Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Notebook: The waiting game for vets
By Rich Cimini
Ready, set ... wait?
The Jets, like every team in the league, have been looking forward to Thursday, the day that players with new contracts are permitted to practice. The reason why they have to wait is because the new CBA still needs to be ratified. It's supposed to be wrapped up by Thursday, but now there's talk that it might not be done in time.
If not, you're going to have a lot of ticked off coaches. Rex Ryan was asked about it Wednesday, and he did a good job of masking his feelings.
"We'll adjust as always," Ryan said, commenting on a possible delay. "We're ready for anything. It would be unfortunate, but if it doesn't happen, we'll make the appropriate adjustments."
These first few days of camp have been, well, a joke. S Eric Smith, who can't practice because he has a new contract, said he's been "miserable" the last three days, watching. There's a lot of that going around. LB Bart Scott joked that he still feels locked out.
SORRY, VLAD: There is no open competition at right tackle, Damien Woody's old position. Ryan made that perfectly clear, saying the job belongs to veteran Wayne Hunter. It means that Vladimir Ducasse, their second-round pick in 2010, will start the season on the bench.
When the Jets decided to cut Woody in February, they moved Ducasse to right tackle, thinking he could learn the position (he was a left guard last season, a left tackle in college). Then came the lockout, which probably hurt Ducasse more than any player on the team. Because players were barred from team facilities, Ducasse missed valuable classroom and conditioning time.
The Jets had to buy some veteran insurance, which explains why they re-upped with Hunter for $13 million over four years. So if you're scoring at home on Ducasse, his line looks like this: Two years, two new positions, two failed bids for starting jobs.
RELAX, COACH: Ryan can rest easy, knowing his "Mike" linebacker -- David Harris -- is sticking around for at least the next four years. On Tuesday, Harris signed a four-year, $36 million contract.
"I think he's one of the top linebackers in football, there's absolutely no question," Ryan said. "Let's face it, if we don't give him this contract, there's a million teams lined up to do the same thing."
THIS AND THAT: OLB Calvin Pace (surgically repaired foot) was only 20 percent healthy by the end of last season, according to Ryan, who believes a healthy Pace has double-digit sack potential ... Because they're counting on him to start at safety, the Jets will pare down Eric Smith's responsilbilities on special teams. He won't be used on the kickoff-return unit. Smith is one of the top special teamers on the Jets ... Speaking of special teams, it sounds like the Jets are trying hard to re-sign free agent James Ihedigbo. Ryan called Digs a "spectacular" performer on specials ... On Tuesday, rookie NT Kenrick Ellis made a mental mistake. On Wednesday, he appeared at the morning walk-through wearing a quarterback-style wristband with his plays.