Friday Notes from the Complex
- The biggest news out of Rex Ryan’s news conference earlier today came in the form of flammable comments regarding injured Dolphins corner Will Allen and loud mouth linebacker Joey Porter. After being informed that Porter had taken issue with a less cutting remark Ryan made about Allen’s injury in a session with Miami reporters, the Jets head coach reacted brusquely. “I don’t care about that,” said Ryan rather pointedly. “If he’s got issues with me about one of their guys being out… I don’t feel sorry for them losing Will Allen. Obviously, I don’t like for any player to be hurt, but if they’re looking for sympathy because Will Allen is out of the game, well, we’ve got Kris Jenkins out and we’ve got Leon Washington out for the season.” The real verbal takedown was still yet to be heard, though. “[Those are] two guys that are Pro Bowl players. No disrespect to Will Allen, but I don’t think he’s going to make a Pro Bowl anytime soon. He’s a decent player,” said Ryan taking a breath. “But whatever.”
- Jim Leonhard shared a few interesting insights regarding his role in stopping the wildcat, and the numerous problems and counters the setup inspires within a defense. “You have to get involved in that run a little more,” offered Leonhard. “I feel like I’m going to be more active. Because it’s rare that they throw the ball [out of that formation].” The tricky possibilities of the wildcat can alter the normal approach of even established players. Leonhard, a standout safety known for strong intuitive play, admitted he might have been overcompensating in coverage, wary of a pass. “One big thing with the wildcat,” continued Leonhard, “is that you have to give them multiple looks. You have to be multiple up-front, otherwise they’ll pick you apart.” The Jets were definitely picked apart that Monday night, ravaged by the Wildcat and a rookie quarterback. The defense was out of sync throughout the game, collapsing completely in the second half. Rex Ryan maintains that the performance was “embarrassing.” Leonhard acknowledged the difficult task New York faces. “It definitely creates a lot of issues you don’t see on a week-to-week basis.” Redemption could be days away for the Jets and Leonhard, who seemed to have a solid grasp on the necessary adjustments. Whether these can be executed will determine a key divisional contest before the bye week.
- With Ted Ginn Jr. struggling to catch the football, second year man Davone Bess seems to have assumed the role of de facto number one receiver for the Dolphins, despite his yards per reception sitting at a rather paltry 7.2. Darrelle Revis seemed impressed with Bess’ skill-set. “He’s another Wes Welker,” said the corner. “Catches a lot of intermediate passes.” Bess will be hard pressed fill the big play void being left by Ginn, who, in fact, has fewer grabs than Greg Camarillo.
- Kellen Clemens has taken over place holding duties on field goals and extra points. “I’m excited to be contributing,” said the backup, who lost a close competition with Mark Sanchez in training camp. Long lauded special teams coach Mike Westhoff shared a positive take regarding Clemens on Wednesday. “Steve (Weatherford) has good enough hands, but I don’t think they’re great,” said Westhoff regarding the previous holder. “He works at it. He’s diligent. He does a good, solid job, but there are some inconsistencies. There is another part of getting Kellen (Clemens) involved. Kellen has always been our backup. We contemplated a number of times using Kellen as our holder depending on the different times that we’ve had an array of punters in here. Some of them were very good holders. Others frankly were not. If they had been the punter, Kellen would have been the holder so we had gone that way during training camp. Kellen is into it. He wants to do it.”
- The Jets and Dolphins share a distinguished history together. When the two franchises clashed earlier this season on Monday Night Football, memories were conjured of the miraculous victory engineered by Vinny Testaverde in 2000, who piloted the Jets from the depths of a twenty three point fourth quarter deficit. It was, without a doubt, the greatest Monday Night game ever played.
This upcoming Sunday afternoon showdown may inspire flashbacks as well. It was week three of the 1986 season, when Ken O’Brien and Dan Marino had a quarterbacking duel for the ages, combining for 927 passing yards and ten touchdowns. O’Brien was the last signal caller selected before Dan Marino in the mythical quarterback draft class of 1983. After a superb collegiate career at Pittsburgh was marred by an inconsistent senior season, Marino saw his draft stock tumble. In retrospect, the Jets were not alone in making a terrible miscalculation. Though O’Brien won this battle, his star would burn out quickly. This win may have represented the absolute highlight of his career.
- Ryan credited Ronnie Brown with what he termed “a great statement”, though his delivery could have been construed as cryptic, for the Dolphins anyway. “I’m just going to quote Ronnie Brown,” said Ryan. “He made a statement that the eleven toughest guys on the field on the field are going to be most successful. I agree with that statement. It’s going to play out on Sunday.”