With Holmes being out for the first month and Edwards possibly the first game the LC talks have cooled off. I think Clowney can play that #4 post behind Smith. What do you think?
Once again, thanks for joining me today. Let's get started with a question from Ira. Yes, I agree that David Clowney can be the No. 4 behind Brad Smith. Problem is, Clowney isn't a slot receiver. Neither is Smith. That first game could be interesting if Edwards is suspended, along with Holmes. You'll see Cotchery, Smith, Clowney and a lot of Dustin Keller split out as a wideout.
Rich, who will be the slot receiver for the jets when Holmes, Cotchery, and Edwards are all eligible to play week 5?
Hey, Steve. Following up on Ira's question ... there's no question that Cotchery would be the slot receiver. Actually, I think that's his best spot. He's tough, sure-handed, has very good short-area quickness and knows how to read defenses. He has all the attributes of a terrific slot receiver.
Rich, Will there be enough money to go around for the core? (Revis, Harris, Mangold, Ferguson)
Mattera, that is the $64,000 question. Actually, it's more like the $64 million question. I think you're talking more than $100 million in guarantees to sign the "Core Four" (sorry, Yankee fans) to long-term deals. If you told me the salary cap would be back next year, I'd say no way all four come back. But nobody knows what the labor landscape will look like. That's why Mike Tannenbaum is proceeding with caution.
RC:I'm quite worried about the kicking game. Are you surprised that the team hasnt truly addressed the issue, especially with Weatherford as the team's punter.Alan
Alan, you're right the kicking game is a question mark, but I'd be worried more about the placekicking situation than punter. Nick Folk? I mean, that's risky, real risky. I know why they signed him -- leverage against Jay Feely -- to making him your kicker? They ran him out of Dallas last season because he couldn't convery short-range field goals. But I will say this: Folk says his mechanics were messed up because of hip surgery prior to the '09 season. He says he's healthy now and his mechanics or back. If not, the Jets may have to pick up the loser of the Texans' kicking battle.
Do you really believe that team chemistry will be an issue in the locker room next year? What I've been reading is that everyone, even the new additions, are getting along fine.
Everyone gets along fine in the offseason, Bassy. Part of that is because ... well, they're actually getting along. There's no games, no pressure, no competition for jobs, etc. There's also no media around to stir it up. So take all these team-happy reports with a grain of salt. The real test will be when the season starts. I do think there could be some issues, especially with playing time. Rex Ryan has very good people skills, but there also needs to be leadership in the locker room. Darrelle Revis made it a point last week of saying that some of the younger players (himself included) are taking more leadership roles. That's a positive sign.
Hey Rich, when will we find out if Edwards will be suspended for the first game?
I think we'll know something by early in training camp. If you recall, that's when the Shaun Ellis one-game suspension came down last year. I'd be surprised if Edwards is not suspended.
Rich, if the Gholston experiment doesn't pan out at DE, what are the Jets alternatives there? Is it possible Taylor moves back to DE on most downs?
That's a great question, Peter, but there are a couple of things to keep in mind. A lot depends on the type of front they're in. There's this perception that the Jets are a 3-4 team and, while they do play it a lot, it's not a pure, two-gapping 3-4 scheme, a la Mangini. They also use fronts where the "rush" linebacker gets into a three-point stance, creating a 4-3 look. I could see Taylor in that position, along with Bryan Thomas. When they're in a pure 3-4, it won't be Taylor. He's simply not big enough to play that style. Then again, neither is Gholston. Frankly, I'm not sure what his role will be. Right now, he's listed as Shaun Ellis' backup. I'd be surprised if he gets more than 10 snaps a game.
Hey Rich, The one thing that noone has mentioned about potential blackouts, is that this season is not the season to worry about. If there is a season in 2011, that's when it will get interesting. They already priced out a lot of their fans, and if they raise prices in 2011 they're will be a lot more fans who will be forced to give up their tix. I'm paying $950 for one seat in the nosebleeds. With 2 of those games being useless preseason and another being on Thanksgiving that's $285 plus parking pass I am eating. I think Woody is in for a huge wakeup call very soon. Thanks
I feel your pain, Gus. The Jets (and a lot of other teams) are pricing out the average fan. And that stinks because the so-called average fans are the most passionate fans. If there are local blackouts this season, and a lockout in 2011, it will take a long, long time to mend the relationship between team and fans.
Rich Cimini you are great and Ima let you finish, but I gotta say that yesterday Seth Everett had the greatest ESPN NY chat of all-time!
Kanye, love your music. I hear you about Seth. He gives good chat, but what do you expect? He's a Syracuse alum.
Great article on Kris Jenkins. Any word on who will be playing on his left this year? Is Marques Douglas coming back? Is there a possibility of them making a move on John Henderson?
Thanks, Terrence. I think Kris is really fired up about the season. And why wouldn't he be? As for who's at his side, remember this: Before Big Jenk got hurt last year, the Jets were using a jumbo-type package with Jenkins and Sione Pouha in the middle, with Shaun Ellis at DE and Bryan Thomas also in a three-point stance. That type of front allowed Jenkins to line up over the guard, in a 3-technique at times -- and he was loving it because he didn't have to play head-up on the center like a true 3-4 nose. Pouha played well last year, so I think you'll see a lot of that look.
Hey Rich, putting aside the Final Four restrictions, what are your feelings about signing a player like John Hendersen to help out our defensive line? Or even signing a player like OJ Atogwe after he becomes a free agent?
Hey, George. A lot of people are sending in questions about John Henderson. Interesting. First of all, the Jets aren't restricted because of the rules because Henderson was released by the Jags; it's not like his contract expired. In his prime, he was an exceptional talent, but he's 31 and I think the Jets are trying to get younger on the line. They already have Jenkins, Ellis, Pouha in the 30 club, plus there's an outside chance to re-sign Marques Douglas. I haven't heard Henderson's name mentioned by any Jets people, but I have to think he's on their short list. If something happens to, say, Jenkins in camp, he'd be a guy they would consider.
Rich: Of all the acquisitions with 1 year remaining on their contracts, which- if any- do you see being the early favorite to be re-signed to a long term contract after the 2010 season?Along the same lines, do you know if the team plans to keep Kyle Wilson in the nickel role long-term or if he is being groomed to start opposite Revis eventually?
Well, Paul, you don't use a first-round pick on a guy to be a reserve. They see Wilson as an eventual starter. If the free-agent rules remain the same in 2011, they can keep Cromartie as an RFA, like they did this year with Braylon Edwards. Speaking of which, I'm not sure Edwards will be back. He'll be a UFA, asking for huge money. I say he walks. Holmes? Depends on his behavior. That, too, would be a dicey long-term contract. I know Tomlinson and Taylor signed two-year deals, but I doubt either one will be back in 2011. In short, I'm not convinced any of these players will be sticking around long term.
Rich, do you think the "braintrust" (Tanny Woody) will try to play it too cute with Revis/Mangold? It seems that team morale could hang in the balance if the team continues its (somewhat deserved) reputation for trying to nickel and dime players. I could understand it with guys like Kendall (even though that was a disaster), but you HAVE TO pay 2 all pros who are the cornerstone of your D and O, right? Please tell me Tanny will take care of this and not try to be too cute.
Double-A: Arguably, Revis and Mangold are the two best players on the team. When I talk to scouts, they always refer to them as the bluest of the Jets' blue-chip players. But it's apples and oranges in terms of their contract situations. The 30% rule will have a real impact on the Mangold negotiations because he was making modest salaries up until this year (an escalator kicks in that pays him $3 mil in 2010). In theory, a Revis deal should be easier in terms of the 30% rule because he's already been making serious cash -- $15 mil over three years. I hope I'm not confusing you, but that's the deal. And, you're right, the front office needs to make a statement. They need to show the entire team they're willing to pay to keep their homegrown players.
I'm worried about the expectations for Mark Sanchez next year. Granted, he looked terrific in the playoffs but he still threw only 12 TDs with 20 INTs. If he improves to 16 TDs and 16 INTs that's decent progress but likely won't be looked at that way. What kind of improvement is realistic and will it be enough to satisfy the fans and media?
Very good question, Pete. In a way, Sanchez could be a victim of his own late-season success. That late run has raised the bar very high in the eyes of fans and media types. The Jets have to be careful not to get him off track. They did a nice job of managing him last season and the last thing they want to do is throw too much on his plate. Sanchez isn't out of the woods yet. His needs to improve his decision-making, his short-to-medium accuracy and his ability to spread the ball around. Having a pass-catching RB (Tomlinson or McKnight) will really help; he missed Leon Washington last season. He's also coming off an offseason in which he has yet to do anything on the field. That certainly isn't helping his growth.
How do you think Brandon Moore rates as Guards go in the League, he reminds me a lot of Dan Alexander. The guy just goes out and plays every down, every game and does a great job. It's also pretty amazing that he was and UFA signing as a Defensive Lineman like Alexander.
That's a great comparison, West Coast. I hate to admit it, but I was a young reporter when Alexander was finishing up his career. He had a different style than Moore; Dan was a pull-and-trap kind of guard while Brandon is more of a punishing drive blocker. But I can see where you're coming from because they both started out on defense before making the switch. I think Moore is one of the most under-rated players on the team. Week after week, he delivers consistent performances. I thought he should've made the Pro Bowl last season.
To piggyback on AA's question, do you think Tannenbaun really did make promises to players like Kendall and Baker about re-doing their contracts and then didn't keep his word or was that made up by their agent? This is the one kind of issue I have some concern about regarding Tannenbaun
Doc, it's always tough when you get into the "promise" issue. You get into a he said/he said. What if Tannenbaum said to those players, "If you have good years, we'll talk after the season." Does that qualify as a promise? When I talked to Revis last week at his locker, he told me, flat out, the Jets promised him a new deal. That is going to be a very interesting story to follow all summer, trust me.
Rich, will the Brodney Pool and Eric Smith rotation work at safety? What about Ihedigbo, he played well last year in flashes?
Funny you mention this, Matt, because I wrote a story on Pool that should be posted today. Most of the story is about D.C. Mike Pettine discussing how much he likes Pool over Kerry Rhodes. In fact, Pettine has some sharp comments for Rhodes, who took some selfish, unnecessary shots at the coaching staff after he was traded to the Cards. But getting back to you question, yes, I believe there will be a rotation at safety. My guess is that Pool will start, but Smith is a tough, heady player and he'll be involved. Thing is, Smith also has a lot of responsibilities on special teams. Ihedigbo did play well in flashes. He's an effective blitzer and he can play LB in certain sub packages. Coaches love that kind of versatility.
Hey Rich, did you hear about Jason Taylor at a restaurant in Miami doing a golf benefit for his charity? Shouldn't this guy do a little more to win over the Jet fan and get away from Florida?
Relax, Gogo, don't read too much into that. I'm sure Taylor's charity event was scheduled long before he signed with the Jets. He spent a long time in Florida and has roots there; you can't expect an overnight transition. However ... if he's doing Mr. Miami during the season, then, yes, I think that wouldn't be a good thing for his image in NY.
What do you think the Jets have in store for Ainge. I think he will become a good backup in time. But they need better insurance for now. What are your thoughts?
The Jets like Ainge, Ira. They see him as a bigger version of Chad Pennington. He doesn't have dazzling physical skills (I can't remember the last time he threw a spiral in practice), but based on what he's done in the preseason, he's able to move the offense. Smart guy, good intangibles, good personality. Right now, I'd give him the edge over O'Connell for the No. 3 job, with Kellen Clemens or, more likely, a yet-to-be-signed vet taking the No. 2 job.
Is Mark Sanchez will ever be an Elite QB in the NFL?
AL T, I don't mean to nit-pick, but what does "elite" mean? To me, it means a quarterback who wins a Super Bowl and/or consistently ranks as one of the top passers (Philip Rivers comes to mind). Yes, I think Sanchez can win a Super Bowl; hell, he came within two wins as a rookie. Is he going to be a 4,000-yard passer every year? I'm not so sure about that. Style of play, weather conditions, etc, they're all factors conspiring against him in terms of putting up monster stats. Short answer: I don't think he'll be an elite QB in your Fantasy League, but I think he can win championships if -- repeat, IF -- he continues to mature and develop his skills.
Are you coming back?
Thanks for asking, but I took advantage of free agency and moved on. I'm loving it here at ESPN. I was up in Bristol for a couple of days this week and, wow, what an operation. I felt like a kid again.
If the Jets win the Super Bowl, do you get a Super Bowl ring, too?
Actually, no, writers aren't on the team payroll. Back in the day, though (like in the 1960s and 70s, I'm told), the beat writers did get rings if their respective team won a championship. Me, I'll just be happy if I get a new desk in the Jets' press room.
do you think Mike Pettine will be a head coach in the near future if the D plays as well as it did last year?
I'm going to end it here with this question from BMP. (I can't believe we've been chatting for an hour. Flew by.) The answer is, yes, I think Pettine can be a head coach. When you say "near future," that suggests 2011. No, I don't think it'll happen by then. But he's a bright, organized, well-respected coach and he'll get a shot someday if the Jets continue to have success. You know how these things work: If Rex Ryan keeps winning, other teams will start hiring away his top assistants. Thus, the Ryan coaching tree will be formed. And, yes, I think Mike has a bright future....Anyway, that's a wrap. If I didn't get to your questions in the chat, check out the blog this week. I'll be sure to answer as many as I can. Thanks again for checking in. Rich