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Sunday, December 16, 2012
Sunday notes: The Jets' big hurt

By Rich Cimini

A look at the Jets and around the NFL:

1. Big pain, no gain: In the offseason, the Jets are planning to conduct a study on the injury bug that has plagued the team. In terms of games-lost due to injury, this could wind up being the highest total in eight years. Some injuries are just bad luck -- Darrelle Revis (knee), Santonio Holmes (foot) -- but they've suffered an inordinate number of soft-tissue injuries. That usually means players are out of shape.

"It's a concern," GM Mike Tannenbaum said. "Our strength-and-conditioning staff does a great job, but we need to see what we can do better. Traditionally, this is an area of strength for us. We will take a look at it."

ESPNNewYork.com obtained the Jets' games-lost totals since 2005. Here are the 13-game totals in each year; notice the rise in the injury rate coincides with the team's decline in 2011 and 2012:

2005 -- 173.5

2006 -- 93.25

2007 -- 101.75

2008 -- 112.25

2009 -- 74.50

2010 -- 84.75

2011 -- 136.50

2012 -- 168.0

2. The revolving roster: Because of all the injuries, Tannenbaum has been forced to tweak the roster on a weekly basis. So far, they've had 70 players on the 53-man roster. Since opening day, the Jets have made 72 transactions, including 44 directly involving the 53-man roster, according to the team. (The rest are practice-squad moves.) They've already surpassed last season's totals. In 2011, they had 69 transactions, including 25 involving the 53-man roster.

3. Seventeen (not the magazine): Braylon Edwards will wear his familiar No. 17, courtesy of rookie WR Jordan White, who ceded the number to the veteran wide receiver. In this case, 17 has another meaning: Edwards became the 17th wide receiver/tight end this season to have a spot on the 53-man roster. (That includes Antonio Cromartie and Tim Tebow, both of whom have lined up as pass catchers.) Seventeen is a mind-boggling total. Hey, with a couple of more roster moves, they can re-sign Keyshawn Johnson and give him his old No. 19 -- with Clyde Gates' permission, of course.

4. The Braylon folly. I believe the decision to reunite with Edwards was a Rex Ryan-driven move. I don't think Tannenbaum, obviously the target of Edwards' "idiots" tweet, wanted Edwards back in green. Why would he? The man insulted him in a public forum. I think it sends a bad message around the league and to the locker room, where some players can't believe they brought him back.

You can look at it two ways: Tannenbaum put aside his ego and took one for the team. Or, Tannenbaum let his coach exert too much power. We'll see how it plays out. It would be embarrassing if Edwards can't play because of his old hamstring injury.

5. Dilfer on Sanchez: ESPN analyst Trent Dilfer, one of the smartest guys in the business when it comes to evaluating quarterbacks, had this on-air comment about Mark Sanchez: "I think the biggest struggle watching Mark Sanchez this year is he hasn't looked the part, he hasn't taken on the leadership role, he hasn't looked right in the pocket, he hasn't been decisive.

"Before you can ever be a productive quarterback in the NFL and reach your potential, you've got to do the little things and command the football team and command the football field. When I look at Mark Sanchez Monday night, I'm looking for a guy to take total command."

6. Double vision: It flew under the radar last Sunday, but CB Antonio Cromartie did something that rarely happens in the NFL: He started on offense (wide receiver) and defense. Cromartie became the first player since 2008 to start two ways, according to Randy Lange of the Jets' official web site. The last to do it was Broncos MLB Spencer Larsen, who also started at fullback in a game against the Falcons. Lange researched back to 1977 and couldn't find another Jet who accomplished the feat. Ryan said it would be "ridiculous" if Cromartie doesn't make the Pro Bowl.

7. CJ2K on the market?: In a conference call this week with the New York media, RB Chris Johnson talked in circles about whether he sees himself with the Titans for the long term. Obviously, it's a subject he has pondered, because he mentioned how Hall-of-Fame runners such as Eric Dickerson and Marshall Faulk changed teams. "I’ve put in my first five years here ... and had a great experience, but at the end of the day if they don’t want me here, I feel like all situations have a time where they have to come to an end."

The Titans haven't won anything with Johnson, and they have a decision to make: If they don't cut him by the fifth day of the 2013 waiver period (about a week after the Super Bowl), they're on the hook for $9 million of his $10 million base salary in 2013 -- the amount that becomes guaranteed. They also could trade him later on.

8. The amazing AP: When a team's rushing attack stalls, the coach usually throws out the "eight-men-in-the-box" excuse. Not the Vikings. Adrian Peterson is averaging a league-best 6.3 yards per carry when facing 8+ in the box, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

9. Coaching 101: The Redskins have won four straight since Mike Shanahan, taking a page out of the Ryan coaching manual (chapter, 2009), basically proclaimed the season over. It was his best coaching move since pairing John Elway and Terrell Davis.

10. Precocious QB: The Seahawks' Russell Wilson has 20 TD passes, six shy of the rookie record, set by Peyton Manning in 1998. Memo to the Jets: The Seahawks are sitting Matt Flynn even though they gave him $10 million guaranteed, including a $6 million signing bonus. That takes onions. The Jets could be faced with a similar predicament next season.