Today is Monday, July 26th, 2010. The air is stale and the sports scene is equally as flat. Of course, there is always baseball, but over the course of 162 games does it really matter if the Yankees lose a game to the Royals in July? They will undoubtedly be in the hunt come October. The last thing anyone wants to talk about is basketball, especially in New York. LeBron James’ jerseys have been burnt and urinated on more than American flags in the middle east. And how many WNBA games can be watched before one reaches for the nearest blunt object to gouge out their eyes?
But true sports fans rejoice! In seven days football will reenter our lives, saving us from resorting to the under 20 Women’s World Cup on ESPN U. On August 2nd, the New York Jets will begin training camp at SUNY Cortland in hopes of improving from last season (9-7, AFC Championship Game).
A surprising team in 2009, the Jets will have targets on their backs in 2010 after making plenty of noise in the playoffs and off-season. With all the high-profile additions (i.e. LaDanian Tomlinson, Antonio Cromartie, Santonio Holmes, Jason Taylor, etc.) football analysts and pundits alike see the Jets as one of the top teams to beat this year–on paper, of course. ESPN’s power rankings has the Jets ranked at number seven, the third best team in the AFC (Indianapolis-1, Baltimore-5). The New England Patriots, who has bullied New York over the past decade, are stuck looking at the Jets’ backside at number nine.
As this will be my first training camp covering an NFL team since…well, ever, I figured there will be a lot of experiences to be fulfilled. And to be covering a team with as many story lines as the New York Jets, the possibility for stories is endless. It really is an ideal situation for a journalist. So without further adieu, here is my bucket list of things to accomplish while at SUNY Cortland.
- Seek out at least two (2) forms of rookie hazing. We all know the prima dona act Cowboys’ rookie wideout Dez Bryant pulled when veteran WR Roy Williams told him to carry his shoulder pads. What will boisterous LB Bart Scott do to embarrass big, bad Vlad Ducasse? Carry a Hannah Montana knapsack? What could be better than seeing rookie RB John Conner freestyle rap in front of the entire team during lunch? Maybe seeing Joe McKnight getting duct-taped to the field goal post…
- Hear ten (10) “Re-sign Re-vis!” chants. The roar of this chant dominated the crowd of the Gang Green faithful during mini-camp and with the Broncos shelling out the big bucks on their defensive star, pass-rushing LB Elvis Dumervil, expect the fans to be even more vocal. Dumervil agreed to a 5-year, $58.3 million extension, proving that teams can give out large contracts during a period of labor uncertainty. Will the Jets step up the plate for Revis?
- See something, anything at all, from Vernon Gholston. There are some grounds keepers who have spent more time on the field than the former first-round pick, who was virtually useless playing linebacker in his first two years. And right around this time is when we start seeing articles about how he is going to “break out” this season, and expect nothing different from this year. He’s back in the three-point stance, playing defensive end alongside grizzled vets like Shaun Ellis and Jason Taylor.
- Find out just who really is the Jet’s Biggest Loser. It’s been reported that NT Kris Jenkins has lost 25 pounds on a “cookie diet”, while RG Damian Woody lost the same amount after a week at the Duke Weight Loss Center and wants to drop another ten come Monday. However there’s no word on how much weight head coach Rex Ryan lost. After spending part of his time off with his in-laws, I can only imagine it drove him to eat more.
- Who will be the odd-man out at quarterback? Speaking of the biggest loser, we may see one QB gone before September 13th. With second-year QB Mark Sanchez set to start, there are many question marks surrounding his back-ups. There have been reports that the Jets have been in talks with Mark Burnell, but a deal has yet to be struck. Many see Kellen Clemens as the odd-man out under center, but nothing has been set in stone.
- Get at least 15 seconds of face time on HBO’s Hard Knocks. I love everything HBO puts out. After all, it’s not TV, it’s HBO. I don’t care how it happens, I just want on there. If it means standing in front of the cameramen so they have no choice but to keep me in the shot, then so be it. If it means doing something ridiculous like lining up opposite of Kris Jenkins in a trench drill, then sign me up!
- Search for five (5) Jets fans who still believe that Jason Taylor is only on the Jets to sabotage their season. After making a career of bringing the pain to the Jets quarterbacks and fans alike, Jason Taylor still hasn’t won over every Jets fan. A few friends actually believe that he will somehow, someway ruin this team’s golden opportunity at reaching the Super Bowl. Their questions will be answered September 26th at Miami.
There will be all this and even more that will be unpredictable to happen at training camp this year. Myself and the rest of the JetsInsider.com team will be here to bring all of it and then some. If there is anything you’d like to see/read about leave and comment and I’ll be sure to it to the Bucket List!
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