Sunday, April 21, 2013
Sunday notes: Dilfer: Mark has 'demons'
By Rich Cimini
A four-days-until-the-draft look at the Jets and NFL:
1. Inside Sanchez's head: ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, a former quarterback who knows the position as well as anyone, believes Mark Sanchez will have the ability to resurrect his career in Marty Mornhinweg's West Coast offense. Speaking to ESPNNewYork.com, Dilfer offered a candid evaluation of Sanchez's play last season, suggesting much of it could be attributed to Tony Sparano and his system. Dilfer said Sparano was "the worst hire ever. I was like, 'Oh, my gosh, are you kidding me?' You're talking about a defense-centric, offense-minimalizing coach. It made you want to throw up in your mouth."
Sanchez's play (26 turnovers) was nauseating at times. "He was locked up from his brain to his toes," Dilfer said. "A cluttered mind equals a slow body. That's how he played. It tells you something else was going on upstairs. If anyone can get him out of that, it's Marty." Dilfer said the very nature of the West Coast system -- quick reads -- should allow Sanchez to play "free and unlocked." He said "the feet are tied to the eyes," forcing the quarterback to play fast.
So is Dilfer ready to predict a big year for Sanchez? Not yet. "The demons might be too loud, they might be too much to overcome," he said. "But at least now the guy has a chance. I thought Marty was one of the best hires in a long time."
2. Sanchez opens up: It was refreshing to hear Sanchez finally come clean on the Tim Tebow media circus, but he'd better be careful because there's a fine line. If he dwells too much on the Tebow factor, it comes off as excuse making. A quarterback's job is to pass the football, not the buck. For the most part, Sanchez has owned up to his mistakes. He needs to approach 2013, a make-or-break year, with a no-excuses attitude. Oh, and another thing: In his radio interview, Sanchez suggested the Jets contributed to the Tebow madness by allowing ESPN to camp out in Cortland. For the record, it was only four days of SportsCenter. In reality, the madness started as soon as they made the trade for Tebow.
3. Revis update: From all indications, the Darrelle Revis situation has reached a sensitive stage. The clock is ticking. My sense is that he will be traded to the Bucs for a package that includes the 13th pick. If the two teams agree to trade compensation, the Bucs' doctors presumably will want to examine his surgically repaired knee, meaning they'd have to strike a deal by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest, also allowing time for the Bucs to negotiate a new contract with Revis. Which side blinks? This will be fascinating.
3.a. Milliner Island?: NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock doesn't see CB Dee Milliner (Alabama) getting picked in the top 10. He's in the minority on that one. What if the Jets trade Revis and have a shot at Milliner with the ninth pick? By most accounts, Milliner is a terrific player, but it would be a tough sell to the fan base. On paper, they'd be no better at cornerback -- worse, actually. The difference: Milliner would be make about $3.2 million per year, Revis about $15 million (guessing).
4. Jets want extra picks: GM John Idzik has sent out word that he's interested in trading down to acquire extra draft picks, according to a league source. This strategy makes sense because some of the players they're targeting at No. 9 could be available a few spots lower -- or at least players of similar value. The problem will be finding a team willing to change places. What player would be worth trading up for? West Virginia QB Geno Smith could be a target for someone, but no team from No. 10 to No. 32 has a glaring need at quarterback.
If there's a deal to be made, Idzik will make it. The roster has many holes and he wants to stockpile picks. Right now, they have seven choices. The last time they selected more than eight players was 2006. My hunch is this draft will bear a striking resemblance to '06 -- two first-round picks (Revis trade) and a total of 10 picks, with maybe a QB in the second round.
5. Buyer, beware: From all indications, the Jets are smitten with LSU pass rusher Barkevious Mingo. But there are some questions about Mingo, including his size -- 237 pounds at his pro day. Undersized pass rushers rarely hit it big. Consider: In the last 10 seasons, only one player under 240 pounds reached double-digit sacks -- the Broncos' Von Miller (237). Obviously, Mingo can add a few pounds (he was 241 at the combine), but only three players over the last decade in the 240-250 range can be considered top pass rushers -- Robert Mathis (245), Aaron Schoebel (243) and Jason Taylor (244).
6. The QB Whisperer: Former Jets QB Ken O'Brien, who moonlights as a private instructor in Southern California, tutored two quarterbacks in the draft -- Mike Glennon (North Carolina State) and Jordan Rodgers (Vanderbilt), Aaron's younger brother. Glennon (6-foot-7) could be picked as high as the second round. O'Brien told me, "He's a big, tall kid. Really nice arm. He spins is really well. He can throw it a long way. What really jumps out is that he's a student of the game, a nerd, a gym rat. He's always trying to learn, he's always asking me questions." The Jets spent time with Glennon at the Senior Bowl.
7. Chucky's favorite: ESPN's Jon Gruden, he of the celebrated QB camp, was asked which quarterback he'd draft if he had a choice. He named Ryan Nassib (Syracuse). "I selfishly really like this kid in Syracuse," he said. "I think he's a nuisance runner. I think he can scramble for first downs. If we want to run the read option, I think he can execute those plays. He's really sharp mentally. This is a guy that's been trained by Doug Marrone, formerly of the New Orleans Saints. So he's been in a really ambitious offensive scheme, taking care of the ball. He's proven he's tough, durable. I like his upside." So do the Jets, I'm told.
8. The schedule, pro and con: The Jets' October schedule is brutal -- at Falcons, Steelers, Patriots and at Bengals. In fact, it's the most difficult October schedule in the league (.672 opponents winning percentage), according to ESPN Stats & Information. On the upside, they don't play any strong defensive teams in September, based on 2012 stats. That's important because the Jets will be learning a new offensive system and there will be growing pains. They face the Bucs (29th in total D), followed by the Patriots (25th) and Bills (22nd). The Bills are in the same boat as the Jets, as they're learning a new defensive system.
9. Tebow time: I'm not a Tim Tebow apologist, but, man, the guy can't catch a break lately. He received a lot of unwanted publicity when a QB instructor named Steve Clarkson, who was described to me as a "snake-oil salesman" by one league source, used Tebow's popularity to generate publicity for himself, making headlines in a conference call with reporters. He "instructed" Tebow for all of two days this offseason. Tebow also is stuck on a team that doesn't want him, but he continues to participate in voluntary workouts. Why won't the Jets cut him? I think it could be because they're worried he will end up with the Patriots, which is a ridiculous reason. If the Patriots want him, they'll probably get him, regardless of how long they have to wait.
10. Inspiration: One of the great stories in the draft is that of CB D.J. Hayden (Houston). In November, he nearly died after getting hit in practice. He tore his inferior vena cava, the vein that carries blood from the lower half of the body to the heart. The injury is fatal 95 percent of the time, doctors said. Now he has a chance to be a first-round pick. He's the No. 1 corner on Mayock's board and the No. 14 player overall.
10.a. Inspiration, Part II: Bravo, Boston Police Department and other law-enforcement agencies. If I could buy everybody a beer, I would.