Schwartz: Gang Green Reports For Duty!
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By Peter Schwartz
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This time, Jets head coach Rex Ryan didn’t have to walk through the dorms at SUNY Cortland yelling, “Revis where are you?”
Although he thought about another holdout, Darrelle Revis arrived with the Jets in time for the start of training camp. Revis is still looking for a long term contract, but just a few days ago he decided that it was best to show up for camp.
“I just want to be here,” said Revis. “I want to be around the team and just play ball. I think that’s my focal point, just come in here and get prepared for the season.”
Don’t think for a second that this is the last we’re going to hear about this. You can’t rule out the possibility of Revis moping that he didn’t get a new deal or finding a way to the bicycle on the sideline because of an “injury” like other Neil Schwartz/Jon Feinsod clients have done in the past.
“Something has to happen sooner or later in terms of my future with the team,” said Revis. “Like I said, I want to be here and I hope Mike (Tannenbaum) and Mr. (Johnson) want me here. Besides that, I just have to play football and keep on playing the best I can.”
With Revis here at camp, the Jets are hoping that Cortland continues to be a good-luck charm. When Gang Green held camp here in Cortland in 2009 and 2010, the Jets went to back to back AFC Title games. The lockout kept them in New Jersey last summer and the season ended with a fractured locker room, an 8-8 record, and an off-season filled with drama.
“We did miss (Cortland) last year,” said Ryan. “The thing about this is you are far enough away and, nothing against families or anything else, but you have each other and (you) have got football and I think that’s a good thing.”
Most of the attention in camp, in case you’ve been under a rock for a while, will be centered on the media-created “quarterback competition” between Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow. Sanchez was one of the first players to arrive at camp. He put his healthy and stronger body into good use by pushing his own belongings into the dorms instead of having a Jets staffer do it for him.
During the offseason, Sanchez placed an emphasis on putting on a little more muscle mass.
“As you see, I’m sporting a tank top,” said Sanchez to a large gathering of reporters. “I’ve been adding a couple pounds and making sure that I maintain the weight in my nutrition and workout regiments. I’ve been talking with coach (Bill) Hughan a lot, our strength coach, who put us through a great offseason. That was huge for me physically.”
Meanwhile, Tebow arrived a short time later and was also greeted by a sea of media. Tebow will serve as the Jets backup quarterback, wildcat specialist, and punt protector. Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff also noted that he has a few other tricks up his sleeves for Tebow.
“I’ll do whatever I’m asked to do,” said Tebow.
There are many so-called experts who were very quick to declare that this won’t work and that the Sanchez/Tebow combination will be a disaster.
“I don’t really have to say anything,” said Tebow. “You have to go out there and work hard and try and do whatever they ask me to do and improve every single day, learn this offense and just try and contribute to this team. I’m not worried about what other people are going to say.”
With Tebow garnering plenty of attention from opposing defenses when he’s on the field, Dustin Keller figures to have a big season in 2012. Keller could reap the benefits of teams spending a lot of time worrying about what Tebow is going to do. After he checked in on Thursday, I caught up with the Jets outstanding tight end:
The Jets will hold their first training camp practice Friday, but that session is closed to the public. The first practice that fans can attend will be on Saturday at 8 a.m.
ONCE AGAIN, SO LONG ISLAND!
When the Jets decided to move training camp from their long time home at Hofstra University to their new practice facility in New Jersey for the 2009 season, Gang Green promised Long Island fans that they would return each summer for one training camp practice.
Well, last year’s practice was rained out even though not one drop of rain fell anyway near Shuart Stadium on the Hofstra campus. The day before the practice was “washed out, ” Ryan said something very interesting.
“We’re excited about it,” said Ryan. “It’s something that we want to do, for the next 20 years or something go back in there. It’s just one day. It’s a little inconvenient, but so what. It’s a big group of our fans, we’re proud of that and it just gives an opportunity for us to go in there and maybe some of the fans can’t get to games but they can see us at a practice. We enjoy it, it’s what we do. It’s one of the things we’ll do now.”
Hmmmm. “A little inconvenient”?
And now the news from Wednesday that this year’s “Family Night” practice scheduled at Hofstra on Tuesday, August 21, has been moved to MetLife Stadium.
“With the start of the 2012-13 academic year and the hosting of the second Presidential Debate occurring soon, the timing of a number of campus maintenance projects within James M. Shuart Stadium and the campus community have had to be adjusted,” according to Stephen Gorchov, Hofstra’s Associate Director of Athletics for Communications.
“Due to the altered maintenance schedule as a result of hosting the Presidential Debate, work on James M. Shuart Stadium will need to occur in the latter part of August. Therefore, due to the timing of this work, the University and the New York Jets agreed that the August 21 date would no longer be viable for the previously scheduled practice.”
Are you kidding me?
“We have had a great relationship with Hofstra University for many years and we understand the circumstances,” said the Jets in a statement. “Based on the timing, the team has decided to move the August 21 practice to MetLife Stadium. Although we’re sorry that the location of this year’s practice needed to be change, we are committed to remaining connected to our Long Island fans.”
Okay, how about reaching out and touching the heart of your fan base with another Jets event… on Long Island!
It was announced on October 31 of last year that Hofstra would be hosting a Presidential debate on October 16 of this year. The maintenance issues weren’t considered when the Jets and Hofstra planned to have the practice on August 21st?
That’s two years in a row that Long Island Jets fans have been bitterly disappointed. Sure, they can schlep out to the Meadowlands just like they do for the games, but it’s not the same. The Jets had a 40 year history of training camp on Long Island and many fans just can’t make it up to Cortland or to the couple of practices that the Jets will have in New Jersey.
They had August 21st circled on their calendars when the training camp schedule was announced on July 2.
Why wasn’t another Long Island venue considered such as Stony Brook or the Mitchel Athletic Complex next door to the Nassau Coliseum and across the street from Hofstra’s Shuart Stadium?
Remember, Stony Brook was a finalist to host Jets training camp back in 2009, but Rex Ryan wanted to get the team away from the NY area. Stony Brook’s Lavalle Stadium holds 8,100 and would have made a great alternative venue for the Long Island practice.
Would Stony Brook have hosted the practice?
“Yes,” according to a Stony Brook Athletics source. “I don’t want to speak for (Athletic Director) Jim Fiore, but I’m sure he would have done anything to host the Jets.”
But it sounds like the Jets weren’t even interested in trying.
“Given the timing and logistics, we felt (MetLife) Stadium was the best location,” according to a Jets spokesperson.
The Jets just took the easy way out by moving the practice to the Meadowlands. Perhaps they saw it as a chance to get fans into the building and give them a sales pitch for season tickets.
Whatever the reason, the Jets have to make this up for Long Island fans. As a Long Islander, I have a few ideas.
They could have, as I previously mentioned, just move the practice to another location on Long Island or even Queens (I thought about Citi Field but the Mets are home on the night of August 21).
Even without a practice, the Jets could still connect with their Long Island fans by having a “Jets Day” at some point during the summer. Perhaps D’Brickashaw Ferguson can pull a few strings and bring some of his teammates with him to his alma mater Freeport High School.
Or, since the Long Island practice has been cancelled for a second straight year, the Jets can make it up next year with some combination of three LI practices during mini-camp or training camp.
OH NO OTAH!
As many of you know by now, the Jets placed right tackle Jeff Otah on the active PUP list after he failed a physical on Wednesday. He was acquired on Monday from the Panthers for a conditional draft pick and that trade will be null and void if Otah doesn’t pass the physical within seven days. No reason to kill the Jets if this trade doesn’t pan out. The Jets took a chance on upgrading the right tackle position but they knew the risk with Otah who has been hampered by injuries.
EVER WONDER WHY?
Sports Illustrated for Kids has a great new book out titled “Big Book of Why.” It features over 500 sports facts that kids would be interested in.
In fact, WFAN’s own Boomer Esiason is featured on the page asking: “Why might teams run the hurry-up offense?”
There are plenty of football related questions in the book such as “Why the Cleveland Browns helmet does not have a logo?”; “Why Tom Brady was taken until the 6th round of the NFL Draft?” and “Why are they called the New York Jets and New York Giants if they play in New Jersey?”
And then there’s a picture of Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez next to the question “Why do some football and baseball players wear eye black?”
It’s a great book! I don’t know who liked it more, me or my six year old son!
That’s all for now, check back soon for more!
What are your thoughts on the Jets-Hofstra situation? Be heard in the comments below!