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Posted 15 Apr 2013At first, Muhammad Wilkerson thought the text from Sione Po'uha was a joke.
"You serious ?" Wilkerson shot back.
Po'uha wasn't kidding. The emotional leader of the New York Jets' defensive line, a locker-room mentor to Wilkerson, had just been released.
"It hit me hard," Wilkerson said, recalling that day early last month.
There have been quite a few "you serious?" moments this offseason for the emerging star. Wilkerson has watched as the Jets' defense, three seasons removed from its No. 1 ranking, has crumbled around him.
Seven starters … gone. The most famous of them all, cornerback Darrelle Revis, could be traded in the coming days. Upheaval is as much a part of the NFL as helmets and shoulder pads, but this has been extreme even by the league's standards.It'll be a different Jets team that reports Monday for the start of the offseason program -- so many familiar faces gone, scattered across the league. A few remain unemployed.
Fortunately for the Jets, Wilkerson is still in the room. On a team that needs so many things, he's The Next Big Thing.He's still only 23, his career rising like a helium-filled balloon. His talent is obvious, and now there's added motivation. He's determined to right a perceived wrong.Wilkerson kept his feelings quiet at the time, but he felt he deserved to make the Pro Bowl last season. The hulking defensive end doesn't say a whole lot, but that admission reveals the amount of pride, confidence and determination churning inside.And it makes his coaches almost giddy with anticipation.
"Just sit back and, like [Terrell Owens] said, get your popcorn ready," defensive coordinator Dennis Thurman said.
Wilkerson is ready.
In February, he started training five days a week at the Lifetime Fitness facility in Columbia, Md., working out with a group of NFL players that includes Vontae Davis, D'Qwell Jackson and Arrelious Benn. On Monday, Wednesday and Friday, it's weightlifting and cardio. On Tuesday and Thursday, it's just cardio.On Monday, Wilkerson will report to the Jets in the best shape of his life. He dropped a few pounds after tweaking his diet -- less cheese and red meat, more veggies, chicken and fish. Listed at 315 in his first two seasons, he's down to 305."We call him 'Sugar Bear,' because he's a small man in a big man's body," Myron Flowers, who has trained Wilkerson in Maryland the past three offseasons, said.
Flowers said the other NFL players in the group marvel when Wilkerson performs agility drills because he moves so well for a man his size. When it's his turn, the others watch and whisper. We're talking about a 6-foot-4 lineman who, in a pick-up basketball game, can perform a one-step dunk.Wilkerson wasn't satisfied with the way he started last season, so his goal is to come out strong and sustain his performance for 16 games.
On Monday, Wilkerson, 23, will report to the Jets in the best shape of his life."I want to put my foot to the pedal in Week 1 and full force from there," he said last week at the Linden PAL complex, an old basketball haunt from his Jersey youth.Wilkerson was a force by last midseason, and he finished with five sacks, a team-high 37 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. Pro Football Focus, a stats-based web site, graded him the second-best 3-4 defensive end, behind the Houston Texans' J.J. Watt, the NFL Defensive Player of the Year.No doubt, the Jets' struggles against the run hurt Wilkerson's Pro Bowl candidacy, but he still felt he deserved the trip.
"I felt like I was playing well enough to make the Pro Bowl," he said in a rare moment of braggadocio. "No problem. I just have more motivation for this offseason, just to go into next season and prove myself. That's definitely one of my goals this year -- to make it to Hawaii."Only two Jets made the Pro Bowl, cornerback Antonio Cromartie and safety LaRon Landry, who is one of the recent defections. They also lost safety Yeremiah Bell and tackle Mike DeVito, and they cut linebackers Bart Scott and Calvin Pace.By training camp, the only returning starters could be Wilkerson, Cromartie, cornerback Kyle Wilson and linebacker David Harris. Entering his third season, Wilkerson will be expected to be "The Man." And a leader.During their end-of-the-season sitdown, line coach Karl Dunbar encouraged Wilkerson to assume a greater leadership role, basically telling him, "At some point, it will be your defensive line."
That point is now.
"Us young guys will have to step up and mature faster than maybe we were expected," Wilkerson said. "I learned a lot from [Po'uha and DeVito]. That will help me become the leader of the defensive line."For two seasons, Wilkerson was surrounded by an experienced cast of characters, deferring to his elders, but those players are pretty much gone. It's the cold side of the business. That the Jets are considering a Revis trade shows that anything is possible and no one is safe.Wilkerson said he was "shocked" by reports of a possible trade. Who deals their best player, right?
"He's a great teammate, on and off the field, so, of course, I want him to stay," Wilkerson said. "But this is a business, and that's something I can't control. I pray and hope he stays with us. If not, I wish him the best wherever he ends up, but I'd still love to have him as a teammate."
The Jets didn't have Revis for 14 games last season because of his knee surgery, and "everybody had to add a little Revis to their game and play that much better," Wilkerson said.They still managed to finish eighth in total defense, but there were glaring weaknesses. The front seven got old and slow, looking dinosaurish at times. New general manager John Idzik tore it down, and he wants to build around Wilkerson.
Thurman expects Wilkerson to continue his ascent because he will have a better understanding of blocking schemes, which should allow him to play faster. It's the old adage: The closer you're positioned to the ball, the longer it takes to adjust to the speed of the game."It's almost like, you're out on the field and you have an epiphany," Thurman said. "Your brain opens up, and you say, 'Hey, I can do this.' Around the middle of last season, it opened up for Mo. It was like, 'I can do this. I've arrived.'"
And he's only 23.
"That's scary -- and good, because he's on our side," Thurman said with a laugh. "His ceiling is as high as he wants to take it. If he does what he's supposed to do, one day his name could be mentioned with the best."New York loves menacing defensive stars, especially if they're homegrown.Wilkerson grew up in Linden, a quick drive from the Goethals Bridge. He stops by the old neighborhood every week to visit his mother and friends. He's a rock star at the Linden PAL, which displays newspaper clippings of him in the lobby showcase.
"Every day here," he said, "brings back a memory."
The Jets are counting on him to create memories at MetLife Stadium, about 20 miles up the New Jersey Turnpike. Asked if he can be as good as Watt, a fellow first-rounder in the 2011 draft class, Wilkerson got really serious."I can be any guy I want to be," he said. "I can be the guy that gets everybody up, making plays day-in, day-out -- sacks, knocking down balls like J.J. Watt. It's all up to me, and I feel like I've got something to prove. I can be a dominant player."
Posted 2 Mar 2013Changes in Atlanta as 3 key players are out
The Atlanta Falcons started their youth movement Friday by ditching
three key players from the most successful era in franchise history.
The Falcons released running back Michael Turner, defensive end John
Abraham and cornerback Dunta Robinson, moves that were not unexpected
given their age (all in their 30s) and hefty salaries...
~ ~ The 30-year-old Robinson signed with Atlanta in 2010 and became a steady
figure in the secondary, known especially for his bruising hits.
rest of above article :
* * ok ,..how 'bout this ;...we trade revis ( for draft picks and/or players ) & sign robinson....
Posted 29 Nov 2012Who Should Be the Jets' Next Mascot ?
The Jets lost a piece of their collective identity recently when "Fireman Ed"—Ed Anzalone, the fan renowned for leading the "J-E-T-S, JETS-JETS-JETS!" chants at Jets home games—announced that he was retiring from his unofficial role as the team's head cheerleader.Since the Jets are in the market for a new superfan to keep enthusiasm high at MetLife MET -0.80% Stadium (no easy task, for sure), here are a few recommendations :
Has gained extensive and valuable experience in cheering on and lending support to Jets players and coaches this season. Would bring requisite sincerity, enthusiasm and spiritual devotion to the position. Versatility would allow him to lead "J-E-T-S" chant and orchestrate crowd in singing "New York, New York"—but only two or three times a game. Has exhibited willingness to sit through long stretches of games while shirtless.
Would supplement team's fan base by buying season tickets for Curtis Martin, Vinny Testaverde, Maurice Carthon, Keith Byars and so on. Would make any fan who didn't participate in "J-E-T-S" chant run gassers at halftime. Potential complication: Based on his quote, "You are what your record says you are," might change chant to reflect state of team: "FOUR-AND-SEV-VEN, JETS!
Has honed public-speaking and performance skills through work on "Monday Night Football," "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island." Has popular Twitter account and could post critiques of Mark Sanchez after each interception. Would remind Jets fans of a time when the franchise could be brash and bold and actually back it up. Would also remind Jets fans of a time when a man could wear pantyhose without fear of reprisal.
Brooklyn native would deliver chant and cheers with appropriate New York accent. Coached Jets to four victories over two years in mid-1990s, so he would greet any season of five wins or more with unfettered joy. Also served as Philadelphia Eagles coach for four years, giving him deeper understanding for and appreciation of the negative atmosphere that can surround an NFL franchise.
Posted 16 Nov 2012'A Football Life : John Riggins' sneak peek 0
"A Football Life" gives you an in-depth look at the NFL journey of running back John Riggins.
Watch the premiere on NFL Network on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 8 p.m. ET.
cheers ~ ~
Posted 5 Nov 2012Class of '12: Assessing the Jets' draft
A bye-week evaluation of the Jets' draft class, including an update on the five players chosen after the Jets' pick for all you second-guessers out there :
16. DE Quinton Coples -- He got off to a slow start, but his playing time has increased in recent weeks. He has received more action than any other Jets rookie. He has two sacks and five tackles-for-loss.
What might have been : 17. CB Dre Kirkpatrick, Bengals; 18. OLB Melvin Ingram, Chargers; 19. DE Shea McClellin, Bears; 20. WR Kendall Wright, Titans; 21. DE Chandler Jones, Patriots.
Skinny : The Jets needed an edge rusher in the worst way, and they passed on a good one. Jones has six sacks, three forced fumbles and could win NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
11. WR Stephen Hill -- He has experienced extreme highs and lows. Hill has four drops and he's as raw as sushi, still learning how to run pass routes. He has 14 catches, a 14.0 yard-per-catch average and 3 TDs.
What might have been: 12. OL Jeff Allen, Chiefs; 13. WR Alshon Jeffery, Bears; 14. LB Mychal Kendricks, Eagles; 15. LB Bobby Wagner, Seahawks; 16. S Tavon Wilson, Patriots.
Skinny: The only player that matters here, for the purpose of comparison, is Jeffery, whose stats are almost identical to those of Hill -- 14 catches, 13.1 average, 2 TDs.
14. LB DeMario Davis -- He has played the last two games for the injured Bart Scott. Davis brings a different dimension to the linebacking corps. He's more of a sideline-to-sideline player, as opposed to a downhill linebacker. He has 15 tackles.
What might have been: 15. TE Michael Egnew, Dolphins; 16. S Brandon Hardin, Bears; 17. DB Jamell Fleming, Cards; 18. DE Tyrone Crawford, Cowboys; 19. DT Mike Martin, Titans.
Skinny: No one jumps off the page here. Martin has two sacks in a reserve role; Fleming has started two games.
17. S Josh Bush -- He has been a solid contributor on special teams, but Bush -- a sleeper pick -- has yet to make any mark on defense. He has only two tackles in very limited action.
What might have been: 18. LB Danny Trevathan, Broncos; 19. DT Chris Bilukidi, Raiders; 20. S Markelle Martin, Titans; 21. RB Dan Herron, Bengals; 22. S Charles Mitchell, Falcons.
Skinny: No one has distinguished himself. Trevathan and Martin have small roles.
32., 33. RB Terrance Ganaway, OT Robert Griffin -- The Jets went 0-for-2 here, as neither player made the team. That's a surprise, because GM Mike Tannenbaum hates to cut draft picks.
What might have been: 34. LB Emmanuel Acho, Browns; 35. DT Billy Winn, Browns; 36. WR LaVon Brazill, Colts; 37. P Brad Nortman, Panthers; 1. (Seventh round) G Justin Anderson, Colts.
Skinny: The Browns found a nice player in Winn, who has started eight games and has one sack. You're doing well anytime you can find an immediate contributor this late in the draft.
35. S Antonio Allen, 37. WR Jordan White -- Allen was the Jets' best late-round pick in this draft. He was a key contributor on defense in the win over the Colts, covering the tight end. He has one sack and has the potential to be productive on special teams. White is on the practice squad.
What might have been: 36. QB B.J. Coleman, Packers; 38. DB Trevin Wade, Browns; 39. DB Terrence Frederick, Steelers; 40. TE Brad Smelley, Browns; 41. G Kelvin Beachum, Steelers.
Skinny: Any second-guessing this late in the draft would be irresponsible. The Jets are happy with Allen, and none of these other players have contributed.
Summary: The Jets found three starting-type players with Coples, Hill and Davis. By next year, all three should be regulars. Any draft that produces three starters has to be considered solid. But all three still need a lot of development, especially Hill, so it's hard to predict the upside of the draft. The Jets will hear years of criticism if Jones continues to shine and Coples turns out to be just a regular guy.
- Member Title:
- Pro Bowl
- 33 years old
- August 3, 1979
- dunwoody, ga. ! !
- jets , yankees , knicks , travel , surfin' ( the SO-CAL babyee ! ).