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December 21, 1:00 PM ET
Chat with Rich Cimini

Rich Cimini
  (1:05 PM)

Greetings, everyone. Thanks for stopping by. Sorry I'm late; there were some technical difficulties on my end. But it's OK now (I think), so let's proceed.

Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)

Would you think that New York Jets Head Strength & Conditioning Coach Sal Alosi will be fired?

Rich Cimini
  (1:06 PM)

Yes, Chris, I think he will be fired. At this point, I'm guessing they're working on a termination agreement. I don't know that for sure, but you'd have to think there will be a financial settlement and, no doubt, a confidentiality clause that prohibits him from discussing the incident.

bobby (secaucus)

are the jets in the playoffs with the win over the steelers

Rich Cimini
  (1:07 PM)

No, Bobby, they will clinch with a win over the Bears OR a loss by the Colts OR a loss by the Jags.

NJJETSFAN via LA (Los Angeles, CA)

Rich, looks like a little tough love & and a better suited OFF game plan hows helped Mark. How do you see them attacking the Bears this weekend??

Rich Cimini
  (1:10 PM)

I agree with you, NJ. Rex clearly wanted to send a message to Sanchez, so he called him out after the game and took away a couple of practice reps. In the big picture, that's not big stuff, but it evidently worked. This week, it's a totally different challenge for Sanchez. The Steelers were a 3-4 blitzing scheme, the Bears are a 4-3 Cover-2 scheme. The Bears are more vanilla than Pitt, playing your basic Tampa-2, but they play it well and have excellent speed. They will give up the short stuff, so that means Sanchez will have to be patient and find his check-downs.

Anthony (Newark)

What are the chances of Kris Jenkins coming back next guess would be pretty slim.

Rich Cimini
  (1:12 PM)

I wouldn't say slim, Anthony. I know he's working hard. I see him almost every day around the facility, usually on the treadmill. He looks like he's in decent shape for a guy who has been inactive for so long. Whether he comes back with the Jets is another story. He's due to make $5M, including a large roster bonus. Obviously, the Jets aren't going to pay that. If Jenkins takes a pay cut and agrees to become a situational player, I think he could extend his career another year or two.

Greg (Washington Hgts)

hi Rich, happy holidayswhat did the Jets do differently that enabled Sanchez to develop a rhythm in the passing game? do you attribute it more to coaching or the gameplan? or were the players simply executing better?

Rich Cimini
  (1:15 PM)

Obviously, Greg, they executed better, but I think the short-passing game had a lot to do with it. I believe 85% of his pass attempts were under 14 yards, and he hit a higher pct than he usually does. The ability to run the ball opened up play action. Sanchez was more decisive in his reads and got rid of it quickly. I think they told him that, in third and long situations, to take off if his first two reads weren't open. That's what he did on 3rd and 18 in the first Q, when, as luck would have it, he banged his shoulder.

Ryan (Florida)

Rich,With Woody likely out until the playoffs atleast, when are we gonna see Ducasse? Hunter has done a decent job filling in I think but Ducasse has to be our future at RT being that we used such a high pick on him.

Rich Cimini
  (1:17 PM)

You will not see Ducasse until next preseason. He's simply not ready. And I wouldn't rule Woody out of the regular season. If the Jets face a must-win against Buff, I think there's a chance he could return. If not, they'll probably save him for the WC game. By the way, Hunter played well vs. Pitt

dave (nj)

hey rich, coming off the huge win, im still concerned about the defense getting off the field on passing downs still giving up too many first downs, and Rex's use of timeouts or lack their of at end of half we need to try and get all the points possible. 2 things that worry me on verge of getting into the playoffs

Rich Cimini
  (1:19 PM)

Those are two legitimate concerns, Dave. The third-and-long defense has stunk, to be blunt. How do you allow a 3rd and 24 with the game on the line? And, you're right, the game/clock management hasn't been up to par. That mess at the end of the first half was inexcusable. I also think they should've run it on third down before the 2 min warning, forcing Pitt to burn their final To.

Dean Willie (Manhattan)

Being a season ticket holder since 1979, I have emotionally detatched myself after the back to back losses to NE and MIA. The win over Pitt let me read articles again but at what point to you suggest I let myself feel hope again? After a WC win?

Rich Cimini
  (1:21 PM)

Sorry, Dean, I can't help you. Your condition sounds serious. Sounds like you've been beaten down over the years by false hope and teases. May I suggest another team to root for?

Dan (Left Coast Jets Fan)

Playoff Scenarios. Which team do we NOT want to see in the first round?

Rich Cimini
  (1:23 PM)

Well, considering how the Jets struggle against passing teams that can spread the field, I'd want to stay away from Indy and SD. KC or Jax would be a good first-round matchup for the Jets.

Jonny (L.A.)

Kudos to Rex for going with the 3 man rush and playing max coverage at the end of the game, even though every fiber of his being was screaming for the all out blitz. Good coaching there that should be acknowledged.

Rich Cimini
  (1:24 PM)

You make some good points, Jonny. I thought the strategy was fine on the last two plays, but I thought he was a bit conservative in the middle of that drive. But, you're right, maybe it shows that Rex is using his head and not his heart all the time. Sometimes you have to take the emotion out of decisions, and that's what he did.

June (the Bronx)

Rich,Everyone is saying the Jets won because Palomalu wasn't there, blah, blah, blah. However, Palamalou was there for the other 3 AFC games, and if not for two fluke plays, the Steelers would be 0-4 against the AFC East, marking them as I feel, a very overrated team. Polamalu played when the Patriots blew the doors off of them.I think the Jets won a game they should have won and the media gave these Steelers way too much credit.

Rich Cimini
  (1:27 PM)

I agree with some of your points, June, but I don't think you can say it's a game the Jets should've won. Yes, the Steelers didn't have TP and, yes, they were struggling on offense. But they still had the edge at QB, a better pass rush and home field. The Steelers are a good team. No doubt, they missed Polamalu, but the Jets had injuries, too.

Brian (NYC)

Rich - any chance Chicago takes its foot off the gas a bit on Sunday, considering they have already clinched their division? Do they have any key injuries that could weigh in on that decision?

Rich Cimini
  (1:28 PM)

I don't know their injury situation yet, but I know this: To clinch a first-round bye, they need a win over the Jets + a Phill loss a NYG loss. So, there is incentive.

Jeremy (Marlboro, NJ)

Do Dustin Keller and Jerricho Cotchery seem OK with their seemingly reduced roles lately in terms of catches and TDs? (Even though I know they do some very important things blocking and Cotch especially on punt returns)

Rich Cimini
  (1:29 PM)

The Jets are lucky that both players are team-oriented guys. Cotchery, from what I can tell, is totally cool with his role. Keller hasn't complained, although I get the sense that he's wondering about why he can't get a bigger piece of the pie.

Joey Rivera (Bronx New York)

Hey Mr. Cimini, Does This NYJ Team have the pieces needed TO make a super bowl run or are they a year or two away from such goal? Happy Holiday

Rich Cimini
  (1:31 PM)

They're built to win now, Joey. It's all about this season. That's why they brought in LDT and Cro and Holmes and Taylor. It's win-now, baby. Anything short of the Super Bowl is a failure. Happy Holidays.

Dhruv (New York)

Rich, since it seems likely that the Jets will probably get a wildcard playoff spot and in the likely scenario that the Colts also make the playoffs as the 4th seed, do you think the Jets probably would be better off with the 6th seed and playing the Chiefs or the 5th seed and travelling to possibly another showdown with Manning

Rich Cimini
  (1:32 PM)

Even though Manning & Co. are having an off year by their standards, I'd want to face KC, an upstart team with no playoff experience to speak of.

SJ (Randolph, NJ)

Rich- Two questions: (1) With the exception of the non pass-intereference call, I did not hear Dwight Lowrey's name come up. From your vanatage point, did Lowrey look good at Safety?; and(2) aren't the Chargers still in play for a wildcard spot (I noticed that we only need the Jags or Colts to lose if we fail to win)?

Rich Cimini
  (1:34 PM)

1. the Jets seemed reasonably happy with Lowery's play. He got burned a couple of times when isolated in man-to-man coverage (like on the long INC to Sanders late in the game), but he seemed to play a fairly smart game. The Jets think his future is at safety. 2. The Jets have a tiebreaker advantage over SD. I think they have edges in strength of sked and strength of victory.

Paul (Ohio)

I knowi it takes several years to evaluate a draft, but for the Jets '10 class this year it has to be an "F". Wilson has been taken out of the game plan, Ducasse has has not played, McKnight just started playin ST's and the Terminator Connor has been quiet on ST's

Rich Cimini
  (1:36 PM)

I agree, Paul. Not a good draft.I think Conner will be a good player. Serious doubts about McKnight and Ducasse. Not sure about Wilson, but he has been a disappointment. He seems to lack the instincts for the position.

Wally (NYC)

Rich, Its no secret you can force Jay Cutler to throw INT's when you throw him off his passing rhythm. What are the Jets going to need to do this week to get pressure on the QB? (something they have struggled with lately)

Rich Cimini
  (1:38 PM)

Honestly, I don't know what they're going to do, but this will be a fascinating matchup -- Rex vs. Martz. You're talking about 2 big egos, 2 guys who believe in their systems. Martz runs a timing pass attack with often 5 guys out, leaving himself vulnerable in pass pro. Does Rex attack with the blitz or play coverage? Interesting stuff.

Michael (Brooklyn)

Rich, although the offensive play calling was much better on Sunday than it had been the last two weeks, at what point do you think Schotty needs to be fired? It seems like he has an off game every couple of weeks. Also, why do they continue to throw the ball when they're trying to run out the clock at the end of the game?

Rich Cimini
  (1:41 PM)

Well, Michael, as I said earlier, I think they should've run on 3rd down before the 2-min warning. That was a big faux pas. Let's wait until the season is over before we "fire" Schottenheimer. They could get on a run here, you never know. The Pitt game was a huge confidence boost for the offense, which I think was starting to have doubts.

Jonny (Queens)

Will Wayne Hunter be starting Sunday?

Rich Cimini
  (1:42 PM)

Yes, I would think Hunter will start again.

Dan (Left Coast Jets Fan)

Josh McDaniels' name has popped up in Jets chats recently as a viable replacement for Schotty if he should depart (one way or another). You have any thoughts on this? Talk about perpetuating the Jets-Pats hatred

Rich Cimini
  (1:43 PM)

I'd be stunned. If they dump Schotty, my guess is they'd give the job to Bill Callahan.

Brendan (Bronx)

Can anybody beat the Patriots in the playoffs in Foxboro?

Rich Cimini
  (1:44 PM)

It will be difficult, but why not? They're not invincible. The defense, in my opinion, still is vulnerable in some areas. They also lost to a backup QB, so anything is possible...But I wouldn't bet my mortgage on them losing up there.

Arnold (NJ)

Rich, why does Rex have such a commitment to high round picks (even if they are from previous coaches). He talks up Gholston, Kyle Wilson (who has been up and down) and lets guys like Woodhead, Rhodes, Feely, etc go - all guys that would help this team out right now.

Rich Cimini
  (1:47 PM)

Interesting question, Arnold. Woodhead, Rhodes and Feely all had different situations, so you can't lump them together. Gholston has become a functional player. If you notice, he's starting to get more PT in the base defense. He's not making plays, but he's out there. Bottom line with high picks, it comes down to money. You give a guy a ton of gtd money, he's gonna play.

Jim (NYC)

Hi Rich, happy holidays. I'm baffled. All year, I never read many writers call out Schotty on his horific game plans/calls. Then he has a decent game this week, and people locally and nationally praise his 'amazing gameplanning'. You'd never read this about another OC. Do guys just like him/his dad a lot? I dont get it.

Rich Cimini
  (1:50 PM)

Fair question, Jim. I don't have a great answer, but I will say this: Listening to players gush about Schotty's game plan in Pitt, it almost sounded like they were surprised. Maybe "surprised" isn't the right word, but they were talking like it was something out of the ordinary. Which isn't a good sign. But let's give the man credit: He outfoxed a Hall of Fame D.C., Dick LeBeau. And, yes, Schotty is a likeable guy.

Peter (NJ)

Rich, I know this is thinking a little far ahead, but it seems like half of the team is playing on the last year of their contract (Harris, Cromartie, Edwards, Holmes, Brad Smith, Coleman, Eric Smith, etc). Its not only starters, but key role players too. Who stays and who goes? How different does the team look next yr?

Rich Cimini
  (1:54 PM)

A lot depends on the CBA rules (if there is a CBA). Let's say it's like the old system, with 1 franchise tag and a transition tag. Here's a total shot-in-the-dark forecast.Harris -- new long-term deal.Cromartie -- franchiseEdwards -- goneHolmes -- transition or new long-term dealBrad Smith -- gone.Those are the main guys.

Chris L. (Elmwood Park, NJ)

Hey Rich, did the Jets use different blitz schemes against the Steelers because it seemed that is the most pressure I have seen since Rex came in as head coach

Rich Cimini
  (1:55 PM)

Sorry, Chris, it wasn't even close to the most pressure. They got to Big Ben with a couple of slot blitzes by Drew Coleman, but they didn't blitz a whole lot. On their last 5 pass plays, they rushed only 3 guys, dropping 8.

Daniel (Greenland)

Rich, remember all that talk about the Jets "swerve" run plays that we 'stole' from the Saints? How come we haven't seen anymore success come off those runs? Have they attempted this since they went public with the strategy?

Rich Cimini
  (1:56 PM)

Funny you should mention that because I remember writing a story on the swerve, and I was thinking the same thing last week. What happened to the swerve? I will try to get an answer this week.

DM (New York)

Rich - Any reason the Jets have not used Santonio more frequently on special teams. Brad Smith did excellent on kickoff return (obviously), but wouldn't Santonio's speed and expertise on punt return benefit the team heading into the playoffs (he's a play maker).

Rich Cimini
  (1:59 PM)

I'm not sure why they didn't use Holmes on punt returns against Pitt. Made him look bad because he predicted he'd take one to the house. Maybe Westhoff was put off by Holmes asking out of the Miami game because the punter was too good. That, to me, was bush league by Holmes.

Peter (NJ)

Rich, what kind of guys is Rob Turner? He seems like a good dude. Rex had his start a fight with Gholston in camp (as seen on Hard Knocks), he plays offense, defense and ST and seems to make plays (like a big man Brad Smith). Comes across as a competitor and team player. Does he just not have the skills to be an every down offensive lineman?

Rich Cimini
  (2:01 PM)

FYI: That fight thing in Hard Knocks was totally staged for TV and never actually occurred. That's TV for you. He's a fiery competitor and sometimes lets his emotions get the best of him. But he's a valuable backup -- key block on Smith KOR TD, played about 22 snaps as an extra TE and played in goal-line defense.

Dan (NYC)

Merry Christmas, Rich. What is your take on this whole Ellis snowball thing? Apparently, the plaintiff is suing for mental distress. Meanwhile, the YouTube video shows the guy cheering wildly after the snowball was thrown.

Rich Cimini
  (2:03 PM)

I think the guy has a snowball's chance in hell of winning a lawsuit. (Sorry, couldn't resist.) On that note... my time is up. Thanks for checking in on a rare Tuesday chat. Happy Holidays to everyone and enjoy the Chicago game. Have a great day! Rich