Sunday notes: A loss in Holmes opener

September, 9, 2012
9/09/12
5:00
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Finally, the first Sunday of the NFL season. This feels like a holiday. On to "First-and-10."

1. Enough already. Santonio Holmes isn't a captain anymore -- no one is, thanks to Holmes -- but he's still treated like one by the Jets. He was designated by the team as one of the two players required to speak only once during the week to the media, per league rules. The other is Mark Sanchez. It immediately makes Holmes a quasi-team spokesman, a status he doesn't deserve. On Wednesday, in the formal setting of the press-conference room, he threw Sanchez under the bus by revealing details from a private conversation with the QB in the wake of the Tim Tebow trade. It came in response to a general question: "How's Sanchez handling all the Tebow stuff?" Holmes made it about himself, explaining how he calmed a "rattled" Sanchez. How long will the Jets continue to enable Holmes? He shouldn't get special treatment.

2. Follow the money. It seems to be a hot topic as the Jets prepare for the season: Is Rex Ryan and/or Mike Tannenbaum on the hot seat? Do yourself a favor and remember this: The Jets have an owner, Woody Johnson, who absolutely hates to eat money on guaranteed contracts. Both Ryan and Tannenbaum are signed through 2014. Get the picture?

3. Woody on Rex. Johnson made an interesting comment to ESPN's Sal Paolantonio in an interview that will be aired Sunday on "Outside the Lines." Johnson said, "My confidence level is growing each year that I've been around Rex." Asked why, he explained, "(He's) just maybe a little bit more modulated person than previously ... just not as out on the edge all the time. I think he's learned what works and what doesn't work, and he's becoming an even better teacher." Wait, I always thought he loved Rex's "edgy" personality?

4. One-year wonders. The Jets have 19 players entering the final year of their contract, including 11 starters -- RB Shonn Greene, S Yeremiah Bell, DT Mike DeVito, PK Nick Folk, RT Austin Howard, TE Dustin Keller, S LaRon Landry, LB Aaron Maybin, RG Brandon Moore, LG Matt Slauson and LB Bryan Thomas. It's a double-edged sword, having that many one-year guys. On one hand, they should be highly motivated. On the other hand, it's human nature to have a personal agenda when your future is on the line.

5. Tale of two QB coaches. It surprised many when the Jets retained QBs coach Matt Cavanaugh, especially after they parted ways with Brian Schottenheimer. Once they hired Tony Sparano to replace Schottenheimer, the Jets interviewed outside candidates for the QB position. One of those candidates was David Lee, a former Sparano assistant who ended up as the Bills' QBs coach. "He’s clearly a guy that we thought a lot of, and we just wanted (to) bring him in to get to know him," Ryan said this week of Lee. "He was really impressive, to say the least."

6. D prepared. Say this for Ryan/Mike Pettine-coached defenses: They're always prepared coming out of the preseason. In three season openers, the Jets have allowed only 13.7 points per game, third in the NFL over that span.

7. Number crunching. Some numbers to ponder when your favorite team is done with Week 1: Since 1990, when the playoff format expanded to 12 teams, 53.9 percent of the teams to start 1-0 reach the postseason. Only 24.6 percent of the teams starting 0-1 made the playoffs, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

8. Rough baptism. Ryan Tannehill will be the first Dolphins rookie QB to start Week 1. Not even the great Dan Marino did that, although he still managed to go 7-2 as a rookie starter. (I had him on my fantasy team the following year, 1984, and won the title thanks to Marino's 48 TD passes. Yes, there were fantasy leagues in the dark ages.) The Dolphins open against the Texans, a difficult matchup for Tannehill. He'll have to face a Wade Phillips-coached defense, which could blow his mind. The Jets get Tannehill in Week 3.

9. Watch your back, Tom. I'm not predicting the demise of the Patriots or anything like that, but keep an eye on Tom Brady's pass protection, starting Sunday at the Titans. His protection has slipped the last three seasons -- from 16 sacks to 25 to 32. And now, for the first time in his career, Brady will start a season without LT Matt Light (retired) protecting his blind side. Just saying.

10. Predictions. AFC division winners -- Patriots, Ravens, Texans, Broncos. AFC wild cards -- Steelers, Chiefs. AFC champion -- Texans. NFC division winners -- Eagles, Packers, Saints, 49ers. NFC wild cards -- Panthers, Cowboys. NFC champion -- Packers. Super Bowl champion: Packers.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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