Update 5:40 p.m. EDT
Vernon Gholston returned to New Meadowlands Stadium — now known as MetLife Stadium — on Monday night as a member of the Bears in their MNF game against the Giants. Afterward, Gholston took a few rushes at Rex Ryan and the Jets for his past two seasons before he was free to sign with Chicago.
Today Ryan was asked about VG and while he still said he has a soft spot in his heart for Gholston, he said he disagreed with the former sixth pick of the draft’s feeling that he didn’t get a fair shot with the Rex Jets.
“My job is not to make one player better, to feature one player,” Ryan said at his noon news conference at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. “When I came here, I thought my job was to build the best defense I could possibly build. It’s definitely hard to argue that we weren’t successful in building this defense for the betterment of the New York Jets. Could there have been better defenses called to make Vernon a better player or look like a better player? I’m sure there was. But my concern was to make the New York Jets a better defense, not just one defensive player.
“I would’ve liked to have Vernon back,” said Ryan, reiterating something he hinted at during his early summer book tour. “I thought he was getting better. Do I think he was ever going to be Deacon Jones? No.
“Nobody likes hearing negative comments or whatever. But if that’s how he feels, that’s how he feels. I’m perfectly comfortable with myself. And if there’s a problem that somebody has, I’m not going to please everybody. That’s not the position I’m in. I’m confused because I think I’m fair. I think I’m more than fair.”
Who’s the Backup?
Mark Brunell’s status for today’s closed practice is out with a right calf injury. His availability for the Giants game is also up in the air, which would leave the Jets’ effective QB depth chart as Mark Sanchez-Greg McElroy-Drew Willy. For the Giants and Eagles, that’s OK, but for the regular season? Ryan was asked if he’s looking to bring in another veteran free agent QB.
“We’re not looking at another quarterback,” Rex said. “We think Brunell’s going to be fine.”
But the coach is also thinking fine things about McElroy, who we stated Monday at this time had the best stat line among this year’s crowded rookie class of NFL QBs.
“He’s the highest-rated rookie quarterback — I saw that in one of you guys’ articles,” Ryan told reporters. “I do feel good with the kid. He’s smart, a Rhodes Scholar type — we’ve got nothing in common. But he’s good. I like him.”
I Want My MTV
Ryan on NT Martin Tevaseu, a.k.a. MTV: “This guy’s coming. He’s got that anchor. He’s improved so much from last year. … He goes to work every day and tries to get better. He actually got some pass rush [vs. Bengals], push in the pocket. He’s great in the running game, hard to move. And he’s a great teammate. I’m really impressed with him … but the bowling, obviously, not so much.”
In a team bowling night last Friday, Tevaseu rolled a 58. As a consequence of the low score of the night, MTV has to sit in on an offensive meeting, so the plan is for him to huddle with the quarterbacks later this week.
Of all the injury news, perhaps most interesting was on Rob Turner, who some had speculated was done for a while, perhaps the season, from his leg fracture at Houston. Today Ryan said of Turner, “It looks like he’s going to be out several weeks, so we’re not going to put him on IR right now. That’s not our plan.” It would be great news if the versatile Turner can come around relatively quickly, but as Ryan cautioned, “we’ll see eventually how it goes.” No truer words were ever spoken, of Turner or of any of us.
Other injury news: RB Shonn Greene (foot) will go through practice but will be monitored, G Brandon Moore (hip) is full-go, TE Jeff Cumberland (hamstring) and rookie ILB Nick Bellore (calf) will be reevaluated after individual drills, and LB Calvin Pace (groin) will be monitored. All of these players will be limited: WR Derrick Mason (knee), DT Sione Pouha (knee), DT Marcus Dixon (knee), LB Bart Scott (leg).
Ryan on Vlad Ducasse’s game vs. Cincinnati: “I was happy with the way Vlad played. It was a bounceback game. I thought he played pretty well.” … And on LB Aaron Maybin, who got his first sack as a Jet on Sunday: “We don’t need him to be an every-down player. He’s going to stick on this team based on his pass rush. Clearly he’s tied into the football, he gets off the ball well, he has natural lean toward the quarterback. He was productive [vs. Cincy]. … Ryan announced three releases from the roster: FB Brian Toal, OL Curtis “Jake” Duron and LS Wilson Raynor. The roster is down to 81.
Quiver and Quake
So yes, some of us did feel the earthquake that rumbled up and down the Eastern U.S. this afternoon. The Jets complex swayed and shook noticeably for 10 or 15 seconds, and when it subsided, it brought many of the business staffers on the second floor — including GM Mike Tannenbaum — out of their offices and cubicles and into the hallway.
“We’re evaluating the earthquake,” Mike T told reporters in GM-ese after this afternoon’s practice concluded. “Usually when the building shakes, Rex is laughing. That was my first instinct.”
But seriously, Tannenbaum said, “It was kind of surreal,” adding that even though there are no visible signs of damage to the building or the grounds, “safety first, we’ll have an engineer come in and check everything. But this place is rock solid.”
Tags: earthquake, Greg McElroy, Mark Sanchez, Martin Tevaseu, Mike Tannenbaum, Rex Ryan, Rob Turner, Vernon Gholston, Vlad Ducasse
Posted in Randy Lange | 16 Comments »
Former Colts safety Bob Sanders is visiting with the Jets today, according to ESPN 1050 New York.
The recently released Sanders (5’8″, 206) has visited the Jaguars and Bills as well this offseason. Sanders, an Iowa product, was named the AP’s NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2007 but has played in only nine games the past three seasons while battling injuries.
In all the 30-year-old Sanders has played in 48 games in his seven-year career and has compiled six interceptions, 373 tackles, 3.5 sacks, two forced fumbles and three fumble recoveries. He has never played 16 games in a season, but in the two seasons that he played in more than six games for the Colts, he was a Pro Bowler, in 2005 and ’07.
Two More Transactions
The Jets announced two more player departures late this afternoon when they waived DE Vernon Gholston, the sixth overall pick of the ’08 draft, and terminated the contract of veteran tight end Ben Hartsock.
JT: Let’s Do It Again
Jason Taylor, another former Defensive Player of the Year, released by the Jets on Tuesday, told The Associated Press today he would like to play another season with the Green & White.
“I want to play in New York for sure,” Taylor told AP before the Honda Classic pro-am golf tournament. “I told Rex yesterday, if I’m going to play, I want to play with the Jets. If they’ll have me, I think I would enjoy doing it again.”
The 6’6”, 250-pound pass rusher played for the Dolphins for 12 seasons and the Redskins for one before coming to the Jets last offseason.
Taylor filled in while OLB Calvin Pace rehabbed his broken foot and played in the OLB rotation all season, making a few game-changing plays. His late strip sack of Tom Brady secured the Jets’ Week 2 victory over the Patriots, and his safety helped the Jets defeat the Steelers in Week 15 at Heinz Field in Taylor’s hometown of Pittsburgh.
Tags: Ben Hartsock, Bob Sanders, Indianapolis Colts, Jason Taylor, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Nick Gallo | 27 Comments »
The utter heartbreak in the Jets’ locker room last Sunday in Pittsburgh was the result of many factors. After the Green & White’s championship dreams were shattered at Heinz Field, many players lamented that the team would never be the same again.
This afternoon the team’s savvy architect held a season-ending conference call with reporters to address the state of his team. It was no surprise that personnel questions dominated the conversation as the NFL looks to be headed toward a spring of uncertainty.
Labeling both RB LaDainian Tomlinson and OLB Jason Taylor as “similar situations,” Mr. T. said he expected both veterans would return. But he left the door open on changing his mind.
“Unexpected things can happen from contracts to other acquisitions you may make, but we expect LaDainian back and I expect him to contribute for another year in 2011,” said Tannenbaum.
Tomlinson led the Jets in regular-season play with 914 yards on the ground and six rush TDs. And LT, who averaged 4.0 yards a carry in the postseason and led the club in its three-game run with three TDs, also had 52 receptions.
“He ran the ball well, but he was a also great complement to Shonn [Greene] relative to the passing game, pass protection, and brought a lot of leadership to the team as well,” said Mr. T.
Taylor, who is the NFL’s active leader with 132.5 sacks, added five sacks to his total plus a safety at Pittsburgh in the regular season. The 36-year-old, a former Jets tormenter with 14 pro seasons under his belt, also took on a leadership role in his first season with New York’s AFC representative.
“We expect him back. Obviously once we get closer to the season and other players are here, things can always change,” Tannenbaum said. “But one thing I can say about Jason is he did so many good things for us from an intangible leadership standpoint, his effect on other players — Bryan Thomas and Jamaal Westerman in particular. He’s a pro’s pro. We’re lucky to have him. People like LaDainian, Tony Richardson and Jason Taylor, their leadership is really hard to quantify sometimes.”
Decisions will also have to be made on an interesting additional trio of vets in T-Rich, RT Damien Woody and NT Kris Jenkins. In regard to Richardson and Woody, they both could have competition for their jobs in FB John Conner, the fifth-round pick from Kentucky last April, and Vladimir Ducasse, the second-round selection from Massachusetts in 2010. It should be noted that Wayne Hunter, who played so well for the Jets when Woody went down with a pair of injuries late in the season, is also a UFA.
“Those are two guys we’re going to take a long look at,” Tannenbaum said of Richardson and Woody. “They’ve both done a great job for us, both are great leaders in their own right. No decision has been made on either guy and we’ll see how it goes, but I can say we would not have had the success we’ve had without those two players.”
Meanwhile, Jenkins, who has been limited to just seven games in the Rex Ryan era due to two ACL tears in his left knee, hopes to make a comeback. Whether that attempt takes place in Florham Park, N.J., remains to be seen.
“We haven’t made a decision. It would be very intriguing to see what he could do over a 16-game season playing under Rex,” said Mr. T. “Unfortunately, that hasn’t happened yet, but we’ll take a long look at his situation as well.”
After three seasons with the Jets and a number of long looks, Vernon Gholston could be looking for a new home. The Ohio State product, selected No. 6 overall in 2008, hasn’t had a pro sack after amassing 22.5 on the collegiate level.
“He’s been given his fair share of opportunities and it could be time to move on,” Tannenbaum said, “but we’re not ready to say that yet.”
Two young players to keep an eye on are CB Kyle Wilson and DL Marcus Dixon. While the Jets hope to re-sign Antonio Cromartie, they have high hopes for Wilson
“Kyle’s future is one of our paramount objectives for the offseason in terms of his development. He has a great work ethic, he loves the game, and I expect that he’s going to be a contributor for us for years to come,” said Tannenbaum. “I’m glad that he’s here and we’ll need him to play at a higher, more consistent level next year.”
After being awarded off waivers from Dallas last September, the 6’4”, 295-pound Dixon got some valuable reps down the stretch.
“It could be a guy like Marcus Dixon who has to play a lot more next year and I see no reason why Dixon can’t be a big contributor for us.”
Tags: Antonio Cromartie, Damien Woody, Jason Taylor, Kris Jenkins, Kyle Wilson, LaDainian Tomlinson, Mike Tannenbaum, Tony Richardson, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Eric Allen | 38 Comments »
Jets fans are much in evidence in the Circle City these days. They dominated a restaurant or two in downtown Indianapolis and belted out more than a few “J-E-T-S” chants, much to the consternation of the locals.
And they’re expected to be in evidence in the just now filling up Lucas Oil Stadium, along with more than a few Jets and Jets-related celebrities. Expected in the stadium: ex-Jets QB Boomer Esiason, working the game for Westwood One Radio; former Jets Jason Fabini, a Hoosier himself, and Marvin Jones; Marty Schottenheimer, father of the Jets offensive coordinator; Jets fans and funny men Ray Romano and Kevin James, and Fireman Ed Anzalone, who should be visible about six rows up behind the Jets bench during the game.
Will the Jets be treating all their followers to a Saturday night delight in Indianapolis? That’s the idea.
But of course, the Colts stand in the way. And they stood tall in this venue a little less than a year ago when Peyton Manning and the Indy offense roared from 17-6 down to 30-17 ahead and on to the Colts’ Super Bowl date with the Saints.
And Lucas Oil can be a deafening place to play, even with Jets fans scattered throughout the building. But the Jets have shown their mettle on the road in their two seasons under head coach Rex Ryan. They have gone 6-2 away from New Meadowlands Stadium this season and 13-5 in 2009-10, including last season’s playoff run.
And while it’s not necessarily a green badge of courage, the Jets have become familiar with the trappings of being a road playoff team. Tonight is their eighth consecutive postseason match on the road, or ever since they defeated the Colts, 41-0, at home in the 2002 playoffs. In the previous seven games, their record is 3-4, with the wins coming after the 2004 regular season at San Diego and last season at Cincinnati and San Diego.
Also worth considering is that while the Jets appear to be in better health than in recent weeks, the Colts are suffering. They have put 17 players on IR this season, and of the 11 players listed on this week’s injury reports, reports are that RT Ryan Diem, LB Clint Session and DB Kelvin Hayden will not be available.
Still, the ‘Shoes have Manning and the Jets have Mark Sanchez, sore-shouldered but ready to reprise his role as a young NFL QB rising to the challenge on the NFL’s second-season stage. It should be an exciting evening for Jets fans.
The Jets’ inactive list for tonight’s game has a few surprises. DE Vernon Gholston has been deactivated, a CD (coach’s decision). RB Joe McKnight, who starred in the backfield last week vs. Buffalo, is also IA. So are CB Isaiah Trufant, OL Vlad Ducasse, DTs Jarron Gilbert and Marcus Dixon, and TE Jeff Cumberland. (Kellen Clemens is the third QB.)
With the two D-linemen down, the Jets have four DL activate for this game — starters Shaun Ellis, Sione Pouha and Mike DeVito, and DT Trevor Pryce, back and available. Ryan and DC Mike Pettine have gone heavy on the back end as they anticipate defensing Manning passes to his receivers.
Also for the Jets, Dwight Lowery will stay at safety in the starting lineup, although Eric Smith is back from his concussion and available for the first time in four games. And Damien Woody is back in the OL starting lineup at RT, after also sitting out three games following his knee scope, with Wayne Hunter returning to his role as the backup at both tackle spots.
Update, 7:47 p.m.: The Colts’ inactive list contains several more starters, further depleting their ninth consecutive playoff effort. DT Antonio Johnson is inactive, as are Session, Hayden and Diem, as mentioned above, plus S Al Afalava, Gs Jamey Richard and Jaimie Thomas, and T Joe Reitz. Indy does not designate a third QB.
The Jets are wearing their white jerseys and white pants for this game. As you know if you’ve followed the numbers in these pregame blogs, the Green & White fare very well in white & white. They’re 7-3 in that combo this season (although 1-2 in their last three) and 13-5 in all white in the Ryan regime. The Jets wore their road whites in both games at Lucas Oil Stadium last season, the 29-15 Week 16 triumph and the AFC Championship Game loss.
Ryan tabbed six players as his gameday captains: DE Shaun Ellis, CB Darrelle Revis, G Brandon Moore, TE Ben Hartsock, P Steve Weatherford, TE Dustin Keller.
Gene Steratore is this wild-card games referee. This is Steratore’s sixth Jets game as the man in the white hat. His first was the 2006 season opener at Tennessee, Eric Mangini’s first game as Jets head coach. His last two were the 2008 primetime triumph at New England and last season’s 38-0 rout at Oakland.
The Jets-Colts game has drawn NBC’s A-team, Al Michaels and Cris Collinsworth, in the booth. This is only the fourth Jets game on the network since it passed the AFC franchise on to CBS. They are 3-0 in those most recent NBC games, last year’s regular-season finale and then AFC Wild Card win, both against Cincinnati and this year’s Game 3 at Miami.
Tags: AFC Wild Card Game, Damien Woody, Dwight Lowery, Indianapolis Colts, joe McKnight, Lucas Oil Stadium, Peyton Manning, Rex Ryan, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Randy Lange | 27 Comments »
It’s almost time for the Jets’ homecoming. We don’t mean that as a knock toward the Lions, who are playing well at home. But the Jets have any number of Detroit hometown connections, as we mentioned during the week.
Bart Scott was welcomed to gameday this morning with a feature at the top of the front page of the Detroit Free Press sports section. And Vernon Gholston, also born in Detroit, should be ready to be shot out of a cannon in less than an hour. He’s been announced as getting the start at DT.
Braylon Edwards, Calvin Pace, David Harris and Eric Smith, as previously noted, all have ties either to Detroit or Michigan and should be ready to be rock and roll as well. Every little bit will help since the Lions are one of the best 2-5 teams since the 1970 merger, if their plus-18 point margin is a good indicator.
Ford Field is an interesting place. Wayne Chrebet described it as a factory in his Thursday blog, but that’s not a knock, either. The place was designed to resemble the best of the Detroit-area architecture. It has a fieldhouse/warehouse feel with a boxy configuration of its seats. High translucent white glass rises up from the top of the walls, and a white material resembling canvas or plastic is draped across the ceiling among the steel girders, giving the stadium the feel of a “bubble,” even though the canvas hangs beneath a hard roof.
That could be another reason the Jets will feel a little at home today. Head coach Rex Ryan held their last two practices of the week in the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center fieldhouse, which has a similar feel (on a much smaller basis) to Ford Field. Music echoed off the walls in New Jersrey much as it is echoing now in the Lions’ den.
Jets fans can only hope these are all good signs for the Green & White, especially the offense, which put together a streak of 10 consecutive quarters with at least one touchdown in Games 2-4 but now wants strongly to end its current streak of four straight scoreless frames.
The Jets’ inactive list for this game is identical to their IAs for Green Bay: RB Joe McKnight, LB Jamaal Westerman, OL Vlad Ducasse, TE Jeff Cumberland and D-linemen Jarron Gilbert, Marcus Dixon and Matt Kroul. Kellen Clemens is the third QB for the eighth game this season.
The Lions’ IAs include RB Aaron Brown, S C.C. Brown, LB Isaiah Ekejiuba, T Jason Fox, C Cody Wallace and DEs Willie Young and Lawrence Jackson. Shaun Hill is the third QB. C.C. Brown will be replaced in the starting lineup by rookie Amari Spievey.
Today’s referee is Al Riveron. If you don’t recognize the name, that may be because he’s only presided over one other Jets game since becoming a NFL referee. That was Game 5 last year at Miami.
Tags: Bart Scott, Detroit Lions, Ford Field, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Randy Lange | 9 Comments »
Rex Ryan is a true believer in the power of the hometown hero.
You knew that if you considered why he designates many of his players as team captains for certain opponents. And he’ll have a bunch of guys with Detroit and Michigan ties going out to midfield at Ford Field on Sunday before the opening kickoff of the Jets-Lions game.
“We’re very well aware of where guys are from,” Ryan said. “I had an old football coach who told me he really believed in the hometown-hero type of thing. We had a running back who never played, then eight games into the season he put him in there, rotating in the backfield with the starter. ‘Why are you playing this guy?’ ‘He’s from this town.’ The guy goes out and rushes for 120 yards. Whoa! Ever since that time, I bought into that.”
Ryan had another example from his Baltimore coordinator’s career. In 2006 the Ravens were heading to New Orleans to play the Saints. That just happened to be near the hometowns of DBs Dawan Landry (Ama, La.) and Ronnie Prude (Shreveport). In that game Landry had two interceptions, Prude had one and each returned a pick for a TD in the Ravens’ 35-22 road win.
Ryan is planning on getting a similar hometown boost for his Jets against the Lions.
“I think the guys are excited to have Bart [Scott] going home,” he said, “and David Harris and Braylon [Edwards] and Vernon [Gholston]. Calvin Pace was born in Detroit. I think he lived there till he was 3 so he doesn’t remember much of it. Eric Smith, he was from Ohio but he went to Michigan State.”
Ryan is attuned to all his players, none more so than Scott, but one guy he’d really love to see have a career day is Gholston.
“The fact is, when I made the comment about ‘Well, the best defense in the National Football League is coming to your town,’ that was based on a comment a reporter made on Vernon Gholston,” Ryan further explained, saying the remark was detrimental toward Gholston. ” ‘You’ve got no idea. This guy’s a good football player, he really is.’
“That just kind of burned me a little bit. Vernon’s not that guy. He’s an excellent football player and he’s part of a great defense. And we’re happy he’s here.”
Needless to say, Ryan also knows that Gholston still doesn’t have a sack in 39 regular- and postseason pro games and that fans’ perception of him won’t change until he comes up with some major production. But the coach believes there’s a chance for all those guys who are going back to the neighborhood this weekend.
“I’m telling you, there’s something to it,” he said. “So I’m expecting big games from Bart, David, Vernon and Braylon. Anytime you go back home, you want to do something special.”
S Brodney Pool returned to full practice today after his head-banging collision with Darrelle Revis late in Thursday’s workout. The four players on the Jets’ injury report all practiced full today and all are probable for the game.
The Jets spent their last two days of practices in their fieldhouse at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center. They’ll be playing indoors on Sunday, their 14th indoor game since 2000. They’re 8-5 in previous roofed games, their most recent being last year’s 1-1 split in Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium. … Gholston’s fulfilled 77 ticket requests for Sunday’s game for friends and family. …
Another Michigander Seen
It’s a shame thinking about what could have been in this game for Kris Jenkins, who also hails from Ypsilanti, not far from Detroit. But Jenks is still overlooking everything, including in Times Square, as the attached picture shows.
Kris is currently starring in a PSA for MillionTreesNYC, an environmental initiative undertaken by Mayor Bloomberg that has a goal of planting 1 million trees in the city by 2017. The PSA is being shown on the Clear Channel SpectacolorHD Digital Billboard at 47th and Broadway every hour for the next two weeks.
Eric Smith is another who’s got those Michigan ties and another Jet who was busy with his charitable endeavors recently. On Oct. 26 the Jets safety and special-team standout was hosted by the New York After-School All-Stars at a site visit with middle school children at I.S. 192 in the Jamaica section of New York.
Smith toured the after-school activities and followed that by sharing some life experiences and discussing paths to success, then a Q&A and finally a photograph/autograph session with the students in the school auditorium.
The event marked the beginning of a partnership between Smith and the “Touchdown vs. Shutdown” program. He’s donating to the charity on a per-tackle basis during this season, with the donations helping the After-School All-Stars provide after-school programming to at-risk youth in the New York area.
Tags: Bart Scott, Braylon Edwards, Brodney Pool, Calvin Pace, Detroit Lions, Eric Smith, Ford Field, Kris Jenkins, Rex Ryan, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Randy Lange | 17 Comments »
This morning’s back-to-work-after-the-scrimmage practice at SUNY Cortland was just another day at the office for rookie CB Kyle Wilson, starter for the New York Jets.
“Yeah, I was still with the ones this morning,” Wilson said of lining up at right corner with the first defense. “They kind of tell me as they go over it each day. You just find out daily. But any time I’m out there, everything’s the same for me. I get out there and try to compete and make plays, whatever group I’m in.”
Wilson also got the start for the first drive of Saturday’s Green & White scrum and for the ones’ first drive of the second half of the scrimmage. Needless to say, part of the ascendance of the first-rounder from Boise State is due to Darrelle Revis’ camp absence. Part also is because he has been getting these first-team reps ahead of third-year man Dwight Lowery.
But Lowery, as head coach Rex Ryan said at his midday news conference, had a little something to do with that flip-flop in the depth chart.
“Dwight is the one who said Kyle ought to be starting. That was interesting,” Ryan said. “It surprised us. He never told me, he told Dennis [Thurman, DBs coach]. Yes, it surprises me. But he sees that [Wilson] needs the work, he needs the reps. Lowery does so much for us. He’s been learning safety, nickel, dime, “x,” corner. He’s doing all that. He’s going to play like a starter anyway.
“That just shows you this is a team. These guys know. You see Tony Richardson, he’s competing with the kid from Kentucky [John Conner]. … That’s the beauty of this game. You see guys helping these guys out. That’s when you know you have the right guys on your team.”
Wilson is starting to make more plays from his new spot on the depth chart. This morning No. 20 came up big on No. 10, Santonio Holmes, swatting away a comeback route from Mark Sanchez.
As Jets followers know, Wilson was elated enough to tweet the signing of his rookie contract with the Jets — complete with 10 exclamation points — early in the morning that the Jets bused up to Cortland. He hasn’t hit up his Tweetahs (Dustin Keller terminology) yet on his starting status, but he’s aware that had he been a senior this season at Boise State, he wouldn’t be tweeting anything.
“Yeah, my dad told me about that,” he said of Broncos head coach Chris Petersen’s edict to this year’s championship-minded team about no in-season tweeting. “That’s the big thing over there. They eliminate all the distractions. They all have one goal. Whatever it takes, they’re all for it.”
Wilson said he’s only been on the social networking necessity for the last few months and is still learning the ropes. Through the magic of Twitter we can attest that he appears to be right on, with modest numbers of 2,550 followers and 76 tweets.
The rookie also said that while the Jets don’t have any Twitter bans in place, they don’t need any.
“Obviously it’s not a problem on the team,” he said. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to win.”
After the morning practice, Ryan offered a couple of superlatives, one about his team and one about a certain No. 50.
“Today was our best practice since we’ve been here,” the coach said. “The tempo was lively, guys were bangin’ into each other. Probably a few too many dropped passes, but the guys were eager to get back out there. Sometimes when you give them a day off, they’ll come back and say, ‘Ahhhh.’ This team responded. It was excellent to see.”
Also excellent was Vernon Gholston’s practice. The third-year man and first-year DE also impressed the boss.
“That’s as excited as I’ve ever been about Vernon at today’s practice,” Rex said. “It was almost like ‘I can do this.’ Somebody has to ask him what he had for breakfast and he needs to keep eating it.”
Next for the coach: “I want to see him string some together.” Will this afternoon’s special-teams-only practice count? Maybe. Rex said Mike Westhoff challenged him in the teams meetings.
Also, TE Dustin Keller had his best practice of camp. Reporter Chris Ryan talked with Keller about his day and his season and that story will be live later today. … Nick Folk finished practice 5-for-5 on FG tries from 36 to 41 yards out, all from the hold of backup QB Mark Brunell.
A Tweet-Out to Jets Nation
We at newyorkjets.com are happy that there is no Twitter ban organizationally because then I couldn’t tell you this: http://twitter.com/nyjets this morning just passed 30,000 followers. This is not quite in Sanchez territory but considering where we started, it’s darned impressive to this old pterodactyl.
Eric Allen and I began tweeting from Coach Ryan’s first veteran rookie minicamp on April 17, 2009, with all of 74 followers, and we’ve been chirping the developments on and off the field, at practices and games, ever since.
It hasn’t been just EA and me. Jared Winley, director of public relations, has been a mover and shaker in developing the organization’s Twitter profile and Laura Clemente, our social networking guru, has been tireless in responding to all the folks who respond to our tweets. And our Internet reporters have been big contributors, led by Nick Gallo, our Twittering machine at training camp.
You have to have a large team to show the 40,000 percent growth that http://twitter.com/nyjets has shown in about 16 months. Thanks again.
Two New Jets on the Roster
Two new Jets are on the field today. Tackle Adam Tadisch (6’6″, 326) from North Dakota State was signed last night and practiced this morning, wearing No. 76. And today the Jets got back to 80 on their active roster by signing LB Tim Knicky (6’4″, 235), an undrafted free agent rookie out of Stephen F. Austin waived by the Packers on June 18. LB Kevin Basped and T Aaron Kia were released Sunday.
Tags: Darrelle Revis, Dwight Lowery, Kyle Wilson, Nick Folk, Rex Ryan, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Randy Lange | 58 Comments »
It’s been a big media day for Rex Ryan and the Jets. Right off the bat this morning, Rex was joined by my partner Eric Allen and our multimedia crew in his office at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center for something that I’m not sure has ever been done by an NFL head coach before. Rex participated in a half-hour-long live chat with fans of the Green & White.
Ryan got questions from all over the globe about topics all around his team and swatted each one out of the park as always. Answering from his desk behind a wood carving that reads BELIEVE, sent to him by a friend, he talked about a range of topics.
In response to Andy from Kentucky, Ryan said Mark Sanchez has really taken the leadership reins of the Jets even while he’s been rehabbing from his knee ‘scope.
"This is Mark’s offense," the coach said. "He’s studying it like a coach would. He’s here every day. And the rehab with his knee is almost a blessing. He’s in the building constantly — he’s the first guy in and the last guy to leave. He gets with Santonio Holmes and tries to catch him up, Braylon Edwards. The commitment he’s shown has really been impressive to his teammates."
On a few other topics, Rex had these responses.
To Andrew about Vernon Gholston gaining weight to become a DE: "I know he’s talked about gaining some weight and I can understand it. It’s a different world in there. You’re going to get two guys on you and things. We want him to still bring to the table what he has and that’s athleticism, speed, and Vernon’s as strong as almost anybody we have on our team. So he doesn’t need to gain at least bad weight, for sure. He may get eight or 10 pounds adding some strength and bulk and if it doesn’t take away from what he has, that’s fine."
To Dennis on the release of G Alan Faneca: "Alan certainly was a great player, a premier player in this league for a long time and he still is. I think the Jets really benefited from having Alan here for two years. … Sometimes in this league you’ve got to take away in a certain area to add somewhere else on your team. That’s the only reason we let Alan Faneca go."
To Peter on the Jets starring in HBO’s "Hard Knocks" this training camp: The biggest thing is right now all of our assistant coaches are lifting, running, doing that kind of stuff. That’s the biggest way I see it affecting our team. It’s not going to affect us one iota. We are who we are. I think the whole country will see the great people on our team, the great players and a lot of interesting characters I get the privilege of being around every day."
Rex also talked about how Jason Taylor will be used at outside LB with Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas, the battle to become the starting tailback between Shonn Greene and LaDainian Tomlinson, NT Kris Jenkins’ weight loss and rehab, the 2010 rookie class headed by CB Kyle Wilson and OL Vlad Ducasse, his latest take on Nick Folk and the Jets’ kicking game, and lots of other topics.
In fact, there wasn’t enough time to answer all the questions that came in to us from Jets Nation. But Rex was up against the clock — from the live chat he had a meeting with GM Mike Tannenbaum, then he had to jet over to the New Meadowlands Stadium to join owner Woody Johnson, Giants ownership and others at an 11 a.m. news conference the day after the New York/New Jersey area and the new gem of a stadium received the approval of the NFL owners to host the 2014 Super Bowl.
If you want to see Rex’s live chat alongside EA, it’s now archived and available for replay on our home page and from our multimedia page.
What About Those 2014 Super Bowl Tickets?
Several Jets fans who are also PSL holders have asked the same question of us this morning regarding how the tickets for that Super Bowl will be distributed once 2014 gets here. Rob Sullivan, the Jets’ vice president of consumer sales and service, replies:
"The Super Bowl is run by the NFL and the league makes all decisions regarding ticket allocation. We will receive a limited number of tickets for distribution and will conduct a random drawing to award season ticket holders the opportunity to purchase tickets to the game. All season ticket holders for the 2013 season will be eligible for this drawing. The drawing will be conducted in January 2014."
Tags: Alan Faneca, Hard Knocks, Mark Sanchez, Rex Ryan, Super Bowl, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Randy Lange | 17 Comments »
Day 4 was our final day here in Haiti and even though we didn’t have much of a schedule today, I wanted to take the time to reflect on this week.
A huge and special thanks to everyone at the Yele Foundation and founder Wyclef Jean for allowing us to team up with them this week. Yele was so instrumental in assisting us in accomplishing our goals this week and providing us with support throughout our mission.
A personal thanks to the members of CIMO, the Haitian National Police, who guided and protected us everywhere we went. Haiti is a very dangerous country right now, but we felt safe with them around.
A big thank you to my teammates Vernon Gholston and David Clowney, former teammate Ahmad Carroll, and the Jets Television Network, Rich Gentile and Chris Ubbens, for being here, helping out and donating their time and efforts. Just their presence here was so gratifying, knowing that extra voices are going back to spread the word. To my fabulous mother Dr. Rose Ihedigbo, my adviser Greg Domond, friends Marcos Catania, Amanda Anderson and Kendra Porter, thank you for being on this journey and sharing your love and compassion with the people of Haiti.
As we drove through Port-au-Prince today I had time to reflect on this mission. As I have said every day, words can’t express what we all witnessed here — the devastation, the horror, the pain and the suffering — but we left knowing we gave a sense of HOPE! The hearts we touched, the smiles we created, the hands we held, the sense of comfort we created in these people will last a lifetime.
We are not ready to leave yet. There is so much more we want to accomplish. We understand this won’t be a quick fix, that it will take time to rebuild. But I encourage everyone to help in any way you can. We suggest donating to the Yele Foundation because we have seen first-hand that every item or dollar you donate makes it to the victims in Haiti. Or you can visit my foundation to learn how you can help more. Thank you everyone for all your support and for following my blogs throughout our trip. God Bless!
Tags: Ahmad Carroll, David Clowney, Haiti, James Ihedigbo, Rich Gentile, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Special Contributor | 6 Comments »
Here is a report from Jets safety James "Dig" Ihedigbo, who landed with his group in Haiti on Monday afternoon. We’ll have more audio, video and written reports in the next three days:
Day one complete. Just a surreal experience — words can’t express the tragedy and devastation we’ve witnessed but the guys are helping out in a big way. Those here with me are David Clowney, Vernon Gholston and former Jet Ahmad Carroll.
After we landed, we were part of a press confernece with Wyclef Jean’s wife Claudinette and the Yele foundation, which was attended by over 50 media members. Then we toured the streets of Port-au-Prince before heading to Croix-des-Douquets, a small village, and set up tents in the dark for over 500 people without shelter.
Right now the streets are dark because there’s no electricity. People are everywhere, homeless, searching for food, starving and just in search of anything for survival.
Tomorrow we visit sports and agricultural programs in one of the worst and most devestated areas of Haiti, teaching football and replanting produce. Then a visit to a tent city to spread some cheer and show support to the locals.
I’ll update you more tomorrow.
Tags: Ahmad Carroll, David Clowney, Haiti, James Ihedigbo, Vernon Gholston
Posted in Special Contributor | 6 Comments »