Sunday notes: Saucy rivalry dates to '06

October, 28, 2012
10/28/12
5:00
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Thoughts and observations on the Jets and the NFL:

1. No expiration date for hot sauce: Reggie Bush never should've suggested that Darrelle Revis deserved to get hurt -- not cool -- but he had a right to be upset by Rex Ryan's "hot sauce" remark from Week 3. Consider the history: In a Saints-Ravens game in 2006, Bush was forced out when LB Bart Scott "twisted" his ankle late in the fourth quarter, according to an account in the Baltimore Sun.

[+] EnlargeReggie Bush
Matt Stamey/US PresswireThe bad blood over "hot sauce" dates back to 2006, when Reggie Bush's ankle was twisted by Bart Scott.
Afterward, Scott told the Sun, "The media darling -- a.k.a. the golden boy of the NFL -- tried to take a cheap shot at me, so I told him I was going to put a little extra on it ... I put a little hot sauce on that ankle."

Ryan was the Ravens' defensive coordinator at the time. So when Bush hurt his knee in Week 3, what was he supposed to think? Sunday's game will be super intense, and you can bet the NFL will be paying close attention. This week, Scott fessed up to the '06 incident. Too bad he won't play; he's out with a toe injury.

2. Diversionary tactic: When the Jets were routed by the Patriots in 2010, Ryan buried the ball in the practice field -- an old high-school trick. This time, he buried the story. How's that? Some folks around the league believe he encouraged the week of trash talking to shift the focus away from last week's Patriots debacle and the unflattering storylines that emerged from the game -- questionable play calling, the blown lead by the defense, Sanchez/Tebow, etc. Those stories still garnered attention, but they became sidebars to the war of words. Maybe old Rex planned it that way. Clearly, he said something to his players behind closed doors that set them off.

3. Tony and Tim: This is for the folks who think Mark Sanchez is one bad performance away from getting replaced by Tim Tebow: It ain't happening. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano might think Tebow can be effective in the Wildcat (although we've yet to to see it), but he obviously doesn't believe in his quarterbacking abilities -- only two pass attempts. Here's further proof: Sparano coached Tebow at the 2010 Senior Bowl and, according to a league source, he was -- shall we say -- less than complimentary when discussing Tebow's passing skills with members of his Dolphins coaching staff.

4. Herm warfare: Believe it or not, this week is the 10-year anniversary of Herm Edwards' famous "You play to win the game!" speech. I was there for that memorable news conference. The Jets were 2-5, preparing for a tough road game against the Chargers. Things were bleak. Judy Battista of the New York Times asked Edwards if he was worried about players giving up on the season, and that sparked one of the great diatribes of all time. Funny thing is, I don't recall it being a big story in the newspapers. TV made it a big story, and now it's legendary. Hey, made for a good beer commercial, right?

5. JK rolling: Perhaps the biggest positive in the Jets' season has been the emergence of WR Jeremy Kerley. GM Mike Tannenbaum picked him by trading up in the fifth round of the 2011 draft, in large part, because of Kerley's punt-returning ability. He's so much more than a punt returner. Before the draft, then-OC Brian Schottenheimer worked out Kerley and his TCU teammate, QB Andy Dalton. Kerley said he didn't drop a ball in the workout. "I guess I caught their eye," he said.

Kerley is only 5-foot-9, 188 pounds, but he has what Tannenbaum calls "balance on contact. His lower-body strength is impressive. He doesn't go down easily." That explains why Kerley is averaging 4.9 yards after catch, according to ESPN Stats & Information, which happens to be almost a full yard better than the Giants' Victor Cruz.

6. Trader Mike: The trading deadline is Tuesday. No, the Jets won't trade Tebow, but they should definitely explore the possibility of dealing for Rams RB Steven Jackson. The Rams are shopping him, according to a league source. Considering the health of the backfield, the Jets should make a deal if they can get him for a late-round pick. Jackson will be a free agent, so no team will give up the store. His running style is similar to that of Shonn Greene (also a free agent), except that Jackson is, well, better.

7. Cam jam: How bad is it for Panther QB Cam Newton? He's struggling to complete short passes at the goal line. He has just as many completions (two) as interceptions in goal-to-go situations, according to ESPN Stats & Information. He's 2-for-12 and he got his GM, Marty Hurney, fired.

8. Eli-Ben revisited: The Giants play the Steelers next week, and the Eli Manning/Ben Roethlisberger/Class of 2004 stories already are starting. Here's my succinct analysis: Manning has won two Super Bowls, Roethlisberger has won two Super Bowls. Both teams done good.

9. Paging Rob Lowe: The Broncos are the league's best team in the fourth quarter, having outscored their opponents, 79-6. Gee, I wonder why that is. The quarterback, perhaps?

10. Patriots woes: The Belichicks are racking up big numbers on offense; imagine what the numbers would look like if they actually held on to the ball. The Patriots have a league-high 18 drops, according to ESPN Stats. No, snickering, Jets fans. The Jets are close behind with 15 drops.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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