Friday, January 30, 2009

Favre, Tannenbaum to speak as soon as next week?

Adam Schefter reports that Brett Favre and GM Mike Tannenbaum will meet after the Super Bowl to discuss his future. There are two questions that need to be answered: does Favre want to come back, and do the Jets want him back? This meeting could come as soon as next week.

Favre has also decided not to get surgery on his torn biceps tendon, believing that an operation is not necessary.

*To many Jets fans, the name Bob Sutton conjures up images of terror and 10 yards of cushion for defensive backs. The defensive coordinator for the past three years has been on the hot seat since moment one, and the firing of Eric Mangini seemed to spell doom for Sutton.

However, that is not the case, as Rex Ryan has retained him on the staff. His official title will be senior defensive assistant/linebackers coach.

Before you punch a hole through your laptop, remember that he's been with the Jets for ten seasons, and he's not a bad teacher. He won't be involved with gameplanning, so there's no reason to hate him anymore.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Brett Favre: The writing is on the wall

In case you missed it, Peter King had a piece where he asserted Brett Favre would retire. Favre doesn't want surgery, and the Jets want him to participate in offseason workouts. And that's straight from the horse's mouth, as Woody Johnson said on New York radio.

You want to know how many offseason programs Brett Favre has ever participated in?

"I've never been in a [full] offseason program," Favre said to King in December.

During his recent offseason retirement decisions, most media reports meant nothing as it seemed the quarterback changed his mind multiple times. But if the Jets seriously want him to move to New Jersey full-time and put more time into the game than he has in 16 years, that isn't happening.

He's not coming back. Johnson sounded resigned to that. and the way he looked at the end of the season, Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff would be just as successful as the starter. And at a fraction of the cost.

*Oh, and Herman Edwards is going to be joining ESPN in a role that many Jets fans think he's been for eight years: a talking head. He should be great in that role though. Let's see what he'll say about the Jets. He's too classy to say anything overtly negative, but he'd have different perspectives on some players both with the Jets and within the division.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Jets Coaching Staff (And Roster) Filling Out

They're coming fast, folks.

Brian Schottenheimer agreed to be the offensive coordinator after a few days of flirting with leaving the team. He is expected to have more freedom with the offense gameplan under Rex Ryan. The front office seems to love him. We'll see if that's justified. In any case, he has a few brand new assistants to work with.

After eight years coaching the wide receivers in St. Louis, Henry Ellard will assume the same role in New York. During his time with the Rams, he coached Isaac Bruce, Torry Holt, and Donnie Avery among others. On the surface, this looks like an upgrade over Noel Mazzone. Ellard will work with Laveranues Coles and Jerricho Cotchery as well as younger prospects like Chansi Stuckey and David Clowney.

Former Cleveland runningbacks coach Anthony Lynn has taken the same position with the Jets. The Browns weren't a strong running team for the most part, but Lynn was highly coveted from many teams. He also worked under Bill Parcells with Dallas from 2005-06. The Tuna even attempted to hire him in Miami last year before Cleveland extended his contract.

Doug Plank will take over the secondary. Those of you yearning for Buddy Ryan's 4-6 defense have a throwback on the staff, as it was Plank's number 46 that inspired the famous Chicago defense. Recently, he coached the AFL's Georgia Force from 2005-2007 and was a roving assistant coach for the Falcons defense last year.

Two other coaches were hired as well. Jim O'Neil will be the new defensive quality control coach. Jeff Weeks will be an assistant defensive coach.

The following players were all signed to reserve/future contracts.

DL Kareem Brown - ended season on practice squad
RB Jehuu Caulcrick - ended season on practice squad
DE Kenwin Cummings - ended season on practice squad
OL Stanley Daniels - ended season on practice squad
WR Marcus Henry - ended season on practice squad
RB Noah Herron - former Packer was signed by Tampa Bay last season but didn't play
RB Marcus Mason - was signed to active roster during season
DE Ropati Pitoitua - waived as part of the Jets' last cuts last offseason
WR Paul Raymond - spent time on practice squad for both Jets and Giants last year
LB Brandon Renkart - ended season on practice squad
DT Brian Schafering - ended season on practice squad
WR Huey Whittaker - starred for the AFL's Utah Blaze last season

Friday, January 23, 2009

Jets deny Lions permission to speak to Schottenheimer

Well, that settles that.

In an obvious sign that Brian Schottenheimer will be back as offensive coordinator, the Jets blocked him from interviewing with the Detroit Lions.

If the Jets won't let him go to an 0-16 team in the NFC in a completely separate market, they won't let him go anywhere.

The front office really likes Schottenheimer and Bill Callahan in their separate roles. Personally, I'd do everything it takes to bring Schottenheimer back, but this is seeming kind of petty on both sides. Still, all the Jets are doing is forcing Schottenheimer to honor a contract that he signed. It looks as if he'll have to suck it up and coach another year here.

I wouldn't worry about it affecting his performance coaching though. If he truly wants a head coaching job, it wouldn't look good on his resume if he were to tank.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Rex Ryan will call defensive plays

Those wondering what new head coach Rex Ryan's role on gameday will be now have their answer: he will call all the defensive plays. Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine will be up in the press box.

This is according to Dave Hutchinson of, who has a lot of interesting tidbits in his article.

"I rely on him and he relies on me," Ryan said Wednesday. "We're going to get it done. ... (Pettine) is a rising star in this league. Of course, we don't want to pump him up too much. We want him to be around here for a while."

*Pettine probably won't be the only former Raven coach to join Ryan. Defensive line coach Clarence Brooks, secondary coach Mark Carrier, and a name I've mentioned before, quarterbacks coach Hue Jackson in case Brian Schottenheimer jumps ship.

*Ryan hinted that he was the frontrunner for the Rams job, but he preferred coaching for the Jets.

*As for Bill Cowher, the Jets said they felt there was a "99 percent chance" that he would not coach this season. After a brief flirtation, that bandwagon died rather quickly. Cowher's continued retirement lends credence to this.

*Four potential free agents from Baltimore that the Jets could look into are Bart Scott, Terrell Suggs, Ray Lewis, and Jim Leonhard. We'll probably hear more about some of those names when free agency begins because undoubtedly Ryan would love to bring in one of his old guys to be an extension of him on the field.

If Schottenheimer leaves, Ken Zampese for OC?

The Jets seem intent on building a staff entirely comprised of sons of successful coaches.

With Buddy Ryan's son Rex as the head coach, the Jets want Marty Schottenheimer's son Brian to be offensive coordinator. However, if Brian leaves, Adam Schefter reports that the Jets will turn to Bengals' quarterback coach Ken Zampese, son of noted offensive mind Ernie Zampese, who was part of the "Air Coryell" Chargers offense.

Zampese is 41 years old and has been Cincinnati's quarterback coach since 2003. Before then he was an offensive assistant with St. Louis, Green Bay, and Philadelphia. He also worked several years in college.

49ers show interest in Schottenheimer?

According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, the San Francisco 49ers have shown interest in Brian Schottenheimer as their offensive coordinator, although former BC coach (wonder why?) Jeff Jagodzinski is the favorite.

The 49ers also have discussed Jets offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer, but they believe he ultimately will remain with the Jets. New Jets coach Rex Ryan is trying to persuade Schottenheimer to stay with the team. Schottenheimer, however, is disenchanted with the team after it passed him over for the head job.

The ball is clearly in Schottenheimer's court. The Jets want him. Maybe San Francisco wants him. Maybe another opening becomes available or some team like the Lions takes another look. My money is on him finding out the waters aren't so pleasant elsewhere, so he'll stay with New York. But he's clearly feels a little miffed for not getting the head job.

Coverage of Rex Ryan's Press Conference

Here's a play-by-play from Rex Ryan's first press conference as the HC of the NYJ.

10:05: Woody Johnson seems pleased with Ryan, confirming that his 3-4 defense is a reason for the hire, and he loves the hire.

10:07 AM: Ryan: "I plan on being here a long time."

10:07 AM: Ryan: "I'm going to surround myself with the best people I can find, and my coaches won't work for me, they'll work with me." He goes on to praise Callahan and Westhoff and mentions that Mike Pettine will get the DC job.

10: 08 AM: Ryan: "My job is to provide the players with everything they need to be successful."

10:09 AM: Ryan: "We'll be aggressive on all three sides of the ball." "We will be an aggressive football team and a physical football team.

10:10 AM: Ryan: "We're either going to go walkthrough speed or full speed."

10:11 AM: He seems to like a run-first offense, an "all-weather offense."

10:11 AM: "I just knew where I wanted to be...There's no reason we shouldn't win immediately...The only way I know how to face a challenge is to face it head on. The message to the rest of the league is the Jets are coming, and we're going to give you everything we got.

10:12 AM: "We want to be known as the most physical football team in the NFL...You take a swipe at one of our guys, we'll take a swipe at two of yours."

10:13 AM: "It's on. I can't wait. We're bringing in as good a coaching staff as we can find. We're going to try to do the same thing with our players."

10:13 AM: He keeps stressing the team, and having all three sides of the ball work together, being special in their own way.

10:14 AM: He just mentioned he wanted the press conference to end, so he could focus on football.

Question time for Rex Ryan.

10:15 AM: On Brett Favre: He talked about how good Favre played last time he faced Baltimore. "I know how good a competitor he is," and he left the door wide open for him to play quarterback.

10:16 AM: "When you look at my background, I feel I've been successful at all stops along the way."

10:17 AM: "I will be meeting with Brian (Schottenheimer) soon...Tremendous coach...Certainly, I want to sit down and visit with him, face to face. If anyone has gone through what Brian has--I know the disappointment he's feeling, I felt the exact same thing last year in Baltimore."

10:19 AM: "There's a million decisions that have to be made, and obviously Brett is a huge decision."

10:21 AM: Asked about Same Old Jets, and how to change culture. "This is a good football team. There really doesn't have to be a drastic change. I think oyu're goin to see a drastic change with some of the play of defense...We're going to be attacking to the whistle, not just to the whistle but through the whistle." He seems excited about the talent in place already, mentions Jenkins, Rhodes, and Revis, whom he calls "the best corner in football."

10:22 AM: On Vernon Gholston. "I don't think he's scratched the surface on what type of player he can be." He compares him to Terrell Suggs, telling a story of how he first was told to coach up Suggs and told him he would be the rookie of the year and then coached him up, and he thinks Gholston and others will be able to contribute.

10:24 AM: "I challenge our fans...You see the value in your fans by how you play defense at home...I know the Jets fans. This is going to be great, man...The style of defense we play, with our fans, whooo, it's going to be rough on people."

10:25 AM: "I have high expectations of our fans. We don't let them score at home."

10:26 AM: "Anybody would want Brett Favre to be their quarterback. Anybody. Not just me." Goes on to qualify that statement by saying he hasn't talked to Favre yet and he doesn't know.

10:27 AM: "I'm going to be myself. That's been pretty successful for me...I'm a guy who's very my coaches and players' abilities as well."

10:28 AM: "Our corner will be able to tell you Kris Jenkins' responsibility on every play." Talks about how defensive meetings will have all his players invoved, and that players will be accountable to each other, and they will know what everyone is doing on every play.

10:29 AM: "I'm excited to see Kerry, to coach Kerry. Ed (Reed) has a reputation for being a freelance guy, but everything is in the structure of our defense...We'll set traps, and Ed took advantage...It's all 11 doing what they're supposed to be doing, in a fashion that is physical and aggressive always."

10:30 AM: "Joint effort" with coaches, scouting department, but Tannenbaum will have the final decision, "just as any GM would."

10:31 AM: "I think Brian's an outstanding coach. He's here already. I would be doing myself a disservice by not talking to him and seeing if he wants to be a part of this Jets family, and again he's already here, and obviously he's one of the top coordinators in football, so of course I give him that opportunity to say no or yes." He also denied having any coaches forced on him, and that any report that says that is false.

And with that, the press conference is over.

As for my early thoughts about Rex Ryan as Jets coach? You can clearly see why the Jets liked Ryan. He's the anti-Mangini. He said in his presser that there are read-and-react coaches, and he is not one of them. If the ship is going to trash, Ryan will be much more animated than Mangini ever was.

He made several statements that fans have to love. We have yearned for a physical and aggressive defensive unit for years, and if there's one thing Ryan made a point to stress, it is those two things. One of my favorite quotes from him was this. "We want to be known as the most physical football team in the NFL...You take a swipe at one of our guys, we'll take a swipe at two of yours."

How can you not love that?

He also made it a point to indicate the returning talent already in place. He called Revis "the best corner in football," and he also praised Jenkins and Rhodes. And he's right. There's plenty of talent in place. Just imagine what the defense can do with an aggressive attitude and hopefully some new talent. And what if he can actually help turn Vernon Gholston around?

The fact that he challenged the fans to step it up on defense was a smart move. Fans love to think they are involved, and your average Jets fan wants to yell and scream on defense. Home field advantage was largely better this past season than it had been recently, and with a new coach, some new hype, and a new style, it could improve. Woody Johnson thought Ryan could reinvigorate the fan base. That is absolutely possible.

But, remember, the last coach that had as many soundbites and who was considered a players' coach was Herman Edwards. So keep a level head before you get your hopes too high. His comments on Favre weren't particularly impressive, but it is his first day here, and what he says publicly and what the Jets want to do privately could easily be too different things.

During the press conference, he also mentioned a KILL philosophy rather than a KISS (keep it simple, stupid) one. "Keep it Likeable and Learnable." Not nearly as fearsome as the anagram itself, but if it works, it works.

There's only so much you can learn from a press conference, but he comes exactly as advertised. He may or may not be successful, but he's definitely going to be a fun guy to root for, just like his father Buddy was.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A few more Rex Ryan quotes

Here are a few quotes from Jets' brass regarding their newest head coach.

Woody Johnson:

“Rex is revered by his players and respected by his peers around the NFL for his innovative schemes. There is no doubt in my mind that Rex has the expertise and instincts to build on the foundation that we have in place and take this franchise to the ranks of the NFL’s elite. He will bring an aggressive, physical brand of football that will captivate our fans and ignite their passion. I appreciate Mike Tannenbaum and all those involved for the time and energy they invested during this search. Thanks to their efforts, we got the right man for the job.”

Mike Tannenbaum:

“During our search, we were looking for a great football mind and a passionate leader. Rex is a coach with an established track record who is universally respected by players and coaches for his skills as a communicator and his creativity.”

And now, the man himself, Rex Ryan:

“I’d like to thank Woody Johnson and Mike Tannenbaum for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It’s been a dream of mine to become a head coach in the NFL. Coming here to the New York Jets, where my father once coached and was part of the Super Bowl III staff, is fantastic. I look around at the facilities and the people they have in place and see a first-class organization. I’m just proud to be part of it.”

Finally, I'll leave you with a few statistics regarding Ryan's defenses in Baltimore. These are all from a press release sent out by the Jets.

"Ryan spent the last 10 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens, including 2008 as assistant head coach/defensive coordinator. During Ryan’s tenure, the Ravens defense never ranked lower than sixth in the NFL. Since 1999, the Ravens rank first for fewest points allowed (17.1 per game), fewest rushing yards allowed per game (87.3), most shutouts (9), most takeaways (337), most interceptions (212), most interceptions for touchdowns (29) and third down conversion defense (33.9 percent). They rank second in the NFL since 1999 in total defense (280.7) and fourth in sacks (416). In those 10 seasons, the Ravens allowed an NFL-low 18 100-yard rushers, including none over the last 35 games."

Now, for a few more odds and ends.

*The Rex Ryan press conference will officially be Wednesday morning at 10:00 AM.

*Rich Cimini reports that Ryan's deal is worth $11.6 million in total.

*Cimini also reports that assistant defensive line coach Bryan Cox and DB coach Jerome Henderson are gone to Cleveland with Eric Mangini. He also says that LB coach Jim Herrmann and defensive coordinator Bob Sutton will both probably be gone. Expect Mike Pettine, the Ravens' outside linebackers coach, to be named the new defensive coordinator.

As for some of the offensive coaches, Ryan could try to keep the offensive staff intact. That includes Brian Schottenheimer, who still might bolt if a promising job opens elsewhere, and Bill Callahan, who may stay on as offensive line coach.

The best news of all is that Mike Westhoff is expected to stay as well! He is still under contract now, and Ryan will likely want him to come back.

UPDATE (2:38 AM):
Can't get enough of these Ryan quotes! Here's a bunch more, from the perspective of those who have played under or coached with the Jets' new HC.

DL Trevor Pryce: "If he becomes a head coach, I'm going to find out, and I'm going with him." (note: Pryce is under contract until 2010)

LB Ray Lewis: "Rex is the guru. He's not afraid to be different and move guys around to take advantage of our athletic ability. He trusts us that much."

CB Samari Rolle: "Rex is a better person than coach. He cares about you, and he keeps us under control. We're his guys. I mean, look at this locker room. There are some strong personalities on this defense to deal with, real strong personalities. But Rex handles it. He's got a strong personality, too. Nobody disrespects Rex — nobody. We all play for him."

Former CB Gary Baxter: "Every time he gets up to speak in a defensive meeting room, all eyes and ears belong to him."

LB Terrell Suggs: "You want to give your heart out for Rex. I don't know what it is about him, but I hope he never changes. That's exactly why in a heartbeat, no matter what he'll ask me to do, I'll do it. I love Rex Ryan." (note: Suggs actually IS a free agent)

Head Coach John Harbaugh: "This is a great football coach and even a better person. Rex is going to be a great head coach in the NFL, without a doubt. He's got all the talent, all the ability to do it. He's built something here that is one of the best in the National Football League, and that's the foundation for us to stand on."

General Manager Ozzie Newsome: "Rex has always been a gym rat for football. It's not work for him. It's pure enjoyment."

Monday, January 19, 2009

The latest regarding the Jets' new coaching staff

It's impossible to know what's going on in the mind of Jets' offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer.

Rex Ryan was once considered a favorite to win the Jets blog in large part due to his apparent willingness to accept Schottenheimer as his offensive coordinator. Later that day, NFL Network's Adam Schefter reported that simply was not the case, and that Schotty wanted the head job or he may go elsewhere.

Then, earlier today, a report stated that Schottenheimer was, in fact, willing to coach underneath Ryan. However, once again, Schefter serves as a buzzkill.

Despite reports that Schottenheimer will be returning to the Jets, another source insisted that no decision has been made and it might not be until the end of this week. Schottenheimer is said to be mulling his options for the 2009 season and beyond, and it is far from certain that he will be back in New York, even if the Jets want him.

Schottenheimer does have one year remaining on his Jets contract, tying him to New York. But sometimes when candidates are passed over for head-coaching jobs, teams allow them to leave, and that might well turn out to be the case with Schottenheimer.

As it stands, Schottenheimer is said to be wanted in New York but also curious about other opportunities. These days there are plenty.

There are six known offensive coordinator openings — Detroit, New England, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis and Tampa Bay. Plus Kansas City and Carolina could be in the market for an offensive coordinator.

Brian Bassett has a very interesting take on Schefter's state of mind on

I like Adam Schefter’s body of work a lot, but he’s been a pretty transparent schill for Schott’s agent Jimmy Sexton on this topic for weeks now. Other than report that there are teams that might be interested, there’s been nothing solid linking Schottenheimer to any of these openings so far. There might be teeth behind this, but many of these opportunities have been open for days already, which can seem like years during the January coaching carousel. If teams wanted Schott, it would have made many news outlets already.

Now, the Detroit Lions have expressed interest in Schottenheimer, and there may be other opportunities available. But what has Schottenheimer done to earn an offensive coordinator job elsewhere? The Jets' offense has been mediocre during his three years.

While rumors float about how much former coach Eric Mangini may have hampered his ability to run the offense and call the plays, the fact is that his offenses were never particularly effective.

He's obviously well-thought of in Jets circles. Why would he want to leave that to probably work underneath a rookie head coach elsewhere? Of course, he'll take a look at other potential job opportunities, but out of all the situations available, he will probably have the best chance to run his own show and win football games in New York, assuming the Patriots don't hire him. And I know that idea could spark the paranoia that's inherent in every Jets fan, but I'd be shocked if New England looked at him.

When all is said and done, expect Schottenheimer to coach the offense. It seems to make too much sense not to happen.

*In other coaching staff news, Mangini is interviewing assistant defensive line coach Brian Cox to work with him in Cleveland. Cox has been with the Jets since 2006 in that role, and he also played with the team from 1998-2000. Mangini has already lured quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll to Cleveland as the offensive coordinator, the fiery Cox could be next.

Ryan: 4 years, $11-12 million?

As I, and pretty much every other news source has reported for the last week, Rex Ryan is the head coach of the New York Jets. The deal is for four years, and sources say it's similar to the deal Steve Spagnuolo received from St. Louis.

The news conference will come Wednesday, as expected. Ryan will be the fourth Jets coach since 2000 and the 17th head coach in franchise history.

He will keep the 3-4 that the team has been running for the past three years, but given his upbringing as the son of Buddy Ryan, who was known to place bounties on opposing quarterbacks, he will make the defense be much more aggressive. His interview apparently blew the Jets away, and he feels much more prepared to be a head coach this year as opposed to the last two seasons.

New coach John Harbaugh elevated Ryan to assistant head coach before the season started, partly so the defensive coordinator wouldn't bolt after getting the head job, but also to reward his loyalty.

Here's what Ryan had to say about how that promotion better prepared him for the top job.

"I learned a ton. I was blessed to be in this situation under John as the head coach, being around (offensive coordinator) Cam Cameron and a lot of the new guys who came in here. I certainly don't have all the answers, but it was great. The way John treated me to be side-by-side in some of the head-coaching decisions was great for me. I think I'm more prepared to be a head coach now because of that."

Now, we can finally move on with our offseason. Wednesday's press conference should be a lot of fluff, but it will be the first time many Jets fans will get to meet their new head coach, and we the fans can finally find out what sort of direction this team wants to go in.

UPDATE (1:06 PM):
According to, SNY reports that Brian Schottenheimer will stay with the Jets. Personally, I don't know how such a report can be particularly valid, considering Ryan hasn't been introduced as coach yet, and I doubt he's really spoken to the Jets' offensive coordinator. Reports surfaced last week saying Ryan was willing to keep Schottenheimer, so if that was true, and this is true, then it appears likely he will stay. Still, I've seen PFT be wrong on things before, so don't treat this as fact yet.

ESPN: Rex Ryan to Jets

Well, the Ravens are out of the playoffs, and to no one's surprise, Baltimore defensive coordinator Rex Ryan is set to become the next head coach of the New York Jets.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports
that Rex Ryan has told confidants that he will accept the New York Jets coaching job, which is going to be offered to him.

A formal announcement is expected later today (Monday), and his first press conference as the 17th head coach of the New York Jets organization should come Wednesday.

Now, we can finally get on to other things within the organization, namely how to improve a 9-7 football team and make them into a Super Bowl contender. The most pertinent offseason personnel question regards Brett Favre's future, and once Ryan is head coach, we can officially start to understand how Ryan ticks.

Another rookie head coach. Parcells was 9-7 in his first year. Groh was, too. Herm and Eric Mangini were both 10-6. As much as the last three's reputations were tainted by the way each one's regimes ended, they all had varying degrees of early success.

Let's hope Ryan can up the ante even further.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Championship Predictions

It's championship week! Just four teams remain in the hunt for the ultimate NFL title. I'm low on time to put some predictions up before the start of the Eagles-Cardinals game, so here's my pick.

Cardinals +3.5 over Eagles
People are totally underestimating Arizona. Throw out some of the games you saw them play late in the season: they are irrelevant. Prepare to see University of Phoenix stadium like you've never seen it before: absolutely rocking. The Eagles are a good football team, but so is Arizona. Maybe I'm a little biased against the Eagles, and maybe I'm ignoring the lack of success home teams have had so far, but give me Kurt Warner at home over Donovan McNabb. And I'll take the points.

Cardinals 27, Eagles 20

Update (5:55 PM)

Now for the late game...

Ravens +6 over Steelers
All week I've wondered how in the world the Ravens are getting six points against the Steelers. Does anyone understand how these two teams play? This will be yet another slugfest, and points will be hard to come by. And I really wanted to pick Pittsburgh in this game. Rex Ryan would be free to be a Jet. I tried to convince myself that Baltimore would be tired after 18 straight weeks of playing their style of football. I tried to look at injuries to various Ravens as a reason to pick a Pittsburgh blowout. But I can't bet against that Baltimore defense getting six points. I just can't.

Steelers 13, Ravens 9

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spagnuolo to the Rams

And the pieces finally begin to fall into place...

First reported by Bernie Miklasz, the St. Louis Rams have hired Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo as their new head coach.

This means the Jets' coaching search is essentially down to Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer, with almost all signs pointing to Ryan.

Now, the Steelers just need to beat the Ravens tomorrow, so we can finally get this over with!

Otherwise, it's another two weeks for the Super Bowl. At least in that case, you'll be able to root for Ryan's Ravens. It feels kind of perverted rooting for the Steelers to beat the Ravens, essentially rooting against the next head coach.

In any case this is a major development, and it paves the way for Ryan.

I already mentioned Mike Pettine as Ryan's likely defensive coordinator. If Schottenheimer leaves, expect Hue Jackson to take the offensive coordinator position.

Jackson was the Ravens' quarterback coach this year, helping develop Joe Flacco in his rookie season. The previous three years, he coached Chad Johnson, TJ Houshmandzadeh, and co. in Cincinnati as the wide receivers' coach. He's been an offensive coordinator only once before, with Washington in 2003, Steve Spurrier's final year there, and the only year the Ol' Ball Coach allowed someone else to call plays.

Former Jet Jon Vilma Arrested

Very surprising news out of Miami tonight. Former Hurricanes star Jonathan Vilma was arrested with reckless driving and resisting arrest.

Police report that Vilma was weaving throughout traffic in his Range Rover; before being pulled over he ran a red light, and nearly hit two pedestrians. After being pulled ove,r Vilma refused to exit the vehicle at the officer's command exclaiming " You have to give me a reason. I ain't going anywhere til I know what's going on." After finally getting out of the car he refused to place his hands on the side of the car as told to. After a heated debate between both parties he was placed under arrest for the obstruction of justice and was asked to place his left hand behind his back. After another refusal he attempted to move away from the vehicle. The officer called for backup as Vilma continued his struggle to pull his arms away before he was eventually handcuffed. Vilma was booked into the Miami Dade County Jail a little after 6 p.m., his bond is set at $6500 dollars.

After witnessing Vilma in college and in the NFL, and hearing people talk about him on and off the field, this is very surprising and disappointing news to hear. Normally I wouldn't care about non-Jet off-field transgressions, but this one struck me.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Could Ryan go to St. Louis?

I saw this on

Rumors, rumors, rumors. Ryan is the current favorite for the Jets job, but he was also one of the finalists for the St. Louis Rams job, and ESPN's Chris Mortensen reports that he is the favorite there as well.

Of course, Adam Schefter then reports that Jason Garrett is interviewing again there and that he may be the guy.

As always, I will report any new information as it comes...

Lions interested in Schottenheimer

Yesterday, the Detroit Lions tabbed Titans defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz as their new head man, and today, they've expressed interest in speaking to Brian Schottenheimer about their offensive coordinator job.

Reports early yesterday indicated Schottenheimer could remain the offensive coordinator even if he missed out on the top job. However, later reports indicated that he was likely to leave if he didn't get the job.

The Jets have a tough choice to make regarding Schottenheimer right now. Chances are, they won't block Schottenheimer from interviewing, but if they are intent on him coaching with the Jets next year, they have the right to block an interview.

As for Jon Gruden, don't expect the Jets to get involved if he wants to get back into coaching. They seem pretty far along in the process, with Ryan the leader, and they seem intent on getting a first-time coach.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

AP: Jets already met with Spags again

According to the Associated Press, the Jets already met with Steve Spagnuoloon Tuesday. The Jets are not discussing the interviews, so none of the beat reporters ever found out about this, which is strange.

If that's the case, then all we're waiting on is a final decision. Mike Tannenbaum, pull the trigger already!

More to come later, but in the meantime, listen to my Villanova radio show, Rock of Ages. Go to iTunes, click radio, click college radio, then go to 89.1 WXVU FM, and listen live from 8:30-10:00 PM!

Coaching staff ramifications

As the coaching search continues, there has been one constant theme: how current Jets staff members will be affected by the new head coach. That notion first reared its ugly head when Bill Cowher spurned the Jets. While many, including myself, assert that Cowher simply was not going to coach this year, no matter what the Jets did, others believed that Mike Tannenbaum did not want to give up any power as general manager.

That idea floated back to the surface when Mike Shanahan's name briefly came up, and it's been on the tip of some Jets fans' tongues when they come to grips with another first-time head coach. When there's smoke, there's usually a little bit of fire, but personally, I think Tannenbaum has done a fine job.

The other mini-soap opera is that of offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer. He's been mentioned as one of the top three head coaching candidates, along with Rex Ryan and Steve Spagnuolo, but since Schottenheimer is already on staff, there is a whole new dynamic which needs to be discussed.

Many in the front office feel he is a bright young football mind, and they want to keep him around. If that is the case, they need to decide in what capacity. If they make him the head coach, they obviously feel highly of him.

But if he is not the new head coach, then they are faced with the difficult situation of forcing an offensive coordinator on Ryan or Spagnuolo. And that problem may have a major role in Ryan's recent surge in popularity among Jets brass.

According to the Daily News, Ryan is willing to keep Schottenheimer on as offensive coordinator in case he took the head coaching job. Spagnuolo wants full control of the roster and coaching staff. While that is not a dealbreaker, chalk it up to a "pro" in Ryan's column and a "con" in Spagnuolo's.

For a reason why Ryan is willing to pass up bringing in his own guy, look no further than two seasons ago.

nitially, there was talk in league circles that Ryan would target Ravens quarterbacks coach Hugh Jackson as his offensive coordinator, but friends say Ryan learned a lesson two years ago while interviewing for the Chargers' head-coaching vacancy. Ryan didn't want to hire Ted Cottrell as his defensive coordinator - that was the preference of GM A.J. Smith - and it may have been a reason why he lost out to Norv Turner, who agreed to Cottrell. Turner wound up firing Cottrell this season.

As far as defensive coordinator goes, no matter who comes in, expect Bob Sutton to either be fired or reassigned. In the probable case of Ryan being hired, expect Ravens' outside linebackers coach Mike Pettine to be the choice.

Here is what Ryan himself has to say about Pettine.

"Mike is my right-hand man. Our backgrounds are very similar. My father is a legendary NFL coach and his father is a legendary football coach, who recently retired as the winningest HS football coach in Pennsylvania history. I know Mike will make a name for himself in this league. He's one of the best communicators I know, and he relates well with the players. He's smart, and he's dedicated."

For more on Pettine, click here for his Baltimore Ravens biography.

And the longer it goes before Spagnuolo's second interview, the better Ryan's odds get. That can't be stated enough. If and when Spags talks to Woody and Mike T, we'll know more about his chances. But every day until he comes in, Ryan seems to be a bigger favorite.

*And in any case, quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll is gone. Eric Mangini officially named him the offensive coordinator in Cleveland.

UPDATE (4:41 PM):
Adam Schefter reports pretty much the opposite of what I just posted. He says the Jets need to choose between Schottenheimer and Ryan, as Schefter expects Schottenheimer to try to leave in case the Jets sign Ryan.

I'll post more information as it unfolds...

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

We're all dyin' for Ryan

After winning the fan vote with an overwhelming margin, it looks like Rex Ryan will be the next head coach of the New York Jets. Nothing is signed, sealed, or delivered, but the New York Jets are expected to hire the Ravens coach next week, assuming his Baltimore team loses to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Again, nothing is official yet. Steve Spagnuolo is scheduled to interview again. He was the early frontrunner, and he has a second chance to impress the Jets brass. If he doesn't, Ryan's chances grow.

Brian Schotenheimer is well-respected within the organization, and he still poses a threat, and at one point I thought he might be the leader. Still, it would be hard to justify promoting him after three mediocre offensive years, and Ryan might be too tempting to pass up.

However, beware the chance that Ryan spurns the Jets. St. Louis has also interviewed him and listed him as one of five finalists for its head coaching position.

Still, when the dust settles, expect Ryan to win the job. And if there's one thing I've seen from his defenses, there's an attitude there, almost an arrogance. Chad Pennington threw five interceptions against his defense, one week after winning in Giants Stadium week 17.

And once Spagnuolo interviews again, the longer the race goes, the better Ryan's odds get. Remember, the Jets can't hire him until the Ravens are out of the playoffs. But on the flip side, if the Ravens are playing into February, will the Jets wait for him that long?

Russ Grimm, a darkhorse for the job, also can't be hired until after the Cardinals lose out.

But it appears Ryan is the Jets' man. Go Steelers.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Coaching Poll Results are in

In decisive fashion Rex Ryan has been declared the winner of the JetsDaily coaching poll. He garnered a 57% majority of the votes.

1. Rex Ryan (33)
2. Steve Spagnuolo (7)
3a. Brian Schottenheimer (3)
3b. Mike Shanahan (3)
3c. Jeff Jagodzinski (3)
6a. Russ Grimm (2)
6b. Brian Billick (2)
6c. Ron Meeks (2)
6d. Bill Callahan (2)

I admit I was surprised at how the voting turned out. I had written some good things about Ryan recently, and a lot of fans seem to like him, so it's no surprise he won. The fact that he got almost five times as many votes as any other candidate was astounding.

Spagnuolo, who was probably considered the early front runner, still checks in at second, and is very much alive in the coaching race, even if he finished a distant second in this poll.

Schottenheimer, to no surprise, is not feeling the love from Jets fans, receiving just three of the 56 votes, or just 5%.

I'm a little surprised that every candidate received at least two votes, including long shots like Callahan, Billick, and Meeks. I'm very curious to the motivations behind each candidate and what people were thinking when they voted. Feel free to leave a comment with your thoughts!

Hutchinson: Ryan new frontrunner

I hate making a new post for yet another rumor, but kudos to one of my commenters by the name of Anonymous for tipping me off to Dave Hutchinson's article on Always good to have my readers to my work for me.

Here's a clip from his article.

Jets owner Woody Johnson and general manager Mike Tannenbaum met with Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan for five hours Sunday in Baltimore and the two sides hit it off in a big way, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting.

Rex Ryan fans of the world unite!

Don't get too excited though. On Tuesday, I'm sure someone will say Spags is the favorite again. Or Schottenheimer. But if Hutchinson is correct, this would probably make him the favorite.

Spagnuolo interview again Monday

One day after his team's 23-11 loss to the Eagles, Giants defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo will be interviewed by Jets' brass Monday. His first interview was not particularly impressive, but he's a top candidate for the job, and the Jets are giving him a second opportunity when he's more single-minded.

He's considered one of the top candidates for the job. Cimini had him as the favorite.

Another favorite, Brian Schottenheimer, is set to interview again. So is Bill Callahan, though he's a darkhorse at best.

I know many Jets fans are angered that Schottenheimer would be so strongly considered for the job. Well, if you want proof that the Jets aren't the only team who likes him, both Miami and Baltimore were interested in him in 2006 and 2007. Some argue that Mike Tannenbaum simply wants a coach he can control, and Schottenheimer would fit the bill rather than a more experienced coach, but I don't buy that argument.

I wrote the case for Schottenheimer the other day. He keeps continuity, just with a new voice at the top, and he's a smart kid. The Jets may think they have a good thing going and they need tweaks, not an overhaul.

Because with Spagnuolo, the Jets may be set back briefly switching to a 4-3 front, which their personnel was not acquired for.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Jets' DL coach Dan Quinn lured away by Seahawks

Rich Cimini reports that Jets' defensive line coach Dan Quinn is gone to fill the same position for the Seahawks. His contract was up, so there wasn't much the team could do to stop him from leaving to join his former co-worker Jim Mora Jr in Seattle.

In other news I'm 0-3 for picking the playoffs this week so far. At least San Diego is in the game early, 7-7 in a game that the Chargers have outplayed the Steelers so far.

One and done for the Giants. Very disappointing game for them, especially Eli Manning. Check out my article on his failure on Bleacher Report.

How crazy would it be for the 9-7 Cardinals and the 8-8 Chargers to both host playoff games in the NFC and AFC championship games? Can all four road teams really win? And can the representatives from the two most maligned divisions in football actually meet in the Super Bowl?

Sunday NFL Predictions

Giants -4 over Eagles
I'm sorry, I just don't see this Eagles juggernaut. They pass the ball far too much, and their receivers aren't that good. Can they win this game? Absolutely. But they will need an effective, mistake-free game from Donovan McNabb to do that. If McNabb isn't perfect, they won't win. Brian Westbrook is a great back, but he'll do his damage more from screens than running the ball. If the Giants can limit that, they should win this game. I hate laying 4, but the Giants are a better team, and they've been rested. Besides, look at the weather report. Brandon Jacobs and Derrick Ward can run no matter what's going on outside. A windy day hurts the Eagles much more than the Giants. Eli Manning just needs to take care of the football and not force the issue.
Giants 21, Eagles 13

Chargers +6 over Steelers
I admit, this is far from my most confident pick. I think Pittsburgh beats San Diego: their defense is just way too good for a Tomlinson-less San Diego team. Good luck picking up the blitz, Darren Sproles! But I do not have confidence in the Steelers offense. The line simply is not that good, and Roethlisberger is not a great quarterback. He makes plays when he has to, but he's far from pretty. The first game infamously ended 11-10 Steelers, but either team could have won that. The weather is going to be horrible in Pittsburgh, which at first glance favors the hometown Steelers, but in reality, it just favors defense and low-scoring. Pittsburgh's defense will make just enough plays when it has to, and as much as I like Philip Rivers, he can't do it himself.
Steelers 17, Chargers 14.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Rex Ryan interview tomorrow

After Baltimore beat Tennessee in what can only be described as a bloodbath, Ravens defensive coordinator Rex Ryan will interview for the Jets job tomorrow. Woody and Mike T. will both be there, as well as some other assistants.

Once Ryan completes his interview, the Jets will have a much better clue which direction they are looking for at coach. As reported earlier, Ryan, Brian Schottenheimer, and Steve Spagnuolo are the three favorites at the moment.

Down to three candidates?

Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that the top three candidates for head coach are Rex Ryan, Steve Spagnuolo, and our very own Brian Schottenheimer.

Cimini reported the same three last night, with Spagnuolo as his early favorite.

It definitely appears like it's going to come down to those three. Grimm, Jagodzinski, Meeks, and Callahan also have shots, and Mike Shanahan can always come back into play after his vacation is over. There is still no interview scheduled for Brian Billick, so he's not a serious candidate as of yet.

Mike Lombardi of also reports that the Jets looked at former NFL quarterback Jim Harbaugh, brother of Ravens' coach John, over the weekend. They met with Russ Grimm in Phoenix on Thursday. When they were done, they flew further west to visit Harbaugh, who is currently the head coach at Stanford.

You might ask yourself why the Jets would have interest in the head coach of a team that hasn't been to a bowl since 2001? Yes, Harbaugh is just 9-15 as their coach, but under the circumstances, he's turned heads with how well he's done.

It's very difficult to recruit at Stanford with the academic standards in place. He was also left with an empty cupboard talent-wise, and he's done a very good job turning the program around. He probably isn't experienced enough to get the job, but he's a rising young star in the coaching community, and the Jets have some interest.

If I were asked right now, Saturday afternoon, who I think the next Jets coach is, I'm predicting Brian Schottenheimer. Mortensen and Cimini both report that some people in the organization feel he is going to be a good head coach someday, and they shouldn't let him go.

He is young, smart and has good bloodlines. If the Jets are remotely serious about bringing Brett Favre back, keeping Schottenheimer would bring continuity to the offense, making him the most viable candidate in that scenario.

From what I'm reading and hearing, the Jets really like Schottenheimer, but they understand how much that hiring him might upset the fanbase, and they have to know that it could put him at a disadvantage.

But if they truly think he's the best coach, I think that has to take precedence over everything. I still trust Mike Tannenbaum, and I like the direction the team was going in, late-season collapse, notwithstanding. Keeping continuity with the team, but giving a new young voice a chance to lead is a promising option.

Then the question becomes is Schottenheimer qualified enough? That's something I can't answer. I didn't mind the offense, but I wasn't a fan of his playcalling for much of the season. As a head coach, he'd be more involved with formulating a gameplan and leading both sides of the ball.

If Schottenheimer were head coach with a competent new offensive coordinator and a new, more aggressive defensive coordinator, I wouldn't complain too much. The idea is growing on me. After all, the offense was very successful on the first drive of each game when the plays were scripted. Getting him more involved in the overall gameplan, and less involved in calling individual plays might make a lot of sense.

There's your case for Schotty Jr. Ryan and Spagnuolo are still very much in play, however, and we'll know more about Ryan after he interviews.

*One more note of interest: Leon Washington was named to the AFC all-pro squad as kick returner. Alan Faneca and Kris Jenkins were 2nd teamers. Nick Mangold, Darrelle Revis, and Tony Richardson also received votes. Click here to see the entire voting breakdown.

*Also, I pick Titans -3 today in what should be a great, low-scoring game. A Titan player said of the last game, "The first game was a fight with a little football sprinkled in." I know the game started already, but I had liked Tennessee all week, just never posted it. 10:32 to go in the 1st, both teams have punted, so nothing has happened yet.

UPDATE (6:39): A poster on named Merenguito says that the job is Spagnuolo's if he wants it. I have no idea what the credibility of this poster is, but here is what he has to say.

I was told by a pretty good source yesterday that the Jets will hire Spags if he wants the job as soon as the the Giants season ends.

Basically that the job is his if he wants it but it cant be announced for obvious reasons until the Giants end their season. All of the interviews your hearing about lately are smoke screens. Spags impressed Woody and Tanny enough for them to say he is their guy.

I know this sounds cheap and I have no link or whatever but when I tell you my source is legit..its legit. Also, ive never been one to talk out of my ass here anyway.

Personally, I guess im happy if we indeed sign him.

Take it with a grain of salt because who knows with message boards, but I just thought I'd pass that along.

UPDATE (8:36 PM):
I think the Cardinals are going to get slaughtered. I laid the 10 (forgot to post it again, stupid me, I'll try to get tomorrow's picks up before the games tomorrow. I will say right now that I like the Giants. Eagles aren't that good, and the Giants are rested.

UPDATE (9:05 PM): Love how as soon as I type that, the Cardinals score 14 unanswered. Then Delhomme makes a dumb throw and the Cardinals are in business. Wow. I'm rooting for the Cards, but I'm pretty surprised so far.

Friday, January 9, 2009

2008 New York Jets Grades: AKA the Longest Post Ever

Sure, anybody can give you grades as soon as the season ends. And, hell, pretty much everybody else did give them within a day or two of the end of the season.

But after watching sports my entire life, I know that time provides perspective, and let’s face it, while I try to be as unbiased and objective as possible, like all Jets fans, I was pretty angry the way this season ended.

Besides, by giving you the grades now, it provides a much-needed break from the coaching search, which has lasted over a week and still isn’t particularly close to being done. Honestly, while I’ve been updating a lot lately, let’s face it, everything is just speculation.

I don’t know who the frontrunner to win the job is. Gun to my head, I would say Rex Ryan, but the man hasn’t even interviewed yet. I don’t even think the Jets know who the leader is right now, making it impossible for us to speculate who it might be.

Plus, we don’t know what system the coach will bring, what type of offense and defense he would want to run, and what coaches he will keep and which ones he will bring in. We all have our opinions, but no one knows for sure.

All I can know is what I see on the field every Sunday.

There were a lot of positives and a lot of negatives. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure that out. But let’s delve a little deeper, going position by position, grading each unit’s performance for the 2009 season.

Quarterbacks: C-

Nobody knew what type of year Brett Favre was going to have for Gang Green this year. Could he learn the system? Develop a rapport with the players? Was he in game shape? And was he going to be the player of 2007 that led the Green Bay Packers to the NFC Championship game or the version of some of the previous years where he was an interception machine.

For the first half of the season, many of those questions remained unanswered. Against some weaker opponents, the offense looked unstoppable. Against Arizona he tied Joe Namath’s team record for touchdowns in a game with six, and he led the Jets offense to be among the highest scoring in the NFL.

Still, there was always the feeling that it was a work in progress. Favre said so himself at many points, and he still threw too many dumb interceptions.

Even when the team was 6-3, many doubted the Jets as a team, in large part due to the cupcake schedule they had played and their loss to the Oakland Raiders. Fans were satisfied, but they wanted more, both from the quarterback and the team as a whole.
And with road games against New England and Tennessee, the Jets could not have scripted a better test. To put it bluntly, Favre was brought in to beat the Patriots.

And he delivered. Favre played arguably his best game of the season against the Patriots, finishing 26-33 for 258 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions.

Now that the Jets had proved they should be taken seriously in the AFC East, they had a chance against the best team in the NFL: the undefeated Titans. Again Favre delivered, completing 25 of his 32 passes for 224 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.

If you had asked me that night what Favre’s grade would be, I would have probably told you an A-. In the two biggest games of the season, he met all expectations.
All that was left for him was to play well and win against several inferior teams and he would have been a conquering hero.

But a 9:2 interception-touchdown ratio in those last five games marred any good feelings about Favre. His play was simply abysmal down the stretch. It wouldn’t be fair to put 100% of the blame on him, but he definitely deserves the lion’s share for the offense’s struggles.

As I’ve mentioned many times, I still felt the deal was worth making, and he proved that in the Tennessee and New England games. Unfortunately, two very good games don’t make up for five awful games and many other mediocre ones. It was a fun ride while it lasted, but it left a bitter taste in the end.

Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff never played meaningful action during the season, so they had no impact on the grade.

Runningbacks: A-

Remember when many fans were clamoring for Darren McFadden?
Thomas Jones left a lot to be desired after running for 1119 yards and just one touchdown in his first season in New York. It was a lost season for the team as a whole and Jones in particular.

2008 was a completely different story.

He led the AFC with 1312 yards and set a Jet record with 13 rushing touchdowns. It was a down year overall for runningbacks, but that doesn’t take away with the great season Jones had. From weeks six to 15, he scored 12 touchdowns.

His season was a perfect example of what happens to a runningback when the offensive line goes from sieve-like to solid. He was able to find cutback lanes, break some more tackles, and score in the red zone, averaging 4.5 yards-per-carry in the process.

But whenever the Jets needed a big play, they turned to the little guy, Leon Washington. The third-year pro had three touchdown runs of 47 yards or more, averaging a jaw-dropping 5.9 yards-per-carry.

The biggest problem with Washington was his usage, not his play. Despite being a home-run threat every time he touched the ball, he only carried the ball 76 times, just five more than last season. As well as Thomas Jones played this season, Washington needed more touches. He did have 47 receptions, giving him 803 yards from scrimmage and eight touchdowns.

With Jones about to hit 31 years of age by the start of next season, Washington’s role will need to expand under the next regime or TJ could hit a wall, and the offense won’t have every opportunity to succeed. Hopefully whoever the new coach is can call plays at closer to a 2:1 ratio in touches between Jones and Washington,

It would be foolish not to mention the contributions of Tony Richardson. The veteran fullback was a reliable blocking back, just as he’s been his entire career. He even got into the action running the ball against Seattle pretty well. At 37 years old Richardson doesn’t have many years left, but if Lorenzo Neal can still play, why can’t Tony?

Wide Receivers: C+

2007 proved to be a breakout year for Jerricho Cotchery. He backed up an 82 catch, 961 yard performance with an 1130 yard performance given the same amount of receptions. Laveranues Coles had an injury plagued 2007, despite putting up over 800 yards. Both players seemed primed to have good years yet again.

Then Brett Favre came in, and expectations rose even higher.

Was Coles the next Donald Driver? Cotchery, the next Robert Brooks? People wondered which receiver would develop a rapport with Favre quickest and were apt to making such comparisons.

However, it was not meant to be. Part of it was Favre’s fault. But some of the blame for the Jets’ offensive failures has to go to the receivers and their inability to get open in many situations.

Outside of the Arizona bloodbath, how many times do you remember any of the receivers gaining a lot of separation away from their defenders? Not too often.

Coles also suffered through a bad case of the drops at many times this year. In the biggest play of the season, a 4th down play deep in their own territory in week 16 against Seattle, Favre launched a bomb to Coles into double coverage. As poorly as Brett had played throughout that game, this pass was right on target, but Coles could not bring it in.

Cotchery was bothered by a shoulder injury for much of the year that may have played a bigger factor than many realized. He made the catch of the season against New England, with a Tyree-esque helmet catch, but when the Jets needed him, he often struggled to separate from the defense.

The other part of the reason for the low grade was the inability of a third receiver to consistently step up. Chansi Stuckey had numerous chances to succeed, and he actually scored in the first three games of the season, but he was held without a catch in five games.

The speedy David Clowney turned heads in training camp and preseason, but an injury killed his chances of helping the team. He was then a victim of the numbers game as Eric Mangini didn’t want to take special teams standout Wallace Wright, Brad Smith, or Stuckey off the active roster. His only catch of the year was a 26-yard fingertip grab against Buffalo, though he sorely beat a defender against Seattle the next week, only to see the ball so sorely underthrown that he had no chance to get it.

Smith was a disappointment in his third season. He had four catches for 29 yards and another 59 yards rushing against Oakland, but fell down on a play where he could have broken free to win the game. Other than in that game, he was a non-factor on offense.

This is a unit that is worth monitoring in the offseason. Coles is probably back, but he has a high salary cap number, and the Jets sorely need a playmaker. Clowney may be the guy, but he has proven next to nothing.

Tight Ends: C+

Before the season, it appeared as if the Jets were going to stress the importance of the tight end position. They had drafted the athletic Dustin Keller in the first round and signed veteran Bubba Franks, and they already had Chris Baker on the roster, whom the team retained despite complaining about his contract in the offseason.

After taking a few games to get used to the offense and to the NFL, Keller seemed ready to establish himself as the best young tight end in the game. His best game of the season was a 107-yard performance against St. Louis with a touchdown.

But drops became a major issue with the first-round pick, something that had to be surprising. He was considered by many to be the most polished pass-catcher in the draft, even though his blocking needed a lot of work. Mangini felt confident enough in his blocking ability to let him in some key situations, but he was mostly asked to catch the football. And when that’s your primary job, drops are inexcusable. Still, he was only a rookie, so he has plenty of time to work on that.

The sure-handed Baker got few chances to help the team in the passing game, though his blocking remained pretty solid. There’s a good chance 2008 was his last season as a Jet, and he’ll be missed as a solid player who rarely hurt the team, but he was hardly a playmaker.

Franks was a non-factor from the start, and he, too, dropped most of his scarce chances to help the team. He won’t be back.

The future of this position is Keller, and his rookie season was promising. But he needs to improve his hands if he’s going to take the next step as a receiver. He’s got all the talent in the world to do that, but he needs to show it.

Offensive Line: A-

What a difference a year makes!

Well, more like what a difference Alan Faneca and Damien Woody can make. Or maybe anyone instead of turnstiles Adrien Clarke and Anthony Clement.

Faneca provided leadership to this offensive line and he made the Pro Bowl in his first year in green and white. Still, he didn’t meet all expectations. Surprisingly enough, he might have been the weakest link on the line this past season, despite his pedigree.

Woody may have turned out to be the better of the two free agent signings, which would have been shocking to write six months ago. He provided stability to the right tackle spot, and the Jets ran to his side of the line quite effectively on stretch plays.

Brandon Moore may be the best run-blocker on the Jets at right guard. It’s no surprise that they were better rushing to the right than to the left with Woody and Moore. The former undrafted free agent deserves more recognition and respect.

The center position is filled for years to come. Nick Mangold made his first Pro Bowl in his third season, and he absolutely deserved it. The former first-round pick is an anchor in the middle.

Finally, D’Brickashaw Ferguson took another step into becoming one of the elite pass-blockers in the NFL. However, his run-blocking is still suspect at best, and until he bulks up and improves upon that, he will not live up to his lofty hype as a former top five pick. It’s been steady improvement for three years, but it’s still the same story with him in terms of run-blocking.

Robert Turner and Wayne Hunter also saw time, but neither made a huge impact. Turner was best-known as “Number 75 has reported eligible,” while Hunter got blown up in week two against the Patriots during the infamous three runs up the middle with no touchdown at the goal line.

The unit should come back in its entirety in 2009, which would help it take the next step forward. Continuity is vital for offensive lines, and Faneca and Woody should be more comfortable with their line mates. There must be some concern with Faneca, however, who declined a little in his last year with Pittsburgh and didn’t stop that trend with Gang Green.

Defensive Line: B

The production of the entire defense was correlated with one man: Kris Jenkins. The nose tackle may have been the most valuable player in all of football for the first 11 games, as he continuously forced double teams and still made plays through it, pushing the pocket.

He almost singlehandedly transformed the run defense from one of the worst in the league to an elite unit. For 11 games, Jets fans thanked their lucky stars that the 349-pound behemoth was in the middle, wondering what life would be like if he wasn’t there.

And then, without warning, a herniated disc combined with some other wear and tear turned him from a monster to a mere mortal, and the run defense went south with it. He’s had injury and weight problems in the past, so it’s no sure thing that he’ll bounce back, but even if he can be 90% of what he was early in the season, it’s still much better than what the Jets have had there in the past (cough, DeWayne Robertson).

He was bookended by Shaun Ellis and Kenyon Coleman. Ellis quietly had a solid season, racking up eight sacks from the 3-4 end position, not usually a big pass-rushing spot. His season was marred from a marijuana bust and from throwing a snowball at a Seattle fan, but his play on the field was decent enough to offset that.

Coleman, on the other hand, regressed a little bit. His tackle numbers went down from 83 to 55, and he offered nothing in terms of getting to the pass rusher. He is the definition of a JAG, and the Jets should look to replace him, or at least give him some competition.

C.J. Mosley and Mike DeVito were the primary backups at end. Both were solid, and Mosley had a pretty big sack against New England, but both would get exposed as full-time starters.

The Jets gave Sione Pouha an extension, figuring the massive Mormon could be a good backup nose tackle, but his play regressed a lot this season, and there was a noticeable drop-off in the run defense when he was in the game.

Mike Tannenbaum needs to address the defensive line in the offseason because he needs to bring some more talent into the fold. If Jenkins were to miss time, the entire defense would be in trouble.

Linebackers: C

In a typical 3-4 defense, the pass rush is supposed to come from the outside linebackers. The Jets knew that they needed to improve that immensely in the offseason, so they brought in Calvin Pace from the Arizona Cardinals and drafted Vernon Gholston.

Needless to say, it didn’t work out.

The previous line may be a little unfair to Pace. The free agent was the Jets’ best linebacker, forcing five fumbles and tallying seven sacks. He played as well as he was expected to. Still, he is not a pure pass rusher, and he was exposed when put into coverage.

Gholston, on the other hand, may have been the least productive highly drafted rookie in some time. He was a ghost, rarely to be seen on defense. He was even deactivated for one game! It’s too early to call him a bust, but he has a long way to go to contribute.

The other outside linebacker was Bryan Thomas. After admitting he slacked off a bit the previous season, he jumped out to a fast start, with 4.5 sacks in his first five games. But he was never really heard from again after that, despite starting all 16 games, and the Jets should look to replace him in the offseason.

After exceeding all expectations as a rookie, David Harris’s play fell off drastically. He got hurt midway through the campaign, and he didn’t make a single big play in his 11 starts. He needs to step it up in 2009 before he’s the next Jet linebacker to start his career strong and then fade away. Let’s chalk it up to a sophomore slump, but next year, he has no excuses.

Eric Barton led the team in tackles by a wide margin, posting 119 tackles. But like Harris, he made very few impact plays, He’s a free agent this offseason, and there’s a good chance he’ll be gone. He’s a solid player, but he is certainly replaceable.

David Bowens was the primary backup linebacker, replacing Harris for the five games he missed. He had a big game against Arizona, but he’s strictly a backup. He gets exposed with too much playing time.

Marques Murrell, Jason Trusnik, and Cody Spencer were the other backup linebackers. None of them made any difference.

There will definitely be some new blood at linebacker in 2009, but with so much money invested at outside linebacker already, the Jets may need to get creative. Either that, or Gholston needs to step up his play quickly. The team says they still have faith in him. We’ll see.

Defensive Backs: C

As bad as the pass defense was at times this season, the secondary does not deserve as much blame as it has received. Without any semblance of a pass rush, any cornerback can look bad.

Even those among the best in the NFL, which Darrelle Revis has proven himself to be. He intercepted five passes, and was routinely put on the opposition’s best receiver. He was beaten at times, but that’s more a product of the time quarterbacks had to throw rather than a knock on Revis.

Filling the cornerback spot opposite him proved difficult. Dwight Lowery had an extended opportunity, and while he certainly showed promise, he is neither good enough nor fast enough to stick with receivers for an extended period of time.

As a result, Ty Law was signed midway through the season, and for a guy coming from his couch to the NFL, he didn’t do a bad job. He’s not the elite cornerback he was several years ago, but he shored up the position a little bit down the stretch.

Hank Poteat and Drew Coleman provided the rest of the depth. Poteat did a decent job as a backup corner, but Coleman was beaten like a drum. Former Green Bay Packer Ahmad Carroll was strictly a special teamer.

The second “star” of the Jets secondary was supposed to be Kerry Rhodes. He signed a big extension after back-to-back strong years, but he made very few impact plays. He’s normally a good blitzer and a ballhawk, but rarely did he show either of those two skills this past season. A disappointing year for Rhodes, but he has the talent to bounce back.

Abram Elam and Eric Smith rotated at safety. Elam was a pleasant surprise when he played. While he’s not the most disciplined player, there’s no denying that he can make plays. He returned an interception 92 yards for a touchdown at Buffalo, and then he caused the strip-sack that seemed to have saved the Jets season when the Bills came to the Meadowlands.

All Smith did was nearly decapitate Anquan Boldin. He missed an extended period of time due to injury, but when he played, he was normally invisible.

James Ihebdigo is best known as the player who committed the phantom hold that brought back Leon Washington’s kick return touchdown against San Francisco.

There definitely needs to be some more competition at both cornerback and safety. Elam and Lowery have ability and would look much better with a pass rush, but depth needs to be acquired, especially at corner.

Specialists: C+

In week one it was Mike Nugent and Ben Graham.
By week five both were gone, Nugent to an injury and Graham to the waiver wire, and Jay Feely and Reggie Hodges took their jobs.

Feely was 24-28 kicking field goals, and after an auspicious start against New England, he was almost automatic down the stretch. He was one of the few players you can say got better as the season went along.

Hodges averaged just 42.8 yards-per-punt in place of an ineffective Graham. The Jets will likely look to replace him in the offseason and find a better solution at a position that has often plagued them through the years.

Return Units: B+

By returners I really just mean Leon Washington and his blocking units. Washington averaged 25.6 yards-per-kick return, scoring one touchdown, and 10.4 yards on punts.
The Jets might look to replace him at punt returner in the offseason. He’s done a fine job there, but the position can be upgraded, and the team may have bigger plans for him on offense anyway.

Coaching Staff: D+

Eric Mangini’s coaching fell off a long way from his rookie season. His aggressive demeanor turned much more calculated and risk-averse, as proven by kicking a field goal at fourth and one from the two at Seattle and by punting rather than let Feely attempt a long field goal in that same game.

His lack of emotion may have reflected itself on the team, who seemed lifeless down the stretch despite the major playoff implications that those games had. Was firing him the right decision? Maybe, maybe not, but he definitely deserved to be on the hot seat for the 1-4 finish.

Brian Schottenheimer is currently a head coaching candidate, but outside of Arizona and St. Louis, the offense lacked rhythm, imagination, and consistency. The scripted first drives were often successful, but in-game adjustments proved problematic.

Bob Sutton may have just been a figurehead for Mangini, but he deserves a lot of blame for the vanilla blitz packages he sent at opposing teams. The Jets got no pressure on opposing quarterbacks, yet rarely was he able to create a scheme that enabled his players to break loose into the backfield.

And that D+ grade is why the Jets currently are looking for a new head coach.

One fan's Salary Cap Projections

I have to hand it to WhiteShoeWillie, one of my favorite posters (and a fellow poker player) from my favorite Jets fan site, TGG. Obviously, it's my favorite because I'm an administrator, but I digress.

He makes a fantastic post on the Jets' salary cap situation for 2009. He uses for his projections.

I highly suggest checking out that post. He divides the Jets' high-salary players into two categories: those who would provide significant savings if cut or traded(Brett Favre, Brandon Moore, Shaun Ellis, David Barrett, David Bowens, Chris Baker, and Kris Jenkins) and others who may be restructured or have interesting cap numbers (Laveranues Coles, Kerry Rhodes, Kenyon Coleman, and Bryan Thomas).

The SparkNotes version of his post is that Baker and Barrett are probably goners and Favre retiring would provide $13 million in cap relief. The Jets are currently $8,249,475 over the salary cap, but with the suggestions WhiteShoeWillie suggests, they would be $16.37 million under the cap.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Westhoff: "Why the hell wouldn't I be interested?"

Rich Cimini of the Daily News had an interesting nugget at the bottom of his article tonight.

Meanwhile, Jets special teams coach Mike Westhoff told the Daily News he'd like to be considered for the job. He expressed his interest in a meeting earlier this week with Johnson.

"Why the hell wouldn't I be interested?" said Westhoff, one of the league's most respected special teams coaches. "I'm extremely qualified."

My man from, Angel Navedo, provides a compelling case for Westhoff as the next coach. I don't necessarily agree, but I definitely think he should be intereviewed. Remember, he's had various health problems over the years, and as a head coach, no one knows if he can handle the stress.

Still, Westhoff has had great success as the special teams coach, he's been around for a long time, and I could definitely see the idea of him as head coach growing on me.

Schefter: Schottenheimer and Spagnuolo two leading candidates

And the rumor mill keeps spinning...

Adam Schefter of the NFL Network said this morning he believes either Steve Spagnuolo or Brian Schottenheimer will get the head coaching job. I'm not sure how true this report is, since out of all the candidates listed to the right, only Bill Callahan, Schottenheimer, Spagnuolo, and Jeff Jagodzinski have been interviewed so far.

However, I usually trust Schefter, so I thought I would pass this along, even though I don't even know if the Jets have a favorite candidate at the moment.

Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, and co. are in Arizona today to interview Russ Grimm. The Jets will then talk to Ron Meeks on Friday and to Rex Ryan a day or two after their game against Tennessee.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Eric Mangini agrees to 4-year deal with Browns

Cleveland has their man.

The Browns inked recently fired Jets coach Eric Mangini to a four-year contract. Of course, the part that matters to Jets fans is how much of the current New York staff he will try to lure to Cleveland. Rumors were flying around Bill Callahan, but unless he is moving up the coaching ranks by going to Cleveland.

Boland reports that Mangini has made inquiries to receivers coach Noel Mazzone and quarterbacks coach Brian Daboll. He also points out that he had never actually met Callahan until before this season, as he was a Mike Tannenbaum recommendation.

Also, Jeff Jagodzinski completed his interview with the Jets, and as promised, Boston College fired him. At the surface, you would think that if Jagodzinski was going to risk his job at BC for simply an interview, he probably imagines he has a good chance at the job. But the real reason is that he's looking to get back in the NFL, and some have reported he could become Seattle's offensive coordinator if he doesn't get the job here. UPDATE: Seattle will name Greg Knapp offensive coordinator, so that job is out for Jags.

That's all for now. I'll probably have an update at some point later, but there probably won't be any new Jets news until Rex Ryan interviews, probably on Sunday or Monday.

Oh, and one more thing, I'm going to be toying around with the layout of this blog a little bit. So if you go to, and you don't recognize what you see, don't panic, it's still me.

UPDATE (7:42 PM):
ESPN reports Mangini is expected to name Jets QB coach Brian Daboll as his offensive coordinator and Raiders defensive coordinator Rob Ryan as his defensive coordinator. So the Jets will probably have a new quarterbacks coach, and those who hoped to get both Ryan brothers will be let down.

Cimini: Mangini to possibly raid Jets' staff?

According to Rich Cimini, former Jets coach Eric Mangini is in the process of creating a new coaching staff to take with him to Cleveland, where he presumably believes he will coach next season.

In what should come as no surprise, Mangini is looking at his former assistants from the Jets to potentially bring with him. One of his targets is apparently offensive line coach and head coach candidate Bill Callahan. He's considered a deep sleeper to win the Jets' job, but both he and Brian Schottenheimer are set to meet with Woody Johnson, as Johnson is back in the USA, and he wants to speak to the former assistants about the job face-to-face.

The results are in!

44 votes is enough to get a new poll. Thanks everyone for voting.

17 of you, or 38% of the voters, want Brett Favre back in 2008. I can't say I agree with you, but I certainly won't say you're wrong. A full offseason with the team and he should be better with the offense, and he did play well at times during the season.

The other 27 voters, including yours truly, do not want to bring back #4.

Now, it's time to move onto a new poll. You are Woody Johnson, though presumably you aren't flying overseas in the middle of the coaching search. Who do you want to coach the Jets in 2009 out of the rumored candidates? I'll even include Mike Shanahan, as I imagine his name might pop up again.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No more whining about coin flips: how to revamp the NFL's overtime rules

Every time there is an NFL overtime game in which the team that wins the coinflip scores on that same drive, the same old arguments appear.

Critics argue that it's not fair that a coin flip decides the overtime winner. In their minds, a solution needs to be found, and many suggest college overtime as the proper solution, even if it's more entertaining than it is decisive.

Others point to facts saying that it really isn't that big a deal. From 2000 to 2007, about 30% of teams received the ball and scored on their first drive. The same website reports that 60% of the time, the team that receives the ball first ends up winning the game.

Something as irrelevant to the sport as a coinflip should not cause a major difference between winning and losing. While 124 overtime games is not a statistically significant sample size, clearly the winner of the coin flip has a major advantage.

I also have not found any statistics that differentiate between good and bad weather games. In a game like week 17's Buffalo-New England game, when the team who was going against the wind would barely throw the ball, whoever won the coin flip may actually choose the wind. At the very least, the percentage would likely be closer to 50% because both teams get an advantage.

In fact one team in that sample size actually chose the wind instead of the ball. Does it surprise you at all that it was the Detroit Lions? Of course, in that 2002 game, the Chicago Bears marched right down the field and scored, making then-coach Marty Mornhinweg look like a moron.

However, in every other case this century, the team who won the toss chose to receive. And in 30% of those games, the other team never touched the ball.

Is that fair? Not particularly, considering all it takes is one big return or one big play to set up a long field goal, and the game is over. In Saturday's Colts-Chargers game, the Chargers won the toss, marched down the field, and scored a touchdown. 25 of the yards they gained on that drive were based on penalties. All of those calls seemed correct, but what if a team threw the ball deep down the field, and a referee threw a borderline pass interference penalty, almost automatically setting up a field goal?

That is the problem with NFL overtime. While San Diego was able to score a touchdown on that drive, most teams simply settle for field goals. It would be foolish to say field goals are easy to come by, but doesn't it seem kind of cheap if a team returns the ball to the 35, gets a first down, a face mask penalty, and a couple more yards before kicking a long, game-winning field goal in a dome?

Football requires offense, defense, and special teams to come together to win a game, but the current overtime rules too often only require two of the three aspects to win. As a result, the rules should be altered.

Still, it is one thing to say that the rules should be changed, and it's another to actually find a feasible solution. Most solutions thrown around in the media don't make sense.

College overtime? That's a laughable solution at best. Teams already start in field goal range, which is flat out stupid in a league with the best field goal kickers in the world. Maybe you can push the ball back a little bit and make teams move the ball a little more, but part of the sport is special teams, and with no punting or kickoffs, that aspect is completely negated.

Critics argue the biggest problem with the overtime system is that both teams don't get the ball, so many suggest that teams should take turns getting the ball. But I've yet to see a way that would really work. If a team scored, fine, kick the ball off and let the other team have a chance. But even that would give the team who kicks off an advantage because they would then know to go for it on 4th down.

Plus, is the goal to get each team the ball an equal amount of times? Or is it simply to allow both teams to touch the ball once? Questions such as these are difficult to answer, and they would complicate the system far too much.

So how can the NFL maintain the integrity of the game while giving both teams an opportunity to touch the football? In my mind the solution is quite simple.

The first team to score six points in overtime wins.

This would prevent teams from marching down the field, kicking a field goal, and winning the game that easily. It doesn't always allow for both teams to put their offenses on the field, but if a team can't prevent the other from scoring a touchdown, they do not deserve to win.

However, every system has its positive parts. Let's take a look at this critically.

What if no team scores six points?

Then whoever has the lead at the end of the 15-minute overtime period has the win. If one team kicks a field goal, and the other doesn't score, then the team with more points wins. That's obvious enough.

How would this affect strategy?

That's the best part of this system: it probably wouldn't have that big of an impact. Between two high-scoring teams, an offense might opt to be more aggressive and go for it on 4th downs to try and end the game right there, but in an overtime situation, teams should be more aggressive to try to win as soon as possible.

One criticism I have seen is that it ignores the safety. However, only two overtime games in the history of the NFL have been decided that way. And even if a team scores one, that would still give them two points, which might end up being the difference in the final score. We might see teams taking intentional safeties deep in their own territory rather than punt if they are ahead by three, but that happens in the fourth quarter of some games as well.

Wouldn't more games end in ties in this situation?

Well, yes, that is a minor problem. But ask a losing team who never touched the ball in overtime if they would prefer a tie or a loss. Ask the Philadelphia Eagles, who would have missed the playoffs if they had lost to the Cincinnati Bengals instead of infamously tying them.

What is wrong with a tied football game? Sure, there is no winner, but in some evenly matched football games, teams don't necessarily deserve to win or lose, and a tie might actually be the fairest solution.

Besides, in the vast majority of games, a team would win. In most games one team or the other will score six points in the overtime period. Other games could potentially end the overtime period 3-0, 5-2, 2-0, or 3-2. If the game ended 0-0 or 3-3, it would be a tie, and a well-deserved tie.

And if they changed and explained the rules, players would have no excuse for not knowing how a winner is decided. Am I right, Donovan McNabb?

Shanahan back in play?

Woohoo! Another day another rumor!

Fired Broncos coach Mike Shanahan appears to be back in play for the Jets. He had told the NFL Network he planned to wait two weeks before talking to any team, which initially helped influence the Jets to move on. But less than 24 hours after they declared Shana.han off their radar, there were indications the Jets, with plenty to keep themselves busy with, are willing to wait the two weeks.

Courtesy of Erik Boland.

I can't wait for what rumors tomorrow will bring. I'll report them when I hear them, but remember, take everything with a grain of salt. A pretty heavy grain of salt, since it's unlikely that Mike Tannenbaum will bring someone completely random in to be the coach, but no one will know for sure until the actual hiring occurs.

This will be the last update for a while today. Basketball double-header for me today. First, I'm checking out my old high school, Christian Brothers Academy, in a game against Middletown South. Then, when that ends, I'm heading up to the Prudential Center in Newark for the first time, watching my Villanova Wildcats beat Seton Hall.

Monday, January 5, 2009

WFAN separates the candidates

According to Mike Francesa, reports that Brian Schottenheimer is the early frontrunner for the head coach position are false.

Here are the two tiers of coaches, with the first tier guys obviously being the better candidates. Other than the two tiers, there is no particular order.

First Tier

Steve Spagnuolo
Rex Ryan
Russ Grimm

Second Tier
Brian Billick
Jeff Jagodzinski
Ron Meeks
Brian Schottenheimer
Bill Callahan

Francesa also said that Spagnuolo's interview was "solid." Previous reports said that his interview hadn't gone that well, but while it wasn't spectacular, it was good.

Jagodzinski is probably interviewing tomorrow, but who knows what the deal will be with Boston College.

The biggest surprise on this list by far is the inclusion of Grimm in the first tier. Grimm has yet to interview because Arizona is in the playoffs (same is true with Ryan), but the Jets are definitely interested.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Did Mangini Panic after Denver game?

The end of 2008 season perturbed many Jets fans. It's easy to look at Brett Favre's nine interceptions and point to that as the main reason for the team's failures.

But that only explains the offense.

What happened to the defense that was an elite run-stopping unit for 11 weeks? As badly as Favre played, it wasn't his fault that the defense turned feeble at the end of the year.

Eric Mangini took the fall for each side's shortcomings, but his firing was a public relations nightmare in the sense that they said absolutely nothing negative about him neither in the press conference nor in the days to come.

There was obviously a lot more underneath the surface. Some of it has risen, such as Thomas Jones and an anonymous Jet's frustrated quotes about Brett Favre. However, all the players were positive and seemed sad that Mangini was gone, leaving many, including myself, to wonder if Mangini took the fall for Favre.

Finally, we have a reason for his firing.

I present to you, from the Journal News, Jane McManus's Jets blog.

Sirius NFL Radio Jets reporter Lisa Zimmerman did some reporting in the wake of Eric Mangini’s firing, and several players and two high-placed Jets staffers told her that after the loss to the Denver Broncos, Mangini panicked.

She reported on air that Mangini tore up the defensive schemes that the team had been using and installed a new set that defensive players weren’t comfortable with. Despite objecting, the players were told they were to learn the new system.

Several pointed to problems in the secondary given the way the Jets rotated defensive backs with S Kerry Rhodes and CB Darrelle Revis. The communication problems, she reported, extended to the offense and even within the coaching staff itself.

The unsuccessful tinkering and internal problems would explain why Mangini was fired immediately after the loss to Miami, when Brett Favre’s interceptions seemed a large part of the problem.

This would be the first legitimate, on-field reason for his firing. If this is true, it's very disappointing because I thought Eric Mangini was a level-headed coach. If anything, I thought he was too level-headed, playing too much by the percentages, and not adjusting the way he should have. It turns out that he might have made too drastic an adjustment.

However, it comes as no surprise that communication was an issue with the Mangini Jets. Pete Kendall and Chris Baker took turns complaining about that in the past two offseasons. Mangini tried so hard to cut off communication with the media and have his players and coaches create non-answers to the media that it permeated into the locker room.

It also helps explain why the team has had no identity and why the defense seemed to be late getting into position (if they got there at all) on many plays, especially down the stretch.

Very, very interesting. Hopefully more information leaks out in the coming weeks because we as Jets fans want answers!