This is a tough day for us who work at the Atlantic Health Training Center. It’s another one of those days that comes around every so often before or after New Year’s Day on which the Jets begin to tear down and build back up again.
I’d been a part of these periods on the outside as a beatwriter in 1995 (Pete Carroll out), ’97 (Rich Kotite out), ’01 (Bill Parcells regime comes to an end) and ’06 — Herm Edwards to KC, Terry Bradway back to scouting, Mike Tannenbaum ascending to the GM’s office.
And today Mike T is cleaning out that office after owner Woody Johnson said he won’t be back for the ’13 season.
Here is Tannenbaum’s statement to the media, issued a short while ago this afternoon:
I want to thank Woody and his entire family for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime — serving as the General Manager of the New York Jets for seven years.
I am incredibly grateful to have been a part of rebuilding a winning tradition for Jets fans over the past 15 years. My days with Coach Parcells through my years as General Manager of the team that went to back-to-back AFC Championship games have been the fulfillment of a dream I have had since I was a little kid and I’ll always be grateful to Woody, the two head coaches, Rex and Eric, as well as all of the players, staff and the entire organization for this opportunity.
While of course it is disappointing to not achieve the ultimate goal of winning a championship, I am incredibly proud of our overall winning record and success. I feel very fortunate to have been the general manager who drafted cornerstone players during a period that yielded four playoff victories and 22 Pro Bowl appearances.
I appreciate that it is rare for someone to stay with one organization with such a wide range of responsibilities for so many years. My time with the Jets will always be special to me and my family and it has prepared me well for whatever comes next.
There are champions on this team that haven’t been crowned yet. I am confident that the base we’ve established will allow the New York Jets to continue a winning tradition for years to come and I wish everyone in the organization the best of luck.
As D’Brickashaw Ferguson said today in the locker room, “What happens now? I’ve only been here under one GM.” I could say the same: I’ve only been a Jets employee under one GM, who had a hand in welcoming me to the organization back in March 2007. But I know what I’ll do: More of what I’ve been doing the past six seasons, which is chronicling the people in the pads and the people upstairs who keep trying to rally all the champions on each team to bring home another championship trophy.
There were reasons for Johnson to make a forceful move concerning his GM’s office with an eye on the immediate future. In seeing certain developments over the past year or two, the owner’s in line with the many we’ve heard from over that span. Fans, beat reporters and columnists have all formed and expressed strong opinions about Tannenbaum’s seven-year tenure, and I won’t add to them now. But I do feel Mike should leave with a few positive words about his years on the hot seat.
For a while it looked like he might be the new model for NFL general managers of the new millennium. His creative salary cap management was often stunning, as were some of his draft-day trades. As assistant GM, he signed and brought in “the Four Aces” on time to 2000 training camp. His first two drafts as GM in ’06-07, the Jets picked Pro Bowlers Ferguson, Nick Mangold and Darrelle Revis and a PB-caliber LB in David Harris. At the start of the ’11 camp, he was able to keep Harris in the fold as the last of the re-signed “Core Four.”
There were some trades and signings and non-signings that I as a fan of the team wished Mike T didn’t make, but that’s been the great thing about working for T and Woody Johnson, where a diversity of opinions was welcomed, from inside and especially from outside.
On a personal note, that was the best part of coming to work for the Jets. Tannenbaum and Eric Mangini had to sign off on the decision by then-EVP Matt Higgins and then-SVP Bob Parente to recommend bringing me, a former beatwriter and critic of the team, on board in ’07. Maybe T swallowed hard once or twice, but he welcomed me to the team from the start and never once suggested we take a particular point of view on newyorkjets.com. He accepted the consequences of making the Jets one of the most open teams in pro sports.
Revis was asked in today’s ”baggie day” locker room session about Tannenbaum’s dismissal. At first he sounded hardened to the situation, but he quickly segued to the humanity of a departing leader.
“Everybody gets evaluated. In this business we get evaluated every week. It’s just the business side of it,” Revis began. “He did great things here for the last couple of years. It is really sad. You do not want to see anyone get fired or any players getting released in this manner but it happened. He had a great speech that he wrote in the team meeting. Guys clapped for him afterwards and felt sorry for him.”
Mike also crafted the statement above, which included unconditional thanks to the man who decided to end his tenure. And around the time media members were reading that first graph, Tannenbaum went from his second-floor office to the first-floor media room not to do a formal interview with the beats — that would have to wait for another day — but to thank the reporters for their coverage of him and his team ever since he arrived as Parcells’ “cap guy” back in ’97.
Does all that make Mike Tannenbaum a great GM who was done wrong today? No. As Laveranues Coles, T’s third-round pick in that famed 2000 draft made popular around Jets locker rooms, “It is what it is.” Tannenbaum is what he is, a football administrator who made some great moves and some moves that didn’t work out. He was dismissed on “Black Monday” but he’ll move forward, find a new job and start a new legacy. And we wish him the best.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini, Laveranues Coles, Mike Tannenbaum, Woody Johnson
Posted in Randy Lange | 179 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 »
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 »
Rex Ryan has drawn first blood on his twin brother, Rob, as the brothers get set to resume their sibling rivalry Sunday in Cleveland.
“Blow darts have hit a picture of Eric [Mangini], Colt [McCoy] and then I have about 14 of them on me,” said Rob Ryan, the Browns defensive coordinator. “I’m taking offense to it and we’re going to have some retaliatory reactions to it later in the week.”
Rex, the 47-year-old Jets head coach who is about five minutes older than Rob, might be having some fun targeting his upcoming opponent. But more often than not, the Ryan brothers have worked as a team. Asked today for his favorite story on the pair, Rob Ryan recalled a baseball game in Chicago when Rex was at the plate against a highly touted pitcher and needed some visionary help.
“He was only playing with one contact lens, so he said, ‘Rob, give me your left contact.’ So I give it to him, he plucks it in his eye and goes up and smashes a home run. I think the thing is still going — I think they found it in Cuba somewhere,” said Rob. “So he circles the bases and comes in with a big smile on his face. He goes, ‘You want that contact back?’ And I said, ‘Nah, you can keep it.’ ”
Rob liked the outcome of his matchup with Rex back in 1998 when he served as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator and the latter served as the Oklahoma Sooners’ defensive leader. The final was 41-26 as the homestanding Cowboys scored on six of their first seven second-half possessions against OU and captured their first home win over their rival since 1966.
“We know he’s going to get our best shot and we know we’re going to get his. It will be a great game and hopefully it’s not like one of those games when he was a defensive coordinator at Oklahoma and I was a defensive coordinator at Oklahoma State,” said the younger Ryan. “We ended up winning that game and tore down the goalposts, but by the end of it we were trying to convince everybody that we were the offensive coordinators, not the defensive coordinators.”
Later in the week the two will shut down their lines of communication as kickoff nears, but this will be a rare occurrence for Buddy Ryan’s twin sons.
“We talk all the time. We’re as close as you can be. I don’t think there is any pair of brothers closer than we are,” said Rob. “We had our own language when we were kids growing up. If you fought one of us, you had to be real tough because you fought both of us. I don’t think we ever lost any fights because hell, we were always 2-on-1 or whatever it was so we found a way to win.”
They both will come into this matchup riding high. Rex has his club 6-2 after appearing in the AFC Championship Game last year while Rob is coordinating a defense that just held Tom Brady to 224 yards passing and intercepted Drew Brees four times in back-to-back wins over the Patriots and the Saints.
“I think we’re starting to turn the corner with our team,” said Rob, who is helping former Jets boss Eric Mangini hold opposition to 19.5 points a game. “We beat New Orleans and we beat New England the last two weeks. I believe that makes us 7-5 over the last 12 games, but our team is definitely on the upswing. We’re looking to keep going and to do better things.”
The success Rex has experienced as a head coach figures to make Rob an attractive head coaching candidate himself.
“If you paint a picture of a head coach, you usually have some pretty boy nowadays,” Rob Ryan said, “I don’t think me or Rex, or my dad, for that matter, are male models by any stretch. But we’re damn good football coaches.”
Checking on Rankings
With the Steelers-Bengals Monday night game ending Week 9, we can now say officially that the Jets’ offense keeps rising. After finishing strong with 437 yards, not to mention the overtime win at Detroit, the Jets rank 12th in total yards gained per game, the highest ranking of the Mark Sanchez era with the exception of Week 1 of last season, when they were tied for third after gaining 462 yards in their opener at Houston.
The Jets passing offense also made a jump after Sanchez had the first 300-yard passing game of his pro career, 336 in all vs. the Lions. The 20th ranking is still modest, but it’s the highest ranking of the past 24 weeks and comes four weeks after the Jets were 32nd and last in net passing yards per game.
Three other rankings of note today: The overall defense is rated sixth, its highest of the season. The Jets’ yardage differential has risen to eighth, the highest of the season. But the team that once led the league in turnover margin, has fallen from plus-11 to plus-5 the last three games, dropping the Green & White to a ninth-place tie, their worst turnover margin ranking of the year.
Texans Game Stays Put
It’s the time of the season when the schedule gets flexed. But we can tell you today that the Jets’ return-home Nov. 21 game against the Houston Texans at New Meadowlands Stadium, originally scheduled for a 1 p.m. EST kickoff, will remain at 1 p.m.
Tags: Cleveland Browns, Eric Mangini, Houston Texans, Rex Ryan, Rob Ryan
Posted in Eric Allen | 26 Comments »
The triumph in San Diego can be attributed to many things: a gritty defense that dug in its heels and got better and better as the game wore on, the heady play of the Jets’ two rookies on offense, the Chargers’ troubles with yellow flags and field goals.
But don’t overlook the Jets’ long-standing tendency to act like a pit bull with a bone when they get a decent lead.
This statistic first surfaced during the wild-card win at Cincinnati, and the amazing trend continued through Southern California:
The Jets have won their last 60 games when they’ve gotten a lead of eight or more points in the fourth quarter.
That’s the longest current streak, playoffs included, in the NFL. And the Green & White’s .984 winning percentage (61-1) in those games since the start of 1999 is the league’s best in the last 11 seasons.
What does it all mean? Well, it doesn’t mean the Jets can’t be beaten. The category doesn’t consider all leads, just those of a touchdown and a deuce or more. And what about the games in which the team never went ahead in the final 15 minutes? That’s for another chart on another day.
This trend is related, for example, to the Yankees’ documented excellence in winning games that they lead from the eighth inning on.
Similarly, the Jets have shown themselves to be the masters of avoiding the bad blown lead, of taking a solid edge and putting it in their W bag.
Who can we thank for this tendency? Well, the only player who goes back to even the 2000 season is Shaun Ellis, and surely he deserves a small helping of the credit. As for coaches, Bob Sutton was also here for the start of the millennium and also gets a piece of the pie; all the others have moved on.
But coaching in general has a lot to say about getting leads late and then holding them with expert four-minute offense, some acceptable and effective version of prevent defense (gasp!) and field position provided by the specialists. It’s equal parts player skill, coaching strategy and strength/conditioning work done all off-season and into the year in anticipation of the fourth quarters to come.
So let’s throw some kudos to the head coaches who helped build this mammoth monument to grabbing a late lead and then playing the best keepaway in pro football. Bill Parcells (5-0) started the streak with that ’99 team that began with an ER-full of injuries and finished as the proverbial team not in the playoffs that nobody wanted to face.
The run continued through Al Groh (5-0) in 2000, Herm Edwards (24-0) from ’01-05 and Eric Mangini (17-0) in ’06-08.
And it’s alive and flourishing under first-year man Rex Ryan, whose Jets have won nine games without losing an eight-point lead in the fourth frame, including the last four wins in a row in which they’ve held double-digit advantages down the stretch: at Indianapolis, home for Cincinnati, at Paul Brown Stadium and on Sunday "the Murph."
Here are the winning-percentage and current-streak leaders in games with an eight-point-plus lead in the fourth quarter from 1999 to present:
|Record||W-L||Pct||Current Win Streak||Games|
|1. JETS||61-1||.984||1. JETS||60|
|2. Green Bay||82-2||.976||2. Baltimore||40|
|3. Indianapolis||98-3||.970||3. Atlanta||37|
|4. Atlanta||58-2||.967||4. Philadelphia||32|
|5. Baltimore||85-3||.966||5. San Diego||27|
|6. St. Louis||71-3||.959||6. Cincinnati||20|
Two final notes on the Jets’ big 6-0. The streak began after the ’99 team flew to Oakland, took a 20-10 lead into the last quarter against the Raiders, then fell to a Rich Gannon-led comeback, 24-23.
And while the Jets hold the current lead, they aren’t the only NFL team doing well at putting wins away. In fact, the Indianapolis Colts had built a 77-game streak in this category from 1999 until 2007, when they took a 20-10 lead on New England in the RCA Dome, then lost to the Patriots, 24-20. The Colts’ response was to reel off another 19-game streak, which is current and which they’ll take into Sunday’s AFC Championship Game vs. the Jets.
If either team grabs a 21-13 lead in the final 15 minutes, it will be interesting to see what happens from there.
From 60 Straight to 5 Straight
Fans of the Chargers and, to a lesser extent, the Bengals have been heard to complain about how the kicking of Nate Kaeding and Shayne Graham led to the Jets "lucking out" in their playoff victories. Nice try but the Jets have been victims of some missed kicks in the past as well. Errant field goals count just as much as do errant passes, coaches’ calls and officials’ rulings. They’re all part of the game we love.
But we will grant that it is a strange kicking drought that has helped the Jets reach the AFC Championship Game. With the Bengals’ Shayne Graham missing two kicks under 40 yards and the Chargers’ Nate Kaeding going 0-for-3, including a 36-yarder that snapped his streak of 69 successful tries under 40 yards, one might ask when the last time opponents were similarly off-target against the Jets.
The answer is that this is the first time opposing kickers have gone 0-for-5 or worse in two consecutive games in franchise history. There have been five other 0-for-5 stretches over three- or four-game spans. But since 1968, it’s happened only once before, in 1986 when Seattle’s Norm Johnson (0-for-1), Atlanta’s Mick Luckhurst (0-for-2) and Indianapolis’ Dean Biasucci (0-for-2) got the ankle collar from Games 9-11.
Different Football, Same Goal
Fans of the Jets and women’s soccer in the area can check out a story just posted today on some similarities between the Green & White and Sky Blue FC, the metro area’s franchise in Women’s Professional Soccer. The primary likeness: Sky Blue had a touch-and-go regular season but moved down the stretch from last place in the seven-team WPS to fourth and into the playoffs. Then they went on to win three games in 10 days to claim their first championship.
Congratulations to Sky Blue, whose rookie roster "asked the same question the Jets are asking: Why Not Us?"
Championship Week Begins
The Jets are gearing up for a big fan week before the team heads out to Indianapolis on Saturday. We’ll have a formal announcement of the schedule tonight or Wednesday, but here’s the first event of the week that we wanted you to know about today, because the appearance is tonight.
Wide receiver Wallace Wright and guard Rob Turner will be at the Jets Shop Store in Manhattan signing autographs from 6-8 p.m. tonight. The store is located at 437 Madison Ave. at 50th Street.
As a side benefit for fans at this event and through the week, those who use their MasterCard to purchase merchandise at the Jets Shop store or at jetsshop.com will receive 15 percent off their orders.
We’ll report on more Championship Week events soon on newyorkjets.com.
Tags: Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards, Indianapolis Colts, Rex Ryan, San Diego Chargers, Wallace Wright
Posted in Randy Lange | 43 Comments »
As you can imagine, it was a busy day here at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. There are a number of topics to get to, so let’s clear the notebook.
Jenkins Visits the Chiropractor
One of the biggest fears of Jets Nation is an injury to one of their better players and NT Kris Jenkins was limited in practice Wednesday due to a lower back ailment. But Big Jenks told reporters there’s nothing to worry about.
“It’s not me trying to weasel out of work and it’s not me having like serious issues,” he said. “I wish I could tell you all this is probably the only time it will happen, but it may not be. It depends. If I feel something in my body that I may have to take care of, then I’m going to do it. I’m going to make sure whatever I do that I’m going to get my butt out on the field.”
Last September, the Jets got a huge scare during a Monday night game in San Diego. The 6’4”, 360-pound Jenkins experienced back discomfort during a 48-29 loss and spent most of that night on the sideline.
“This is the deal. Last year when we played San Diego, it was kind of like the same situation. I felt a little something, but I assumed that because I’m as tough as I am, I’ll be able to get through it and I’ll be fine,” he said. “Then when I went to the game, things happened and it didn’t work out the way I wanted to.”
Head coach Rex Ryan said Jenkins spent some time with the chiropractor today. Intent on having Jenkins 100 percent for Sunday’s divisional showdown against the Patriots, the Green & White took the safe approach.
“I’m trying to make sure that I give my team the best that I can give it,” Big Jenks said. “And if that means I have to go and do a couple of things real quick to make sure I’m ready to go on Sunday, then that’s what I have to do.”
A healthy Jenkins will be critical to the Jets’ success this weekend. Just days after the Patriots scored 12 points in the final minutes to claim a one-point comeback win over the Bills, Jenkins said the AFC East might be better than people think.
“I think Buffalo did some really good things against New England and I don’t think you can look at it like they got lucky. They went out there and they game-planned good, they schemed good and they played a great game. It didn’t work out for them at the end — New England was able to pull it off. But as a whole, I think it has something to say about our division. Our division is getting tougher.”
Revis, Randy to Meet Again
Last week during an online chat on newyorkjets.com, cornerback Darrelle Revis said Chad Ochocinco is the receiver who’s given him the most trouble throughout his career. But Randy Moss is no slouch, either, and after limiting Andre Johnson to just four receptions and 35 yards, Revis will attempt to lock up with the 6’4”, 210-pound Moss.
“I have been going against Moss since I’ve been here, so it’s nothing new,” Revis said. “Me and him have competed with each other before and I’m looking forward to it. It’s going to be fun and I can’t wait.”
Only a short time after his rookie holdout, Revis’ first professional action came against Moss and the Pats on Sept. 9, 2007. Moss responded with a nine-catch, 183-yard performance, but he’s averaged just three catches and 35 yards (including a stat shutout last September) in the three meetings since then. (Obviously, Moss didn’t have Tom Brady tossing him the rock in 2008.)
“He is a proven veteran. He has a lot of knowledge and a lot of tricks in his game of play,” said the Jets’ No. 1 corner. “Crazy stuff — pulling shirts, swim moves. Randy Moss is great at what he does.”
Having tasted defeat to the Patriots twice at home in his young career, the 24-year-old Revis wants his club to protect its turf.
“It’s a big game for us. They’ve won eight straight games and it’s embarrassing to be home and be the favorite to win, have the crowd into it and we didn’t pull it out in the past,” he said. “It’s a great opportunity for us to get this win. We know they’re going to come down here ready and focused, and we have to snuff them out.”
Dramatically Different “D”
It’s been a youth movement for the Patriots on defense. Safety Rodney Harrison and OLB Tedy Bruschi retired, ILB Mike Vrabel was shipped to the Chiefs on draft weekend, and Bill Belichick recently shocked many in the football world with his move of DE Richard Seymour to the Raiders for a first-round pick in 2011.
“When you turn on Patriots film, you expect to see Seymour, Bruschi in the middle, Vrabel coming off the edge and Rodney Harrison coming out and clotheslining people,” said WR Jerricho Cotchery. “When you turn on the film and you don’t see those guys, it’s like, ‘Oh, man, what’s going on?’ It’s weird to see all those guys just leave at one time.”
And it’s been reported that LB Jerod Mayo, whose 139 tackles led the Patriots last year, will miss multiple weeks after injuring his knee Monday night. (The Patriots listed him today only as "did not practice.") Mayo was the defensive signal caller for what has become a younger unit.
“They’re definitely a faster team, but the other guys made up for it because they had seen so much and they had been in the system so long,” J-Co said. “Knowing exactly what to do made up for some of the speed.”
Addressing the Fine
The National Football League fined the Jets $75,000 and GM Mike Tannenbaum an additional $25,000 for failing to place Brett Favre on the injury report last December. Favre, now a Viking, publicly has stated that he played with a torn biceps tendon during the season’s final quarter.
"We have been fully cooperative with the League throughout this investigation and respect their decision," said the team in a statement.
Former Jets head coach Eric Mangini, who holds the same position now in Cleveland, was also fined $25,000.
Tags: Brett Favre, Darrelle Revis, Eric Mangini, Jerricho Cotchery, Kris Jenkins, Mike Tannenbaum, New England Patriots, Randy Moss, Rex Ryan
Posted in Eric Allen | 46 Comments »
We’re still in that gray period, that interregnum, between the regimes of Eric Mangini and Rex Ryan. Until the season starts, reporters still will have questions about the two, and those "compare and contrast" queries are always dangerous thickets for a player to venture into.
But Kris Jenkins knows how to handle Uncle Charlie, knows how to smack that yakker into the gap.
Dennis Waszak, my good, hard-working friend from The Associated Press, framed his question after Wednesday’s OTA practice along the lines of reminding Big Jenk that he said at the end of the season that he didn’t think Mangini should have been relieved of his command, but asking if the big nose tackle can see the good that has come with the start of the Rex regime.
Jenkins’ answer was thoughtful and fair all around and gives some insight into what the players think about the end of one "era" and the beginning of another, as opposed to how fans and reporters may see it. Here is his lightly edited, off-the-cuff response:
"Honestly, you have to look at it on a timeline. You know, at the time they let Mangini go, we didn’t know about Rex Ryan, we didn’t know what was coming, we didn’t know anything that was going to be going on. All we knew was that our coach had got fired. and when you look at the situation … I felt he got judged, no offense, according to your [reporters'] standard instead of the football standard. You understand what I’m saying? I’m not trying to bash anybody or put anybody down, but when you have people on TV telling you what’s wrong with a coach when they’re not in the locker room … then what they’re basing his losses on isn’t the reality of the situation.
"And the reality of the situation is we did some great things, and we had a skid at the end. Now was it a bad deal? Yes. Was it something serious? Yes. In my personal opinion, did I think it was enough for him to get fired? No. And that’s what I was speaking about. I was speaking my personal opinion.
"Now that was then but now we’re at now. I think that everybody from Woody Johnson to Mike Tannenbaum to everybody involved made probably one of the best decisions that they could’ve made for the Jets as far as moving forward. I really think their selecting him was better than getting this facility built, if you want my opinion on that.
"It’s not a situation where I’m going to slight my old coach or put him down, but at the same time I’m going to give credit where credit’s due. Rex is a heck of a football coach. And that’s it.
"Right now the only thing I can do is be a defensive tackle. So I’m going to play for my team, I’m going to play for my coach, I’m going to support my team, I’m going to support my coach — and I hope to have fun doing it.
"So that’s the reality of the situation, that’s why I’m here, and I’m just trying to enjoy it until there’s going to be a time where I’ll be sitting down watching the guys on TV."
The other topic that Jenkins held forth on was the team concept to help the young and old on this team to do something that everyone wants done. Again, Jenkins in his engaging patois cut right to the heart of the age-old question of why experience matters.
"We’re getting old," he said, referring not to the Jets as a team but to certain selected veterans such as his soon-to-be-30-year-old self. "The chances that we have to take a shot at that Super Bowl ring are getting smaller and smaller by the day. So since they’re getting smaller, we’re going to take it a lot more seriously. And since we’ve been around this, we understand what it takes for that chemistry to be there in order to have a legitimate shot.
"And we see that, so that’s why we feel good about it."
The Science of Splat
We mentioned Jenkins’ appearance, taped last season, on Fox’s "Sports Science" in March. For anyone who didn’t see it and wants to see a 360-pound man throw a 160-pound "lab rat" such as John Brenkus, the show’s host, like a shotput, check out the video here.
Washington Back at Headquarters
Today’s OTA practice was not open to the media, but we can report that proud papa Leon Washington was back in uniform. Washington, who returned Monday after three weeks away from voluntary practices, was absent from Wednesday’s workout because his fiancée, Charity Young, gave birth to a son, Noel.
The practice was a short one, with the players beginning around 10:30 a.m. and ending an hour later. The players then showered and dressed and headed for three buses that took them to the team’s "Jerseys Off Their Backs" event with about 30 businesses in the Florham Park-Madison-Morristown area. Tim Carlson will have a report on how the outing went for Friday morning on newyorkjets.com.
Tags: Eric Mangini, Kris Jenkins, Leon Washington, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 29 Comments »
Rex Ryan confessed to one "poor decision" Thursday, which was bringing that morning’s OTA practice into the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fieldhouse when the rain had stopped and he could have worked his team outdoors.
But the fieldhouse is good for many things, and one of them was to act as an echo chamber, the better to bounce the taunts of linebacker Bart Scott around to everyone else’s ears.
But Scott — overheard once even seeming to needle punter Eric Wilbur from the sideline during a special teams period — insisted that "Everything I do is for a reason."
"It takes tremendous energy and cardio to talk and practice at the same time," Scott said in the locker room after the practice. "I enjoy talking because it forces me not to be able to breathe, so it helps me get in shape faster."
It also gets his teammates into a certain condition as well.
"It’s awesome," quarterback Kellen Clemens said. "All it does is up the intensity. It’s fun being out there competing against your boys, and a little bit of trash talk here and there just makes it that much more enjoyable. It’s never personal with Bart or with anybody else. It just keeps it light."
And as kicker Jay Feely informed his Twitter followers:
"That was our most enthusiastic practice yet. If you can’t handle being heckled, don’t come play for the Jets."
Which, said head coach Rex Ryan, is also a part of the method to Scott’s madness.
"You have to let everybody express themselves, as long as it’s not detrimental to the football team," Ryan said. "They’re having a good time out there. Even [Damien] Woody told me, ‘Man, I never heard somebody get on somebody so much. No cuss words, but getting on people. It’s a good thing.’ Yeah, no kidding. He’s trying to pick up everybody’s game. If he can get the offense riled up and ready go, we’re going to get everything the offense can give, whether he’s getting on the punter, whatever.
"And trust me," the coach continued, "the offense is giving it right back, the coaches give it right back. It’s a competitive thing. As soon as somebody’s chirping, you want to prove him wrong. It livens up the practice. It’s hard to have a bad practice when guys are flying around out there."
Thursday’s practice was part of the Rex equation in action. Every NFL coach seeks out ways to focus his team’s attention and optimize its output and get that winning edge.
Some of the weapons in Bill Parcells’ arsenal were the intimidation factor from the Big Tuna himself, plus an us-against-them mentality and exquisite preparation. Herm Edwards stressed "inconveniences" and personal interaction to draw out the Jets’ best. For Eric Mangini, the emphasis wasn’t on trash talk but it was on distractions such as practicing in bad weather and loud music.
Fans can argue which approach is best and how effective any of them were. But what is true is that each of those coaches used his style to get the Jets to the playoffs at least once.
Now it’s Rex’s turn and the Green & White are doing it Ryan’s way. It’s not all about smack, of course. The Jets also plan to have a ballhawking defense, a "ground and pound" offense, their usual high-quality special teams.
But as Feely tweeted, to survive practices like Thursday’s: "You have to have thick skin or earplugs."
Think of what the Jets’ opponents in the foreseeable future will need.
Tags: Bart Scott, Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini, Herm Edwards, Jay Feely, Kellen Clemens, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 32 Comments »
Draft, day one … short and sweet. I can’t believe I bought a PSP to kill time for what was sure to be a long day. I didn’t even get to create my own player on MLB The Show before we started hearing rumblings the Jets were moving up in the draft.
At first, we heard it was a deal with the Jags at eight if Mark Sanchez was there. But because that was so public, the Redskins could’ve jumped in front of the Jets to take him if they wanted to mortgage their future. But just as I was complimenting Daily News Jets beatwriter Rich Cimini for predicting three of the top four picks correct, the buzz surrounding the Browns making a trade with the Jets started.
It escalated quickly. I mean, within a matter of 30 seconds from the time a trade was reported, cameraman Mike Kenney and I busted out of the press room running to the auditorium. Woody Johnson was about announce the pick to an audience of suite holders and club seat owners in the new stadium before the commish read it to the world.
We arrived just before the Jets owner and just in time to get the shot of the fans explosion when he made the call. This might be bigger than Brett Favre. You knew Favre was only going to be a one-year addition. This is a franchise QB the Jets believed in from the first time they saw him.
All of a sudden, the Jets season just got a lot more interesting. Remember when the Browns drafted Brady Quinn? Derek Anderson blew up that year and gave that team a great problem to have. Who knows? Maybe everything clicks for Kellen Clemens this year and he lights it up, never giving Sanchez a chance to start.
Funny thing is, Jets fans can thank Eric Mangini for this deal. Had he not been fired and taken the job at Cleveland, the Jets might not have gotten Sanchez. They were perfect trade partners because Mangini needed certain players familiar with the 3-4 defense he and Rob Ryan (Rex’s brother) are going to run.
The Jets swap players for the pick, the Browns get players familiar with the defense and the Jets get a franchise QB … who will be making a ton of money.
I asked Calvin Pace how the California Kid with the big paychecks ahead would be welcomed. He joked that he expects the rookie to buy dinner for the entire team … on every road trip!
I expect day two to be just as fun. We’ll be out there early in the morning and I promise to update my Twitter page often … http://twitter.com/snysteve.
Tags: Brett Favre, draft, Eric Mangini, Kellen Clemens, Mark Sanchez, Mike Tannenbaum, Woody Johnson
Posted in Steve Overmyer | 23 Comments »
There is certainly a number of competing opinions about the Jets’ tradeup and drafting of QB Mark Sanchez today. I understand the Green & White fan and media base. As Rodney Dangerfield would say sweatingly as he pulled on his collar, "Tough crowd … tough crowd."
But I’ve also learned to trust in a few things with the Jets. The team’s scouting department, headed by Joey Clinkscales, knows what it’s doing, knows what it’s looking at.
As Rex Ryan said at his first news conference after his first first-round draft choice as an NFL head coach: "We certainly wouldn’t have taken Mark if we didn’t think he was a tremendous prospect and a guy that obviously we feel great about."
The other thing I trust in is Trader Mike.
Mike Tannenbaum seems to have a little Donald Trump in him for the art of the deal. He began his GM stewardship by trading John Abraham for Nick Mangold in 2006. The next year he made a very nice deal with the Bears for Thomas Jones, then charged up the first round 11 slots for Pro Bowler-to-be Darrelle Revis and up the second round 16 rungs for David Harris. The trade back into the first round for Dustin Keller looks very promising after one year.
For his next act, Tannenbaum needed to turn No. 17 overall into the QB that he, his coaches and his scouts, not to mention Woody Johnson, were sold on.
There were two parts to this deal. One was dealing with Eric Mangini, who took over the Browns’ coaching reins nine days after giving up the Jets’ reins. As many in the media seemed to be thinking, "Wasn’t that … awkward?"
But here’s another thing I learned about Tannenbaum and Mangini: They are realists.
"Eric and I had a good relationship and we continue to have a good relationship. We talk," Tannenbaum said. "I thought he did a really good job here — I’ve said that publicly and privately — and I expect him to do a good job there. We’re also really excited to have Rex right here. But Eric’s going to do what’s best for the Cleveland Browns and we’re gong to do what’s best for the Jets."
In the calculus of this trade, what was best for both teams was substituting three Jets players — QB Brett Ratliff, DE Kenyon Coleman and S Abram Elam — for the rest of the Jets’ ’09 draft picks.
"We thought some of these players would fit the defense that Rex’s brother, Rob, and Eric want to run," Tannenbaum said. "I look at it not as much ironic as it is more of an opportunity we could take advantage of. Traditionally, we’d have had to use a few more picks [to complete this deal], but instead of using picks, we could use players that have real value to Cleveland, so we thought it was a real win-win from that standpoint."
Is it tough losing Elam? Sure it is, after all the big plays he made last season. But with the free agency addition of Jim Leonhard to Kerry Rhodes and Eric Smith, safety is in good hands. (And remember that Elam made it to free agency before the Jets re-signed him.)
Is it tough losing Coleman? Sure, as the two-year starter at RDE he wasn’t a big sacker but he was a big tackler, a reliable piece to the kind of 3-4 Mangini wants to play. Now I don’t want to start handicapping position battles, but do you know who started at RDE in the Ravens’ style of 3-4 defense in 2004, when Ryan was the D-line coach? Marques Douglas.
Is it tough losing Ratliff? No doubt. But often in these deals, you have to give a QB to get a QB.
Will this deal work out? I don’t know. Sanchez has to beat out Kellen Clemens sooner or later, and I know KC has some different ideas on the competition ahead. Then should Sanchez do that, he’ll have to survive and thrive in the ghostly shadows of Joe Namath and Chad Pennington and maybe even Ratliff.
But I do know that Tannenbaum can play poker. With all kinds of rumors abounding — they’ll will trade to 8, they’re going to try to get to 2, they’re going to stay at 17, they’ll trade down — he stayed the course and pulled off his 16th trade involving draft picks since he took over the GM’s office in ’06.
Hopefully for fans of the Green & White, the 16th will be the sweetest of them all.
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NFLN: Interview with Sanchez, Newest Member of the NY Jets
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Tags: Abram Elam, Brett Ratliff, Eric Mangini, Kenyon Coleman, Mark Sanchez, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 40 Comments »