So what about NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell saying this week that the league’s competition committee would consider in the offseason replacing the kickoff.
Really? No kickoffs?
I don’t like it. But it doesn’t much matter what I think. However, two Jets whose opinions on the subject do matter also don’t like what they’re hearing.
“I hope not. I hope not,” ST coordinator Mike Westhoff said pensively this week. “That’s player safety, so I think I’m in tune with that. But I just like the kickoffs. I just believe in it. I know the collision part and I think that’s something you have to be careful of. If you teach it the right way, it can be done properly.”
“No, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” said Joe McKnight, who had a phenomenal year of returning kickoffs last season and is doing very well again this year. “What about the guys that aren’t starting. Where are they going to start? You start on kickoffs and special teams.”
Two different points of view, both agreeing that a flat-out removal of kickoffs from the game is not what we’re looking for. Safety has been the primary mover for last year’s rules revisions, which have resulted in about 50 percent of kickoffs now resulting in touchbacks and a reduction in the number of concussions and other injuries incurred on the balls that are returned.
“You already moved the kick from the 30 to the 35, which gives us 5 yards less to run instead of a whole lot of room,” McKnight said of himself and his fellow returners and coverers. “Now you’re trying to take it out of the game? People like me and Ellis [Lankster] need these special teams for us to build for later on, the next couple of years when we’re trying to win our positions on offense and defense.”
Westhoff is serious about his concern for players’ health and safety. While Greg Schiano, Tampa Bay’s first-year coach, has gotten some publicity attached to this subject with his proposal to turn all kickoff situations into fourth-and-15 punt situations (the fourth-and-15 conversion rate is about the same as the successful onsides-kick rate), Westhoff said he and assistant ST coach Ben Kotwica have canvassed the league’s teams coaches and put together their own kickoff proposal, which he said the league was interested in.
“I hope it doesn’t happen, but if it does, there are also alternative methods that I think would be very productive and very competitive, so I would hope they’d go with that,” said Westhoff, who didn’t want to go into details of that plan for reporters until after the season. But he said one thing that can be done immediately in lieu of cutting kickoffs out of the game entirely is to cutting back even more on violent hits on unsuspecting players during returns.
“Blocks in the back, those types of things, used to be legal. We eliminated them from punts, but they’re still legal on kickoffs. The kickoff team can smack the blockers in the back and it’s legal,” Westhoff said. “My thing is, when is it ever good to hit somebody in the back?”
McKnight has a warrior-type mentality about returns. He didn’t talk about concussions but more the general “nicks and nacks” that returners get and playing through them, as he’s had to do this year with several injuries, such as an ankle sprain and last week’s rib injury.
“I can’t worry about injuries,” he said. “I’m still trying to make a name for myself.”
It would be a sin if an important slice of the game is made to disappear. As Westhoff reminded, “Can you imagine the Super Bowl? You’ve seen those pictures of the opening kickoff and all the bulbs are flashing? ‘Well, here we are, put the ball down, let’s go.’ C’mon, guys.”
But external and internal pressures on the game will dictate what the NFL does about kickoffs in future years. For now, the play is still alive despite the tinkering, McKnight is probable for Sunday’s game, the Jets are seventh in the league in average returns while the Jaguars are 29th in the league in average returns allowed. You know Joe and the Jets’ specialists want to do a little more reputation-building before this season is done.
*Special Teams Saturday
Tags: Ben Kotwica, Ellis Lankster, Greg Schiano, Jacksonville Jaguars, joe McKnight, Mike Westhoff, Roger Goodell
Posted in Randy Lange | 21 Comments »
Long before he was appointed NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell served as a public relations intern for the Jets.
“The team was coming off an AFC Championship appearance. It was Joe Walton’s first year and a lot of things happened in that year,” Goodell told me of his 1983 season with the Green & White. “It was interesting for a young guy like me to be able to see that from the inside. As far as my duties — I did anything, but my main job was to arrange interviews for the players with the media.”
It was our privilege to sit down with Goodell for this special “Four Quarters” interview that was shot inside MetLife Stadium. Much has changed for the Jets and the league since the Commish was a Jets seasonal employee in 1983 and the team played its home games at Shea Stadium in Queens, N.Y.
“It’s spectacular,” Goodell said while looking around MetLife Stadium. “What a great place for fans. It’s a great place to watch a game.”
Walton’s ’83 Jets finished 7-9 and out of the playoffs just one year after Walt Michaels’ ’82 team advanced to the infamous “Mud Bowl” AFC title game in Miami. But Goodell treasured his one-year stint with New York’s AFC representative and the relationships he made.
“Kenny O’Brien and Freeman McNeil and Marty Lyons — these guys, I just had a great relationship with them,” he said. “And I still see them from time to time and they always like to tease me about being their intern and I love that. They’re just great men and so are our players in general. I’m so proud of our players.”
Goodell, on hand at the Met in Week 10 for an NFL Health and Safety Forum for 200 youth football players, has placed an emphasis on the health of his players. As part of the new CBA, the NFL will spend more than $100 million over the next 10 years on concussion research.
“It’s our No. 1 priority and I think the game is safer and more popular than ever. But safety is critical for us,” he said. “The men play a very tough game and we have to make sure we have the right rules in place, we have the right equipment and the right medical attention when injuries do occur. And I believe we have and I think we’ve made improvements on that. And we’ll continue to see those techniques that we want to take out of the game that will make the game safer but still keep the toughness of football and keep the competitiveness of football.”
The 5-5 Jets have been competitive this season again, but they’ve yet to meet their high standards. Over the past few seasons, they’ve become a team with a national appeal and international zeal. Could the Jets be at team targeted for an overseas game in the future?
“They’d be great internationally and they’ve expressed some interest in wanting to do that. The great thing about our international series is as it grows in popularity, more and more teams want to participate and they want to be part of that international series,” Goodell said. “We’re going to expand the international series to be more than one game a year in the U.K. We have one game in Canada and we’d love to get back to Mexico.”
Tags: "Four Quarters", Freeman McNeil, Ken O'Brien, Marty Lyons, NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodell
Posted in Eric Allen | 11 Comments »
Woody Johnson, the New York Jets’ chairman & CEO, issued a statement through the team tonight on the NFL owners’ ratification earlier in the evening of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.
“Thanks to Roger, DeMaurice, the members of the CEC, the players and all those who worked so hard to help us get to this point,” Johnson said. “The clubs have ratified a 10-year agreement that is both comprehensive and fair. I am confident that we will be back on the field soon and that we have put a framework in place that will make the game better in the long run.”
Tags: CBA, DeMaurice Smith, ratification, Roger Goodell, Woody Johnson
Posted in Jets Staff | 62 Comments »
Howard Green was gracious in victory.
“For the most part, I don’t have anything bad to say about New York,” said the big Green Bay DT that Rex Ryan always calls “Big How’rd.” “I appreciate everything they did for me. This here right now takes care of all that. It’s awesome. This is the biggest stage in the world. I’m just enjoying it and letting it all soak in.”
“This here” was the Packers’ Super Bowl-winning locker room, which as the minutes passed following their 31-25 victory over the Steelers at Cowboys Stadium on Sunday night, took on the feel of a bus terminal at rush hour filling with nitrous oxide. Packers players, coaches and personnel joked and laughed and slapped each other on the back all around the room. Even the reporters milling around wore smiles as their subjects spoke giddily about “returning Lombardi to Lambeau.”
And in the middle of it, after staying out in the stadium in uniform for the longest time to let it soak in, was Green.
Just as he was in the middle of the game’s first big takeaway exchange late in the first quarter.
“I just had to get off on the ball. I had a pass/run read on Kemo,” he said of Pittsburgh LG Chris Kemoeatu, who (perhaps appropriate of nothing) is the kid brother of Ma’ake Kemoeatu, Green’s rookie teammate on the 2002 Ravens. “I had a good bull rush on him, I had my hands in.”
Before Cheeseheads and Terrible Towels knew it, there was No. 95, Big How’rd, crashing into Ben Roethlisberger at the goal line. Big Ben got off a wobbler, intended for WR Mike Wallace but falling well short, into the hands of S Nick Collins at the Pittsburgh 37.
“I’m glad I didn’t get the sack,” Green said. “Nick was faster than I thought he was. By the time I got off the ground, he was already in the end zone. That play was big. That play there put points on the board for our team.”
Collins crashed through black-and-gold-uniformed bodies at the goal line not far from where Green had done the same seconds earlier. Suddenly it was 14-0. No team had ever climbed out of that large a hole in the Super Bowl. And while the Steelers tried their best and trimmed an eventual 18-point deficit to four points and then three, they never got the lead.
It was a twister of a ride for Green to get to Green Bay. As Jets fans remember, he was one of the members of the D-line rotation in Ryan’s first year at the helm. He left as an unrestricted free agent after the season, then returned twice to the Jets in 2010, on Sept. 15 (released Sept. 30) and again Oct. 4 (released Oct. 26).
We heard the stories, that the Jets weren’t happy with Green’s weight gain after his late-September release. Green kind of agreed and didn’t agree with that when he was asked about it during Super Bowl week. But in truth, there are many reasons why players get brought in over the side and tossed back by every team, and we’ll never hear all the reasons from both sides.
As Howard said Sunday night, “I didn’t know what would be my next move” after his final Jets release. “Green Bay gave me a call. It’s a great feeling now. I’m just enjoying it.”
Green has always had the knack for the big play. In his first action back as a Jet this year, Game 3 at Miami, he forced a Ricky Williams fumble and put a fourth-quarter third-down hit on Chad Henne that helped produce an incompletion and keep the Jets in control. In his first game as a Packer, he was in the middle of that fourth-quarter fumbled reverse exchange from LaDainian Tomlinson to Jerricho Cotchery at New Meadowlands.
Then he topped his first season on the Pack with his third straight playoff start and his only stat of the night, the key QB hit on Big Ben.
I asked him what he would tell his former Green & White teammates about the feeling he was enjoying, the one they wanted so badly for themselves and just came up two wins short of savoring as he was in front of me. Green responded with an eye toward not only the Jets but also toward his new line coach, Mike Trgovac, who was the Carolina defensive coordinator when the Panthers yielded 32 points in their Super Bowl XXXVIII loss to the Patriots in early 2004.
“This is an experience of a lifetime. You never forget either end of it, lose or win,” Green said. “Mike Trgovac would always tell us, you don’t want to be on that side of the game, on the losing side. We fixed it for him tonight.”
And shortly after a couple of us helped pull Green’s rack off his body in front of his Cowboys Stadium locker, he got his finger sized for a ring.
More Super Nuggets
As announced Sunday night, when teams have three or more takeaways in a Super Bowl, they are 31-4. Not sure if it was also announced that when teams have a plus-3 or larger takeaway margin in the title game, they are 22-0. … At this morning’s final SB news conferences with Packers coach Mike McCarthy and MVP Aaron Rodgers, commissioner Roger Goodell said that “We have preliminary readings that have come in already that indicate the game will be the most-watched show in the history of television.”
Tags: Ben Roethlisberger, Cowboys Stadium, Green Bay Packers, Howard Green, PIttsburgh Steelers, Rex Ryan, Roger Goodell
Posted in Randy Lange | 19 Comments »
What we have in the National Football League is confusion and what we all hope for is clarity.
Since the owners opted out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement last May, no progress has been made in talks with the players’ union. The league is headed for an uncapped 2010 season, which will commence on March 5.
And let’s be honest — there probably aren’t going to be any last-minute deals because both sides have dug in for a long battle. You might have a better shot of going to Las Vegas tonight with $1 savings and coming home with $100,000.
“Our focus is on trying to get an agreement as soon as we possibly can," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said last week. "Before there is any kind of a work stoppage or any of the  scenarios … we still have a lot of time and a lot of important opportunities here to structure something that makes sense for everybody.
“And as I said, we’re committed and we’re determined to do that. Our focus is on the immediate future. In the next 30 days or so, we’ll be going into an uncapped year if we are not successful. A lot of players will be affected by that. We’d like to see if something can get done.”
As it stands right now, the Jets have seven players — LS James Dearth, DE Marques Douglas, K Jay Feely, LB Ryan Fowler, TE Ben Hartsock, LB/special teamer Larry Izzo and FB Tony Richardson — who will become unrestricted free agents on March 5. The Jets, one of four teams who participated in the conference championship games, won’t be able to sign any UFAs themselves unless one of the aforementioned seven signs with another club.
“We can’t sign one until we would lose one, and again, that’s someone whose contract expires and they have been in the league for six or more seasons,” said GM Mike Tannenbaum. “If a player gets cut by another team, they become a free agent and we would be able to sign them.”
The Jets don’t have a large group of UFAs because only players who have been in the league six years or more will qualify for free agency in 2010. Before we turn our attention to restricted free agents (RFAs), there is a salary-matching component to this whole UFA situation.
For example, let’s say one of the above Jets veterans becomes a UFA and signs a three-year deal with the Atlanta Falcons for $1 million in year one, $1.3 million in year two and $1.9 million in year three. The Jets could in turn sign one player themselves, but his first-year salary couldn’t be more than the $1 million the former Jets vet received, and then the club would be limited to a 30 percent jump from that original $1 million each additional season. So the Jets could go as high as $1.3 million in year two and then $1.6 million in year three.
Even if the Jets wanted to make a play for a Julius Peppers-type player, the likelihood of that happening would be slim and none. If the Panthers don’t sign Pep to an extension or place the franchise tag on the star before Feb. 25, he’s going to be a UFA and will want to be the highest paid defensive player in the NFL. Also, ESPN’s Adam Schefter recently reported that the Jets may work on an extension for the game’s best CB, Darrelle Revis.
The Jets’ group of restricted free agents stands at 11 — QB Kellen Clemens, CB Drew Coleman, WR Braylon Edwards, DT Howard Green, T Wayne Hunter, S James Ihedigbo, WR Brad Smith, S Eric Smith, RB-KR Leon Washington and WR-special teams ace Wallace Wright. Although the deadline for the Green & White to tender qualifying offers is March 4, Mr. T. already announced that the club is “definitely” going to tender Washington, Edwards was a “similar situation” to the explosive back and Clemens would receive a tender as well.
By placing a tender on a restricted free agent, the Jets protect themselves from losing that player in a couple of ways. Other teams can make contract offers to the Jets’ 11 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.
“We need a little bit more time,” Tannenbaum said when asked about what tender Washington would receive. “There are some fairly complicated rules in terms of draft classes and who you can tender at what level, so we will take a close look at that as well.”
According to an Associated Press report, there are more than 200 players who would have been UFAs and now will be RFAs under these new rules. And there are some big-time names in that category around the league, including WR Vincent Jackson and LB Shawne Merriman of the Chargers, WR Brandon Marshall and DE Elvis Dumervil of the Broncos, Cowboys WR Miles Austin, Texans LB DeMeco Ryans, Colts S Antoine Bethea, Dolphins RB Ronnie Brown, Vikings DE Ray Edwards, Redskins QB Jason Campbell, and Bucs RB Carnell “Cadillac” Williams.
Even if a new CBA was miraculously reached before March 5, the NFL would probably have to implement a transition rule that would apply for those players who were going to be RFAs before the deal was reached but then became UFAs afterward. But with no agreement, the league will enter into an uncapped year and teams will have no spending limit. Keep in mind that teams can release players with no cap consequence in 2010, but it should be noted Mr. T. has already said LB Vernon Gholston, the No. 6 selection in the 2008 NFL Draft, will return.
The Jets are not going to throw money around like they’re printing it down in the equipment room. RB Thomas Jones and S Kerry Rhodes are reportedly due bonuses and there are decisions to be made with both players. Then you’ve got the case of CB Lito Sheppard, who’s reportedly owed a huge contract bonus in March.
“You still have budgets you have to hit. You still have targets that you have to be at,” Tannenbaum said. “Also, we don’t know what the new system will be and you have to be prepared that you can transition from uncapped to capped. I certainly don’t know what [a deal] might look like, so we have to be prepared for that as well.
"These are always tough judgment calls and we will always do what’s best for the Jets.”
Tags: Kerry Rhodes, Leon Washington, Mike Tannenbaum, Roger Goodell, Thomas Jones
Posted in Eric Allen | 43 Comments »
The Super Bowl will be played in Miami this weekend, but the Jets and their crosstown rivals the Giants would love to host the big game outside in wintry conditions come 2014. You can count NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell as a big fan of the idea.
“The idea of playing in the elements is central to the way the game of football is played. I think being able to do that and celebrate the game of football in the number one market could have tremendous benefits to the league going forward,” said the commissioner in his annual State of the League Address on Friday.
Falling one step short of an appearance in Super Bowl XLIV, the Jets will surely have their sights set on Dallas and Super Bowl XLV once training camp opens up this summer.
But the Green & White could be headed south of Texas if the NFL once again decides to hold a regular-season game in Mexico. Quarterback Mark Sanchez is third-generation Mexican American, he’s quickly become one of the most popular players in the game, and the Jets would be a natural selection for Mexico if the NFL chooses to hold a regular-season game there in 2011 or beyond.
“We would love to get back to Mexico. And what has to happen is you have to develop the right formula, where it’s good for our partners in Mexico, it’s good for the NFL, and we can continue to grow the game in Mexico,” said Goodell. “We know that there are millions of fans not only in Mexico but the Hispanic fans we have here in the States. It continues to grow rapidly. We would love to get back there.”
But the 800-pound gorilla in the room right now for the league and its fans is labor unrest. Unless there’s a dramatic shift in the next few days and weeks, the NFL will have an uncapped season in 2010 and a murky horizon.
“We still have a lot of time and a lot of important opportunities here to structure something that makes sense for everybody. And as I said, we’re committed and we’re determined to do that,” Goodell said. “Our focus is on the immediate future. In the next 30 days or so, we’ll be going into an uncapped year if we are not successful. A lot of players will be affected by that. We’d like to see if something can get done.”
Last spring the owners opted out of the Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) that was most recently extended in 2006. On a weekend that will feature teams from Indianapolis and New Orleans in the NFL’s title game, Goodell knows how important revenue sharing has been to his league.
“That has been at the core of our success, and the ownership repeatedly has looked at revenue sharing and improved on revenue sharing. I think that is something that they will continue to do as necessary,” he said. “As it relates to the salary cap and labor agreement, we want to make sure we get an agreement here that will allow us to continue to invest in the game and grow the game in a way in which everyone will benefit.”
According to Goodell, the owners had no choice but to try to get a new agreement because the players were raking in tremendous profits and there were losses on the other end.
“Right now the important number to focus on is since the 2006 agreement was struck, we have generated $3.6 billion in incremental revenue, additional revenue — $2.6 [billion] of that has gone to the players,” he said. “The owners are actually $200 million worse off than they were in 2006. So the system is not working for at least one side of the equation.”
There is growing fear that no labor agreement over the next 12 months will lead to a lockout. Union head DeMaurice Smith was asked this week how seriously he viewed the possibility of no football being played in 2011 and his answer of “On a scale of 1 to 10, it’s a 14” was rather ominous.
“The idea that ownership would be anxious for a work stoppage is absolutely false," Goodell said. "You don’t make money by shutting down your business. It’s a bad scenario for everybody. I can assure you the ownership and I believe the players, in talking to individual players, want to get an agreement and want to work to do that. We are currently committed to do that and I am right there at the forefront.”
Time’s ticking for everyone.
â– The NFL definitely wants to institute a change to its current four-game preseason setup, but any alterations will have to be agreed upon in a whole new CBA.
“The restructured season is something that we give a lot of consideration, for a variety of reasons," the commissioner said. "One isthe quality of what we do. I consistently hear from players and fans that the quality of our preseason is not up to NFL standards and that we need to fix that, we need to address that.”
â– Preventing head injuries will continue to be part of the league’s agenda. Football is being played by enormous players at rates of speed that we’ve never seen before, so safety figures to remain paramount.
“I think concussions have been a major focus in the league for several years, and we need to make sure we continue to do what we can to make the game safer,” Goodell said. “And that deals with how we modify the rules and take certain techniques out of the game, how we use the better equipment to make sure that our players are safer, and what we can do to make sure that our coaches and our players understand the serious nature of these injuries, and that they get medical help as soon as an injury occurs.”
Shoutout from Another Current Saint, Former Jet
Randy Lange, newyorkjets.com‘s editor-in-chief, chatted with several members of the Saints and Colts in South Florida earlier this week, and one person a select few may remember from his days with the Jets is Doug Miller, New Orleans senior director of new media.
"The Jets provided me with 16 amazing and memorable years," said Miller, who rose to public relations director before accepting a great opportunity to head for the Bayou in 2006. "I’m forever grateful for the support I got from people like Frank Ramos, Steve Gutman, Bob Parente, Mr. Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum. I really enjoyed watching the Jets’ success this season and I still keep in touch with a lot of my friends there.
"And yes, the thought of a Jets-Saints Super Bowl crossed a few minds."
Maybe next year in Big D, Doug.
Tags: Mark Sanchez, Roger Goodell, Super Bowl
Posted in Eric Allen | 25 Comments »
In just a few days, the Jets will be up at SUNY Cortland for the beginning of their 2009 training camp. And we’ll preview camp and our coverage early next week here on newyorkjets.com, but I just wanted to quickly touch on three league topics before our final weekend without football until February!
Draft Adds a Day, Goes Prime Time
In an anticipated move, the NFL will hold next year’s first round of the draft on Thursday night, April 22. Then the league will hold the second and third rounds on Friday evening and finally conclude the draft with rounds 4-7 on Saturday.
"We continue to look for ways to make the draft more accessible to more fans," said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell in a statement. “Moving the first round to prime time on Thursday night will make the first round of the draft available to fans on what is typically the most-watched night of television."
Start times for the 75th draft, which will be held at Radio City Music Hall and covered by both ESPN and NFL Network, will be 7:30 p.m. ET on Thursday, 6:30 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. on Saturday.
If I’m a football fan who lives on the East Coast, I love the switch. You can still get in your full day of work on THURS and FRI and then make evening plans to watch the early rounds. But if I’m a football nut out west and can’t dictate my work hours, I might not be too crazy about the move.
More importantly, how will it affect the scouts? The draft will start two days earlier than usual, so they’ll be pumped to get it going and spend less time overanalyzing. Another positive for those in the war room will be the ability to restack their boards after the first and third rounds and possibly make better decisions in the later rounds.
Favre Watch Continues
Here’s some advice for folks tired of the Brett Favre saga — this is America, people, and you control what you read, what you watch and what you listen to. Don’t get upset about something silly because the Jets have completely moved on from Favre.
The guy is a legend and I applaud Mike Tannenbaum for going out and trading for No. 4 last August. It was the right move at the right time. The Jets ultimately decided that acquiring Favre was not only a unique opportunity but it gave them a shot at a championship last season. And after 11 games last year, the Jets appeared a sure shot for the playoffs before a forgetful stretch run.
So many things have changed since late December. The Jets have a new coach in Rex Ryan and they drafted Mark Sanchez, who they believe will be their franchise quarterback for years to come. Sanchez will have to beat out veteran Kellen Clemens for the ’09 job in training camp, but he is the Jets’ future.
If Favre decides to ultimately sign with the Minnesota Vikings or stay “retired,” it shouldn’t matter to any Jets fan. This organization has headed in a new, exciting direction and is not looking in its rearview mirror.
Ruling on Vick
According to multiple reports, suspended quarterback Michael Vick met with Commission Goodell in New Jersey this week. Vick has completed his sentence for financing a dog fighting operation and yearns for a return to the NFL.
Goodell, who indefinitely suspended Vick back in 2007, has said he’ll make a decision in the “near future.” If Vick is reinstated, it will be interesting to see if there are any suitors for him.
Tags: Brett Favre, Michael Vick, NFL Draft, Roger Goodell
Posted in Eric Allen | 20 Comments »
Plaxico Burress has been a hot topic amongst Jets Nation throughout the spring and early stages of summer. Some fans want the Green & White to sign the talented receiver, some don’t want any part of the controversial figure and others want to take a wait-and-see approach.
Just the other day, I was walking down the street and exchanged greetings with one of my neighbors. It was a gentleman I hadn’t seen in some time and one of the first things he asked me about was Burress and if I thought the Jets would eventually sign the lanky 6’5", 232-pound wideout.
It’s a question I’ve been asked multiple times the past couple of weeks. The only thing we know for sure is the Jets made a call to Burress’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, on draft weekend.
"We’ve done our due diligence on Burress," said Jets head coach Rex Ryan. "We’ve had conversations. I know Mike [Tannenbaum] had a conversation with his agent, [Drew] Rosenhaus. With any good football player, we’re going to try to get as much information as we possibly can."
And if I’m a fan, that’s all I can ask for. Tannenbaum, who continually has his staff turning over rocks, is as savvy as they come and he’s always looking for ways to improve his football team. And it’s a unique situation to have a talent like Burress just sitting out there without a team as we enter July.
Before minicamp concluded, NYJ.com reporter Tim Carlson asked Jerricho Cotchery if he’d be surprised if the Jets pursued Burress.
"It wouldn’t surprise me at all," J-Co said. "Plaxico Burress on the market, at this time of year, that doesn’t happen. That doesn’t happen in the NFL and to have that type of guy on the market, you have to inquire about him."
On a recent twitter post, Rosenhaus said five teams are interested in acquiring Burress and he expects more to "join the mix." But who says Burress, who fired an unregistered gun in a NYC nightclub last November and is facing weapons charges, will even play next season?
Jason Cole wrote about Burress on Yahoo Sports today and touched on a key figure who I think people are overlooking in all of this.
"NFL commissioner Roger Goodell is leaning toward indefinitely suspending former New York Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress and continuing to sideline quarterback Michael Vick three sources with knowledge of the situations have indicated," Cole wrote.
Burress’ case has been adjourned until September and his lawyer, Benjamin Brafman, has said that a trial might not take place until next year. While Rosenhaus wants a deal for Burress before training camps commence, I can’t imagine a team signing Burress without knowing his status for the ’09 season. And even if Burress is cleared in the courts, Goodell has the option of hitting him up for a lengthy suspension.
Cole’s article quotes a league source who says, "The commissioner would rather have the prosecutors take some action before he does anything, but he’s prepared to do something regardless if he has to."
Goodell hasn’t been in power long, but you should take time to review his reign. This is a man, a former Jet intern by they way, who takes player conduct very seriously. So it shouldn’t come to a surprise to anybody if Burress is suspended indefinitely and misses a large chunk/if not all of the season.
Rest assured, the Jets will always do their due diligence and they deserve credit for their approach. But the players on the roster can’t worry about that, so we’ll anticipate an interesting battle for the No. 2 receiver position between Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith and David Clowney. Tight end Dustin Keller will also only get better as a pass catcher in his second season and Ryan has implemented a "ground and pound" offensive philosophy.
Tags: Drew Rosenhaus, Mike Tannenbaum, Plaxico Burress, Rex Ryan, Roger Goodell
Posted in Eric Allen | 79 Comments »
The Radio City roar reached all the way to Southern California this afternoon. When Jets fans found out the Green & White had obtained the No. 5 overall selection from the Cleveland Browns, they knew that Commissioner Roger Goodell would deliver the quarterback they desired.
And when the Commish announced Mark Sanchez’s name, their celebration was noted by the new Jets rookie.
“I saw it on the TV and they looked very excited and that’s important. I feel like I’ll be excited for a warm welcome there in New York and I feel like I’ll fit right in with all the fans there and it’s going to be an exciting time,” Sanchez told Randy Lange and me during a Jets Radio segment today.
“I feed off that energy and I’m just ready to play my butt of and practice like crazy to be the starter and play very soon and make things happen. It’s going to be a special opportunity and that was an incredible moment when I heard Mr. Tannenbaum on the phone. It meant a lot.”
With the selection of Sanchez, the Jets now have taken six quarterbacks in the first round in their 50-year history. Alabama product Joe Namath was taken higher than anyone, drafted No. 1 overall back in 1965 and delivering the Jets their only championship four seasons later.
“Joe Namath handled the pressure well and the people really loved him. I think when you win like that, that’s the great equalizer and everybody loves a winner,” Sanchez told Lange about this historic occasion. “That’s what I’m used to at USC and that’s what hopefully we can get accomplished here in New York.”
Sanchez, who was born in Long Beach, Calif., is not a laid-back surfer dude (not that anything’s wrong with that). His father, Nick, is a fire captain in Orange County and he raised his son to be a leader. And you can’t be a great quarterback in this league unless you’re a tremendous leader.
When I asked Sanchez for a self-scout, he gave an interesting answer. He talked briefly about some physical tools, but he took more time to expound on his personality.
“The things you want to see on the field are accuracy and great footwork, just good arm strength and being able to get the ball down the field and understand the situations," he said. "But the things the Jets really liked about me were the intangibles — my leadership, the excitement and the passion I show for this game — and I think that’s what really put them over the top on me. I think they felt I was excited to play and ready to get out there.
“They asked what I was going to do in the off-season and I was like ‘What do you mean, off-season?’ I’m going to be at the facility. I’ll go home for a week or so but that’s my new home. This is my new hometown and my new favorite team. They really liked my personality also and I feel like it’s going to be a great fit in New York.”
Mark Sanchez is a Jet and he’s coming to New York. That definitely deserves another roar.
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Tags: 2009 NFL Draft, Jets Radio, Mark Sanchez, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, Roger Goodell
Posted in Eric Allen | 30 Comments »
The Jets have formalized their request to the NFL regarding the team’s schedule, announced Tuesday night, to move the kickoff of the Jets’ Sept. 27 home game against Tennessee from 4:15 p.m. to 1 p.m. to avoid conflict with the Jewish observance of Yom Kippur.
The club has been in behind-the-scenes communications with the league office for the past two days. Today, Woody Johnson, the Jets chairman and CEO, sent a letter to NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
"I understand the challenges and complexities associated with creating the NFL schedule each year," Johnson said in his letter. "However, I am extremely disappointed with the League’s decision to schedule us to play at home on consecutive Sundays that are in direct conflict with the Jewish High Holy Days. There has long been an understanding that neither the Jets nor the Giants fans should have to bear completely the brunt of this issue since we are in the largest Jewish market in the country."
The Jets owner explained that the club feels the best solution is to change the time of the Titans game. "This would give our Jewish fans the opportunity to arrive at home before sundown for Yom Kippur," he said.
"Those who suffer most are our fans," Johnson concluded. "The NFL has been the leading proponent of improving the fans’ gameday experience. I feel making this change will further that goal."
Tags: Roger Goodell, Tennessee Titans, Woody Johnson
Posted in Randy Lange | 30 Comments »