By Peter Schwartz
» More Columns
This is shaping up to be quite a weekend for Gang Green.
Here in Cortland, the Jets went through a practice on Friday that was closed to the public. The highlight of the practice was when Mark Sanchez threw a “game-winning” touchdown to Patrick Turner, after the defense dominated almost all of the workout. Turner beat Antonio Cromartie, prompting a Jets player to proclaim Turner as the Jets’ second-best wide receiver.
After practice, Cromartie broke his silence and finally spoke to reporters about his controversial comments. He said that he didn’t mean anything by it, but then blamed the media for blowing the whole thing out of proportion.
But he still stands by his words.
“I can still say I am (the second-best receiver),” said Cromartie. “That’s my opinion.”
“It’s amazing that this is the president of the greatest country there is, and he’s talking about the New York Jets football team,” said head coach Rex Ryan. “I respect President Obama and I respect the fact that this is his opinion.”
“We don’t have a two-quarterback system,” said Cromartie. “We have a one-quarterback system, and that’s Mark Sanchez. Jets fans shouldn’t be worried at all.”
“Shout out to Obama,” said Turner. “I’m behind him 100 percent, but I think that it’s probably going to be the first time that a two-quarterbacks system will work.”
LaRon Landry was scheduled to practice but did not, as he told Ryan that he would prefer to play in Saturday night’s scrimmage. Ryan is not sure if Santonio Holmes will be able to return.
Second-year running back Bilal Powell continues to impress. He’s playing with more confidence and I can definitely see him getting his share of snaps this season. However, I still feel that the Jets should sign a veteran running back like Cedric Benson.
Bart Scott was on top of his trash-talking game on Friday, getting on just about everybody — including the NFL replacement officials that were working practice.
His best line?
After a penalty was called on the defense, Scott told the official, “You won’t even get promoted at ‘Foot Locker’ making calls like that!”
Many Jets players were getting on the officials. The NFL is going to have a problem here, and they better get a deal done with their officials.
CURTIS TO CANTON
After Saturday’s “Green vs. White” scrimmage, Jets fans should have some time to get in front of a television to watch former Jets running back Curtis Martin’s induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
A number of his former teammates will be on hand, including Vinny Testaverde, Jason Fabini and Kevin Mawae. I caught up with Mawae earlier this week as the former Jets center was getting ready for a trip to Canton.
WFAN’s Peter Schwartz speaks with Kevin Mawae
Jets guard Brandon Moore was part of an offensive line that helped Martin win the rushing title in 2004. He will leave camp to watch his former teammate get inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“That was a big year for him,” said Moore. “It was a time when people were complaining that he was old and had lost a step.”
While getting inducted in Canton is the ultimate honor that an individual can receive in the game of football, Martin is also about to receive the highest honor that a player can receive from a team. The Jets have announced plans for “Curtis Martin Day” on September 9, when Gang Green plays their home opener against the Bills at MetLife Stadium. At halftime on that day, Martin’s No. 28 will be retired and all fans will receive a commemorative towel.
LET’S TAKE IT OUT ON THE (STADIUM) FIELD
When they Jets hold their “Green vs. White” scrimmage on Saturday night, they will leave their training camp fields for a day and practice in SUNY Cortland’s stadium. Ryan has always been hesitant to use the stadium in years past because of the field turf. The fact that the scrimmage is in the stadium would lead one to believe that it’s because of the extra fans that Tim Tebow might attract.
Apparently that did not enter into the decision.
“No, not at all,” said Ryan. “I hope that there is a huge crowd, I really do. But the turf is a brand new turf and it’s in great condition. I was like, ‘We might as well do it here.’ The surface is great. Will it be more accommodating to the fans? Absolutely it will be, but if there was a greater chance of injury on this turf as compared to the grass then we would be on the grass.”
The Jets have been using the stadium field for their nightly walk-throughs, so that certainly played a role in the decision to use it for the scrimmage. The stadium can seat about 6,500 fans, but there will probably be many more standing. That will create a pretty cool atmosphere for the players.
“Oh, that is great,” said Mark Sanchez. “That is great. We will have crowd noise and that will be fun for us. It will be (like a) real game.”
“Yeah, absolutely,” said Tebow. “That’ll be fun, I look forward to it.”
The scrimmage will run from 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. If you’re traveling up to Cortland, get here early. Parking is limited, so give yourself plenty of time to enjoy Jets Fest and get a seat in the stadium. It’s a nice facility and it should make for a fun night.
THIS BYRD WILL FLY AT METLIFE
While Martin will see his No. 28 retired on September 9, the Jets will also honor former defensive end Dennis Byrd, when his no. 90 is retired at halftime of the Jets-Dolphins game on October 28.
Nobody has worn No. 90 since Byrd was the victim of a career-ending injury, when he suffered a broken neck and was paralyzed in a game against the Kansas City Chiefs in 1992 at Giants Stadium. He served as an inspiration to many when he vowed to walk again and was able to walk out of Mount Sinai Hospital after a grueling rehab process.
Byrd would eventually walk onto the field at the Meadowlands at the 1993 home opener.
Byrd was drafted by the Jets in 1989 and recorded 27 sacks in his first three seasons.
A NICE RING TO IT
The Jets’ Ring of Honor at MetLife Stadium will grow on October 8 when the 2012 class is inducted at halftime of the Jets-Texans game. Weeb Ewbank, Winston Hill, Joe Klecko, Martin, Don Maynard, Joe Namath, Larry Grantham, Freeman McNeil, Gerry Philbin and Al Toon are the current members of the Ring of Honor.
The Jets inducted six members in 2010 and then four more last year. I’m guessing that the number will drop to three this year, and since Byrd is having his number retired, he could be one of this year’s inductees.
That’s all for now! Check back soon for more!
Are you planning to head up to Cortland on Saturday night for the “Green vs. White” scrimmage? Let us know in the comments section below…