The reason behind Rex's choices

August, 14, 2011
Rainy day thoughts and observations:

• I find Rex Ryan's choice of captains to be particularly interesting, a reflection of the direction of the team. Instead of picking older players like LaDainian Tomlinson, Bart Scott, Brandon Moore or Jim Leonhard -- all deserving -- Ryan opted for the "younger" crowd. He chose Mark Sanchez, Santonio Holmes, Darrelle Revis, Sione Pouha and Eric Smith.

The exception might be Pouha, 32, but he's regarded as an emerging leader, the most vocal player on a defensive line that has undergone a youth movement. The point is, Ryan seems intent on putting his younger stars in leadership roles. Makes sense, considering some of their older leaders no longer are with the team --Damien Woody, Shaun Ellis, Tony Richardson, et al. It's changing-of-the-guard time.

• I wonder who the players would've voted for as captains if Ryan had opted for a democratic process. Just saying.

• Best player in camp so far: Revis. Hardly a shocker, right? Think back to a year ago. Right about now, he was two weeks into a nasty holdout, trying to stay in shape by working out on his own. He signed the week of the opener, pulled a hamstring and needed more than half the season before he was right. If the Jets get the real Revis from Day 1, it'll make their defense that much better.

• Revis' performance in 2009 was considered by some to be one of the great years for a cornerback in recent history. Asked if it was a once-in-a-lifetime season that can't be duplicated, Revis replied, "No, it wasn't ... I don't know if you can sit here and say 'duplicate, but if you noticed last year, I came back and finished the season strong. The guys I did cover, they didn't have the numbers they usually average per game. If you look at those stats, you would know."

• Final thoughts on Shaun Ellis going to the Patriots: The Patriots offered four times as much money as the Jets. Who can blame a guy for taking that deal? At the same time, you have to wonder about Bill Belichick's decision to pay $4 million to a 34-year-old defensive end with an ailing hip. In the 11 games prior to his monster playoff game against the Patriots, Ellis had only one sack and no more than four tackles in any one game.

• Tomlinson rushed 22 times last preseason. Something tells me it's going to be a lot less this summer.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter



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