Game day: Plax, Greene & Tanny's mistake

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
6:00
AM ET
Thoughts and observations as we finally hit the first Sunday in the NFL:

• Can anyone imagine what it would be like if the lockout still was ongoing? I can't. There's no way the owners and players would've were going to allow their stadiums sit empty, especially on 9-11. The public-relations backlash might have caused irreparable harm.

• I don't think the Jets got worked up at all by Plaxico Burress' comments to "Men's Journal." After all, he made them before he was a Jets employee and most of the criticisms were directed at the Giants, which, of course, the Jets don't mind. But the article does open a window into Burress' post-prison mindset, which could impact the Jets if he decides to speak out again. Burress doesn't appear contrite or humbled, especially with his LeBron James-like remarks. It makes you wonder if the old diva will re-surface if things don't go his way on the field.

Shonn Greene generated little fanfare during the run-up to Sunday night's opener against the Cowboys, and yet -- other than Mark Sanchez -- I believe he's the key to the Jets' season. If Greene and Sanchez have good years, the Jets could be in the Super Bowl.

• The average age for the Jets' offensive starters is 27.27 years, down from last season's opening-day lineup (28.27). The average age on defense is 28.0, pretty much the same as last year (28.2). The average dropped because they dumped older players such as Shaun Ellis and Damien Woody, and moved LaDainian Tomlinson out of the lineup.

• I think the Jets made a mistake by not acquiring a veteran backup on the offensive line. GM Mike Tannenbaum had more than enough cap room, yet decided to bring in a couple of minimum-salaried rookies, Caleb Schlauderaff and Colin Baxter. They must think Rob Turner is only a few weeks away from returning. Even so, it's a gamble.

• Battle lines are drawn in the McElroy household. Greg is a rookie quarterback on the Jets (on injured reserve) and his father, Greg, is the Cowboys' senior vice president of sales and marketing. I spoke to McElroy before his season-ending thumb injury, and this is what he said about the matchup: "My dad, I don't know where his loyalties will lie. I think he'll be pulling for me individually, but he also has to consider who pays the bills." His dad was expected to attend the game.

• Former Jets QB Chad Pennington told PFT Live that he has a "sneaking suspicion" that the retired Randy Moss, his old college teammate at Marshall, will return to playing. Prediction: If the Jets lose a receiver, and Moss still is available, they'll be trying to coax him out of retirement.

• My fearless season predictions (division champs): AFC East -- Patriots, AFC North -- Steelers, AFC South --Texans, AFC West -- Chargers. Wild cards -- Jets, Ravens. NFC East -- Eagles, NFC North -- Packers, NFC South -- Saints, NFC West -- Rams. Wild cards -- Falcons, Cowboys. Super Bowl -- Packers over Patriots.

• Enjoy the football Sunday, but please don't forget the true meaning of the day.

A REMINDER FROM THE JETS: As part of a special halftime tribute, the stadium will transition into concert mode and the stadium lights will be turned off for the duration of halftime. The team asks that fans remain in their seats for this emotional tribute.

Rich Cimini

ESPN New York Jets reporter

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