Updated Sunday, 7:55 a.m.
The Hampton family has lost one of its own, and they, along with the Jets family, are in mourning today.
Bill Hampton Jr., 51, the Jets’ assistant equipment manager from 1984-92, died of a heart attack Wednesday night en route to the airport following the ESPY Awards in Los Angeles.
“Billy left us way too early,” said Marty Lyons, the Jets radio analyst who knew Hampton well from Lyons’ playing days with the Jets. “He was just a very good person, a loyal friend, and he had a contagious personality. He could make you laugh, and he was always supportive.
“I guess the way I try to understand it is that the Good Lord needed to take a good friend for his own. That’s what Billy was to so many people. He was a good friend.”
Hampton, who worked for UnderArmour since 2006, came to the Jets as part of the Hampton family business. Father Bill Sr., the Jets’ longtime equipment manager, brought Bill Jr. to Weeb Ewbank Hall, the team’s Hofstra University headquarters, to assist him in the daily operation of the equipment room in 1984.
Billy also assisted with training camp operations and complex maintenance and was active in recruiting players for charity events. He became an executive with NFL Properties and then with Cleveland when the Browns returned to the field in 1999 before moving on to UnderArmour.
“The Hamptons have been a part of the Jets for a long time,” general manager Mike Tannenbaum said today. “Even though I arrived here after Bill left, I knew him and I was well aware of the great background that he came from. Our thoughts and prayers here at the Jets go out to the Hampton family for their tragic loss.”
Bill Sr. has a daughter, Beth Ann, and all five of his sons worked for the Jets in the early Nineties. Clay, in his 22nd season with the Jets, is the Green & White’s former equipment manager and currently their senior director of operations. Drew has been the Jacksonville Jaguars’ equipment manager since 1998. Brian and Derek also worked for the Jets at that time.
We extend our condolences to the Hampton family.
A tribute to Bill will take place at the Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home at 582 Springfield Ave., Westfield, N.J., on Tuesday, July 19, from 7-9 p.m., and Wednesday from 2-4 and 7-9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Westfield. Interment will follow at Fairview Cemetery, also in Westfield.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made in Bill Hampton’s memory to the St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Memorial and Honors Program, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis TN 38105, or online at www.stjude.org.
Tags: Bill Hampton Jr., Bill Hampton Sr., Clay Hampton, Cleveland Browns, Drew Hampton, Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike Tannenbaum, UnderArmour
Posted in Randy Lange | 25 Comments »
Wayne Chrebet’s 11th blog of the season for newyorkjets.com:
Another game. Another nail-biting victory. A game with some of the Jets’ best plays of the year.
Before I get into that — Sunday is the 11th annual Military Appreciation Day at the stadium. It’s to salute the men and women who serve our country. This is a day that I will not miss. I am proud to say that my father was in the Army and fought in the Vietnam War. He’ll be there right beside me. When I’m out with my family and we see a soldier, my kids like to go up to them and say “Thank you for serving our country.” Makes me proud that they like to do that. My boys are 6 and 8 and they already understand the significance of our Armed Forces.
Now my favorite part of the day. Out of all the things that I experienced in my NFL career, this is what got me the most fired up before a game. The flyover. Sunday an F-16 will fly by the stadium and the Army Knights will parachute down to the field. It’s worth getting to the stadium a little early to check it out. When those planes go over, I used to get chills up my spine. As a matter of fact, when the team honored me two years ago, they knew how I felt about this and presented me with a blown-up picture of three military choppers hovering over the stadium. Very thankful for that.
This past week’s game wasn’t the prettiest game to watch. Definitely edge-of-your-seat exciting. Here’s the important fact — they won the game. They dug deep and made the plays that needed to be made at the right times. I’m sure everyone would like to see a blowout win very week but games like this will only serve them better going forward.
Here’s a statistic: The Jets offense ran 97 plays. I’ve never heard of that before. Yes, there wasn’t a lot of scoring from the offense, but they moved the ball up and down the field. Tough situation kicking a field goal in that stadium, but if you’re going to go deep in the playoffs, they need to be made. Especially the chip shots.
Jerricho Cotchery. He did something that I haven’t seen before. He made the catch of the year in this game. When I saw it live I was like “Wow, what a great catch.” Then I saw the replay. The guy tears his groin, hops on one foot, then dives for a ball and makes the catch. Take it from me, the toughest catch is the one when the ball has already passed your body. Even harder is tucking the ball into your body before you hit the ground. Sick catch.
It was all made possible by Sanchez being able to get away from the Cleveland defenders and buying the receivers more time. He’s really getting good with his escapability. I’m pretty sure that’s a word. Santonio obviously made an outstanding catch. He really is a great addition to the offense.
The Houston Texans are coming to town this week. Here’s the breakdown. Defensively, they gave up almost 500 yards to the Jaguars this past week. They’re 32nd in yards given up per game, 31st in points allowed. Not very good. Actually pretty terrible. I can say that because I don’t have to go on the field this Sunday. On the offense, they can put up some points. They’re 10th in points per game scored with 24. Best player? Receiver Andre Johnson. Top-tier receiver, big guy. Great matchup with Revis. Will be fun to watch. This could be a shootout.
Either way, the Jets are the better team and playing with a lot of confidence. And it’s good to be home.
Tags: Andre Johnson, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Jerricho Cotchery, Military Appreciation Day, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Uncategorized | 19 Comments »
Rob Turner was used all over the field against the Browns. He filled in for Matt Slauson when the LG went down with a knee injury in the second half, he continues to have a big role on special teams, and he even got snaps on goal-line defense.
“I played on offense, special teams and defense yesterday. I know what to do when they put me in a situation and they know I’m going to go 100 miles an hour to get there,” Turner said Monday. “I may not always win. I may not be the best athlete or person per se at one position, but they know I am going to do everything I can to play like a Jet and get the job done and help us win.”
Turner, listed at 6’4” and 308 pounds, saw a lot of Browns NT Shaun Rogers when he replaced Slauson. There aren’t many players in the league bigger than Rogers, listed at 6’4″ and 350, so it was quite the challenge.
“I’m not used to giving up 100 pounds to a guy. He’s a strong guy. I played well,” said the versatile Turner, who also backs up Nick Mangold at center. “Obviously there is stuff I want to improve on, stuff I’m not necessarily satisfied with. But I didn’t give up a sack, he didn’t make a tackle. He grabbed a hold of Mark once and I was able to knock him off and Mark stepped up. I would say it’s a win but obviously there is stuff I want to improve on.”
A feisty competitor, Turner has at times been inserted into the Jets’ goal-line defense along with OL Wayne Hunter. He loves the trench action, but unfortunately he got a shot in on a teammate at one point.
“They dumped the ball off in the flat and we had one or two guys miss a tackle. Everybody rallied to the ball and Wayne and I got in on the play, but there were about six white jerseys and the one guy with the ball,” he said. “I decleated Jim Leonhard trying to knock the pile off, so friendly fire happens sometimes.”
The 26-year-old Turner, an undrafted free agent out of New Mexico who originally signed with the Jets back on May 16, 2007, played some defense during his college days.
“I played a little bit of goal-line defense in college. It was the same kind of deal, go in the A-gap, penetrate it, hold up. If a direct run comes at you, obviously you want to tackle the ballcarrier or strip out or something like that,” he said. “It’s really to penetrate and manipulate guys and hold them off so your playmakers can make plays. That’s why they brought Bart [Scott] in, that’s why Dave [Harris] is one of the best linebackers in the league — because they make plays.”
Tags: Cleveland Browns, Rob Turner, Shaun Rogers, Wayne Hunter
Posted in Eric Allen | 28 Comments »
Health is always on any NFL team’s front burner, and that’s surely true of the Jets today, who came out of 74 minutes, 44 seconds of football at Cleveland on Sunday a little beaten up. On the other hand, Rex Ryan said at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center that all things considered, he’s encouraged by the conditions of his starting quarterback and left guard and key veteran wideout.
Mark Sanchez’s calf, the head coach said, is “going to be just fine.”
“Mark’s beat up and all that kind of stuff, swelling in the calf,” Ryan said. “We’ll see how he is but I think he’s going to be OK. Being able to finish a game generally means that’s a good sign that you can play the next week.”
Slauson, who twisted his knee on the last scrimmage play at Detroit, got the knee retweaked but Ryan said, “He feels a lot better today than he did at this time last week, so that’s encouraging.”
Jerricho Cotchery’s condition is covered in Nick Gallo’s news story. As the coach said, “Jerricho surprisingly is much better than I know that I thought, I’m sure he thought and all of us thought. So we’ll see how the week plays out, but I’m not going to say he’s definitely out.”
As for Eric Smith, Ryan issued a correction on the safety’s wrist injury.
“It’s moved all the way down to his ankle,” he said. “Wrist, just erase that and put ankle. But I think he’s doing OK.”
More on J-Co’s Catch
Cotchery’s horizontal grab-and-secure 10-yard reception on third-and-9 after he pulled up with his groin injury drew more praise from Ryan today.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen that in all the years I’ve coached — it was just an amazing effort,” the coach said. “The man is hurt. He’s hurt, he’s injured. And yet ‘I’m going to stay alive. Go ahead, Mark, fire it.’ Then he lays out and makes just an unbelievable catch. He already gave up his body for the team. Then to lay out and make that play for the team, I don’t know how many players in the league would make that play or even attempt that play.”
Yards, turnovers and points are fine, but every coach has some other measure to tell him how things are rolling.. Some are heavily invested in turnover margin. Bill Parcells preached the quarterback getting his offense into the end zone, which started me on a now-14-season project of charting the TD drive percentage of every QB in the NFL for every regular- and postseason game.
Ryan has a favorite number that he turns to and that is rushing attempts plus pass completions. And Rex’s engine was revving over the Jets’ performance in RA+PC after their 26-20 overtime triumph over the Browns.
“I know the game was much more enjoyable for me to watch than obviously for Cleveland,” he said. “You’re looking at 97 plays on offense — I think that’s a first. And 72 runs plus completions, that’s an all-time record that I’ve been around.”
We’re not sure if Rex is counting plays when penalties were committed, but the Jets’ 91 plays from scrimmage were tied for the fourth-most in a game in franchise history and is the first victory with 90-plus plays.
As for runs plus completions, the Jets parlayed their 45 rushes and Mark Sanchez’s 27 completions into those 72 ball-repositioning plays, and that was the fourth-largest RA+PC total in franchise history, trailing two ties (79 at Miami in 1981 and 73 vs. Kansas City in ’88) and the 62-28 crushing of Tampa Bay in 1985 (77).
The wisdom of this approach is that it provides another way to look at ball control, and indeed the Jets’ 47:08 time of possession is the Jets’ most in any game, overtime or otherwise, since at least 1981. But as is true with any statistic, a margin when compared to an opponent is even more telling, and compared to the Browns’ 47 carries and completions, the Jets’ plus-25 margin in this game was telling.
In franchise history, whenever the Jets are plus-25 or better in this stat, their record is 55-1-1, a 97.4 percent rate that is as good as an NFL extra point.
Now had the Jets managed a tie or a loss at Cleveland, this measure would mean nothing. But Ryan is hardly oblivious to the improvement that needs to be made.
■ Even though the Jets committed only a low total of eight penalties combined in all three practices last week, they were hit with nine flags for 70 yards at Cleveland.
■ While the takeaway tap was reopened with two fumbles, including the key strip by Drew Coleman of Chansi Stuckey and Antonio Cromartie’s recovery at the Jets 32 five minutes into OT, the Jets have now gone four games without an interception and six games with only one pick, the slowest six-game INT stretch in franchise history.
■ Another Achilles’ heel, Ryan diagnosed, is the red zone offense. Even though Sanchez dived across from 1 yard out (actually 2 yards) for an RZ TD, that was only their third in their last 14 opportunities inside the opponents’ 20 (21.4 percent). On the season the Jets are 11-for-28, a 39.3 percent TD rate that is 30th in the NFL, ahead of only Seattle and Carolina.
■ Rex agreed of Nick Folk’s 24-yard miss in the third quarter that “the short kick does” give him concern. But “Am I overly concerned with it? No. If it came down to it where somebody stopped Santonio [Homes], we would’ve trotted him right out there and I’m sure he would’ve won the game for us.”
But Ryan doesn’t concern himself with critics who insist the Jets are lucky rather than good to be at 7-2 today. “I hope we’re lucky all the way through the Super Bowl,” he said, “because we’ll take it. You can make breaks and all that stuff, but if you’re good, the good teams are always the lucky teams. I just hope we keep that trend going.”
Tags: Cleveland Browns, Jerricho Cotchery, Mark Sanchez, Matt Slauson, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 28 Comments »
The franchise quarterback got trapped in a Browns sandwich, his right leg contorted in a manner that makes you fear the worst. But Mark Sanchez got up, hobbled to the sideline and then came back on and led his team to an overtime win on the road for the second consecutive week as the Jets moved to 7-2 with a 26-20 win over the Browns.
And when the game was on the line in hostile territory for a third straight time, Sanchez got the Jets to the promised land by going to Santonio Holmes.
It was a quick strike from the second-year passer to Holmes that ended it because the game-breaking receiver deftly managed to escape three would-be tacklers and cover most of the 37-yard scoring pass from Sanchez after the catch.
“Unbelievable job of making a guy miss and then outrunning everybody to the end zone,” Sanchez said. “That was pretty special.”
“When I saw the safety step up and he just went flatfooted, I just knew to take off on him,” said Holmes. “I didn’t want to hesitate any longer and I’m pretty sure if I would have, they would have made the stop and we would have been battling for a field goal. I definitely didn’t want that to happen this time.”
The play, which broke up a 20-20 tie, was snapped with just 16 seconds on the fifth-quarter clock as head coach Rex Ryan’s club was desperately trying to get points.
“You ought to see Santonio’s eyes when the fourth quarter comes around because that’s Santonio time,” said Ryan. “He’s a gamechanger, he’s a winner and he finds ways to get it done.”
Late in the third stanza, Sanchez suffered a calf injury when S Mike Adams got to him on a blitz and picked up one of the Browns’ two sacks. But it was no ordinary quarterback takedown because two or three Browns had converged on him and his right leg bent awkwardly backwards. But No. 6 limped to his bench area, got looked at by the medical staff and never missed a play.
“They wanted to check it out and make sure it wasn’t my knee and let me move around a little bit, just get it stretched,” said Sanchez, who finished 27-of-44 for 299 with two TDs through the air and one interception. “I think the guys were glad I was back, so that was good.”
The offense actually got off to a slow start today, managing three points on two drives that started inside plus-territory — the Cleveland 42 after a failed Browns onside kick and the 31 after a Peyton Hillis fumble. But Sanchez turned in a solid 30 minutes, guiding the Jets to a 17-13 lead as he completed nine of 13 for 83 yards with one TD and also had a 1-yard keeper (his second in as many weeks) just 23 seconds before the break.
Sanchez proved to be elusive in the pocket and kept many plays alive with nifty footwork. His 25-yard scoring pass to a wide-open Jerricho Cotchery in the second quarter came after he rolled out and forced some defenders to move forward or pause in anticipation of a run. And in overtime, he made a huge field-position-changing play by getting out of the grasp of NT Shaun Rogers before sending a dump pass to LaDainian Tomlinson as the Jets advanced from their 13 to the 34.
“The kid’s tougher than nails,” Ryan said. “He got out of some sacks. He got out of one from Shaun Rogers — that might be the biggest man I’ve ever seen in my life, but he got out of his grasp a couple of times. He’s just tough and gave our guys chances and when it was all said and done, he found a way again.”
“He’s scrambling around back there, he’s making plays with his feet,” said C Nick Mangold. “He’s keeping his head in the game and he’s doing well.”
Holmes was quiet in the first half with one catch, but he had two grabs on an impressive 10:04 Jets drive that started the third quarter. But Nick Folk struck the upright on a 24-yarder and it remained a 17-13 contest.
“If I don’t touch the ball throughout the whole first, second, third quarter, I just know that my quarterback is going to need me at some point during the game. And when he looks at me, I just have to be ready,” Holmes said. “And every time in the fourth quarter or overtime or whenever the game counts, I’m going to be that guy that’s always ready.”
A Sanchez-to-Holmes 6-yarder got the Jets into Browns territory late in the extra session, but Sanchez was intercepted three plays later by rookie Joe Haden with just 1:35 on the fifth-quarter clock. The defense held and that set up the late heroics.
The Jets are 5-0 on the road and Sanchez and Holmes have proved to be a lethal combination in the last three away from home. There was a big pass interference penalty in Denver on fourth down that preceded the Week 6 winning touchdown, then the 52-yarder up the gut last week against Detroit that set up Folk’s game-winner.
And this time they handled it themselves. It’s some combo and they’ll get better considering Holmes has played only five games for New York’s AFC representative. Both are students of the game and it was Holmes who actually suggested the slant to offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. The Browns had played off of the speedy target all day and the former Ohio State star thought the Jets could take advantage.
“I told him, ‘Coach, I need a slant route,’ ” said Holmes, who had five receptions for 76 yards. “ ‘I need a slant at some point in this game because he’s giving me too much leverage.’ We never ran a slant all game and we called it at the perfect time.”
Tags: Brian Schottenheimer, Cleveland Browns, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes
Posted in Eric Allen | 69 Comments »
The Ryans Express is under way at Cleveland Browns Stadium today. Jets head coach Rex Ryan and his twin brother, Rob, the Browns’ defensive coordinator, just broke up after chatting with each other at the 20-yard line.
Apparently all is forgotten — Rex’s impersonation of his brother at his news conference this week, the “bounty” he placed on his brother. But really, of course, it’s not forgotten, only put aside, because soon the two will be trying to kick each other’s butts all over this stadium hard by the banks of Lake Erie.
That brother vs. brother theme will be repeated many times on the field and over the CBS airwaves — Jim Nantz and Phil Simms handling the call. After all, Rob is the DC for Eric Mangini, who is in his second year as head coach of the Browns after three seasons leading the Jets. Reports are that as affable and low-key as Mangini has been this week, he wants to topple the team that let him go after the 2008 regular-season finale.
Then there are the storylines threaded throughout the rosters. WR Braylon Edwards is back playing against the team that let him go to the Jets in trade early last season. Brodney Pool was let go after last season and is the Jets’ starting safety.
And the Browns roster is dappled with former Jets — DEs Kenyon Coleman and Brian Schaefering, LBs Eric Barton, David Bowens, Jason Trusnik and Blake Costanzo, S Abram Elam, WR Chansi Stuckey, P Reggie Hodges and QB Brett Ratliff.
And while all that lends an air of friendly familiarity to the game, the competitiveness will rise to the surface in about an hour. The Jets like where they’re at as one of five teams in the NFL and one of three in the AFC with two losses, but they’re working hard to solve some of their issues, such as their franchise-record pace in committing penalties and also their third-down defense, lack of interceptions and passing accuracy on offense.
The Browns, meanwhile, have gone from glum to upbeat after correcting their 1-5 start with stunning win at New Orleans and last week at this same stadium over the Patriots. The fans on the way into the stadium are sounding confident about their chances against the Jets and some T-shirts, such as some Braylon Edwards models, appear to be selling well.
Mangini has certainly not allowed his team to get overconfident, but they know how important this game is to the credibility of their program, and the Jets know how important it is to continue to win and build momentum as the season heads deeper into November and teams start to separate themselves in the standings.
Update, 12:25 p.m.: The Ryan brothers were just joined by the Ryan father, Buddy, who is here at the game. The three put their arms around each other at midfield for photographers, including our intrepid Al Pereira. We’ll have some of those photos among all the great images Al will provide for us after the game.
The weather could factor into this game. The morning began chilly and rainy. The rain has stopped and the forecast is for temperatures in the low 50s under mostly cloudy skies. The key is the wind, which is forecast to blow at 14 mph from the west-southwest. That should mean that punters, passers and kickers will have the wind behind them when moving from left to right on your TV screen and blowing in their faces moving right to left. At the moment, though, the wind doesn’t seem to be too bad and the sun has even struggled through here and there.
The Jets announced their inactive list 90 minutes before kickoff as usual. The inactives are CB Marquice Cole, LB Josh Mauga, OL Vlad Ducasse, DTs Jarron Gilbert and Marcus Dixon, and TEs Matt Mulligan and Jeff Cumberland. Kellen Clemens is again the third quarterback.
That means two who have been inactive for long stretches this season will be in uniform and ready to roll this afternoon: rookie RB-ST Joe McKnight and second-year LB Jamaal Westerman.
The Browns’ IA list includes QB Jake Delhomme, WRs Carlton Mitchell and Demetrius Williams, OL Steve Vallos, DL Brian Sanford, TE Alex Smith and DL Jayme Mitchell. Ratliff is the third QB.
Today’s referee is Terry McAulay. The Jets are 3-5 in games he’s presided over since 1991, including wins in the Curtis Martin-inspired 6-0 snow win over the Steelers at the Meadowlands in 2003 and last season’s 29-15 triumph that handed the Colts their first loss after 14 wins in Lucas Oil Stadium.
This is the Nantz-Simms team’s 27th Jets game since they got together in the CBS booth in 2004. The Jets are 11-15 in those games, including this year’s 28-14 comeback triumph over the Patriots for their first victory of any kind in New Meadowlands Stadium back on Sept. 19.
Tags: Braylon Edwards, Brodney Pool, Cleveland Browns, Eric Mangini, Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 24 Comments »
Toward the end of the Jets’ 23-20 victory over the Lions, cornerback Marquice Cole felt his hamstring tighten up and ever since he’s been relegated to the stationary bike at the Green & White’s practices.
Cole had been an ace on the special teams unit, particularly in his role as a flyer on the punt coverage team. As a result, coordinator Mike Westhoff will turn to cornerback Drew Coleman and possibly to rookie running back Joe McKnight to pick up the production Sunday in Cleveland.
“We’ve been practicing since camp,” McKnight said. “Coach Westhoff said that every time we go into a special teams meeting, we’re not there just to sit in there, we’re there to learn. So while we’re sitting in there, we’re learning all the stuff that he’s going over with the players that are playing.”
Coleman already has been working as the other flyer, but because of his role as the nickel cornerback in past games, he hadn’t been as productive on specials as Cole, who has downed a number of Steve Weatherford’s punts inside the 20 and forced a number of fair catches. Now Coleman will have to be the one getting down the field to make plays.
“The main thing is getting in there and making tackles,” Coleman said. “Marquice has been doing a great job this year of getting down on kickoff coverage and punts and causing fair catches and changing over field position.”
Head coach Rex Ryan on Friday declared Cole out for the game against the Browns. The injury, while unfortunate, may give McKnight the opportunity he’s been looking for to crack the active roster for the second game this season.
“Joe is a fast guy. He’s worked very diligently in practice,” Westhoff said. “He’s improved since training camp tremendously and he deserves an opportunity. Sometimes a guy has to get hurt maybe to get an opportunity. That’s not someone else’s fault and Joe deserves one and we may be able to give him one.”
There has been a noticeable difference in the air with which McKnight walks through the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. Over the summer he was often seen at the rookie lockers with headphones on. Now, he’s more likely to be laughing and joking with teammates before heading to team meetings. What appears to have been a mental change is actually something simpler.
“I wouldn’t say a different mentality,” McKnight said. “I’m just more comfortable with everything. I’m starting to fall into the flow with everything and it helps a lot to have LaDainian Tomlinson there to help me.”
LT’s impact can’t be understated in terms of the development of McKnight and second-year back Shonn Greene. The skills that McKnight has honed at running back have now helped earn him a role on the active roster as a flyer.
“Joe has been looking good at it,” Coleman said. “It’s something he’s been working at since he got here. The thing with Joe and that flyer is that as a running back you already know he’s shifty and quick and his change of direction is good.”
Those were the attributes that head coach Rex Ryan and general manager Mike Tannenbaum saw in the former Trojan and River Ridge, La., native. For a player who was once the No. 1-rated high school prospect in the country and a featured storyline on HBO’s Hard Knocks, his professional debut didn’t go quite as planned. Now that he’s found some harmony, he’s worked incredibly hard to become an asset.
“Joe had an inauspicious debut, to say the least,” Westhoff said. “But since we’ve entered the season I’ve seen him improve in every single thing that he’s done. Now how it will play out on Sunday if he’s active, I don’t know, but he could have some of those roles to help.
“Joe may get an opportunity to do some things, and he deserves it.”
*Special Teams Saturday
Tags: Cleveland Browns, Drew Coleman, joe McKnight, Marquice Cole, Mike Westhoff, Rex Ryan
Posted in Nick Gallo | 9 Comments »
In his second start with the Jets, Santonio Holmes turned in his first 100-yard receiving game with his new club and made the critical play in overtime as the Green & White escaped Detroit with a 23-20 victory.
“I think I played fast — I played the way I’m supposed to. I’m finally coming around,” Holmes told me this week on “Four Quarters.” “I’m only four games in and a lot of people probably forget that I missed the first four games of the season, so that definitely plays a big factor into how well you play and how fast you play. I think it’s definitely coming around right now. Practice has been good for myself, filling in the voids and being where I’m supposed to be and on time, catching the passes, being in the right place for Mark. I think it’s starting to roll around right now.”
After forcing overtime with a furious rally, Mark Sanchez got the Jets into field goal range on a 52-yard hookup with Holmes. That moved the visitors to the 16 and set up Nick Folk’s 30-yard field goal three plays later.
“It was a big play for us with Mark stepping up in the pocket at first. I never saw the fact that he bobbled the snap, but he definitely kept his focus and when he stepped up in the hole, my job is to turn my body to him and give him a clean target to throw the ball to and he put the ball right where it needed to be,” Holmes said. “I kind of felt the safety right after I caught it coming down to make a big hit and I avoided him by continuing to run through the catch and I ran around the guy.”
While it wasn’t a surprise that Holmes got free around midfield, it was a stunner that a linebacker, DeAndre Levy, caught him from behind and prevented a touchdown.
“It just so happened that I looked up at the big screen and I think that’s probably what got me and had me veering off a little to the left instead of running with my blocker, which was Jerricho, and I probably would have walked into the end zone freely,” said Holmes who finished with five receptions for 114 yards. “It allowed the linebacker to catch me at an angle, running almost back into his running lane.”
Some of his teammates were amazed that Holmes, who estimates that he probably still can post a high-4.3/mid-4.4 time in the 40, was actually caught and gave him bewildered looks. But the clutch catch and run made a fellow big-play receiver — Braylon Edwards — offer gratitude.
“I got tapped on the back on the sideline by Braylon and he said, ‘I really appreciate you, dude,’ ” Holmes said.
While a 20-10 deficit late in the fourth quarter made Jets Nation tremble, Holmes and the offense had a belief tank that was full.
“I can vividly remember myself being one of those guys on the sideline looking at every one of my starters in the face and saying, ‘Guys, we’re going to be OK.’ With Mark’s help in the huddle at the start of that last drive, he looked at everybody and said, ‘Let’s go down and win this game.’ And we believed,” Holmes said. “We never stopped believing that we could do it.”
Holmes will make a return to Ohio this weekend as the Jets look to push their record to 7-2. This is a familiar opponent for him as the Ohio State product and former Steeler has averaged four catches and 73 yards in his eight matchups against the Brownies.
“You’re definitely going to get a bunch of guys in the stands yelling at me ‘O-H-I-O.’ Those guys really love their Buckeyes in the state of Ohio,” said Holmes, who totaled 25 TDs in his collegiate career. “When I was in Pittsburgh, those guys booed me and cheered me on. Now being a Jet, I don’t know how they’re going to take it as far as me coming back.”
The Browns are feeling good about themselves after shutting down the likes of Drew Brees and Tom Brady in consecutive games. Holmes knows what to expect and he’ll be sharing some information with his quarterback as preparations continue.
“They like to mix up their coverages a lot. They’re a team that likes to disguise the safeties, they like to bring those guys down into the run game, they like to roll guys over the top, they have their cornerbacks drop and play very soft in Cover-2 and Cover-4, so they have guys running underneath your routes at the bottom from linebacker depth. And that’s something that is very confusing to a lot of teams,” he said.
“I know once we get into our game-planning for the rest of this week, sitting in the meetings with Mark and being confident with him and letting him know all the different types of things that the Cleveland Browns do — being that I played against those guys for four years — is definitely going to help us just go out and play football.”
In the moments leading up to kickoff, Holmes will put his music on low and review the playbook to refresh his memory. He takes his craft seriously and has set the bar high for the remainder of the year.
“We get graded every week, when we play, on our performance throughout the whole game. This week I graded out at a 92. That’s something I’m going to pride myself on that I don’t go anywhere below that,” he said. “When I was in Pittsburgh for four years, not one of my tests went below a 92 or 93. I definitely want to do the same thing here now that I’m a starter for the Jets.”
EA’s “Four Quarters” feature with Santonio Holmes will be up on newyorkjets.com Friday, including highlight footage from Tone’s Ohio State days.
Tags: Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes
Posted in Eric Allen | 20 Comments »
Wayne Chrebet’s 10th blog of the season for newyorkjets.com:
Well, that was exciting. In that last quarter, I can’t lie, I was thinking to myself, “Do we have enough time to come back and win the game?” Well, we found out. The Jets played some serious football in the fourth quarter. Ugly game. When you can overcome five fumbles, an interception and 11 penalties for 99 yards, it’s a good win.
Like the stars were aligned, things just worked out. Everything that needed to happen, happened. Some clutch catches. LT being able to get out of bounds and drawing a 15-yard personal foul penalty. Seriously. I wasn’t on the field but you know LT has to go out of bounds. He’s not lowering his shoulder. Why hit him? Bad play. Very fortunate for the Jets. Sometimes you need things like that to happen. Like I said, the stars were aligned Sunday afternoon in Detroit.
Not that I believe in astrology. I don’t. Trust me. But I did check my horoscope today. To sum up: My professional life will be good and someone unusual will charm me. (Not sure what that means but the lady behind the counter at Dunkin Donuts did give me the eye.) It ends with, and I quote, “You will be tormented, melancholy, menaced, overwhelmed by an inexplicable dark feeling that something awful is going to happen”. Good Lord, I hope not! I don’t think many of you will be interested in my personal life. I just found it comical. To get back to the point I was trying to make, there is something special about this team. With the way that they have won some of these games, they have some great karma going on. Terrible paragraph this is, but I found it humorous. Don’t kill me in the responses, just trying to brighten your day with my potentially doomed future.
So 6-2. On to Cleveland. If the Lions were the best 2-5 team in the NFL going into last week’s game, then the Browns are the best 3-5 team that there is in the league. They are playing very good football right now against some pretty good teams. They’ve beaten the Saints (in New Orleans no less) and beat the Patriots by 20 last week in Cleveland. That’s a good old-fashioned beatdown.
I saw some highlights. This running back that they have, Peyton Hillis, is really impressive. This is his third year out of Arkansas. Can’t say that I’ve seen him play before. He ran for 184 yards this past week vs. the Patriots. He’s no one-hit wonder. He also ran for 144 yards at Baltimore earlier in the year. This kid runs hard, really hard. He’s a bull. One stat that I saw, though, was that he has fumbled four times and lost three of them. Hopefully we can get one of those.
All around they have a very solid group that plays smart. Rookie QB Colt McCoy is another big reason for the turnaround the last two weeks. I watched him a lot when he played last year at Texas. That kid is a winner. Not the biggest, but still can be a special QB in the league if he is put in the right situation. He has that right now. I don’t think he’ll throw for 300 yards, but he can beat you playing within himself and he is a very good runner. I’m looking forward to see how he fares against the Jets defense this week.
I think that it will be a great game. Tough place to play with a young, smart team that has really turned their season around and is playing like they have nothing to lose. Very dangerous, just like a lot of other teams that we’ve played. The Jets play their best and they’ll be coming home 7-2. Back in the Meadowlands. Right where they want to be.
Tags: Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions, LaDainian Toimlinson, Peyton Hills, Wayne Chrebet
Posted in Uncategorized | 40 Comments »
It was the kind of video and audio that will live on for the next day or four heading through the Sunday network pregame shows. Rex Ryan put on a blond wig, Browns cap and sweater, stuffed a pillow under the sweater — and voila! He was Rob Ryan, Cleveland defensive coordinator.
And when Rex removed his disguise, he made it sound as if Eric Mangini had already been made an honorary member of the Ryan family, a few hours after Mangini did the same on his conference call with Jets reporters when asked about his relationship with Rex.
For any serious football fans worried about what this might portend for Sunday at Cleveland Browns Stadium, you don’t know the Ryan twins or Mangini, but Rex addressed those fears. “After today we’ll probably get down to business for the most part, and I think it’s going to be a great game, I really do,” he said. “They clearly want to run the ball and we pride ourselves in stopping the run. We finally get to play an old-fashioned football game.”
But mixed in with Rex’s football talk was more chat about his twin brother, Rob, and how Rob and Jets DC Mike Pettine are two of the most creative defensive minds in the NFL.
“He doesn’t worry about what a player can’t do. He focuses on what he can do,” Rex said. “When they put Mangini and Rob together, that’s quite a team, very similar to the team we have with Bob Sutton, Dennis Thurman and of course Mike Pettine. They let the creative juices flow.
“I will say this about my brother. In all truthfulness, he probably breaks down an opponent better than anybody I’ve ever been around. He’s a football junkie. He will know your tendencies from two years ago. That’s what we talked to Schotty about.”
In other words, Rex, would you betray your brother to your O-coordinator just to win a football game? The answer, obviously, is yes. But equally obvious is that Rex would love to coach some season in the future not against his brother but with him.
“Every year we put in for it,” Rex said about asking permission with the Browns the past two years to interview Rob as a Jets assistant. “They deny it. They say, ‘Come on, we’re not gonna let you do that. He’s not going to your place.’ But we make ‘em go through the paperwork anyway.”
That led Rex around to the Mangini, the man he replaced as Jets coach in January 2009. It’s not a secret but still may surprise some to know that the two are friends and had occasionally been confidants. It goes back to when Eric and Rob were assistant coaches on Bill Belichick’s first four New England staffs from 2000-03.
“What happens normally is when your brother’s on a different staff, you become close to those people as well. That’s basically how my relationship started with Eric,” Rex said. There were times when he was coaching, whether it was the Jets or New England when my brother was there, he’d call me, I’d call him. we’d bounce things off of each other.”
Ryan agreed that Mangini left the table set well when he took over the Jets’ controls.
“No question. He left great people in place here,” Rex said. “He made my job easier, the fact that there was a great foundation already set.”
Mangini on his first conference call with Jets reporters as the “enemy coach,” said the feeling is mutual.
“We’ve always hung out at the combine or any of the different sort of football-related things where we’d both be there,” said Mangini. “He’s a great guy. I love Rex.
“Even in talking to Mike [Tannenbaum] after I got let go, I thought Rex would be a great choice because you didn’t have to blow up the defense. You could still use those 3-4–based guys for what he did. It made a lot of sense and I thought Rex would do a good job and he has done a good job. He’s done a great job. He’s like his brother. They’re both funny. They’re both good people and they’re both outstanding football coaches.”
And so you’ll have to excuse today’s bit of football levity. It was fun to watch and listen to, great comic theater — and as soon as those news events were done, it was down to the business of trying to kick each other’s teeth in (sorry, Commissioner, just a metaphor) and win a football game in the process.
The Jets’ Wednesday injury report had a couple of serious-looking new issues as guard Matt Slauson (knee) and CB-ST Marquice Cole (hamstring). Both were held out of practice and spent much of the session on the stationary bike.
This could be especially troubling for Slauson because the second-year man has quieted any questions about filling the LG spot with strong play on the Jets’ talent-laden O-line. But both Rex Ryan and Slauson said whatever the state of his knee, it’s not bad enough to keep him sidelined for long.
“I guess the knee’s bothering him,” the coach said, “but I expect him to practice tomorrow.”
“I felt like I could’ve gone today,” Slauson said, “but the training staff said, ‘Let’s wait and use today as a kind of test.’ “
Slauson hurt his right knee on the very last offensive play of the Lions game, LaDainian Tomlinson’s positioning run for Nick Folk’s game-winning field goal.
Also for the Jets, Josh Mauga (hamstring) was limited while Calvin Pace and Darrelle Revis were full. LaDainian Tomlinson and Tony Richardson did not participate but they were both listed as non-injury-related. ”I put ‘em on the list because they told me to,” Rex said.
Update, 5:50 p.m.: The Browns list six players on their injury report, three not participating in team drills (S Mike Adams, DT Shaun Rogers and QB Jake Delhomme) and three limited (former Jets DE Kenyon Coleman, T John St. Clair and QB Seneca Wallace).
Cleveland’s injury summary will appear here as soon as we receive it.
Three Who Rescued W’s
Mark Sanchez and a former Jets starting QB are two of the three players nominated for the GMC Never Say Never Moment of the Week award. Sanchez is in the running obviously for engineering 13 points in a little over five minutes of clock time that brought the Jets from a 20-10 deficit to a 23-20 overtime victory at Detroit — his second fourth-quarter comeback in three games.
Then there’s Brett Favre, who orchestrated the 46th comeback of his legendary career, leading the Vikings from 14 points down with 4:39 to play to a 27-24 OT triumph. And the third candidate for the weekly NFL award is Jacoby Ford, who had a 94-yard kickoff-return TD plus two late big-play catches that lifted the Raiders over the Chiefs, again in overtime.
Tags: Brett Favre, Cleveland Browns, Eric Mangini, Mark Sanchez, Marquise Cole, Matt Slauson, Never Say Never Moment, Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 15 Comments »