Sunday, November 4, 2012
Sunday notes: Looking into QB crystal ball
By Rich Cimini
Bye-week observations on the Jets and the NFL:
1. Peeking at QB Class of '13: This is a public service for those who don't believe Mark Sanchez is the answer. If the Jets come to the same conclusion, they will have a hard time finding the solution in the draft. Todd McShay, Mel Kiper and Scouts Inc. are in agreement that only two prospects are worthy of the first round -- Geno Smith (West Virginia) and Matt Barkley (USC). There are always late risers, but at this point, there are no Andrew Luck-Robert Griffin III-type quarterbacks. The Jets need to make it work with Sanchez, which might explain why Rex Ryan is so hesitant to pull him.
2. Wishful thinking: This is what Tony Sparano, in his first interview after the Tim Tebow trade, said about the potential of the Wildcat: "If we decide to go down that road, the element of being able to throw the football out of that brings a complete different dimension into the picture here." So far, Tebow has attempted only two passes on offense. So much for that plan.
Now Ryan says he will look for ways to get Tebow more involved. Why should anybody believe him? The Jets have been giving lip service from the moment they announced the trade. Unless Tebow is named the starting QB, which could happen soon, it's hard to envision him suddenly becoming a factor on offense. It's not like he's been tearing it up when he runs the ball.
3. Tim the decoy: In last week's loss to the Dolphins, Tebow lined up four times as a receiver and didn't see a single pass thrown in his direction. What's the point? Ryan explained that the idea was to give them a personnel advantage. On one play, he said, it allowed them to isolate TE Dustin Keller on a linebacker. Actually, he's right. Tim the Decoy actually helped Sanchez, who was 4-for-4 for 43 yards on those four plays. That's what you would call a subtle contribution, too subtle to satisfy Tebow's competitiveness.
4. Tough stretch: In case anyone is wondering, the Jets have dropped eight of their last 11 games, with an average margin of defeat of 10 points. This season, the margin is 16.2 points, the fourth-highest in the league, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
5. Pricey hot sauce: Most players don't even blink when they're fined by the league for an illegal hit. Not so for undrafted rookie LB Marcus Dowtin, who lost nearly 70 percent of his salary last week. He was fined $15,750 for hitting Dolphins QB Matt Moore in the head. His weekly game check, based on his minimum salary of $390,000, is $22,941. After taxes, Dowtin probably lost money for the week. Lucky for him, he can appeal, claiming the fine was too excessive.
6. An extraordinary Joe: Speaking of the Dolphins, rookie coach Joe Philbin has done a terrific job. The Dolphins have chased some big-name coaches in recent years, but they found a keeper in the previously anonymous Philbin. The Dolphins kind of remind me of the '09 Jets -- rookie coach, rookie quarterback, strong defense and a team greater than the sum of its parts.
7. Romeo, where art thou?: This is a mind-blowing factoid, courtesy of Elias: The Chiefs are the first team to not hold a lead during a game in their first seven games of a season since the 1929 Buffalo Bisons, who folded at the end of that season. The Chiefs won't fold, but it'll be the end for coach Romeo Crennel. The new coach could have the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
8. Here come the losers: What two things do the Rams, Cards and Jaguars have in common? They've all lost at least three in a row (four, in the case if the Cards and Jaguars) and they all face the Jets.
9. Not-so-Super Mario: You think the Bills are regretting the $100 million contract for DE Mario Williams? He hasn't helped their defense at all. In fact, the Bills have allowed at least 175 rushing yards in four straight games. The '81 Patriots were the last team to allow five straight, per ESPN Stats and Information. Williams has recorded a sack once every 64.6 dropbacks. His number with the Texans was 27.2. Can you say "buyer's remorse"?
10. Small-school sensation: I've seen the next Danny Woodhead. His name is Miguel Maysonet, a senior running back from Stony Brook, N.Y. He ran for 149 yards and three TDs Saturday night in a rout of VMI, continuing his domination at the FCS level -- 1,600-plus yards and an 8-yard per carry average. He has exceptional quickness and vision, deceptive strength and good-enough outside speed. He's attracting pro scouts to every game and there's talk of him getting drafted in the fourth or fifth round. Remember this name next spring.