Sunday notes: Geno needs to pick it up

June, 9, 2013
6/09/13
5:00
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A quick look at the Jets and the NFL:

1. The Battle of Clunker Hill: Listen to Rex Ryan, and you come away with the impression he'd rather crochet a sweater than start Mark Sanchez at quarterback. Ryan's tone has been, um, less than enthusiastic. But guess what? He might have little choice. Judging from what I've seen and heard, rookie Geno Smith hasn't blown anybody away, the way Russell Wilson did last season when he walked into the Seahawks' facility. It's still early and things could change, but the way this is headed, it'll be Sanchez versus the Bucs in Week 1. That's the way it should be. Unless Smith is lights-out in the preseason, the Jets should open with Sanchez.

As much as the organization would like to start over at quarterback, it wouldn't be prudent to throw a rookie into a fire. And it'll be a blazing fire. Think about it: new offensive system; limited weaponry; difficult schedule. You'd do it with Andrew Luck, but Smith is no Luck. Of the past 11 quarterbacks drafted in the second round, only one started Week 1 as a rookie -- the Bengals' Andy Dalton in 2011. Smith throws a pretty ball, but it'll take more than that to win over the coaches and his teammates. Like it or not, it'll be Sanchez to start. How long he lasts, well, that's a different story.

2. The Q Mystery: Quinton Coples' switch to outside linebacker is going well, according to Coples. Curiously, he didn't play a lot of linebacker during the three OTA sessions open to the media. I suggested to him, half-jokingly, that maybe the team is purposely keeping him under wraps, a la Tim Tebow and the Wildcat. Coples, who has a terrific sense of humor, replied, "Hopefully, I'll do more than we did in the Wildcat."

Coples said he's not having any trouble with pass-coverage responsibilities. Any interceptions?

"Nah, not yet," he said. "I like to consider myself 'Lockdown.' They don't throw the ball my way."

Coples Island?

"I respect [Darrelle] Revis, so I don't want to say Coples Island," he said, smiling. "Revis Island, that's his gig. That's his deal. He showed me a lot of things when he was here. But I'm definitely a lockdown type of guy."

3. Speaking of Revis …: Just a random thought. Let's play the what-if game: What if the Jets had kept Revis, hoping to sign him to a long-term extension before the season?

With a $10 million bump in 2013 compensation (based on the contract he received from the Bucs), the Jets would have only about $2 million in cap space. They wouldn't have DT Sheldon Richardson, whom they selected with the Revis pick (13th overall). Or would they? It's believed that Richardson, WR Tavon Austin, CB Dee Milliner and G Chance Warmack were the top four on their draft board, not necessarily in that order. Austin was gone by the ninth pick, and you have to figure they wouldn't have picked Milliner with Revis in the long-term plan. So the choice would've been Warmack or Richardson. Maybe they would've ended up with Richardson anyway. That, of course, is based on the assumption their board would've remained the same with Revis in the picture.

4. Mr. Coffee: TE Hayden Smith has coordinated a coffee klatch in the Jets' locker room. He brews espresso after practice (he keeps a machine in his locker) and serves teammates, some of whom sit around in a circle and shoot the breeze. Smith believes it promotes team chemistry. He got the idea from his rugby days in England, where teammates routinely visited a local coffee shop after practice. It shatters the stereotype of beer-drinking rugby types.

"There's certainly a time and place to enjoy yourself," Smith said, "but there's a lot to be gained from sitting around and having a coffee together. Other than a great pick-me-up, it's nice to sit and talk with the guys."

5. The Sons Also Rise: Brock Sunderland, who worked in the Jets' scouting department for six years, has left the team to become the assistant GM of the Ottawa Red Blacks -- a new CFL team. Brock, the son of former longtime Jets scout Marv Sunderland, became the fourth Jets scout to leave or not have his contract renewed this offseason. During the 2010 playoff run, he was instrumental in helping the Jets reconnect with former player Dennis Byrd. There's also a scout on the rise in the Bradway family. Mike Bradway, the son of longtime Jets senior personnel executive Terry Bradway, has been promoted to the post of Eagles' Eastern regional scout.

6. Mother Knows Best: Dottie Hampton, the matriarch of one of the most popular families in Jets history, died last week at the age of 76. She's survived by husband Bill Hampton, the former longtime equipment manager, and son Clay, the current director of operations. Veteran scribe Randy Lange, of the Jets' official website, wrote a nice piece on Hampton, noting two behind-the-scenes contributions. She purchased the Hanes Beautymist pantyhose that Joe Namath wore in his famous 1973 commercial and, leading into the 1968 AFL Championship Game, she sewed pockets into the jersey fronts of Namath and the skill-position players. The pockets were a huge help on a bitterly cold day at Shea Stadium. Former longtime PR director Frank Ramos said she "might be the greatest Jets fan of all time." Condolences to a great family.

7. Belichick's Delay of Game: If Patriots coach Bill Belichick waited any longer to shoot down the notion that he "hates" Tebow as a player -- an anonymous quote in a May 9 story by Yahoo! Sports -- we'd be asking him about it on the conference call leading into Jets-Patriots in Week 2. It took him four weeks, making his reaction come across as disingenuous.

8. This Ain't Right: What's wrong with this picture? JaMarcus Russell, the epitome of bust-dom, gets a tryout with the Bears. Meanwhile, Tebow, a playoff-winning quarterback, sits at home, seemingly black-balled by the entire league.

9. A 'Sup-er New Yorker: Frank Supovitz, the NFL's point man for Super Bowl XLVIII, is all New York. He grew up in Queens, once worked as an usher at Radio City Music Hall and lives on Long Island. Now, in his job as the league's senior vice president of events, he gets to coordinate a Super Bowl in his hometown. How personally satisfying is that?

"I've never been asked that question before," Supovitz told me the other day. "Words don't describe it, really. It’s an honor to be leading a group of professionals that pull this event together. It's a national event that requires professionals from all over the country. The opportunity to be able to do it here, where I grew up, it's an incredible honor."

10. London Calling: I'm not a fan of putting a team in London, but I suspect it's inevitable. Hey, maybe it'll open a door for Tebow to get back into the league -- unless it's the Jaguars, of course.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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