Tom Rock, the talented Jets beat writer from Newsday, was kind enough to do a fan chat with Jets Insider.com on November 8th, 2006. The transcript of the event follows:
[TRock] 8:00 pm: Hey folks! Just catching a few extra snaps of the Rutgers game!
[THE_SOOTHSAYER] 8:00 pm: Good Evening Folks! Welcome to the Jets Insider.com chatroom and welcome Newsday Jets beat writer Tom Rock. Thanks for joining us, Tom!
FolksÖI will be moderating this chat. Here are the rules. I will give everyone a chance to ask a question. If you want to ask a question, IM me and I will let you know when you are up. You can IM me by clicking my name on the upper right side of the page here. Please wait till I call your name and ask away. Donít ask a question until itís your turn.
[SBIIICHAMPS] 8:01 pm: Hey Tom first off thanks for sitting down with us tonight. I want to know your gut feeling for sunday. Score? And what we can expect from the Pats. Thanks! -Brian
[TRock] 8:03 pm: Well, a lot's been made about the Pats' streak of winning after losses. Cut to the chase, I think that'll grow to 12 in a row against the Jets. I saw a spread at 10 1/2, though, and I think the Jets can keep it much tighter than that. I'm thinking something along the lines of Pats 27, Jets 23. Pats stuff the Jets running game and Chad passes for 150 in the second half.
[Jetfan16] 8:04 pm: Tom, thanks for chatting. About the game on sunday, I propose that for once, instead of opening up the game with the usual hand off to Barlow for 1 yard on 1st down, 1 yard for second down, and throw incomplete on third down, how about we just open up, first play of the game, drop Chad back and let him uncork one 40 yards down the field, try to do something different for once, instead of the usual, which has proven to never work. what do you think?
[Jetfan16] 8:05 pm: also, out of the top quarterbacks of all time, do you rank Vinny Testaverde as the greatest quarterback ever, and if not, who would you actually rank higher than him? thanks
[TRock] 8:06 pm: I think the Jets tried that against the Jaguars, and look where it got them. Remember the first drive of that game they had Brad Smith line up at three different positions on three plays. It's certainly a little Hackett-like to start the game the way you describe, JF16, and against the Pats front 7 I think Schotty will have to think outside the box. Literally, outside the box.
[TRock] 8:07 pm: Sad to say I would not rank Vinny as the greatest ever. Though my mom went to Sewanhaka HS, so I do have a soft spot for him!
[Jets Babe] 8:08 pm: Hi Tom, I was wondering about Chad's shoulder. Do you think that he's injured, or playing with "arm fatigue"? What have you heard/seen? Do you think that he will bounce back after the BYE week? Thanks.
[TRock] 8:11 pm: I don't think Chad's problem is with his shoulder -- though any QB in th eleague probably suffers a little fatigue as the season goes on and recovers strength after the bye, which came at the perfect time for the Jets. Remember, a couple of the passes against the Browns were overthrown by a looong way. I think, perhaps, Chad's a little overwhelmed by all he has to do running the soft-huddle offense, and he sometimes overthinks things like faking defenses with his eyes or body language rather...
[TRock] 8:11 pm: ... than just reading and reacting.
[Joshsports10] 8:13 pm: Hey Tom, what do you think of Leon Washington and his preformace so far. Should he be the starting back now and do you think he can be our feature back for years to come? Is his size an issue in short yardage situations?
[TRock] 8:15 pm: I've always thought that the only size that matters in short yardage situations is that of the center and two guards. Leon is pretty tiny, but so were a lot of other successful RBs. Joe Morris comes to mind. And Barry Sanders. Washington has been very impressive, and the play I remember thinking that he would make an impact in this league was against the Lions ...
[TRock] 8:16 pm: ... when he ran a sweep to the right that was strung out to the sideline. He stopped on a dime, cut up field and turned what would have been a loss of a yard or two into a 4-yard gain. Those are the plays a team needs its RB to make to be successful, turning nothing into something, because in this age defenses often give you nothing!
[Jerricho89] 8:16 pm: Hi Tom, Like your blog & reporting. The Jet's defense has been really bad, although they started to look good the last 20 minutes against Cleveland. They seem to have a lot of individual talent -Vilma, Barton ,Dyson, Rhodes, etc. Do you think there's a chance the'll get it together in the 2nd half?
[ThisIsOurYear] 8:18 pm: Tom, how has your elevation to covering the Jets been? You used to do local sports & oudoors, right?
[TRock] 8:19 pm: Speaking of Louisville, I think Rhodes is a terrific player and is making great strides this season. And as the LBs get more comfortable with the system, they'll improve as well. Thomas is already catching on and Barton had a breakout game in Cleveland. I think the Jets will shop for a legitimate NT this offseason and move D-Rob to DE where Kimo plays now.
[TRock] 8:19 pm: Sorry, I'm a slow typer!
[TRock] 8:20 pm: Yes, I covered fishing and college sports. The biggest difference covering the Jets now, TIOY, is the competition on th ebeat. When I covered Hofstra or fishing, it was usually just me. Now there are eight other reporters in the room trying to get the story. It's tough.
[TRock] 8:21 pm: I'm a slow typer, but cute as a button!
[SBIIICHAMPS] 8:21 pm: (About Curtis) "Iíll regret never having the chance to work with him on a daily basis." That's from your Nov.1st blog. Which was an awesome piece. Do you really mean that? And is Curtis indeed done in your eyes? He was a true warrior.
[TRock] 8:22 pm: It would take a miracle for Curtis to play again, and I think he knows it too. He's just coming to grips with it at his own pace, and no one in the Jets wants to be the one to push him.
[TRock] 8:23 pm: More to come...
[Jets_Fragger] 8:24 pm: Tom, what was Mangini's take on the terrible call against Baker vs the Browns?
[TRock] 8:24 pm: I think that covering Curtis in his prime (i.e. two years ago) would have been an amazing experience. I've only seen him run on TV, and that was fun to watch. But the stories the guys tell about Curtis in the locker room, off the record stuff, is incredible. If you want to learn more about Martin, you should check out Cimini's blog the day he announced his season would end. Tear-jerking stuff.
[TRock] 8:26 pm: I was a little disappointed in Mangini's reaction to the call. I would have liked to see a little more passion from him, to be honest. At least a sense of him knowing he got screwed (can I say that here?). Instead he played it straight, blaming the other 130 plays, and never admitting that he thought Baker would have come down in bounds.
[TRock] 8:27 pm: Plenty of me to go around, Fragger!
[THE_SOOTHSAYER] 8:27 pm: 16 you are up. No vinny questions
[TRock] 8:28 pm: No Vinny questions. That's like telling Neil armstrong No Moon Questions
[SBIIICHAMPS] 8:28 pm: see T rock is more open and loose than Cannizzaro
[Jetfan16] 8:28 pm: Tom, when is Cedric Houston going to be back, and if so, what role will he have w/ the emergence of Washington, and Barlow's improving play? also, arent you sick and tired of the stupid #$%^&* ng chowds? their fans are the most annoying fans in sports history, dont you think?
[TRock] 8:29 pm: I'll report on the Pat fans when I get back from Foxboro next week, it'll be my first time dealing with them. As for Cedric ...
[TRock] 8:31 pm: ... he's been practicing for about a month, and probably the only reason he's not back already is the emergence of Washington. It's his bad luck to get hurt and let the rookie take off, but that's the biz. Cedric appeared to be practicing at full speed and strength this week, and if he is not on the field Sunday, it'll be a coaches decision and not an injury situation IMO.
[Joshsports10] 8:31 pm: Tom, what do you think the Jets final record will be and what do you think about our playoff chances?
[TRock] 8:33 pm: I think the playoffs got pushed aside just as Chris Baker did. But I think the Jets can still win 8-9 games. Chicago will be a tough one, but certainly not as impossible as it appeared before last week. And the Vikings are a team I can't figure out, I was pretty high on them early in the season. Now they may be making a QB change before long.
[isired] 8:33 pm: tom, congrats on your expanded role, you've been doing a great job - i know you've got a lot of fans here on ji.com. do you think we'll shuffle the deck on the D-line this week? will Keyonta Marshall suit up? can SBIII behave himself?
[TRock] 8:35 pm: Marshall was signed to the practice squad, but with Teague IR'd there is an opening and it could go to him. I liked the Jets defense with Rashad Moore in the middle and D-Rob at an end opposite Ellis. I wouldn't mind seeing the Jets do that. I also think Bobby Hamilton is playing pretty well in his spot duty.
[Jets Babe] 8:36 pm: Tom, what is the deal with ben graham? i read that the jets might use him on offense! dont you think thats a little ridiculous? also...do you think that they will let ben graham take over kickoffs since nugent (although ridiculously good-looking) cant kick them in the endzone? -Thanks.
[isired] 8:37 pm: i didn't know marshall was PS, i thought the signing on the heals iof th eteague announcement meant he'd get a spot, thx. i like that 3 as well, especially against the pats.
[TRock] 8:38 pm: I think it's ridiculous to think Graham will be in there on second down plays or for any serious portion of the offense, but he does have the ability to run, catch and throw, and that makes him valuable in trick plays such as fake punts. and don't forget he's the holder on FGs and PATs, so he can do a lot of things there as well. As for kickoffs...
[Jets_Fragger] 8:39 pm: TRock do you need a bodyguard for the Foxboro trip I can help, Also where has Blaylock been and can we expect Brad Smith to be in more "trick" plays?
[TRock] 8:39 pm: ... Mike Westhoff said it's a foreign motion for him to kick a ball that is standing still, but he did say he has tried it in the past and will likely work with Ben on it during the offseason.
[TRock] 8:41 pm: Frag -- I think Brad Smith needs to be in on more regular plays before the trick plays start to work again. Other teams even have big oaktag signs they hold up with the No. 16 on them when he is on the field, that's how aware they have become of his presence. Smith had a sweet catch in a 2-min. drill in practice on Wednesday, so look for him to get more snaps at WR before he's taking snaps at QB or running the option.
[TRock] 8:41 pm: Blaylock is a cool guy, but with Barlow, Washington, and now Houston about to return, do you really need to know where he's been?
[ThisIsOurYear] 8:42 pm: Tom: What is your opinion on DRob and how he fits in this defense and how he's developed.
[TRock] 8:43 pm: Our Year, I've been pretty hard on D-Rob, but most of it is because I think he's being misused. I think his place in this defense will eventually be at DE, not NT. He has been improving his technique every time we ask Mangini about him, and he showed some improvement against Cleveland.
[SBIIICHAMPS] 8:43 pm: T-Rock I want to thank you for your time. One last question are you going to read Namath's new book? And can you give me a J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS chant? Just one give it to me T-rock! Brian
[TRock] 8:45 pm: Just to get back to TIOY for a sec ... I think he's too quick to play nose, and that skill is not used in the position. Now, SBIII...
[TRock] 8:46 pm: I'll read Namath's book (if he sends me a copy). I'll give you the chant, but have to cross my fingers while doing it for journalistic integrity ...
[ThisIsOurYear] 8:46 pm: lol
[TRock] 8:46 pm: J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS
[Jets_Fragger] 8:46 pm: [crossing]
[Jetfan16] 8:46 pm: HELLZ YEAH
[SBIIICHAMPS] 8:46 pm: yeeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
[Jetfan16] 8:46 pm: T ROCK FOR PRESIDENT!!
[Jets_Fragger] 8:47 pm: SEXY TIME
[SBIIICHAMPS] 8:47 pm: J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
[ThisIsOurYear] 8:47 pm: Tom, is rock your real name or a pen name. Sounds like a WWF wrestler
[Bleedin' Green] 8:48 pm: I think the Jets secondary is better than they tend to get credit for. I think guys like Rhodes and Dyson are good players and when healthy and Barrett is vastly underrated. I think they get a bad rep due to how long they're usually forced to be back in coverage due to the Jets anemic pass rush. What are your opinions on the secondary and how do you think the team intends to try to fix the pass rush issue?
[TRock] 8:48 pm: As an aside: Someone mentioned the blog earlier. I'm curious to hear what you guys would like to see on it. IM me if you see me here or drop a comment at the blog and let me know.
[ThisIsOurYear] 8:49 pm: I think you should do the blog on JI
[TRock] 8:51 pm: I do think Rhodes is terrific and Dyson has been OK. Miller has yet to develop into a good defender IMO. I agree that when the Jets apply pressure via blitz, they cover much better, and I;ve been a proponent of that strategy for a while. Then again, remember when they blitzed Brady in the first NE game and all those third-and-longs turned into first downs on their final drive! But that was a long time ago! Before Drew Coleman and Eric Smith.
[ThisIsOurYear] 8:52 pm: Tom: What is your opinion on Ellis' play. Everyone has been saying he's had an off year due to the lack of sacks but I always see him in the play. Comments?
[TRock] 8:55 pm: I think when you are the big DE, and the defensive captain, you will be measured by impact plays, and Shaun is not making them. Now, getting back to the blitz question, when the Jets send LBs, that makes offensive lines drop their double teams on guys like Ellis and D-Rob, which increases their production. I remember in HS my coach said defense is easier than offense because on offense if 10 guys do it right and one guy screws up the play is shot ...
[Limolady] 8:55 pm: Hey Tom, why do think there is such a stigmata when it comes to the Jets playing the Pats in recent years? Do you think they have a good chance at upsetting the pats this Sunday?
[TRock] 8:56 pm: ... but on defense if 10 guys screw up and one guy gets it right, you can still be successful. With the 3-4 and the schemes and responsibilities the way they are, the Jets defense is just like my HS offense!
[TRock] 8:58 pm: I think the Jets have a shot, Limo, but they just have the misfortune of playing one of th egreat dynastic teams in NFL history twice a year. I'm sure if you look at the records of teams like the Seahawksagainst the 49ers in their days of dominance, it was pretty much the same. It just feels like the Jets always lose to the Pats because the Jets always PLAY the Pats.
[ThisIsOurYear] 8:58pm: Thanks tom...where did you go to HS? Locally
[TRock] 8:59pm: TIOY, I went to Division HS in Levittown
[Joshsports10] 8:58 pm: Tom what do you think about Kerry Rhodes amazing ability as a playmaker and about his chances of going to the probowl?
[TRock] 9:01 pm: I think Rhodes is a pretty special player, probably second only to Vilma in natural football sense. Teams caught on to his blitz-sack-strip routine pretty quickly, but I was impressed watching him blitz against the Browns, he put some nice pressure on Frye in the fourth quarter. I think Rhodes suffers from a little lack of name recognition when it comes to trips to Hawaii, but he probably deserves to go based on the 1st half of the season.
[Limolady] 9:01 pm: Wait - sing the VT Song! LOL!
[THE_SOOTHSAYER] 9:01 pm: Tom...thanks so much for your time. Please join us again soon. You did a great job!
[TRock] 9:01 pm: Thanks to everyone for the questions. Hope I was helpful!