Sunday, October 21, 2012
Sunday notes: Revis backed into corner?
By Rich Cimini
Thoughts and observations on the Jets and the NFL:
1. Cromartie vs. Revis: Darrelle Revis' leverage in future contract negotiations with the Jets could be hurt by fellow cornerback Antonio Cromartie. If Cromartie continues to play at an elite level, it could very well impact how much the Jets are willing to pay for Revis, who will be an unrestricted free agent in 2014. (They can't use the franchise tag, per a clause in his current contract.) Let's be clear: the Jets want to sign him to a long-term deal, assuming he recovers from knee surgery, but they may not want to give him the sun, the moon and the stars if they're comfortable with the Cromartie-Kyle Wilson tandem. Cromartie and Wilson are under contract through 2014. Maybe they offer the sun and the moon to Revis, and use the stars to bolster other positions.
2. Life without Revis: When Revis went down in Week 3 with a season-ending knee injury, the prevailing opinion was that the defense would become less aggressive and less effective with the blitz. That's only half-true. Yes, they've become less aggressive. Over the last four games, they've sent five or more pass rushers on 31 percent of the pass plays, down from 48 percent in the first two games, according to ESPN Stats & Information. Apparently, less is better. Facing extra pressure, opponents have completed only 45 percent of their passes, with no TDs and one interception, over the last four games. In the first two, it was a 72 percent completion rate, with three TDs and no interceptions. Go figure.
3. Lights, camera, rehab: Revis' journey through rehab will be the subject of a documentary. He was approached by two networks and an independent production company, but he ended up choosing NFL Media, which filmed his news conference last Monday and surgery the following day. Andrea Kremer is hosting it. It's a novel concept, allowing the public to observe a star athlete as he attempts to rebuild himself. It wasn't an easy decision for Revis because he knows the entire world will see him in vulnerable moments. So what does he get out of it? It will showcase his work ethic, sending a message to the Jets (and the rest of the league) that he's on his way back. The presence of cameras also could provide extra incentive; call it the "Hard Knocks" Effect.
4. What a business: On Tuesday, FB John Conner represented the Jets at a community event, where he presented a $125,000 donation from the team to the Public School Athletic League in New York. The next morning, he was waived. Tough business, the NFL.
5. Ex-Jet check: The Jets lost no fewer than 14 contributors from last year's team, but it's interesting to note that only two currently hold starting jobs elsewhere -- Wayne Hunter and Rob Turner. They're starting for the Rams at left tackle and center, respectively. Turner, once a versatile backup for the Jets, is rated 17th among centers by ProFootballFocus.com.
6. Rex clams up: The Jets like to call themselves a transparent organization, but Rex Ryan has turned Mangini-esque when it comes to discussing injuries. Maybe it's because they're playing the Patriots, but this week he didn't give up anything. You know what that tells me? It tells me folks inside the Atlantic Health Center are feeling pressure and getting tight.
7. Ray Lewis' future: If the iconic linebacker decides to return for an 18th season at age 38, it could put the Ravens in an uncomfortable position. Lewis, likely out for the season with a torn triceps, is signed through 2015 and is due to make $5.4 million in 2013 (a $7.3 million cap figure). His play has declined; he's rated 35th among inside linebackers by PFF. Cutting Lewis would be a public-relations nightmare (see: Colts, Peyton Manning), but they may feel it's time to move on. If they part ways, could there be a Lewis-Ryan reunion? Just throwing it out there.
8. Growing pains: Browns QB Brandon Weeden leads the NFL with 10 interceptions, the most by a rookie through six games since some guy named Sanchez in 2009.
9. Chief concern: The Chiefs don't play this week, but former Jets personnel man Scott Pioli, who rose to fame as Bill Belichick's right-hand man in New England, still is taking a lot of heat in KC. The Chiefs are 1-5, having been blown out in four of the losses. His job security is a hot topic. In fact, disgruntled fans paid for a banner that was flown over Arrowhead Stadium, calling for the former NFL Executive of the Year to be fired. It's amazing how many coaches and front-office types struggle once they leave the Belichick nest.
10. My two cents: Most overrated team in the NFL? In my opinion, it's the Texans (5-1). I just don't think they're as good as many think, especially not with LB Brian Cushing.