200 Miles From the Citi

September 8, 2010 11:26 PM

Hard Knocks: Week 5


I've had some good days and some bad days this week.

I hate to sound like someone with a serious condition...but, well, I'm a Jets fan.  It's kind of a condition in and of itself.

And the days refer to how I feel about the team.

There are times I think about how they were playing at the end of last year and how unbeatable they seemed...those are the good days.

The bad feelings are not hard to conjure up - I just think about what it's been like to be a Jets fan.  I wrote in the Jets preview that the last time the Jets were Super Bowl favorites was 1999...then I read the same thing in Sports Illustrated.  Reading it from someone else made me realize that was a long time ago - and it had to be sooner - and I remembered 2005.  The Jets were coming off a playoff win (and a near win in Pittsburgh), and got some play as Super Bowl favorites.  Chad Pennington got hurt, Curtis Martin faded into retirement, and the Jets went 4-12.

There have been a lot of bad days over the years.

Today feels kind of like a good day.  As much as I've enjoyed 'Hard Knocks', it's a whole lot of bluster.  Bring on the regular season already.  And let me see whether this is going to be a good year or a bad year.

*Usually the cuts are the most dramatic part of 'Hard Knocks'...a lot of the drama was removed from that part this year because I knew who did and did not make the team.  One of the drawbacks, I suppose, of following the team featured in the show so closely.

*I couldn't believe Jason Davis turned down his chance to get some reps at fullback.  Kind of funny that his attitude heading into that was "I'm the other guy [at the position, with Tony Richardson and John Conner ahead of him] - so what."  He sure was the other guy - they haven't mentioned him in four weeks.  The Jets said they would do whatever they could to keep Davis playing in the NFL - but doesn't it seem like that attitude (turning down the chance to play) would make a team think twice about him?

*A much better portrayal of Mark Sanchez this week.  Much more confident while wearing the headphones and calling plays (which I think was just a great idea) - he just looked like more of a leader.  Mark Brunell saw it over the course of camp, talking about Sanchez's growth...but still took a shot at him - "He's a fruitcake, but he's our fruitcake."  (And then the defense got even with a prank putting packing peanuts in Sanchez's car.  Ugh.  I hate those things - so hard to clean up.  Also, great show of the peanuts with a rack focus on the 'Objects In Mirror Are Closer Than They Appear' sign.  Yeah, I said rack focus.)

*There was an awesome montage - probably the best of the series - of fast action, featuring a lot of different players, about 10 minutes in. 

*A couple of observations from the Philadelphia game:
-Before the game, Mike Westhoff told the story about the runt dog surviving in the outback.  He probably tells that story every year in the final week of preseason.  The players probably go back to the locker room and say, "Westhoff told his 'runt dog in the outback' story."
-And when Kellen Clemens fumbled and got benched, I took sneaky pleasure in it.  It made me feel like a kid in school who got another kid into trouble and enjoyed watching the reprimand.

*I thought it was a pretty touching moment when Rex Ryan and Brian Schottenheimer were talking about the love of the game, and its roots in high school, and where they were now...and how badly they wanted to win a Super Bowl.  I liked that Schottenheimer wants to give his Super Bowl ring to his dad.

*Line of the night comes from Mike Westhoff, referring to the injured backup linebackers on the exercise bikes, saying they were in the 'Tour de France'.  (Probably another recycled line.)

*The biggest drama of this episode was how would they handle the Darrelle Revis situation.  When the show started with a timeline I almost thought they would break form and do things out of order to lead with the big news.  They didn't.  But watching the situation unfold was pretty interesting.  Especially as Rex Ryan took on a more involved role.  I liked how he started to get involved and Mike Tannenbaum gave him the ol', "Rex, we've been trying for six months."  But in the end, Ryan really ended up making a difference.  It was Ryan who ended up setting up the meeting with Revis and his uncle, former NFL player Sean Gilbert.  I would have liked to have seen that meeting in Florida on the show.

Then the best part of the negotiations was Rex Ryan walking out and yelling at the agents on speakerphone - "Three years left, walking out on a contract!  Watch what happens Monday night!", then storming out of the room.  Atta boy, Rex!!!

And I'm glad Revis's reception (which was otherwise out of view of all media) was recorded by HBO's camera.  (I'm sure HBO was thrilled with the way it all ended too.) Clearly the players aren't upset with him.  It was an uplifting way to end the show.

Made me think there are some good days to come.

*Check out Justin's recap over at Sports Crackle Pop! for a slightly more colorful view of what transpired on Week 5 of the show. 

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