Howdy from Heinz.
The Jets’ first buses have arrived at Heinz Field and about half the team is now in the visitors’ locker room. The buses parked outside, next to the ramp into the stadium, and the players came off mostly single-file, quiet, focused. Kellen Clemens was first off, followed by Steve Weatherford, Tony Richardson, Mike Tannenbaum and the rest.
Guard Matt Slauson came in from outside without a coat and with a long-sleeved shirt, sleeves rolled up. He looks ready to rumble in frigid Pittsburgh. Will he duplicate B.J. Askew, who warmed up topless in the 2-degree windchill of Green Bay in 2006? Not likely, but then again …
I took the early equipment bus over from one of the team hotels across the river to Heinz and assumed the position in the pressbox a little earlier than usual. The stadium is still silent and empty in all its yellow and black splendor but soon it will be filled with Steelers (and more than a few Jets) crazies attempting to influence today’s AFC Championship Game and send their side on to North Texas for Super Bowl XLV.
No question this city loves its Stillers. Walking around town last night, I noticed more than the usual number of places of employment, closed for Saturday night, displaying GO STEELERS signs in their windows.
In the middle of town, at a darkened street corner — I couldn’t tell where it was coming from, couldn’t see the likely watering hole from whence it emanated from — I heard the voice of the late, great Curt Gowdy. Some establishment was piping the replay of Gowdy’s call of Super Bowl XIII between the Steelers and Cowboys.
Marc-Andre Fleury, the Pittsburgh Penguins goaltender who posted the 3-2 win over Carolina on Saturday night, just around the corner at Consol Energy Center, came back on ice to receive his first star of the game. He was still wearing his hockey uniform, of course, but also was sporting a Steelers helmet and was waving a Terrible Towel.
Yep, they love their Steelers here. But the Jets’ plan in the next six hours or so is undeniably to disappoint them.
That got me to thinking what the result was of teams that beat an opponent on the road in the regular season, then met that team again in the postseason. Hmmm, that didn’t sound as if it would favor the road team the second time around, would it?
But just as the myth of “You can’t sweep a team in three games in a season” isn’t true, neither is the urban legend that “You can’t beat a team twice in a year on its homefield.”
Since 2000, and including some games already played this postseason, the record favors the home team getting some payback, but only slightly. In 19 such pairs of games, the home team’s record in the playoffs is 11-8.
The Jets have experienced this before. In 2009 they won at Indianapolis in Game 15, then, a day shy of a year ago, lost to the Colts in the AFC title game. In 2006 they won at New England in the RS, lost in the WC game. In 2001 the (in)famous back-to-back Oakland trips occurred, with a win to get in to end the regular season, followed by a 38-24 wild-card loss to the Raiders six days later.
But in 2004 the Jets held off the Chargers in San Diego in Week 2 and did the same in overtime in the AFC Wild Card Game.
Suffice to say the Green & White are not worried about any historical trends as they plan on adding a championship-game bookend victory to their 22-17 triumph on this very field on Dec. 19.
Well, not exactly on this very field. Heinz Field was resodded on Jan. 8, paid for by the NFL for damage done to the surface from constructing the hockey rink for the Winter Classic between the Penguins and the Capitals.
So Jets-Steelers will be only the second game played on this winter grass, after last week’s Steelers-Ravens divisional-round game. The field looks good — in fact great compared to the chewed-up sod that helped doom Doug Brien and the Jets back in January 2005. The tarp, I’ve been told, was removed earlier today to help dry out the field a little and prevent it from becoming slick in the colder air that will move in as the afternoon turns into evening.
That’s the early report from Pitt. I’ll update you on more of the pregame doings and inactive lists around 5:30 p.m., and then an hour after that we’ll get it on at Heinz.
Tags: Curt Gowdy, Heinz Field, Kellen Clemens, Marc-Andre Fleury, Matt Slauson, Pittsburgh Penguins, PIttsburgh Steelers
Posted in Randy Lange | 4 Comments »
You can kind of tell where Drew Coleman’s coming from by how he treats the big-play football he comes up from time to time.
“I left a lot of plays out on the field Sunday night,” the fifth-year corner said after today’s practice, but he couldn’t deny that he took one very big play away from the Dolphins to preserve the Jets’ lead and win with his last-minute interception. “I kept that ball and actually sent it back home to my dad. That was the third ball I’ve sent back to him in my pro career.”
Pressed on the occasions for his other trophy case pigskins, the softspoken man from Henderson, Texas, swore he didn’t remember what one of the others was for.
“But I actually did keep a ball a few years back against New England for an interception,” he said. “The play was called back, but I kept it because it was against Tom.”
Jets fans will probably remember that pick in Coleman’s rookie season at Foxboro, which he lost due to a borderline roughing-the-passer call on Victor Hobson. But the Jets pulled out that win anyway, and Coleman, in his fourth pro start that season, had seven tackles and also forced a fumble.
The reason for this trip down memory lane with Coleman is that he’s been around the Jets for a while now, and he’s held onto his spot by being good and by being ready to contribute wherever and whenever called on.
Such as he may be called on Sunday at Buffalo. Head coach Rex Ryan said today that he and coordinator Mike Pettine are giving Coleman and first-round rookie Kyle Wilson reps with the first defense this week in the event that Darrelle Revis and his sore hamstring are not ready to return to action vs. the Bills.
“I think Kyle’s struggled a little bit,” said Ryan of Wilson, who’s started the last two games. “This guy quite honestly has been much better than I thought at picking things up. It’s the communication part of the defense, not a physical thing but more of a technical issue. Maybe it’s just tightening things up a little bit more and I think he’s going to be just fine.”
But, Ryan said, “I think Drew’s earned it. We put him in and he stood up. We think as coaches that he deserves a shot.”
Coleman has survived each year because he’s stayed humble and has been ready when that shot is presented to him.
“It’s definitely satisfying getting an opportunity with Darrelle out,” he said. “It’s an opportunity to help this team by going in and giving my best shot. With Rex, you’ve got to be ready. Everybody’s in the rotation. It’s something that we’ve stressed is going to happen during the season. Don’t be not studying, don’t be just messing around. Be ready when your number’s called.”
In other words, the phrase “Next man up” doesn’t just apply to the D-line post-Kris Jenkins. And whether Coleman starts or it’s Wilson again, you should figure that number 30 will be called sometime Sunday at “the Ralph.”
Kellen’s Replacement? Not
It was revealed today that the Jets put in a waiver claim for Trent Edwards, the Buffalo quarterback who suddenly became expendable and was cut. The Jaguars also put in a claim and were awarded Edwards, but the question that some will ask is what if the Jets got Edwards? Would that have been it for Kellen Clemens in green?
Both Ryan and Clemens said trenchantly said that was not the case.
“The obvious thing would be we were going to pick his brain — absolutely that’s true,” Ryan said. “But the other thing is that I think the young man can play, I think he’s a good quarterback. We always look at every opportunity to make our team better.
“Now before I did this, I brought Kellen in and said, ‘Kellen, you OK with this? I won’t even claim him if you’re not OK with this.’ He said, ‘Hey, Rex, I want to win as bad as you do. Absolutely, claim him.’ And that’s what we did.”
Clemens hasn’t always found it easy being in green, but he said later in the locker room he was never worried about what such a move meant for him.
“I knew it was coming,” he said. “He was willing to come to me first and give me the heads-up on the situation. As far as putting a claim in, I don’t care. That move had nothing to do with replacing me.”
Clemens is well aware that that’s what teams do in the NFL, especially teams in the same division as other teams. Using New England purely hypothetically and not because they picked up Danny Woodhead in a similar manner (not through waivers but by signing him after the Jets cut him), KC said:
“If you’re the Patriots and you’re looking at two guys with similar skill sets and one played for Miami and one played for Seattle, which one are you going to like?” he said.
Left unsaid was what the Jets would’ve done with four QBs on the roster again (and a fifth in Kevin O’Connell, who was cut, re-signed and is now on IR). But unstated or not, there was a plan. And Clemens said he’s feeling more like a part of the plan, whoever else is on the QB depth chart.
“I think the relationship between Rex and myself and Mike [Tannenbaum] and myself really continues to get better every day,” he said. “It wasn’t bad, but I feel I’m one of Rex’s guys.”
Ryan and his training staff aren’t categorizing anyone as out of the Buffalo game but today’s injury report did list Revis (hamstring), LB Calvin Pace (foot), OL Wayne Hunter (shin) and LB Jamaal Westerman (ankle) as not participating in today’s 11-on-11 drills. T Damien Woody (personal) also was a DNP.
The Jets list seven players, the Bills, four, all starters — DE Marcus Stroud (ankle), LB Andra Davis (shoulder) and TE Jonathan Stupar (foot), all DNPs, and LB Paul Posluszny (knee, limited).
Tags: Drew Coleman, Kellen Clemens, Kyle Wilson, Rex Ryan, Trent Edwards
Posted in Randy Lange | 33 Comments »
The weather is playing a role in tonight’s regular-season debut for the Jets in their new home.
It was announced last hour that tonight’s Jets-Ravens kickoff, scheduled for 7:10 p.m. EDT, has been delayed at least a half-hour by the steady rain and lightning that have moved over New Meadowlands Stadium and the East Rutherford, N.J., area.
Update, 7:10: The most recent announcement is that the opening kickoff will take place around 7:25, only 15 minutes after the original KO was slated. We’ll see, but the heavy thunderclouds have moved off and the rain appears to be over for tonight.
Temps are forecast to drop to the mid-60s and thunderstorms to hang around in the first half before the wet weather subsides.
Two injured players are, not surprisingly, atop the Jets’ first inactive list of the new season. S Brodney Pool (ankle) and LB Calvin Pace (foot) are both sidelined, as are RB Joe McKnight, OL Vlad Ducasse, T Patrick Brown, TE Jeff Cumberland and DT Marcus Dixon. Kellen Clemens is listed as the Jets’ third QB.
For the Ravens, the inactives are WR Donté Stallworth, CBs Lardarius Webb and Bryan McCann, LB JasonPhillips, DTs Arthur Jones and Terrence Cody, T Jared Gaither and DE Paul Kruger. They are not listing a third QB tonight.
Walt Anderson is the ref for his ninth Jets regular-season game since 2003. His last game before tonight? “Win And We’re In,” the 37-0 rout over the Bengals on Jan. 3 that simultaneously ended the football history of the old Meadowlands stadium and propelled the Jets into the playoffs.
The Jets are wearing their white jerseys and white pants for tonight’s historic event. It’s the first time they’ve worn their double whites, including this preseason, since the 2009 home opener in Game 2, the 16-9 win over the Patriots. During their five-game losing streak against the Ravens since ’98, the Jets have lost wearing all their non-Titans permutations: green/white, white/white (twice), green/green and white/green.
Tags: Brodney Pool, Calvin Pace, Kellen Clemens, Walt Anderson
Posted in Randy Lange | 25 Comments »
Rex Ryan had a few simple reasons for why the Jets waived quarterback Kevin O’Connell today. At the top of the list …
“We’re getting closer to Baltimore,” the Jets head coach said at his daily news conference this afternoon. “Quite honestly, the more things we put in, we don’t need that information going out.”
It’s a long-standing NFL tradition, certainly not invented by Bill Parcells, Eric Mangini or Rex Ryan: Bring in a player for a week or a month or even a season to help provide intelligence off the field while providing competition on it.
But with Ryan’s coaching staff installing the offensive and defensive game plans for the season opener against the Ravens on Sept. 13 (while prepping the twos and threes for their preseason finale at Philadelphia on Thursday), he figured the less O’Connell has to pass on to his next team about the Jets, the better.
But Rex wants O’Connell to play long and prosper.
“This gives him an opportunity for some teams who are looking for quarterbacks,” Ryan said about waiving the third-year signalcaller ahead of Saturday’s final NFL cutdown to 53 players. “I was pretty high on him. He’s a big, smart, athletic guy. But at the end of the day we went with Kellen, who’s maybe not as tall or as pretty but who outplayed him. That’s why we quite honestly chose him.”
Clemens, Ryan amplified from Monday’s remarks, was going to be on the Jets unless another team had been interested in allowing the Jets’ second-round pick in 2006 to come in as its starter.
“I would’ve traded him. I told him I would do the right thing for him, if someone was going to give him an opportunity to be a starter,” the coach said. “But he was going to be on this football team.”
O’Connell was originally a third-round pick of the Patriots in the 2008 draft out of San Diego State. He was waived by the Pats last summer, Detroit signed him, then the Jets traded with the Lions for him on Sept. 6.
O’Connell was inactive for all 19 games last season, although he was listed as the Jets’ third QB for four games — Games 2 and 10 against New England, Game 13 at Tampa Bay and the AFC Divisional Round Game at San Diego.
This preseason he made his only appearances as a Jet. He played against the Giants and the Panthers in the first two games and did not appear against the Redskins. His final preseason passing numbers were 8-for-16 for 70 yards, two INTs, no sacks and a 22.4 rating.
It remains to be seen whether some unofficial initial reports of Calvin Pace missing 4-6 weeks from Monday’s foot surgery pan out, but they were not the official prognosis and Ryan offered a cautiously optimistic forecast for the OLB’s return to action.
“He’s doing really well. … The doctors seem to think the surgery was really successful. They’re very excited about it,” Rex said. “But we’ll see how it happens, no infections and all that kind of stuff. We feel confident he’s going to definitely miss the first week. We’ll see about the second week. I’m not sure.”
Newest Jet: Ricky Foley
The Jets, who have been intrigued by Larry Taylor’s contributions this preseason, have gone back to the CFL by way of Seattle when they were awarded LB Ricky Foley on waivers from the Seahawks today to fill their available 75th roster spot heading into the Philadelphia preseason finale.
Foley, from York University in Toronto, was a Canadian league star, a first-round pick of the British Columbia Lions in the 2006 CFL draft who became a Lions starter last season.
Although he was with the Seahawks most of this year, he has one other NFL connection. In 2006 he spent time on the offseason roster of the Baltimore Ravens, whose D-coordinator at that time was none other than Rex Ryan.
Tags: Calvin Pace, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O\'Connell, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 43 Comments »
The question posed to Rex Ryan this afternoon was if, heading into the final preseason game at Philadelphia on Thursday night, Kellen Clemens is on the bubble.
Said Rex: “I would say he’s got a pretty strong chance of making this team.”
Said Kellen: “Score! It’s a heck of a lot better than it could’ve been.”
Many who’ve tried to handicap the Jets’ quarterback depth chart behind starter Mark Sanchez thought Clemens would be moving on, if only because, as the fifth-year man acknowledged, “I think I’m a little more expensive than Kevin [O'Connell] is.”
KC channeled Yogi Berra on whether he’ll be on the Jets’ 53-man roster this season. “It certainly isn’t over till it’s over,” he said. “I think history has proven that.”
But he’s rolled with the punches and come off the deck in the first week up at Cortland to make a case that he still should be wearing the green and white.
“My approach has been pretty consistent. I didn’t get a chance to compete for the No. 2 job,” he said. “That’s one of those areas I was a little frustrated by earlier in camp. You’ve got to put your head down and push through it.”
He knows he hasn’t put up any big numbers in his preseason opportunities. He didn’t play against Washington and in the first two games his six drives resulted in three field goal attempts, two punts and a Joe McKnight lost fumble at Carolina. But he also knows what the practice grades say.
“Statistically, I haven’t blown anything away. My percentage is good, yards aren’t real high, I haven’t thrown a touchdown,” he said. “But from how I’ve graded out with the coaches, it’s been my best preseason ever”
Clemens will get to show a little more of his progress from that frustration at learning Mark Brunell, signed the week before camp started, was the No. 2. As Ryan said about his quarterback rotation for the Eagles game:
“Mark [Sanchez] will be the only one who doesn’t play. I anticipate us playing the other three, Brunell, Clemens and O’Connell.” In that order? “Probably … OK, since I mentioned them that way, let’s do it that way.”
Is this a critical game for Clemens then to survive final cuts, likely to be announced Saturday?
“I wouldn’t put it in the critical stage,” Ryan said, adding of others on the now 75-man roster, “Some of them are on life support.”
Ryan said of Brunell, who is thus in line to get the start against the Jets, “This is his best week so far in practice. I think he’s catching up to the playbook. He’s throwing it well this week.” But Rex added about the second offense, “I think we’d all feel a little better if we moved the ball.” Brunell’s eight series have ended in six punts (five three-and-outs) and two lost fumbles.
The coach had no updates on any Jets interest in free agent LB Adalius Thomas. “We need to play this game and find out exactly how we have the roster set up,” he said. “Really, we need to give these guys a good look, a good, hard look.”
Calvin Pace, who broke his foot when it appeared that Redskins RT Stephon Heyer landed on it during a third-quarter pass rush Friday night, is scheduled to have surgery on the foot in Charlotte, N.C., at 5 p.m. today.
Ryan gave an injury report, even though his first injury report of the season isn’t required by the league until next Wednesday. Did not practice: T Damien Woody (lower back), S Brodney Pool (ankle), LB Kenwin Cummings (shoulder), G Charlie Tanner (knee) and S Donovan Warren (head). DE Shaun Ellis and LB Josh Mauga were limited.
Tags: Kellen Clemens, Mark Brunell, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan
Posted in Randy Lange | 26 Comments »
The backup quarterback battle will be joined at today’s third day of Jets training camp at SUNY Cortland.
Kellen Clemens, who was rehabbing a calf issue, passed his second conditioning test in two days at 6 a.m. Tuesday and was cleared to return to practice Tuesday morning. His reps were limited yesterday — “I wasn’t completely complaining about that,” he said. “My legs were pretty tired coming off all the running and stuff.”
His reps this morning were also limited, but today’s afternoon session could signal the start of the Jets’ seemingly annual QB camp competition, although needless to say this year’s derby is not for the win position but for place and show.
And while everyone has thoughts and theories of how the depth chart should line up behind starter Mark Sanchez, no one and certainly not head coach Rex Ryan and coordinator Brian Schottenheimer have said that the positions have been settled. For instance, many supposed that with the signing of Mark Brunell would come the release of Clemens.
Guess what. KC is still standing.
“There’s no reason why it couldn’t be me and the two Marks and Kevin [O'Connell],” Clemens said, leaving off Erik Ainge, who for now remains on the Reserve/Non-Football Illness list. “They’ve mentioned that they’d like to only carry three quarterbacks this year, but plans change. They might cut it all the way down to two. Brad Smith is a very talented player, too.”
Brunell for sure came in on Monday and showed why he’s lasted 17 NFL seasons as he unselfconsciously barked signals and fired completions downfield while also deftly checking down and occasionally tossing the ball away under pressure.
“I’m still a player, man,” Brunell said playfully but pointedly to a reporter suggesting his role on the Jets might be purely as a non-participating mentor. “I’m wearing the shoulder pads. When I’m in there, it’s my job to move the team. Because of my experience I can help young guys like Kevin, Mark, obviously, and even Kellen. I’ve been around awhile. But I am a player.”
“He was impressive out there,” Ryan said of Brunell’s first practice. “He really looks good.”
But Clemens is far from throwing in the green and white towel. That was clear when he reported to the Jets’ SUNY Cortland dorms Sunday and was asked one of those simple, direct, perhaps loaded questions: Why are you here?
“I’m here because I can play, and I can play well, and they know that,” Clemens said with conviction.
“It’s an interesting situation,” he told me with a smile and a laugh two days later. “I’ve been through it. You get the surprises of Brett Favre showing up and all of a sudden Chad Pennington’s gone. Then they draft Mark and there’s a competition. It’s just part of this game. And unfortunately I’m starting to get used to kind of the uncertainty that sometimes comes with it. So you just have to deal with it. You don’t have much of a choice.”
“I’m certainly not trying to belittle the situation and say it’s a cakewalk because it’s not,” he continued about that uncertainty of his position. “It’s taken a lot of patience and a lot of prayer and support from family and friends back home.”
And this morning KC is coming out throwing and following his mantra for this situation: “Make the most with the reps you get and be ready when your number’s called.”
Tags: Erik Ainge, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O\'Connell, Mark Brunell, Mark Sanchez
Posted in Randy Lange | 12 Comments »
Santonio Holmes, who is attending to a family matter, has had his mandatory training camp report time changed to Wednesday, Aug. 4.
The Jets also placed QB Kellen Clemens (calf) and NT Kris Jenkins (hamstring) on the active PUP list. When both players are cleared to practice, they’ll be eligible to immediately come off the list.
Tags: Kellen Clemens, Kris Jenkins, Santonio Holmes
Posted in Eric Allen | 9 Comments »
A week ago, Rex Ryan led off his post-OTA news conference with some semi-humorous words for his kickers, Nick Folk and Clint Stitser, who struggled with their practice-closing field goal tries.
Today Folk responded with an impressive 4-for-4 finish to his day.
"I feel a little better today than I did the other day," the coach said. "Nick made all his kicks. I feel a little better about that."
"Oh, yeah. That’s all right," Folk said about last week’s remarks from his boss. "It’s a learning curve right now. We’re still learning, getting together and working out the kinks. It’s a slow process, but today I think we showed a great deal of confidence in our operation and it showed pretty well in the results."
There is a lot of learning to do even for the kickers at this time of year. The operation Folk talked about was Tanner Purdum snapping and punter Steve Weatherford as his holder. But Kellen Clemens also has held and Matt Mulligan has also been snapping, so there has been some adapting to different parts in the assembly line as well as to some persistent breezes at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fields.
Needless to say, all kickers will have to deal with such contingencies during the summer and into the season. Today Folk dealt with them by laying down a four-of-a-kind. He finished the first offense’s two-minute drive with Clemens at the controls by punching through a 47-yarder for the "game-winner." Then on three final kicks, Nick was true from 33, 36 and 43.
Stitser, however, missed all three of his tries from those last three distances. No transaction was immediately announced, but Ryan said, "That young man, I don’t think he’s ready right now. Will he be ready in the future? Maybe so. Right now, we’ll move on."
Update, 6 p.m. — The Jets have announced that Stitser has been released.
One Magic Night Out
Being the big man on the Jets campus, Ryan occasionally gets to rub elbows and break bread with the greats. And recently that meant that the Jets head coach, along with owner Woody Johnson and GM Mike Tannenbaum, dined in New York City with Magic Johnson.
"You try to surround yourself with great people," Rex said. "At least that’s what he told me."
The occasion came about because the Jets brass met up with the former Los Angeles Lakers great at the Mayweather-Mosley fight in Las Vegas. Ryan, knowing Johnson was in New York, extended the dinner invite.
"You know it wasn’t Mike because he’s a Celtics fan," Ryan said.
Magic entered this conversation at today’s post-practice news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center because the point Rex was making in dropping one of the biggest NBA names was that his team, with its collection of talented players trying to make it all the way to the Lombardi Trophy by next February, is having some spirited sessions already, and it’s only OTA season.
"Magic was telling me about when he was on the Dream Team," Ryan said. "I asked him what those practices were like. He said they were the most intense things, the fiercest competition he’s ever been in, more than games, more than anything else, because you’re with the greatest players in the world and that’s probably why those guys were like that.
"Special guys love competing. And that’s what you see on the practice field."
Praise for the Smith Brothers
Ryan repeated his thinking at safety that if the season started tomorrow, Eric Smith would be starting alongside Jim Leonhard. But he’d like to see that change for a lot of reasons.
"We’re trying to get Brodney Pool caught up," Rex said. "Ideally, Brodney would be the starter and Eric would play his role. But Eric and Brad Smith are as valuable to our team as anybody. They’re on every special team and they can do special things on offense, in Brad’s case, and on defense, with Eric. Sometimes you start one of those guys and they play every snap and they’re not as effective in their other roles. We feel Brodney’s going to catch up and be [the starter] and we can afford to keep Eric in his role."
Jenkins Roars into the Lead
The Great Weight Chase’s next check-in is Friday morning, and Kris Jenkins is feeling feisty.
"I still have a little jiggle, but it’s going away," the big nose tackle said. "I’m a pound ahead of [Damien] Woody and five pounds ahead of Rex. I’m confident that if I don’t do anything crazy, I’ll be at 85 tomorrow."
That’s five pounds in the two weeks of the competitions, a rate that get him to his goal of being under last year’s 360 playing weight by the time training camp starts at the start of August.
Meanwhile, there’s an interim goal of 10 more pounds, which will get him on the field with his teammates instead of rehabbing from last year’s knee surgery on the sideline. "Absolutely," he said about being ready to roll for the June 14-16 full-squad minicamp. "Everything I’m doing now is just about the conditioning."
Bart Scott was a pass-defending machine at today’s practice. Early on No. 57 broke up a quick slant from Kellen Clemens to Jerricho Cotchery. Then he swatted away a Mark Sanchez 7-on-7 red zone ball for Braylon Edwards in the end zone. Finally, in 11-on-11 RZ, Scott picked off a Clemens ball for Edwards that was deflected into the air and took it the other way.
Clemens, running the first offense in team drills, had some nice rollout completions, then found Cotchery in RZ work in the end zone past rookie CB Kyle Wilson for the score. … J-Co caught another TD that got through Wilson’s hands. … Sanchez got a TD pass to J-Co over the middle vs. Dwight Lowery and another to David Clowney open on a rollout. … Kevin O’Connell worked with the second unit and hit some nice completions: skinny post to Britt Davis despite coverage in position work, TD down the middle to Larry Taylor ("the other LT"), and a down-the-middle strike to rookie TE Jeff Cumberland during his two-minute possession.
Rex on Sanchez: "He’s doing fantastic. He’s probably ahead of where we thought he’d be. Today he even snuck into a team rep. ‘Oh-oh, what’s he doing?’ ‘It’s a run.’ ‘OK.’ "
At practice today: two former Jets and current SNY Jets talkers, Greg Buttle and Ray Lucas. Lucas was impressed with LB Jason Taylor, whom, it should be remembered, Lucas not only played against as a Jet but with as a Dolphin. "Jason? He’s going to shock the world," Lucas told me. "It’d be different if I didn’t play with him in Miami. I’ve seen that work ethic. He’s going to be great. People will come around when he has seven sacks in the first half of the season.
Buttle was concerned about special teams. "Defensively, they’ll be in every game, tough vs. every team," said the one-time Green & White LB. "Offensively, they’re loaded. The only question I’d have there is the health of certain players. To me it doesn’t look like it’ll be too hard to coach the offense and defense. But it’ll be hard coaching the special teams. That’s what [Mike] Westhoff gets paid for. If I’m a Jets fan, I’m sipping some team under an umbrella and I can’t wait to see this team play. But the big question to me is going to be what they’re doing on special teams."
Tags: Bart Scott, Clint Stitser, Greg Buttle, Kellen Clemens, Kevin O\'Connell, Mark Sanchez, Nick Folk, Ray Lucas, Rex Ryan, Tanner Purdum
Posted in Randy Lange | 29 Comments »
The New York Jets announced today that they will tender contract offers to eight of their 11 restricted free agents.
As previously stated by Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum, WR Braylon Edwards was given the highest possible tender at first-round and third-round draft selections as potential compensation.
The Jets also placed second-round tenders on RB Leon Washington and WR Brad Smith, original-round tenders on S Eric Smith and T Wayne Hunter (who both entered the NFL as third-rounders) and an original-round tender on S James Ihedigbo. The “Dig” tender will give the club right of first refusal because Ihedigbo, a Massachusetts product, originally entered the league as an undrafted free agent.
Cornerback Drew Coleman was also given an original-round tender, which for him would be sixth-round compensation.
Backup QB Kellen Clemens, a second-round pick out of Oregon in 2006, was given an original tender. But RFA rules state that because the Jets used at least one second-round tender (on both Brad Smith and Washington), they cannot receive second-round compensation for Clemens. If another team signs Clemens to an offer sheet and the Jets elect not to match that offer, the Jets will get that team’s third-round pick.
The Jets could have tendered Clemens at the second-round level, but the tender figure for second-round compensation is higher than for original-round compensation.
Wideout Wallace Wright, LB Marques Murrell and DT Howard Green all had their contracts expire, were not tendered by the Jets, and will become free agents at midnight tonight. The Jets will receive no compensation if any of those three signs with another club.
|Restricted Free Agent||Seasons||Compensation Level|
|WR Braylon Edwards||5||1st- and 3rd-round picks|
|RB/KR Leon Washington||4||2nd-round pick|
|WR Brad Smith||4||2nd-round pick|
|QB Kellen Clemens||4||Original draft round (3rd)*|
|S Eric Smith||4||Original draft round (3rd)|
|T Wayne Hunter||5||Original draft round (3rd)|
|CB Drew Coleman||4||Original draft round (6th)|
|S James Ihedigbo||3||Original draft round (FA)|
|DT Howard Green||5||Not tendered|
|LB Marques Murrell||3||Not tendered|
|WR Wallace Wright||3||Not tendered|
*Drafted in second round but compensation would be third-round pick.
For the tender figures for each player, you can go to NFLLabor.com and scroll to the Feb. 19 entry on Tenders for Restricted Free Agents.
Tags: Brad Smith, Braylon Edwards, Kellen Clemens, Leon Washington
Posted in Eric Allen | 43 Comments »
Before Mike Tannenbaum celebrated his Valentine’s birthday on Sunday, we sat down with the Jets’ GM in his office to discuss a multitude of topics, including the upcoming free agency period that commences March 5, the potential challenges of an uncapped year, the club’s draft preparations and his recollections of a memorable playoff run. You’ll be able to view the multipart interview later this week on newyorkjets.com, but we wanted to give you a little news tease from our discussion.
After having announced in his season-ending news conference that he planned on placing tenders on Braylon Edwards, Leon Washington and Kellen Clemens, Mr. T. said he also intends on placing tenders on both the versatile Brad Smith and S Eric Smith. The Jets have 11 restricted free agents, and by placing a tender on an RFA, the Jets protect themselves from losing that player in a couple of ways.
Other teams can make contract offers to the Jets’ RFAs from March 5-April 15, but New York’s AFC representative would have one week to match anything that was signed, with the last possible matching date landing on April 21. If the Jets choose not to match an offer, they would receive compensation in the form of a draft pick or picks determined by the player’s tender and draft selection.
Brad Smith became a major force down the stretch, returning the second-half kickoff a franchise-record 106 yards in the Week 16 win over the Colts, rushing four times for a career-high 92 yards in the regular-season finale against the Bengals, which propelled the Green & White into the playoffs, and completing a 45-yard pass to Jerricho Cotchery in the AFC Championship Game. The 26-year-old Smith, in his fourth season out of Missouri, rushed for a career-high 207 yards in ’09 and was a special teams standout for Mike Westhoff with 20 ST stops.
Eric Smith was on the receiving end of a 27-yard pass from Brad Smith on a perfectly executed fake punt at Tampa Bay. Providing depth in the defensive backfield, E. Smith was credited with four starts at S this year and was credited with 34 regular-season tackles (according to coaches’ video breakdown), six PDs and one interception. He’s also a core special teams player credited with 25 tackles.
Jets’ Draft Order
Late last week, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent out a memo to all NFL general managers, head coaches and personnel directors that contained the tentative order for the 2010 draft. The order does not include compensatory selections, which next month will be awarded to clubs at the bottoms of Rounds 3-7.
As we’ve written before on newyorkjets.com, the Jets currently own the 29th selections in the following rounds: 1, 2 (No. 61 overall), 6 and 7. The Green & White’s third- and fifth-round selections were sent to Cleveland in the package that brought Braylon Edwards to New York in October. And the Jets, courtesy of the Lito Sheppard deal last February, own the Eagles’ 24th selection in Round 5. To obtain Sheppard, the Jets shipped to Philadelphia a 2009 fifth-round pick and their four-round pick in ’10.
Tags: Brad Smith, Braylon Edwards, Eric Smith, Kellen Clemens, Leon Washington, Mike Tannenbaum
Posted in Eric Allen | 41 Comments »