Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

December 17, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Rich Cimini

Rich Cimini
  (1:01 PM)

Hi, everybody, thanks for spending part of your Friday here. Lots to talk about as the Jets prepare for a huge road TripGate. Sorry, couldn't resist.

Rich (Point Pleasant, NJ)

I think the Jets defense will have to play a perfect game and the offense has to play ball control with no turnovers against the Steelers on Sunday. Do you believe in jinxes since the Jets are 0-7 when playing in Pittsburgh?

Rich Cimini
  (1:03 PM)

No, I don't believe in jinxes, but since you mention is, the Jets are 0-4 in Philly. They've never won a game in the Keystone State. But, no, I don't that has anything to do with Sunday. The Steelers' defense is what should worry you.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Do you think that Sal Alosi deserves to be suspended for the rest of the year or would you have fired him for tripping a Dolphins player?

Rich Cimini
  (1:05 PM)

I would not have fired him for tripping the player. I thought the Jets' original punishment was swift and fair. But now the Jets claim he wasn't forthcoming with regard to his role in the "wall." Again, that's what the Jets claim; we haven't heard from Alosi. But considering all the embarrassment he has caused for the franchise, I'd say he'll probably get fired now.

Rachel (Hattiesburg)

Rich, who gets more carries this weekend? Greene or LT?

Rich Cimini
  (1:06 PM)

I'd say LT. The Jets need a back who can get to the outside against a Pitt defense that is very stout up the middle. I'm not sure LT has enough left to get to the perimeter on a consistent basis, but he's probably their best option.

Matt (Fair Lawn, NJ)

Hey Rich! I wanted to know your thoughts about how the Jets offense and what key things its missing to be explosive like it was early in the season.

Rich Cimini
  (1:09 PM)

Were they really explosive early in the season? Take a closer look. They hit the 30-point mark only three times. It's not like they were a juggernaut, even back then. I don't have the exact number, but I think they've scored TDs in only 22 of 52 quarters, or something like that.

Sal (San Diego)

Hi Rich...I am in town on business this week and got a chance to hear you on Mike and Mike. Nice job talking Greeny "down from the roof." I think we all might need that pep talk shortly ;o)I have a general football question for you. With this weekends defensive match up in mind it got me thinking how the game has evolved each decade and I was curious for your opinion on something. Given the evolution of high powered passing games, will we ever see a truly dominating defense again ala '85 Bears or '00 Ravens?...thanks!

Rich Cimini
  (1:12 PM)

Thanks, Sal, appreciate the kind words. Football goes in cycles, so my initial thought is yes, we could have a dominating defense again. But let's take a second thought. The rules have changed so much, most of them favoring the passing game -- illegal contact with CBs, not being able to hit QBs the way you once did, etc. It's all geared toward passing and spread offenses (the rage in college). The way things are going, this could be like flag football. So to answer your question, no. it might be while before we see the '85 bears again -- although Rex Ryan evidently thinks the jets compare.

Matt (Orlando, FL)

After a 9-2 start, can the unthinkable really happen? Can we really miss the playoffs??? Rich, what is your prediction?

Rich Cimini
  (1:13 PM)

They'll get in. It'll come down to Jets vs. Bills, final game, do or die ... how many times have they been in that situation? A lot.

mikeperry1991 (Lebanon, PA)

Rich, does it seem to you that the Jets have all but abandoned the running game this year? I feel that Sanchez is going to be a very good quarterback but doesn't it seem a little ridiculous to have him throw the ball 44 times versus the Dolphins this past week? This offense has got to be a run first team in my mind. Do you see the team moving back to a "ground and pound" philosophy in the short term, even with the Steelers and Bears in the upcoming weeks?

Rich Cimini
  (1:15 PM)

They haven't abandoned the running game. They're still close to a 50-50 team. In fact, they ran on 18 of the first 26 first downs against Miami, which was probably too much. Rex said at the start of the year that they were going to throw more often. Maybe they have lost some of their ground-and-pound mentality, but you have to be able to throw in this league to win a championship.

Joe (NY)

There is a chance that Polamalu won't play...will that be as big as I hope it will for the Jets chances?

Rich Cimini
  (1:16 PM)

You're right, it looks like Polamalu won't play. That is huge for the Jets. He could've been a potential nightmare for Sanchez.

Amanda (NY)

If you are the Owner of the Jets, do you fire Schotty? Don't think like a writer, think like an owner/coach.

Rich Cimini
  (1:18 PM)

But I'm not an owner/coach, so it's hard to say. There's a lot of football to be played... 3 games plus likely playoffs. Right now, I'd say there's a decent chance he's not back, but there's time to turn it around.

Rob (San Antonio, Texas)

Can the Steelers O-line hold up to the Jets defense?

Rich Cimini
  (1:19 PM)

good question, Rob. The Steelers are banged up at tackle and their running game is sputtering. I think the Jets will play a good defensive game. I think Pouha, coming off his best game, will cause problems for Pouncey at center.

Drew (NY)

Does anyone actually believe Alosi was the main guy in ordering the wall? I mean seriously? For all the talk talk talk Rex does, he sure didnt man up on this one

Rich Cimini
  (1:20 PM)

I do not believe for one second that Alosi made a unilateral decision. Did you hear Brian Billick's comments yesterday on Mike and Mike: "Of course Rex knew about this."

Craig (Manalapan)

I think Schotty/Rex need to come to the realization that LT has lost his effectiveness running in between the tackles and go with Greene on running downs and LT on passing downs. LT is still effective catching the ball in space but he clearly is not the same guy we saw earlier in the year running the football. I think Greene gives us a better chance. I would like to see them give McKnight a chance to run the football this week. He has looked good on special teams and might provide a spark.

Rich Cimini
  (1:22 PM)

good point, Craig. I think McKnight will have some sort of role this week. I asked that question to Rex, and he said there's a "definite possibility" that McFumble -- er, I mean McKnight will contribute. Hey, he has fresh legs and he's fast. Might be a help against the Steelers.

Mark Sanchez (NYC)

will i get benched ?

Rich Cimini
  (1:23 PM)

Special teams. The Steelers' punter is Jeremy Kapinos, the ex-Jets. He's not good. Ex-Steeler Santonio Holmes is returning punts, and I wouldn't be shocked if he takes one to the house, as he predicted.

John (Sullivan County, NY)

Who do you seeing being the X factor in the game on Sunday.

Wesley (NYC)

RichWhat are the feelings of other beat reporters around the league. regarding all the drama surrounding the Jets? They have become a embarrassment in my eyes.

Rich Cimini
  (1:26 PM)

I honestly don't know how other writers feel. Sometimes we look at things from a different perspective. I know a lot of writers across the country that really like Rex Ryan. He's quotable, he's friendly, he never says no to an interview, he's honest ... writers appreciate that. While the perception of the Jets is that of an undisciplined organization, the impression of writers around the country is different, i think.

Chris (Congers, NY)

How many snaps do you see Dig playing this week?

Rich Cimini
  (1:27 PM)

James Ihedigbo practiced a little today. It sounds like he's going to play. Maybe he gets 10-15 snaps in the sub packages, plus his usual roles on special teams.

Drew (PA)

Any chance Brad Smith throws from the wildcat on sunday?

Rich Cimini
  (1:28 PM)

What is the fascination with Brad Smith throwing out of the Wildcat? This question comes up multiple times every week. He has thrown 1 pass this season -- a TD pass for 3 yards. It wouldn't shock me if he throws this week.

Rob (San Antonio, Texas)

What about the Jets O-line against the Steelers linebackers?

Rich Cimini
  (1:30 PM)

Tough, tough challenge, particularly for LT Brick Ferguson and RT Wayne Hunter. The Jets will miss Damien Woody because he's a good pass protector and a good leader. Hunter will see a lot of LaMarr Woodley, which could be a major issue for the Jets. Look for a lot of 3-step drops from Sanchez. C Nick Mangold v. NT Casey Hampton is a big matchup. Ryan said it'll be the most anticipated matchup of the game.

nate (ny)

hey rich of the next 2 games which is easier for the jets

Rich Cimini
  (1:31 PM)

Chicago. No doubt.

Ben (Fairfield)

Rich, thanks for your honest assements of the Jets whether it be good news or bad, its nice to have a writer who isn't a team shill. Don't you think it would be smart for the jets to open up the game on offensive with some safe short throws to build up sanchez's confidence, similar to what Chad pennington used to do and dink and dunk down the field?

Rich Cimini
  (1:32 PM)

Thanks, Ben. I agree totally. They should spread the field early and try high-percentage throws. They can't play this game in a box and expect to beat the Steelers. They must take it to the perimeter, where I think the Jets' talent matches up.

Seth (Westchester)

You think Revis's hammy is going to be a "rest of the season" issue, or like Rex said, it's just some tightness?

Rich Cimini
  (1:33 PM)

Well, "rest of the season" is only 3 weeks, so I guess that's a strong possibility. By the time all is said and done, his hammies will have been an issue for slightly more than half the season.

Mike (St Johns)

Just wanted to say thanks to the Jets for letting the media focus on the drama with you guys instead of hounding the current best NFL team in New York. Go Big Blue!

Rich Cimini
  (1:34 PM)

I'm sure that's exactly what Alosi had in mind when he extended his left knee on the sideline.

Paul Scott (Montreal,Canada)

Hi Rich,Can the Jets still make the play-offs with a 10-6 record?

Rich Cimini
  (1:36 PM)

I haven't gone through all the various scenarios, but, yes, I think they can. They have only 3 conference losses, which will help them. I can't say for certain that 10-6 will get them in, but I'd have to say yes.

Jim Mora (Coors Light)

Playoffs? Youre talking about Playoffs? Playoffs?

Rich Cimini
  (1:36 PM)


Joe (MIA) [via mobile]

Hey Rich, I am hoping the Jets can pull out a win this week after beating themselves last week to an inferior team. Do you think the offense issues are due to Schotty outsmarting himself or the players? I feel Schotty will be gone after season but to be a HC. I hope so. Thanks

Rich Cimini
  (1:39 PM)

A number of issues have contributed to the offensive swoon, some of them out of his control -- Tomlinson has slowed down, Woody injury, Mangold's bum shoulder, dropped passes ... That said, I agree that Schotty sometimes outsmarts himself. I think he often calls a game to feature plays, not players. There's no doubt the offense is underachieving. Much of that falls on Sanchez, but it's Schotty's job (and Matt Cavanaugh) to coach up Sanchez.

Erin (Brooklyn)

You think if the Jets don't make the playoffs (which would be a pretty epic collapse) that Rex might be on the hot seat next year? Like, playoffs or bust? It happened to Mangini....

Rich Cimini
  (1:41 PM)

Wow, that's looking into the future. Don't forget, he'll have 4 years left on his contract after this season. I think he makes about $3.5 m/yr, so that would be a lot of money to eat. That ain't happening. Rex is a good coach. You have to think he'll get out of this mess.

NJJETSFANvia LA (Los Angeles, CA)

Rich, will Dustin Keller have a big game this weekend?? I think he is the key to success for the O the rest of the year...

Rich Cimini
  (1:43 PM)

From what I hear, they're going to make a concerted effort to get him back in the mix. His falloff is hard to explain. He's gone 9 straight games without a TD and hasn't topped 75 yards in that span. He's too talented for that to be happening.

Hard Knocks (HBO)

When even my wife knows that the Jets made a huge blunder keeping McKnight over Woodhead, how do you not hold someone accountable for that?

Rich Cimini
  (1:44 PM)

Why not blame Alosi? They're blaming him for everything else. Why not blame him for the lack of offense while we're at it?

NJJETSFANvia LA (Los Angeles, CA)

Rich, will the CUSE win the national championship this year??

Rich Cimini
  (1:45 PM)

You know how much I love Cuse, but they lack perimeter shooting. That'll come back to bite them. We miss Rautins.

Craig (Manalapan)

This is not a two game slump. Jets have been playing the same bad football for most of the season. They have just been getting by because they have been getting the breaks or have played lesser competition. Now that they are playing better teams (and better coaching staffs), the results are different and if not for 2 big plays by Brad Smith we might lose to Cincy. When we were all concerned at 9-2 everyone said don't worry we are 9-2. Even if we make the playoffs not sure this team can survive the first round.

Rich Cimini
  (1:47 PM)

All good points, Craig. I admit, I was somewhat duped by all those dramatic wins. I thought the team had something, but that Cincy game raised some red flags in my eyes. I wrote about that after the game and, of course, got ripped by narrow-minded Jets fans, but look what has happened.

Pillbox (GA)

No one's pointed out the Steelers offense has been almost as bad as the Jets O recently.... And that the Jets D had terrific games sandwiched around the Patriots nightmare..Just sayin'...

Rich Cimini
  (1:48 PM)

You're right, Pill, the Steelers have struggled on O. I know that's a big issue in the Burgh. Ben is beat up, the Oline is banged up, Miller, too, Wallace hasn't had a big game in a while. Like I said before, I think the Jets' D will play well. Plus, don't under-estimate the Ryan/Pettine familiarity with Pitt from their days in the AFC North.

Laurie (Moncton, Canada)

Do the Jets use the franchise tag in the offseason, and if so, who?

Rich Cimini
  (1:50 PM)

Is there a franchise tag? You tell me. The labor situation is up in the air. Let's say there is a franchise tag: They'd use it on Harris or Cromartie and try to sign the other before free agency.

De Sean (Conn)

I cant believe you are trying to some how defend Alosi. Just shows what kind of Spine you have. Alosi put someones career and way of life in Jeopardy, I hope someone you care about is not put into such position in life.

Rich Cimini
  (1:51 PM)

I'm not defending Alosi, not at all. I didn't mean to give that impression. What he did was despicable. You're right, he could've ruined that kid's career. I'm just saying the team has thrown him under the bus, blaming him for everything.

Chad Vs Mark (The Debate Rages On)

Instead of beating that dead horse, how do you think the Jets would look with Josh Freeman at QB instead?

Rich Cimini
  (1:52 PM)

That's the ultimate second guess....but I have to admit, Freeman is looking good. But how would he handle NY? That's a factor that must be considered. We'll never know the answer.

Nik (NC)

are the jets falling apart ?

Rich Cimini
  (1:53 PM)

Sort of looks that way, doesn't it?

Evan (Brewster)

Santonio removing himself from punt returns at miami was pretty childish...just curious if Rex or Westy had anything to say about that. I have to say, for Santonio, who Rex calls "the ultimate competitor" to do that made me pretty angry, especially in a tight game.

Rich Cimini
  (1:54 PM)

Good call, Evan. Unfortunately, the media (and I include myself) did a bad job of following up on that. It was a selfish move by Holmes.

Jeremy (Marlboro, NJ)

Hey Rich, do you think the Jets regret working LT as hard during the OTAs and training camp as they did? He certainly seems to be not the same self as he was earlier in the season.

Rich Cimini
  (1:57 PM)

There's no doubt he isn't the same back he was early in the season. But I don't know if you can blame it on overwork. He hit the 20-carry mark only once. Right now, he's averaging 15 touches per game. OK, maybe that's a little high. I thought he'd be around 12, but sometimes guys just lose it.

Craig (Bronx)

Your right Rich, Rex did throw him under the bus. So much for being such a Honest, stand up man. At least we all know what kind of man Rex is. He is a coward, and his team must be growing ill of it. He threw his Defense under the bus this week, after allowing 10 points of turnovers in Jets territory.

Sameer ( NY)

What happened to all the play-action and rolluts from the end of last year on offense? Letting mark move worked great last year. Now the offense seems to be doing the "half" play-action where Mark slightly holds the ball out and quickly looks at the running back and takes it back. Any ideas why the drastic change?

Rich Cimini
  (1:58 PM)

all good points, Sameer. Sanchez throws well on the run, but the offense has gotten away from that. I wouldn't be surprised if you see some of that this weekend. Sanchez is at his best when he's moving, not a pocket passer.

Wesley (NYC)

Why wont anyone even discuss the fact that the Fins have played some real good defense the past few weeks, and maybe that had something to do with the Jets struggles on Sunday. The Fins are 6-1 on the road.

Rich Cimini
  (1:59 PM)

You're right, the Fins have a good defense. Wake is a stud and he abused Wayne Hunter. Dansby is a tough dude, too. They're well-coached on defense.

Ryan (NY)

How's Revis hamstring?

Rich Cimini
  (2:00 PM)

Practiced today, but told reporters he did receive treatment. He'll play.

Rich Cimini
  (2:01 PM)

Well, that's a wrap for me. Looking forward to the game. I'm picking the Steelers, but I think it'll be a close, low-scoring, rock em, sock em game. If the Jets can get a defensive touchdown, or special teams, maybe they can pull off the upset. Thanks for the great questions and have a great day...and watch out for trippers.