Thursday, March 27, 2014
NFL meetings: Takeaways on the Jets
By Rich Cimini
After two days at the NFL owners' meetings at a swanky resort hotel in Orlando (picture a lot of palm trees, giant fountains and stretch limos), I offer a few thoughts and observations:
1. Woody likes DeSean: Even though the New York Jets tried to downplay Woody Johnson's surprisingly candid remarks about the team's interest in DeSean Jackson, I came away with the sense that the owner is very intrigued by the Philadelphia Eagles' wide receiver. Behind the scenes, Johnson spoke highly of Jackson, who reportedly is on the trading block. Could this be Johnson's new Tebow crush?
2. Broken record: I think "sustainable success" has replaced "competition" as John Idzik's new mantra. Heard it more than a few times during interviews and casual conversations. My impression is that fans already are tired of it.
3. Geno vs. Mike: I find it interesting that, unlike a year ago, team officials were reluctant to use the phrase "open competition" to describe the current quarterback situation with Geno Smith and Michael Vick. You heard a lot of, "Geno will be hard to beat out" and "Mike will help Geno." Two fascinating dynamics here: The organization (mainly Idzik) wants Smith to be the opening-day starter. Most football people would agree that Vick, if healthy, is a better quarterback than Smith. It should make for a compelling summer.
4. The Idzik 12: The organization was holding out hope for a third-round compensatory pick, but it was delighted to receive a fourth rounder and three sixth-round choices. With 12 draft choices, the Jets were downright giddy, imagining the possibilities on May 8-10.
5. Corner concern: Rex Ryan downplayed his concern with the current state of the cornerback position, insisting he can make it work. Give the man an Oscar; you bet he's worried about the position. I found it interesting that, amid all the damage control, Kyle Wilson's name rarely came up. That may not be a good omen for Wilson, a former first-round pick.
6. Bargain shopping: Now that the first wave of free agency is over, look for the Jets to jump into the secondary market -- meaning short-term contracts for second- and third-tier players.
7. Goodbye, Sanchize: Ryan seemed genuinely disappointed that things didn't work out with Mark Sanchez. Sanchez was Ryan's first draft pick, back in 2009, and there was a time when it seemed like a no-brainer that he'd be the starting quarterback for at least a decade.
8. Loss of an icon: Owners and league officials often give scripted answers to questions from the media, but there was a genuine outpouring of emotion when it was announced that Buffalo Bills owner Ralph Wilson had died at the age of 95. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, in an interview with the Buffalo News, teared up as he spoke about Wilson.