Mailbag: Rex-Pettine repeat of Eric-Bill?
June, 21, 2014
By Rich Cimini | ESPNNewYork.com
This is our post-minicamp edition of the mailbag. What say you, New York Jets fans? @RichCimini: I find it hard to believe the Rex Ryan-Mike Pettine relationship has deteriorated to the Bill Belichick-Eric Mangini level, but I think it's fair to say it took a wrong turn with PlaybookGate. Ryan was disappointed and hurt by Pettine's comments and, yes, he probably felt betrayed. Who could blame him? The Belichick-Mangini relationship, already strained before SpyGate, was completely severed when Mangini blew the whistle on his mentor's spying operation. Tough to top that in terms of acts of disloyalty. After that, the chill was on display for every post-handshake between them. It's too bad the Jets don't play the Cleveland Browns this season; the handshake would've been a must-watch event. @RichCimini: I know most fans don't want to hear this, but they're content with the current cast. The coaches were almost giddy with Dexter McDougle's performance over the last two weeks, so they feel they can go four or five deep at corner -- Dee Milliner, Dimitri Patterson, Kyle Wilson, McDougle and Darrin Walls. Defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman, not one to toss around compliments, talked about McDougle as if he's the next Darrelle Revis. As I've said, I'd be surprised if they get involved with Brandon Flowers. The brass feels comfy with the current situtation. @RichCimini: Stephen Hill and Quinton Coples wouldn't be considered surprises because they were highly-drafted players a couple of years ago. Keep a close watch on guard Oday Aboushi, who impressed during the spring. I think he will push for the starting job at left guard, which will affect incumbent Brian Winters (right guard in minicamp) and, possibly, returning right guard Willie Colon. If you're looking for a super surprise, remember this name -- Kerry Hyder. The undrafted defensive lineman from Texas Tech really showed up in minicamp. At 6-foot-2, 280 pounds, he's undersized for the Jets' scheme, but Ryan & Co. have a way of finding roles for defensive linemen who can play, regardless of size. @RichCimini: It's an interesting situation because it's a new situation. The Class of 2011 (first round) is the first affected by the new CBA rules. Obviously, the Jets want to sign Muhammad Wilkerson to an extension, but there's no sense of urgency this year because he's under contract through 2015. His cap numbers for '14 and '15 are $2.2. million and $7.0 million, respectively -- team-friendly costs. John Idzik is a hard-line negotiator who likes to maximize leverage. Well, he has all the leverage in this case, so that tells me he will try to get a deal done by the start of the season. The question is whether he makes it sweet enough to satisfy Wilkerson. Keep an eye on the J.J. Watt situation in Houston; he's in the same boat as Wilkerson. If a Watt deal gets done, the Jets and Wilkerson can use that as a measuring stick. They might as well take advantage of all their cap room. An extension also would send a positive message to their best player and the rest of the locker room -- and the fan base, for that matter. @RichCimini: Without a doubt, it was Jalen Saunders. He's only 5-foot-9, 165 pounds, but he's one feisty dude. He has good short-area quickness and catches the ball well. He got a lot of reps with the first-team sub packages, getting on the field when they went to spread formations. It'll be interesting to see how he makes the transition when the pads go on, because like I said, he's just a wisp of a receiver. He's also one of the leading candidates at punt returner. Shaq Evans looked lost in minicamp, dropping a lot of passes, but he was understandably rusty, having missed the OTA practices due to school obligations. Of the rookies, he has the most complete skill set, so I'm looking forward to seeing him in training camp. Quincy Enunwa didn't jump out. He looks the part -- a solidly built 6-foot-2 -- but he's behind the others and could have trouble making the team.