From Worse to Worser: Thurman and Rhodes Get Into it at Practice

Sounds like there’s more trouble in Florham Park today. Kerry Rhodes got into a shouting match with secondary coach Dennis Thurman.

While Rhodes has supposedly gotten his starting job back according to some point since last Thursday via Rex Ryan, Rhodes is still frustrated with the rotation work he’s in with recently promoted Safety Eric Smith and it came out today in practice today. According to Rhodes after practice during media availability, Rhodes

… admitted to reporters today that he yelled at secondary coach Dennis Thurman in practice. Clearly, Rhodes, who initially was miffed by the demotion, is irked by the uncertainty surrounding his role.

… Rhodes is saying he has been told he’ll be back with the starters. But, in practice, he apparently has been rotating with Eric Smith, leading to today’s heated moment.

Asked if there’s a rift between him and Thurman, Rhodes said, “Me and D.T. No, not right now. Today I was a little mad.”

Why?

“Just the in-and-out thing,” Rhodes said. “It got to me a little today. I was a little more emotional. I felt a little way about it today.”

Rhodes said he’s having trouble adjusting to the rotation.

“You can’t get into a flow that way, especially me,” he said. “I’ve never done that, so it’s kind of different.”

Asked about his role in general, Rhodes said, “It’s funny … kind of. It’s irritating … kind of. But it’s something I have to deal with. I can’t just not show up and not be here … After the year, we’ll re-evaluate things then.”

Rhodes said his relationship with Ryan is fine, but it wasn’t an enthusiastic endorsement of his coach.

“Hmm, let’s see how I can characterize it,” he said, pausing for a few moments. “I still like Rex. Yeah, I still like Rex.”

Told it wasn’t convincing, Rhodes, “You heard the words out of my mouth. I said, ‘I still like Rex.'”

I’m not going to cast the first stone on why he’s yelling in practice. I’ve gotten frustrated with people I work with, had issues with my own managers in the past, so that he voiced his displeasure is not shocking to me. What I will say, is that talking to the press openly about it especially the way he did most notably the “you heard the words out of my mouth,” smacks of career damage control.

At least he didn’t do it anonymously.

Rhodes focus is elsewhere, and based on his actions he believes he’s entitled to start for this team, even with all the gaffes we’ve seen from him over the course of this season. At this point, there’s a whole reel’s worth of plays he’s left on the field in just this season. Rhodes has all the athleticism in the world, and while I think Eric Smith is a liability in pass coverage, at least I know he’ll sell out for a pass defense or lay out his body on a rushing play. He might be in the wrong place at the wrong time (or at least he was under Mangini’s tutelage) but at least I can see that he’s busting his ass.

What’s most sad about this whole thing, is how quickly it’s turned ugly. From his peers, his work ethic has sagged. From the press, other players don’t consider him a leader on this team. From his coaches, they don’t like his level of effort on the field. With all that said, he’s not shutting up, re-evaluating as best I can tell, and busting ass to prove himself. It’s like he’s sulking … now for weeks.

Rhodes was one of the most vocal players in the off season about looking forward to a new coach. Now he’s gotten what he wants, and he doesn’t like it. In the off season, Rex was thrilled to have a player of Rhodes’ ability, and truth told, on the whole his play has been a letdown.

I know early in the season, he was doing things that didn’t show up on the stat sheet, but did on film and we did our best to make that known. Even though there weren’t “impact plays” being registered at the start, it still was commendable work. Somewhere during the skid, Rhodes play dropped off precipitously, and now every time I see him approach a ball carrier in space, I fully expect him to puss out on the tackle.

I’m generally optimistic, but at this point, I’m getting the feeling the Jets and Rhodes (at least in his mind) are beyond repair.

Hat tip to Mike and Ryan for sending this in.