- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
- 0 Shares
Apologize for the delay of game. A look at the Jets and the NFL on championship Sunday:
1. Tebow talk: The perception of the Tim Tebow trade is that it was the brainchild of owner Woody Johnson, but that's not how it was presented to at least one GM candidate in his interview with the Jets.
Former Broncos GM Ted Sundquist, who interviewed for the job nine days ago, said Johnson told him it wasn't his idea. According to Sundquist, Johnson said the trade was "forced" on them -- meaning him and team president Neil Glat, who also participated in the interview. That makes it sound like Johnson was blaming former GM Mike Tannenbaum for the Tebow debacle; in a sense, Johnson did exactly that, firing Tannenbaum. Johnson also said, according to Sundquist, that he eventually "jumped on board" with the idea, deferring to his football people.
"They realized it was divisive and hard on the locker room, and they wanted an exit strategy," Sundquist told ESPNNewYork.com, sharing the vibe he received from Johnson and Glat. The Jets are expected to part ways with Tebow next month.
2. Idzik's QB plan: New GM John Idzik has to find a quarterback to replace and/or compete with incumbent Mark Sanchez. There has been a lot of speculation about Idzik, a former Seahawks executive, trading for Seahawks backup Matt Flynn. According to ESPN insider Adam Schefter, Idzik is fond of former Seahawks starter Tarvaris Jackson, who spent last season on the Bills' bench. That wouldn't be a cure-all; Jackson is 17-17 as a starter with 38 TDs and 35 interceptions. The upside is that Jackson would come cheaply. The Jets are cap-strapped at QB because Sanchez is eating up $12.8 million in cap room.
3. QB plan, Part II: Naturally, the soon-to-be-announced hiring of former Eagles coordinator Marty Mornhinweg has fueled Michael Vick speculation. That would be a terrible move for the Jets and, from what I hear, Idzik doesn't want to go there. There's also this: Neither Vick nor Mornhinweg has the desire to reunite, according to Schefter.
4. The "vulnerable" Patriots: It's hard to believe, but there was a point in the season when the Jets and Patriots were on level ground. Both teams were 3-3 when they met in Week 7. The Jets should've won that game, but Stephen Hill dropped a key pass, Tony Sparano got conservative and they lost, 29-26, in OT. There was plenty of postgame chatter about the Patriots' sudden vulnerability and how they looked ... well, mortal. I have to admit, I thought so, too.
But here they are, playing in yet another AFC Championship Game. Year after year, Bill Belichick's teams play their best ball late in the year. That's a tribute to his coaching. Some teams get worse as the season progresses, the Patriots get better. It's not an accident.
5. Injury update: Good news for the Jets. NT Sione Po'uha, who underwent an MRI exam after the season on his troublesome back, doesn't need surgery, according to a source. The plan right now is rehab.
6. Dungy an Idzik fan: Former Bucs and Colts coach Tony Dungy gave a glowing endorsement of Idzik. Remember, they worked together for several years in Tampa, building the team that eventually won a Super Bowl under Jon Gruden. Dungy and Idzik have remained close.
"John Idzik was a big part of our success in Tampa and I believe he'll do a great job in New York," Dungy said in a statement released by NBC Sports. "He is extremely bright and he knows talent. He's been around football all his life and he understands what it takes to win the NFL. From a coach's perspective he was great to work with because he was so knowledgeable but was also a good listener. John is a high quality person and the Jets are very fortunate to have him."
7. No Manti: I'd be shocked if the Jets drafted Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o with the ninth overall pick, and I'm not saying that opinion on the hoax/controversy. Two reasons: Inside linebacker isn't a "money" position. When you're picking that high, you need a difference maker. Also, the Jets have two inside 'backers, David Harris and Demario Davis, likely to replace Bart Scott.
8. Cap vs. no cap: The Jets ended up hiring a so-called "cap guy" in Idzik. That's interesting because two candidates told me the search committee (Johnson, et al) showed little interesting in discussing the team's salary-cap issues during their respective interviews.
9. Championship picks: I like the Ravens over the Patriots, 24-21. The Patriots will be so concerned with Joe Flacco's deep ball that they'll leave only seven in the box to defend the run -- and that'll create opportunities for RB Ray Rice. I like the Falcons over the 49ers, 31-27, in the NFC Championship Game. I think Colin Kaepernick crashes to earth. He won't have as many running opportunities against the Falcons as he did against the Packers. The Falcons play more zone than the Packers, meaning more eyes on Kaepernick.
10. Sorry, Jets fans: If the Patriots manage to win, you just know they'll win the Super Bowl because the Giants won't be there to knock them off. And that would mean another ring for Rex Ryan to kiss.