The All-Bent Mailbag v2.0 – This Time It's Personal

As promised, here are your mailbag responses. Thanks to everyone who submitted questions to and apologies in advance to everyone whose question was dealt with by a dismissive and sarcastic response.

Jets: Holmes and Cro seem to have indicated that they will wait to hear offers from other teams, while Braylon wants to sign in the exclusivity window. Do you think the Jets will grab Braylon while they can, or use that as leverage to force Holmes to sign during the exclusivity window?

Non-NFL: How often did you read News of the World prior to its demise, and do you celebrate its death or mourn it?

- mole57

It sounds like there won’t even be an exclusive window now, so your question is probably redundant. This mailbag stuff is easy!

If there IS an exclusive window (although other teams can still negotiate anyway, so I don’t really see the point), that would give the Jets a dilemma. If Holmes is their first choice, do they wait until they know his intentions or do they lock up Braylon while they can and risk not having the ammo to get Holmes later on?

I stopped reading the newspapers over here several years ago and I don’t feel like I’m any less well-informed (although occasionally stuff will pass me by, like when all my friends started talking about how we were all going to die from Swine Flu and I was like, “What’s Swine Flu?”) I strongly dislike the media over here for the way they build celebrities up just to knock them down with a witchhunt. It’s also ridiculous how most people over here don’t know anything about politics, so just end up voting for whichever side the newspapers tell them to.

The “demise” of the News of the World (which if you missed it, came about because they were getting news stories by hacking into the voicemail accounts of people like murder victims’ families) doesn’t stop the rest of the British media from existing. (And anyway, they’ll return in a few weeks with exactly the same staff, features and layout, but just with a different name – kind of like if James Harrison got suspended for a year, but then the Steelers signed a free agent that looked remarkably like Harrison with a fake glasses/nose/mustache combo and called himself Harry Jameson or something).

So, there was a bit of schadenfreude, but I’d be a gullible idiot if my celebrations were not guarded.

Which Jets FA’s do YOU think will be the first to sign a new contract with the team? Do you feel that Rex’s want for a ground and pound style will impact which FA’s the jets bring back? Does that mean one reciever? Does that make Cromartie a shoo-in?

- deuce4417

We have some idea how the contract process works for the Jets, thanks to Hard Knocks. The player comes into the office and signs a pre-prepared contract. I’d imagine the Jets already have basic contracts pre-drafted for several of the lower-scale free agents, that can be approved as soon as the league’s rules allow for a two minute phone call with the agent. So, basically, as soon as the facility opens, it’ll be a race as to who gets through Tannenbaum’s door quickest.

Drew Coleman has experience as a punt gunner, so he’d be ideal at this. I’ll pick him (although things will move so fast that his deal might not get announced until later, because the media will focus on the bigger names in those first few hours).

If the Jets were that committed to ground and pound, they wouldn’t have signed Santonio Holmes and increased their passing percentage from the low 40′s to the low 50′s. Will they revert back to 2009? I think that will depend on what personnel they can keep, rather than the other way around. I often feel like the Jets/Sanchez would be better off being a pass-oriented team that can run instead of the complete opposite like they are at the moment. As long as they retain some flexibility, that’s good.

Cromartie isn’t a shoo-in even if they decide to spend on a corner. They might yet choose to (or be forced to) go in another direction.

Jet Question: Who do you think will be the surprise best and worst players for the Jets this season?

Personal Question: Apologies for the downer of a question but how do you think all the new info. about the long term and devastating effects of head trauma will change the way the game is played and, how do you, as a fan, feel about this information?

- Boozer up the middle

I don’t expect either of the rookie defensive linemen to make much of an impact, which may be a surprise to many that seem to be banking on them playing a big role. On the positive side, I’ve got my fingers crossed that this is the year when Ropati Pitoitua finally breaks out into a key rotational contributor. I also think any of the offensive rookies could surprise by making more of a contribution that we anticipate.

Here at TJB, promoting the concussion issue is something Bassett has been driving for some time.

Obviously, it’s an uncomfortable moral dilemma because, as much as we love football – including highlight reel hits – we hate to see our favorite stars like Waybe Chrebet and Al Toon damaged (and affected into their post-NFL lives) more. Though I didn’t necessarily need one, I got a big wake-up call from the Boldin concussion, as I happened to be in the front row on the 50-yard line at the time.

The more information there is, the better and it’s great to see the NFL addressing this, even though there are concerns that by avoiding hits that might cause a concussion, a tackler’s technique might open his neck up to a heavier impact and could lead to spinal injuries instead. I hope that doesn’t happen and the league MUST ensure that the rules are enforced uniformly across the NFL, in order that the players know exactly what is permitted and can practice accordingly.

The one silver lining appears to be that as the information increases, treatments must be improving too. Al Toon is reportedly in much better shape that he was ten years ago. You can help more information become available if you donate.

Which of the UFA safeties do you think will be back?

Who would you want to portray you in “Bent – the movie?”

- Lam Jones

I really hope they can keep Pool, who flourished at the end of last season. I think he might be the priority. Since Smith and Ihedigbo contribute to special teams, I expect one of them to return. This is a tricky one. I guess they’ll be keeping their options open.

Who could play me? Kerry Rhodes!

Only kidding. I’m not sure “Bent – The Movie” would be that exciting, but perhaps I haven’t seen the climax yet. So far, the characters and build-up have been interesting. I still look like a teenager, even though I’m in my thirties, so we’d have to get some young heartthrob actor that I’m too old to have heard of to play current me. I think the movie could be a success as long as we can convince Drew Carey to play the part of Brian Bassett.

Jet question – What is your overall assessment of Dwight Lowery going into the final year on his contract? I am personally a fan of the guy and would like your analysis.

Non-NFL- Has the comedic genre in film suffered greatly in the past decade (or 2)? The days of Caddyshack and The Odd Couple have passed. But seriously, how many times does Hollywood belive they can rehash tired premises to put guys like Vince Vaughn or Ben Stiller in yet another mind-numbing advocate for suicide?

- Mark “The Chosen One” Sanchez

What’s interesting about Lowery is that everybody says the Jets only have one safety under contract, only Lowery played 338 snaps as a safety last year and only 93 at corner. Considering he was learning a new position, he didn’t look as bad as some full-time Jets safeties have in recent years. He was a little bit “feast or famine” though – two touchdowns and a game clinching fumble recovery, but also gave up seven 20+ yard catches. Hopefully, he still has room to grow into the position, as I think his days as a potential starting cornerback are probably numbered.

As for comedy, you’re absolutely right that comedy movies (and sitcoms and stand-up) have gone down the toilet in recent years. You get the occasional moment of genius, but serial TV dramas have been the main focus for the last ten years and many of those include more humor than your average comedy – although the market has started to become saturated with bad ideas that get canned after a year or two.

Hollywood in general has no balls right now. Everything is a remake or a sequel, or a totally unimaginative premise. Something like “Inception” comes as a breath of fresh air, but I watched it and afterwards couldn’t help but say to myself, “I think that really sucked, but I can’t tell because I’m disoriented by the fact it wasn’t a remake.”

So, yes, film comedy is dying. Although “Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb” looked good from the trailers.

Jet question: Love Rex but everyone can get better at what they do. Is Rex working on his issues (IMO) of too many early challenges and clock management?

Non NFL: Will the Oregon Ducks win the National Championship this season? (They have green jerseys sometimes…)

- orjetfan

I don’t see Rex as being stubborn, so I’d like to think he’ll keep trying to improve himself. However, I do think he comes in for some unfair criticism at times.

As an example, I was in the locker room after the loss to Miami in 2009 and Rex was being criticized for (a) not challenging a Revis fumble recovery and (b) messing up two two point conversions in a game they lost by five and theoretically could have tied with a late field goal if they’d just kicked two extra points.

However, Revis said he had the ball, but that the decision to challenge comes from the guys in the booth, not Rex. Also, the Dolphins went for two and failed themselves as a result of the Jets failing to convert their two-pointers, so if the Jets had just kicked two extra points, Miami would have kicked their extra point and still led by four on the last drive.

I’d also say that in a lot of end-of-half situations, the Jets are playing the percentages, but still come under a lot of criticism. There’s definitely room for growth though and hopefully Rex realizes that’s somewhere he can make a tangible improvement.

Oregon are topping some ranking lists right now, but watch out for LSU as a sleeper.

How’d you become a Jets fan, and why do the Brits like warm beer?

- Juunit

The first game I saw was the 51-45 overtime win against Miami in 1986. My Dad (a former Toronto Argonauts season ticket holder) was explaining the rules and telling me about Namath, so I decided to root for the Jets. (He had been in North America when Namath’s Jets won the Superbowl). The game was incredible, so I was instantly hooked.

It’s not that Brits like warm beer, just that a lot of our pubs serve warm beer. That’s not because we like it, it’s because those pubs suck. Obviously, Brits are also too reserved to complain about that, too, so it never changes.

Would you trade sanchez for bradford? (not that it would ever happen)

Since the old agreement is over and there is no union can’t the owners just start signing players? Why do they need the players’ approval if there isn’t a union?

- Chris R.

Forgetting the salary cap ramifications that would make this practically impossible for both teams, even if they did want to do it, I’d say Bradford is better right now, has the brighter future and has the higher trade value. However, I think Sanchez handles the spotlight superbly and has his teammates’ full support, so it would not be without risk.

As for the CBA fiasco, the league operates under collective bargaining, so no transactions can occur unless governed by an agreed set of rules.

Jets: How long before Schotty is phased out by Moore and Callahan? (Third wheels never work).

Non: Will Directv ever lose exclusivity to NFL packages?

- The Green Hornet

I’m not sure who is the third wheel in that analogy, but Schottenheimer’s contract expires in approximately six months. That’s how long. Then our National Nightmare is over. (Not dealing with Schotty, having to listen to you complain about him).

Will they EVER lose exclusivity? Of course. In fifty years time we’ll all be able to beam virtual game footage into our eyeballs. I wonder if Brett Favre will have retired yet.

Jets: Can we afford these guys: Braylon, Harris, Asomougha, Pool, E. Smith? If that’s not the best combo of guys we can afford, what would it be?

Non-NFL: Which is more important, money or power?

- Jimmy

That’s not an unreasonable group of signings. They might even have a little cap room left over. I’d still like to see them get a situational pass rusher if they can find a decent one for the right price.

I thought money WAS power. Unless you’re talking about Super Powers? Personally, money doesn’t motivate me, so I’d rather be powerful than rich, if it’s even possible to be one without the other.

Jets: Have you been on espn-newyork lately and seen all of the patriots fans trashing us for being “stupid” with our money because they’re scared we have a chance to make a huge splash once free agency begins?

Non-related: Pat’s or Geno’s?

- zach jet

I haven’t looked at an ESPN comments section for some time, but nothing they would say over there would surprise me.

Pat’s or Geno’s: You have to remember that I’m not an American, so I’ve never sampled either of these (I understand) rival Cheesesteak houses. I did have a Cheesesteak at Blondie’s in New York once though – and our gameday chef, D, makes a mean one every time Philadelphia are one of the teams we watch together on a Sunday. (You should all buy his cookbook when we release it next year).

I’m going to have to settle the Pat’s v Geno’s debate arbitrarily somehow…so let’s do it like this:

Famous Geno’s (also includes Gino)
Gino Torretta (-1)
“Geno” by Dexy’s Midnight Runners (+1 for the song, -300 for it being stuck in my head for the last two hours)
Geno Hayes (-1)
Gino D’Acampo (-1, bad celebrity chef)
“Gino”, the Boston Celtics unofficial mascot (+17)
Gina Gershon (+1)
Juno, Alaska (+1)

Famous Pat’s -
Peppermint Patty (+1, love Peanuts)
Pat Burrell (-5, ugh)
Pat Riley (-500, UGH)
Postman Pat (+1, obscure UK kids tv show)
Pat from SNL (+0, never seen it)
Pat Boone, Pat Benatar (+0, I’m not that old)
Pat Ryan (+10, obviously)
St. Patrick’s Day (+200)

Pat’s score is minus-293, but Geno’s score is minus-283. Geno’s wins!

Jets….Will Washington steal Santonio?

Non-Jets…..What will happen with the debt-ceiling?

- WesleyWalkerWasAwesome

Yes, they probably will.

As for the debt ceiling, probably this.

The debt ceiling will ultimately collapse under the weight of the budget build-up from a spending leak in the federal borrowing attic.

How will we get out of recession? Probably by the big corporations reducing costs to increase public spending, but maintaining their profits with an increased reliance on cheap-third world labor or something…which will affect jobs and therefore render the exercise only a short term fix. Do I come close to sounding anything like I know what I’m talking about?

1. Which player’s improvement (other than Sanchez) is most important for the Jets success this season. My personal theory is that the Jets offense will be as good as Sanchez short-throw accuracy (as has been discussed again and again) and Greene’s ability to be a legit 20 carry a game back.

2. As the only other Tottenham/Jets fan on the site, Any thought to who Tottenham is going to get as a striker. I heard that Crouch is rejecting all outside offers, but that doesn’t really help the Spurs. Do you think they have any shot at a top 4 finish without spending like the big 4 + Liverpool.

This is a 3rd question… Is there any noise about where Michael Bradley will end up this season? The rumor was that he had a deal with Aston Villa, but it fell apart when they hired their new coach.

- Biebs (via e-mail)

As things stand, if two guys that struggled with injuries last year can return to their 2009 form, then that will have a huge impact on the roster (and is not an unrealistic expectation). Of course, I’m talking about Calvin Pace and Jerricho Cotchery.

I don’t think you are the only Tottenham/Jets fan on the site, but there can’t be more than three or four. I don’t like any of their strikers, so I’m almost keen for them to add someone I’ve never heard of. Since I don’t read the news over here, I barely keep up with player transactions in soccer. I literally turned on a preseason game the other day and had no idea who was playing. Needless to say, I was shocked to see some guys I thought they’d already sold! They need to retain Modric to stay in the top five, but I’m not optimistic about that.

Bradley was recently linked with Napoli in Italy (Naples, actually, so maybe that’s Hank’s team).

Who is the next Jets kicker? (I’m staying in shape, by the way…)

Who do you think might be this year’s break-out player in the NFL?

Where does Beltran end up?

- R in CT

“Staying in shape” implies you’re still in the same shape you were last time I saw you, right? The Jets can’t afford your exhorbitant salary demands anyway. Nick Novak has the inside track right now, since he’s the only kicker on the roster.

Breakout players? Matt Stafford, Marcus Benard, Dez Bryant off the top of my head. Does Ray Edwards count or is he already “broken out”? Maybe Antawn Barnes if the Jets get him.

Beltran ends up standing alone at home plate with his bat still on his shoulder looking forlornly into the night sky as the Cards celebrate winning the pennant. Yep, still bitter about 2006.

The FAN was saying that the big 4 free agents could all get picked up by teams that had to meet their salary minimums and didn’t come anywhere close last year. How much cap space does that leave the Jets with, and who can we get with that kind of money?

Can you taste the difference between Coke and Pepsi in a blind test? Which do you prefer?

- JMac the Man

I’m not sure I can see any scenario in which Harris gets away, considering they control his rights, but assuming he did, the updated cap position after adjusting for the increases in minimum salary is $102.8m in cap commitments per Jason. So, that would leave them with $17.6m of cap room, $6.5m in available exceptions, $7-10m in possible restructures, up to $8-10m in possible cuts = up to approximately $40m in cap room. However, we still don’t know about dead money ($8.6m) and that might eat into that figure. Even if we assume that reduces it to about $30m, they could get pretty much anyone with that kind of cap room, but obviously they’d have some big shoes to fill.

I can totally tell the difference and I’m a Pepsi man. I used to drink a ton of Pepsi when I was a kid. Then I went to Diet Pepsi. Regular Pepsi is way too sweet for me now. These days, I mainly only drink water and milk (and beer) for dental reasons. Yes, some British people do actually look after their teeth!

Thanks for all your questions, let’s do this again sometime.