Sunday, June 20, 2010
Are two heads better than one?
By Rich Cimini
Sunday notes and "Happy Fathers Day" wishes to dads everywhere, especially to mine:
When the Jets signed future Hall of Famer LaDainian Tomlinson, it was widely assumed that he'd play a complementary role, with Shonn Greene rising to "feature-back" status. Hold everything. According to running backs coach Anthony Lynn, "I see myself as having two starters."
What Lynn meant is this: Playing time will be determined, in large part, by game situations and matchups. As he explained the other day, "It depends on the flow of the game. If we're better off in our big personnel, Shonn will get more touches. If we go little, like we did last year with Leon (Washington) in our nickel package, L.T. will get more touches. It's all situational."
Lynn compared it to the Washington-Thomas Jones tandem last season. If that's the case, the workloads will be fairly close to even. Before Washington's season-ending injury in Week 7, he had 70 carries and 15 catches for 85 touches. Jones had 96 carries and four receptions for 100 touches. That's almost a 50-50 split.
Is Tomlinson, who turns 31 on Wednesday, up to 14 touches per game -- 14 productive touches? There was nothing he did in OTAs or minicamp (at least nothing open to the media) that made you say, "Wow, he's back." But let's not send him to the glue factory just yet. Making a definitive statement about a running back in non-contact drills is like critiquing a movie based on the trailer.
The organization has two concerns about Greene: Durability and weight. His ideal weight is 226 to 228 pounds, according to Lynn, but he showed up seven pounds overweight at the start of the off-season program. That's not a whole lot -- his rib injury in the AFC Championship Game may have affected his post-season conditioning -- but it's still something to keep an eye on.
As for injuries, Greene's physical running style will always make him more vulnerable to dings than most backs. But as Lynn said, "Down the road, he has to learn to play with pain and discomfort." He wasn't questioning Greene's toughness. Actually, Lynn recalled Greene's ankle injury in training camp, thinking at the time that he "snapped it ... It was ugly." It wasn't a long-term injury, as Greene made it back relatively quickly, but part of being an every-down back -- the Jets' goal for Greene -- is performing at less than 100%. Curtis Martin made a career of it, and he's going to Canton.
MORE ON REVIS' POTENTIAL HOLDOUT
Based on the risk-reward, it's possible that CB Darrelle Revis won't show up for training camp, Aug. 1. But if he doesn't, don't expect a prolonged holdout. People are forgetting that, because it's an uncapped year, there's a new rule in play:
If a holdout lasts beyond Aug. 10 -- 30 days before the first game of the league year (Minnesota Vikings-New Orleans Saints, Sept. 9), the player will not receive credit for a year of service. That means he'd be giving up a year toward free agency.
So if Revis stages a holdout until Aug. 10, will that accomplish anything? He and his agents have about six weeks to make that decision, assuming they don't get a new deal by then.
ANOTHER ANGLE TO THE REVIS DRAMA
It has been suggested in some places, including here a few weeks ago, that the Jets could create a temporary solution to the Revis mess by giving him a band-aid contract -- say, a $9 million bonus for 2010. That would bring his compensation to $10 million, more than any cornerback not named Nnamdi Asomugha. At the same time, it would buy time, allowing the two sides to revisit a long-term contract after the season, when perhaps the CBA landscape is defined.
Uh, just one problem: Teams aren't in the habit of giving away money for nothing. The Jets would be reluctant to give Revis a huge raise unless they receive something in return -- i.e. an additional year on his contract. The Jets are afraid of opening a can of worms, leading other players to demand "free money" raises. So, while a band-aid contract for Revis sounds good, it's not necessarily a cure-all.
THIS AND THAT
What's Rex Ryan doing for his vacation? He's going on a two-week Baltic cruise with his in-laws. "No matter what you're doing, I know it's better than that," he joked (we think). If his GM doesn't resolve some of these contract issues, Ryan will be riding the choppy waters right into training camp ... Sorry, I'm not buying the whole Jason Taylor/olive branch thing just yet. You can't erase years of bad blood, from both sides, in one minicamp practice. Special teams coach Mike Westhoff, a former Miami Dolphins assistant who has known Taylor since his early days in Miami, was amazed to see Taylor signing autographs for fans. "I told him to put a helmet on," Westhoff said ... One problem with the New Meadowlands Stadium: There isn't much O.B. room beyond the corners of the end zone. It could turn into Arena football, with receivers crashing into the wall ... One player really impressing the coaching staff is RG Brandon Moore. Ryan called him one of the best guards in the league. A few more bouquets and Moore's agent might start to get ideas.