I’ve done a lot of typing about our New York Jets and why I fully expect us to be dominant this upcoming season. I believe every bolt and every cog is firmly in place for this team to have an immensely successful campaign in 2008/2009, and now is the time to formally introduce you to the men that power the engines!
These are the men whose skills and abilities will catapult our New York Jets to the next level. We can’t just tell everyone that our team is superior to theirs! We have to give them specific examples of players they wish their team would have drafted. So it’s only appropriate to shine the first NYJ Spotlight on the man himself, Kerry Rhodes!
He is, without a doubt, the face of this New York Jets franchise. Despite Rhodes’ slow start in the abysmal 2007 campaign, Rhodes managed to produce numbers that were good enough to have warranted a place in the Pro Bowl for a second consecutive season. Unfortunately, his contributions went unnoticed, falling short to the more popular names that play the position on higher profile teams.
After being selected in the fourth Round during the 2005 draft, he has held down his position as a starter since his rookie year. Drafted out of Louisville before the final year of the Herman Edwards/Terry Bradway era, Rhodes has blossomed from an exceptional contributor to the undisputed leader of this defense.
Boasting a skill set that is arguably the most multifaceted among NFL safeties, opposing teams are learning quickly that there isn’t an exploitable weakness in his game.
This offseason, Rhodes received a contract extension worth $33.5M with $20M guaranteed over the next five years, making him one of the NFL’s highest-paid safeties and deservedly so. With a contract comparable to the NFL’s Defensive Player of the Year, Bob Sanders of the Indianapolis Colts, Kerry Rhodes may not excel in run support like Sanders does, but his all-around game is far superior.
Rhodes is a ball hawk, tallying ten interceptions and 24 passes defended throughout his three-year career. Compare that to Sanders’ four interceptions and ten passes defended throughout a four-year career hampered with injuries and you’ll appreciate the dominance that Kerry Rhodes effortlessly displays.
Rhodes’ eight career sacks versus Sanders’ three and a half also displays a substantial gap. Jets’ fans have the honor of watching an excellent all-around football player that can defend the pass, apply pressure to the quarterback, and tackle effectively.
His ability on the field also allows him to transcend the game, giving the team a marketable star with a quality that makes him just as noticeable off the field. Despite his post-NFL aspirations, Kerry Rhodes remains dedicated to football and improving this team. “I want to step up and concentrate all my time on football, make sure everything is right for the team and make sure these guys follow me,” said Rhodes during the team’s organized spring activities.
A strong-willed athlete for opposing teams to fear combined with charisma for America to love gives the New York Jets an irreplaceable ingredient to the team’s championship formula.