INSIDER WEDNESDAY TEAM REPORT
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Eighteen mile-per-hour winds roared through the Jets’ practice Wednesday, making conditions difficult as Rex Ryan prepared his team for their Monday night matchup with the Miami Dolphins. But those gusts paled in comparison to the furious trade winds that came from inside the Jets’ complex earlier this morning.
Earlier this morning, the Jets acquired WR Braylon Edwards from the Cleveland Browns in exchange for WR Chansi Stuckey, LB Jason Trusnik, and a pair of undisclosed draft picks. It is believed that Cleveland is receiving a third and a fifth round pick from the Jets, but that is yet to be confirmed by either team.
Edwards arrived to the Jets’ complex around 2:00 today, greeted by a swoon of handshakes and chest bumps from his new teammates. Edwards will wear the number 17 jersey with the Jets, as he did in Cleveland.
“First thing, I came in the locker room, there was jokes going on,” said Edwards in his introductory press conference Wednesday. “A couple of guys cracked on the pants I had on. Couple of guys made some comments in regards to some other things that were funny. I think they received me well and I’m happy to be here.”
Edwards brings the Jets the big-time downfield threat the team has been searching for since the departure of Laveranues Coles, following the 2008 season. Edwards is a 6-foot-3 physical specimen that possesses speed, athleticism, and play-making ability.
His mere presence will no doubt open up the running game as well as opportunities for WR Jerricho Cotchery and TE Dustin Keller.
“I’m a big guy, a physical wideout,” said Edwards. “Thomas Jones is a great running back. I can get on those defensive backs on the outside for him. I can get to those safeties so he can have those big runs.”
“It’s gonna make everyone’s job a lot easier,” said Keller. He’s gonna draw attention, I don’t think things are gonna be any easier for him, but he’s gonna draw a lot of attention. I think it’s gonna open things up for other guys.”
“He’s a great receiver, big receiver, who’s obviously proven himself in this league. Great receiver to be on the other side of Jerricho and I think we have a lot of weapons on this offense now. At the same time, it’s tough to see Chansi Stuckey go, just because he’s a great teammate. He knows the offensive line; he’s a very good player. The guys upstairs are gonna make the best moves for this team and our goal this year is to win a Super Bowl. We definitely think that he can come out and help us do that.”
Safety Kerry Rhodes knows a thing or two about receivers, going up against the league’s toughest wide-outs on a weekly basis. Rhodes talked about the matchup problems that Edwards will create for opposing defenses. “In one-on-one coverage he can’t really be stopped,” he said. “Even against good coverage, he can go up and get the ball. He makes spectacular plays.”
The trade for Edwards was not one that developed overnight. GM Mike Tannenbaum said the team had long been in talks with the Cleveland organization, trying to get a deal done.
“We’ve been talking to Cleveland for a while, looking at all different combinations,” said Jets’ GM Mike Tannenbaum. “Finally we were able to get a landing spot that was good for them and good for us. We’re excited to add Braylon (Edwards) to our team. It was hard to let two good guys in Jason Trusnik and Chansi Stuckey go, but sometimes you have to give up value to get value.”
Head coach Rex Ryan talked about what Edwards brings to the Jets’ offense, calling him a “rare talent”. “He’s young, fast, and big, he said. “He’s got a size advantage, when he’s covered he’s still open. He’s got great leaping ability.” Ryan also stated that Edwards will indeed start Monday night.
Just two seasons ago, Edwards enjoyed a breakout season in which he caught 80 balls and emerged as one of the league’s top-flight receivers, en route to his first and only career Pro Bowl appearance. Edwards broke Cleveland franchise records for receiving yards (1,289) and receiving touchdowns (16).
Since then Edwards has suffered a free-fall from grace. Last season, Braylon and the Browns struggled to a 4-12 record, leading the league with sixteen dropped passes while making only 55 receptions for 873 yards and three touchdowns. Along with his drop in production, knocks have been made against Edwards’ character and work ethic.
The former third-overall pick out of Michigan has been involved in a number of off-field transgressions, most recently his alleged assault of promoter Edward Givens, a friend of NBA-star LeBron James, outside a Cleveland nightclub.
The NFL is currently investigating the incident, which also being looked into by Cleveland Police. The NFL’s conduct policy states that discipline may be imposed for the “use or threat of violence”.
When asked if he received any assurances from the league regarding Edwards’ situation, Tannenbaum failed to give a clear answer, but stated that the organization is “comfortable” adding Edwards to the team.
“It’s just another piece that we wanted to add, said the team’s general manager. “We’re excited to get Braylon; we think he’s going to help us. It was a position that we liked but it was also a position we felt that if there was an opportunity to improve, we were gonna go ahead and do that.”
Edwards’ contract expires after this season, but Tannenbaum did not make any indications that a long-term deal was in the works. “Right now, our intentions are that he’s gonna be here with the contract we acquired in the trade and that’s our plans,” he said.
Coincidence? I think not
Rookie WR Michael Crabtree finally agreed to terms with the San Francisco 49ers on a six-year deal, ending his several-month long holdout. It is it purely coincidence that the Jets completed a trade for a receiver on the same day that Crabtree came to a deal with the 49ers? Probably not.
The timing of the Jets’ trade for Edwards suggests that perhaps there was indeed something to the tampering allegations filed by San Francisco.
Tannenbaum continued to deny any tampering allegations against the team on Wednesday. “There is a league rule that after August 14 no unsigned player in the draft can be traded,” he said. “As Coach Ryan said, we deny the allegation and it’s with the League.”
Change of Pace
The Jets welcome back LB Calvin Pace back into the fold this week against Miami. Fresh off a four-game suspension for violating the league’s performance-enhancing substance policy, the 6-foot-4, 265 pound Pace is voluminous addition to an already dominant Jets’ defense.
Pace, arguably the team’s best pass-rusher, should aid the defense in their area of weakness; sacking the quarterback. While sitting amongst the top of the league in total defense, pass defense, and points allowed, the Jets find themselves tied for second-to-last in sacks, with only four.
Since their season-opening win in Houston, where the defense registered two sacks and applied countless pressure on Texans’ QB Matt Schaub, the efficiency of the pass rush has dwindled. The Jets did not register a sack and struggled to apply any sense of pressure on Saints’ QB Drew Brees in Sunday’s 24-10 loss.
Last season, his first with New York, Pace posted career highs with seven sacks, five forced fumbles and four fumble recoveries. Pace also led Jets’ linebackers in tackling, racking up an impressive 80 tackles, 62 of them solo.
Pace expressed that he is “beyond ready” to go Monday night. “More than anything it’s just good to be back with the fellas,” said Pace. “It’s like a tribute to something. I’m sitting at home, working out, watching them play but to be able to come out here, get my work in and prepare for this game, it’s a great feeling.”
“I just wanna get going, and try to help boost our sack numbers up and pressure. Maybe sometimes, somebody might see me out there and mess a protection up and whatnot and maybe I’ll free somebody else up.”
War of words continues
While Dolphins’ LB Channing Crowder has yet to throw anymore fuel on this week’s Monday night matchup, one of his teammates has picked up the slack.
Dolphins’ LB Akin Ayodele said the following on the Miami radio show of RB Ronnie Brown earlier this week:
“Their head coach really blew the fire even more this offseason with Channing (Crowder) and both of them going back and forth. How does a head coach, why would you even try and go with words, you know battle with a player? That to me doesn’t make any sense so yeah, the animosity is there, the hatred is there. You know there’s no love; it will feel great once we put that whooping on them.”
But the eight-year veteran didn’t stop there. “I seriously do not like him,” he continued. “I don’t like their team; I just don’t like the fact that he had that whole altercation with my boy (Channing Crowder). You can’t outtalk Channing Crowder. Can’t do it. I’m sorry. And I really think it does brew the fire for this game coming up and it adds a little more to it.”
Bart Scott offered a response to Ayodele’s claims that Miami will put a “whooping” on the Jets. “8:00 Monday night, he gets his opportunity to be Nostradamus,” said Scott.
In a surprising move, Dolphins LB Jerry Porter, one of the leagues’ most notorious trash talkers, refused to comment on the verbal feud, during a brief unproductive conference call with the New York media.
Rex Ryan offered one final humorous statement on the Channing Crowder at the very end of his press conference Wednesday. “I’ll be easy to find,” joked Ryan. “I’ll be easy to spot out there. I’ll have a white jersey on with number 77 on it. He can just have at it if he wants it.”
Injuries and everything else
CB Lito Sheppard practiced today and seems to be ready to go for Monday. Damien Woody(ankle) rode the stationary bike at practice. CB Donald Strickland did not practice and was nowhere to be seen…QB Mark Sanchez was fined $5,000 for his low-block on Saints’ LB Jonathan Vilma in Sunday’s loss in New Orleans. Sanchez said that he has already reached out to the former Jets linebacker and apologized.