All offseasons are important, so it would be hyperbole to say that this offseason, which really gets off and flying today through Sunday at the NFL Combine in and around Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, is the most crucial for the Jets in a long time.
Yet the combine workouts help each team identify players it will be most interested in selecting in the draft two months down the road, and it’s not exaggerating to say that the Green & White have just a little more at stake at this combine simply because they have more draft picks than they’ve had in a while.
The Jets at the moment have one selection in each of the draft’s seven rounds. In the first three rounds they are slotted to select 16th overall, then 47th, then 78th, based on their rotation among the seven teams that finished 8-8 this past season.
From there the overall positions are not set because the NFL has yet to allot this year’s compensatory draft picks. But the Jets do have their own picks in Rounds 4-6, and a pair of trades have enabled them to retain a Round 7 pick (Jacksonville’s in the Dwight Lowery trade) as well.
If the Jets use all seven picks to select players in the draft, it will be their most selections since they spent 10 picks in the 2006 draft.
They could also get one or more compensatory selections this year, but that won’t be revealed for another month. The league traditionally has announced its distribution of compensatories in the last week of March. Last year it awarded 32 compensatory picks to 23 teams, with those picks falling at the end of each round from Rounds 3 to 7.
Compensatories aside, the Jets’ personnel team, headed by general manager Mike Tannenbaum, and head coach Rex Ryan’s coaching staff have all left North Jersey on Tuesday and today for Indy, where they will observe the more than 300 top prospects who’ve been invited to get poked and prodded, measured, tested and interviewed at this year’s combine.
Tannenbaum and Ryan are scheduled to speak with the assembled reporters from the NFL’s media workroom podiums around 3 p.m. ET on Thursday.
The information gleaned this week will be folded in with the college scouts’ game reports and all the other data on hand to formulate the team’s big board, which will inform the selection of those seven, maybe more, maybe fewer, players who will become the Jets’ 2012 draft class.
My partner, Eric Allen, and cameraman Chris Ubbens will also be on hand for the combine festivities, interviewing all the Jets staffers in Lucas Oil, plus a healthy number of those top prospects and more than a few of the reporters who have also made their annual pilgrimage to Indianapolis.
EA’s and Ubbs’ work will be processed by Rich Gentile’s broadcasting & multimedia staff here at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center to provide you with great video content this week and then in the weeks from the end of the combine through the draft, set this year for April 26-28.
You can also follow the combine proceedings on NFL Network, Sirius XM NFL Radio and NFL.com. To help you keep tabs on the players who might be featured on those platforms, here is the schedule for the different position groups that will be available for interviews each day:
Thursday — Offensive linemen, kickers, punters, long-snappers, tight ends
Friday — Quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers
Saturday — Defensive linemen, linebackers
Sunday — Defensive backs
Tags: Chris Ubbens, Eric Allen, Indianapolis, Lucas Oil Stadium, Mike Tannenbaum, NFL Combine, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 125 Comments »
There are blue Mondays, to be sure, but yesterday provided a different kind of start to the new work week — a very upbeat JetBlue Monday for a good number of us from the Green & White.
The day began with an unusual wakeup call for me, at 3:45 a.m. (Following a midnight lights-out after the Mavs beat the Heat — tough one, but duty called.) Less than an hour later we were on the tarmac at Newark Liberty International Airport, in fact sharing the tarmac with one big, bouncing, beautiful JetBlue plane, the one that reads NY JETS in green and white on both sides.
This was a multipurpose airport appointment. For myself and legendary Jets lensman, Al Pereira, our goal was to snap the impressive flying machine every which way we could think of in regard to the design plans for the 2011 Yearbook. We’ll leave the details of our camera angles to your imagination until such time that the annual yearbook is available.
Also on hand: Multimedia men Chris Ubbens and Alex Darcey worked the video cameras for footage that you’ll see on an edition of “Jets Flight Plan” in the fall.
With all the cameras on site, this was a photo op waiting to happen. And who should be on the scene but four members of the Jets Flight Crew: Jessica S., Nicole, Brittany and Lindsey.
This was no easy gig for the Crew. They were dressed in their summer outfits, which wouldn’t have been bad except for the fairly cold early-morning breeze whipping across the airport. Further, Lindsey was doing this appearance on no sleep at all, having come over in the wee hours from work. Nicole, conversely, got some sleep, but had to go immediately from the shoot to work and then tonight on to the Flight Crew’s practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center.
No problem. All four shook out the cobwebs and brought an energy to the site that you can sense from Al’s photos.
Additional energy? How about a couple of prizewinners? Robert and Rebecca Naeder from Staten Island, N.Y., were the winners of a one-day Jets Facebook contest to come see the shoot.
“We’re big Jets fans and this was something not everybody gets to do,” said Rebecca.
“I’ve been a Jets fan my whole life,” said Robert, wearing the No. 24 jersey of his favorite Jet, Darrelle Revis. “Me and my dad went to the playoff game in Pittsburgh.”
This trip wasn’t as far but had a lot of moving parts. Bringing all the details together from the Jets side was Jeff Fernandez, senior director of new business, one purpose of whose was to underscore the relationship between the Jets and JetBlue.
“This plane is just a perfect tool to celebrate our partnership,” Fernandez said. “We have a lot of great partners, and these guys at JetBlue top the list. They love to have fun with stuff, and we’re the only sports franchise in New York that they have a relationship with.”
A number of JetBlue representatives participated in the morning’s events, including Alex Battaglia (vice president, airports), Rick Pineda (coordinator, national sponsorships), Eva Capous (manager, corporate communications), Louie Bermudez (ground operations supervisor), Jessica Wallace (inflight crewmember), Andrew Paul (flight operations crewmember) and Anthony Williams (airport operations crewmember).
Ubbens wound up the shoot filming Battaglia doing a little walk-and-talk toward the cockpit, a segment which concluded with JetBlue personnel, Flight Crew and Facebook winners in the leather-backed seats around him providing a cabin-rattling “J-E-T-S, Jets! Jets! Jets!” chant.
We’ve introduced you to the Jets plane before, last September. Its first flight was to take the team to Denver for the October meeting with the Broncos. The next team flight was for the AFC Championship Game in Pittsburgh. And late last month it was the sky chariot of choice to bring director Denise Garvey and selected Flight Crew members to Aruba for this year’s third calendar photo shoot.
More often the Airbus 320 isn’t a Jets charter, taking folks around the Northeast, Southeast and Caribbean, normally four flights a day, to 52 cities so far in 10 countries. At a 150-passenger capacity per trip, it has now transported 23,000 more than a stadiumful of people.
Many of those fliers are of course Jets fans. Many on the ground may also get a source of pride from seeing NY JETS, as big as a plane, streak by in green and white. Many others, needless to say, are Patriots, Dolphins and Bills fans and are not similarly moved by seeing or flying on the Jets plane.
For those folks, all we can say is we bet you can’t wait to see some shows on a possible Jets channel on the satellite TV screens at each seat.
Maybe that channel’s already been started. Yesterday, as luck would have it, the TVs were on when we were on board and a clip of Rex Ryan wearing his Yankees jersey at a recent Yankees-Indians game popped up on one screen.
A crowning and appropriate touch to an unusual morning.
Tags: Chris Ubbens, Facebook, JetBlue, Jets Flight Crew, Newark Liberty Airport
Posted in Randy Lange | 11 Comments »