Sunday, June 10, 2012
Notes: The Tony and Tone show
By Rich Cimini
Sunday notes and observations on the Jets and the NFL:
1. ODD COUPLE: Santonio Holmes was no fan of Brian Schottenheimer. Speaking to reporters Thursday, he took a subtle jab at his former OC. Asked about Tony Sparano's no-nonsense style and the accountability he demands, Holmes said, "It'll be great for an offense that was lacking a lot of that last year." It's funny to hear Holmes, of all people, stress the need for accountability. It sets up a "Be careful what you wish for" situation: How will the Jets' resident diva respond to the old-school Sparano? Prediction: He'll either fall into line or butt heads with Sparano; there will be no middle ground. Based on Holmes' mini-tantrum Thursday, I'd say there's a better chance of the latter. Sparano is Parcells Lite, and there's no way he will tolerate any player pulling himself out of practice and telling the world how the coaches should handle him. Holmes-Sparano will be almost as fascinating as Mark Sanchez-Tim Tebow.
2. SAME OLD TONE? The Holmes practice incident received a tremendous amount of media coverage -- maybe too much -- casting him in a bad light. But here's the deal: If Holmes really wants to be perceived as a team guy, if he wants to redeem himself after last season's mess, he has to make an extra effort to change the perception. He knows he's under the microscope, and he knows every little transgression will be a headline, which is why he needs to be on his best behavior. Last Thursday wasn't a good start.
3. REVIS CHATTER: Darrelle Revis is confusing me. In an interview with the Star-Ledger of Newark, he reiterated he's not unhappy with his contract and wants to retire as a Jet. At the same time, he won't commit to showing up for training camp. Interesting how Team Revis has changed its approach from 2010, the year of his five-week holdout. Back then, it attacked with an all-out blitz. This time, it's playing a Cover-2, waiting for the opponent -- the Jets' front office -- to make its move. My gut feeling: no holdout, no new contract. There's some risk there for the Jets. If Revis has another Revis year, they'll have to pay him the sun and the moon in 2013, when they will be $19 million over the projected salary cap. Remember, they can't use the franchise tag on Revis in 2014. To paraphrase the old Fram oil-filter slogan, you can pay him now or pay him later.
4. JETS WEST INVITES: Sanchez should be commended for organizing the annual "Jets West" passing camp, but let's not nominate him to sainthood just because he invited Tebow. That was a no-brainer; Sanchez invites every skill-position player. Could you imagine the controversy if he excluded his new backup? And did anybody really think Tebow would blow it off? If he did that, he'd be painted as the bad guy. Happy camping, fellas.
5. JETS EAST: On Memorial Day weekend, TE Dustin Keller chartered a yacht out of Manhattan and invited the tight ends and wide receivers for a day trip. The voyage included plenty of food and the players got to play their own music. A total of 14 people made the trip (no Holmes), including a few wives and girlfriends. Keller, entering his fifth season, is definitely emerging as one of the leaders on offense. Here's another way to look at it: A year ago, the receiving corps made plenty of waves. This time, it enjoyed them.
6. HANGING CHAD: The Jets have no interest in WR Chad Ochocinco, but it's not a bad idea to keep an eye on the receiver market -- i.e. Braylon Edwards. The lack of veteran depth was amplified last week, with rookie Stephen Hill (hamstring) sitting out. Beyond Holmes, the receiving corps has only 111 career catches, including 72 by Chaz Schilens. Edwards might be worth a look, if he has recovered from knee surgery.
7. SPEAKING OF CHAD: If Ochocinco signs with the Dolphins (he reportedly will work out for them), it'll make Revis happy. He owns Ochocinco, who has been running on fumes for a couple of years. If nothing else, he'd provide another storyline for "Hard Knocks."
8. BIG MONEY FOR BIG TIGHT END: The Patriots made a smart move by tearing up the final two years of Rob Gronkowski's contract and giving him a six-year, $53 million deal. That sounds like a lot of money for a tight end, but it's actually a team-friendly deal -- $12.9 million (all guaranteed) over the first three years. Of course, the benefit to Gronkowski is that he scores big money two years ahead of free agency. Gronk is going to be around for a long time, much to the chagrin of the AFC East.
9. WHAT A TWIT: Broncos LB D.J. Williams, already serving a six-game suspension for performance-enhancing drugs, tweeted on his iPad a picture of the team's defensive playbook. Obviously, his positive test wasn't for smart pills.
10. PLAYER SPEAK: Bucs longtime CB Ronde Barber praised new coach Greg Schiano, saying his tough, intense style is just what they need. (Hmm, sounds like what the Jets are saying about Sparano.) Just once I'd like to hear a player say, "Nah, we don't need a disciplinarian, we want a softie."