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Jets Journal

Jane McManus of The Journal News on the Jets.

Archive for July, 2009

The mystery wide receiver

July
23

Yesterday when I talked to Jets coach Rex Ryan I asked him about the wide receiver situation. Currently, the Jets have Jerricho Cotchery starting, but there’s an open competition for the No. 2 spot. Ryan extolled the virtues of Chansi Stuckey in the slot, David Clowney’s speed and Brad Smith’s versatility.

Then he said: “And I think there will be a surprise come out as a receiver as well, and I’m not going to say it but this one kid, all he does is make plays.”

072209ryanwr

I’m giving you guys audio from the entire exchange because I want to know who you think he could be referring to. (Ryan’s wife Michelle was there, and that’s who is included in the banter late in the clip.) Notice he didn’t mention Wallace Wright in the initial lineup, but I think that was just an oversight and Wright is certainly no “surprise” after the OTA season.

Could it be a little-used wide like Marcus Henry, who seemed to develop good chemistry with rookie quarterback Mark Sanchez early on,  or a rookie? A few people have mentioned Dustin Keller could get switched to wide, but my thoughts are that the Jets are too think at tight end right now for a radical change like that, whether the door is open to Bubba Franks or not.

A poll? Hopefully the answer emerges at training camp.

ALSO: DO NOT FORGET that Ernie Palladino and I are hosting a live web chat today at 1 p.m. http://lohud.com/livestream. We’ll take your questions on the Jets and Giants now that training camp is just a week away.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, July 23rd, 2009 at 9:15 am |


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Rex gets specific on TJ, Leon and Gholston

July
22

As part of a Gatorade program to talk about dehydration during training camp, Rex Ryan and his wife Michelle gave a few interviews today. After coming out strongly against dehydration, heat exhaustion and related problems Ryan agreed to tackle a few Jets-related questions.

Although training camp hasn’t even started yet, Ryan said he has already decided to start Vernon Gholston in the spot Calvin Pace won’t be able to fill when he is serving a four-game suspension to start the season. Pace earned the suspension for violating the NFL’s policy against performance-enhancing drugs, although Pace said it was a substance he inadvertently ingested.

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“I was disappointed obviously but Calvin stepped up, he accepts responsibility and I look forward to Calvin being back for that fifth game of the season against Miami,” Ryan said, “but we’ve said all along that Vernon was going to have to step up and that he was gonna be a huge factor in our success.”

Ryan addressed the situation of running backs Leon Washington and Thomas Jones, who both were away for part of the voluntary OTA portion of the spring and want renegotiated contracts. Jones hasn’t spoken to the media, but Washington said that he could sit out of training camp if he didn’t get more money.

“Everyone is under contract,” Ryan said. “This is mandatory so I anticipate our entire football team being there.”

Is he concerned about a holdout?

“Nope. I’m assuming they’re going to be there,” Ryan said.

Ryan said he sent the email Monday (scroll down if you missed the full story yesterday) because he was honestly annoyed by being picked to finish last by one media outlet and he wanted the Jets to know this is how some people looked on them. He admits he usually has a chip on his shoulder and this only makes it worse.

“I wanted them to know I’m going to be in that foxhole with them,” Ryan said.

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His wife Michelle said he has always been that way, and she thinks it rallies people around him.

“It galvanizes the team,” Michelle said.

I asked what he thought about the competition for the second wide reciever slot and Ryan extolled the virtues of Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith, David Clowney and Wallace Wright, but then made this statement.

“And I think they’ll be a surprise coming out as receiver as well,” Ryan said.

Really? Someone currently on the roster?

“Currently on the roster, we’ll see,” Ryan said. “I could be wrong, that’s why I’m not going to say the name right now in case he can’t catch when the pads are on, we don’t want him.”

Not much new on the quarterback front. Ryan reiterated that it would be an honest competition and although he had an idea of the outcome (no, he’s not saying) he isn’t letting that influence the way he makes his final pick of Mark Sanchez or Kellen Clemens.

On Bubba Franks, the TE released this month after signing him despite a known knee injury.

“Really Bubba’s not ready for training camp right now,” Ryan said. “So that’s something we thought we’d take advantage of bringing in another player to try to compete. And when Bubba’s ready he’ll let us know.”

Ryan will head up to scout Cortland as the weekend nears, but once football season starts, Michelle knows she will lose her husband until the end of the season.

“Go ahead say your line, babe,” Ryan said. “What do we always say?”

“Goodbye my dear, football is here,” Michelle said with a laugh.

DON’T FORGET: Giants beat writer Ernie Palladino and I will be hosting a live video webchat to talk about all of the above before training camps start next week. It’s at 1 p.m. tomorrow, bring a lunch and ask about anything NFL related. http://lohud.com/protalklive

Posted by Jane McManus on Wednesday, July 22nd, 2009 at 12:44 pm |


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Ryan gets mad

July
21

Yesterday, Jets WR David Clowney sent out a series of excited tweets.

“I swear Rex Ryan is the Realest Coach alive,” read the first.

Then right on its heels: “All my Teammates, if you haven’t already check your email NOW.”

Turns out the Jets coach didn’t like something he read about the Jets being picked to finish last in the league, and he emailed his players. Ryan used some pretty colorful language to express himself, and it fired up at least one backup wide receiver.

That’s just the kind of coach he is. Ryan leads with emotion, and he wants his players to bring that as well. It’s a contrast to the way Eric Mangini coached players like Clowney, and it seems a good way to remind these guys that vacation is about to be over and it’s time to get to work.

Kerry Rhodes loved the email, but said he didn’t need any extra motivation.

“We are motivated enough and that just validates to me how serious coach is and how it really is going to be with this new coach,” Rhodes said. “It’s not just a front at all!”

Also yesterday, Jets owner Woody Johnson told reporters at the Meadowlands ribbon-cutting that he wasn’t interested in quarterback Michael Vick. Players Jerricho Cotchery and Damien Woody were there as well.

“There is a lot to bringing Michael Vick aboard, especially in these economic times,” Woody told the AP. “You have sponsors and stuff like that, and you always have to take that into consideration.”

So Jets fans, you can count yourselves lucky on two fronts. One, Vick won’t turn the quarterback competition between Kellen Clemens and rookie Mark Sanchez into a quarterback circus. And the other?

Look at what Brett Favre is putting Minnesota fans through right now. I bet most of you are feeling pretty lucky you’re not sweating out the will he or won’t he right about now.

Read more of this entry »

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, July 21st, 2009 at 9:04 am |


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I’m back, baby!

July
20

I promise that was my last vacation this year. I was able to keep up with a lot of the Jets news from Twitter, which was about all my iPhone could manage given my backwoods locale.

A couple of things caught my attention over the break, including this tweet from Kerry Rhodes to Chansi Stuckey. The two were comparing workouts and Rhodes tweets ”@ChansiStuckey a watch ur mouth lil homey im weighing 219 with 5% body fat at the moment and not 2 fond of last year so u watch out! lol.”

If you are a Jets fan, I think you have to like this tweet for a couple of reasons. A little trash talk will only push those guys to work out harder and it’s nice to see that Rhodes is disappointed in his performance last season. I don’t think anyone doubts he can get back to being as impactful as he was before.

Today, the Jets and Giants are doing a press conference to unveil the new rail system to the Meadowlands. WR Jerricho Cotchery and OL Damien Woody will join team owner Woody Johnson out there.

Make your vacation plans now. Here is the Jets training camp practice schedule in Cortland. I tried to post this from my iPhone but I haven’t downloaded the cut and paste program yet and there is no 3G from the mountains of Virginia.

Practice Schedule, July 31-Aug. 29
7/31    8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/1     8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/2     8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/3     9:00 a.m. and 3:15 p.m.(ST)
8/4     8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/5     8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/6     Green and White Scrimmage: 7:00 p.m.
8/8     8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/9     8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/10    8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/11    8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/12    Family Night Practice brought to you by Verizon FiOS at Hofstra University: 6:00 p.m.
8/14    Preseason Game against St. Louis Rams: 7:00 p.m.
8/16    8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/17    8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/18    8:15 a.m. and 3:15 p.m. (ST)
8/19    8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/20    8:15 a.m. and 4:00 p.m.
8/21    8:15 a.m.
8/22    Practice at Florham Park, NJ: Time TBA
8/24    Preseason Game at Baltimore Ravens: 8:00 p.m.
8/26    Practice at Florham Park, NJ: Time TBA
8/27    Practice at Florham Park, NJ: Time TBA
8/29    Preseason Game at New York Giants: 8:00 p.m.
9/3     Preseason Game against Philadelphia Eagles: 7:00 p.m.
(ST) Indicates a special teams practice.

Thanks to JetOrange for getting this up while I was away. I’d also like to highlight those three Florham park practices open to the public. As annoying as it is to have training camp in Cortland (I’m saying that on behalf of the Jets fans who won’t be able to stop by to see a practice) it’s nice that they throw the local Jersey fans and Long Islanders a bone here. Would’ve been nice if they’d given everyine a little more notice for those who had to take vacation days to get up there. A quibble, but that’s my job.

AND JOIN US! Ernie Palladino over at the Giants and I will be hosting a live web chat at 1 p.m. on Thursday to discuss the teams leading up to training camp. Submit a question online and join us at http://lohud.com/protalklive.

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, July 20th, 2009 at 10:57 am |


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Bubba Franks released

July
13

The tight end the Jets resigned on May 12, Bubba Franks, was released today by the Jets. I’m on vacation blogging this from my phone, and I’ll admit I’m a little surprised by this. The Kets knew he had his knee scoped before taking him back on May, and he was theonly veteran blocking TE on the roster.

This will necessitate another roster move, unless the Jets developed a tremendous amount of confidence in one of the rookies during camps.

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, July 13th, 2009 at 7:55 pm |


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Ramping it up

July
7

I had a story today about how the Jets work out during this time “off.” Speaking of off, I am technically on vacation for the next two weeks so I may not be as quick on the draw as I normally am. And p.s. the Jets signed free agent T Nevin McCaskill.

Suffern native Mike DeVito, a defensive end for the New York Jets, is spending the weeks off with his family on Cape Cod. Technically this is his off time, but with training camp opening on July 31 in Cortland, DeVito is working harder than ever.

“To me this is one of the most important times because you have to go into training camp in the best shape of your life,” said DeVito, whose grandfather was longtime Suffern football coach Ralph Consiglio. “You have to be self-disciplined. You have to be self-motivated to go in and do the work because it’s that important to get in shape.”

When they return on July 30, Jets players will be measured and weighed, and fined for each pound they are over their target. That’s no way to start competiting for position.

As much as they seem to be off, few are are treating this time as a vacation. Jets head strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi has written up positional workouts that have players in the gym six days a week, baseline.

“It is tough because it’s easier to get this work done when there is someone doing the same thing that you’re doing,” said DeVito, who gets help from his dad and brother in Cape Cod.

Players may be away from the Jets practice facility in Florham Park, but Alosi is keeping tabs and he and his crew have been known to make house calls if needed.

“You have to be doing something 12 months a year to be in this profession,” Alosi said. “There’s no coming back and playing your way into shape any more.”

Motivation is part of the reason tight end Dustin Keller, going into his second year with the Jets and already ranked high at his position in the league, had gone to a Saddlebrook, Fla. training facility to get full time help with his diet and workouts.

“Training by yourself has to be the hardest think,” Keller said, “because it’s hard to push yourself to the level you need to.”

It’s a vacation, but Keller wakes up at 6:30 a.m. to get a small meal in before his morning workout. He craves the steaks he can only have once a week during his cheat day, and has to settle for organic food and noxious-looking green smoothies on other days.

But it’s all for a bigger purpose.

“If you come in extra out of shape you have to work extra hard,” Keller said.

That’s particularly true for players like Bart Scott. It’s not easy to have a long career in the NFL, but the 28-year-old Scott said if you want to try, doing right by your body during these weeks is crucial.

bartsworkout

“I never vacation on my six weeks,” Scott said. “Thats when I put my body through what I think it needs for a long season.”

Scott works with his trainer of seven years Chris Endlich and varies the routine with hill runs and boxing. The linebacker got his start as an undrafted free agent and has always felt he had to work out twice as hard before training camp starts.

“You can get away with stuff when you’re younger,” Scott said. “But if you set that routine when you’re young it’s easy. As opposed to living wild and partying, saying, ‘I’m young, I don’t need to go to the chiropractor, I don’t need to get a massage, I don’t need to get in the cold tub.’”

Alosi has written up guidelines for the defensive line that includes running and the kind of weightlifting specific to the position, such as squats. DeVito said its different from the “beach workout” that guys do to stay in shape, and takes nearly four hours each day to complete, not including travel time to the gym.

DeVito tries to wrap it up by the early afternoon and heads out on the family boat to relax. Scott has young kids he wants to spend time with, but the workouts are crucial.

“This is when you have the mental sparing when you have to tell yourself to get out of the bed when you don’t want to,” Scott said.

Posted by Jane McManus on Tuesday, July 7th, 2009 at 10:02 am |


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Steve McNair

July
6

I see over the weekend that a lot of you were affected by the shooting death of former Titans QB Steve McNair.

The Daily News has a pretty detailed story on the tragic circumstances surrounding the death of McNair and his mistress.

McNair played two years in Baltimore with Jets coach Rex Ryan and linebacker Bart Scott, and both reacted to the news on the Jets website.

“I am in utter disbelief. Steve always came to work with a smile and a joy about him,” said Scott. “I remember him as a dad that brought his kids to the facility and we all embraced them as our own. Not only will Steve’s family miss him, but the entire NFL family has lost a brother. His death was far too early and my thoughts and prayers are with his family.”

“Steve was special and as tough and competitive of a guy that I have ever been around,” said Ryan. “As soon as we got him in Baltimore, he gave our team instant confidence and I was fortunate to be around him for two seasons. As great of a player as he was, it was more of an honor to know him as a person. My heart and prayers go out to his family.”

Posted by Jane McManus on Monday, July 6th, 2009 at 10:25 am |


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He knows if you’re been sleeping…

July
3

Ah, Twitter.

It brings athletes closer to each other and their fans, and allows us insight into their day-to-day lives. Dustin Keller likes steaks! David Clowney likes Lil’ Wayne! Jay Feely actually seems to enjoy spending time with his family!

But what about if one of the Jets were to tweet, “Just woke up, too hungover to work out. Eating a tub of ice cream.”

That’s the kind of think that Jets head strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi might find… interesting.

Alosi is following the team’s tweeters to see if they are following the routines that he has written out for them, and he’s prepared to make house calls if necessary. Even though the players are technically off until they report to training camp on July 30, Alosi’s job is to make sure they arrive in shape.

So sometimes he checks in on Twitter. Which probably means he’s not the only one. The medium has definitely given fans a window on athletes’ lives, but it also offers a way for employers to keep track of them as well.

Oh and by the way, I’m janesports and I’m about to eat a tub of ice cream. But I don’t think my editor will mind.

Posted by Jane McManus on Friday, July 3rd, 2009 at 2:56 pm |


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Updated: Pace suspended for four games

July
2

Calvin Pace has been suspended for the first four Jets games of the season for failing the NFL’s policy against performance enhancing substances. The outside linebacker issued a statement through the Jets saying that he was unaware that he’d ingested a banned substance.

“This is a situation that resulted from an over-the-counter dietary supplement that contained a substance that I did not know violated the League’s policy,” Pace’s statement reads. “I am responsible for what I put into my body and I should have paid closer attention to the League’s guidelines. I regret that this has happened and apologize to my teammates, the entire Jets organization as well as the fans. Hopefully, this does not distract from our ultimate goal of winning the Super Bowl.”

The Jets issued this statement.

“We respect the League’s decision and look forward to Calvin’s return for our Monday Night game at Miami.”

Pace has been a huge part of the Jets defense in the year since he joined the team. Last season Pace had 67 combined tackles, 37 solo and seven sacks for a loss of 44.5 yards. He will be eligible to play again on Oct. 5, but will be eligible for all preseason games and practices.

Last year Pace earned $12M last season after Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum signed him as a free agent from Arizona. Only quarterback Brett Favre was as well compensated. Pace will lose salary for the four games he misses.

Updated: Here is a link to Calvin Pace’s blog. This is the first post he’s made on this blog so I’m going to double check that it’s really him.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 3:22 pm |


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Fladell fails physical

July
2

The Rutgers guard the Jets picked up off waivers from the Giants, Mike Fladell, failed his physical and will not be joining the team for training camp when it opens Jul 31 in Cortland.

I’ve been talking to a few of the players about what this time of year is like for them. Technically they are off, but new coach Rex Ryan gave them a lot of time between minicamp and the start of training camp, and players like Dustin Keller and Bart Scott are ramping up their training so that they arrive in terrific shape.

Imagine you have a month vacation but you’re working 8-hour days. That’s kind of what it’s like. More on that later.

Posted by Jane McManus on Thursday, July 2nd, 2009 at 9:03 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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