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Jets Journal

Jane McManus of The Journal News on the Jets.

Archive for April, 2009

Reading between the lines

April
30

Tomorrow is the first day of the rookie minicamp, which means that Mark Sanchez will be forced to take a pause in his Broadway hopping, opening-pitch throwing, Columbia University-touring lifestyle and put on some football pads.

I’ll be out there to relate how he looks alongside Shonn Greene and Matt Slauson, the other two picks the Jets made in the 2009 draft.

As to whether the Jets are done getting players like a wide receiver, I’d just like to look back over some of the things general manager Mike Tannenbaum has said in the last few months about different positions.

WHAT HE SAID: “Those three quarterbacks we have on the roster right now we feel good about,” Tannenbaum said on Feb. 20. “Kellen (Clemens) started eight games and actually played very well against Rex’s (Ryan) defense. Going back a year ago, Brett Ratliff I believe was number one in (passer rating) in the AFC preseason last year.”

WHAT HAPPENED: Sanchez was drafted, Ratliff was traded, and Clemens will be competing for a job with the future of the franchise. When asked about RB Thomas Jones

WHAT HE SAID: “Well, we actually have Marcus Mason who we have a pretty strong feeling for and Danny Woodhead behind Thomas and Leon (Washington),” Tannenbaum said on April 17.

WHAT HAPPENED: Mason? First one cut this week after Greene was drafted… Now about the WR?

WHAT HE SAID: “When you look at Brad (Smith) and David Clowney, they’re really hard working guys that, in my opinion, have gotten better every year that they’ve been here,” Tannenbaum said on April 26. “And I think people like Marcus Henry have great opportunities.  There’s really a lot of guys here we like.”

Hmmmm…..

From Midwest Sports Fans, here is an amusing piece of satire about Brett Favre and John Madden hosting a joint press conference to announce they are returning to the NFL.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, April 30th, 2009 at 2:07 pm |
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Bus Cook says Favre’s retired

April
29

Chris Mortensen at ESPN has agent Bus Cook on the record regarding Brett Farve’s wish to be released by the Jets.

“He’s retired, he doesn’t have any desire to come back, and that’s the way it is with Brett,” said Cook. “He’s mowing his grass. He’s working on his farm. He enjoys that stuff.”

Yet, if Favre is so happily retired, why did he wish to be released?

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, April 29th, 2009 at 2:55 pm |
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Jets release Favre

April
28

Brett Favre is now free to play for any team in the NFL.

After he retired at the end of this season, Brett Favre requested his release from the Jets, who would have had the rights to the former Green Bay quarterback should he have decided to return to play football.

Today, the Jets announced they granted his release from the reserved/retired list.

“Brett requested his release some time ago,” Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum said. “He has not indicated any desire to return to football and he remains retired. We wish him the best.”

There had been a clause in the trade that brought Favre to New York from Green Bay that said the Jets would owe the Packers compensation should they send Favre back into the NFC North. By releasing Favre yesterday, it means Favre can return to any team and the Jets wouldn’t be penalized.

“Bus (Cook) and Mike have been talking about this for a while,” Favre said in a statement the Jets released tonight. “Nothing has changed. At this time, I am retired and have no intention of returning to football.”

Clearly, Favre is now free to change his mind.

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 9:35 pm |
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Prime time draft?

April
28

You can learn a lot from Twitter. This morning, NFL spokesperson Brian McCarthy asked via the social networking site if people liked the league’s idea to put the NFL Draft in prime time. This season it was pushed back four hours to a 4 p.m. Saturday start, while in the past it had started at noon. The league has also made it more watchable by reducing the amount of time a team can be on the clock when it has a pick.

Here’s McCarthy’s tweet:

“NFLprguy: We’re thinking of taking #nfldraft primetime. 1st rd thurs, 2-3 rds Fri nite, 4-7 Sat. Good/bad idea? What do u think?”

Well, what do you think? A three-day Draftapalooza good idea or bad? Remember this is the same draft that was once held via conference call away from the cameras, with the results announced all at once afterwards.

Pretty good way to float an idea to your fan base, a good part of which started following him at the draft over the weekend. Other Jets-related nuggets gleaned from Twitter: K Jay Feely is speaking at his children’s school today, QB Mark Sanchez is heading to Columbia University and Reggie Hodges was part of a regular golf foursome with Feely, Jim Leonhard and Danny Woodhead.

Which reminds me, when the Jets cut a running back yesterday, they picked Marcus Mason over Woodhead. The Chadron State running back lives to compete another day despite the addition of Shonn Greene.

Green, Sanchez and RG Matt Slauson will be at the Jets Florham Park training facility on Friday for the rookie minicamp.

As for the rest of the attendees, according to NFL Draft Bible these players will be alongside them.

NEW YORK JETS
QB Chris Pizzoti, Harvard
FB Brannan Southerland, Georgia
OT Ryan McKee, Southern Mississippi
OT Tavita Thompson, Oregon State
OT Kyle Link, McNeese State
C Michael Parenton, Tulane
TE Robert Myers, Utah State
TE Andrew Davie, Arkansas
TE J’Nathan Bullock, Cleveland State
DE Jamaal Westerman, Rutgers
DE Zach Potter, Nebraska
DL Ty Steinkuhler, Nebraska
DL Matt Kroul, Iowa
S Emanuel Cook, South Carolina
P TJ Conley, Idaho

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, April 28th, 2009 at 9:42 am |
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Jets waive Mason, Hodges

April
27

Seems like that side bet Mark Sanchez had with Reggie Hodges for No. 6 just got a whole lot less expensive. The Jets waived the punter today, along with running back Marcus Mason. We really should have seen this coming.

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 6:21 pm |
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The last four Jets drafts

April
27

Now that the 2009 NFL Draft is in the books, lets sit back and look at the picks taken in the Mike Tannenbaum era. The list below yields a few clues to what the Jets general manager may have learned in the last few years.

The Jets used 10 picks in 2006, with seven of them still on the team. D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Leon Washington, Nick Mangold and Eric Smith were starters last seaon, although the Ferguson pick took heavy criticism until last season, when he was named to the Pro Bowl third team. He still isn’t as firm a left tackle as some would like, but he can’t be considered a bust.

In ‘07 the Jets only used four picks, with three still on the team and strong contributers. That seems to be the model that Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan followed, condensing six picks into three.

“I can go back to two years ago where we went into the weekend with a lot of different goals and objectives and wound up with Darrelle Revis and David Harris,” Tannenbaum said. “We didn’t think it would go that way, but we felt the value of Shonn Greene was too much to pass up and that’s why we went up a second consecutive time.  That was not our plan and that’s not what we wanted to do, but we just felt there was a compelling opportunity.”

The jury is still out on last year’s class. Dustin Keller turned out to be a smart pick, and Dwight Lowery started the season strong. Nate Garner was cut, Marcus Henry waived when the Jets needed roster space last season but is now back with the team, and Erik Ainge (who has been MIA for personal reasons) now is extraneous.

“The facts are we drafted three players and we had to give up three players,” Tannenbaum said. “So, I think we can do the math and figure out that there are some definite opportunities to make this football team. Again, there have been a lot of success stories that we’ve had in the past.”

Looks like he has gotten more confident in his staff’s ability to evaluate key players, and bold enough to bet the house to go after them. He is not lauded as a football guy, but a numbers guy. But looking at the overall choices he and his staff have made, maybe Tannenbaum deserves a little more credit.

2009

1st Round (#5), Mark Sanchez QB; 3rd Round (#) Shonn Greene RB; 6th Round (#) Matt Slauson OT.

2008

1st Round (#6), Vernon Gholston DE; 1st Round (#30), Dustin Keller, TE; 4th Round (#113), Dwight Lowery, DB; 5th Round (#162), Erik Ainge, QB; 6th Round (#171), Marcus Henry, WR; 7th Round (#211), Nate Garner, OT.

2007

1st Round (#14), Darrelle Revis CB;  2nd round (#47) David Harris, ILB; 6th Round (#47) Jacob Bender T; 7th Round (#235) Chansi Stuckey WR.

2006

1st Round (#4) D’Brickashaw Ferguson OL; 1st Round (#29) Nick Mangold OL; 2nd Round (#49) Kellen Clemens QB; 3rd Round (#76) Anthony Schlegel LB; 3rd Round (#97) Eric Smith S; 4th Round (#103) Brad Smith WR/QB; 4th Round (#117) Leon Washington RB; 5th Round (#150) Jason Pociask TE; 6th Round (#189) Drew Coleman CB; 7th Round (#220) Titus Adams DT.

A few links: On contracts. NPR spoke to Leigh Steinberg about the money sports agents will ask NFL teams to pay picks: he says the NFL is still rich.

Monday Morning quarterback. Peter King has some insight on the Jets draft and how the deal with Cleveland came about. King and I have a lot in common. We both cover football and have grey streaks in our hair.

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, April 27th, 2009 at 11:53 am |
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Plaxico?

April
26

The Jets have declined to comment on the latest report, that the team is making inquiries about former Giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress. That’s right, the Plaxico who shot himself in the leg and is facing criminal charges.

Chris Mortensen of ESPN is reporting that the Jets have had internal discussions about signing Plaxico, and if they have, it shows just how much the Jets want to sign a top-flight wide receiver.

Update 9:35: This just in from the Jets. A person with knowledge of the situation said it was a pretty rote inquiry – nothing too dramatic.

Statement from EVP/General Manager Mike Tannenbaum:

“Consistent with our normal approach of performing our due diligence, we contacted Drew Rosenhaus several days ago prior to the draft to inquire about Plaxico’s pending legal situation. However, we have had no discussions with Drew about Plaxico since that time.”

Something competely different: Rutgers DE Jamaal Westerman signs with Jets as a FA.

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 7:01 pm |
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Sanchez holds up #6

April
26

Mark Sanchez opened the door and gestured for Woody Johnson to go in first. It was the first public act the former USC quarterback, in his first visit to the Florham Park facility he will begin to call home. His parents and three brothers took seats in the back row, and his mother Olga (wearing a Viva Sanchez button) smiled as Sanchez started off by saying what a close-knit group they were.

“He wanted to grow up and be a football player,” she said.

Sanchez’ agent David Dunn, whom he shares with Kellen Clemens, stood in the back of the room. The 22-year-old junior, who will graduate this year, said he didn’t want to hold out and was confident there would be a contract in place to allow him to attend the rookie minicamp starting Thursday.

0426sanchez

Sanchez said he called Clemens yesterday and they talked for a few minutes. He said Clemens was very warm. Clemens has been competing for a spot for three years, save for the six months Brett Favre had it locked up.

0436sanchez3

He was asked about New York and his arm, which he called, “deceptively strong. Don’t worry about the wind we’ll be all right.”

As for No. 6, which had been worn by punter Reggie Hodges, Sanchez wouldn’t say what the trade was but did say it was nice of Reggie to give up the number. (Why does the punter always have to give it up? Joe Smith had No. 4 before Brett Favre came along.) Tomorrow he will throw out the first pitch at the Mets game.

Sanchez also addressed the sexual harassment allegation against him when he was 19. “To be in a situation like that taught me so much, how important it is to be in the right situations.”

His brother Brandon said the plan was to have someone in the family move here with Mark, to help him make the transition from college to the pros with a firm base. As for USC, Sanchez said he spoke to college coach Pete Carroll, who publicly said it was a mistake for Sanchez to come out early.

0426sanchez2

Johnson on eight players/picks for RB Shonn Greene and Sanchez: “You do what you have to do. We felt like we made the right decisions.”

Offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer: “I think we felt so good about those two guys that we had to pay the price.” He added that the Jets would probably have to go out and get some guys in free agency, but that he felt good about young receivers David Clowney and Brad Smith.

Update 5 p.m.: The Jets picked OG Matt Slauson of Nebraska (6-foot-5, 320 lbs.) with the 193rd overall pick in the sixth round. And with that, the Jets draft is done. That’s seven rounds, three players. Needs to be addressed yet are WR, TE and safety, possibly through free agency.

Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum admitted that by reaching up for two players the Jets compressed their draft. He then said he and Rex would be on the phone all night calling the promising players who didn’t get drafted. he even offered up a sample of his sales pitch.

Tannenbaum: “For all the free agents out there, we are the land of opportunity for you.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 2:59 pm |
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Jets trade up for Shonn Greene

April
26

Mike Tannenbaum wasted no time this morning trading up from Detroit to take the Iowa running back with the first pick of the third round. Shonn Greene is 5-foot-10 1/2, 227 pounds and a distinct threat to holdout Thomas Jones.

Green was watching the draft from his family home in Sicklerville, N.J. and said he was excited to be playing for a team so close to home.

That the Jets jumped up and traded their third, fourth and seventh round pick says a lot about what they think of Greene. The Jets were the only team to come back after Greene’s pro day and work him out privately.

0426greene

But it also says a lot about how the Jets see the outcome of a contract situation with current RB Thomas Jones, who has been missing from the team’s optional offseason training program. Like Jones, Greene is a complemetary back to the smaller Leon Washington, the Jets potential version of Thunder and Lightning.

Greene said he was aware of the tension between Jones and the Jets. “I watch a lot of ESPN and SportsCenter,” he said.

And Greene is an interesting story. He played for Iowa until his junior year, when he was ruled academically ineligible. He enrolled in Kirkwood College to improve his grades and didn’t play for a year, but returned to Iowa this past season. He had 20 touchdowns for the Hawkeyes this season.

As for the Jets draft, a team that seemed to have a lot of needs has one remaining pick today. Wide receiver, tight end, safety, offensive line—some could be addressed via free agents or with in-house candidates. So far, wide receivers Jerricho Cotchery, David Clowney, Brad Smith and Wallace Wright have to be feeling pretty good about their chances to carve some playing time this season.

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 10:19 am |
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Dustin Keller knows

April
26

If any current Jet can relate to Mark Sanchez’ experience yesterday, it may just be Dustin Keller. The tight end was sitting at the end of the first round last year, with nary a Jet pick in sight when he got a call from Jets GM Mike Tannenbaum. The Jets had traded up to get him.

Yesterday Tannenbaum did the same thing to get the USC quarterback.

“It means a lot,” Keller said. “It says how much they want to get you and that they’re giving up additional picks to get you.”

Several Jets were surprised at the number of  players the Jets gave up to get Sanchez—the first two picks of the draft and three current players—S Abe Elam, DE Kenyon Coleman and QB Brett Ratliff.

As for Keller, he panned out in a big way last year, making some of the most impactful catches of the season with then-quarterback Brett Favre. He hopes Sanchez can add to the team as well, and the trade didn’t surprise him.

“It’s an aggressive move, but one he thought was in the best interest of the team,” Keller said. “And he’s not afraid to make his move.”

DON’T FORGET: You can follow me (Janesports), NFL commissioner Roger Goodell, NFL Network’s Rich Eisen and Woody Johnson at Twitter. Go to twitter.com, set up a free account, and sign up to follow us. Or search all comments related to the NFL Draft (#NFLDraft).

Yesterday Twitter readers got instant Sanchez reaction from Jay Feely (loves it), who said he golfed yesterday morning in a foursome behind Bill Parcells. How’s that for delicious?

Posted by Jane McManus on Sunday, April 26th, 2009 at 9:57 am |
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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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About the author
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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