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Tag:Jason Taylor
Posted on: January 17, 2011 1:02 am
Edited on: January 17, 2011 2:16 pm
 

10 championship round stories worth attention

Posted by Andy Benoit

1.) Jets Win; So how are we supposed to feel?

Normally, a sixth seeded 8.5-point underdog going on the road and upsetting the runaway Super Bowl favorite would classify as one of those feel-good Cinderella stories. But because the garrulous New York Jets have irritated so many this season, we find ourselves in a silent state of ambiguity. Did anyone actually stop and think befoNew York (US Presswire)rehand about the possibility of the Jets backing up their words? Or were we all too busy preparing our clever one-liners about comeuppance and karma?

Most troubling for Jets haters is that the Jets didn’t just beat the Pats, they beat them while staying true to form. A great example was how Shonn Greene opted for the blatant 15-yard celebration penalty after his de facto final-coffin-nail touchdown run. It was an immature and untimely gaffe that Greene’s coach was surely going to chew him out for. That is, if Greene’s coach hadn’t run (OK, lumbered) to the end zone to join the celebration.

To be fair, Greene’s coach had plenty to celebrate. Rex Ryan said all along that this matchup was about him and Bill Belichick. Well, Ryan won it. The Jets defense stifled New England’s high-powered offense by pressuring Tom Brady (Mike DeVito had his best game of the season; Shaun Ellis had two of New York’s five sacks; Jason Taylor put left tackle Matt Light on skates in the second half).

The Jets pressured Brady primarily by locking down his receivers. Deep in the fourth quarter, Ryan’s gameplan was still befuddling Brady and the Pats (you think New England was intentionally milking the clock on that fruitless 15-play drive?). Maddeningly enough, the Jet most responsible for the lockdown job on Brady’s targets was, aside from the brilliant Darrelle Revis, one Antonio Cromartie. The ex-Charger might be an utterly unlikeable reprobate, but the reality is, the Jets wouldn’t be returning to the AFC Championship without him.

Cromartie wasn’t the only “villain” responsible for the win Sunday. Wideouts Santonio Holmes (who served a four-game suspension early in the season) and Braylon Edwards (who was arrested for DUI in September) both had crucial touchdown catches. And neither was shy about enjoying the moment.

So the Jets walked their talk. No one could have predicted it. After all, they lost by 42 in Foxboro just a month earlier. Not to mention, theirs was the type of talk that even Moses would have had trouble walking. But because they did it, we get at least one more week of hearing them rattle off all the reasons they’re going to win the Super Bowl. And this time, we’ll have to listen quietly.

 

2.) Aaron Rodgers: the best quarterback left? A. Rodgers (US Presswire)

Hard to believe that “Aaron Rodgers has never won a playoff game” was actually a viable storyline earlier this month. Rodgers’ performance at Atlanta Saturday night (31 of 36, 366 yards, three touchdowns) was within arm’s reach of flawless. It was Rodger’s second straight three touchdown-zero interception playoff performance. And let’s not forget, the man registered 633 yards while throwing five touchdowns to just one interception in Green Bay’s final two must-win games on the regular season (coming off his second concussion of the year, no less).

Rodgers is the quarterback many experts would choose if starting a team right now. That’s saying something considering Ben Roethlisberger, two wins away from a third Super Bowl ring, is only 20 months older than Rodgers. Rodgers, like Roethlisberger, has an innate ability to extend a play and find his third or fourth read. Also like Roethlisberger (and Cutler, too), Rodgers is blessed with incredible natural tools (strong arm, mobility, etc.).

But it’s Rodgers’ shrewd presnap awareness that sets him apart. The three other remaining quarterbacks are all, at best, average when it comes to diagnosing a defense before the snap. Rodgers, as his wideouts will tell you, is fantastic. Maybe – MAYBE – that’s because he, unlike the other three remaining quarterbacks, was not shoved into the starting lineup as a first-round rookie.


3.) Sanchez’s Spotlight

An indirect (or perhaps direct) consequence of Rex Ryan’s loquaciousness is that it diminishes the media’s spotlight on quarterback Mark Sanchez. Who’s to say whether that’s Ryan’s intent. (The guess here is it’s not, given that Ryan at one point talked openly about benching his young signalcaller.) But given Sanchez’s youth and the disposition of the New York media, a diminished spotlight is probably a good thing.
M. Sanchez (US Presswire)
Think about the intensity of the spotlight if it weren’t diminished. The Jets traded up to draft the USC superstar  fifth overall. In two seasons Sanchez has led the Jets to two AFC title game appearances. He already holds the franchise record with four career playoff wins. This postseason, he has defeated Peyton Manning and Tom Brady.

Granted, Sanchez did not outplay Manning. But with three touchdowns and no turnovers at New England, he did outplay Brady. (And besides, we’re talking about a media spotlight here; it doesn’t matter to the headline writers if he outplayed Manning).

This is a quarterback who could easily be overhyped. Adding fuel to the Sanchez fire is the fact that he’s far and away the most prominent Latino player in today’s NFL. Given America’s changing demographics, you think marketing execs aren’t salivating at this?

In a lot of respects, Sanchez still has a long ways to go as an NFL passer. But so did Eli Manning after two seasons. The New York media could not resist the urge to pile on Manning. That’s partly because Manning never had the luxury of playing for an attention-grabbing head coach.

 

4.) The irony of Santonio Holmes

The Jets probably wouldn’t be in the AFC Championship if they hadn’tS. Holmes (US Presswire) brought in Santonio Holmes. His speed, quickness and precise route running have infused a big-play element into an otherwise run-of-the-mill passing game. Holmes’ tiptoe (or tip-right-knee) touchdown in the back left corner of the end zone at Foxboro gave the Jets a critical 10-point advantage late in the second half. Earlier in the year, Holmes helped the Jets keep winning while they went through somewhat of a rough patch by registering a 52-yard catch-and-run set up a game-winning overtime field goal against the Lions in Week 9 and a 37-yard overtime touchdown against the Browns in Week 10.

Where the irony comes in is the Steelers might not be in the AFC Championship if not for dumping Holmes. Sure, Holmes was just as important a big-play weapon for Pittsburgh as he’s been for New York. (We all remember Super Bowl 43.) But Holmes’ extensive off-field transgressions also flew in the face of everything the Rooney Family’s organization stands for. It’s the commitment to character that, in the big scheme of things, has laid the foundation for the Steelers’ six Super Bowl titles.

What’s more, if Holmes didn’t depart Pittsburgh, third-year pro Mike Wallace might not have become a 1,200-yard receiver and lethal big-play specialist. And youngsters Emmanuel Sanders and Antonio Brown probably wouldn’t have gotten enough reps to assume critical roles come playoff time.

 

5.) Jerry Angelo’s and Lovie Smith’s Gambles Pay Off

Before this season, every decision-maker in Chicago was on the hot seat. No seats were hotter than those hosting general manager Jerry Angelo and head coach Lovie Smith. In 2009, Angelo gave up a pair of first-round draft choices and handful of attractive ancillary pieces (namely quarterback Kyle Orton) to acquire Broncos quarterback Jay Cutler. The cannon-armed but petulant 26-year-old (at the time) tossed a league-high 26 interceptions in his first season as a Bear. L. Smith (US Presswire)

In the ensuing offseason, outside observers understood that Angelo had no choice but to stick with Cutler. What they didn’t understand was why Angelo would not invest in an offensive line to help protect his quarterback. Instead of bringing in reinforcements for one of the least talented front fives in football, Angelo handed more than $40 million in guaranteed money to free agent defensive end Julius Peppers. Peppers was a great acquisition, but his price tag would doom the organization if he remained as inconsistent as he was in Carolina.

As it’s turned out, Peppers has been sensational in Chicago. His eight sacks don’t begin to tell the story of his dominance. Brian Urlacher (whose return after missing 15 games with a wrist injury also reinvigorated the Bears D) says his first-year teammate deserves Defensive Player of the Year honors.

Cutler has been less spectacular than Peppers though still good enough to lead the Bears to an NFC North division title (despite operating behind a questionable front five). Credit the arrival of offensive coordinator Mike Martz. And, credit Martz’s arrival to Lovie Smith. Knowing that a fourth straight missed postseason would result in his unemployment, the defensive-minded Smith called upon the most offensive-minded coach football has seen in the past 10 years. Smith and Martz were old friends from their days in St. Louis, but many doubted that there would be enough humility in the air for their seemingly clashing philosophies to gel.

But gel they have, thanks to Smith’s willingness to be hands-off. He has let Martz handle the offense. He’s let Mike Tice, another former head coach, handle the offensive line. Tice has made chicken soup out of chicken…well, you know.

The offensive line’s consistent improvements are comparable to the consistent improvements of Chicago’s more-talented defensive line. Israel Idonije and Matt Toeaina have been particularly impressive, thanks to the tutelage of Rod Marinelli, the defensive line specialist who accepted the defensive coordinating responsibilities thrust upon him by Smith.

In all, with his job on the line, Lovie Smith delegated major responsibilities to three former head coaches who are now assistants on his staff. How many of the other 31 Type A personalities running NFL teams would be willing to do THAT?


6.) The AFC’s Rich Defensive Casts

The Jets and Steelers both run 3-4 defenses littered with big-name stars. For the Jets, it begins and ends with Darrelle Revis, the best shutdown corner since Deion Sanders (if not the best all-around cornerback of the post 80’s era). Then there’s playmaker Antonio Cromartie. And inside linebackers Bart Scott (outspoken Pro Bowl caliber veteran) and David Harris (tackling machine whom colleagues voted team MVP). Plus, outside linebacker Jason Taylor is a future Hall of Famer. I. Taylor (US Presswire)

The Steelers, of course, have the most identifiable defensive player in football: Troy Polamalu. Outside linebacker James Harrison is a perennial Defensive Player of the Year candidate, and his counterpart LaMarr Woodley is not far behind. Plus, most fans recognize nose tackle Casey Hampton because a.) He’s the size of a small house and b.) He’s the fulcrum to a run defense that, in nine years under Dick LeBeau, has never ranked worse than No. 3.

LeBeau, a Hall of Fame player and innovator of the 3-4’s famed zone blitz, is a star himself – just like the coach behind the Jets’ complicated 3-4 scheme. All in all, the 2010 AFC Championship is ripe with big defensive names. But without the little defensive names, neither team would be here.

For the Jets, as we highlighted a few weeks ago, defensive end Mike Devito has been playing out of his mind. So has Shaun Ellis, who recorded two sacks and a slew of quarterback pressures against the Patriots. Backup nose tackle Sione Pouha, who took over when Kris Jenkins went down in Week 1, has also been pushing the pile with regularity. Pouha’s not the only backup thriving; safety Eric Smith has done a noble job filling in for injured defensive signalcaller Jim Leonhard. Smith brings valuable headhunting prowess to what is an otherwise finesse secondary (Revis aside), plus he’s a reliable filler against the run.

On Pittsburgh’s D, because Ike Taylor drops interceptions the way John Mayer drops women, many don’t recognize him as an elite corner. But that’s exactly what the lanky 6’2” veteran is. Taylor’s ability to shadow in man coverage and extend his long arms into passing lanes out of zone positions make him a bona fide stopper (which is exactly what a cornerback is supposed to be). What’s more, Taylor, like every Steeler defender, can tackle.

Before he made the Pro Bowl as an alternate, defensive end Brett Keisel would have earned an Ike Taylor-like “unsung hero” paragraph. Keisel is finally getting the recognition he deserves, so instead of piling on there, we’ll close by mentioning that Ryan Clark (aka “Pittsburgh’s other safety”) is one of the fiercest openfield hitters in the NFL.


7.) Rethinking Brady, Belichick and the Patriots

Stop and think about New England’s last three playoff appearances. There was the stunning divisional round loss at home to the rival Jets on Sunday. Last year, it was the blowout wild card loss at home to the Ravens. And in 2007 it waT. Brady (US Presswire)s the astonishing Super Bowl defeat and derailed perfect season at the hands of the Giants.

We think of Tom Brady and Bill Belichick almost as untouchable geniuses above all criticism. That’s understandable. They’re still the only head coach-quarterback duo to ever win three rings in a four-year span. And the reason two of their last three playoff defeats have been so shocking is because of the dominance that immediately preceded it: New England was a perfect 16-0 in ’07 and an NFL-best 14-2 in ’10.

That said, it was six years ago that Belichick and Brady last hoisted a Lombardi Trophy. And keep in mind, in 2006, the Patriots blew an 18-point second half lead to Indy in the AFC Championship.

Is this story meant to call into question the reputation of the NFL’s current greatest head coach and quarterback? Absolutely not. Over the past six years, Belichick and Brady have still accomplished more with less talent around them than anyone in football. But the beginning chapters of these men’s book were about the auras of two untouchable legends. In the middle chapters, that aura evaporated.


8.) Pro Bowl Snubs Shine

There were two NFC cornerbacks whom many felt got the shaft from Pro Bowl voters: Green Bay’s Tramon Williams and Chicago’s Charles Tillman. Largely because of their performance in the divisional round, both will be on the field for the NFC Championship Sunday.

Williams’ postseason brilliance began a week earlier than Tillman’s. The athlT. Williams (US Presswire)etic undrafted veteran who took over the No. 2 job when Al Harris blew out his knee last season clinched Green Bay’s wild card victory with an end zone interception in the closing minutes at Philly. Williams snagged a second end zone pick in similar fashion at Atlanta: by maintaining underneath technique against a bigger receiver (in this case, Michael Jenkins). After keeping points off the board with two interceptions, Williams put points on it with his third. With nine seconds left in the first half and the Falcons trying to get in field goal range, Williams jumped Matt Ryan’s ill-advised sideline pass to Roddy White and took it to the house for a momentum-swinging 14-point lead that Atlanta would not overcome.

As for Tillman, his excellence was key to Chicago's defensive dominance against Seattle. The Bears’ only true cover corner normally mans the left side of the D. But on Sunday, Tillman shadowed Mike Williams, holding Matt Hasselbeck's No. 1 target to four catches for 15 yards. Yes, Williams caught two touchdowns, but the second was thanks to sheer luck that resulted from Tillman’s textbook deflection.

It will be interesting to see what matchups Tramon Williams and Tillman draw this Sunday. Williams has the speed to run with Johnny Knox outside (figure the Packers will put an inside defender on Devin Hester, as Hester usually aligns in the slot). Tillman will have to rely on his physicality to keep the quicker Greg Jennings in check.


9.) Seahawks-Bears: Tough Watch

So the Seattle Seahawks weren’t a Cinderella team after all; watching them at Chicago was more like watching one of the evil stepsisters dance at the ball. Or like watching a sub-.500 team try to win a playoff game on the road. The game felt over before the midpoint of quarter two. As divisional round contests go, it was awful television. Shame. J. Cutler (US Presswire)

But whatever, doesn’t matter now. Besides, the story of Sunday’s unwatchable NFC divisional round game wasn’t the Seahawks, it was the Bears. Jay Cutler threw for 274 yards and two touchdowns in his first postseason game since high school. Aside from a small handful of first half glitches, Chicago’s once-putrid offensive line gave Cutler all the time in the world to throw. And when Cutler couldn’t find a receiver, he scrambled for positive yardage (he finished with 43 yards and two touchdowns on eight runs).

On the other side of the ball, the results were what you’d expect from the NFC’s No. 1 run defense going up against the NFC’s No. 16 run offense. With the Seahawks feeling compelled to throw on 49 of 61 offensive snaps, the Bears were able to sit back in that Lovie Smith Cover 2 and let their speed take over. Mike Williams, who appeared to tweak his upper leg early in the game, was manhandled by Charles Tillman. That hurt because the loss of tight end John Carlson (head injury) prevented Seattle from fully attacking Chicago’s questionable safeties.

If you want to get picky, the only concern Bears fans can take away from Sunday is that their defense took its foot off the gas late in the fourth quarter.


10. Quick Hits

*Most people believe that the Ravens lost at Pittsburgh because of turnovers. That’s valid, though let’s not forget, late in the fourth quarter Anquan Boldin dropped a huge touchdown in the end zone and T.J. Houshmandzadeh, who had been carping for more balls all season, dropped a very catchable fourth-and-19.

*Terrell Suggs should change his name to Terrell Rooney because he owns the Steelers. Suggs had three sacks Saturday, giving him 15.5 in 18 career games against Pittsburgh.

*A storyline from Baltimore that didn’t get talked about (because of the nonstop intensity of the contest itself) is whether this was Ed Reed’s final game. The future Hall of Fame safety is 32 and contemplated retirement this past offseason.

*The Atlanta Falcons need to add one more playmaker to the center of their defense. Middle linebacker Curtis Lofton is solid but does not have star tools. Neither of the safeties is a game breaker.

*Was anyone else surprised that Pete Carroll elected to punt with his team down 28-10 and just over six minutes to play?

*When Danny Woodhead fumbled in the fourth quarter (recovered by the Patriots) it brought to mind the episode of Hard Knocks where Rex Ryan flipped out in the preseason finale after so many of the Jets backups fumbled. In that episode, Ryan put Woodhead back in the game specifically because he knew he wouldn’t cough up the ball.

For more NFL news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnfl on Twitter and subscribe to our RSS Feed.

Posted on: January 6, 2011 12:29 am
 

Taylor backs up Williams' critcism of Sparano

Posted by Andy Benoit

The drama is laying on pretty thick in Miami. Earlier this week, Dolphins player rep Ricky Williams (who, it’s wortT. Sparano (US Presswire)h noting, is headed for unrestricted free agency), criticized head coach Tony Sparano for being a micromanager and taking the fun out of football.

Via ESPN.com’s Tim Graham, in a radio with WQAM (the same station where Williams made his comments), Jets defensive end/outside linebacker Jason Taylor, who played for Sparano last season, essentially seconded the running back’s sentiments.

"The people want to get on players sometimes of speaking their minds and for saying things or being truthful," Taylor said. "People don't always want to hear that. But sometimes you've got to look at it and say 'Where there's smoke there's probably fire.'

"I think it's something you have to take a step back and look at and say 'Well, this isn't Ricky just being a cancer in the locker room.' ... Sometimes guys talk and you tend [to dismiss] them as just blowing a horn. But when someone like Ricky talks, I think you can understand that maybe there is something there for real."

Taylor was not trashing his former coach – he was merely speaking candidly.

"I played under Tony one year in that system and atmosphere, and it's tough," Taylor said. "What Ricky was saying is true in a lot of senses. It's a tough work environment.

"I think Tony does a good job of trying to touch every situation you may see in a game. But the micromanaging and things like that is exhausting , particularly when you're not winning."

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Posted on: October 29, 2010 9:55 am
 

Week 8 Key Matchup: Jets D vs. Packers O

Posted by Andy Benoit

The New York Jets might be the only team in the NFL where the scheme is more important than the players executing it. At least, this is true for the front seven. (Of course, it’s only true for the front seven because the back four, and specifically cornerback Darrelle Revis, is so dominant. So maybe, at the end of the day, the players are still more important than the scheme. It’s a chicken or egg thing.)

Anyway…about that scheme…R. Ryan

One of the greatest misconceptions in football is that Rex Ryan’s Jets are strictly a blitzing defense. When the Jets bring pressure, it’s not always in the form of a blitz. Often times, the Jets rush only four. But unlike a 4-3 scheme, where the four rushers are downlinemen, a 3-4 scheme allows for a linebacker to rush. The Jets have mastered the art of what scouts call a “zone exchange”, which is to say, the Jets are great at disguising which linebacker will rush. This often creates the illusion of a blitz, as opposing offensive lines struggle to identify assignments and wind up scrambling from out of position.

So why is New York better than other teams in this department? For one, Ryan is fantastic at creating congestion on one side of a line of scrimmage and bringing clean pressure from the other. The Jets will overload on say, the right side of a line. They’ll force an offensive line to slide its protection to the right, but once the ball is snapped, they’ll drop a handful of those would-be rushers back into zone, leaving the offense with four linemen blocking two pass-rushers. Over on the left side, a defensive back or linebacker will rush through what is now an open alley.

This concept demands speed from the pass-rusher, which is why that pass-Green Bay (US Presswire)rusher is often a safety or nickelback. Fans automatically assume this is a blitz. But watch closely and you’ll see, often times, the Jets are still only rushing four players. In order for this to work, you need agile, versatile linebackers (like, say, a Jason Taylor or a Bryan Thomas).

This leads us to the next topic: the results. We think of pressuring a quarterback as generating sacks. The Jets think of it as generating incompletions. The Jets recorded a modest 32 sacks in 2009. But they forced opponents into an incomplete pass a league-best 48.3 percent of the time. Their zone exchanges aim to not just reach a quarterback, but make him believe he’s under siege. That way, he’ll hurry his throw.

The Packers have had their fair share of pass protection woes, though their offensive line is far more cohesive than it was at this point a year ago. Left tackle Chad Clifton is playing perhaps the best football of his career. Left guard Daryn Colledge has been more consistent. Center Scott Wells is as steady as a calendar. Right guard Josh Sitton is one of the bright young run-blockers in the game (and he’s been adequate on passing downs). Right tackle Bryan Bulaga has struggled early on, but unlike last year’s struggling right tackle, Allen Barbre, Bulaga at least has first-round talent to fall back on. (That said, the Packers will probably go back to Mark Tauscher once the veteran is healthy.)

Despite these decent offensive line improvements, expect the Packers to spread the field with four-receiver sets against New York, with two of the receivers split outside the hash marks. Doing this will discourage the Jets from overloading in the box and being ultra aggressive with blitzing defensive backs. And, when the Jets decide to overload and bring defensive backs anyway, Rodgers, with four wide targets at his disposal, should have a quickly-defined read. This plays into Green Bay’s offense, as the Packers love the quick-striking passing game.

The onus will be on the Packer receivers to make plays after the catch. Either James Jones or Jordy Nelson will have to be in the 80-90-yard range receiving. And with the Jets putting Revis on Greg Jennings, it’s critical Donald Driver (quad) be effective.

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Posted on: October 13, 2010 2:28 pm
 

Terrell Suggs denies getting paid by agent

Posted by Will Brinson

Yesterday, the, ahem, mess hit the proverbial fan when Sports Illustrated published an upcoming feature in the magazine entitled "Confessions of an Agent" -- if you haven't read it, you should do so now.

If you're short on time, though, the gist is that a lot of specifically-named players got money from agents while in college.

One of those players is Terrell Suggs, but he denied receiving any money from his agent, Gary Wichard, according to Aaron Wilson of the National Football Post.

"I wish I had seen some of it, I swear," said Suggs. "I didn't get nothing. From what I heard was going on, people were getting cars and checks and stuff, I was like, 'Yo, my dumb ass is really under the rug.' Nah, I don't even know what's been said. I didn't get no cake. I wish I was getting some cake.

"Hey, it's hard in college, know what I mean. Gary Wichard didn't give me s***. He didn't give me anything. I wish I had known this was going on. Like I said, I never heard anything about it. I guess I'll have to read about it."

Suggs at least was willing to comment on the allegations -- many a player declined to say anything when asked by SI. He also said that his decision to sign with Wichard related to the agent already representing top pass-rushers like Jason Taylor and Dwight Freeney.

But because the whole "money under the table" issues is the definition of a "he-said/he-said" scenario, there's no real way to affirmatively say whether or not someone took money from an agent. The downside for someone like Suggs is that because of the culture surrounding elite college players and agent and all the problems stemming from said culture recently, the public mood is much more "guilty until proven innocent" than you might typically see.
Posted on: September 27, 2010 6:17 pm
 

Revis likely out; Pace could be back

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

Revis It doesn’t sound like Jets CB Darrelle Revis will play next Sunday vs. the Bills, but in some good news, it appears that LB Calvin Pace might see the field. 

Not playing Revis makes sense. The Bills QB situation is pretty ghastly – even with Buffalo releasing Trent Edwards today – and I wouldn’t expect Ryan Fitzpatrick to challenge New York’s secondary enough for the Jets to feel Revis’ absence. Plus, with a hamstring injury, the team will be extra cautious with Revis so this doesn’t become a long-term problem.

“He’s moving around better and he feels better,” Ryan told reporters, including the New York Post. “But you almost have to be 100 percent to play corner or you’re going to be facing this the whole season.”

Pace Pace, meanwhile, has missed all three games after breaking his foot in the preseason. But Ryan said Pace could return to practice Wednesday.

In Pace’s place, Jason Taylor has received much more playing time at outside linebacker than he originally might have expected.

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Posted on: September 23, 2010 8:28 am
Edited on: September 23, 2010 8:29 am
 

Jason Taylor talks Parcells, homecoming

Posted by Andy Benoit

Jason Taylor, a presumable future Hall of Famer, will make his return to Miami when the Dolphins host the Jets Sunday night. Taylor never wanted to leave the Dolphins, but the Dolphins – namely football czar Bill Parcells – never wanted him to stay.

Parcells stepped down into a consultant role at the start of the regular season. Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald asked Taylor in a conference call Wednesday if he would still be in South Beach had the Big Tuna left earlier.
J. Taylor (US Presswire)
"I think that horse is already dead," Taylor said. "If you had to hold my hand over the fire and forced me to give you an answer I would have to say yes."

Parcells originally contemplated stepping down prior to training camp. Instead, he waited until the regular season. Asked what he thought of the timing, Taylor played it coy, replying “Pretty ironic.”

It will be interesting to see how the Dolphins home crowd receives Taylor. He’s one of the greatest players in franchise history, having eight seasons with at least nine sacks and turning in one of the greatest single season defensive performances of alltime in 2006 (13.5 sacks, 9 FF, 8 pass deflections, 2 interceptions and 2 touchdowns). He did not choose to leave town, so one would think he’d be cheered. Except, once Taylor did leave, he chose to join the hated division rival New York Jets.

"I have no idea to be honest," Taylor said when asked whether he’ll be cheered or booed." I would expect because I play for the Jets, they won't be very happy. It's their home opener and they're Dolphins fans so I would expect ... oh, hell, maybe I hope it's just mixed. Whatever. Obviously everyone wants to be cheered but I understand I'm the road team and the bitter rival so I wouldn't be surprised to hear boos."

It actually would be a little surprising if he heard boos, as that would be an indication that South Beach sports fans actually care at least a little about what’s going on. Usually, it takes an emerging NBA legend-turned-sidekick to jolt one of the worst sports towns in America.

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Posted on: September 2, 2010 2:10 am
 

Hard Knocks review: Episode 4

Posted by Josh Katzowitz

After a one-week absence, I’m back with my review of the fourth episode of what has been a very good season of Hard Knocks.

 -The episode begins on a down note. Apparently, nobody has any leadership with this team. It’s a concern for the coaches. This, not surprisingly, will be a theme.

- What a nightmare for Tim Cowlishaw. The Jets front office is talking about his reporting that Darrelle Revis and the Jets would sign a deal. GM Mark Tannenbaum has no idea what anybody is talking about. As a reporter, this is an interesting perspective. Unfortunately for Cowlishaw, we know how this ends.

- It’s hilarious that Mark Sanchez walks into the quarterbacks meeting without a binder to talk about the gameplan for the Redskins games. That’s a rookie mistake for a guy who’s not a rookie any more. Hell, even the guy who’s going to get cut at the end of the show has his binder ready to go. Unless he was set up, and of course, it’s a veteran move by Sanchez to get back at his offensive coordinator by changing his screensaver into something not exactly manly.

- Kellen Clemens’ meeting with Tannenbaum is interesting. Tannenbaum says he wants to cut Clemens’ salary to the minimum but he would guarantee that throughout the year. Also, by the way, Mark Brunell is the No. 2 QB, Tannenbaum says. Responds Clemens, “Here’s a question for you. What if I say I’d rather not?” Tannenbaum without missing a beat: “We’d probably cut you. … Probably sooner than later.”

Ouch.

- Ah, I could tell some stories about Laveranues Coles. Unfortunately, none of them would be all that interesting because he HATED dealing with the media in Cincinnati. As in, he never did it. Interesting to hear how the coaches seem to like to him, especially because Santonio Holmes is suspended for the first four games of the season. But then again, the team just cut Coles. So, that’s kind of weird.

- Wow, FB John Conner just lifted a Panthers special teamer off the ground with a block on kickoff return. As Rex Ryan said, “He knocked the piss out of the guy.” I think if he had the opportunity, Ryan might like to make out with the Terminator.
 
- Jason Taylor seems to have a problem getting to the stadium on time. Not just in the New Meadowlands, but at Hofstra too. The first time, it was a big joke. It wasn’t so funny the second time.

- And what’s up with eating cheeseburgers on the field before practice? The coaching staff is running a real disciplined workout, eh?

- Man, the players just LOVE it when a jackass runs onto the field during practice and the security details rocks the crap out of him. It’s funny, though. Whenever you see somebody disrupt a sporting event, there are always a few level of emotions you feel. No. 1, Hey that’s kind of funny. That guy is just running around out there, isn’t he? No. 2, All right, this guy is kind of getting annoying. When will the game restart? No. 3., He’s not taking off his clothes, is he? No. 4, I wish somebody would hit this guy and get him out of here.”

With the Jets, they fast-forwarded to No. 4 real quickly.

- Uh-oh, so it turns out Rex didn’t like the whole cheeseburger thing at practice. I love after his impassioned speech about being a professional and being a leader, he ends it with, “Now, let’s go eat a g------ snack!”

- Boy, Vladimir Ducasse didn’t look so good in the Redskins game, huh?

- Ugh, it’s brutal to watch these guys’ faces when they realize they’re going to be cut. But that’s cold how Ryan talked to Coles when he was cutting the 32-year-old WR. “We have to have money in place in case (Revis) shows up without a new contract. There’s a great possibility you’ll still be on this football team. But if we have you in the first week, we have to pay the whole season. The way our money is right now, we can’t do that.” Coles takes it well, and I know he’ll be OK. We’ve had chats about finances before, and I know he’s smart with the way he handles his business.

-And that’s the way the show ends. Not my favorite episode of the series, but solid nonetheless. We’ll see what happens in the final cuts next week.

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Posted on: August 29, 2010 3:14 pm
 

Ryan confirms Jets' interest in Adalius Thomas

Posted by Will Brinson

Adalius Thomas, currently a free agent after being released by the Patriots, has been a hot name lately -- Calvin Pace is reportedly out for up to six weeks , Jason Taylor is apparently made of string and kitten furr these days and as much love as Vernon Gholston's gotten on "Hard Knocks," Rex Ryan would probably prefer a more reliable option at outside linebacker.

Enter Thomas, who the Jets are interested in talking to/signing/being BFF's with; this is according to Ryan following practice on Sunday.

"I have talked to [Adalius Thomas]." Ryan said, according to Jenny Vrentas of the Star-Ledger . "I would say it would be a possibility. I'm not going to rule that out."

Manish Mehta of the Daily-News notes that Thomas' "arrival is a fait accompli" (which was like the most awesome phrase in the world until Josh Elliott killed it when Brett Favre de-tired this year); Mehta also points out that Ryan also said he wasn't "concerned" that the defense doesn't have Pace or Darrelle Revis.

I mention that last part only because it's about as insane as bringing in Thomas is smart at this point.

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