<
>

Sunday notes: The mystery of Tone

8/11/2013

CORTLAND, N.Y. -- A mid-summer's look at the Jets:

1. Tone deaf: If you're betting on Santonio Holmes' return, the smart money says he will miss the entire preseason as he continues to rehab his surgically repaired foot. So when will he come back? Holmes is such a mercurial personality that people close to the organization don't know what to believe. Is his Lisfranc injury still healing or is he milking the injury to protect his self interests? Holmes, with a $10.75 million cap number in 2014, knows he will be released after the season. That makes this a contract year for him.

If he re-injures his foot, he'll be damaged goods next offseason or, worse, could be forced to retire. So you can bet he'll take his sweet time, hoping to maximize his value. Some people say they wouldn't be shocked to see him in October at the earliest. The minority opinion is that he's dragging it out to avoid training camp, and that he'll crank it up in a couple of weeks to get ready for the season opener. With him, you never know. The Jets are saying all the right things about Holmes' dedication to rehab, but this will become a vexing issue for the team. The other day, he looked like an old man as he walked across the practice field, seemingly playing to the crowd as fans implored him to get well soon.

2. Brick by brick: WRs coach Sanjay Lal has developed a clever drill for the receivers to build strength in their hands and forearms. After practice on most days, the receivers are required to carry a brick in each hand for about 200 yards -- specifically, a retaining-wall brick that weighs 25 pounds. They carry it with their fingers, arms at their sides. Try that at home, it's not easy. Lal got the idea when he coached the Raiders' receivers, buying the bricks at a home store in the Bay Area. He couldn't find that particular style of brick in New Jersey, so he enlisted the Jets' equipment staff. It made an arrangement with The Home Depot to buy a pallet of bricks. Said Lal: "I lay awake at night, thinking of receiver things to do at practice."

3. Willie from the block: G Willie Colon, raised in the South Bronx, has brought some fire to the offensive line -- a New York mentality, if you will. Said Colon: "I try to be me, chippy and fiery. That's my nature. I've always been that type. I've always had a tough-guy mentality." He said that attitude was steeled during his years with the Steelers, where he learned to "never back down." Colon's roommate in camp is LT D'Brickashaw Ferguson, known for his quiet personality. Talk about an odd couple.

"He's more reserved. Me, I'm like the cousin who shows up for Christmas and breaks all the toys, messes up the house and then leaves," Colon said. "We get along great. I love him. I've always been a big fan of his."

4. Mark and Nick: For years, C Nick Mangold shared a dorm room with Brandon Moore in training camp. With Moore gone, Mangold is rooming with QB Mark Sanchez. There was a transition phase early in camp. "[Brandon] and I got pretty good at not having to talk to each other," Mangold said. "We knew everything -- the bathroom rules, the alarm clock, a whole bunch of little things. Now I have to go through it with Mark and we have to talk about things." Asked to describe the Mangold Bathroom Rules (specifically, for the middle of the night), Mangold said, "If it's yellow, let it mellow. If it's brown, flush it down." The idea, of course, is to avoid loud flushing if at all possible. Hey, this is deep, philosophical stuff.

4a. Quarterback-center exchange: Mangold on Sanchez: "Anytime I peek in our room, he's studying and watching film. He has a strong desire to win this starting job."

5. Return to Cortland?: Hearing the Jets are under contract to return to Cortland next year, but there's an "out" clause in the agreement. What would cause the Jets to exercise the clause? Changing coaches, that's what. Rex Ryan likes training in Cortland, but the team could change locales if Ryan is fired and his replacement wants to hold training camp in Florham Park. Needless to say, the folks in Cortland are rooting for a big season in 2013.

6. Future coach?: Kevin Mawae, one of the best centers in Jets history, is working with the Bills in training camp on a minority coaching fellowship. The connection: Bills coach Doug Marrone was the Jets' offensive-line coach when Mawae played.

7. The forgotten QB: Imagine how the quarterback competition would be different if David Garrard hadn't retired. I can tell you this: If he still had some game left, it would've endangered Sanchez's roster spot -- yes, even with the $8.25 million guarantee.

8. Sick fans: Surprisingly, Sanchez responded to a disturbed fan on Twitter. The fan tweeted Sanchez last week, "F--- YOU HOPE YOU TEAR YOUR ACL ON FRIDAY." Sanchez replied, "Thanks for your support man! #classy." There's nothing wrong with booing a professional athlete if he fails to produce, but this sort of behavior is nonsense. No athlete deserves that kind of treatment.

9. Calm before the storm: GM John Idzik looked a lot more relaxed in the press box during Friday night's game than predecessor Mike Tannenbaum ever did. Of course, it's early. In time, he'll feel the stress.

10. Rex-ercise: Something tells me the TV cameras will be fixed on Ryan when the offense goes on the field next Saturday against the Jaguars.