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Cromartie’s Starting Feat Not Too Common in NFL

Posted by Randy Lange on December 12, 2012 – 5:18 pm

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.

Rex Cetera

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.


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Rivalry Game? S. Hill Feels Strongly Both Ways

Posted by jlholt32 on October 19, 2012 – 4:48 pm

While many label the Jets-Patriots matchup as a rivalry, rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill isn’t approaching it that way.

“I’m just taking it as a regular game,” Hill said this afternoon after practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “Not doing too much, just going out there and treating it as that next game you’re trying to take to the next level. Just making plays, and going out there to help out the team, so we can get a W.”

Hill, who earlier this season missed two games sidelined with a hamstring injury, made his return to the lineup Sunday for the Jets’ 35-9 win over Indianapolis. No. 84 looked sharp in his first game back as he caught three passes for 23 yards and recorded the third touchdown of his career.

“It was good,” he said. “Not playing for two weeks, I was hurting. So I definitely had to come back as strong as I could to make plays.”

The 6’4″, 215-pounder said he feels no additional pressure heading into Sunday’s AFC East showdown. He said the Jets veterans have spoken with him some about the game but didn’t tell him anything noteworthy.

“They were just like, ‘It’s a big week, divisional week,’ ” Hill said. “That’s it. That’s how they treat it.”

Hill got to experience a special rivalry during his college days at Georgia Tech. Whenever GT would prepare to face Georgia there was always extra buzz and chatter being spread. Hill said the anticipation this week has been almost the same as a Georgia Tech-Georgia matchup.

“I like rivalry games,” he said. “It definitely brings a lot of excitement, of course, to the game. I’m just ready to take this on, especially being now in the NFL. It’s even bigger now.”

Many Jets players have said the level of focus has increased this week in practice. Hill totally agrees. Not only has he been studying the Patriots during film sessions at the Jets’ facility, but he also saved footage of them onto his iPad.

“I feel like this was my best week since I’ve been here,” Hill said. “I’ve been very dialed in, into the playbook and things like that. So I’ve just been reading as much as I can, just to get a feel of what they’re going to throw at us on Sunday.”

There are always challenges on the road, yet Hill said he enjoys the atmosphere of being away from home. A win in Foxboro and the Jets would return home with more enjoyment than they could imagine.

“It would do a lot,” Hill said. “We would be at the top of the division. That’d be great and definitely give us a boost of confidence.”

Coples on Jets-Pats “Logistics”

As a kid, Quinton Coples said he hardly ever watched the Patriots, the opponents the Jets will be facing Sunday afternoon.

“I was a Pittsburgh Steelers fan,” the Jets’ first-round draft selection said. “I watched them against the Pittsburgh Steelers, but no, growing up that wasn’t one of my teams at all.”

Coples will be participating in his seventh game as a pro. So far, there have been ups and down.

The former North Carolina Tar Heel has been informed of the yearly hype surrounding Patriots week. However, he couldn’t decide if Sunday will be the biggest game he’s played in his football career.

“I don’t know,” Coples said. “That’s hard to debate as far as whether it will be my biggest game. But I take every game seriously and I’m looking forward to getting back there and getting after it in this great rivalry.”

Without question, Coples will enter the game with plenty of confidence. Against the Colts he recorded the first two sacks of his NFL career. While the Patriots have the league’s top offense, No. 98 doesn’t seem fazed when analyzing the matchup.

“I think every game is every game,” he said. “At the end of the day, you have to take care of it and make sure you get a win. I’m not too big on turning it up a level. I’m trying to turn it up every game. A rivalry game is definitely a lot more aggressive and a lot more grimy. There’s no telling what could happen. But at the end of the day, it’s fun.”

Coples hasn’t heard anything about New England’s fan base but expects them to be loud and ready, especially considering the Pats are returning home off their heartbreaking 24-23 loss at Seattle.

Like with any rivalry, there probably will be plenty of trash-talking going on throughout this one.

“Since this is going to be my first one, I can’t really speak on it,” Coples said. “I can just go out there and make sure I take care of my job. I think after this first one, I’ll understand the logistics of how crazy this game is.”

Friday Injury Reports

Ryan pegs 10 of his 17 injured players as probable for the Patriots, including TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and Hill (hamstring), who both strung together two full-go practices for the first time in weeks. Also probable are LBs Bart Scott (toe) and Bryan Thomas (hamstring), who were limited in practice all week.

As for the backup RB situation, the Jets coach didn’t elaborate but is letting the designations speak for themselves. RB-KR Joe McKnight (ankle) didn’t participate in practice all week but is listed as questionable for the game, while RB Bilal Powell (shoulder) was also a three-time DNP and is doubtful for the Patriots.

Other Jets doubtfuls: DTs Sione Po‘uha (back) and Kenrick Ellis (knee). Questionables besides McKnight: C Nick Mangold (ankle), who was limited at today’s practice after not going Wednesday and Thursday, and WR Clyde Gates (shoulder).

The Patriots have declared starting S Steve Gregory (hip), rookie RB Brandon Bolden (knee) and LB Tracy White (foot) out for the game. Rookies Tavon Wilson and Nate Ebner are listed as the backup safeties behind Gregory and Patrick Chung.

Bill Belichick has also listed 11 players, all of whom were limited at today’s practice, as questionable for the Jets. Seven are or have been starters: Chung (shoulder), TEs Rob Gronkowski (hip) and Aaron Hernandez (ankle), LB Dont’a Hightower (hamstring), LG Logan Mankins (calf/hip), RT Sebastian Vollmer (back/knee) and WR Wes Welker (ankle).


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Greene and ??? Will Run the Rock vs. Patriots

Posted by Randy Lange on October 18, 2012 – 5:45 pm

What will the Jets’ running back depth chart look like Sunday? Rex Ryan seemed to pull a play out of the old Bill Parcells playbook by saying in so many words, “Lookit, fellas, you’re just gonna have to come to the game and find out.”

Asked if he had a feeling on if RBs Bilal Powell (shoulder) and Joe McKnight (ankle) would be able to play against the Patriots, Ryan replied: “Yeah, I have a feeling on it, but I’m not necessarily going to share it with you. Both of those guys won’t practice today. We’ll see how the week goes on, if they’ll be available or not.”

Might that make RB Jonathan Grimes, perhaps, a candidate for some third-down work?

“I think Grimes will probably be up this week. That’s a possibility,” the coach said. “But to say he’s our third-down back, I don’t think so.”

Which led inexorably to the latest wrinkle in the Tim Tebow tapestry. Could we see No. 15 lining up at tailback behind Mark Sanchez on occasions at Gillette Stadium on Sunday?

That’s a possibility. The thing about Tim, with him being a football player like we’ve always talked about, by playing quarterback, he knows all the positions. Can you plug him in at running back? Can you plug him in at tight end? I think the answer is yes.”

Is that likely? Well, it’s likely that it will spark the next Tebow feeding frenzy. He’s been available in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center locker room generally on Wednesdays and Fridays. Yesterday he was asked a very preliminary question about playing some RB.

“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s not something that’s been talked or planned or worked on at all, so probably not.”

But that was yesterday.

Shonn Greene is the No. 1 back, of course. He was asked about Tebow at tailback.

“Who’s that,” he replied. “I never heard of him.”

But seriously, Shonn, how do you think Tebow would look carrying the ball in a non-Wildcat role?

“I don’t know,” he said. “I guess I’ll see just like you guys.”

Greene, of course, is coming off of his career highs of 32 carries and 161 yards and a franchise-record-tying three TD runs against Indy. He had 15 of the Jets’ last 18 carries of the game (Tebow had two out of the ‘Cat and Sanchez had a kneeldown) because of the Powell and McKnight injuries.

He was serious about the Tebow angle, saying, “Whatever it takes for us to win,” but that also includes taking the rock 40 times if he has to.

“Whatever they ask me to do,” he said. “I’m ready to do whatever they want me to do. If need be, all the snaps, then that’s what it’ll take to win.”

To be sure, Greene moving the chains and reaching paydirt once or twice would be important pieces to the puzzle of trying to keep Tom Brady and the Pats offense off the field. And it’s something he’s been good at up in the Massachusetts countryside. He’s had three, if not spectacular, at least efficient games running the ball at New England, averaging 4.4 yards on 51 carries with two TDs and 14 first downs.

He said there’s nothing about the Gillette turf or anything else he can remember as to why he runs well at New England. More important, he thought, was building on the momentum he and his blockers finally captured in running the Colts ragged.

“I think so, I think so,” he said. “We have to stay with it. Sometimes it’s not going to be good. We just have to keep consistent with it and we’ll be all right.”

C Nick Mangold was also optimistic about keeping the ground game grinding away, but disagreed that the Jets’ rushing offense, which improved to 15th in the NFL in yards per game but is still 23rd in yards per carry, is now “fixed” after its 252 yards vs. Indy.

“No, it’s another step in the process,” Mangold said. “I think we made good strides, but nothing is ever completely fixed. There’s always something to tinker. So we’ve been continuing to do that and continuing to try to focus and get better.”

Thursday Injury Reports

Injury report movement is a poor predictor of teams’ performances in an upcoming game, but today’s I-movement on the Jets and Patriots lists would appear to favor the Green & White.

For the first time in four weeks, both TE Dustin Keller (hamstring) and WR Stephen Hill (hamstring) were full-go in practice. DT Sione Po‘uha (back), who had sat out the previous seven practices and two games, was limited today, as was WR Clyde Gates (shoulder).

There’s not much concern for Nick Mangold’s ankle, primarily because he came back to play on it after he hurt it in the third quarter against Houston and went the first 58 of the Jets’ 64 offensive plays on it vs. the Colts.

Mangold has been a DNP for both practices this week. Asked how his ankle is feeling today, he said, “It’s fine. How’s yours doing?” As for the prospect of having Vince Wilfork’s 325 pounds leaning on it Sunday, the affable center replied, “That probably won’t help anything. But I assume it’ll be up for the test.”

Meanwhile, the Patriots’ DNP list grew from two to five as TE Aaron Hernandez (ankle), G Logan Mankins (calf/hip) and S Steve Gregory (hip) sat things out in Foxboro along with rookie RB Brandon Bolden (knee) and LB Tracy White (foot).

TE Rob Gronkowski (hip) and WR Wes Welker (ankle) were among the nine Pats listed as limited. New to the limited list was DT Ron Brace (back). New England lists 15 players on its latest report.

Flag Day

We began the season by playing up the number of yellow flags WR Santonio Holmes was getting thrown at the opponents trying to cover him. This week it’s the opposite side of the coin: Antonio Cromartie got four flags thrown at him for his coverage of Colts receivers on Sunday.

The three penalties that were marked off against Cro were all for fouls against Reggie Wayne — two pass interferences, one of which cost him an INT-return TD, and an illegal contact. And his first flag of the day was a holding against Donnie Avery that was declined.

That equaled Cromartie’s high as a Jet, which he established against the Ravens in the 2010 opener with a PI, two holds and an offside, and equaled last season at Oakland when he was caught on two PIs and two holds. So the bad news is that he has one four-penalty game in him per season. The good news is that once that game in the first half of the season is out of the way, he doesn’t have anything close to it the rest of the season.

One other penalty note: Mark Sanchez drew his first hard-count penalty of the season when he got LB Jerry Hughes to jump offsides in the second quarter.


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Inevitability on the Island: Revis Goes to IR

Posted by Randy Lange on October 12, 2012 – 3:58 pm

Updated, 6:20 p.m. ET

Head coach Rex Ryan said he was hoping against hope but that the more medical news that came in, the less hope there was.

So this afternoon Ryan announced that CB Darrelle Revis will be placed on injured reserve, officially ending his season.

“I know I had said before that I’d like to wait for Darrelle to have surgery,” Ryan said at his afternoon news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “Unfortunately, really with our time situation and Eric Smith being out this week, we’re going to need that roster spot.

“And when I said there was a point-zero-zero-two chance, it’s not that high. In the best interests of the organization and Darrelle, we’ll place him on IR. He won’t be designated for return. And that will be it. I was holding out hope, but the more information we got, the more you realized it wouldn’t be good for Darrelle either.”

Ryan said Revis will undergo surgery on his torn ACL on Thursday, Oct. 18. He also reported that WR Santonio Holmes (foot) and LB Josh Mauga (pectoral) have already undergone surgery for their injuries. Holmes’ Lisfranc injury occurred against San Francisco and Mauga’s came Monday night vs. Houston.

“We’re anticipating and assuming, really, that these guys will be full-go when we come back in the offseason,” the coach said.

The Jets also announced tonight that they are filling Revis’ roster spot by signing S Antonio Allen, their seventh-round pick out of South Carolina, from the practice squad. Due to Smith’s injury Allen could be in uniform Sunday. With Stephen Hill’s potential return to action, it’s possible five of the eight members of the Jets’ 2012 draft class could see action vs. the Colts.

Hill Will “Try to Make a Big Difference”

Newyorkjets.com reporter John Holt reports from the Jets locker room this afternoon on rookie Stephen Hill:

It’s been a little over a month now since rookie wide receiver Stephen Hill broke onto the NFL scene.

The 6”4’, 215-pounder has missed the last two games rehabbing from a hamstring injury that he suffered during the Jets’ 23-20 overtime win against Miami back on Sept. 23.

“It’s been hard,” Hill said this afternoon after practice, “but the guys in here have been keeping me grounded and making sure I get back out there as quickly as possible.”

It appears that No. 84 will make his return Sunday when the Jets host No. 1 draft pick Andrew Luck and the Indianapolis Colts at MetLife Stadium. The Colts hold a 2-2 record and are coming off an impressive 30-27 win over Green Bay.   

“I feel pretty good,” Hill said. “I’m just looking forward to Sunday.”

After catching five passes for 89 yards and scoring two touchdowns in his NFL debut, Hill was held without a reception in his next two games.

While sidelined, one of his biggest mentors, WR Santonio Holmes, suffered a season-ending foot injury. Hill, the Green & White’s second-round draft selection, understands that although he still is a rookie, he will be expected to step up moving forward.

“I’m going to try and make a big difference, as much as I can, any plays that I’m in,” he said. “But other than that, we’ve been doing a great job. We just have to get that connection. Once we get that connection, it’s going to be great.”   

Besides Hill, the Jets also expect to have tight end Dustin Keller back Sunday. Keller, who previously hadn’t missed a game or practice in his four-year career, has missed the past four games, also with a hamstring injury.

With both receiving options expected back, quarterback Mark Sanchez and the Jets offense should receive a significant boost.

“It’s frustrating,” Hill said, “especially as a guy that doesn’t do that, just sit on the sideline for an injury. But you know, I had to go through it and I hope it’s best for me, so I didn’t have to hurt anything.”

The Rest of the Injuries

Besides Hill, the Jets listed three other players as limited today: TE Dustin Keller (hamstring), C Nick Mangold (ankle) and LB Bryan Thomas (hamstring). Keller and Thomas are both probable to play vs. the Colts. As Keller said in one last visit with reporters today, “I would never guarantee anything, but I think I’m pretty much 100 percent.”

Mangold is listed as questionable with the ankle he injured early in the third quarter against Houston. Although he returned at the end of the third quarter and finished the game, he was held out of team drills all this week. But Ryan said today, “I definitely am hopeful he plays” against Indy.

Five players did not participate and all are listed as doubtful: FB John Conner (hamstring), DT Kenrick Ellis (knee), WR Clyde Gates (shoulder), DT Sione Po‘uha (back) and S Eric Smith (knee).

The Colts are listing six players as out for the Jets — LB Pat Angerer (foot), RB Donald Brown (knee), LB Robert Mathis (knee), DT Fili Moala (knee), G Joe Reitz (knee) and DT Martin Tevaseu (ankle) — and one player as doubtful — CB Vontae Davis (ankle). All but Angerer and Tevaseu, the former Jet, are starters.

Three Colts are probable for the game: LB Dwight Freeney (ankle), RB Mewelde Moore (ankle) and C Samson Satele (knee).

Cena Steps into the Ring Sunday

WWE Superstar John Cena will lead the Jets chant pregame and serve as an honorary team captain before Sunday’s game against the Colts at MetLife Stadium. WrestleMania XXIX will be coming to MetLife Stadium on April 7, 2013. Cena will be playing his new role six days after comedian Kevin James handled the chant duties at Monday night’s game against the Texans.


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A Multipurpose Pad-Popping Practice Period

Posted by Randy Lange on October 5, 2012 – 5:40 pm

Today’s practice at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center was kind of a cooling-down day from Rex Ryan’s special “Bloody Nose Wednesday, Special Thursday Edition” that he conducted the day before.

“We put in an extra period Wednesday, a little eight-minute period,” said the Jets head coach of the idea suggested by OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo to fire up the team in general and two areas in particular, the rushing offense and the run defense. “It was ones vs. ones, your base power boss running game against the defense. It was all runs, one play-actoin. We put our guys out there, put the ball down and said, ‘Let’s have at it.’

“I challenged our guys to really compete against each other, and the only way you get better is when you go full-speed against each other. And that’s what we did. It was an outstanding period, to the point where I’m like, ‘Oh, man, is that it?’ The period was over and I wished we could keep going.”

There are obvious restrictions, both CBA and coaching-wise, on having slam-bam practices like this. Only one full-pads practice is allowed per week, so Thursday was it for the Jets. It wasn’t tackling to the ground — that’s a sure way to get some more in-season injuries — but it was close.

“The backs, the quarterbacks, the receivers, we took care of them,” said rookie DT Quinton Coples. “But in the trenches, it was a dirty world.”

“We just had to get back to fundamentals,” said LB Nick Bellore. “Sometimes you get caught up in keeping each other healthy, but sometimes you’ve just got to go full-speed.”

“I don’t think it’s fun for nobody,” said Coples. “It’s old-school football, best man wins every rep.”

While it wasn’t necessarily fun, it seems the players as well as Ryan and his coaches knew something had to be tried, to help the OL work on staying on its blocks, the DL to get off blocks and cut down on the coaches’  count of 17 missed tackles vs. San Francisco, and equally important to jolt the team from any lingering 49ers doldrums in time to tackle the undefeated Texans on Monday night.

Ryan said the eight minutes of pad-popping intensity was worth it.

“It was just the focus, guys really competing against each other, knowing that’s what we have to do to get better,” he said. “If you’re not working hard, you’re not going to get better. So it’s a win-win situation. When you put that kind of emphasis on it, you’re taking care of each other by competing at a 100 percent level against each other.”

Will it achieve the desired effects? We’ll see the results in three nights’ time.

Howard’s Tunes

We checked in with RT Austin Howard the other week about the music he listens to as he warms up to play in a game. He gave a few names of his favorite old-school pregame performers — Sam Cooke and Marcel Howard.

That Cooke guy we’ve heard of. But Marcel who?

Austin’s brother, of course.

“Marcel lives in Chicago and one of his hobbies is putting together beats, tracks,” Howard said. “He sends them to me usually Friday night or Saturday night when I get to the team hotel.”

A Windy City musician, then?

“It’s just one of his hobbies, but he has worked with some artists,” he said. “He does all instrumental music. He has his own unique style, not specifically hip-hop, whatever he feels.”

If Howard appears to be feeling it against the Texans’ J.J. Watt, Connor Barwin, Brooks Reed and company, we could credit the all-in-the-family tunes that got his mind right in the hours before opening kickoff.

Injury Reports

Friday is like Thursday this week when it comes to injury reports.

And just as they have most weeks this year, they’ve added another player to their report as the week has gone on. Today it’s RB-KOR(-DB?) Joe McKnight, who was sent home with an illness and did not participate in practice. He’s the 25th Jet listed this week.

There are three other changes from Thursday’s list. LBs Bart Scott (toe) and Bryan Thomas (hamstring) were limited after not working yesterday. And S LaRon Landry (heel) spent his usual middle practice day of the week as a DNP.

Ryan was non-committal about his non-participants, in particular TE Dustin Keller and WR Stephen Hill, both sidelined with hamstring issues. “The fact that they’re now out another day of practice isn’t good,” he said, adding, “I know they’re making improvements, they’re making strides.”

The Texans added LG Wade Smith (knee) as a DNP today. Along with C Chris Myers (back, full) and G Antoine Caldwell (ankle/knee, limited), their three interior OL starters are on the list. So are three of their biggest skill players: RB Arian Foster (hamstring, full), WR Andre Johnson (groin, limited) and TE Owen Daniels (thigh, limited). They’re listing 17 players on their latest report.

Mangold Jersey App Opp

Laura Clemente tells us that there’s a one-of-a-kind opportunity ahead for all you Nick Mangold fans to get a No. 74 jersey signed by none other than No. 74 himself. If you’re not at Monday night’s Jets-Texans game at MetLife Stadium, then you’ll no doubt be tuned in to ESPN. While you’re watching, check into the game with the Viggle app via your Smartphone or iPad for that opportunity to win the jersey. You can download the Viggle app from the App Store or Google Play.


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Kroul Rocks On as Candidate for Backup Center

Posted by Randy Lange on June 22, 2012 – 10:17 am

On the surface, the Jets’ backup center spot could be viewed as similar to when Colin Baxter was Nick Mangold’s immediate backup for a short span early last season.

But while the Jets’ current reserves — Caleb Schlauderaff and Matt Kroul — have no pro regular-season snaps on their résumés, which is the same as Baxter had when he arrived via waivers last September, both Jets have had more pro practice reps at this stage of their careers.

For Kroul in particular, this is a crucial offseason and training camp ahead. And the trenchman from the nation’s heartland is eager to proceed with this latest development on his unpredictable pro career path.

“It’s going well,” he said at the end of last week’s full-squad minicamp. “I’ve got Nick. He helps out a lot, and that’s kind of where I’m focused now is center. In drills I’m with Nick, in team periods I’m coming in behind him. He’s a good asset.”

Kroul’s assets never used to included snapping a football between his legs unerringly into a quarterback’s hands. He had been a starting defensive tackle at the University of Iowa and at Mount Vernon (Iowa) High School, where his offensive exposure came as a two-year, 2,000-yard, 36-TD running back. He came to the Jets as an undrafted DT in 2009.

His transition to offense began last July after the lockout ended.

“It was guard in camp, and then I played scout center all last season,” he said. “I’ve pretty much been center these first three phases [of the offseason schedule].”

What are the toughest tasks for him as a center?

“Just seeing the entire field, reading defenses,” he said. “As a defensive player, you’re very focused on one guy for sure, maybe two or three. And now your vision’s broadened to reading maybe eight guys. That’s probably the hardest thing and the biggest difference.”

And so the snapping thing is … a snap?

“Sometimes it’s tough, being a two or three [center] because there are three or four different quarterbacks,” he replied. “Every quarterback’s kind of different and you’ve just got to get enough snaps with those guys.”

Besides Mangold’s guiding hand, there has been a changeup in coaching styles with new OL coach Dave DeGuglielmo.

“He’s good. It’s a different style. I had kind of the same thing in college,” Kroul recalled. “We had a kind of quiet guy in Coach Callahan and now ‘Guge’ is a different coaching style. But offensive line is offensive line. A few different techniques here and there, different ways of coaching stuff, and that’s the way it’s going to be.”

That may also sum up Kroul’s philosophy. He’s a tough, durable player (he set the Hawkeyes record by starting 50 consecutive games). He’s got leadership skills as a former college captain. He’s got the size at 6’3″ and 300 pounds. He’s clearly smart and versatile. And there’s something about him that has prompted head coach Rex Ryan and his evolving staff to bring back the now 26-year-old “kid.”

“I think Matt has that kind of ability where he can be in that mix,” Ryan said last summer in revealing that Kroul was not only an offensive lineman now but a center. “I’m excited about him. I think he can do it.”

Ryan said last week that Schlauderaff, the guard who came to the Jets last September in a trade with the Packers, is the first backup. And fans will remember in that difficult primetime loss to the Ravens that left guard Matt Slauson spelled Baxter at center for a few midgame series.

The depth chart behind Mangold will sort itself out at Cortland beginning in five weeks. But Kroul has the physicality and the mentality to stick on the roster this time around.

“I just went home one weekend, Memorial Day, and that was it. I’ve been here playing ball. That’s about it,” he said of his offseason schedule. “It’s exciting every day you’re competing. Now it’s almost time to go into camp ready to rock.”


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More Teammates on Sanchez-Tebow Alliance

Posted by Randy Lange on April 16, 2012 – 4:03 pm

With Rex Ryan, Nick Mangold and Santonio Holmes available on a conference call today, beat reporters had a lot of questions to catch up on. One of the natural areas of inquiry: Tim Tebow/Mark Sanchez. Rex has commented on the trade acquisition of Tebow less than a month, but Mangold, who will be snapping the leather to both, and Holmes, who will be catching the rock from both, hadn’t publicly weighed in yet.

Holmes said the trade caught him a little off guard.

“I was surprised,” the seventh-year wideout said during his portion of the call. “He was a second-year guy and a first-round draft pick. Getting trading from the Broncos certainly was a surprise for himself and the whole NFL. My take, bringing him aboard, I think he’s going to do some great things for our team this year. He’s a guy we can depend on when situations come about. He’s going to show he’s a playmaker who can help this team win.”

Mangold said the “playmaker” angle intrigued him the most.

“As much as any other trade or movement that gets done, if it’s going to help our team, I’m all for it,” the seventh-year center said. “Tim’s won a lot of games. He brings a new dynamic for our offense. Any chance to make us a better team, I’m all for it. I’m excited to see how that plays into our plans moving forward.”

Ryan has already said those plans involve Sanchez as the starting QB, but just to make sure, he was asked about that angle again today.

“Of course, Mark’s the starter, there’s no question about it. That’s how we look at it,” the head coach said. “We know Tim can help us, too, no doubt. He’s an outstanding football player. You look at both those guys, they’re both really good players, and they’re good people, and that’s where it is. Anytime you’re on the field, regardless of position, there’s competition. But Mark is our starting quarterback, we’ve said that, and Tim’s our backup quarterback. But we recognize that he’s an outstanding player and we’re going to use his abilities. We’re extremely happy to be able to use both of them.”

How that all sorts itself out, well, that’s what this time of year is partly for. It’s also time for the Jets to see their new playbooks, the offense’s book courtesy of new coordinator Tony Sparano.

“Learning the new offense is going to be new for all of us. We’re going into this season with clear minds, having our expectations on what Coach Sparano is going to teach us this year. We’re eager and excited, man, to get out on the field come OTAs, and even in the little time we have in between [now and the OTAs].”


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Trio of Jets Receive All-Pro Nods from TSN

Posted by Eric Allen on January 31, 2012 – 1:27 pm

Joe McKnight didn’t get an invite to play in the Pro Bowl, but The Sporting News named the Jets top kickoff return man to their All-Pro team.  Three Jets earned All-Pro nods from TSN as C Nick Mangold and CB Darrelle Revis both were voted to the team in vote by 30 coaches and executives.

McKnight, a fourth-round pick out of USC in 2010, became the club’s primary kick returner when Brad Smith departed to Buffalo in free agency.  The 5’11”, 205-pounder led the NFL with a 31.6 kickoff return average and his 107-yard scoring return against the Ravens in Week 4 was the longest play in Jets history.  He also blocked a punt in a season-opening win over the Cowboys that Isaiah Trufant scooped up for a game-tying score.

A contributor on offense as well, McKnight averaged 3.1 yards on his 43 rush attempts and 10.7 yards on his 13 receptions.  With the league year set to begin on March 13 and impending unrestricted free agent LaDainian Tomlinson considering retirement, McKnight could see his offensive duties increase under new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

“You look at a guy like Joe McKnight and see the strides he took from year one to year two,” said Senior Personnel Executive Terry Bradway during Senior Bowl Week in Mobile, Alabama.  “Now if he can continue to do that in year three, then you’ll feel really good about where he is.”

The Jets feel awfully good about both Mangold and Revis.  Widely considered the best in the sport at their respective positions, they participated in the Pro Bowl “game” Sunday in Honolulu, HI as the AFC captured a 59-41 decision.

Mangold, 6’4”, 307 pounds, was the Jets’ 29th overall selection in 2006.   He missed the first two games of his career in Weeks 3 and 4 losses at Oakland and Baltimore after suffering an ankle injury in a 32-3 rout of the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sep. 18.

“We’re spoiled having Nick Mangold in there,” said QB Mark Sanchez.  “He’s the best in football. Hands down. He’s awesome”

After an interception-less 2010 season, Revis saw the ball more and collected four thefts along with 24 PDs.  The Jets traded up to get Revis with the 14th overall selection in 2007 and the Pittsburgh product has not disappointed.

“I saw where Deion Sanders mentioned…that when it’s all said and done, that he’s (Revis) is going to go in there with the all-time greats, and I don’t disagree with him,” said Rex Ryan.  “Because I think eventually you’re going to end up mentioning Revis with Deion Sanders and Willie Brown.”


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Jets’ Pro Bowl Four at Practice, Play 60 Event

Posted by Andrew LeRay on January 27, 2012 – 2:39 pm

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.


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Brandon Moore Named to AFC Pro Bowl Roster

Posted by Randy Lange on January 22, 2012 – 9:34 pm

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.


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