New York Jets: Podcast
"I don't think Rex is going to be back next year," Namath said on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN 98.7 FM on Thursday afternoon.
Namath, the most famous quarterback in Jets history, is perplexed as to why the Jets brought back Ryan for this season with a depleted roster. The Jets are devoid of talent, and with a new general manager in the fold, they could have chosen to start over. Instead, they stuck with Ryan, who has two years left on his deal but has missed the playoffs the last two years.
"I can't figure it out either. Really," Namath said about why Ryan was retained with a weak roster to work with. "Honest to goodness I don't want to get negative here, I want to be positive, but I can't fathom the decisions that have been made. I don't understand these things the last couple of seasons. Hopefully Mr. Idzik gets things going and gets some fresh talent in here, but there are a lot of problems."
One of the reasons the Jets roster is lacking talent is due to the recent trade of All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis, as the Jets traded him to the Buccaneers for two draft picks, including the 13th overall pick in Thursday's draft. Namath understood the reasoning but hated to see Revis leave.
"I'm sorry to a see a player of that caliber leave. I gather it had to be done to make sense with the numbers game and everything else," Namath said. "But as a fan I sure don't like it. I'm just sorry we got in that position."
By trading Revis, and gaining an extra first-round pick, the Jets will have the opportunity to bring in two highly ranked players to start the rebuilding process. He's holding out faith that new general manager John Idzik will deliver.
"With John Idzik in there, hopefully he can make the right choices," Namath said. "I know he's getting the input from basically the same people that gave the input to [former GM] Mike Tannenbaum. I don't know what went wrong with the choices we've had. There haven't been any outstanding choices of late, I don't know. You got to get some good picks this year and hope the guys on the roster, given the chance to play, the younger players, just improve."
Even if the Jets draft well Thursday, they still have to resolve their issues at quarterback, as Mark Sanchez is coming off the worst year of his career. Namath believes Sanchez would fare better if he moved on to another team, but he's curious to see how Sanchez plays in new offensive coordinator Mornhinweg's system. He also said that having Tim Tebow around has not helped.
"I think he took a step back [last year] because not only of the players around him, or the lack of players around him, but with the Tim Tebow situation," Namath said. "I don't care how much Mark had said in the past that his focus is not broken, his confidence isn't shattered, it obviously had a negative effect on him no doubt."
"Rex Ryan, when I was coming out of college he was with Baltimore at the time and he came down to work me out at Troy, he came to Atlanta, just me and him," Umenyiora told the New York Post. "We had a pretty good time out there so I've always enjoyed him as a coach and as a person. That might be a good fit. Hopefully it will be with the Giants.''
Obviously, the Jets desperately need an edge rusher like Umenyiora, but he's not a scheme fit for them. At 6-foot-3, 261 pounds, he's better suited as a 4-3 end, not a 3-4 end. The Jets could use him as a situational rusher, but he probably wouldn't be happy in that role. It also wouldn't be cost-effective to give a significant contract to a 31-year-old, part-time player.
Besides, the draft is filled with Osi-type players, and there's a chance the Jets could snag one with the ninth pick and make him an outside linebacker. Possibilities include Jarvis Jones (Georgia), Demontre Moore (Texas A&M), Barkevious Mingo (LSU) and Bjoern Werner (Florida State).
Would you like to see Osi in a Jets uniform?
"I'm highly confident our record can be better in the second half," Tannenbaum said Wednesday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM's "The Mike Lupica Show."
Tannenbaum said the Jets (3-5), coming off their bye week, "absolutely have the opportunity" to make a playoff run. Reflecting on the disappointing first half, he mentioned red-zone turnovers by QB Mark Sanchez and third-down penalties by the defense as key reasons for some of the losses.
He believes the coaching staff has identified "very specific" things that caused the problems. If they can clean up those issues, Tannenbaum said, "our record would look dramatically different."
Tannenbaum gave a ringing endorsement of offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.
"Being around Coach Sparano every day, I can't tell you how impressed I've been with him," Tannenbaum said. "He's a grinder. He doesn't flinch when there are bumps in the road."
Tannenbaum kept pointing to critical mistakes for the team's record. He said they could easily be 5-3 or 4-4 without those mistakes.
"This isn't blind faith or crazy talk," he said. "This is based on an eight-game sample set."
GM Mike Tannenbaum isn't as candid as Rex Ryan -- who is? -- but he, too, believes the Jets have a chance to do some big things this season.
"I think the potential is definitely there," Tannenbaum said Sunday on the Ian O'Connor Show on ESPN New York 98.7. "Rex is the one in charge of the prediction department, but ... we attack things relentlessly here every day and we think we have a chance to have a really good team this year."
On Friday, Ryan said this has a chance to be the best team he's had with the Jets. Tannenbaum didn't go that far, but you get the drift.
Tannenbaum also touched on some of the recent roster moves, including the decision to cut four draft picks. (S Antonio Allen and WR Jordan White were re-signed to the practice squad.) It was shocking for him to cut so many picks, but Tannenbaum said the draft grade is incomplete.
Perhaps the biggest surprise is that DT Damon Harrison, an undrafted free agent from NAIA William Penn (Iowa), made the 53-man roster. (Side note: The only other William Penn player in the NFL was DE Wilbur Young, who played with three teams from 1971 to 1982.)
"Damon Harrison played really, really, well," Tannenbaum said. "And he earned his spot on our active roster because that's something else from a scouting standpoint we celebrate. We put an emphasis on the undrafted free agent process."
Tannenbaum defended the offense, which produced only one touchdown in the preseason.
"I wish we had scored, but I have the benefit of going to practice every day and I'm really encouraged by the things we're seeing," he said. "The completion percentage is up and, obviously, we have to get certain guys healthy, but I think they'll be ready to go versus Buffalo. Stephen Hill is obviously still a work in progress, but we're excited about him. If you go back to the Carolina game, he didn't have a drop in the second half, and I see him getting better every day at practice."
Tannenbaum said Tim Tebow's role "could vary somewhat significantly based on the game," and he tried to explain the Wayne Hunter mistake by saying, "You can't attack every need, every second that you'd like to."
In addition to being loud at practice, trash talking teammates on offense, the veteran linebacker has been outspoken about his personal goals for the season.
"I'm expecting career numbers," Scott said Monday on ESPN New York 98.7 FM.
Scott wasn't asked to give specifics, but in case you're wondering, here are his career numbers in the key categories: Sacks (9.5), interceptions (2) and forced fumbles (2).
Scott's production dropped last season because his playing time was cut back; he was removed on passing downs. He dropped weight in the offseason, and anybody can see that he's playing faster. He was terrific in Saturday night's loss to the Giants, recording a team-high five tackles and one QB hit -- all in only one half.
TRAITOR: Second-year LB Nick Bellore has been moonlighting as a fullback, and Monday he spent the entire practice with the running backs. He also wore the white (offense) jersey. The reason for that is because there was some confusion last week when CB Antonio Cromartie played receiver and kept on his green (defense) jersey.
Bellore doesn't see the switch as permanent, and he doesn't mind. Of course, he gets an earful from Scott, who has accused him of being a traitor.
"Bart teases me. He calls me Fredo," said Bellore, referring to the "Godfather" character who undermined his own brother.
ODDS AND ENDS: Punter T.J. Conley, who had two shanks against the Giants, said the mistakes are "easily correctable." He said he dropped the ball too far to the outside. ... S LaRon Landry said he doesn't think he'll get fined for his hit on Giants WR Victor Cruz. He noted that Cruz himself said after the game that it was a clean hit. ... The Jets hold their annual Family Night practice at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday at MetLife Stadium.
“Not to [come] down [on] Tim Tebow, but he needs to get a bit more quarterback experience,” Darrelle Revis said Wednesday on ESPN New York 1050’s “Ruocco and Lundberg” show.
“He had an unbelievable season, but he’s coming into a different offense that he needs to learn, and it might take some time.”
Revis endorsed Sanchez, calling “the starter of the New York Jets as of [Wednesday] and into the future until otherwise.”
Revis believes Sanchez is a “secure guy” and strong enough to handle the situation, as long as the fourth-year signal-caller focuses on this upcoming season.
“But you gotta understand, we’re all human,” Revis pointed out. “For example, if they brought another elite cornerback in, I would feel some type of way because I’d feel my job might be in jeopardy.”
Still, Revis feels that Tebow can help the Jets “in a lot of ways.”
“I think that’s why we added him to the team to help us out,” Revis said. “I don’t know who’s gonna start, but as of [Wednesday], Mark is our leader right now on the offensive side of the ball.”
Revis also said that he thinks that Sanchez will be able to take Tebow under his wing and help him out.
During an appearance on SportsCenter earlier Wedneday, Revis described the locker room as being in a state of “disarray.”
Revis said the most troubling part of last season was a lack of team chemistry and team unity.
“Behind closed doors we tried to make it work and fix the problems, but it escalated to something bigger, and sometimes that can happen with teams, and it happened to us last year,” Revis said.
Revis said the Jets need to be able to trust one another in 2012, and fight for the same cause: winning games.
He hopes that the team addresses the issues in the offseason.
A four-time Pro Bowler and three-time All-Pro, Revis has always been one to lead by example.
But he is becoming more open to the idea that he might have to become more vocal.
“Maybe that’s something I might need to look into this year,” Revis said.
Tim Tebow arguably saved the Broncos' season in 2011.
Denver was 1-4 when Tebow took over under center, but the quarterback led them into the playoffs with several awe-inspiring comebacks and victories. The Broncos even upset the Steelers in the postseason before being eliminated by the Patriots.
But instead of being rewarded for his efforts and given another chance to be the starter, Tebow was traded to the Jets after the Broncos elected to sign future Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
Many were upset about how things went down. Televangelist Pat Robertson said Tebow was treated "shabbily." Robertson even went so far as to say an injury to Manning would "serve [the Broncos] right."
But Tebow said he wasn't upset at all.
"They went in a way that they thought was best for the organization, and I'll never blame them for that," Tebow said Monday, adding that he'll always cherish that season and the friends and memories he made along the way.
"I wish the Broncos nothing but the best. They got one of the best quarterbacks to ever play this game in Peyton Manning. He's always been very classy and very supportive of me. I have no ill will toward the Broncos' coaching staff or Peyton. I wish them nothing but the best."
Many believe the Wildcat offense can't be run successfully anymore because defenses have figured it out.
Don't count Tebow among them.
"I think one misconception is people think the Wildcat is just a direct snap to a running back and you fake it and run power, or outside zone or inside zone, and I think that's a big misconception," Tebow said.
"Because when you the ability to have five or six people that have the opportunity to touch the ball on every single play, then I think it can be confusing and make defenses play slow. And I think when you have a great offensive coordinator like Coach [Tony] Sparano that can put together packages and plays and not necessarily have tendencies, then I think it can be effective."
Tebow said the main reason he picked the Jets over the Jaguars as the Broncos' trade partner was because of the New York coaching staff.
Tebow and Jets coach Rex Ryan have the same agent: Jimmy Sexton.
Tebow thinks he first met Ryan at a pro day. They also got to spend some time together at the the Super Bowl.
"I had a better relationship with the Jets coaches. I knew them," Tebow said. "I know [Jaguars] Coach [Mike] Mularkey and the coaches they have are great coaches, but I've never met any of them, I haven't had the opportunity to get to know them. And I'm sure it would have been exciting. It would have been fun to be home, but this is exciting and I'm so proud to be a Jet. I think it's going be a lot of fun."
Tim Tebow was asked some tough questions, including one about how he will deal with unnamed teammates who reportedly are miffed about all the hoopla surrounding a backup quarterback and how they may consider him more as a gimmick.
"It really doesn't bother me at all," Tebow said when asked about the reports. "It is my job to come in here and try to earn guys' respect. I want them to respect me by me coming here and working hard and proving myself in the weight room, in sprints, on the practice field."
Tebow reiterated that the news conference was not his choice and that he was simply doing what his bosses wanted him to do.
"I can't control this press conference," he said. "I have no say over that at all. I'm so honored to be here. It is such a blessing for me. I am excited about getting to know those teammates. I have been able to get to know quite a few of them already."
Tebow was also asked about Giants fans and how some of them may be having fun and mocking the Jets for making a move like this while the Giants are Super Bowl champs.
"I'll leave all that talk to other people," Tebow said. "I'm not qualified [to discuss that]. You have to congratulate the Giants on winning a Super Bowl and having a great game and I wish them nothing but the best as well."
ESPN New York 1050's Stephen A. Smith said that the Jets decision to acquire backup quarterback Tim Tebow was "an unmitigated disaster." And that was just for starters.
Reaction on the airwaves and on the web was swift, and stunned as the Jets made the move for a quarterback whose Q rating exceeds that of starter Mark Sanchez.
Sean Hale, a lifelong Jets fan, said he'd be shopping for a new team to root for, though the Dolphins and Patriots need not apply.
"I stayed with them through Browning Nagle, Neil O'Donnell, and Rick Mirer -- but this, this is too much," Hale said.
As for reactions from current Jets, TE Jeff Cumberland tweeted, "Welcome a bored [sic] Tebow."
"I think for the Jets this is an abject disaster," former player Mark Schlereth said on ESPN NY 1050.
Before the trade was announced, CB Antonio Cromartie tweeted: "Y bring Tebow in when we need to bring in more Weapons for @Mark_Sanchez let's build the team around him. We already signed to 3 year ext."
Does Cromartie's thinking mirror that of the Jets fan base? Tell us what you think.
Tannenbaum, commenting on his recent meeting with Scott's agent at the NFL scouting combine, said they "cleared the air on a lot of things." But he wouldn't guarantee that Scott will return in 2012, saying that discussions will continue.
"We'll see what happens over the next couple of weeks," Tannenbaum said on "The Michael Kay Show" on ESPN New York 1050, adding, "All options are on the table."
The Jets haven't given Scott permission to seek a trade, but they are shopping him, according to a league source. They're in a tough spot because Scott's $4.2 million salary is guaranteed, making it tough to deal the 31-year-old linebacker, but they're still looking for a taker, hoping Scott restructures his contract to facilitate a trade.
Scott was "extremely frustrated" by his diminished role last season, his agent, Harold Lewis, told ESPNNewYork.com Monday. Lewis said Scott's "ultimate goal" is to remain with the Jets, but he admitted the two sides discussed the possibility of a trade at the combine meeting.
The trading period begins March 13.
Tannenbaum addressed other subjects, including:
• Peyton Manning. Reiterating what he said last week at the combine, Tannenbaum did nothing to dispel potential interest in Manning.
"It's really important that we always try to improve the team," he said. "With that said, I expect Mark Sanchez to be our quarterback next year. But when we have opportunities to improve our team, that's what we're going to do."
• Plaxico Burress. On Tuesday, the free-agent WR told a Philadelphia radio station that he wants to sign with the Eagles. Tannenbaum all but said, "Go right ahead."
"He's exploring his options; that's what we want our players to do this time of year, like we're doing for ourselves," he said.
• Greg McElroy. Tannenbaum said "we weren't happy with those comments," referring to the QB's description of the "corrupt mindset" in the locker room, but the GM said McElroy will be on the team.
• A backup for Sanchez. Tannenbaum continued to talk out of both sides of his mouth on this subject. He said they don't need to bring in a No. 2 to push Sanchez -- "Mark wants to be great because that's who he is" -- but he also said he expects the QB depth chart to have a different look by September.
Mason, a guest Friday on "The Herd with Colin Cowherd" on ESPN New York 1050, was discussing QB Greg McElroy's comments when he shifted into the big picture. He said McElroy probably offended the so-called "selfish" players. As for the others, Mason said, "You are going to say, 'Yeah, the guy is right.' Somebody needed to stand up and say it, and I just don’t think the Jets had enough of that during the year.
"The offensive linemen stood up and they spoke to the team, Mark (Sanchez) did it as well, but some of the other guys, the older veterans, they needed to step up and try to right that ship and I don’t think it happened on a consistent basis. Sometimes it's hard when you're losing because everybody is trying to figure things out and everybody is pissed."
Mind you, Mason lasted only five games before the front office decided it didn't want him around. They traded him to the Texans for what amounted to a bucket of Gatorade. The Texans loved him so much they cut him before the end of the season.
Mason was dumped by the Jets when they were on a three-game losing streak.
"It wasn’t as bad when I left," he said of the chemistry. "Things started to, you could see things started to heat up, the temperature started to rise a little bit because ... when you're losing everybody wants to start to chime in and point the finger and say what's wrong and what’s not wrong
"This was a team that a lot of people picked, after going to the AFC Championship two years in a row, a lot of people picked to go to the Super Bowl, and they just weren't playing -- we were not playing, because I was part of that team -- we were not playing the way we were capable of playing, and a lot of guys were frustrated."
Mason said he liked playing for Rex Ryan, but he could see how people might tire of his bravado.
"People, deep down, love that because he was able to back it up," he said. "Now if you can’t go out there and do all these things that you say, then people get tired of it. Either you start winning games or you shut up, basically that’s how it was. But I love Coach Rex, he’s a good guy, I think he’s a good coach. His thing, I guess, is like what Frank Sinatra (sang): He’s going to do it his way. And that’s the way he’s been doing it. Win or lose, he’s going to continue to talk, that’s his personality. I just think this year they just didn’t back up. Once you start it, you can’t stop it."