mason will wear No. 26.
Tags: Bubba Franks, Chris Baker, David Harris, Dustin Keller, Eric Mangini, James Ihedigbo, Laveranues Coles, Marcus Mason, Robert Turner
Posted in Randy Lange | 43 Comments »
Seven games into the Jets’ season, you can either take the approach that the glass is half full or the glass is half empty.
With a come-from-behind 28-24 win over the Chiefs, the Jets moved to 4-3 and captured their third victory in four games. They also won their third consecutive home game, which is a first in the Mangini era. But the Green & White haven’t made things easy on themselves, compiling a minus-8 turnover margin in their last three outings.
“I’m very confident that we can get it corrected, and I’m very confident that we’re working towards that,” said head coach Eric Mangini at his news conference today. “It’s a function of us continuing to focus on that and carrying that focus into the game and consistently doing that throughout the course of the game.”
There were some who recklessly labeled the Jets flat yesterday against an inferior Chiefs team. You can throw that notion out the window because the Jets scored on their first possession, forced a three-and-out, then moved to the Chiefs’ 18 for a makeable field goal attempt.
“I thought worst-case scenario should have been 10â€‘0 to start the game,” Mangini said.
The offensive playcalling has come into question and people want to know what the Jets’ offensive identity is. Ironically, a week after some pundits thought the Jets should have unleashed Brett Favre in an extra session out in Oakland, Mangini and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer were criticized for their KC pass/run ratio of 41/24.
“I think our identity is being gameâ€‘plan-specific,” Mangini said.
The Jets, bolstered by Leon Washington’s career-long 60-yard TD run, averaged 5.6 yards a carry against the Chiefs defense. But they also had to change on the fly when TE Chris Baker unexpectedly went down with a hip injury before kickoff and Robert Turner, a guard, moved to tight end when the team went to blocking-TE and two-TE packages.
And the Jets liked their matchups with their receivers against some very green DBs. Favre, who mixed in three interceptions, completed 28 of 40 for 290 yards and two scores.
“We ran the ball and Leon had the long run there and there were some other good running throughout the course of the game,” said the third-year coach. “But they also had a very young secondary, were starting two rookie corners and two secondâ€‘year safeties, and had not gotten a lot of pressure on the quarterback.”
Despite fourth-quarter deficits the past two weeks, Favre moved the Jets into range for a game-tying field goal to force overtime in Oakland and then delivered a 15-yard winning fade to Laveranues Coles yesterday with just 1:00 remaining.
“I liked the resilience that we showed at the end of the game. There were a lot of things that could have put us a little further back than we would’ve liked, but that resilience we showed on the last drive was similar to the week before at the end of regulation. It’s good to be able to do that and trust those guys to be able to do that in those times.”
In his last three games, Favre has thrown three touchdown passes and has been intercepted seven times. He was also suffered a strip-sack against the Bengals that was returned for a touchdown. The Jets have picked up just one takeaway during that span.
“It’s something that we work on, it’s something that we try to do every week, and it’s a big thing for us,” said S Kerry Rhodes of takeaways. “We have been turnover-less for a couple games so we’ll try to step it up.”
That negative turnover margin doesn’t usually lead to wins, but there is still water definitely in the glass. You can view it any way you’d like, but the Jets are only a game behind the AFC East leaders and not in the deep water just yet.
J-Chat Injury Serious
It appears that Jesse Chatman’s season is over. Chatman, a veteran RB who was forced to miss the first four games of the season for violating the league’s substance abuse policy, suffered a knee injury Sunday.
“I would say with Jesse it doesn’t look real good. This could be seasonâ€‘ending,” Mangini said. “So we’ll confirm that probably today. I’d say he’s the one that looks the worst in this situation.”
But we’ll have to wait until Wednesday to find out more about ILB David Harris, TE Chris Baker and S Eric Smith. Harris did not play in the second half and was replaced in the base by David Bowens and Cody Spencer, while Abe Elam took over at safety for Smith. On Sunday, Mangini indicated the Jets had taken cautionary steps with Smith because he was returning from a concussion.
“Everybody else is in various stages and they are all getting different tests, whether it’s Xâ€‘rays, MRIs or just seeing the doctor,” he said today.
For just the second time this season, the Jets will enter the weekend as an underdog. The Jets have been favored in every game they’ve played except the Monday night game with the Chargers.
On Brett Favre’s third and final interception, the future Hall of Famer was hoping to connect with Chansi Stuckey over the middle. Instead, rookie corner Brandon Flowers jumped the route and returned the interception to give the young Chiefs a surprising 24-21 fourth-quarter lead.
Stuckey, said Mangini, "should have kept going on that. Worstâ€‘case scenario, if the guy does catch it, you have to be able to make the tackle. It’s a turnover but it’s not a turnover that results in a touchdown. He could do a lot better job on that play of finishing that route.”
Stuckey gave Flowers credit for making a good read and jumping the route.
“He recognized it a little bit, so he dropped inside and I tried to get inside of him, but he gave me a little bump that kind of got me off my route and then I kind of bumped into the safety,” said the second-year wideout. “He just kept running and the ball came right to him. He just made a play.”
Inside the Jets
Bobby “White Shoes” Wischusen will host another live installment of "Inside the Jets" tonight at Charlie Brown’s in Chatham, N.J. Leon Washington, who totaled a career-high 274 all-purpose yards, will be on hand alongside DE Kenyon Coleman. The Flight Crew will be represented by Michelle and Danielle K. If you can’t make it there between 7-8 p.m., tune your AM dial to ESPN 1050 for the broadcast.
Tags: Brett Favre, Brian Schottenheimer, Chansi Stuckey, Chris Baker, Eric Mangini, Kansas City Chiefs, Leon Washington
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