Sunday, April 8, 2012
Hard not to knock the Jets
By Rich Cimini
Notes, thoughts and observations on the Jets and the rest of the NFL:
1. Ticket master. The Jets are getting ripped for considering HBO’s “Hard Knocks” – and deservedly so. How will another appearance on “Hard Knocks” help them overtake the Patriots? That is the only question that matters. Every decision, from acquiring players to selecting the cafeteria menu, should be based on that question. If the Jets agree to it, it's a classic case of the tail wagging the dog, the business side running the football operation. Obviously, owner Woody Johnson wants the exposure to help sell PSLs. The Jets recently sent an e-mail to potential customers, advertising a “ticket opportunity” and detailing the positives of owning a PSL. The e-mail arrived one day after the Tim Tebow trade. Coincidence? I think not.
2. Sweet 16? Michael Floyd’s stock is rising to the point where he could sneak into the top 10. He’d receive strong consideration from the Jets if he somehow slips to 16. "His explosion off of the line of scrimmage is exceptional; I would compare it to (Justin) Blackmon’s," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said of the Notre Dame WR. "The interest should start at No. 7 with Jacksonville, Miami at 8, Carolina at 9 and Buffalo at 10. (Picks) 7 through 10, there has to be some interest, but in no event can I see him going past the Jets at 16." Ultimately, the Jets' decision could come down to Floyd vs. the best-available pass rusher.
3. Secret crush. The Jets also have the hots for South Carolina DE/OLB Melvin Ingram, a versatile pass rusher who can play almost anywhere in the front seven. There are some who can believe he can be a 4-3 MLB. He has serious wheels. Against Georgia, he took a direct snap on a fake punt and ran 68 yards for a TD. Hey, maybe the Jets can let him run the wildcat. (Kidding.) Ingram, projected as a top-10 pick, is someone the Jets might be willing to move up for.
4. Welcome mat. ‘Tis the week of pre-draft visits. Be careful not to read too much into the list of names that parade through your favorite team’s facility. A visit doesn’t always mean legitimate interest; sometimes, it’s a smokescreen. Other times, it could be an 11th-hour medical check. And, yes, sometimes they’re legit. A year ago, the Jets brought in DE Muhammad Wilkerson for a workout; they picked him in the first round.
5. Aussie speaks. On YouTube, you can check out a video of former rugby star Hayden Smith (6-foot-6, 265 pounds) performing various football drills. Based on my stopwatch, he runs the 40 in 4.9 seconds, not the advertised 4.75 -- but still not bad for a man his size. He's built like a tank but he's relatively fluid in his movements. Smith seems to have a solid perspective on his situation, saying he faces "a very long road and a very difficult road ... I'd be doing everybody who plays in the NFL a disservice to say I can come in and contribute straight away."
6. Say what? LB Bart Scott, claiming the media sensationalized the team’s internal unrest, insisted the locker “wasn’t fractured that much.” Isn’t that kind of like saying a woman can be half pregnant?
7. Gut feeling. The Jets are showing interest in South Carolina WR Alshon Jeffery, according to a source. Jeffrey is a second-round prospect with almost Plaxico-like size – 6-foot-3. Problem is, he’s been known to have too much size. He ballooned to 240 pounds during the season, affecting his waistline. One scout told me he noticed a “gut” on Jeffery while studying him in a pre-game warmup. Jeffrey apparently loves to eat, the scout said. To his credit, he dropped some serious poundage and reported to the scouting combine at 216. The question is, could he stay away from Five Guys Burgers and Fries near the Jets' facility?
8. Gushing. One NFL scout on Tebow's mystique: “I’ve never seen anything like him in my life. Ever. Ever. Ever. He’s got magic. Whatever ‘it’ is, he’s got it.”
9. Head games. In the wake of BountyGate, and the chilling audio of Greg Williams instructing the Saints' defense to injure 49er players, I'm surprised the Giants haven't received more criticism for the Kyle Williams situation in the NFC Championship Game. I was there after the game when the Giants' Devin Thomas said they knew Williams had a history of concussions and that the plan was "to put a hit on him." He said their hope was to daze Williams, making him cough up the ball -- which is what happened, twice. Thomas certainly made it sound like a pre-conceived plot. The NFL said there were no suspicious hits by the Giants, but this still smelled fishy.
10. Head games, II. Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome, always respected as one of the best in the business, said his team now considers a prospect's concussion history when evaluating him for the draft. Their scouting reports now include a mention of the number of concussions sustained in college, the Baltimore Sun reported. It sounds like a positive move, but if other teams jump on board, you wonder if college players will be more apt to downplay symptoms, knowing a reported concussion could impact their NFL stock.