Sunday, January 8, 2012
Sunday notes: Holmes fallout, etc.
By Rich Cimini
Thoughts and observations on this Wild-Card weekend:
1. The Santonio Holmes fiasco, and the fallout from Team Turmoil, has overshadowed one indisputable truth about the 2011 Jets: They just weren't good enough. Their record against playoff teams was 0-5. The Holmes/team chemistry issues have diverted the spotlight from other guilty parties, namely GM Mike Tannenbaum and players that underachieved.
2. But I will say this about Tannenbaum: He's not hiding in his Florham Park bunker. He was out front after the season, making the radio rounds in an attempt to explain the disappointing season to the fan base. Give him credit for that.
3. If the Jets cut Holmes before Feb. 8, they'd be eating $7.75 million in guarantees. That would be hard to do, but, remember, they ate $5.25 million when they cut LG Alan Faneca before the 2010 season -- and Faneca was a good soldier. The difference is, the dead cap money for Faneca was $7.8 million; for Holmes, it would be $12 million.
4. ESPN reported Saturday the Jets are showing interest in former Dolphins coach Tony Sparano for an undisclosed position. This confirms they're serious about revamping the offensive staff. They want everyone to think they'd welcome back Brian Schottenheimer if he doesn't land a head-coaching job, but I'd be stunned if he's back. I could see him making a lateral move before returning.
5. League insiders tell me the Jets are trying to save as much as possible on Schottenheimer's remaining contract -- two years, $3.2 million. (They'd have to eat it if they fire him.) That enormous, two-year extension he received last offseason, I'm told, was a reason why they couldn't get OL coach Bill Callahan to re-up before the end of the season. Apparently, the rising tide doesn't lift all boats, as far as the Jets are concerned.
6. QB Mark Sanchez is getting hit hard by former teammates (Kris Jenkins and Derrick Mason) who have questioned his leadership. If I were a Jets fan, I wouldn't worry too much about it. The time to worry is when current teammates start hammering him.
7. My Super Bowl predictions: Ravens vs Giants.
8. The Steelers have resembled a college offense since Ben Roethlisberger injured his ankle in Week 14. They've used the shotgun on 80 percent of his pass attempts, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Before the injury, it was 55 percent.
9. Tim Tebow's completion percentage (46.5) was the lowest by a qualifying QB since 2000, when Akili Smith posted a 44.2, according to ESPN Stats. If I were a quarterback, I wouldn't want my name in the same sentence as Akili Smith.
10. Eli Manning has completed 13 of 21 passes to Victor Cruz on throws of 21+ yards downfield, per ESPN Stats. That's so good it's ridiculous.
11. Here's a BCS championship viewing guide for Jets fans looking ahead to the draft: According to Scouts, Inc., there are seven players from Alabama and LSU that could be drafted in the first round. Alabama: RB Trent Richardson, CB Dre Kirkpatrick, S Mark Barron and OLB Courtney Upshaw. LSU: CB Morris Claiborne, DE Sam Montgomery and DT Michael Brockers. Barron and Upshaw are the only seniors.