Players were stretching and sprinting on the outside turf field at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center this morning, and the middle grass field was dotted with small cones and larger day-glo orange yard-markers — G, 20, 40, 40, 20, G.
The new season has hit another milestone with the start of the Jets’ voluntary offseason program.
Among the players on hand are the roster’s entire quarterback contingent plus key players from both sides of the ball — DE Muhammad Wilkerson, LB David Harris, CB Antonio Cromartie and tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson — to get started on Phase 1 of the program, a two-week period during which activities are limited to strength and conditioning and physical rehabilitation only, under the guidance of strength coach Justus Galac and his staff, Paul Ricci, Pierre Ngo and intern Jason Oszvart.
“For us it’s really about reducing the injuries and creating an atmosphere for the player to train in that is exciting,” Galac told Eric Allen for Jets Talk Live recently. “They come in there and they’re ready to work. For the players, my job is to make them bigger, faster and stronger — we all know that.
“But it always comes back to being an explosive player, not only working on our explosive power for the big guys and the hips and the hang cleans and the jumps, but the speed work, and that comes back to the skill players and working with plyometrics. Really building a foundation program where, when they walk out after the workout, they feel more explosive, they feel stronger, they feel bigger, and they feel like they got a good workout in.”
The Jets’ program is one of 32 around the NFL that is getting under way these days. Eight teams got started April 1-2, while three won’t get cranking until a week from today. For the other 21, today’s the day to welcome players back to facilities start sweatin’ to the sounds of 2013.
Article 21 of the Collective Bargaining Agreement establishes an official, voluntary nine-week program for each club that is conducted in three phases. After Phase 1, Phase 2 for each team’s offseason schedule consists of weeks 3-5 during which on-field workouts may include individual player instruction and drills as well as team practices conducted on a “separates” basis. No live contact or team offense vs. defense drills are permitted.
Phase 3 consists of the final four weeks of the program, during which teams may conduct a total of 10 days of organized team practice activity — OTAs. No live contact is permitted, but 7-on-7, 9-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills are permissible.
The Jets’ OTA workouts have been scheduled for May 20, 22-23, 28 and 30-31, and June 3-6. The Green & White’s mandatory minicamp is set for June 11-13.
RFA Tender Offers Signed
The Jets announced today that RT Austin Howard has signed his tender offer as a restricted free agent. This comes a week after TE Jeff Cumberland signed his RFA tender offer to remain with the team. Howard was tendered at a second-round level. Cumberland was a right-of-first-refusal tender.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Austin Howard, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, Muhammad Wilkerson, offseason strength and conditioning program
Posted in Randy Lange | 29 Comments »
Congratulations to Antonio Cromartie, the latest member of the NFL’s Two-Way Football Club.
Many Jets fans are aware that Cro got a rare double start on Sunday at Jacksonville. He was lined up at split end on the game’s first offensive play and he was at his old, familiar right corner spot for the defense.
Have any other Jets done the double before Cro? I can’t find any back to 1977. Of course we remember WR Keyshawn Johnson doing it all in the 1998 AFC Divisional Round Game vs. Jacksonville, including coming up with an interception off of an end-of-game Hail Mary fired up by none other than Jaguars QB Mark Brunell. But Key didn’t get the start on defense. And Bobby Humphery started four games at WR in 1984 before flipping over to LCB, where he started 35 games, including every game in 1988-89, but again, Humphery never started on O and D in the same game.
However, we can say that Cromartie became the first NFL player since 2008 to start for his team on offense and defense in the same game. The last player with that daily double was Spencer Larsen, who was the Broncos’ precocious rookie middle linebacker in ’08 and at Atlanta on Nov. 16 also started at fullback.
(As a completely unrelated trivia aside, five other players besides Larsen started that day in that game who either previously had been or subsequently would become Jets. How many of those five can you name? Answer below.)
We remember Cromartie getting his feet wet at wideout this summer. He got his first work with receivers in the second half of individual drills at the Aug. 13 practice at SUNY Cortland, after which he said he’s looking forward to playing offense in a game.
“I’ve been waiting for the opportunity to try to play both ways in the NFL for a while,” Cro said then. “It’s fun. It’s just an opportunity to get the ball in your hands and another challenge. I’m looking at going out and playing receiver as a challenge for me. I’ve been asking for it since I was a rookie in San Diego.”
AC didn’t take his WR game into the preseason nor into the first four regular-season games. But he was on the offensive side of the ball for three plays against the Texans and had two passes thrown his way by Mark Sanchez, both incomplete. Including his three offensive plays at Jacksonville, he has 15 plays on offense this season.
And counting his one catch for a 2-yard loss against the Jags, Cromartie now has one pro catch for minus-2 yards. His debut as a pass catcher instead of a catch preventer came late in the first quarter, when he motioned out of the slot, took a short pass from Mark Sanchez, and couldn’t escape the clutches of Jason Babin to get upfield.
Will Cro’s wideout career ever get flying? He could obviously still be used in a pinch in the final three games this year. However, if Braylon Edwards is healthy and ready to participate immediately (we’ll find that out Thursday), if Stephen Hill’s knee sprain comes around quickly, and/or if Clyde Gates gets clearance from his concussion, plus Jeremy Kerley, Chaz Schilens and Mardy Gilyard, there may not be any spare reps to be had at the position.
But we expect Cromartie to keep turning up here and there regardless as he just keeps trying to help his team win.
Pro Bowl Stretch Run
It’s been a rough year for the Jets and that is reflected in the Pro Bowl snapshot as the fan online balloting on NFL.com heads down the stretch. No Jet is in the top 10 as released by the league today, and no Jet is a leader at his position among AFC vote-getters.
But needless to say, some Jets may still get their names called for the annual all-star game, and if you want to help your favorite player in green and white make it to Hawaii, you can still vote here on NYJets.com.
Balloting concludes Monday, Dec. 17, following the conclusion of the Jets-Titans Monday night game.
Would you like to see C Nick Mangold make his fifth Pro Bowl and fourth as a starter? Want to send LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson to Oahu for his fourth straight appearance? Support RG Brandon Moore, who went to his first PB last year? Drape Cromartie, DE Muhammad Wilkerson, S LaRon Landry or LB David Harris in leis and in the red-and-white AFC jerseys the week before this year’s Super Bowl?
The AFC and NFC squads are based on the consensus votes of fans, players and coaches. Each group’s vote counts one-third toward determining the 43-man rosters that represent the conferences. NFL players and coaches will cast their votes on Dec. 20-21. The game is Jan. 27, 7 p.m. EST, televised live by NBC from Aloha Stadium.
Edwards is expected to wear uniform No. 17, as he did when he was with the Jets for 34 games in 2009-10 and in fact as he has worn for his entire pro career. … Falcons starters on 11.16.08 against Denver were DE John Abraham, FS Erik Coleman and TE Ben Hartsock. Broncos starters that game were former Jets first-rounder Dewayne Robertson and C Casey Wiegmann, who played three games for the 1996-97 Jets.
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Bobby Humphery, Brandon Moore, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, Keyshawn Johnson, LaRon Landry, Muhammad Wilkerson, Nick Mangold, Pro Bowl, Spencer Larsen, Tennessee Titans
Posted in Randy Lange | 52 Comments »
Earlier in the season, at Pittsburgh, Miami, New England and against Indianapolis, penalties were a big issue for the Jets.
Lately the yellow flags have become an issue again, but in a good way. As head coach Rex Ryan said on Wednesday, “There are some things that we’re really doing a great job at right now. A thing we’ve emphasized since the break was penalties.”
It shows. Since Nov. 1, the Jets are No. 2 in the NFL in fewest penalties, 4.3 infractions marked off per game, behind Atlanta’s 4.0, and the Green & White are No. 1 in the league with 27.5 yards per game.
“It’s about paying attention to details,” said NT Sione Po‘uha. “When you’re playing an opponent, you don’t want to be an opponent to yourself.”
“There’s a lot of different facets to a game,” added Mike DeVito, his next-door neighbor on the DL. “Sometimes you overlook some of them or forget about some of them.”
But since the bye week, the turnaround has been dramatic after the Jets, through the first eight weeks of the season, were tied for 21st in the NFL in penalties and 25th in yards.
First Ryan put the teeth back into the flags being thrown by Joe Yacovino and his crew of practice officials, telling them to tighten up all their calls. Then he returned to a practice practice that he and the Jets instituted in 2010.
“Every time there’s a penalty at practice, everybody does 10 pushups,” said Mike Westhoff, who’s coordinated the Jets practice officials since he arrived on Herm Edwards’ staff in 2001. “All the players, all the coaches. Everybody except the guy who committed the penalty.”
Said LB David Harris: “We’ve gotten our triceps a lot stronger the last month or so.”
Some Jets have always had a knack for playing clean. Harris has gone 29 games since his last penalty, a facemask on BenJarvus Green-Ellis in the 2010 AFC Divisional triumph at New England. DeVito, who arrived in 2007, has never had a major penalty called on him in his career, just four 5-yarders. LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson has gone 38 games, since mid-2010, without a holding call.
And imagine this: Po‘uha’s played in 108 games, including playoffs, in his Jets career and he’s been flagged exactly once for a penalty.
“Knock on wood,” said Big Bo. “I remember the encroachment but I don’t remember who it was against.”
As luck would have it, Po‘uha’s penalty came against Jacksonville in 2009. Perhaps Jaguars center Brad Meester had something to do with influencing the nose tackle to encroach. If so, it looks as if Sione could get some payback on Sunday at Jacksonville, now that Meester’s foot injury seems to be coming around.
“Penalties can hurt you,” said LB Bryan Thomas, who’s been whistled for a mere five penalties in his 11-year career and has had no majors in his last 60 games. “They can come on the last play of the game and give the other team one more play. They can keep drives going.”
“You definitely do not want to take steps backward,” Po‘uha agreed about the hidden yardage of penalties that the Jets have recently turned back in their favor. “They say it’s a game of inches. Don’t hurt yourself by setting yourself back yards.”
One More Thing on Penalties
Except for the occasional downtrend such as in the first half of this year, the Jets have been the state of the art when it comes to not committing penalties. Since 2001, 12 seasons combined, their 1,026 penalties and 8,346 penalty yards both continue to lead the league.
Thursday Injury Reports
Three Jets players were DNPs today — WR Clyde Gates (concussion), who Rex Ryan said is a week away from returning to action, TE Dustin Keller (ankle), and S LaRon Landry (heel) with his usual Thursday reduced load.
WR Stephen Hill (knee) was limited, as was QB Tim Tebow again (ribs). NT Damon Harrison became the 23rd Jet to be listed this week. He’s also limited, with an ankle.
For the Jaguars, their two top offensive threats, RB Maurice Jones-Drew (foot) and WR Cecil Shorts (concussion), again did not practice. A report out of Jacksonville said the Jags are likely to go with their “last back standing,” Montell Owens, at tailback vs. the Jets, although RB Greg Jones (thigh) was limited today after being a DNP on Wednesday.
Also not practicing were C Michael Brewster (hand), RB Rashad Jennings (concussion), CB Aaron Ross (calf) and DE George Selvie (concussion). Meester (foot) and CB Derek Cox (hamstring) were both full-go today.
Tags: Brad Meester, Bryan Thomas, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, David Harris, Jacksonville Jaguars, Mike DeVito, Rex Ryan, Sione Pouha
Posted in Randy Lange | 36 Comments »
The Jets will be playing a doubleheader this weekend as they attempt to topple the Miami Dolphins in part by triumphing over the Miami heat.
Not as in LeBron-Dwyane-Chris but rather as in hot-hot-hot. The forecast for Sunday in Miami Gardens, Fla., at the 1 p.m. ET kickoff is expected to be around 85°, with a heat-index reading close to 100°. As new Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin reminded Dolfans this week after beating the Raiders last week (and the Jets perhaps subliminally), “Obviously, establishing a presence on your own home field is important, and September 1 o’clock games historically have been successful for this team.”
The Jets are mindful of the heat ahead and have been taking steps to be ready for the blast of South Florida air inside the now aptly named Sun Life Stadium.
“We definitely practiced it all week long,” head coach Rex Ryan said at today’s post-practice news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center, adding that one major component was in simulating the Dolphins’ up-tempo offensive pace. “This team is averaging snapping the football probably with more than 15 seconds on the [play]clock, 20 seconds maybe. They’re super-quick, unlike really any team in the league.
“We challenged our guys during the week, every team period. Our scout team and our coaches did a tremendous job getting lined up and ready to roll.”
Ryan and his trainers also stressed optimum hydration and rest. And you don’t have to tell a player like LB Aaron Maybin twice about hydration.
“I’ve been taking extra Gatorade, Pedialyte and water. I’ll probably have a couple of extra IVs the night before,” Maybin said. “I sweat a lot. And the heat can wear on your defense especially as the game goes on.”
Some Jets wore extra layers of clothing and did extra cardio work this week outside in the mid-70s temps around Florham Park, N.J. It’s all done with an eye toward leveling the playing field somewhat against those heat-tempered Dolphins.
“It’s definitely an advantage because it is hot and humid,” said S Yeremiah Bell, who knows the situation well since he played for Miami his first eight seasons in the NFL. “Why wouldn’t you want to play in the same place you practice? It’s kind of like a cold-weather team playing in the snow.”
But, Bell counseled, “You know what’s coming. All these guys in here know what they’re in for. It’s only an advantage if you let it be.”
It’s also maybe less of an advantage than the Dolphins would like opponents to believe. Their win over the Raiders actually was their first “September 1 o’clock” game in four years, since from 2009-11 their early home games all kicked off either shortly after 4 p.m. or at night. Before last Sunday, the last time they played at home in September at 1 p.m. was against the Jets in the 2008 opener. And the Jets, with Brett Favre in his first game at QB, prevailed, 20-14.
The point being, the Miami heat is an edge but hardly an insurmountable one.
“Most of us have been playing football our whole lives, and we’ve played in hot weather before,” Maybin said.
“Obviously we’ll see when we get out there,” Ryan said. “We feel pretty good about it.”
Final Health Report
The Jets’ injury report grew by one to 21 names today, yet their health should be OK for Miami.
CB Darrelle Revis, after declaring on Thursday that “I’m going to play,” practiced full-contact today and is listed as probable for the Dolphins. And Ryan when asked about Revis specifically, pointed to the 16 probables and said, “I’d say every one of those guys I expect to play.”
LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring) and FB John Conner (knee) are doubtful. It looks as if Garrett McIntyre will start again at OLB and Konrad Reuland will add his increasing number of plays. “Konrad’s got fullback reps, tight end reps, U reps at the other tight end,” Ryan said. “It’s a good thing he’s got that Stanford education. He’s had to use it these past couple of weeks.”
Two more are questionable: TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and CB Ellis Lankster (low back). Keller, despite his opinion that he’s ready to roll again, is iffy, with Ryan saying Dedrick Epps could be active again, especially if Keller is deactivated but possibly even if DK is active.
As for the probable list, it includes QB Mark Sanchez (low back) and the newest listee, DT Kenrick Ellis (illness). But all the probables practiced full today and appear ready to roll at Miami.
We’ll wrap up Miami’s Friday injury report here when it comes in.
When Flags Flew
Pittsburgh wasn’t a game that will go in WR Santonio Holmes’ time capsule. But say what you want about the flags, Tone caused a bunch of them to fly.
The four penalties for 52 yards called against Steelers Ike Taylor and Keenan Lewis in covering Holmes were the most marked off due to one Jets player since at least the mid-Nineties. The only other time in that span that a Jet drew four penalties in a game was last year when Plaxico Burress forced four penalties on the Raiders, primarily Stanford Routt, but only three were marked off with one declined.
Prior to that, just six other Jets have caused three major penalties by opponents since 1995. WR Keyshawn Johnson did it in ’99 at Denver. WR Wayne Chrebet followed suit the next year at home vs. the Broncos. Keller as a rookie TE got a trifecta at Tennessee in 2008, and Holmes coaxed three penalties out of the Chargers (two on Quentin Jammer) last season.
DE John Abraham is the only Jets defender to get a trio of penalties thrown at his opponents in a game. Abe did it twice — three holds vs. Kansas City in 2002 (one against Hall of Famer-to-be Willie Roaf), and three more holds at Buffalo in 2005.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, Dustin Keller, Ellis Lankster, Miami Dolphins, Rex Ryan, Santonio Holmes, Sun Life Stadium, Yeremiah Bell
Posted in Randy Lange | 19 Comments »
By all accounts, the Northeast has experienced an unusually mild winter. The snowstorm from last weekend already feels forgotten. Still, the nights are cold, the trees bare, the sky gray, and the sunlight short.
Wouldn’t it be nice to be in, say … Hawaii?
Four Jets have that distinct honor. Offensive linemen Nick Mangold, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Brandon Moore and cornerback Darrelle Revis are all currently in Oahu for Sunday’s Pro Bowl.
It’s the fourth Pro Bowl trip for Revis and Mangold, the third for Ferguson and the first for Moore. You can see them play one more time on Sunday evening at 7 p.m. on NBC before the NFL season officially ends a week from Sunday with Super Bowl XLVI.
Since arriving in the 50th State, the four Jets have gone through light, informal practices at Kapolei High School west of Honolulu and have had time to enjoy the spoils of Hawaii in the winter.
Besides football, there was an annual community event. On Thursday AFC Pro Bowlers took part in Play 60 Community Blitz, a joint effort between the NFL’s Play 60 campaign, Procter & Gamble, and KaBoom, a nonprofit group with the goal of building playspaces for children throughout the United States. This year, the players helped construct a playground at Ke Kula ‘o Samuel M. Kamakau Public Charter School in Kaneohe.
An added wrinkle in this year’s Pro Bowl is the addition of a designated tweeting area on each sideline. A departure from normal protocol, players will be able to tweet during the game. It should add even more entertainment value to a game that never lacks offensive firepower. Of the four Jets in Honolulu, Mangold is probably the most active Tweeter. Look for some gems from Nick throughout the game.
You can see photos of your Jets in Hawaii, including a freshly trimmed Mangold, here on newyorkjets.com. Moore will also be sending back some pictures from his first experience in the Pro Bowl, so check back often to see some behind-the-scenes shots.
We may be stuck in the doldrums of winter, but at least we can live vicariously through our Jets in Oahu.
Tags: Brandon Moore, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, Honolulu, Kaneohe, Nick Mangold, Play 60, Pro Bowl
Posted in Andrew LeRay | 108 Comments »
Updated, 10:07 p.m. ET
Brandon Moore and the Jets got a small bit of good news tonight on this NFL Championship Weekend. They learned that Moore is finally an all-star.
The NFL has announced that Moore, the Jets’ long-time right guard, a second alternate at the AFC’s guard position, has been named to the conference’s Pro Bowl roster, replacing Brian Waters of the New England Patriots, who are playing in Super Bowl XLVI in two weeks.
Moore will be joining fellow Jets O-linemen Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson and cornerback Darrelle Revis in Honolulu, Hawaii, this week for Sunday’s Pro Bowl Game, to be played at Aloha Stadium.
Moore, who just finished his ninth season as a Jet and his eighth as their starting guard, has been one of the unsung heroes of the Green & White line.
But in part with the support of head coach Rex Ryan, who has called him the best right guard in the game, and in part because of his high consistency of performance, Moore joins “Nick and Brick” plus Alan Faneca as Jets O-linemen have now claimed 10 Pro Bowl berths in the past four seasons.
Moore becomes the fourth Jets guard to reach all-star status, joining Bob Mischak of the New York Titans (1960-62) and Dave Herman (1968-69) as AFL all-stars and Faneca, an AFC starting guard for the Jets in 2008 and ’09.
Moore’s ironman qualities are well-known among line aficionados. He has started 121 consecutive regular-season games since 2004, the most among all active NFL guards, and his 121 straight games played is second among all active guards behind only the 124 of Tennessee’s Jake Scott.
Then an independent NFL analysis service determined that Moore gave up no sacks or hits on quarterback Mark Sanchez this season.
Tags: Aloha Stadium, Brandon Moore, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, Honolulu, Nick Mangold, Pro Bowl
Posted in Randy Lange | 78 Comments »
Updated, 6:37 p.m. ET
Rex Ryan wasn’t his usual ebullient self, no doubt because his Jets have their backs to the wall this week heading toward Miami on New Year’s Day. But he said he and his Jets are as confident as they can be in the position they’re in.
“I think our attitude’s good,” the head coach assessed. “We wish we controlled our own destiny. We don’t. But shoot, we’ve still got a shot at the playoffs. I think the attitude is great and we’re all excited to play.”
The Jets could surely have a range of emotions for this one: bummed out because they had control of that destiny for the past two weeks only to lose games at Philadelphia and home against the Giants, yet energized because they know that this week their only paths to the postseason require a win over Miami (plus some help from three of their friends).
“Everything you do in the offseason, all the practices, training camps, minicamps — well, no minicamps this year — all the games, the whole season, is to get to where you have a chance at the playoffs,” Ryan said. “Obviously you’d like to be in a different circumstance, but it’s a lot easier when there’s a chance to make the playoffs to motivate your guys. It’s right there in front of us. That’s not an issue.”
If LB Aaron Maybin’s approach is an indication of his teammates’ mood this week, Rex is right.
“It’s do or die, and it has nothing to do with the Miami Dolphins,” Maybin said. “It has nothing to do with anything else other than this is what we put ourselves in. We need to get a win. However that needs to happen, whatever we need to do, when we come back into the locker room down there, we have to have a victory.”
If only it were that easy, it would already have been done. But the Jets’ mistakes and inconsistencies have led them to this juncture.
“This is the first time I have ever been in a situation like this,” WR Plaxico Burress said late today. “We left everything get out of our own hands. All we can do is go out there and win this game and see what happens. If we do get in, great. If things don’t work out, we have nobody to blame but ourselves.”
Ryan is still voting for the Jets getting in.
“I’m confident we can right the ship this week,” he said. “That’s all that matters right now. It doesn’t matter what happened behind us. We’ve got to focus on right now, stay in the present and hope there’s a future.”
Ryan on the Pro Bowl Jets
Ryan is, as he said, like every other NFL head coach when it comes to Pro Bowl time. In his first comments after Tuesday night’s announcements of the AFC and NFC all-star squads, he had a few comments on the three Jets who have been named to the roster and the three who are alternates waiting for the call if and when injuries and the Super Bowl pulls players away from their positions.
Rex on AFC starting CB Darrelle Revis: “I’m proud of the fact that Darrelle made the first team. If he didn’t, there shouldn’t be a game.”
On reserve O-linemen Nick Mangold and D’Brickashaw Ferguson: “Obviously both guys are deserving. That [Mike] Pouncey, we’re playing [Maurkice] Pouncey’s twin brother [in Miami]. He must be real good if he can start over Nick Mangold. I know he’s a great player, but I think Nick’s the best center in the league.”
First alternate kick returner Joe McKnight: “From where he was last year, the improvements he made, I think that’s impressive as well and we told him that he should be really proud of himself.”
Ryan saved his most robust statements for his two second alternates, LB David Harris and G Brandon Moore:
“Let the facts speak for themselves — David Harris has five sacks, four interceptions, probably twice as many as any other linebacker. … I told him we are going to get him to the Pro Bowl next year. All he has to do is play exactly how he played this year but take a dance class this summer, do something. If there’s ever a guy that’s deserving of it, it’s David Harris.
“And Brandon, statistically he’s the only guard in the league that has not given up a sack or a hit on the quarterback. Now, he came off hip surgery so he wasn’t blocking people on their backs the way he did the year before because he’s getting healthy, but maybe you ought to look at that. The guy’s a pretty good player. I told him, ‘It’s because you’re not very nice.’ If he was nicer, maybe he’d get more votes.”
Jets injury picture is OK. LB/ST Garrett McIntyre (knee) is the only player who didn’t participate in today’s practice. Six were limited — CB Marquice Cole (knee), DT Mike DeVito (knee), G Brandon Moore (hip), S Eric Smith (knee), RB LaDainian Tomlinson (quad) and DE Muhammad Wilkerson (knee). Ferguson (foot) was the only new name on the full-go list.
“We’re concerned with Garrett a little bit. We’ll see how he does during the week,” said Ryan. “I’m really not sure about his availability. I feel good about everybody else.”
For the Dolphins, they will be without LT Jake Long, who was placed on injured reserve today after suffering a torn right biceps on Christmas Eve vs. the Patriots.
Regarding Miami’s injury report, four players were DNPs today: RB Reggie Bush (knee), T Marc Colombo (ankle), CB Jimmy Wilson (hamstring) and LB Karlos Dansby (non-injury-related). WRs Brandon Marshall (knee) and Edmond Gates (groin) were limited during team drills. TE Anthony Fasano (head) and CB Vontae Davis (elbow) practiced full.
Rex said LB Ricky Sapp will be signed from the practice squad to the 53-man roster. He will take the spot vacated with the waiving of WR Eron Riley announced Tuesday night.
Tags: Aaron Maybin, Brandon Moore, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Jake Long, joe McKnight, Miami Dolphins, Nick Mangold, Pro Bowl, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 29 Comments »
Who will be the Jets’ newest Pro Bowl participant in January? Linebacker David Harris? Tight end Dustin Keller? Kickoff returner Joe McKnight?
It would be neat to turn some of the Green & White’s top stars into NFL All-Stars this season, to have them add their names to the list of Pro Bowl players that includes current Jets Darrelle Revis, D’Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold. And Jets fans can help bring this about by casting their ballots for their favorite Jets on newyorkjets.com/probowl
It’s that time of year for the NFL and all its teams to get out the vote for the 2011 season’s Pro Bowl, which will be held at Aloha Stadium in Honolulu, Hawaii, on Sunday, Jan. 29. Fans, players and coaches each supply a third of the vote that establishes the players who make the initial AFC and NFC rosters.
And the Jets have become one of the league’s top teams at landing players on the AFC roster and sending them to the annual Pro Bowl. From 2008-10 they’ve filled 15 berths on the conference Pro Bowl team.
Three current Jets have sampled the poi and sipped the mango-ritas in Honolulu (and in South Florida in early 2010), and all are off to great starts in ’11.
After seven games, Revis (three-time Pro Bowler) has a team-high four interceptions, one returned for a 100-yard touchdown — the longest home INT-return TD in franchise history — against Miami, and blankets opponents’ No. 1 wideouts on “Revis Island.” Center Nick Mangold (also a three-time Pro Bowler) continues to prevail in the pivot, calling the Jets’ O-line signals and handling the big dogs in the middle of opposing defensive fronts to keep the offense moving. D’Brickashaw Ferguson (two Pro Bowls) has become one of the top left tackles in the game, protecting his quarterback’s blind side from the best pass-rushers in the game.
Will they qualify to return to Hawaii at the end of this season? And who among the Jets will join them?
“Hitman” Harris rules the roost in the middle of the Green & White defense, posting great tackle numbers and supplying timely blitz pressure on enemy QBs.
Keller, who last year became the first TE to lead the Jets in receptions since Mickey Shuler in 1985, is at it again, topping this year’s offense with 25 catches and 372 receiving yards as one of Mark Sanchez’s favorite targets.
McKnight erupted on the scene with the longest play in franchise history, his 108-yard kickoff-return touchdown at Baltimore, and leads all NFL kickoff returners with a mind-numbing 40.0-yard average on each runback.
And in the coming weeks, other Jets are sure to catch the eye of fans and voters in the New York area and across the nation. CB Antonio Cromartie supplies the athletic coverage against other teams’ wideouts on the side of the field opposite Revis. Head coach Rex Ryan has said LB Calvin Pace is having his best season since Ryan arrived as the Jets’ football boss in 2009.
On offense, Sanchez continues with his growth curve, posting the best regular-season completion percentage and passer rating of his three-year career. WRs Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress have the skills to erupt at any time for weeks at a time. Shonn Greene ran with his most authority yet in the comeback win over the Chargers. And Ryan has always felt that the indestructible Brandon Moore “is the best right guard in the game.”
Not to forget the specialists, Nick Folk has yet to miss a field goal or placekick, and he and his coverage team have combined to lead the league with 14 inside-the-20 kickoffs. And Eric Smith not only is a regular starting safety for the first time in his career and the Jets’ leading tackler on defense, but he is still a monster in all phases of the Jets’ special teams.
Fans can vote for any of the above Jets, all of them, or any Jets not mentioned on the NFL’s official Pro Bowl fan ballot on their PCs or via their iPads or mobile devices. Once on the ballot, fans can elect to fill out the entire ballot or just vote for one or a few of the players of their choice.
Voting will conclude on Monday, Dec. 19, following the conclusion of the Monday Night Football game between the Steelers and 49ers. The Pro Bowl teams will be announced Tuesday, Dec. 27, at 7 p.m. ET on the special “NFL Total Access 2012 Pro Bowl Selection Show” on NFL Network.
Tags: Aloha Stadium, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Darrelle Revis, David Harris, Dustin Keller, joe McKnight, Nick Mangold, Pro Bowl
Posted in Jets Staff | 26 Comments »
It was a silly small yard — make that a foolish little foot — that was navigated successfully late in the third quarter of a solid victory over a struggling opponent. But could it possibly be a sign of bigger and better things to come from the Jets’ ground game?
Do mighty oaks from tiny acorns grow?
Yes to the second, maybe to the first. But Shonn Greene’s 1-foot touchdown run to make it Jets, 29-3, against the Jaguars on Sunday sure looked like a run of beauty from the playbooks of their top-ranked ground games of 2009 and ’10.
“A play like that, it starts up front,” fullback John Conner, still feeling frisky from being introduced along with the five O-line starters as the Jets’ game captains for the Jaguars, said today in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room. “They gave a good push, and then I could get in there and get my body on somebody. Shonn’s a great physical runner, so he’s going to get in there easily.”
It was more than just Conner paving the way for Greene. LT D’Brickashaw Ferguson and LG Matt Slauson sealed off the inside — Brick, in fact, buckled DT Tyson Alualu to the ground with great leverage and a muscular push. TEs Matt Mulligan and Jeff Cumberland stoned the outside defenders. RG Brandon Moore pulled around and helped add to the bulwark. Then came Conner with the final block in the wall and as a result No. 23 had no trouble powering through the hole.
“That was actually weird,” Greene said of his first touchdown run of the season. “We usually run that play to the right side. That was the first time in a long time that we ran it to the left. It was well-executed.”
There were a few good reasons for that switch, said Slauson.
“A lot of teams know it’s a blast play — everybody runs blast. We’ve always run it to the right,” he explained. “We wanted to break that tendency because now teams are overloading like crazy on the right side. We want to say, ‘OK, you want to do that, then we’re going to run left,’ and it will balance ‘em up.”
Slauson said there was also a little back-at-you to the Jets’ defenders.
“Because our offense didn’t play as well as we would’ve liked,” he said, “we really felt like we owed it to the defense to score.”
All this may be wishful thinking for the running game, which is ranked 28th in the NFL with 73.0 yards per game and 27th with 3.0 yards per carry. But another good omen heading into the Black Hole on Sunday is that two years ago, that was the venue where Greene got his Jets career off and flying.
“That was actually my first 100-yard game, when Leon got hurt,” Greene reflected. “I was kind of shocked when I first went in but the offense was going well.”
Greene’s 144 yards, plus two TDs on 19 carries, coming off the bench that day was at the time the most yards by a Jets rookie since Matt Snell’s 1964 rookie breakout campaign. The Green & White finished that day with 316 rushing yards, 447 total and a 38-0 victory.
Logic says the game ahead against the Raiders will be tougher. It’s the Silver and Black’s home opener, and Colin Baxter appears to be on the verge of making his first pro start for Nick Mangold and his ailing ankle.
“It’s no excuses, the next man steps up,” head coach Rex Ryan said today, adding that compared to Mangold’s All-Pro level, “In Baxter’s case it’ll hard to pick it up a little. But we do want him to try and maintain it at least for one game.”
And the Jets are more upbeat inside their locker room than many fans are outside of it that their return to a top-ten running team providing offensive balance is not far away.
“We know the talent we have on this team,” Conner said. “We’re a ground-and-pound team. Once we get it going, we’re going to be hard to stop.”
Today’s injury report was unchanged from Wednesday’s, which means Ryan still doesn’t see Mangold making a miracle return to action. “Tomorrow we’ll know if he’s going or not,” the coach said. “If he’s not going to play, then obviously he won’t make the trip out there. I don’t see it happening. He seems to think he … but hey, we’ll see.”
The Raiders had some changes to their report. Still not practicing were WRs Jacoby Ford and Louis Murphy and S Michael Mitchell. QB Jason Campbell, RB Darren McFadden and CB Chris Johnson were limited. WR Darrius Heyward-Bey, S Jerome Boyd and K Sebastian Janikowski were full participants along with TE Kevin Boss.
Tags: Colin Baxter, D'Brickashaw Ferguson, John Conner, Matt Slauson, Nick Mangold, Rex Ryan, Shonn Greene
Posted in Randy Lange | 32 Comments »
Updated, 2:15 p.m. ET
Rex Ryan obviously doesn’t go by the NFL head coach’s book, and that includes the old rule about not giving starting jobs out on the second day of training camp, especially to rookies.
“Mo Wilkerson? He belongs. He’s the starting defensive end right now, the day he walked in here,” Ryan said at today’s news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “That’s why we drafted him, not to be a backup. He’s a big player. He and Brick were going at it yesterday.”
Wilkerson appreciates the good words from the boss but knows there’s a long way to go. ”I just have to worry about trying to do my best to try and help out the defense,” he said this afternoon. “Coming into the games, if I’m truly the starter, then so be it, but I’m definitely going to work hard to be the starter.”
We have a few of those photos up on the website, and it is interesting and significant to see first-round draft choice Muhammad Wilkerson running into left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson, seemingly giving as good as he’s getting — and all this in Monday afternoon’s limited-pads workout.
“He’s a great athlete,” Mo said of Brick. “He has long arms just like me. He actually got me on one play yesterday, just had me stuck on the line, but that’s going to come when you’re playing against great guys like this.”
But what about Shaun Ellis? He remains a free agent, and all Mike Tannenbaum said is that the two sides are “talking.” But what if Ellis returns for his 12th season. For the last 10 years he’s been the primary starter at left end in the Jets’ different 3-4 incarnations. He’s third on the franchise’s all-time sack list. Would the Big Katt sit behind the rookie with the large wingspan?
“We don’t need guys to play every snap anymore,” Ryan said. “We brought in Trevor Pryce, who’s had some unbelievable years, to fill a purpose for us. If Shaun’s on this team, we’d start him, absolutely, but we brought this kid in to play.”
And as Rex said, he’d love to have Shaun back, “there’s no doubt.” But Wilkerson has just started to show his potential in green and white.
Ryan was asked about the familiar-looking white-haired gentleman on the sidelines of camp. He was very happy to talk up the addition and role of Tom Moore as a consultant on his coaching staff.
“Tom’s great,” Rex said of Moore, who joined the Colts as offensive coordinator and until this year was the only pro OC that Peyton Manning had ever worked with. “He’s really going to be Brian [Schottenheimer]‘s guy, whatever Brian wants him to do. It doesn’t get better than having Tom Moore sitting in that room with you. He’s been here already during the offseason working on a lot of things, not just red zone.
“We weren’t the only team that was trying to get Tom but we landed him.”
Moore is joined as a coaching consultant by Jim McNally, the longtime heralded OL coach for the Bengals, Panthers, Giants and Bills. The two are in camp now and once the season gets under way, they’ll be working primarily from their homes, breaking down video on upcoming opponents and otherwise bouncing ideas off of Rex, Brian and the rest of the Jets staff.
Another player who’s getting his fill of Ferguson is LB Jamaal Westerman. “Jamaal’s been up against Brick forever,” Ryan said. “When you’re going up against one of the elite players in this league day in, day out, one of two things happen. Either you just get beat down so bad and you go home and go on to your life’s work, or you get better. … That’s what this young man’s done.”
Rex said S Jim Leonhard is a little sore right now but still doing fine in his comeback from December’s broken leg and offseason rehab. So all signs are go at safety, but as far as punt returns, the coach said, “I don’t have the heart to tell him he won’t be doing that in a game.”
The coach gave a plug to first-year LB Garrett McIntyre. “I don’t want to play this guy up too much, but the Canadian kid, he’s one of those guys that’s a pain to block. He’s one of those relentless guys.” McIntyre, 26, has been around the football block, most recently last season with the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, for whom he notched eight sacks, tied for fifth in the CFL, and four forced fumbles, first in the league north of the border.
Ryan on this year’s offense: “I still think we’re a ground-and-pound team. We’re deep. We’ve got four tailbacks that can go. We’re not going to disappoint you. We’re going to turn and give it to somebody. But I would say when it’s all said and done, we’ll pass the ball more than we did the first two years we’ve been here.”
Tags: D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Garrett McIntyre, Jim Leonhard, Jim McNally, Muhammad Wilkerson, Rex Ryan, Tom Moore
Posted in Randy Lange | 37 Comments »