And…they're back

FLORHAM PARK–It wouldn’t be the Jets if there wasn’t some sort of a roster move every week. Last week, the team waived Kenwin Cummings and per my sources, they will elevate Josh Mauga to the active roster. The team has not yet officially confirmed this.

I spoke to Mauga and he was told when they signed him to the practice squad that anything can happen. “Hard work does pay off,” he said. “I just did everything they wanted me to do.”

In addition, last week the Detroit Lions signed Cody Wallace off the Jets practice squad onto their active roster and as of today, the Jets have signed Andre Ramsey to the practice squad. Ramsey is an offensive linemen from Ball State who was on the Buffalo Bills practice squad last season and was activated for two games.

Darrelle Revis said that he is fine. “I feel great,” he said. “I was here all week trying to get back. I’m ready to go. I’ll be there Sunday.”

No one else has any injuries of note. We saw Kris Jenkins riding a stationary bike on our way into the locker room. Smiling and waving as usual. Then both Ropati Pitotua and Kevin O’Connell were in the locker room. Haven’t seen them in a while. Pitotua is recovering so well that he is already out of the boot he’s been wearing and is walking completely normally. You would never know anything was wrong with him just by looking at him.

The coaches spent the bye week self-scouting. They approached it as if they were another team game-planning against them. Rex Ryan explained, “Sometimes you can’t see the forest through the trees. This gives you an idea of how opponents look at you.”

Something new this year, defensive play-calling has become a group effort. Last year, Ryan made the overwhelming majority of calls. This year, not only is defensive coordinator Mike Pettine in the mix, but Ryan also takes input from defensive backs coach Dennis Thurman.

Ryan’s identical twin brother, Rob, who is currently the defensive coordinator with the Browns, is being mentioned as a possible head coaching candidate for next year. Ryan was asked if he’d like to see Rob in the AFC East. “Yes,” he said with a grin. “Because I’ve always been able to whip my brother.”

So, what did the players do with their time off? Well, as you can imagine, it ran the gamut. Santonio Holmes went to Las Vegas for some “me time.” Tony Richardson went home to Kansas City. Shonn Greene stayed in New Jersey and relaxed. John Conner went back to the University of Kentucky for homecoming. Marquice Cole went home to Chicago. You get the idea.

Ben Hartsock took his family back to his hometown of Chillicothe, Ohio where his family owns a corn and soybean farm, Hartsock Ag,  in neighboring Circleville. He taught me the tune they are taught as children to remember how to spell Chillocothe – it goes to the melody of the Mickey Mouse theme song. Anyway, Hartsock and his wife, took their daughters, ages one and three, on tractor rides and combine rides. They also went to the pumpkin show. The winning pumpkin weighed 1,622 pounds. Pumpkin burgers were available for purchase. The Ohio State marching band performed.

Then the conversation took an even more interesting turn. I learned that Hartsock, back in the day, was a member of a six-time champion outhouse racing team. Apparently, you put an outhouse on a contraption that’s sort of like a sulky in horse racing. You have two pullers and two pushers and off you go, against the other outhouses. I have no idea why an outhouse was chosen for this event.

That turned into a reminiscence of Hartsock having taken the family semi for a drive on a senior day off in high school when he wasn’t that adept at driving it. The situation turned ugly when he was pulled over, his friends laughed, you get the idea. This trip home, he decided he needed to settle the score with the aforementioned semi by taking it out for a drive and neither grinding nor stripping the gears – nor getting pulled over. It’s the small victories.

Matt Kroul also went home to work on his family farm where they had a zebra in the petting zoo. From what I gathered from Hartsock and Matt Slauson whose family also owns a farm, the Kroul family farm, known as Kroul Farm Gardens & Greenhouses in Mt. Vernon, Iowa, is apparently quite impressive, the largest of anyone else’s on the team. However, neither Kroul nor Slauson had ever heard of outhouse racing.

I tried to convince them to hold one of these races in the parking lot of the Jets practice facility. Never say never.