Sunday, July 21, 2013
Sunday notes: Bucs acquire intel on Jets
By Rich Cimini
Back after missing a month of Sundays. Some pre-training camp notes to whet the appetite:
1. Great Scott: This barely registered a blip on the radar screen, but the Bucs made an interesting move by hiring former Jets assistant GM Scott Cohen this week. His title is senior personnel adviser, a newly created position. It just so happens the Jets and Bucs are Week 1 opponents, their first meeting since 2009. Now Greg Schiano & Co. have someone on their side with intimate knowledge of the Jets' roster. Cohen was Mike Tannenbaum's right-hand man for five years and he was around long enough under John Idzik to gather intel on Idzik's player acquisitions. Cohen was fired after the draft. Obviously, the Bucs didn't hire Cohen to help with only one game -- above all, he's an experienced football man -- but his presence undoubtedly will be a help. Teams are always searching for the 411 against non-divisional foes.
2. Jets South: WRs Stephen Hill and Vidal Hazelton went from Mark Sanchez's annual "Jets West" camp in Southern California to South Florida, where they worked out with Geno Smith. You can't accuse Hill and Hazelton of picking a favorite in the anticipated quarterback battle. All the chatter about Smith skipping "Jets West" will be an old story after the first round of reporters' questions in Cortland. The real stuff starts now.
3. What might have been: Imagine the pre-camp conversation if David Garrard still was on the team. Sanchez's roster spot wouldn't be secure, that's for sure. The hierarchy felt Garrard would've had a legitimate chance to win the starting job, I'm told, and it didn't consider Sanchez's contract untradable. Now that would've been a multilayered competition.
4. Homeward bound: The Jets are part of a dying breed in the NFL -- teams that pack up and leave town for training camp. The number has dwindled to 13 teams. Frankly, training camp isn't what it used to be, not with the elimination of two-a-day practices. This is the final year of the Jets' contract with SUNY-Cortland. I suspect they will stay home next summer in Florham Park -- Woody Johnson's original intention -- although I know they will get strong pitches from schools that covet the Jets for camp.
5. Woody owes: Forbes magazine released its annual list of the most valuable sports franchises in the world, and the Jets finished 14th overall (sixth in the NFL) at $1.284 billion. Ah, but take a closer look, as that number is deceiving. According to Forbes, the Jets have the most debt in the league -- a debt/value ratio of 58 percent. The Giants are a distant second at 44 percent. Maybe this explains why Johnson has curtailed his spending the last couple of years.
6. Big Dee: He was overshadowed in the offseason because he rehabbed his surgically repaired shoulder, but first-round CB Dee Milliner will be a big part of the Jets' puzzle in 2013. If he can secure a starting job and play well, it'll allow Rex Ryan to play more aggressively with his pressure schemes. Milliner is thinking big. "There are goals I would like to achieve, such as being Defensive Rookie of the Year and making the Pro Bowl," he told his hometown Alabama newspaper, The Times Daily. Note to Milliner: Get ready for another wave of Darrelle Revis-related questions.
7. Close to Hernandez: With the 112th pick in the 2010 draft, the Jets selected RB/KR Joe McKnight. With the next pick, the Patriots chose TE Aaron Hernandez. Someone in my last online chat session wondered if Hernandez was a serious consideration for the Jets. I don't think so. They were on the verge of trading Leon Washington and they targeted McKnight as his replacement. What's more, Dustin Keller was entering his third year, and tight end wasn't a priority. But just imagine if ...
8. Guinea pigs: The Jets are one of eight teams participating in an NFL pilot program that will allow doctors and trainers to access medical records on the sideline. If a player gets hurt, his entire history -- including baseline concussion tests -- will be available on an iPad. If the pilot program is deemed a success, it could be used by the entire league in 2014, according to USA Today. Players' records will follow them as they switch teams. One potential problem: Players may feel it could hurt their market value, with other teams having intimate knowledge of every bump and bruise.
9. GMum: Idzik has been on the job for only six months, but we already know he's not a camera hog. He's anything but. Idzik, who last spoke to the media in mid-June at minicamp, declined interviews leading into training camp. The media (and, by extension, the fans) would like to hear his thoughts on the eve of his first camp, but the only sound coming from One Jets Drive is crickets. Evidently, Idzik is taking a speak-softly-but-carry-a-big-stick mentality into this gig. He's expected to address reporters on the first day of camp.
10. Stating the obvious: So Ryan says the current quarterback situation is better than 2009, his first season as coach. It would've been real news if he said it wasn't.