Are Jets players starting to turn on Rex Ryan?

EAST RUTHERFORD, NJ - DECEMBER 12: Head coach of the New York Jets, Rex Ryan looks on from the sideline against the Miami Dolphins at New Meadowlands Stadium on December 12, 2010 in East Rutherford, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)

After losing their last two games in rather embarrassing fashion (and in two different forms of embarrassment, no less), frustrations are starting to boil over for the Jets.

According to ESPN writer Tim Graham and New York Post reporter Mark Cannizarro, several Jets’ defensive players weren’t happy with the way Rex Ryan summed up their performance in a 10-6 loss to the Dolphins on Sunday. To everyone but Ryan, the Jets’ defense played pretty well.

“According to Rex, we played [expletive],” Jets defensive end Shaun Ellis told New York Post reporter Mark Cannizzaro. “He said we weren’t good enough. I guess we needed a shutout. I guess that’s what he was talking about.”

The criticism did not sit well with the defensive players, likely explaining why most of them bolted from the locker room before reporters were allowed in. Linebacker Bart Scott, the so-called leader of the group, had someone bring him his clothes from his locker.

“It’s frustrating to hear that because we played a solid game,” Ellis said. “I guess he just expects so much out of the defense that there should have been zero points on the board, not 10.”

If I were a Jets’ defensive player, I’d be ticked off too. As I wrote in my “I’m Just Saying” column this week, watching Mark Sanchez try to run the Jets’ offense was like watching a drunk try to start a car with his house keys. He was awful, as was the entire offense.

What more could the defense do? They came up with three huge turnovers and their offense turned them into a measly three points. And considering the Jets turned the ball over twice themselves, the defense should be lauded for only holding Miami to 10 points because it could have been worse.

That said, I see what Ryan is trying to do. He’s not going to divide the locker room by scolding the offense and applauding the defense. He didn’t do that last year when Sanchez was running around the field like a monkey trying to hump a football and he’s not going to do it this year either. He holds his defensive players to a different standard and if players like Ellis don’t like it, then that’s their problem. Besides, one team, one collective loss.

But again, I don’t blame Ellis and Co. for having a “WTF?” moment. There is plenty of blame to go around for the way the Jets played on Sunday, but little to none of it should be pinned on the defense. I’m sure Ryan will eventually pull some of his leaders to the side and rally the troops. After all, they’re still 9-4 and they don’t have any time to feel sorry for themselves with a trip to Pittsburgh coming up on Sunday.

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Jets shopping Faneca, Ellis and Thomas?

The National Football Post is reporting that the Jets have put guard Alan Faneca, defensive end Shaun Ellis and outside linebacker Bryan Thomas on the trade block. Per Michael Lombardi, all three players may be released after the draft if New York can’t find any trade suitors.

Faneca went to the Pro Bowl last year but he got there by name recognition only. Despite commanding a hefty salary, he wasn’t a difference maker in the running game and he played poorly as a pass blocker. It’s no wonder the Steelers didn’t want to break the bank trying to retain him a couple of years ago. Brandon Moore was by far the Jets’ best guard last season and comes significantly cheaper.

Ellis is coming off a productive regular season but faded down the stretch and played poorly in the playoffs. He’s also 32 and becomes a free agent at the end of the 2010 season, making him unlikely to be dealt. Meanwhile, Thomas was extremely good against the run last year but struggled generating much of a pass rush from his outside linebacker position. He’s the youngest of the three players (he’s 30) and is signed through 2011, so the Jets may be able to find a suitor for him.

That said, I don’t think the Jets will have much of a market for any of these players. All three are aging, Faneca is expensive and if teams know they might have an opportunity to acquire these players after the draft, then why would they trade for them before or during? It doesn’t seem likely that the Jets will get anything for any of these players outside of maybe a seventh round pick. Of course, the report may be bogus as well.

Photo from fOTOGLIF

2009 NFL All-Spectator Team: All Pros, No Playoffs

Granted, guys like Peyton Manning, Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu had wonderful seasons. But don’t they already get plenty of love? With our third-annual NFL All-Spectator Team, we want to shine the spotlight on the players that had great seasons, but for one reason or another, missed the postseason.

So there won’t be any Steelers, Cardinals, Eagles or Ravens on this team. Nor any Giants, Panthers, Vikings or Falcons. They’ve had their opportunity to shine. We’ll recognize those great players that spent the postseason on their couch, or maybe on a beach somewhere. After all, it’s not their fault that they’re on a mediocre (or a crappy) team, is it?

Hell, we’ll even honor a couple of Detroit Lions – how’s that for spreading the love around?

Check out our 2008 and 2007 All-Spectator squads.


QB: Drew Brees (NO)
5,069 yards, 34 TDs, 17 INTs, 96.2 QB rating
For the second straight season, Brees is our choice at QB. On one hand, it’s a nice honor because it means he’s consistently productive, but we’re sure he’d rather be guiding the Saints into the playoffs. Brees improved his numbers across the board, and almost broke Dan Marino’s single-season yardage record; he averaged 317 passing yards per game! He posted the second-highest QB rating of his career and even turned someone named Lance Moore into a fantasy star. For this, he was named AP Offensive Player of the Year, a well-deserved honor.

RB: Matt Forte (CHI)
1,238 rushing yards, 63 rec., 477 receiving yards, 12 total TD
It was a tough call between Forte and Thomas Jones, but with 1,715 total yards, the rookie gets the nod. Some draft pundits questioned his ability to be an every down back, but didn’t have any problems taking over as the Bears’ RB1. He caught an eye-popping 63 catches and was (by far) the Bears’ best offensive weapon. It’s scary to think what he could do if Chicago had another playmaker in the passing game that would keep defenses from stacking the line against the run.

FB: Earnest Graham (TB)
563 rushing yards; 23 rec., 174 rec. yards; 4 total TD
Were there better fullbacks that we could have chosen? Yeah, especially considering Graham isn’t technically even a fullback. But we chose Graham (who missed the last six games of the year with an ankle injury) because of his unselfishness this season. He volunteered to move to fullback when the Bucs were in need of a power blocker and he never griped about losing his feature back role. When he went down with a season ending injury in Week 11, Tampa clearly missed his power running style over the past two months of the season and even more so, they missed his leadership.

WR: Andre Johnson (HOU)
115 rec., 1575 yards, 8 TD
All AJ did was lead the NFL in catches and yards, anchoring one of the league’s best offenses in the process. He posted 9+ catches eight times and went over 100 yards in each of those games. This included success against the very best competition; he racked up 11 catches for 207 yards and a TD against the Titans, who have one of the top pass defenses in the league. A big day for AJ usually meant a Texans win; Houston was 6-2 in games where Johnson went off.

WR: Brandon Marshall (DEN)
104 rec., 1265 yards, 6 TD
Marshall missed the first game of the season due to suspension, but he made up for it the next week, posting an amazing 18 catches for 166 yards and a score against the Chargers. He was one of the most consistent wideouts over the rest of the season, catching no fewer than four passes in 12 of the next 14 games. Surprisingly, he only caught six touchdowns, but with the third-most catches and seventh-most yards in the league, his stats are plenty impressive.

TE: Tony Gonzalez (KC)
96 rec., 1058 yards, 10 TD
Gonzo makes his second-straight appearance on our All-Spectator Team. Jason Witten may have earned this spot if not for a midseason injury that hindered his production, but Gonzalez was every bit the top TE in the league this season. He was 12th in the league in yards and tied for 4th in catches. What’s most impressive about Gonzo’s season is that, at 32, he turned in what was arguably his third-best season of his illustrious 12-year, Hall of Fame career.

OT: Ryan Clady (DEN)
The Broncos might have produced one of the worst collapses of any team in NFL history by surrendering a four game lead over the Chargers with only four games remaining in the season, but Clady deserves praise for his exceptional play this year. The rookie gave up just a half sack and helped anchor the left tackle position for an offensive line that tied the Titans for fewest sacks allowed in the NFL (12). He’s the type of player the Broncos can build their O-line around and he was clearly a Pro Bowl snub.

OT: Joe Thomas (CLE)
Did Thomas take a slight step back this season? Yes. Even some in Cleveland’s organization will admit it. But offensive linemen aren’t immune to having sophomore slumps and even though his production might have dipped a little, Thomas was still one of the best tackles in the AFC and worthy of his Pro Bowl roster spot. He was also part of a Browns’ offensive line that finished eighth in sacks allowed. Some are going to wonder where Jason Peters’ (Bills) name is, but don’t strain your eyes looking too long because he didn’t make the cut. Peters gave up more sacks (11.5 sacks in just 13 games) this year than any starting left tackle in the league.

OG: Leonard Davis (DAL)
Two years ago, the Cardinals gave up on Davis because they didn’t feel he was consistent or dominant enough to be their cornerstone left tackle. Not that they were wrong, but they might regret giving up on him with the way he’s excelled since the Cowboys moved him to right guard after signing him to a seven-year, $49.6 million contract in March of 2007. Davis had another outstanding year and some believe that he was the most dominant right guard in the NFL this season. The Saints’ Jahri Evans (who made our honorable mention list) got a starting look for our guard positions, but in the end we couldn’t pass up pairing Davis with Alan Faneca.

OG: Alan Faneca (NYJ)
The Steelers didn’t want to pony up to pay a 32-year old guard with plenty of mileage on his body, but the Jets signed the veteran to a five-year, $40 million contract and it’s safe to say that Faneca was worth the money. After breakout seasons as rookies in 2006, the play of left tackle D’Brickashaw Ferguson and center Nick Mangold dropped in 2007. But the addition of Faneca turned out to be the shot in the arm that the two youngsters needed. Faneca’s presence also helped running back Thomas Jones bounce back after a rough 2007 campaign, as he rushed for 1,312 yards this season.

C: Dan Koppen (NE)
Whether it was because of a down year or the inexperience of quarterback Matt Cassel, the Patriots’ offensive line was brutal in pass protection this season. They gave up 48 sacks despite returning all five starters from their Super Bowl team. Regardless, the Patriots still had the fifth best offense in the NFL and were the sixth best running team. At the center (no pun intended) of their success was Koppen, who continues to be a quiet leader on a team filled with exceptional players. Cassel’s success this season had a lot to do with having a veteran center setting the line protection every play and guiding the young signal caller along the way.

Read the rest after the jump...

NFL fines Shaun Ellis $10 G’s for snowball throw – blasphemy!

The “No Fun League” struck again, this time fining Jets’ defensive lineman Shaun Ellis $10,000 for heaving a snowball at Seahawk fans Sunday in Seattle.

Several fans threw snowballs at New York players and staff as they walked off the field after the Seahawks’ 13-3 victory. Ellis then walked over to a pile of snow, picked up a large chunk and tossed it into the stands at Qwest Field, appearing to hit at least a few fans. No one was believed to have been injured.

Ellis said Tuesday: “It was all in fun.”

It’s the latest troublesome incident involving Ellis, who was arrested for speeding and marijuana possession last month and could face a suspension next season under the league’s substance-abuse policy.

That’s freaking ridiculous. If the players are getting pelted with snowballs walking off the field, then I think it’s fair that the players can take action.

I mean come on – this was hilarious!

Note to self – don’t throw snowballs at Shaun Ellis

Watch what Shaun Ellis does after Seahawk fans pelted Jets players with snowballs while walking off the field in Seattle on Sunday:

That was awesome. The fact that he found a snowball that big and actually heaved it at someone might have been the play of the year.

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