A salute to Captain Kotwica, and other odds and ends from the day

FLORHAM PARK–Nobody showed up in a wig Thursday, although all the coordinators each referenced it in their weekly press conferences.

One nice and noteworthy moment, an office chair was brought out to the practice field with a handwritten sign on it that said, “Captain Kotwica.”

Prior to joining the NFL, special teams assistant coach Ben Kotwica served in the Army and flew Apache helicopters in the Iraqi War. So, Mike Westhoff had the chair brought out as a tribute to him in honor of Veteran’s Day. “I have the utmost, utmost respect for what he did,” Westhoff said. Westhoff then joked that serving in Iraq was probably easier than working for him.

LaDainiain Tomlinson and Tony Richardson were rested on Wednesday but returned to practice on Thursday. Rex Ryan believes it helps to keep running backs (older running backs…) fresher for games. Tomlinson agreed. “Every year you’re going to have over 100 practices,” he said. ” So if you can take the day off it helps a lot.”

It looks like Marquice Cole may not play, which will impact special teams. In fact, it could create an opportunity for Joe McKnight to be active. Mike Westhoff spoke highly of McKnight today, saying that the running back deserves the chance to play. “He’s improved since training camp tremendously,” Westhoff said.

Expect to see more of Kyle Wilson this week. He will take at least some of the reps that Drew Coleman has been getting. Ryan said that the way Wilson has been practicing, he has earned his time back on the field.

I spoke to Jerricho Cotchery for a few minutes and we talked about the spate of drops that the normally extremely reliable receiver has had recently. “It’s a slump,” he said. “When you get into one of those as a receiver, you’ve just got to work your way out of it.  It’s been frustrating. But you can’t dwell on it. If you dwell on it you start to think about all sorts of crazy stuff.”

Cotchery then named odd superstitious thoughts and behaviors that will come up where players will start to worry about what they’re eating and what they’re wearing, anything to figure out how to break out of it, which can frequently make things worse, rather than better.

And, because it was one of those days, I had a strange but interesting conversation with a few people about taping. I was teasing Sione Pouha because Ryan had joked in his press conference that he and Mike DeVito might have to take part in some ball drills.

Pouha launched into an explanation of the problem. He tapes his fingers, which is not uncommon for linemen on both sides of the ball. However, what he does is tape his ring finger to his pinkie and then his middle finger to his index finger. Picture the Vulcan salute from Star Trek. Anyway, he puts on gloves and then does this taping, and tapes all the way down to his wrist so the glove is taped onto his hand. This makes it very difficult for him to do much of anything in the way of grabbing or squeezing and he can’t bend his wrist at all. Pouha’s finds it helps give him extra support and strength.

However, DeVito had a rebuttal. He doesn’t like to tape his fingers and doesn’t wear gloves. He doesn’t think it helps him. THIS then led to a conversation with Trevor Pryce where I learned that he doesn’t use tape at all, anywhere, including his ankles, which is generally considered standard because it provides support in avoiding ankle injuries. On top of that, he doesn’t even wear high-top cleats, he wears low ones.

Apparently, he’s a bit of a rebel and in college they forced players to tape. He suffered a couple of ankle injuries in spite of that and so began to refuse all taping, something he has continued into the NFL and has never had an ankle problem as a professional.

This is likely way more information than you ever thought you’d get about tape.

It’s Mark Sanchez’s birthday. Nobody sang. Probably because he was so late for the quarterbacks’ meeting that he left the locker room at a dead run, holding his socks and shoes in his hands. If you’re late, you get fined. Even if it is your birthday.