Chat with Rich Cimini
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPNNewYork.com writer Rich Cimini stops by to chat about the Jets.
Cimini, longtime Jets beat writer for the New York Daily News and a Syracuse University graduate, covers the Jets for ESPNNewYork.com.
Send your questions now and join Cimini Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Rich Cimini (12:59 PM)
Hi, everybody, welcome to the pre-Thanksgivng edition of the Jets' chat. Let's dive in.
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
Shouldn't the Jets have let Houston score a TD after the late interception so they could trail by 8 but have a few minutes and their timeouts to try and tie the game? They were going to need a TD anyway if they trailed by 4 or 8, and were letting Houston run the clock all the way down. Of course they won in miraculous fashion but I thought they played the clock and strategy way wrong at the end. Your thoughts?
Rich Cimini (1:01 PM)
I agree with you, Michael, and I wrote about that after the game. The one thing we'll never know is if Foster would've taken a knee at the 1, a la Maurice Jones-Drew from last year. If he had done that, the strategy could've backfired. Ryan left Sanchez no margin for error, but the way he's playing these days, he doesn't need any.
Richard (Point Pleasant, N.J.)
The Jets can't have have a meltdown against the Owens, Johnson and the Bengals on Thursday. What does the defense have to do to keep the Bengals from doing to the Jets what Houston did last Sunday i the 4th quarter?
Rich Cimini (1:03 PM)
The Jets' D must be able to contain the Bengals' 3rd and 4th options, Gresham and Shipley. Greshman is a first-round pick, very talented. We all know how the jets have been struggling against TEs. I think Revis and Cromartie will take care of business against TO and the Big Mouth, but keep an eye on Shipley and Gresham.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that the New York Jets will Play in Super Bowl XLV in Dallas?
Rich Cimini (1:04 PM)
Wow, Chris, you come right to the point, don't you? If you're asking me for a prediction, I'd say, right now, no. Too much competition in the AFC.
Does the 41 yard final completion to Braylon Edwards put to rest questions about Snachez's arm strength? Where would you rank his arm strength generally?ThanksMike
Rich Cimini (1:05 PM)
I never knew there were any questions about Sanchez's arm strength. To me, he's always exhibited an above-average NFL arm. Is it as strong as Stafford's and Freeman's, his fellow Class of '09 quarterbacks? No, but playing QB is about so much more than arm strength.
When will we see LT and Greeney emerge again like earlier. And in the stretch, could Joe Mcknight be a dark horse like Greene last season?
Rich Cimini (1:07 PM)
McKnight won't be a dark horse unless there's an injury to LDT or Greene. He's simply not ready to be counted on in a big spot. The Jets will be a two-man show from here until the end.
Michael C. (Westport, CT)
I think that Rex Ryan has hurt Shonn Greene's performance with his panicking over every fumble. Greene is not running the way he did last year, and perhaps he's too worried about fumbling. It was ridiculous of Ryan to bench Greene after one fumble. Your thoughts?
Rich Cimini (1:08 PM)
You have to understand the background, Michael. The Jets had a bunch of fumbles in the preseason, and Rex got tired of it. Understandably so, so he made an edict: He who fumbles, sits. Don't blame this on the coach. Greene has to learn better ball security.
Based on the success last year against the Bengals with the Wildcat, do you see more of the same this game? And I ask again, why don't they get Sanchez off the field for the Wildcat?
Rich Cimini (1:10 PM)
Good question, Paul. Actually, they did take Sanchez off the field for 1 play last week when Brad Smith was under center. The Wildcat is part of the game plan every week, so I'd be surprised if they don't use it. The Bengals' run defense isn't terrible, so I could see a heavy dose of Smith to soften it up. Maybe we see a pass this week. The Cincy secondary is decimated by injuries, so the Jets should throw, throw, throw.
With the running game struggling the last several weeks, do you think the jets made a mistake letting TJ go?
Rich Cimini (1:14 PM)
I'm on record as saying they should've kept TJ, but how can you not like what LDT is doing? He has brought a new dimension to the offense -- the check-down option. There's no way TJ would be catching as many passes as LDT is. That's a huge security blanket for Sanchez. Why aren't they running well? I don't think the line is blocking as well as last season, and, yes, I think LDT has slowed down a tad. I'd like to see more of the stretch running games and the misdirection "swerve." We haven't seen that in recent weeks.
Despite playing in different conferences, am I crazy for thinking that in a few years, Mark Sanchez and Sam Bradford could have the same dynamic as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady? As in, Bradford being the Manning type, putting up gaudy numbers, but struggling to win the big one, while Sanchez doesn't put up the numbers, but finds a way to win the important games. Thoughts?
Rich Cimini (1:15 PM)
Wow, that's quite a leap, Matt. I haven't seen a lot of Bradford, but he's obviously a talent. Is Sanchez a Brady-like QB? From an intangible standpoint, I'd say there are some similarities. Sanchez doesn't throw as well as Brady, and his accuracy needs work. But, remember, Sanchez has started only 25 games.
Mark S (Hofstra)
Any updates on the status of Cotchery, Woody etc?
Rich Cimini (1:17 PM)
Hey, Mark, how's the football team doing at Hofstra? Oh, that's right, they cancelled football. Sorry, I couldn't resist. Cotchery is not going to play. That's a lock. I'm 95% sure Woody isn't going to play. He has a medium-grade MCL sprain, and he's still limping. I wouldn't say he's a lock to play against the Patriots, either.
Do you think that T.O. had a point in saying that Revis' stellar performance last year might have been an aberration?
Rich Cimini (1:20 PM)
Revis made the Pro Bowl in '08, so he's not a one-year wonder. What he did last year was remarkable, almost a perfect season for a CB. He probably will never be able to duplicate that. So, by definition, is that an aberration? I guess so, but believe me, Revis is a damn good cornerback. I've watched him for 3-plus years, and he's special. Obviously, TO is still stung from the "slouch" comment. Should make for great theater tomorrow night.
Hey, Rich. It seems like the Jets Special Teams unit isn't really missing Wallace Wright. I feel like we have a significant kickoff coverage advantage over our opponents. This true? Also, do you think Brad Smith is ready to make some big plays down the stretch as he did last year?
Rich Cimini (1:21 PM)
Wright was a terrific "gunner," but I think the kickoff coverage still is pretty good. Overall, I think the Jets' teams are playing very well, except for the Folk debacle in Cleve and the Weatherford brain cramp against GB.
MATT (LONG ISLAND)
Hey Rich. Assuming they all win this weekend, we have two huge games next weekend. Pittsburgh at Baltimore & The NY Jets at New England. Who do you like
Rich Cimini (1:22 PM)
I like to take 'em 1 at a time, Matt. Where have you heard that before? OK, I'll look ahead. Right now, I'd give the edge to the Pats and Ravens.
Mo the Stripper (Chico)
Isn't this a "trap" game for the Jets? I mean seriously, you could prop up 11 dead corpses, put helmets on them and call them the Bengals, right? For Bengals fans, it would be nice to see Palmer take off his skirt and blouse and do some soul-searching in his handheld mirror. His future as a starter in this league is at stake during the remainder of this season, wouldn't you agree? Maybe he can have a career on Dancing with the Stars. Save me a dance. Oy vey and good luck!
Rich Cimini (1:24 PM)
You're right, Mo, the Bengals are a sad bunch, having lost 7 in a row. But you can't totally sleep on them. They have a puncher's chance because, contrary to what you think, the Palmer-TO-Ochocinco troika can be dangerous.
Mark S. (New York, NY)
Hi Rich. I wrote earlier in the week that I was disappointed with communication issues on defense, which may be attributable to coaching. Have you seen anything this week (wristbands, new systems) that has been implemented to correct this? Also, has there been any sign that Rex is taking more control over the defense from Pettine? I remember last year he did something similar by overseeing Schottenheimer when the Jets fell to 4-6. Thanks.
Rich Cimini (1:27 PM)
These are all good questions, Mark. They've been wearing the wristbands since Week 3, only in two-minute situations. As fas as I know, they'll continue to wear them. I think the coaches will pare down the game plan this week, using only their base coverages. They simplified at halftime of the Cleve game, and that seemed to work. Then came the breakdowns vs. Houston. Rex is very protective of Pettine when it comes to discussing his role. I wouldn't be surprised if Rex takes a bigger role.
Noe Herrera (Queens, NY)
Good Afternoon Rich, Great game on sunday wasn't it? These "cardiac" Jets sure know how to drive a true fan crazy. Rich do you believe that this defense can somehow fix itself since Rex has claimed that he has had enough? I believe our defense did not become elite last year until the second half of the season, do you think it can happen again this year?
Rich Cimini (1:29 PM)
The issue with the defense isn't coaching. I mean, yeah, you can blame some of last week's hiccups on coaching, but for the most part, the coaching has been solid. Rex & Co. are a proven coaching staff. They didn't get dumb overnight. The issue is the lack of speed and athleticim on defense, especially in the front seven. Think about it: Which players are considered fast for their positions? No one in the front seven. In the back end, you can say Cromartie and Revis, although Revis' game isn't about speed. This team needs new blood to bolster the pass rush.
this trash talking before the game reminds me of last year when we shut down QBs and kept them under 200 yards passing, but this year i just get the feeling either TO or Ocho will have a huge day and Palmer will throw for 300 easily. Why is our pass defense so much worse than it was last year?
Rich Cimini (1:31 PM)
Being a media type, I love the trash talk. Makes for great copy, don't you think? When it involves TO and Revis, wow, it doesn't get much better than that. As for the pass defense, I answered some of that in the previous post. The pass rush isn't there, and they're having trouble covering the 3rd and 4th options. I also think teams are more prepared for the various blitz packages.
Derek Z (NJ)
I personally wouldn't pin Greene's issues this season on fumbling as much as I would his shift in run style. I've noticed he is running alot differently than last season - mainly in the way hes trying to be more fancy despite his success as a bowling ball N-S runner. I think it could be a result of his switching of mentor RBs - shifting from last year's Thomas Jones to this year's LT. Maybe it is just me, but I can't help but notice the change.
Rich Cimini (1:32 PM)
That is a very astute observation, Derek. I wish I had an answer for you, but you can bet I will study that when I break down the next game tape. There's no doubt that Greene hasn't been as explosive as last season, but I'm not sure I'd call him an east-west runner just yet.
Kendra Stephens (Yuba City)
Do you think the Jets could ever take a hard look at Ochocinco at the end of the season? He seems to have maybe lost a step? He does have an inordinately wide stance on the line and I see him doing a lot of pre-snap hand swiping. Maybe he needs some review of his mechanics? Would it be a textbook good fit? Take good care. Have a good life. Bye bye now.
Rich Cimini (1:33 PM)
No Ochocinco. Look, I love the guy, he'd be a blast to cover, but I think he has lost a step. He's a great route runner, but he's getting up in years and wouldn't be worth a long investment. Bye bye now.
Has Vlad Ducasse improved at all? Are Turner and Hunter that much better than he is?
Rich Cimini (1:34 PM)
Short answer...yes. Ducasse is coming along very slowly, but he'll be in uniform tomorrow night, backing up Hunter. I expect Woody to be inactive.
were you as shocked as i was when you heard Gholston's name in the Texans backfield?
Rich Cimini (1:36 PM)
Poor, Vern, he almost had his first career sack. Let's see, he's played in - what? - 41 games and still doesn't have a sack. Think about that for a second. If/when he gets one, I think they should stop the game and make a presentation on the field. I think it'll definitely be a candidate for Top 10 plays on SportsCenter.
Mark S (Hofstra)
really? that hurt.
Rich Cimini (1:36 PM)
It was a cheap shot. I'm sorry.
The lack of a pass rush is cause for concern. Is Calvin Pace still hobbled by that foot injury and where is Bryan Thomas?
Rich Cimini (1:37 PM)
Yes, Pace still is hobbled by the foot. I don't know if he'll ever be 100% this season, so he's gonna have to play through it. BT? he's never been a great pass rusher, so I don't know what you were expecting. He's a solid player against the run and does a lot of the dirty work. The question should be, where's Jason Taylor?
I think the eagles are the best team in football right now.
Rich Cimini (1:38 PM)
You're entitled to your opinion. You might be right.
Braylon said on 1050 that the Jets offensey is better because there is less time to think. Mark "just plays." My question is who calls the plays in the hurry up? Does Mark have some free reign or is it all Schotty?
Rich Cimini (1:40 PM)
You raise a couple of interesting issues. At the start of a 2-minute drive, Schotty will call two plays. If there's no stoppage, Sanchez sometimes calls 'em on his own. In those plays, he usually has 1 read. If the #1 read is covered, he throws a check-down to LDT. There's less thinking involved. That helps Sanchez, who clearly is better when he's flying by the seat of his pants. That's a good quality to have. Some quarterbacks can't play that way, and I think it's a critical thing to have because very rarely in football do things unfold as you expect.
Noosh (San Diego)
Every time Kyle Wilson is on the field, I feel queesy. Did the Jets whiff on this one? Is Boise St. football just not competitive enough to adequately prepare a CB for the NFL?
Rich Cimini (1:42 PM)
It's too soon to say they whiffed on Wilson. I talked to scouts from a few teams after the draft and they all said Wilson was a good pick by the Jets. I think he's tough, physical and athletic, but I don't see the natural instincts needed for the position. He's not as fluid as I expected, and his ball awareness, quite frankly, stinks. Give him time, though. It's a tough position to master.
When will Brad Smith throw the ball...
Rich Cimini (1:43 PM)
He threw it once this year. Remember the Buffalo game? Who knows, we might see it in the near future. Hmmm.
When can we drop the S.O.J.(Same Ol' Jets) moniker? Or have we passed the point of inevitable collapse/choke. Not trying to jinx it. I just feel this team has a type of swagger to them where we believe we can pull of wins with 10 seconds left. Call me crazy, but I think were a legitimate powerhouse to be reckoned with.
Rich Cimini (1:45 PM)
I don't think we should drop the SOJ nickname because guys like me would miss writing about it. I say that half-jokingly. But, you know, if the Jets had lost that game against Houston, I don't think I would've made a SOJ reference in my column. It hadn't crossed my mind. That should tell you something, considering I'm the most cynical beat writer (or so some people think).
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Is Mark Sanchez already truly capable of leading a team all the way to the Super Bowl?
Rich Cimini (1:45 PM)
He came within one game last season as a clueless rookie, so, yeah, I'd say he can do it.
Jake R. (Central Jersey)
What do you think of this Jets team compared to all the past teams?
Rich Cimini (1:48 PM)
Wow, that's a tough one. Best teams I covered were the '98 Jets and the '04 Jets. The '04 Jets never had a chance in the playoffs because Pennington's shoulder was shot. The '98 Jets were a terrific offensive team, but I think the current team might be better on offense. Defensively, it's close. You just gave me a story idea. Maybe I'll do an in-depth comparison. Thanks, Jake.
Rich Cimini (1:49 PM)
Well, folks, I'm gonna bail out early. I'm sitting in a pizza place in Queens and ... well, it's a long story. But, again, thanks for all the great questions. I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy the game tomorrow night. Have a great day! Rich
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