Web Site: http://thatsangel.com
Bio: Angel Navedo was never very good at high school football. When faced with a life crossroad, Angel saw two paths: write or coach. He selected the former.
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Don’t you just wish sometimes that Rex Ryan would tell you how he really feels? The Jets head coach can be so reserved and bashful sometimes, rarely showing that fire you know is blazing inside him. A little too facetious? Fine.
The good thing is that the guy who rarely holds back on the podium — and blurts out magic without trying — finally took the time to sit down, think things through, and write a book. With help from accomplished author Don Yaeger, Ryan’s book, “Play Like You Mean It: Passion, Laughs, and Leadership in the World’s Most Beautiful Game,” will be available on May 3.
Jets beatwriters in the New York media got their hands on copies last week and blitzed Twitter feeds with some Ryan gems, including his honest opinion of former players like defensive end/linebacker Vernon Gholston and Kerry “Hollywood” Rhodes.
The Jets traded Rhodes to Arizona last year for the Cardinals’ 2010 fourth-round pick and their 2011 seventh-round pick. The trade compensation seemed low, seeing as how Rhodes was a defensive captain, two-time Pro Bowl snub, and the face of the Jets defense under ex-coach Eric Mangini. Ryan’s words offer more insight into how little they valued “Hollywood” in New York.
“He was a selfish-ass guy,” Ryan wrote. “He wouldn’t work and he was a Hollywood type, flashing and needing attention.”
Rhodes was a fan-favorite during his Jets prime, but his response to being benched during the 2010 season confirms Ryan’s insinuation.
Nonetheless, if you’re a Rex Ryan fan, “Play Like You Mean It…” looks like a must-have. NYJetsFan.com will have a review of the book for those of you on the fence about reading the Rex Ryan story.
There might be some uncertainty with regard to who will be catching passes from Mark Sanchez in 2011, but that’s not stopping the Jets’ franchise quarterback from working hard at his craft. Lockout or not, players often reserve this time of year for vacations, relaxation, and things that aren’t football. Offseason be damned, Sanchez says (with his actions).
In this video Sanchez tweeted out to his followers today, the 24-year-old quarterback is seen sprinting between cones as if he’s under duress before delivering high-speed passes to strategically-placed dummies.
If practice makes perfect, what are other veteran quarterbacks doing right now?
Rex Ryan made headlines yesterday the only way Rex Ryan does after speaking about former
Patriots Vikings Titans receiver Randy Moss. The 34-year-old receiver is hoping for a new team after playing for three different teams last season.
The guilty quote? Here you go:
“Randy Moss, I’ve said all along, is a great vertical receiver … Most teams would have to roll coverage to him. We never did, but we got burned for a touchdown. But he was a weapon. A vertical weapon down the field.” (via Greg Bedard at The Boston Globe)
To some, that’s ‘raving’ about a player; to others, it’s stating the obvious regarding a talented players’ reputation. This is what happens when a lockout prevents people from having a real offseason. The distinction would have been immediately drawn otherwise.
Ryan’s views on Moss aren’t novel. That’s basically the prologue to the book on Moss. When Moss plays to the best of his abilities, there are few who match him — historically and in present day. And there’s the rub: when he plays to his best. The details on all the occasions Moss hasn’t played at his best are illustrated in the rest of the book.
Vinnie Iyer at The Sporting News called the speculation overblown, and we should all agree. It’s a negotiation trick, except it’s not a very good one.
Bedard’s news arrives immediately following Santonio Holmes’ decision to share his disappointment with playing time in the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Almost within the same breath, Holmes expressed his willingness to sign with any team showing their interest in dollars. And then he declined Mark Sanchez’s invitation to attend another “Jets West” camp with the receivers in California.
All of the above lend credence to the idea that Holmes is prepared for life without the Jets. So what’s the next logical move? You make him jealous, like taking a date to your ex’s favorite restaurant and hoping to bump into her.
While Holmes is clearly the superior talent compared to Moss at this stage in their respective careers, Ryan’s words can’t be perceived as anything more than a message. It’s a reminder that life can continue without Holmes, and the team will do their due diligence at every opportunity.
The problem with threatening interest in Moss rests in the clear talent discrepancy. He’s not even a believable option. While Holmes was hauling in clutch, game-winning receptions for the Jets in 2010, Moss was en route to career lows in catches and yards (28 rec., 393 yds).
The Jason Taylor experiment of 2010 should be all anyone needs to reference when considering veterans playing beyond their years.
Quiet confidence isn’t the first attribute that comes to mind when thinking of an NFL wide receiver’s personality — but it is the most accurate way to describe how Jerricho Cotchery carries himself.
Secure in his steps and sapient in his speech, the seven-year veteran rarely hesitates to echo the brazen bravado more characteristic of head coach Rex Ryan. Cotchery is deliberate when he speaks, but always modest; he’s confident without arrogance, proud without sin.
When it was time for Cotchery to make his acting debut last Wednesday in the 12 Angry Mascots’ long-running, sports-themed comedy show, he appeared as comfortable acting as he would catching a pass in traffic on a Sunday afternoon.
In character, Cotchery stormed the stage, took on the character of a diva receiver, promoted a reality show, and launched a rap career within seconds in Chelsea’s Gotham Comedy Club. Kevin Armstrong summed up the sequence nicely on Manish Mehta’s “Jets Stream” blog.
It was all routine — executed as seamlessly as the precise routes he runs. And that’s when the master of ceremonies, Scott Rogowsky, called an audible at the line of scrimmage.
Customary for a 12AM show, Rogowsky sits on stage with the guest and interviews him in a format modeled after late-night television talk shows. He asks sports-related questions without the thorough analysis that intimidates casual fans, and sprinkles some of his well-executed sarcasm across the top.
“You’re the second youngest of 13 children,” Rogowsky began. “What’s it like now being reunited on the same team with your father, Antonio Cromartie?”
And the audience erupted into fits of laughter.
“Man, that’s not cool to rip on Cro!” Cotchery replied, laughing along with the shocked crowd.
Behind the scenes, Rogowsky and Neil Janowitz, fathers of the 12AM show, gave Cotchery glowing reviews. They cited his professionalism and commitment to his performance. It was only Friday when J. Co agreed to do the show, and it was Monday when he arrived to rehearsal with his lines memorized for a Wednesday night performance.
As quickly as Cotchery controlled the stage to the instrumental for M.O.P.’s 2000 single “Ante Up,” No. 89 flipped the script back to football — right on cue. After the show, Cotchery took the time to discuss the upcoming season, bonding with teammates in SUNY Cortland, and the versatility of all the Jets’ offensive weapons.
Angel Navedo: The audience got to see you rap a little bit tonight. Is this something you’ve done before?
Jerricho Cotchery: I’m telling you, man, I did everything I possibly could to get out of, what we call, the hood. I started doing that when I was around 11, just penning my stuff down.
AN: With Darrelle Revis doing his ‘Mr. Manhattan’ thing, what are the conversations like in the locker room? Are there every any battles between guys who are into making music?
JC: None at all. Guys don’t really talk about it. We talk about music and different artists that we like and friends we know who rap. But we don’t talk about it in detail.
AN: The premise in tonight’s skit was about you having your own reality show. Is that something you’d actually do, given the opportunity?
JC: If I do something, as far as a reality show, it’d be something about uplifting families. It’d be a family-oriented show, just showing how my wife and my family operates — our foundation; and that’s God. It’d be something up that alley.
AN: You were on 1050 ESPN Radio earlier in the week discussing wide receivers with Jody McDonald and Brandon Tierney (download), and expressed your faith in some receivers to step up while Santonio Holmes serves his four-game suspension. Care to elaborate?
JC: (Cotchery answered this question before the Jets re-signed Laveranues Coles. -Ed.) We have a number of guys that have been working so hard at developing their games. Everyone knows about David Clowney and his speed. Brad Smith is our all-purpose guy — you never know where you might see him line up. Aundrae Allison got hurt in the last preseason game last year, but he’s come along very well.
And my cousin — no one knows about — Marcus Henry is doing an incredible job learning to play to his size. He’s been able to watch Braylon [Edwards], the way he uses his size and his strength, and he’s been doing some of those same things. He’s always been a great route runner, so he’s trying to add that to his game as well.
AN: Have you, Holmes, and Edwards discussed the different roles you can take on offense?
JC: Our mindset is to go out there and dominate. We have a top-notch receiving corp, so that’s our mission. We see the guy that’s lined up across from us and go to work. That’s going to be our approach. That’s how we’re going to put points on the board.
AN: So there’s no such thing as a No. 1, No. 2, or No. 3?
JC: Nah, nah, nah. And none of us are worried about that. When we step out on the field, it’s about us beating the man across from us. No one is out there thinking, “Okay, the No. 1 guy is out on the field, and the No. 2 guy is on the field.” We’re just going out there, trying to make plays, and put points on the board.
AN: So we might see you in the slot for one set, and then out wide next?
JC: Yeah. That’s the thing with our offense — you have to be versatile and you have to be able to move around. All of our receivers are getting accustomed to doing that. It’s going to keep a lot of defenses off-balance.
AN: I’m sure offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer is adding new wrinkles in the playbook to use all of you.
JC: Yeah, I can’t reveal those, but we have a lot of new wrinkles. It’s going to be fun. My man Dustin Keller is going to have a fun year as well.
AN: We all know training camp is tough, but with it right around the corner, what are you looking forward to most in this next month?
JC: I’m looking forward to seeing our team develop. We have a lot of guys coming in this year, so I just want to see us develop as a team, and develop that chemistry the way we did last year around this time. And I’m looking forward to getting to know my teammates really well.
Darrelle Revis took the field at Laney College last weekend to work with high school athletes for the Nike football combines in Oakland. Players were timed in the 40-yard-dash, shuttle, and vertical jump using Nike’s digital SPARQ technology for more accurate results than a stop watch.
For a good laugh, Nike let a few members of the media gauge their athleticism to compare against people who are actually in shape. A lot of folks were humbled.
But Revis’ confidence didn’t stagger for a moment when discussing the Jets’ potential in 2010.
“We can’t let the hype get to us. We got a lot of great players on this team, and everybody is saying ‘this and that’ about us,” Revis said. “We’re paper champs right now, and I think — as one of the leaders on this team — we need to really focus in on not being paper champs and focus on the goal at hand.
“And that’s winning our division, going to the playoffs, and winning the Super Bowl. And this is the team to do it.”
After acquiring cornerback Antonio Cromartie, running back LaDainian Tomlinson, receiver Santonio Holmes, and defensive end Jason Taylor, the Jets faced a heap of criticism for tampering with team chemistry, all for a shot at the Super Bowl.
Despite the chatter, the two-time Pro Bowl cornerback knows the environment in Florham Park is strong enough to welcome the new players with open arms.
“We’re very accepting. It’s good friendship in the locker room,” Revis said. “When those guys came in, they adapted very well. … Now it’s about executing on the field.”
And that’s the most critical challenge these Jets face in turning their paper-champion team into a Super Bowl champion. Revis has no concerns about chemistry, or how the personalities will mesh in the upcoming season.
It’s all about what happens when the pads are on.
“Santonio has to get comfortable with Mark (Sanchez). Jason Taylor has to get comfortable with the defensive line and the scheme,” Revis added. “I think it’s just those things — the football stuff — that we really need to focus on with those guys. Make sure they know everything and they can make plays.”
But it’s not only the veteran, free-agent acquisitions that Revis and the Jets are welcoming with open arms.
Kyle Wilson, the Jets first-round selection in the 2010 draft, is in Revis’ hands as he makes his transition from Boise State standout to nickelback in coach Rex Ryan’s defensive scheme.
With Wilson already knowing the playbook, Revis’ job rests in helping the rookie adapt to the mental aspect of the game. Recognizing the strategy that works best in certain situations is part of the rookie learning curve Revis hopes to ease for Wilson.
“I’m going to try and take him under my wing and teach him what I can,” Revis said. “But also, the guy has made a lot of progress. We just got done with the rookie camp. The coaches have been raving about him and about what he knows already.”
It’s leadership by committee for these New York Jets. While people often look to one specific person to identify as a leader, Gang Green has no problem spreading that role around when it’s appropriate.
As far as the locker room is concerned, there are no criteria a player must meet before he can adequately lead and inspire. With future Hall of Fame veterans Tomlinson and Taylor added in the offseason, there’s no shortage of leadership experience.
“We don’t have a problem with LT breaking down the huddle, or coming in and saying how he feels,” Revis said. “We feel comfortable with these guys. … They’re part of the Jets. So let’s get this Super Bowl.”
The Jets may be wearing the offseason crown of a paper champion after all their headline-nabbing transactions, but Mark Sanchez is confident he has the formula to turn that momentum into on-field chemistry.
Banking on the second-year quarterback’s progress, Gang Green added two offensive weapons for Sanchez in receiver Santonio Holmes and running back LaDainian Tomlinson. And the 23-year-old Sanchez is dedicated to running with it and building a familial dynamic on offense.
“When we’re not throwing and working out, it’s important to just hang out,” Sanchez said. “Not just in the film room and in the facility, but you [have to] go to dinner with them. Not as a chore, but it’s something you want to get to know these guys.”
That means planning to vacation with his receivers this offseason, “either in California, or somewhere else,” Sanchez said. Developing a rapport with his teammates and learning his receivers’ preferences takes as much precedence as forging the friendship.
“When it’s the heat of the moment, it’s the fourth quarter, tensions are raised, [and] guys are yelling back and forth, you know it’s never personal. … You know there’s that deep bond — that love between you guys — and know that it’s all about winning this game. Nothing’s ever personal.”