Tag:Mark Sanchez
Posted on: August 17, 2010 12:14 am
 

NYJ and NYG answer some of our questions

(US Presswire) Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I know it’s the middle of training camp. I know it was a preseason exhibition that means absolutely nothing. But man, the Jets looked good. Man, the Jets looked like they could contend for a Super Bowl.

Ugh, I hate myself for writing something like that based on one measly preseason game in which the team I’m touting lost by 15 points. But the first-team offense, for the most part, looked very good – except when the Jets got to the red zone – and the defense, like last year, looked pretty nasty. They looked like a team that still could be playing in February.

If ….

If, that is, they get back Darrelle Revis. Because without Revis, New York might not be the Super Bowl team coach Rex Ryan thinks they can be. A virtual unknown WR named Victor Cruz made that pretty clear tonight during the Giants 31-16 win against the Jets.

Earlier today, we had three questions for each team entering tonight’s game. Let’s look at the answers (which are in bold.)

Jets

1) How will Kyle Wilson look? Without Darrelle Revis around, Wilson is sure to get looks with the first team. How he performs could affect the team’s negotiations with Revis. If Wilson looks completely competent, the Jets can afford (perhaps) to take their time with Revis. If he looks overmatched, maybe they’ll give Revis’ agent a quick phone call post-game. It wasn’t Wilson that looked overmatched. It was the rest of the secondary, minus Antonio Cromartie. We’ll get to him later, but Victor Cruz beat three different Jets CBs for touchdowns (Dwight Lowery, Drew Coleman and Marquice Cole). More than perhaps anybody else associated with these teams, Revis might have gained the most tonight. Except maybe for Cruz.

2) Can Mark Sanchez handle a more high-profile passing attack? Last year, Sanchez could allow his running game and his team’s defense to help him win games. This season, the Jets likely will allow him to test his arm a little more. We might get a few chances to see that tonight. Aside from the tipped INT on his first pass of the game – a throw into double coverage Sanchez shouldn’t have made – he was very impressive, completing 13 of 17 passes for 119 yards and a TD.

3) Does LaDainian Tomlinson still have it?
This obviously won’t be answered tonight. But if Hard Knocks is any indication – and that’s debatable – Tomlinson still has speed and the ability to make the big play (even while catching it out of the backfield). I imagine he’ll get some playing time tonight to see how he performs in a game-like atmosphere. Tomlinson played the entire first half and showed some bursts of speed that were exactly what the Jets wanted to see. Shonn Greene is still the starter – no question about that after blowing away the Giants defense – but Tomlinson looks like he has some fuel left in the tank. The 16-yard TD that was called back because of a hold was pretty exciting for Jets fans to behold.

V. Cruz had quite a night, catching three TD passes for the NYG (AP). Giants

1) Will the Giants defense be better than last year? It’d be tough to have been worse. As Clark Judge so astutely points out in his Giants camp report , the squad allowed 427 points last season, the most since 1966. To say that’s embarrassing is an understatement. Let’s see how new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s men perform. Not all that impressively actually. Sanchez pretty much accomplished whatever he wanted, and Greene gashed them for mid-sized gains. Plus, the personnel confusion on Sanchez’s TD pass to Brad Smith was embarrassing.

2) How will the Giants’ new additions on defense help? New York get safety Kenny Phillips back and the Giants have added LB Keith Bulluck, first-round pick DE Jason Pierre-Paul and safeties Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant. How will they all mesh? The Giants have added some veterans, but does that mean all of these players still have the ability to dominate on defense? Phillips and Bulluck didn’t play. Rolle and Grant were pretty good early. Pierre-Paul was, at times, dominated by Jets OT Damien Woody, but he managed to elude Woody with his speed late in the second quarter and sack Sanchez. Less than a minute later, though, Pierre-Paul was whistled for offsides.

3) How much will the Giants miss Domenik Hixon on returns? Last year, he averaged 15.1 yards on punt returns and performed relatively well on kickoffs. But he tore his ACL early in training camp, and it sounds like RB Danny Ware will handle kickoffs and CB Aaron Ross will take punts. Yet, Ware only has returned two kicks in his career, and Ross hasn’t done it at all (though he seemed pretty decent at it his final two years at Texas) The loss of Hixon could be a pretty big deal. Let’s talk about special teams as a whole here. P Matt Dodge was fairly horrendous, line-driving his punts and having another one blocked. Three of Andre Brown’s kick returns didn’t extend past the 22-yard line. Ross did nothing of note while fielding two punts.

-A few other observations: Eli Manning said the mix-up between him and Brandon Jacobs was the quarterback’s fault. In case you missed it, the two collided on what was supposed to be a handoff, Jets LB Calvin Pace then blind-sided Manning and popped off his helmet and Manning’s forehead smacked into Jim Leonhard’s helmet, opening a three-inch gash on his forehead that needed 12 stitches to close. Said Manning in quotes distributed by the team: “I feel fine. I feel normal. Sometimes you make a mistake and get hit in the head."

-Cruz was a joy to watch. He made a one-handed catch on a 64-yard TD pass, and he was the most remarkable subplot of the evening. He’s battling with Sinorice Moss for the sixth WR spot. Moss didn’t play because of a groin injury. Moss, in the next three games, should make sure he finds a way to get on the field.

-The Giants first-team offense recorded five yards in the first quarter. Don’t forget that.

-Kellen Clemens replaced Sanchez to start the second half. Wait a minute, I thought Mark Brunell was the backup QB.

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Posted on: August 16, 2010 7:25 pm
Edited on: August 16, 2010 8:35 pm
 

What to watch for in NYG-NYJ game

NYG defensive coordinator Perry Fewell will begin to show his wares tonight against the NYJ (Getty). Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Only one game on the preseason docket tonight, but it should be an interesting one. New York Jets vs. New York Giants in the new stadium the two squads share. HBO’s Hard Knocks cameras will be there. So will Rex Ryan and his never-ending string of F-bombs. So will the Giants, who have claimed they have no idea what Hard Knocks is.

I’m sure the fans in attendance will be on their best behavior, and since they’ll want to study up on tonight’s most important storylines while eschewing any type of alcoholic beverage that could impinge on their abilities to break down the game, here are three pressing questions for each team.

Jets

1) How will Kyle Wilson look? Without Darrelle Revis around, Wilson is sure to get looks with the first team. How he performs could affect the team’s negotiations with Revis. If Wilson looks completely competent, the Jets can afford (perhaps) to take their time with Revis. If he looks overmatched, maybe they’ll give Revis’ agent a quick phone call post-game.

2) Can Mark Sanchez handle a more high-profile passing attack?
Last year, Sanchez could allow his running game and his team’s defense to help him win games. This season, the Jets likely will allow him to test his arm a little more. We might get a few chances to see that tonight.

3) Does LaDainian Tomlinson still have it?
This obviously won’t be answered tonight. But if Hard Knocks is any indication – and that’s debatable – Tomlinson still has speed and the ability to make the big play (even while catching it out of the backfield). I imagine he’ll get some playing time tonight to see how he performs in a game-like atmosphere.

Giants

1) Will the Giants defense be better than last year? It’d be tough to have been worse. As Clark Judge so astutely points out in his Giants camp report , the squad allowed 427 points last season, the most since 1966. To say that’s embarrassing is an understatement. Let’s see how new defensive coordinator Perry Fewell’s men perform.

2) How will the Giants’ new additions on defense help? New York get safety Kenny Phillips back and the Giants have added LB Keith Bulluck, first-round pick DE Jason Pierre-Paul and safeties Antrel Rolle and Deon Grant. How will they all mesh? The Giants have added some veterans, but does that mean all of these players still have the ability to dominate on defense?

3) How much will the Giants miss Domenik Hixon on returns? Last year, he averaged 15.1 yards on punt returns and performed relatively well on kickoffs. But he tore his ACL early in training camp, and it sounds like RB Danny Ware will handle kickoffs and CB Aaron Ross will take punts. Yet, Ware only has returned two kicks in his career, and Ross hasn’t done it at all (though he seemed pretty decent at it his final two years at Texas) The loss of Hixon could be a pretty big deal.

And if you didn’t think this preseason game was huge enough, consider the following: this will be the first contest where officials will experiment with starting and stopping the game clock themselves from the field.

From USA Today :

Four officials will wear a smartphone-sized pack by which they can control the pace of the game clock with the press of a button. The officials will work in concert with the game clock operator in the booth, and the system will activate whenever the first official hits the button.

The goal is to be more accurate and reduce lag time between when a play ends or when the ball is set and when the game clock officially starts.


If all goes well, the league could consider adding the system in 2011.


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Posted on: August 12, 2010 12:00 am
 

Hard Knocks, episode 1 review

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

I talked about this in my preview , but I didn’t love last year’s version of Hard Knocks, featuring the Bengals. So, I was interested tonight to see if I could resume my love affair with the show if I wasn’t intimately involved with covering the team. And the end result: Yeah, it was pretty good. Had to set up some storylines, but there were some laughs and some good in-practice footage. I’ll keep watching.

-The first voice we hear is coach Rex Ryan, and he’s already very salty. While talking to his team before he releases the players for the summer, he says, “We’re right where we want to be, no question about it. Enjoy this time. Get away from it. No matter what you’re doing, it’s better than my (bleeping) vacation. I’m cruising the Baltic’s with my in-laws and (bleep).” Great, great stuff already from Rex.

-I probably shoulld have counted his F-bombs, but I never did. If I had to guess? Maybe 30.

-It’s not often you get to see players training in the offseason. Dragging a tire behind you as you run hills doesn’t look fun.

-Like usual: a great intro. I love watching the mundane stuff you see every day but would never stop to focus on. Stuff like the FieldTurf spraying when a guy runs his sneaker along it in slow motion. I remember one day before practice last year when a Hard Knocks camera crew spent 30 minutes filming a worker painting one of the lines on the field before Bengals practice in Georgetown, Ky. Of course, the next week on TV, it looked like the most interesting thing in the world. Sure enough, just after I wrote that, the crew filmed somebody spray-painting a line in Cortland.

-Somehow I expected Rex Ryan to look thinner. But yeah, he looks better than before. Just not as much as I thought after his surgery.

-I was wondering how much they would focus on Darrelle Revis. I was wondering if they’d have filmed him. The answers: a pretty fair amount and no.

-Rex knows how to draw laughs from his squad. “Revis isn’t in this building right now. Does it matter that Revis isn’t here? Goddamn, he’s pretty (bleeping) good.” Big laugh.

-Ah, a Laveranues Coles sighting. This is his second Hard Knocks in a row. He must be loving it. That’s a joke, of course. Coles does not like dealing media. And when I say does not like, I mean he hates it. I interviewed him just once last year – which was more than just about anybody else - and he got pissed at me and abruptly ended it after a couple questions.

-How about Buddy Ryan in a tie on the sidelines in that archived film? I think Rex should bring back that look.

-Yep, we’ve got our long-shots to make the squad. Brashton Satele, a rookie LB, and Aaron Kia, a rookie OL from Hawaii. OL coach Bill Callahan is talking about out how Kia played in a spread offense in college and how he doesn’t know much the techniques around the NFL. Not surprisingly, he’s getting coached up quite a bit. Rex Ryan then calls him awful. Ugh. Satele, meanwhile, is impressing some people. Then, he sprains his ankle – which drastically decreases his chances of making the team.

-Lots of people being fined. Apparently, it costs you $5 if you’re caught running shirtless. Even Rex isn’t immune. He’s fined $1 per snacking offense.

-How about the hair-pulling by GM Mark Tannenbaum when dealing with the Revis stuff> I thought he was going to pull it out of his head.

-It’s a half-hour into the show before we’re introduced to Mark Sanchez. And he’s telling LB Bart Scott to shut up.

-Good lord, Joe Namath looks like my grandfather getting out of the front seat of that SUV. High belt line and a bit stooped. He does make a good point about how people shouldn’t fumble.

-I love the skills competition between Rex and Tannenbaum.

-Could there be a better name for a bone-crushing fullback than John Conner, who’s obviously nicknamed the Terminator? He should make the team just on his name alone.

-Well, they didn’t paint the Revis picture in very positive terms after the diner meeting, did they?

-We have our first casualties. Rookie LB Kevin Basped and his bad knees are let go, and Kia is laid off as well. Poor dudes. They don’t even make the second episode. Kia is told, though, that he could play in the UFL. So, he’s got that going for him. But man, he looks pretty pissed. Kia hands in his playbook, slams the door in the cameraman’s face and the episode ends.

-Once again, solid work from HBO. Looking forward to next week

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Posted on: August 4, 2010 11:28 am
 

Ainge off to rehab

A few days ago, it seemed like Jets backup QB Kellen Clemmons was as good as gone. With Mark Sanchez entrenched as the starter and with free agent Mark Brunell signed to back him up, Clemmons, much to his teammates’ chagrin, was on the outside looking in.

But that might not be the case any longer.

The New York Daily News reports today that third-string QB Erik Ainge – a third-year player who’s never thrown a pass in the NFL – has entered drug treatment rehab facility for “recreational issues.”

Ainge was suspended four games in 2008 for violating the league’s policy on performance enhancing drugs, and as Manish Mehta writes, this latest news could land Ainge an eight-game suspension.

Nobody from the Jets is talking, but Ainge wrote Monday on his Twitter page, “I am taking some personal time to address a non-football related illness. Thank you for all the love, thoughts, and concerns. I love you all.”

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: July 28, 2010 6:22 pm
 

Jets sign Mark Brunell

No surprise here. Jason La Canfora of NFL Network reports that the New York Jets have signed veteran quarterback Mark Brunell. ESPN's Adam Schefter says it's a two-year deal.

Brunell turns 40 in September. It has been well-noted that the longtime Jaguar is struggling through tough financial times (earlier this summer, Brunell filed for bankruptcy after a failed real estate venture).

Football-wise, the most interesting aspect of this move is not that Mark Sanchez now has a cagey veteran to learn from, but that this suggests the Jets are giving up on Kellen Clemens. You'd figure the athletic fifth-year pro would at least be a long-term No. 2. However, Clemens -- once a projected starter -- will now have to compete for the backup job.

--Andy Benoit

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Posted on: July 22, 2010 11:31 am
Edited on: July 22, 2010 11:42 am
 

Darrelle Revis' goal is to retire as a Jet

Darrelle Revis participated in a chat on NFLPlayers.com yesterday -- anticipation for said chat was fairly high considering Revis' current contract status with the Jets.

However, the Pro Bowl cornerback answered just 11 questions (which you can re-read here ), most of which resulted in pretty tame answers, especially since the word "holdout" wasn't mentioned once.

One reader did ask how Revis focuses on being "the best at his position" with the "distraction" of his contract situation:
Revis Island: My contract situation is different from me being the best. I believe that I'm the best. The only thing that I can control is how hard I work in the offseason. I'm a laid-back guy. I try and stay positive and make sure things in my life go that way. And Revis was also asked if his "goal" is "to retire as a Jet":
Revis Island: Haha, that's always been my goal. When they drafted me, I told them this is one of the biggest things they did, and I won't let them down. From the business side, they make the choices. They know my heart is with the Jets and the New York/New Jersey area. I'm here as long as I can be. If they give me the ability to have a choice, I'll stay here as a Jet. Both those things sound nice and aren't inflammatory in the least, but they do contain the underlying idea that Revis has no problem distinguishing "business" and "loyalty" (or whatever other word you want to use). Which is to say, if the Jets don't reward him with a new deal, there's a good chance he's going to hold out of training camp.

That's great news for HBO (who'll be filming 'Hard Knocks' and shouldn't be short on drama), but not so fantastic news for the Jets, who certainly want their top cornerback in camp on time.

Also worth noting from the chat: Peyton Manning qualifies as the toughest quarterback to prepare for and play against ("he'll tear you apart"), and Revis expects Mark Sanchez, who has apparently "matured a lot," to "have a big year."

Oh yeah, and Revis likes to play FIFA (and tweet about whipping his manager/bff ) more than Madden. So there's that.

-- Will Brinson

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Posted on: July 20, 2010 5:12 pm
 

Brunell to sign with Jets this week

M. Brunell (right) celebrates New Orleans' Super Bowl win with D. Brees (Getty). According to Rich Cimini of ESPN New York , newly-bankrupt QB Mark Brunell will sign with the Jets on Thursday to push for the right to be Mark Sanchez’s backup.

Though this move has been expected for a while, it’s interesting New York would sign a nearly 40-year-old, 15-season veteran to compete with Kellen Clemens to back up their second-year starting QB. Interesting because recently a few Jets players said they liked Clemens as the backup, because 1) he knows the offense and 2) because Brunell isn’t exactly a young pup.

Clemens has played in 24 games during his four-year career, and though his numbers are less than impressive, he’s not a terrible choice if you need an emergency starter. He’s young, but he’s got good experience in New York’s system. He actually could manage your team to victory. Meanwhile, Brunell – who still has some of his athleticism but whose arm strength has abandoned him – has thrown just 30 passes in the past two seasons. In his past 10 starts, he’s also 3-7.

Assuming Brunell actually signs a contract, it’d be quite a battle to see who actually wins the No. 2 job. Some Jets players – mostly anonymously – already have made clear their preferences.

For the record, QBs Erik Ainge and Kevin O’Connell also are listed on the Jets roster. Until Thursday, at least.

--Josh Katzowitz

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Posted on: June 30, 2010 10:09 am
 

Another blow for Brunell

First, the bankruptcy. Now, a vote of no-confidence. It has not been a good week for free agent QB Mark Brunell.

As we detailed in this post , Brunell was forced to file Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week in Florida, mostly due to real estate deals that turned sour. Now, even though he’s the favorite to sign with the Jets as a backup, a majority of players the New York Daily News interviewed prefer Kellen Clemens to take the spot behind starter Mark Sanchez.

"Brunell? Isn't he like 50 years old?" one player asked Manish Mehta.

Actually, Brunell is approaching 40 and, if he was to be signed, he would be playing for his fifth team in 16 seasons.

The biggest reason these anonymous players would rather have Clemens back-up Sanchez than Brunell is because they feel Brunell has "very little to offer on the field at this stage of his career.”

Even without the players’ support, Brunell seems set to join the team. Jets coach Rex Ryan has raved about him and has said that he would be a good mentor to the team's younger players.

--Josh Katzowitz

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