Sunday, November 11, 2012
Sunday notes: Ghosts of Tanny's past
By Rich Cimini
SEATTLE -- A quick look at the Jets and the NFL:
1. Reunion Tour begins. GM Mike Tannenbaum has made a lot of good moves in seven years, but he's made some bad ones, too, and a couple of those could come back to haunt him Sunday here in Seattle. RB/KR Leon Washington and WR Braylon Edwards were key contributors for the Jets, but they traded Washington to the Seahawks for a fifth-round pick (2010) and declined to re-sign Edwards (2011). That they used the fifth-round pick on FB John Conner -- no longer on the team -- makes it look worse. The Jets miss Washington's explosiveness and his positive influence in the locker room. A lot of players were ticked off when they sent him packing.
For Tannenbaum, whose job security is a hot topic, the worst-case scenario is Washington and/or Edwards playing a prominent role in a Seahawks win. That wouldn't sit well with owner Woody Johnson. Next week, the Jets play the Rams, which means another encounter with blasts from the past -- former OC Brian Schottenheimer and OT Wayne Hunter.
2. Another quarterback? If you think the Jets' QB depth chart is crowded now, imagine if Terry Bradway got his way during the last draft. Bradway is the senior personnel executive and he lobbied hard for QB Russell Wilson, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine revealed. "(He) was the champion of Russell Wilson," Pettine said. "The joke was that they were calling him 'Russell Bradway.' He just loved him so much." Wilson was picked by the Seahawks in the third round (75th overall). The Jets selected LB Demario Davis two picks later. It would've been real interesting if the Seahawks had passed on Wilson and he was there for the Jets.
3. Another 'What-if?' QB scenario. Preparing to face Seahawks coach Pete Carroll, Tim Tebow shared a funny recruiting story, the time Carroll (then the USC coach) came to his house in Jacksonville. Before driving down a half-mile dirt road to the house, Carroll and two assistants noticed the Tebows had a Florida Gators mailbox. Said Tebow: "He told his assistant coach, ‘They have a Gator mailbox, what the heck am I doing here?’ I don’t know if that’s the language he used, but we had a great time." Tebow took an official visit to USC, where his host was Mark Sanchez. Obviously, he picked the Gators.
4. Everybody wants to know about Tim. I was introduced to a state-level politician recently. When he found out I covered the Jets, the first words out of his mouth were, "What in God's name ... (I knew immediately what he was going to ask) ... are the Jets doing with Tebow?" I wonder if Tebow's lack of PT gets discussed around the water coolers in the state capital.
5. Mayhem on ice? I wouldn't be at all surprised if OLB Aaron Maybin is inactive for Sunday's game. He played only five defensive snaps in the last game, and this week the Jets promoted OLB Ricky Sapp from the practice squad. Sapp will be active this week, and it's unlikely they will dress 10 linebackers for the game. Maybin isn't producing (four tackles, no sacks), but is it because he's playing poorly or he is a victim or limited playing time? He has only 119 defensive snaps, but he has nine QB hits. OLB Calvin Pace has a team-high 18 QB hits, but he has played 524 snaps. Do the math.
6. Rex runs a reverse. So let me get this straight. On Monday, Rex Ryan offered a pragmatic view of the Jets' plight, saying, "We're not sniffing the playoffs." He was excited, but realistic about the team's situation. On Thursday, he morphed into 2011 Rex, backing Antonio Cromartie's playoff guarantee. "Nobody wants to hear it, but who cares?" he said. "That's really how we feel and that's our mentality. Whether you like it our not, that's our mentality." Teams often are a reflection of their coach. The Jets are an inconsistent team and ... well, you can figure it out.
7. Bombs away. Look for a shootout between the Patriots and Bills. We're talking about two of the most passive defensive teams in the league. You wonder if the word "blitz" even appears in their playbooks. No two teams have used four or fewer pass rushers more often than the Patriots (84.8 percent of dropbacks) and the Bills (84.3 percent), according to ESPN Stats & Information.
8. Revenge game. I'd love to be a mind reader Monday night, when Steelers offensive coordinator Todd Haley faces the team that fired him last December, the Chiefs. This sort of thing happens all the time in the NFL, coaches facing former teams, but this has extra juice because of how Haley's ouster went down.
Haley and GM Scott Pioli, both products of the Jets' organization, had a serious falling out in Kansas City. It was so ugly that Haley actually suspected management -- read: Pioli -- of bugging rooms in the team facility to listen to private conversations. Now the Pioli's Chiefs are down, way down, and Haley's offense is humming. He downplayed it, but you just know that Haley wants to win -- and win big.
9. Sad state of a rivalry. The Cowboys are 3-5; the Eagles are 3-5. Didn't this used to be a great rivalry? The last time they played each other with losing records was October 28, 1990, per ESPN Stats. Somewhere, Buddy Ryan is laughing. Or cursing.
10. Say, Watt. I'm thinking Texans DE J.J. Watt will get my vote for NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Get this: Watt has recorded at least a half sack, a half tackle for loss or a batted/tipped pass on 30 plays this season, 12 more than the next highest defender, according to ESPN Stats. Something tells me the Texans aren't missing Mario Williams.