“Hey. You holding?” said the team GM to another team GM. That’s what many Jets fans are envisioning and hoping for with news that of the 12 (yes, that is a dozen) wide receivers on the current Jets Training Camp roster, four were healthy as of practice yesterday and only five took to the field for today’s journey. (Note: The Jets have since added two more WRs to the depth chart.)
Notably absent and constantly scrutinized Santonio Holmes sat out everything but warm ups and quarterback Mark Sanchez made the quip, “can’t make the club from the tub”, referencing the cold tub so many athletes love and so many of us observers wonder how they can withstand. Witty–and sadly–accurate statement aside, I’m not really all that concerned over the WR corps and haven’t been even before this epidemic of soft-tissue injuries began to spread just as quickly as the news of it spread on my twitter timeline. But many people don’t like the sound of it, and many have wondered even before this issue arose, why we’re relying on one veteran receiver (who still hasn’t repaired the burned bridge he created with a lot of fans in the ’11 season and the months after) and a bunch of new guys and rookies.
Well here’s what I ask. Why not? Now, don’t get me wrong. I put full faith in nobody, so it’s not as if I’m saying I’m putting all my chips on the table for these guys, but why wouldn’t a fan feel energized about the possibilities here? Schilens’ career has been plagued with injuries. Got it. Holmes was a problem last season and he’s a Me guy. Got that, too. Rookies? Check. Patrick Turner who is at a make it or break it point with the team? Check to that, too.
But the thing that appeals to me is that you’re getting fresh guys and they all, in some way, have something to prove. What we’re not getting (and I include Holmes more in the previous group than in this one I’m about to mention), are entitled diva vets at the position who may not only be ME guys but they will be ME ONLY guys. There have been options out there throughout the offseason. Options that, for one reason or ten, Tannenbaum and the guys who make the calls have passed on.
Plaxico remains teamless, and as I’ve stated on twitter, I think with good reason. In my opinion that I’ve based on what I read, what I saw–and my gut instinct–the problem in the locker room was not coincidental with Plaxico’s arrival. In fact I’d go so far as to say that his arrival coupled with Derrick Mason’s was probably the beginning of the implosion, and once Mason was shipped off, Plaxico got a new ear to whisper in. I don’t care where their lockers were, they were friends long before either put on a green and white helmet and that holds more water than anything else. With that came a new mouth he could urge into opening. The problem was very obviously Brian Schhottenheimer and their frustrations with his system, but they were two guys on a roster of many more who managed to shut up when it came to this. We will see a refreshed, renewed, hungry Santonio Holmes and not just a big mouth on (apparently weaker than expected at this point) legs. Do I think he didn’t condition and came into camp in poor shape? Not at all. What I think is that the tempo’s a little more intense than they’d expected, and no amount of preparation off the field is ever going to equal what they will face and feel on the field, even when battling their own guys in padded practices. It’s good that it’s happening now.
So, the question is this. Why do Jets fans scream for players just because of their names? Plaxico had his shot and there is a reason that NO team wants him, let alone the team that just had him. I loved Braylon Edwards and while I’m happy that he finally got on a team, and I wish it was the Jets that had signed him, my gut says that there’s a reason it took a team this long to snatch him up and we’ll learn that somewhere down the line. Chad Ochocinco’s signing with the Dolphins was an awesome PR move for Hard Knocks. The war cries on twitter to sign this known name or that known name (whether an option or not) is not reserved or the WR position, but as that is suddenly such a serious issue as of yesterday’s practice, that’s what brought this little piece about. It’s not as if I’m opposed to adding a vet, but I don’t think it’s make or break, do or die.
It’s not always the BIG name that’s going to be the answer.
Guys that are proven don’t always get the job done. Sometimes the answer is going to be a name that not many have heard of, a name that others associate with this issue or that with another team. What didn’t work between one guy and his previous team may be the key missing piece to what will work with him and the Jets. Aaron Maybin, anyone? Let’s calm the battle cries for the names we are familiar with, and stop counting out the guys who are probably more hungry than anyone else to get their names known. And remembered.
The Jets aren’t a fascinating team just because they’re good (which they are, so suck it Silva & co.). They’re a fascinating team because of all of the personalities that they bring to the field. Why else are they more talked about than that other team in town that won the most recent Super Bowl? And it started before the Tim Tebow trade, so don’t even try it.For every two people that want them to succeed there’s one and a half that don’t, and both sides of the argument are as vocal as the other. It’s what makes them who they are, and this is a team that loves to be counted out.
Rich Cimini tweeted earlier that President Obama will feel awkward when he places that congratulatory call to Rex Ryan on the night of the Super Bowl which is a huge nod to two things: It really IS 2012 and the Apocalypse may very well be near. And even the most vocal and oftentimes negative people who follow the Jets are seeing something different, something special with this squad. And it’s only the beginning.
Sydney Kira is a regular contributor to The Green Room. You can follow her on Twitter @SydneyKira1.