After another season of disappointment and playoff-absent football, the Jets big two of Rex Ryan, and Woody Johnson stepped to the podium finally to answer questions and the media surely got some answers. Conor Orr of the Star Ledger writes that the sales pitch for their future was unveiled yesterday by the men in the white shirts and green ties. Gary Meyers of the Daily News says that Rex is a good enough coach that he deserves one final chance, but that’s all he should be guaranteed by Woody. Woody’s Wrecks describes Steve Serby of the Post after hearing about the Jets game plan for next year. Ben Shipgel of the New York Times writes that the more pressing concern than rebuilding his image, is rebuilding his staff, Mike Westhoff retired, Mike Pettine is gone, and Mike Tannenbaum was fired.
On twitter, beat writers were complaining about lack of room to tweet out minute by minute updates of the press conference. I’m sure they wouldn’t have been able to type fast enough with the way that the front office came out and put on a show. The Jets were their usual clownish selves. Selling the fans and the media a product that only the two at the podium can’t see because they are too close. Yesterday was about a renewal. It felt like Rex was being hired for the first time. It felt like 2008. Promises about what the Jets were going to do. How they were going to fit the image of their head coach. The offense will attack and nobody is gonna wanna play the New York Jets next season.
I almost feel sorry for Jet fans who had to be thinking the same thing when the press conference was over: “we’re in deep doo doo next year”. It almost felt surreal to hear Woody stand up there and give a full fledged vote of confidence to a head coach who has done nothing more than give him headlines in the backpages; good and bad. Let’s not sweep the two conference championships under the rug, but I’ve said it for years now. The Jets transitioned from that team in both philosophy (choosing to pass more without checking whether the QB was ready to shoulder a greater load) and in personnel. They let several clubhouse leaders and veterans go like Tony Richardson, Thomas Jones, and Jerricho Crotchery and brought in guys like Santonio Holmes and unproven rookies. In order for the QB to take on a leadership mantle, he has to set the tempo in practices and show up in every single meeting prepared and also, and most importantly, show up on Sunday ready to give his team a chance to win. On so many Tuesdays and Wednesdays during the season, that opinion of whether Mark Sanchez gave the Jets that opportunity to win began to change. His confidence dwindling by the minute Rex continued to bet big on him. And as more and more was expected of him, Sanchez continued to disappoint. His low point was the butt fumble, but I think the low point of his professional career may have been when fans were outwardly pining for Tim Tebow to take over.
I THINK, I’m a better QB option than Tim Tebow, so I dont know what Mark Sanchez was feeling. He of the 2 AFC Conference Championship games under his belt. Rex spoke mostly of his offense and rightfully so. His defense held up their end of the bargain, once again finishing as a top 10 unit even without their best defensive player on the field. They won 6 games which sometimes doesn’t even seem right considering how media folk came with pitchforks and knives like they had just went winless this season. The Jets still have a ways to go. They have to undo the mess they created for themselves the last two seasons. Their defense is good enough to keep them in games. If they have to return to the conservative offense that kept them out of mistakes and away from Mark Sanchez’ turnover issues then that’s what they will have to do. The Jets have plenty to work on but now comes the more pertinent question: how much longer does Rex have? Woody sounded resolute that he will have say in matters going beyond the coaching sphere. Whatever GM gets hired, he will have to keep Rex for this season. But its clear that whatever GM comes, will only have one year of Rex to deal with and it certainly sounds like whoever comes in had better not have his sights set on firing Rex without Woody’s blessing because that may be a problem. Woody and Rex are joined by some voodoo black magic that doesn’t allow either to blame the other for their problems because they certainly don’t have restrictions blaming everyone else around them. So more and more people are leaving. Goodbye Mike Tannenbaum. Goodbye Tony Sparano. Goodbye Mike Westhoff. Goodbye Mike Pettine. Hello new unnamed GM who will certainly be starting from a point of non-favor because he doens’t fit the paradigm that Rex and Woody have created. God bless whoever comes in.
We won’t even get in to the tatoo conversation.
It seems the Carmelo Anthony/Kevin Garnett beef that escalated to Melo waiting like a school bully after school outside of the cheese bus will be investigated by the league and possible sanctions may land on Anthony for being so aggressive at, according to Anthony, “just wanting to talk with KG about what was said.” The internet speculated about what KG said to set off such a heated response by Anthony but its understandable to assume that its something that no man should say to another man. Tony Williams of the Star Ledger writes that Melo must keep his cool as teams now may look to take Anthony out of his game by employing similar dirty tactics. Mitch Lawrence of the Daily News puts it best “its 10 years in the league and NOW Melo is deciding to let KG’s taunts bother him?” Nate Taylor of the New York Times writes that Melo agreed that he played Monday’s heated game against the Celtics way out of character.
This is the fourth such game that I’ve seen a team take Carmelo Anthony completely out of it by their physicality. Memphis, Chicago (Twice) and now Boston on Monday. They all bumped him, grabbed him, got away with a ton of physical play and left Melo with the tab. The only reason Carmelo Anthony didn’t get thrown out of that game, and trust me he was begging to, was because the game was in NY. Melo started playing defense with his hands. He began rushing shots. He was more focused on hitting KG and trying to set off an altercation rather than play basketball. It was so clear that it was working and kudos to Doc Rivers for installing a game plan that would make the Knicks switch Melo to guard KG who he was not in the right mind to guard. That’s what smart teams do. They saw Melo melting down and went for the kill. I know Doc had to be thinking to himself “what do I have to do to get this guy fouled out? I already got KG to say the most disrespectful thing you can think of to his wife.” Whatever the case may be, the league may not wind up suspending Carmelo Anthony since there wasn’t any physical altercation and nothing really happened once Melo got to that area where KG was. The TMZ clip shows more of the Melo/KG argument with KG putting his hands up as if to say “Yo, the game is over, what do you want now?” And that’s what Melo has to realize. KG will go to that length to beat you and after the game will forget what he did. Its not something I exactly applaud but its the attitude that Melo has to have. You war with the team during the game but after, its just another game. KG has always been a trash talker of extremely low character calling Charlie Villanueva who has alopecia a cancer patient. So this is the kind of stuff you will hear from KG. Melo has to be tougher mentally to handle those things and tune those people out. I found myself yelling at the TV at other Knick players to get Melo out of there but there was no one to save Melo from himself and his anger towards Garnett. Whatever the case may be, look for more teams to try this strategy and especially in the playoffs where its win or go home. If a game in January could make KG say that, imagine the kind of reckless conversation he’s having in May and June.