It’s been an up and down ride through the pre season thus far for the New York Jets. Final cuts are looming and many players find themselves on the bubble. Who will make the cut? Who will be sent packing?
The phrase “Play Like a Jet” is plastered everywhere at the Jets training complex. Rex gives a pep talk to the troops, telling them that a lot of them won’t be making the team. Heading into the final pre season game the starters will be sitting, giving the fringe players one last shot at opening some eyes.
GM Mike Tannebaum is once again heading to Roscoe’s Diner in hopes of ending REVIS WATCH once and for all and getting the best DB in the game back in the fold. The meeting doesn’t go as hoped, and Tannenbaum reports back to owner Woody Johnson that they might be without their star player for several games. Tannenbaum goes with plan B: Rex Ryan and DB coach Dennis Thurman are going to visit Revis themselves. Unfortunately, Revis isn’t home. Tannebaum informs Johnson that Team Revis is convinced that the Jets will either fold after a couple weeks without him or trade him before next season. Johnson refuses to give in and draws his line in the sand.
With one week left before the start of the season, the players get some R and R. The lack of depth at linebacker has special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff worried. Rookie linebacker Brashton Satele has been injured since the first week of camp, and finds himself on the bubble. Fellow rookie Cory Reamer is competing for the same roster spot, and hasn’t done anything to impress the coaches. His days appear numbered.
Journeymen Chauncey Washington and Jason Davis are apparently the odd men out at tailback and fullback, respectively. Washington had a great game against Carolina two weeks ago, but his inability to grasp the offense will ultimately do him in. Davis is stuck between Tony Richardson and “Terminator” John Connor, and realizes what his fate is and starts to mail it in, refusing reps with the 3rd string offense.
QB Mark Sanchez threw a stink bomb into the coaches office, thus bring an act of reciprocity upon himself. Note: the tossing of the stink bomb is most likely the only decent pass Sanchez has thrown thus far. The coaching staff decides to fill Mark’s SUV with packing peanuts. The coaches show a picture of the peanut filled vehicle during a film session and Sanchez guffaws like a jackass. Rex tells Sanchez that he’ll be calling the plays in the second half of the final exhibition game. This should be interesting. The pressure on Sanchez to develop this season is off the charts. 2nd string QB Mark Brunell tells Rex that both Sanchez and 3rd string QB Kellen Clemens have made strides during training camp.
Santonio Holmes is prepping for his 4 game suspension, and there are several players fighting for the right to be his replacement. Tiny running back Danny Woodhead has been seeing time at receiver and is making a good impression. David Clowney has continued to disappoint, and may be down to his last strike. Larry Taylor is too small and timid to be an effective receiver and hasn’t stood out on special teams.
Mike Westhoff gives the players another parable, this one about how the runt of the litter can rise up and become the alpha dog. He is a complicated man, this Westhoff.
The Jets take the field for their 4th and final pre season game. Brashton Satele gets a chance to start, and makes mistake after mistake. The much maligned Vladimir Ducasse, Larry Taylor and David Clowney make some nice plays, while rookie running back Joe McKnight has a costly fumble that results in a touchdown for the Philadelphia Eagles. Mark Sanchez gets his chance to call the plays, and his college teammate Chauncey Washington gains some tough yards. Brunell tops the drive off with a touchdown pass. Sanchez tells Schottenheimer that his job is easy. Running back coach Anthony Lynn tells the running backs to hold onto the ball. John Conner comes in and destroys some people, as usual, but later fumbles the ball away, resulting in another touchdown. It appears the Terminator is human after all.
At halftime Rex is pissed about the fumbles. Danny Woodhead gets his shot at running back, and again makes his case as to why he deserves to be a Jet. Washington recovers yet another Jets fumble, and gains the attention of the coaches. Woodhead scores a touchdown, and earns the nickname “Eagle Killer”. Larry Taylor gives up on a route, drawing the ire of QB Kellen Clemens. Clemens then fumbles the ball away. Ryan puts Brunell back into the game and he promptly throws a TD to Santonio Holmes on a play called by Sanchez. Vernon Gholston gets a sack to seal the game, and the Jets win. Post game, Rex tells the team that he appreciates their effort, but that cut downs are coming.
The day of judgement has come. The roster must be cut from 75 players down to 53. Dreams will be made. Dreams will be crushed. The first player to meet his doom is Larry Taylor. The assistant GM wishes him well. Cory Reamer gets the axe next. Tannenbaum tells him that he’ll make a good coach one day. One by one, the condemned are tapped on the shoulder and lead down the hallway. Brashton Satele receives the news from Tannenbaum, who tells him that his injuries are what derailed him. He tells him to keep working at it. Jason Davis is a victim of the numbers game, but takes it in stride, telling the Jets when he plays against them he’s going to whip their asses. The last few cuts need to be made in the next 2 days. David Clowney isn’t too concerned. Chauncey Washington is on the bubble, and decides to have a BBQ with his family and teammates to relax. He realizes he could still be cut at any minute.
REVIS WATCH is in danger of running into the regular season. In a last ditch attempt to fix the situation, Rex and owner Woody Johnson offer to meet with Team Revis in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, but only if Revis is present. The next day, during a conference call with Revis’ agent, Rex finally throws in the towel and tells him that he’s ready to coach this team without him.
David Clowney appears to be the odd man out at receiver, and is called in to the office. They tell him that he’s had 3 years to impress Westhoff, and has failed. They tell him that he has a chance to catch on to the practice squad. He’s kind of stunned at losing his spot on the roster, which is amazing when you consider how shitty a player he has been for the Jets. Chauncey Washington is also cut, but is told that he’s going to make the practice squad if he clears waivers. Washington isn’t happy about it, but accepts.
Tannenbaum makes a late night call to Darrelle Revis, and makes a last minute contract pitch. By 1:15 AM, they have made a deal, finally bringing an ending to REVIS WATCH until the next time he decides to get out of a 3 year contract. With Revis back in the house, the roster is again going to need to be tweaked. Revis shows up to practice and is embraced by his teammates, bringing an end to the best season of Hard Knocks yet.