By Peter Schwartz
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After putting the wraps on their three day mandatory minicamp, the Jets began their six-week break before they reconvene for training camp.
Aside from Mark Sanchez and the skill position players who will take part in the “Jets West” camp over the summer, the Jets will go their separate ways before the fun starts again at SUNY Cortland on July 26.
At the end of practice on Thursday, head coach Rex Ryan gathered his troops at the middle of the field and conveyed an important message to his team.
“I talked about trying to get in great shape, because I mentioned already today that I want this team to own the fourth quarter,” said Ryan. “That is something that we need to do. And I think you do that by making strides in the offseason with your conditioning, with all those types of things.
He added: “It’s really on them because right now it’s almost like the old college deal about a dead period.”
The Jets coaching staff will not have any contact with the players during this six-week “dead period,” as Ryan put it. So it will be up to each player to stay in shape, remember what they learned during the offseason workouts, OTAs, and minicamp, while also enjoying some time away from football.
“Some rest, conditioning, lifting, getting ready for camp and just enjoying your free time cause you won’t have any for a while,” said guard Brandon Moore. “If you feel like it, (spend a) little extra time with your (play) book. Just open it up and keeping things fresh for a little bit. (Just) get away, as coach told me a long time ago, just enjoy your time with your family.”
And then before you know it, July 26 will arrive and the Jets will make their up to Central New York and check into the dorms at Cortland for training camp. The Jets enjoyed their first training camp experience at SUNY Cortland in 2009 before agreeing to a three-year deal with the school and returning in 2010. Because of the lockout, the Jets were forced to hold training camp at their practice facility in Florham Park last year, so the Jets are now scheduled to be in Cortland this year and the next.
After not having an offseason last year and not getting away for training camp, the Jets are pumped up for a return to Cortland after a successful off-season program.
“I definitely think so,” said cornerback Antonio Cromartie. “I think it is good for us to have a full offseason. I think the rookies got in and they got to run a bit more. They didn’t have to get thrown into the fire. You know what to expect out of everyone right now going into our training camp. I think this is going to help out a lot with the camaraderie of the team as well.
“Being here last year in New Jersey and having training camp here, it hurt us a lot because we didn’t have the guys around as much as possible. Everyone was going home. We didn’t have guys in dorms which changed the camaraderie of our team. I think that is something that Rex is really good at. Like he said he wants to have the pulse of the team.”
While the Jets are happy to be getting back to training camp away from home, they are hoping that everyone will be picking up their dorm keys on July 26. Two years ago, HBO’s Hard Knocks showed that there was one envelope left in the box after all of the players checked in. That was because Darrelle Revis had decided to hold out of training camp due to of a contract dispute.
Two years later, Rex Ryan could very well be walking around the dorms saying, “Revis, where are you?” as the cornerback is once again looking for a new deal. There are two years left on the deal that he signed back then, but after earning $32.5 million over the first two seasons, his salary drops to $7.5 million this year.
So far, Revis is not saying if he’ll show up for camp or not. It’s believed that after the two sides agreed to what has been called a “Band-Aid” contract two years ago, the Jets promised Revis that they would revisit a long term deal this year.
It appears as if the Jets may have reneged on their promise and that may be why Revis is unhappy. It could also be the constant questioning about the contract issue from reporters.
“Nothing is bothering me,” said Revis on Thursday. “You guys (the media) are bothering me. I’m just here working and I’m here throughout OTA’s and minicamp.”
But no assurances for training camp.
This really could get ugly again. So far, Revis’ agents Neil Schwartz and Jonathon Feinsod have been quiet, but that could change if there aren’t any discussions about a new deal, or if Revis doesn’t get the sit-down that he desires with Woody Johnson, Mike Tannenbaum, and Rex Ryan.
As I stepped onto the field on Thursday for the final day of minicamp, I immediately noticed that the Jets’ defensive players were wearing black practice jerseys. The first thing that came to my mind was that this was a precursor to the Jets introducing a third jersey at some point. But as it turns out, Ryan was stealing an idea from offensive coordinator Tony Sparano from his days as head coach of the Dolphins.
“(Sparano) put a team in a different color jersey,” said Ryan. “So whatever the emphasis is, like in training camp, let’s say we have a red zone emphasis, ball security (emphasis), trying to create turnovers from scrimmage (emphasis) or something like that, the group that I think did the best in the drill, I’ll put that unit in the black jerseys the next practice. That’s where it started. I put it on the defense today because I’m a defensive guy. That’s why they were out there with them today. It’s just a little fun thing that will maybe pick up the practice and stuff like that. It makes them think of what the emphases are. That’s a good idea, so that’s why we broke out the jerseys (Thursday).”
The defensive players were stunned when they saw the black jerseys hanging in their lockers.
As it turns out, they loved it.
“As guys we have talked about it, black with green with a little bit of white, maybe grey in it,” said Cromartie. “I think that would look real good. Mike (Tannenbaum), if you’re listening to this, yeah I just said it. (joking) It’s just a jersey. It’s all about the decal that goes on the helmet and the guys that you play with. If you know a guy is playing 100% for you, you want to give 100%, that’s just the tempo we have been trying to set this offseason.”
It might be the Oliver Stone in me, but I smell a marketing ploy. With Nike taking over the NFL uniforms, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Jets, somewhere down the road, introduced an alternate jersey with black in it. I haven’t been told anything. Just a gut feeling.
REX HITTING THE ROAD
Jets head coach Rex Ryan is taking advantage of the six-week break so that he can take a little vacation with his wife. Ryan’s better half put the trip together and it appears as if Rex would have preferred alternate destinations.
“I’m going to Paris for three days and Prague for three days. My wife is making me go. I mean, I should say I’m going. (laughing) The outlaws (jokingly referring to his in-laws) are not going on this one, so it could have been worse. It could have been worse. So I have that trip. I can’t wait for that. Anyway, one of these days I’m going to do something that I want to do, one of these days. I’m sure, just like every other man in here that’s married…we do what the wives tell us.”
Rex, I completely understand what you’re saying and you’re right. However, marriage is about compromise so just try to enjoy some time away with your wife. But for your next vacation, you have to put your foot down and go where you want to go! Don’t tip-toe around the subject with her either. Give yourself some time to get a leg up on the situation and pick a place that you would like to visit.
PACK FOR SUMMER CAMP
Looking for a pretty cool summer getaway?
How about Central New York?
The Jets have announced some important dates for 2012 training camp. The players will report to SUNY Cortland on July 26 and their first practice will be on July 27. The first practice open to the public will be on Saturday July 28, so if you want to escape for a summer football weekend, gas up the car, book a hotel and head up to Cortland to see Gang Green.
Gang Green nation will get to see the Jets in action during training camp at three different sites. In addition to Cortland, the Jets will return to their former long-time training camp at Hofstra University on Long Island for a Family Night practice on Tuesday August 21. The Jets will also hold a portion of their training camp at the Atlantic Health Jets Training Center on Thursday August 23 and Friday August 24.
At each training camp location, fans can enjoy Jets Fest, a football theme park with skill challenges and inflatable rides. They can also pick up Jets Gear at the Jets Shop Merchandise Tent. Visit www.newyorkjets.com for more information in the coming weeks.
That’s all for now everyone. Check back soon for more as we’ll continue to follow the Revis saga, Jets West and any other Jets news that pops up before training camp. You can follow me on Twitter @pschwartzwfan.
Are you planning a trip to Cortland? Let us know in the comments below!