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

Rich Cimini
  (1:01 PM)

Hi, everybody, thanks for dropping by. I see we have a ton of questions already, so I won't waste any time. Let's go.

Rich (Vacationing in Vermont)

With the 4-1 Chargers paying a visit on Sunday, is this one of those games which will define the Jets 2011 season?

Rich Cimini
  (1:03 PM)

Hope you're enjoying the time off, Rich. This is a huge game. Defining? I don't know about that, but if they lose, they'll probably have to go 7-2 to make the playoffs -- and I don't see that happening.

Dom (NY)

Is this the week Schotty takes the handcuffs off of Sanchez? One reason the running game is so poor is that the Jets NEVER stretch the field vertically. Against the Pats 2 weeks ago was there a pass over 15 yards down field? San Diego can and will score points. Your thoughts?

Rich Cimini
  (1:04 PM)

Sanchez ranks 13th, I believe, in air yards on pass attempts, so the Jets are taking shots. Are they connecting? No. Sanchez is 4-for-21 on passes over 20 yrds. Do you really want to take the handcuffs off that kind of QB?

Gavin (New York)

Hey Rich, What is your opinion on Mark Sanchez. I think that the media is a little too hard on him. Has he been great, no but I think he is a decent QB in the league. I don't think that the team has done enough to help him progress. Every year since he has entered the league, he has different WRs and RBs. Look at teams like GB, Indy, Pitt, and NE. They are more successful because they lock up their offensive skill players and have more familiarity on offense.

Rich Cimini
  (1:06 PM)

Every QB in NY takes heat, it comes with the territory. Yes, Sanchez has had a revolving door of WRs, and that doesn't help, but he also needs to raise his play. He's not a carry-the-franchise type of QB. He needs to be surrounded by a strong running game and strong defense.

Bay Area Jets Fan (Bay Area)

Rich, how much do you believe we will see of LT on sunday? Also, how well do you expect the O-Line to play?

Rich Cimini
  (1:07 PM)

LT will get a ceremonial start, but that doesn't mean he's going to be the featured back. He'll probably play about the same as usual. I think the OL will have a good game. SD is vulnerable against the run (4.6 ypc) and I see the Jets attacking.

Billy (Eastchester, NY)

Do you agree that one of the bright spots for this season for the Jets has been the play of their first and second year guys? With the way Wilson and McKnight (among others) have been playing this season, and with what we saw out of Ellis last week, I think the future is looking much brighter than it did at the start of the season. Thoughts?

Rich Cimini
  (1:09 PM)

Wilson has improved, no doubt. McKnight has found a niche as a KR, but he's still a question mark as a RB. Conner has been somewhat of a disappointment and Ducasse ... well, nuf said.

Paul (Erie)

Rich, Rex is known for finding ways to stop the run, yet the Jets have been awful so far. I know it's been said because theylack speed on the outside, but they weren't any "faster" on defense the last two years but were much better? Thoughts?

Rich Cimini
  (1:11 PM)

B Thomas injury hurts the perimeter defense. Teams are running at Westerman, who's too small. That's a big factor.

Jeff (NY, NY)

Rich, I know you agreed with what Kris Jenkins said, but at some point the Jets needed to hand over leadership of the team to Mangold, D-Brick, Revis, Harris etc. and I think that they've been in the league and on the team long enough that it was time. The bigger issue was Rex making Holmes a captain thinking that it would make him more accountable - which has clearly backfired. How do you feel about this?

Rich Cimini
  (1:15 PM)

Funny thing about Jenkins, I don't think he was ever considered a leader by his peers. Tremendous player when healthy, but not an out-front leader. You're right, you have to pass it on to the next generation, but every team needs a couple of graybeards to show the way. Tomlinson is one of those guys. They could use one or two more.

Greg (Indiana U (via NJ))

Hi Rich! I know this is an unusual question but, I always see on twitter reporters like yourself always talk about info you learned from sources within the team. I'm curious how do you get these sources? Why do they reveal info to you? Do you pay them? Does ESPN give you money to do that? Who are these sources?

Rich Cimini
  (1:15 PM)

Reporters do not reveal sources. And reporters do not pay sources.

AL (South Florida)

Why is it that Shotty gets a pass from the NY media, he's had Pennington, Favre & Sanchez and never has had a top ten Offense?

Rich Cimini
  (1:16 PM)

It's not my job to give "passes" to "fails," just report the fact with some analysis when necessary. I think Schotty gets beat up pretty good in this town.

Matt (Weehawken)

Hey Rich, What do you think has contributed more to the Jets poor play this year: 1. The Lockout for not giving this team time to gel on offense with its new look 2. A tough schedule so far 3. The Jets look like they have gotten real old real quick. Thanks Rich!

Rich Cimini
  (1:19 PM)

Good question, Matt. Hard to answer in a few words. I don't buy the lockout alibis. It should've helped them, not hurt them. With so much continuity, they should've been less affected by the lockout than most teams. Tough schedule? Yes, definitely a factor. And, yes, they've looked old at times. Also, changing WRs in camp didn't help. Injuries (Mangold) also a factor. Lack of improvement from Sanchez and Greene also factors.

Rich (Craig (Manalapan))

I love Rex Ryan and he certainly changed the culture here overnight but I don't ever think he will be an elite coach. He has alot of shortcomings. He puts too much pressure on his team with his mouth, he over estimates his talent, gets too emotional during the game (eg time out during the Balt game to argue with the ref), etc. He is such a talented football guy and a great leader but I feel like he could be an elite coach if he tweaked his style a bit. Your thoughts?

Rich Cimini
  (1:20 PM)

Let me ask you this, Rich: Were you worried about this stuff when they were winning? Rex is Rex. He's not going to change, so get used to it.

Jimmy (Rutherford, NJ)

Hi, Rich. Why is there no talk about the increasingly apparent talent-evaluation problem with this team? It began when they cut Woodhead for David Clowney but continued when they cut Maybin for Oa??Connell and refused to give McKnight a shot in the base offense. Then Bryan Thomas gets hurt and his backup, Westerman, gets two sacks at New England. And just last week, after not being good enough to wear a uniform for over a month, Kenrick Ellis shows up and makes a bunch of plays. All this from the team that signed Mason, Burress, and Hunter. What gives?

Rich Cimini
  (1:23 PM)

Yes, Woodhead was a bad move, but Maybin? Give 'em a break. No other team in the league wanted him. Mason = big mistake. Burress = jury still out. Hunter is getting better. Westerman = excellent point. Didn't adequately address depth at OLB. McKnight? Let's hold off on the parade. He's a very good KOR, but still undisciplined as a RB.

LAJETS (LA,CA)

Rich -- do you think schotty will start to spread defenses out with 5 wides and get this offense going or are we going to still see the ground and get pounded game?

Rich Cimini
  (1:24 PM)

5 WRs? No way. It's Ground & Pound, baby. That's what Rex wants.

LAJETS (LA,CA)

Rich -- do the CUSE have a chance to beat WV tonight?? Go Orange!

Rich Cimini
  (1:26 PM)

I think Marrone said WVa is the best team they've faced in 3 yrs. Gonna be tough, but you gotta believe. I sat next to Antwan Bailey the other day at a luncheon in Cuse. Very impressive young man.

Jake (Syracuse)

Rich, i no the next 3 games are HUGE, do you think the Jets have to go 2-1 at worst to have a chance at the division title and do you think the Cuse beats WVU tonite?

Rich Cimini
  (1:26 PM)

Yes, 2-1 at least. if they lose two of the next three, they're sunk.

Jimmy (Huntington)

Kris Jenkins commented on how the Jets locker room lacks the veteran leadership......He went on to say that by letting go of Shaun Ellis, T-Rich, Alan Faneca, and Thomas Jones over the last few years the Jets made mistakes by not re-signing them.......I feel this is a poor job of Kris to rip the Jets and Mr. T., It was time too move on from those players as they were in the twilight of their careers......Shame on Kris.....Dude could hardly stay on the field the last 2 years when he was with the Jets. I'm sure all Jet fans feel like me on this one....Tired of guys like Kris and Namath ripping the Jets to get attention. Your thoughts?

Rich Cimini
  (1:28 PM)

Those guys get paid for their opinions. Kris brings up some valid points, the Jets did lose a lot of locker room leadership, but the players don't appreciate hearing from a guy who missed 2 yrs.

John K (Brooklyn, NY)

Hey Rich. I love Rex and Mr. T, but what's been up with some of their personnel decisions. To wit: Woodhead; some curious signings this year (Mason, for one), the puzzling faith in Mason; the cutting of Faneca; the red-shirting of McKnight who, when given the chance, has been amazing; the insistence on using Shonn Greene; Rex's questionable devotion to John Conner. Are there some scouting issues with the Jets right now?

Rich Cimini
  (1:29 PM)

They've made mistakes, no doubt. Every team makes mistakes. I ripped the Faneca move when it happened, but I think they recovered. Funny thing about McKnight, if Cro didn't get hurt in Oak, McKnight still could be riding the bench.

Seth (NY)

I heard on SVP's show yesterday someone say "IF Rex Ryan is with the Jets next year"...there's not a serious consideration of getting rid of Rex is there? I'd have to think something really REALLY aggregious would need to happen to make that be the outcome, and I just don't see it....but you would know better than me.

Rich Cimini
  (1:30 PM)

He's not going anywhere.

Ted (NJ)

what ever happened with kendrick ellis' legal issues? Wasn't he facing a possible deportation?

Rich Cimini
  (1:30 PM)

As expected, his trial was postponed until February.

Amadego (Bronx, NY)

Rich, can you see any circumstance in which Bill Callahan takes over the playcalling this season?

Rich Cimini
  (1:31 PM)

Interesting question. Can I get back to you after the bye? If things go south, I wouldn't rule it out.

PJ (Hartford)

Are the Jets committed to Mark Sanchez? If you say yes, than the team should be committed!

Rich Cimini
  (1:32 PM)

Yeah, you're right, PJ, the team has stunk the last two years with Sanchez at QB.

Donald (Atlanta)

If LT has a really good game, could we see him starting from here on?

Rich Cimini
  (1:32 PM)

No, but he could get more touches.

Alex (OC)

Has any Jet especially disappointed you so far?

Rich Cimini
  (1:34 PM)

Hmm, interesting question. In no particular order, I'd say Greene, Burress, Ducasse, Hunter (but improving), E. Smith, Cromartie (depending on the week).

Steven (Long Island)

Should the Jets go after T.O.?

Rich Cimini
  (1:35 PM)

Yeah, that would definitely help locker-room chemistry. Sanchez would have to be admitted to a nut house.

Dan (Oyster Bay)

RichIt's no secret that you are undoubtedly the most ruthless beat writer when it comes to ripping the team. I believe it makes you one of the more enjoyable reporters to read since its clearly unbiased. Do the players ever hold this against you?

Rich Cimini
  (1:36 PM)

Dan, I've never been called ruthless, but I'm glad you like it ... I think. I've had players over the years confront me about articles, but none recently. I must be getting soft.

Brian (New York, NY)

How do you think Cro will react to Pettine's comments about good cro and bad cro this week?

Rich Cimini
  (1:37 PM)

Depends what kind of mood he's in. LOL.

Dan (Oyster Bay, Long Island)

If the Jets fall this week to the Chargers, does the game at Buffalo following the bye turn into a must win?

Rich Cimini
  (1:38 PM)

No doubt. No matter what, the Buff game will be huge.

wstcoastjetfan (los angeles)

Rich, I really like a lot of what Tannenbaum is able to accomplish by getting the big name FA to sign (Faneca, Woody, Holmes, Burress, etc) but it seems he makes plenty of stupid moves or stupid non-moves with regards to 2nd and 3rd stringers. And this year it's really starting to show. We don't have a solid back up for the O-Line with Turner going down but we had PLENTY of time to sign someone of quality. We don't have a legit full time back up to Brian Thomas and that's starting to show. Do you think Tannenbaum is as much at fault for the lack of talent at the 2nd and 3rd string level as anyone for being 3-3 and having a lousy offense right now. Sanchez really hasn't had continuity at the WR position which I think he really needs

Rich Cimini
  (1:39 PM)

I talked to scouts before the season, and they all told me the Jets' depth at OL and LB was no good. So where do they get injuries? At OL and LB. One of the reasons why the depth is suspect is because they've traded so many draft picks over the years. That catches up to you eventually.

Brian (New York, NY)

Do you think Devito will play? He appeared out of nowhere on the injury report yesterday and didn't practice today. That would be a huge loss for us.

Rich Cimini
  (1:40 PM)

Haven't heard the latest on DeVito, but you're right, that would hurt the run defense. He's one of the most under-rated guys on the team. He had the best game of his career 2 wks ago in NE.

JP (NYC)

Hey Rich, Great job as usual. Why has the Jets offense struggled so much early in games? I was thinking back on the last 2 seasons and can't remember an opening drive that we actually scored on. Aren't those supposed to be scripted plays?....Sensing a problem here.

Rich Cimini
  (1:43 PM)

They had the fewest first Q points in the league last year, so, yeah, it's a problem -- a big problem. They script 10 plays, but I think they need to change the script. Let's face it, Sanchez is a slow starter. His accuracy early in games is terrible. That's the biggest reason. It also takes time for Schotty to see what the defense is doing and adjust.

Noah (Westchester)

Were you surprised the team didn't make a play for B. Lloyd?

Rich Cimini
  (1:44 PM)

Not at all. I knew they weren't going to go for him. They need stability now, not another new face.

Jimbo (VA)

Is Ellis a permanent factor in the DL rotation now?

Rich Cimini
  (1:44 PM)

Could be, especially with DeVito and Pitoitua banged up.

Lucas (Scarsdale)

Great stuff Rich, as always. The defense has looked much less dominant this year compared with the previous two. This must be driving Rex and Pettine crazy. Do you see them returning to form this year? Do you think it needs a significant overhaul?

Rich Cimini
  (1:46 PM)

Will they finish in the top 3? I highly doubt it, but they should be a top 10 defense. They need more speed at LB and in the secondary, no doubt.

Adam (Manhattan)

Rich, do you think Maybin could develop to a point where he's a real, consistent contributor on defense?

Rich Cimini
  (1:46 PM)

No, he's just a situational guy. Too small to play every down.

Oz (CT)

Hi Rich, I know Schotty's taking a lot of the heat for the offensive woes, but if he's the problem, what exactly would a new coordinater do that would make thier offense better ? Is it supposed to be the way he's developing Sanchez ? Is it supposed to be his playcalling ? All of the above ? I like him but I'm not trying to defend him, I just don't know what changes you think would benefit the offense? I'd be worried that a new system means going back to square one.

Rich Cimini
  (1:49 PM)

A new coordinator could get the team to start faster. A coach's job is to give his team the right plan and make sure it's mentally ready to play. Obviously, that isn't happening. A new coordinator wouldn't care so much about even ball distribution, trying to please everybody; he's just go with the hot hand or the best matchup.

IRA (Staten Island)

Rich, The losss of BT really hurts the run defense but besides bringing up Smith in run support i just can't see any other options to help bring speed to that LB corp. I just don't think any of the younger LB's are ready to fill in. Thoughts?

Rich Cimini
  (1:50 PM)

Mauga is a guy with the ability to play in pass coverage. I wouldn't be shocked if you see more of him this week, considering SD likes to throw to the backs. Maybin has get-off speed, but he doesn't know where the hell he's going half the time.

Matt (New Jersey)

Rich, how do you think the jets attack the chargers D? Ground and Pound multiple RBs and TE packages or are they gunna try and air it out? Me personally think they should go 4 wide with keller in slot too and run the ball making the blocking assignments easier for the struggling o line

Rich Cimini
  (1:51 PM)

They're going to run left, behind Brick and Slauson. They will attack undersized rookie RDE Corey Liuget.

William (NYC)

Hey Rich, great work as always. My question is on the Jets lack of speed in the front seven. The LBs are slow in coverage and the DLine doesn't generate pass rush without blizting. Your thoughts.

Rich Cimini
  (1:51 PM)

FYI: the Jets' blitzing numbers are way down this year and their sack totals are up.

J (NY)

As much as I want to acknowlege Sanchez's good game against Miami, it made me a bit nervous the way his feet were constantly moving in the pocket when not under pressure. Has he been doing this all year? I missed the past few games and didn't notice it in the others.

Rich Cimini
  (1:55 PM)

Perceptive observation on your part. I think the lockout hurt Sanchez in terms of his fundamentals. I remember writing a story about that in May and, of course, it created an uproar among readers.

Dylan (NJ)

Rich, despite all of the hype about Revis this week, am I crazy to think he had the worst game of his career? He had the one INT downfield, but he also gave up 4 receptions and it should have been 5 with a TD if Marshall doesn't make an easy play. He also had a penalty and got away with one in the pick 6.

Rich Cimini
  (1:56 PM)

Yeah, Revis stinks. Over-rated.

Billy (Eastchester, NY)

Can't help it, but I've already started thinking about the draft. If you had to guess, what position would you say Tanny and Rex address with their first round pick? Going into the season, I would have said OLB, but with the way the offense has been playing, I'm wondering if their disgusted enough to go OL or WR.

Rich Cimini
  (1:57 PM)

I'd say OLB, WR, RT, RB (maybe)

Brian (Jersey)

Rich, is LT a guy they would think about bringing back next year? I know he has mentioned he still wants to play, and he has proven to still be a fairly effective back on third downs, etc..

Rich Cimini
  (1:58 PM)

I'd say it's unlikely, but I wouldn't rule it out, especially if he continues to thrive as a 3rd down back.

Ryan (Florida)

Hey Rich,Take your pick Maybin or Westerman? and whos better for the long haul for the Jets?

Rich Cimini
  (1:59 PM)

Westerman.

Mario (Providence, RI)

Has the recent inclusion of Ducasse in formations improved his non-bust status?

Rich Cimini
  (1:59 PM)

No.

Geoff (Livingston, NJ)

The Jets had great chemistry during Rex's first two years as head coach. Do you think that not being able to have training camp in Cortland this year effected chemistry? I think the jets are definitely feeling the sting of not having a Cortland-based training camp.

Rich Cimini
  (2:00 PM)

A small factor.

SJ (Randolph)

Rich, this is essentially an expansion of Jimmy (Huntington) post. I find it appalling that Kris Jenkins had the nerve to call out Nick Mangold (re: hurt feelings), when Nick is a 2x all-pro and has played in all but one game since being drafted. As a fan, Nick is the player I respect the most. He appears to be the captain of the offense without needing the "C." If I recall, didn't Mangold pancake Jenkins in goalline drills for the whole nation to see on Hard Knocks??

Rich Cimini
  (2:00 PM)

Yeah, and I guess KJ never got over it.

Will (Syracuse)

Why must rex open his mouth and take shots at turner?

Rich Cimini
  (2:01 PM)

Because he's Rex.

Jake (Syracuse)

How big was the loss of Hartsock to the running game?

Rich Cimini
  (2:04 PM)

Now we're reaching.

Rich Cimini
  (2:05 PM)

That's a wrap for me, everybody. Thanks for great questions. Quick thought on the game: I picked the Jets. A few reasons: Home. Tough travel for SD. SD over-rated. Jets desperation. Norv Turner will find a way to mess up. That's it, have a great weekend. Rich.