Archive for August, 2010

O’Connell’s progressions grow with the day

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

CORTLAND, N.Y. – Kevin O’Connell towers over his quarterback counterparts, all he needs is a chance. Standing tall at 6-foot-6 it’s hard to miss the second-year QB from San Diego State. As he enters his first full season with the Jets, he’s hoping to take his prototypical QB physique and pair it with the mental aspect of the N.F.L. to take his game to the next level.

The Jets will likely only carry three QB's this season and Kevin O'Connell thinks he should be one of the three. (JetsInsider.com Photo)

“[Kevin] has all the equipment needed to fit in the modern NFL quarterback toolbox,” said San Diego sports writer Nick Canepa, who covered O’Connell while he played at San Diego State. “He’s 6-foot-6 and weighs 235 pounds. He runs like a deer. He has plenty of arm. He’s smart. He comes from a great background. He has a wonderful personality. He’s a leader.”

With a whole off-season to grasp the offense, he’s hopeful to put everything together and create a name for himself in the league.

“There’s not one thing I’m particularly working on. I’m trying to get better all-around and work my way up the depth chart. As a back-up you have to ready,” said O’Connell.

Realistically he will be battling with Erik Ainge, who has been absent from training camp thus far with an undisclosed illness, for the number three spot on the depth chart behind start Mark Sanchez and newly-acquired back-up Mark Brunell.

O’Connell was drafted in 2008 by the New England Patriots before being released in 2009. He spent some time with Detroit Lions before being traded to the Jets for a 2011 seventh-round pick on September 6th, 2009.

When asked about being on both sides of the Jets-Patriots rivalry, he was surprised by the magnitude of it all. “Coming from San Diego, I had no idea how serious everyone took it. I remember one of the first games in ’08 [as a Patriot] playing against [Brett] Favre. The intensity is great,” he said.

Rex Ryan offered little praise for the third-stringer, perhaps motivation for O’Connell. “He looks nice and tall, a good-looking kid. He looks like [Tom] Brady. I’d like to see him play like Brady. We’ll see,” he said.

Woody Johnson holds press conference on Revis

Tuesday, August 3rd, 2010

CORTLAND, N.Y.- It wasn’t on the menu, but the a la carte press conference by Jets owner, Woody Johnson, about the ever-growing Darrelle Revis contract situation, was certainly a popular dish at the first day of training camp.

As the reporters covering the Jets on a sunny Monday afternoon were vigorously typing away on their laptops and rewinding their voice recorders, we were told not to leave because “Mr. Johnson” was on his way in to give an impromptu press conference. As if there wasn’t enough going on, suddenly anyone who wasn’t typing away was scurrying to get the necessary tools ready.

When the elevator reached the fourth floor and the doors opened, there was a crowd of reporters with recorders and cameramen from SNY and HBO patiently waiting to hear what the Jets owner had on his mind about Darrelle Revis holding out from training camp.

“Am I disappointed? Yes. I would like everything to be clear sailing until we the Super Bowl and then be done,” said Johnson after briefly greeting a few familiar faces. “Part of running a team is dealing with disappointment. You want to make things right for the team and players. So, yeah, I am disappointed.”

The emphasis would be on disappointed as he used that word numerous times to describe his feelings on the issue. A rather weak choice of words considering Revis has turned down not one, but two contract extensions and face-to-face meeting to discuss the details of their negotiations. Where Revis wants to be the highest paid cornerback in the N.F.L.—complete with guaranteed bonus money and security, Johnson wants what he is calling “total compensation”.

Woody Johnson made it clear that he wants Darrelle Revis to remain a Jet. "We drafted him, so he's our guy," said Johnson. But he will not put the future of the team in jeopardy. (JI Photo)Johnson on why the re-signing has stalled: “The main issue with us is total compensation. When you get to details like guaranteed money and length on contract—all those things are apart of a contract, but to get to the part where we negotiate those—we’re too far apart. I’d love to sit down and negotiate and be flexible.We want to give him something he wants but what the team is comfortable with, a two-sided deal.”

He was very candid, and very concise with all his answers; making sure to take his time, look the reporter in the eye and answer the question to the best of his ability.

“I’ve been with the team 11 years,” Johnson said, “and we’ve never had an inability in our resources to sign whoever we wanted. If Darrelle wants me to sit down with him, I will. Where ever he wants.”

It was clear Johnson was attempting to send a message and speak out on behalf of the Jets’ front office as he was very careful to stroke the ego of Revis, yet still making it clear that he does not want this to carry out much longer.

“I’m disappointed because he’s currently under contract. We were just giving him options that were good for him and us…I’m an optimist, I think [a new deal] is possible.”

He would go on about a story of Revis where, as a boy growing up in an apartment with his family, he gave up his bedroom for his brother while he slept in the hall. “That’s Revis. That’s the Revis I think of,” said Johnson.

By the end of the press conference, one thing was for certain. Johnson clearly wants to get a deal done, but not at the expense of ruining their future—especially with the danger of a lock-out looming for the 2011 season.

“Just because you want to do something doesn’t mean it’s going to happen. [But] the sticking point is total compensation. We haven’t talked about [guaranteed money and length of contract], but we’d be happy to do so.”

OVER 70 EXCLUSIVE CORTLAND TRAINING CAMP PHOTOS! For the largest gallery of exclusive Jets training camp photos on the internet: CLICK HERE

Revis: Out of Sight , On the Mind

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Jets training camp opened up in SUNY Cortland on Monday, August 2, 2010. Star CB Darrelle Revis was not present due to problems re-negotiating his contract. (Photo courtesy of JetsInsider.com

CORTLAND, N.Y.- The first day of training camp kicked off at 8 a.m. Monday morning. Team assistants were setting up cones and preparing the tackling sleds. Coaches, draped in ceremonial green and white athletic gear, blew their whistles signifying the start and end of each drill. Players were stretching their muscles that have been at rest for the last six weeks. Reporters were exchanging pleasantries while conversing about the team. All seemed right to be right in the football world.

Except for the small fact that the Jets were without star player Darrelle Revis. It’s been well-chronicled that Revis and the Jets have not been on the same page with the terms of a restructured contract. And despite GM Mike Tannenbaum’s attempts to get a deal done before Monday, Revis was absent when the team took the field.

In spite of Revis missing the first day, his presence was still felt. His holdout has been on the forefront of everyone connected to the Jets. It has stolen the spotlight away from the team that, coming into training camp, had nothing but positive publicity. Instead of talking about the newly re-acquired Laveranues Coles or congratulating Kris Jenkins on winning the Jet’s Biggest Loser challenge reporters have their minds pre-occupied with thoughts of the juicy gossip of a superstar hold-out.

One of the defensive captains, S Jim Leonhard, felt the void of Revis. “Obviously, when you don’t have someone on the field with you, you’re going to miss out on the quality of reps and communication. [Revis] is a big leader on this team. We miss him, but no one is worried about Darrelle. When he shows up he’ll be ready.”

Whether it was his defensive teammates or the guys on the other side of the ball, players understand it’s a business, using the pre-prepared answer of “he needs to do what’s best for him”.

Head coach Rex Ryan regularly speaks of Revis as the best defensive player in the N.F.L., while admitting that he is the best defensive player he has ever coached. Keep in mind this is coming from a man who has had players named Ray Lewis and Ed Reed play under him.

Revis, who has three years left on his rookie contract, wants to be compensated as the league’s best defensive player. In not reporting to training camp, he has given up $20 million while still being fined $16,000 for every practice he misses. On the slim salary of $1 million, those missed practices will add up if this hold-out continues.

He is reportedly looking to be paid more than Nnamdi Asomugha, the Oakland Raiders cornerback who inked a three-year, $43.5 million deal last year.

Reportedly, Tannenbaum was shut down by Revis and his agents on three separate deals: one that would’ve made him a “lifetime Jet”, a short-term solution and a face-to-face meeting to discuss details. Tannenbaum said, “It’s hard to say what’s going to happen next.”

“Our goals are still the same no matter what goes on. All we can do is move forward and hope he’s back soon,” said CB Antonio Cromartie whose teammates shared the same textbook answer on topic.

Cromartie may have given the textbook answer on Revis’s situation, but the desire in his eyes became evident when asked if he would be ready to cover the Raven’s Anquan Boldin the first week of the season. His eyes narrowed, squinting from the sweat above his brow and sunlight of the hot Cortland sun, as he cleared his voice, perhaps speaking on behalf of the entire team.

“I’m always ready,” he confirmed.

OVER 70 EXCLUSIVE CORTLAND TRAINING CAMP PHOTOS! For the largest gallery of exclusive Jets training camp photos on the internet: CLICK HERE