Redskins

Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

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Rex, Woody excited for Jets' new 'beginning'

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) The big, bold statements are back - and so is Rex Ryan.

The New York Jets coach, kept on board despite owner Woody Johnson firing general manager Mike Tannenbaum last week, had no Super Bowl guarantees - but he's certainly back to being the brash Ryan from before.

``We are going to be a dangerous football team,'' Ryan warned Tuesday. ``I can promise you that. I'm going to tell you: You're not going to want to play the Jets.''

During a nearly 40-minute ``season-ending'' news conference that came nine days after the Jets' 6-10 season ended, both Johnson and Ryan - each decked out in green ties - spoke about being excited for the team's future.

And, as far as Johnson is concerned, that future begins with Ryan, who acknowledged he was concerned he might be fired after the season because he ``failed'' to leave his imprint on all aspects of the team. But Johnson said that was never a scenario in his mind.

``I think Rex Ryan is perfect for the New York Jets,'' Johnson said. ``He is 100 percent this team.''

It sounded a bit the way Ryan's introductory news conference did four years ago, when the talk was about how the Jets would meet President Obama soon and how the franchise was going for the Super Bowl.

``I'm approaching this day like it's the first day. Period,'' a fired-up Ryan said Tuesday. ``Like my first day as a head coach. This is a new chance for me. This is a beginning, certainly not an end.''

While Ryan has toned down that talk during the last few seasons, he made no mistake that he is rejuvenated - after a few days in the Bahamas - and rededicated to bringing the franchise where he always has intended.

``We're not going to be bullied,'' Ryan said. ``We might not win every game, and no team does. But you've got to stand for something. We're going to be the team you don't want to play.''

That wasn't the case this season, of course, as the Jets failed to make the playoffs for the second straight year after consecutive trips to the AFC championship game in Ryan's first two seasons.

While Tannenbaum was fired and the Jets continue to search for a replacement - a process Johnson said Ryan will be part of - significant changes are being made to the coaching staff. Offensive coordinator Tony Sparano was fired after one season in which the offense ranked among the league's worst.

``I want to be more of an unpredictable offense,'' Ryan said. ``As hard as we are to attack defensively, I want to be offensively.''

Quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh is also out after four seasons.

Neither Sparano nor Cavanaugh could get starting Mark Sanchez to make the next step in his development, and he actually regressed this season - culminating in the first benching of his career. Sanchez's 52 turnovers the last two seasons are the most in the NFL, and Ryan and Johnson insisted money wouldn't factor into any decisions on personnel - despite the fact Sanchez is owed $8.25 million in guarantees and would cost the Jets a $17.1 million salary cap hit if they cut him.

The Jets also couldn't figure out a way to effectively use backup quarterback Tim Tebow, who failed to get into the end zone all season as he stood mostly on the sideline after being expected to be a major part of Sparano's offense. Tebow is expected to be traded or released - but personnel moves will largely depend on the next general manager.

``It is way too early to say what any of our players' futures are,'' Ryan said.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine, whose contract is expiring, also won't be back. Ryan has worked with Pettine the last 10 years, but said Pettine was interviewing for the same job in Buffalo and the two felt it was time for him to look at other opportunities.

Ryan hinted that Pettine's replacement would come from within the franchise, likely secondary coach Dennis Thurman, but didn't want to announce anything since ``the ink's not dry.''

Special teams coordinator Mike Westhoff retired after the season, and will be replaced by his assistant, Ben Kotwica.

Ryan's much-discussed tattoo of his wife wearing a Sanchez jersey - photographed while he was in the Bahamas - also came up. The coach said he has had it on his right arm for nearly three years, and was able to joke about all the commotion.

``I know what you're thinking: Obviously, if Sanchez doesn't play better that number is changing,'' Ryan said, smiling. ``I've been married 25 years and, in my eyes, my wife is the most beautiful woman in the world.''

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The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the draft pool will shape the Redskins' first-round strategy

The makeup of the top players in the 2018 NFL Draft pool may push the Redskins into continuing a short-term draft trend that appears to be working out fairly well for them. 

For seven straight years beginning in 2009, the Redskins went along with the conventional wisdom in the draft, taking a player that primarily impacted the passing game or stopping the other team’s passing game, with their top draft picks. 

Their top pick (whether in the first or second round) in every draft from 2008-2014 was at a traditionally high-value position associated with the passing game — wide receiver (Devin Thomas), edge rusher (Brian Orakpo, Ryan Kerrigan, Trent Murphy), left tackle (Trent Williams), quarterback (Robert Griffin III), or outside cornerback (David Amerson). 

This was the Redskins going along with the conventional wisdom. Since 2000, 62 percent of first-round NFL draft picks have been players at those positions even though they account for just 32 percent of a team’s starters. 

The Redskins have shifted away for conducting the draft focused on the passing game at the top in two of the last three drafts. The Redskins selected guard Brandon Scherff (No. 5) in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft and interior defensive lineman Jonathan Allen (No. 22) in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. In between, they went the old way, selecting wide receiver Josh Doctson (No. 22) in the 2016 NFL Draft. 

This trend is likely to continue due in part to the makeup of the top talent in the draft.

If you’re not looking for a quarterback, the top half of the first round is very light in talented players playing the positions that are most important to the passing game — outside cornerback, edge rusher, left tackle, and wide receiver. Cornerback Denzel Ward is a top-10 player as is edge rusher Bradley Chubb. But that’s about it at those positions and there are no wide receivers or left tackles worthy of consideration in the top 15.

That leaves players like interior defensive linemen Vita Vea and Da’Ron Payne and inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Tremaine Edmunds as players who have the potential to be the best available players on the board when the Redskins are on the clock. Traditionally, these players play positions that teams are looking for in the latter stages of the first round at the earliest. 

They could go the non-traditional way for the third time in four years with Vea, Payne, Fitzpatrick, or Smith. In fact, unless Ward slips or they pull off a major surprise it’s likely that they will.

Scherff has worked out well and Allen was getting the job done as a rookie before he got injured so perhaps the way the draft plays out will work out well for Washington.

More Redskins Draft News

 

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John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

John Wall said he's not listening to Drake's music during Wizards-Raptors playoff series

The friendly feud between Wizards guard John Wall and Raptors superfan Drake nearly tilted to Washington over the weekend as the rap star apparently floated the idea of showing up for Game 3 in D.C. 

Drake, in fact, was going to bring with him a prop to show just how confident he was after his team went up up 2-0.

"I told him to be here for Game 3. He told me he was going to be here," Wall said. "He didn't show up. He told me we was getting swept and he said he had the broom for us."

Wall and Drake exchanged trash-talk throughout the first two games held up in Toronto as Drake sat courtside. Their back-and-forth was caught on camera and went viral.

Wall now has the upperhand with the Wizards having won two straight games as the series shifts back to Toronto for Game 5 on Wednesday.

"I wanted him to know that they wasn't going to sweep us," Wall said. "We did what we were supposed to do. We came home and took home court, won two games."

Wall continued to say that him and Drake "are just having fun." He has referred to Drake as a friend in the past and Drake is a fan of the University of Kentucky, where Wall starred during the 2009-10 season.

But that friendship is currently on hold. Wall, in fact, says isn't listening to any of Drake's songs during the series and that includes 'Nice For What,' Drake's latest single. The song is being played everywhere, but Wall is avoiding it. 

"I can't?" Wall said when told he can't get away from 'Nice For What.' "I always have my headphones on."

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