The end of January means two things. One is the Super Bowl is right around the corner and the second thing (which is more important to Jets Fans) is that the rumors are beginning to fly. With free agency starting in few weeks and NFL Draft coming in just a few months, NFL hot stove is in full effect. Here are some of the major rumblings that concern Gang Green.
-Before the Jets can concentrate on the Draft and Free Agency, the Jets have to finish rounding out their coaching staff for next season. Gang Green now knows Bill Callahan will replace offensive line coach Tony Wise (who is now at the University of Pittsburgh) and offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer will remain around for at least one more season.
-A more pressing question is the future of defensive coordinator Bob Sutton. Sutton has been on the hot seat ever since head coach Eric Mangini took control of the defense midway through the season. While Sutton is still under contract, heís rumored to be on very thin ice and possibly even gone already. As mentioned in a JI Senior Bowl article earlier this week, Sutton was curiously absent from the festivities after being a staple there for the previous two seasons.
Several sources have reported that one of the Ryan Brothers could be coming to Hempstead. Following the season end, many reported that it was done deal with Rob Ryan coming to New York from Oakland. Oakland denied those reports vehemently despite several sources reporting that second year HC, Lane Kiffin wanted Ryan out. Other sources reported that Raiders owner Al Davis nixed any attempts to fire Ryan and as of today, the organization has reiterated that Ryan is under contract and will remain in Oakland.
As for twin brother Rex, the former Ravens DC who was let go from Baltimore when Brian Billick was fired, is reportedly the frontrunner to take over Suttonís duites. Rex was in the running to get both the head coaching jobs in Baltimore and Atlanta but those positions were filled by John Harbaugh and Mike Smith respectively. According to numerous NFL sources, the Ravens could ask him to come back under Harbaugh but although that would be the easiest move, after 9 seasons, Ryan may want fresh start with a new team. Thatís where the Jets come in. Other reports have surfaced that the Redskins are also interested in Ryan. If he is indeed hired by Washington, another talented DC Gregg Williams would become available. Williams is still under contract with Washington, but that would surely change if Ryan is hired.
-As for rumors regarding Jets players that are currently on the roster, Pro Football Weekly reported this week that DT Dewayne Robertson could be on the trading block. The Jets need a big, aggressive, physical nose tackle to effectively use Manginiís 3-4 defense. Robertson, who was a former fourth overall pick hasnít become the nose tackle that many people hoped heíd be. Robertson did do some good things on the field this season (57 tackles and 4 sacks), but was that enough to convince Mangini that he is the perfect nose tackle for his system? Likely not. Sources have told JI that Robertson feels he wonít be back next year. This could be why he cleaned out his locker at the end of the season which included removing the name plate above his locker. One thing for sure is that the Jets will be open to any offers from other teams who have an interest.
-DT Sione Pouha grabbed the attention of Mangini and the coaching staff during the final weeks of the season. Along with the improvement of the play of Pouha, the Jets could also spend their first pick on a nose-tackle. Jets brass really looked at USC DT Sedrick Ellis at the Senior Bowl and Ellis will most likely be available when the Jets pick at number 6. As reported earlier this week by JI, the Jets spent a lot of time with Ellis this week at the Senior Bowl. Maryland DT Dreí Moore could be an answer to Jets problems in the later rounds.
-Another twist is that according to the Detroit Free Press and ESPN.com, the Detroit Lions are looking into trading or releasing DT Shaun Rogers. A Lions official said on Wednesday no decision has been made, and Lions spokesman Bill Keenist reiterated what coach Rod Marinelli said after a news conference last Thursday: The Lions expect every player under contract to return next season. Rogers, a second-round pick in 2001, is signed through 2010, at salaries of $4.25 million, $5.25 million, and $7 million over the next three years, respectively. If Rogers does become available, look for the Jets to get involved.
-Regarding the upcoming Superbowl...Can you think of a matchup more painful for the Gang Green brethren? First there are the Patriots, who equate to Jets fans in the same league as Palestine is to Israel. Then there are the Giants, who have always overshadowed the Jets in NY and also have their name on the building the Jets play in ten times a year. I imagine rooting for Big Blue is the lesser of the two evils but look for a lot of green at movie theatres in the metro around 6PM next Sunday.
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