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Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Rhodes loses starting job with Jets


New York Jets coach Rex Ryan selected safety Kerry Rhodes to be one of the team's rotating captains three games ago.

Rhodes
Kerry Rhodes was looking forward to a big season under coach Rex Ryan, but has no sacks, forced fumbles or interceptions so far in 2009.
Rhodes' status apparently has plummeted.

ESPN's Adam Schefter and Fox Sports' Jay Glazer report Rhodes has lost his starting job to backup Eric Smith.

Rhodes has started all 74 of his NFL games since he came out of Louisville as a fourth-round draft choice in 2005.

Schefter, citing a Jets official, said Rhodes won't be on the field in some of the Jets' defensive packages.

Rhodes was considered one of Ryan's best playmakers coming into the season. He's also one of the team's biggest talkers.

But he hasn't backed up his reputation or his words. He has no interceptions, sacks, forced fumbles or recoveries. His 48 tackles are fifth on the team and third among defensive backs. He has five passes defensed and one tackle for loss.

Rhodes was excited about getting back to being the type of ball-hawking defender he was before former Jets coach Eric Mangini asked him to play center field in 2008.

"When I make plays, I help this team," Rhodes told me in July at the Jets' training camp in SUNY-Cortland. "That's been true since I've been here. Not being able to make as many plays as I wanted to, I was frustrated.

"You never want to see a coach get fired. That wasn't ever in my plan. But knowing the work Rex has done before and seeing the type of players he's had and made them do in his system ... I know I'm that type of player that will get it done in those opportunities. He's going to give me opportunities."

Rhodes amassed formidable stats in 2006 and 2007. He recorded 160 tackles, seven sacks, nine interceptions, 16 passes defensed, five forced fumbles and two recoveries -- one for a touchdown.

Last year was considered an aberration. He led the Jets with 81 tackles, but he had one sack, two interceptions, five passes defensed, zero forced fumbles and two recoveries.

"I just want Kerry to be part of a great unit and not put the pressure on himself," Ryan said in July. "I don't want to put any pressure on Kerry saying I think he'll get 10 interceptions. He may very well get 10 interceptions, but I want him to be part of this unit.

"The individual claims you guys will see. Playmakers make plays, and I'm sure Kerry will end up making a lot of plays."