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Jets Journal

Jane McManus of The Journal News on the Jets.

Archive for March, 2009

The Favre Effect

March
31

When Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum was asked if the one-year Brett Favre experiment could be termed a failure, he said no and added that the Jets would benefit from Favre’s presence on the roster for years to come.

At the time, the Jets were still in the wake of (get out your hankies) the Interception Era, five horrible games to end a season that had seemed destined for the playoffs. Tannenbaum’s words seemed like spin designed to put the best light on Favre’s tenure here.

With the passage of a few months however, and the Jets appearing to be seriously considering the in house candidates Brett Rattliff, Kellen Clemens and to a much lesser extent Erik Ainge, maybe there was something to what Tannenbaum said after all.

Each of the three quarterbacks contending to take his starting job say they got something out of Favre’s time in New York. Ainge said he’d always thought things came naturally to Favre, but hadn’t realized how hard he actually had to work to give off the easy-going appearance.

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Ratliff said that the biggest thing he learned was how to have fun, and that Favre was, 17 years his senior, a bigger kid than the younger quarterback.

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Clemens said he had spoken to Favre recently, as well as former Jets quarterback Chad Pennington. He said that being able to watch Favre last season is something that will make him a better quarterback.

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“I’ve now had an opportunity to sit back and watch one the greatest to ever play the game last year go through everything that he had to go through,” Clemens said. “It was a very unique opportunity I tried to make the most of.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, March 31st, 2009 at 10:35 am |
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Preseason: Jets at Baltimore

March
30

Kudos to new blogger Lisa Zimmerman for getting the preseason schedule early, which she reports as follows:

Week 1 (Date TBA somewhere around August 13th), home vs. St. Louis Rams
Week 2 – Monday night, August 24th, away at Baltimore Ravens 8 p.m. on ESPN
Week 3 – Saturday, August 29th, away at New York Giants (the annual Battle of New York)
Week 4 – Thursday, September 3, home vs. Philadelphia Eagles

I would say road trip August 24 if you can get tickets, that Baltimore game should be a fun one. Now when is that Cleveland matchup?

Just in: Here’s the preseason TV schedule:

Sunday, August 9, Pro Football Hall of Fame Game, Canton, OH: Buffalo vs. Tennessee, NBC (8:00 PM)

Thursday, August 13, Arizona at Pittsburgh, ESPN (8:00 PM)

Monday, August 17, Carolina at New York Giants, ESPN (8:00 PM)

Thursday, August 20, Philadelphia at Indianapolis, FOX (8:00 PM)

Friday, August 21, Tennessee at Dallas, FOX (8:00 PM)

Monday, August 24, New York Jets at Baltimore, ESPN (8:00 PM)

Thursday, August 27, Miami at Tampa Bay, FOX (8:00 PM)

Friday, August 28, New England at Washington, CBS (8:00 PM)

Saturday, August 29, San Diego at Atlanta, CBS (8:00 PM)

Sunday, August 30, Chicago at Denver, NBC (8:00 PM)

Monday, August 31, Minnesota at Houston, ESPN (8:00 PM)

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, March 30th, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
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Bart Scott loves New York

March
29

As Bart Scott was talking to writers and television reporters last week, a teammate walked by in a towel and tried to gingerly reach something in his locker, which was next door to the new Jets linebacker’s. Scott glanced over and paused.

“Let’s get some pasties, we don’t want to get nipples in the shot,” Scott joked.

With that kind of humor and media savvy, this could be the start of a beautiful relationship between Baltimore’s Mad Backer and New York City.

On Rex Ryan, Baltimore defensive coordinator who is now his head coach:

“Rex’s background has been he started as a D line coach over there,” Scott said. “Whenever you’re a position coach and you start off that was you have a more affectionate relationship with your players because you interact with them every day… You almost feel like you know him because you’re going to get conversation at the lunch table. You’re going to get conversation in the training room, so it’s easy to have an an open two-way communication with him and that kind of communication with him. You don’t look at him as the head coach—you give him the head coach respect—but you look at him as a friend as well.”

Ryan showed up at midnight at the start of free agency, where he was greeted by Scott’s dogs.

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“We played so he could get a head coaching job,” Scott said. “He deserved it, it was long overdue. I want to do everything in my power to make sure he’s successful.”

This is Scott’s first offseason training program. In the past he has worked with a personal trainer at home, but this season he wants to get that team bonding going early.

“Because of the chemistry,” Scott said. “Because I’m coming to a situation where I’m not familiar with the players so we have to communicate with each other, break barriers down and go through that when we get to camp.”

That said, Scott would not have fit happily into former coach Eric Mangini’s system. There were a lot of rules, like Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s rule about players being at meetings five minutes early. Scott said he wasn’t crazy about rules for the sake of rules, and said he’d prefer to have the meeting set for, say 6:55 instead of 7. Don’t play mind games, he said, just let him know what’s expected.

This clip will make you laugh.

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“How does that hurt me or help me or the team?” Scott said. “All that says is you have power and you’re expressing it. Let’s not stress each other out with stuff that has nothing to do with winning.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, March 29th, 2009 at 3:33 pm |
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More on an upstate camp

March
28

The Daily Record in New Jersey chatted up the mayor of Florham Park about the team’s possible move upstate, a story I broke here on Thursday:

Florham Park Mayor Scott Eveland said he had not heard from the Jets but said the team’s manager of facilities and the borough police chief have been working on logistics in preparation for training camp happening locally.

“In terms of the rumors about them having a training camp off site, to me, its not about politics, it’s about wins and loses,” Eveland said. “I’m a former football coach, and whatever Coach Ryan, the coaching staff and the organization thinks is in the best interest of the team, I would support.”



In other news, Erik Boland at Newsday dug up SUNY Cortland and Cornell as two sites the Jets scouted. Boland reports:


“They took their time and spent a few hours here,” college spokesman Pete Koryzno added in an interview Friday afternoon. “It was a pretty thorough visit. Hopefully we showed them what we hade to offer and hopefully they were impressed.”


Dan Pietrafesa at The Poughkeepsie Journal writes that the Jets should consider Marist.


“Marist is an ideal location for the Jets,” Pietrafesa writes. “The school’s new football stadium – Tenney Stadium at Leonidoff Field – opened in 2007 and can hold an estimated 5,000 fans. The school also has the space for two football fields at Gartland Athletic Fields, located down by the Hudson River near the Gartland Apartments. The Marist football team uses these fields in its preseason.”


He noted that the Jets have not contacted the school.

Posted by Jane McManus on Saturday, March 28th, 2009 at 8:33 am |
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QBs and moving camp

March
27

The moment Brett Favre left, Kellen Clemens and Brett Ratliff knew they were in a good spot. As the leading in-house candidates, new coach Rex Ryan has continuously voiced support for the pair during interviews.

So when the Jay Cutler rumors started, it was deja vu all over again for Clemens.

“It’s an interesting thing preparing to try to be a major contributor to a football team and there’s always all the rumors that are floating around,” Clemens said. “And at times they can be distracting, I’m not going to lie I heard about them. And it wasn’t something like, ‘Oh good, Jay’d be here, that’d be great. We can hang out!’ I’m trying to focus on the things that are actually under my control.”

Check out the audio of the quote below. Erik Boland of Newsday tries to delicately ask the question and Clemens starts laughing before he can even get it out.

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The injection of Denver’s quarterback into the Jets’ quarterback discussion is awfully reminiscent of last season, when Clemens and Chad Pennington were vying for the starting role before Brett Favre arrived. The two addressed Favre rumors, without thinking they would actually come true.

Ryan said earlier this week he doesn’t think the Jets need to go for a veteran quarterback given the players they already have.

“Everyone seems to think we have major issues there,” Ryan said. “I don’t think the situation is what people think it is. I think we’re going to be just fine.”

All three quarterbacks, including the dark horse candidate in Erik Ainge, spoke yesterday. Ratliff, acquired as an undrafted free agent in 2007, has been coming in since January, and appears to have added some muscle.

“Trying to, trying to gain a little weight,” said Ratliff, in the above photo.

Last season, Ratliff impressed a lot of Jets watchers with his performance during the preseason, but his regular season stats read zeros all the way across the line.

Drafted in the second round in 2006, Clemens won the starting job in 2007 and played 10 games to throw five touchdowns and 10 interceptions.

Both players said they learned from the quarterbacks they have played under. Clemens said he has spoken to both Favre and Pennington this year, and Ratliff said Favre’s affect on the Jets will linger.

“One of the biggest things I learned about him is that the game is meant to be fun,” Ratliff said. “He always had a good time its crazy to see how much one guy could affect a team.”

But clearly, the arrival of Favre didn’t mean the end of Pennington’s season.

“Him working hard and being the guy he is he, (he) went down to Miami and won 11 games and went to the playoffs,” Ratliff said. “His hard work paid off. It wasn’t necessarily with the Jets it was with the Dolphins. He went down there and he was lighting it up down there.”

Here’s audio of that.

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And one last thing, the story I broke yesterday about the Jets looking to hold training camp upstate was in the paper today, and out sister paper The Poughkeepsie Journal reminded me that Marist has a new football facility which can seat 5,000 people.

“Coach Ryan is looking to find a more isolated environment for training camp to promote team building and we are researching potential locations,” Jets spokesperson Bruce Speight said in a statement. “However, any plans will also include community events at our Atlantic Health Jets Training Center and in Long Island prior to the start of the regular season.”

And check out the new poll on the left side of the screen, which asks where the Jets should hold training camp.

Posted by Jane McManus on Friday, March 27th, 2009 at 7:48 am |
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Updated: Where’s camp?

March
26

Where will the Jets have their July training camp? It probably won’t be at the expensive Florham Park football facility. Many have wondered about the logistics of holding a training camp here, considering there are no dorms or parking that could accommodate the thousands of fans who usually come to watch each day.

According to several players, coach Rex Ryan has sent an assistant to scout possible locations in upstate New York that would make a suitable spot for a training camp. Hofstra, where the Jets trained up until last year, was also being considered.

The Jets spent $75 million to build the new facility, which has training rooms with hot and cold tubs, classrooms, two cafeterias, four outdoor football fields and an indoor turf field. Today, the pricey outdoor turf field was ripped up and replaced by rocks although the reconstruction is being done under warranty. Despite these luxuries, the Jets have asked employees in the non-football division to take unpaid furloughs.

Will it be less expensive to make camp at an upstate college or to retrofit the facility for bleachers, parking and have players stay in nearby hotels? Is cost even a consideration?

Either way, fans have to wait before making travel plans to see the revamped Jets sweat it out this summer. You read it here first.

Update: Jets spokesperson Bruce Speight confirmed the team was scouting potential camp sites even though the Florham Park facility remained an option.

“Coach Ryan is looking to find a more isolated environment for training camp to promote team building and we are researching potential locations,” Speight said in a statement. “However, any plans will also include community events at our Atlantic Health Jets Training Center and in Long Island prior to the start of the regular season.”

The idea is to get the players alone for a few weeks so they can bond without the distractions of home. This being the Jets first year under the new coach, the training camp period is critical, yet all but one of the players is there right now for the offseason workout.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 1:18 pm |
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Jonesing for Thomas

March
26

Today is the first day of media availablity for the Jets, and we’ve just spoke to the first group to work out. Those players included running backs Danny Woodhead, Leon Washington and Tony Richardson, but no Thomas Jones.

The AFC’s leading rusher is the only Jet who isn’t participating in the offseason training program in the wake of a housecleaning that included the head coach, quarterback, and numerous position players.

But the apparent contract dispute doesn’t worry Washington or Richardson.

“One thing I know about TJ he’s probably already finished his workout and he’s going to come in here in tip top shape and I think they’ll get it worked out,” Richardson said.

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Washington said it was important for a player to be here, but agreed that there were few players who had Jones’ work ethic when it came to working out. “Running backs, we’re not soft,” Washington said.

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Other topics for the players included QB Jay Cutler, and I didn’t hear anyone who said anything other than, they liked the players currently on the Jets roster in Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and longshot Erik Ainge.

I’ll have more from the second half of the day later.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, March 26th, 2009 at 11:22 am |
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Ryan on Jets QB situation

March
24

Rex Ryan had some things to say today when asked about the Jets quarterback situation during an AFC coaches media breakfast, with the elephant in the room being Jay Cutler. So is Ryan considering a veteran QB?

“That’s what you hear in the papers but we like the guys we’ve got,” Ryan said. “We think with Brett Ratliff, Kellen Clemens and Erik Ainge, we have three young quarterbacks. We’ve been able to keep Brian Schottenheimer. He’s an outstanding coach. These quarterbacks have been able to stay in the same system their entire career. It’s not like you’re getting a rookie. For Kellen Clemens, this will be his fourth year in this system. He’s backed up some pretty good quarterbacks. Obviously with Brett Favre, everyone’s going to back him up. With Brett Ratliff, all he did last year was have a 122.5 passer rating in the preseason. Obviously, he’s never had a chance in a regular season game but it would be hard to get that kind of rating if you were going against air. We’ll see how he plays.”

So then Ryan was basically asked, really? You’re happy with those guys? There’s really no one else?

“I feel good about our quarterback situation,” Ryan said. “Everyone seems to think we have major issues there. I don’t think the situation is what people think it is. I think we’re going to be just fine. As I look at our offense, if we don’t have the best offensive line in the League, I think we’re certainly in that mix. We have one of the best offensive line coaches in the League, if not the best, in Bill Callahan. That’s a great foundation right there. We have two Pro Bowl running backs in Leon Washington and Thomas Jones. We have a former Pro Bowl fullback in Tony Richardson. We’ve got a great receiver in (Jerricho) Cotchery. We’ve got a tight end that scares the heck out of defenses in (Dustin) Keller. I think we’ve got plenty of weapons on offense. I’d like to be the quarterback for those guys.”

By the way Jones is still the only player who has not arrived at the Jets practice facility to take part in the off season workout program. It’s optional in the same way tipping your waiter is optional. Sure, no one’s going to arrest you, but it doesn’t look right when everyone else has to do it.

Ryan on last year’s first round draft pick, Vernon Gholston:

“For whatever reason, the young man maybe never played up to expectations but there’s a reason that he was taken as high as he was. I believe in the young man. I think you’re going to see this kid really come into his own this year. The thing I’ve really been impressed with about Vernon is that he’s been there almost every day. When nobody else was in the building, he was in there lifting weights and everything else. He’s ready to come out and, believe me, it’s in there. We all know it’s in there. But it’s my job to get this guy playing at a high level by any means necessary and that’ what we’re going to do…It’s just a matter of letting him know what we expect of him and letting him roll. All I want is everything he’s got. That’s all I want. Nothing more. It’s funny because I heard the same things about (Baltimore defensive tackle) Haloti Ngata when he came out of college – that he took plays off and things like that. I don’t hear anyone saying that now and it’s to that young man’s credit.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, March 24th, 2009 at 9:28 pm |
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Josh Freeman blogs, too

March
22

Josh Freeman, the Kansas State quarterback, worked out with the Jets and wrote up a blurb for his blog. He said he liked the coaches he met, mentioned offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer by name, and said “I hope they liked me as much as I liked them.”

When workouts are so cloak and dagger, it’s nice that the information age gives us a limited (and probably so heavily edited that most of the interesting bits are excised) view of the draft prospect. This is what Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum calls his due diligence.

UPDATE Mon. 10 a.m.: A lot of you have been debating whether Jay Cutler will be good for the Jets, and Journal News columnists San Borden and Rick Carpiniello will be debating this very point all day on the Faceoff blog.

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 at 6:33 pm |
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Kerry Rhodes is funny!

March
19

Kerry Rhodes is one of the funniest guys in the Jets locker room, and now he can prove it to the world. The Jets safety will do a 15 minute live interview on stage at Comix Comedy Club in NYC next Thursday, show starts at 8 p.m.

They plan to ask him about the Brett Favre experiment and his MTV Cribs episode. I am interested in hearing those answers, and if he can be funny doing it, then that’s impressive.

(Just an aside, for such a funny guy it is almost impossible to find a picture of him smiling! In most shots he has this tough guy look. I found this one at the Ideal PR blog.)

The Jets announced today that they will have a few open house days during the preseason conditioning program. The first of those is next Thursday, so expect some interviews from your favorite Jets then.

Also today the Jets announced additions to the coaching staff, including keeping Mike Bloomgren as an offensive assistant. The team also hired assistant strength and conditioning coaches Ryan Cidzik and Kyle Thorne.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, March 19th, 2009 at 4:53 pm |
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A team of Journal News reporters share their thoughts on the Jets with the Lower Hudson fans.

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Jane McManusJane McManus joined The Journal News in 1999, after working at The Daily News and Newsday. Since she's been here, she's covered everything from girls basketball to the Final Four, the U.S. Open of both golf and tennis and recreational sports from rock climbing to roller derby (which she liked so much she joined the team). READ MORE
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