Wednesday, September 7, 2011
The Other Side: ESPN NY's Rich Cimini
By Todd Archer
IRVING, Texas -- As part of a weekly feature to serve as a primer on the Cowboys’ upcoming opponent we will speak with a writer from that town. This week we ask five questions to Rich Cimini of ESPNNewYork.
Archer - For the Cowboys the last few years it's been Super Bowl-or-bust entering the season. Is that the feeling around the Jets after making the AFC title game the last two years?
Cimini - It's definitely Super Bowl or bust. Just the other day, Darrelle Revis said, "The Super Bowl runs 24/7 in our locker room, in our organization, in our building." After coming so close two years in a row, the fan base will not accept anything less than a trip to Indy.
Archer - Where is Mark Sanchez in his development? Is he a game manager or a game changer?
Cimini - I'd say Sanchez still is more of a game manager than a game changer. The coaching staff still doesn't ask him to do a whole lot, although this year they're going to air it out a little more than in the past. That's according to Rex Ryan; we'll see if that actually happens. Sanchez gets a lot of pub because of his four playoff wins in two years, but they relied on his arm in only one of those wins. His decision making is getting better, but his accuracy (55 percent last year) remains suspect. The formula goes like this: Rely on the defense and running game, hang around for 3½ quarters and let Sanchez make a play or two in the end to win it.
Archer - Help the local folks out: What does LaDainian Tomlinson have left?
Cimini - I'm very curious to see Tomlinson. Frankly, he didn't look good in the preseason, but I'm going to cut him some slack because of who he is. Maybe he's saving it for the regular season, For the Jets' sake, they'd better hope so because he didn't resemble the runner who looked as if he had discovered the Fountain of Youth last fall. He has a new role: Third-down back. He's a very good catcher and pass blocker, so I suspect he'll be fine in that role.
Archer - Cowboys fans don't get much of a chance to see Darrelle Revis. Just how good is he?
Cimini - Revis is incredible. When a receiver catches a ball on him, it's almost like an upset. He had a terrific camp, probably the best of his career. He's not like Deion because he doesn't have dynamic ball skills and the ability to take it to the house, but his coverage is flawless. He has it all -- smooth hip turn, closing speed, instincts, not afraid to come up and tackle, etc. He's a game changer.
Archer - What kind of atmosphere do you expect around the game with it being the opener and the 10th anniversary of 9/11?
Cimini - The atmosphere around the game will be incredible. You're talking about two marquee franchises, a two-year-old stadium (not as nice as your place, by the way), big-name players, the Ryan Bowl ... against the backdrop of 9/11. The stadium is only a few miles from where the WTC used to stand. On a clear day, you could see the towers from the old Giants Stadium. The anniversary always is emotional in NY, and this will be no different. It's going to be a little surreal because of all the conflicting emotions.