Archive for June, 2012

Jets waive QB Kinne, release OT Willis

Thursday, June 28th, 2012

The Jets have officially announced they have waived quarterback G.J. Kinne and releasing veteran offensive lineman Ray Willis.

Kinne signed with the Jets as an undrafted free agent out of Tulsa along with Matt Simms — the son of former Giants quarterback Phil Simms. Signed after the team’s rookie camp in May, Kinne appeared to be behind Simms as far as reps are concerned.

Jets shook up their quarterback look a little by announcing the team waived UDFA GJ Kinne. ( Photo).

Before the team could officially announce the move, Kinne (@GJKinne) tweeted that he “definitely didn’t get a fair shot” but that he “learned a lot and is excited for what the future holds”.

A three-year starter at Tulsa, Kinne completed his college career ranked second in school history in total yards (10,831), passing yards (9,472) and touchdown passes (81). He was named Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year as a junior after completing 60 percent of his passes for 3,650 yards and 31 touchdowns.

Willis was added to the team last month along with fellow offensive lineman Stephen Heyer to bolster a unit that was hampered by injuries all season. He spent six seasons with Seattle (2005-2010) after being drafted by the Seahawks in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, starting 26-of-49 games, including all 16 contests during the 2009 season. Willis spent the 2010 season on injured reserve. In 2011, Willis signed as a free agent with New Orleans (11/02/11) and spent two weeks on the active roster before being waived.

With the moves made today, the Jets are now carrying four quarterbacks and have two available spots open on their 90-man roster.

Jets Mini-Camp: Back in Black

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

(Photo Credit: Wesley Sykes).

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. – Rex Ryan and the Jets unveiled a new look in front of the Gang Green faithful on the last day of the team’s mini-camp on Thursday. To the surprise of everyone — reporters, fans and players — the Jets defense took the field sporting black practice uniforms.

“I had no idea about them. I just found them in my locker and put it on. It was a surprise to me, but I like them. I like the black,” Kyle Wilson said.

But for Ryan, this new style carries a deeper substance.

“It’s different. One thing about football players is they love competition and those black jerseys stick out to the opposite side of the ball. If we have a red zone emphasis or ball security drill — the unit I think did the best in that specific drill will wear the jerseys in the following practice. It makes them think what the emphasis are.”

Master of Motivation? Rex uses sexy black jerseys to invoke in-team competition when training camp opens in July at SUNY Cortland. ( Photo).

Ryan credited the motivational move to offensive coordinator Tony Sparano during his time in Miami, but noted that the team didn’t need to be reminded of points of emphasis or re-motivated, rather an added incentive for players to perform well in practice.

Unlike stickers on the helmet for individual performance, made popular on the collegiate level, this idea rewards a unit for a great collective effort — re-emphasizing the importance of team chemistry.

Regardless of substance, however, players like Antonio Cromartie love the intimidation factor the black uniforms.

“It felt good wearing those black jerseys. We just want to come out and be intimidating, period. Not just because we’re wearing different color jerseys. That’s one thing we’ve been trying to work on this entire offseason: be dominant in all facets of the game,” Cromartie said.

“Pretty much everyone wants to wear them,” Wilson said.

Ryan, always an innovator when it comes to motivational tactics, once again is implementing another scheme. Coming off, what he called the lowest point confidence and chemistry wise after their Week 17 loss to the Dolphins, this could be something that puts last season’s debacle even further in the review.

Matt Slauson: The Next Karate Kid?

Thursday, June 14th, 2012

Florham Park, N.J. – Matt Slauson has had a Zen-like patience during his lengthy road back rehabbing a significantly damaged left shoulder. Following last season Slauson had surgery to repair the shoulder that suffered a torn labrum, rotator cuff and biceps.

While players practiced new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano’s offensive schemes at OTAs last week, Slauson was off to the side with strength and conditioning coach Justus Galac working out that left shoulder with a series karate-esque moves.

Waxing on and waxing off, Slauson-san performed a series of chops, slaps and blocks – all testing the durability and motion of his surgically repaired shoulder. Slauson laughed off any notion of inspiration from Mr. Miyagi and the 1984 hit movie, but has been serious about getting back on the field.

“I’m just trying to get all my rehabbing done right so that they can let me practice. I feel like I’m ready to go, but they keep pulling on the reigns.  I’m just trying everyday to work as hard as I possibly can,” he said.

Matt Slauson (right) has used a series of karate chops to help strengthen his surgically repaired left shoulder. ( Photo).

Thus far, Slauson’s recovery has gone according to plan as he told the Newark Star Ledger that he planned on missing OTAs and being back in time for mini-camp in April. Although limited, he has seen time on the field and Rex Ryan has praised his dedication to returning swiftly.

“He’s been rehabbing his shoulder like a mad man. He’s benching with one arm what I would squat with my legs,” Ryan said in his Tuesday press conference.

Once thought of as a weak-point on the offensive line having to fill the shoes of perennial Pro Bowl guard Alan Fanenca, Slauson is now seen as a mainstay on a unit that’s looking regain their prominence of years past.

“You can never expect to replace a guy like Alan. He’s an incredible player. I just want to go in and be the best player I can possibly be, so we can get back to being number one in the league,” he said.

Having mastered the “wax on, wax off” technique what’s next for Slauson-san? Catching a fly with chopsticks because as Mr. Miyagi said “Man who catch fly with chopsticks accomplish anything”.

Josh Brown’s Preparation hopes to create Separation

Thursday, June 7th, 2012

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. — For newly acquired kicker Josh Brown, winning the starting kicker position over friend and fellow competitor in Nick Folk is business, nothing personal.

“This business is not for the weary or the faint of heart. This is to win and win alone,” Brown said. “Nick is going to get my best shot and the Jets are going to get the best of me right now.”

After finishing his four-year contract with the St. Louis Rams last season, one that made him the highest paid kicker at the time earning $14.2 million in that span with a $4 million signing bonus, Brown is ready to earn his worth with the Jets.

Signed to a modest one-year $800,000 deal, Brown is looking to ‘fit into the mix and earn the respect of the guys along the way’. Earning the respect of his new teammates began by informing Folk that the team would be bringing him in for a tryout, something that’s not always standard operating procedure for players.

“[Josh] sent me a text when they brought him in for a tryout,” Folk, who would go on to say that the two are “pretty good friends”, said.

Brown described the exchange as ‘professional’ and the ‘only way to go about’ this situation.

“The main thing is I’m friends with Nick. I know him. I’m not just going to blindside a buddy of mine and say ‘Hey I’m here to take your job’. This is the only job that was open at the time. I had to take the interview,” he said.

Can Nick Folk (above) beat out Josh Brown for the starting kicker role? ( Photo).

While saying that, however, there was a piercingly sharp look in his eye that all competitive athletes are equipped with — that killer instinct, so to speak. Although Brown may just be a kicker, no one can question his killer instinct. While at Foyil (OK) High School he was the team’s starting running back, safety, punter, punter returner, kicker and kick returner — setting records in all-purpose yards (10, 891 – single season / 19,136 – career) and scores (51 – single season / 122 – career). He was a three-sport letterman and a state champion high jumper. Needless to say, Brown defied most cliches regarding the NFL kicker.

When it came time to decide on a school and a position, he chose the rivaled Cornhuskers of Nebraska where he was purely a kicker.

“I thought kicker gave me the best opportunity to continue the football life and career. To play [other positions] at the Division-1 level you have to have certain attributes and you have to want to do it. I didn’t want to do it. It was fun in high school and I enjoyed it, but the punishment these guys take is not something my frame can endure,” he said.

Continuing to endure a life in football is something Brown has found self-fulfillment in from the kicker position. A career 81% kicker, Brown credits his preparation for his sustained success.

“Like anything else, it’s all in your preparation – being able to familiarize yourself with game-like situations in practice. Can you simulate pressure? Not always, but you can always understand the rhythm of your body. You try to not allow the situation dictate your emotions and control you. It’s exactly the opposite. You need to control your emotions and dictate the situations,” he said.

He cites a happy medium, that varies from game-to-game, between staying loose and tiring out his leg while waiting to be used in game situations.

“It’s all based on feel. It’s all based on how your body responds to the amount of work you’re doing. With offense and defense so evenly matched these days, the kickers are so much more valuable to the team. If you overwork a player during week and thinking it’s not a big deal you’re fooling yourself,” he said.

Brown, who graduated with a degree in communications, quite clearly draws a connection between NFL kickers and MLB starting pitchers. In his eyes it’s equally important to monitor a “pitch count” of a kicker during the week so that he is not overworked or fatigued by Sundays.

Although he understands the type of business the NFL can, taking the “mound” is personal for Brown.

“We both know what is at stake here. I have three kids. I have people that depend on me. He’s recently married. No matter which way you look at it, we’re both going to be playing in NFL this season somewhere,” he said.